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Continuing Growth Is Necessary For A Psychotherapist

loud-noisesNo, once chosen the profession of a psychotherapist or counselor requires continuing growth.  Sometimes in surprising ways.

Freudian psychotherapists have raised the subject of transference in the relationship between a therapist and a client.  Transference can go both ways.  Something about the client makes them see the therapist in a certain way.  Sometimes something about the therapist makes them see the client in a certain way.

Education in a profession such as psychotherapy can lead the practitioner to believe they must present themselves as  experts in the field and as not vulnerable to the types of things that bring ordinary clients into therapy.  This can lead to rationalization and denial on the therapists part.

Rationalization means that the therapst can create a good explanation as to why he or she is not vulnerable to the types of problems his or her patients have.  Denial can also result from the taking of this position and it can cause therapy to not move forward for the client.

Personal growth is one way possibly to help stop this from happening. Does the development of one’s self-concept and concept of life stop with attaining one’s maturity whether at 18, 21, or 35?  No, it does not.  Our perspective on life constantly changes with new experiences.

Honestly does a psychotherapist think that they can understand exactly how they learned to be who they think they are and stop growing.  Wouldn’t personal growth experiences for psychotherapists help with this?

Is there only one answer?  Hasn’t science found this out.  What things did scientists believe were true when your parents were children and what have you or your children learned in the present that scientists’ did not know or believe then?

Remember the old saying, “Do as I say!” not “Do as I do!”

Also the more defensive barbed wire a therapist puts between him or herself and what he or she is asking their patient to do, the more “phony” and indefensible they become as therapists.

New learning and new growth leads to enthusiasm to carry this over into the psychotherapist’s work.  Insights developed this way can help a therapist be more responsive in therapy.   I now hear and see more things than I used to see or hear in everyday interpersonal interaction.

For example I can still learn from a four year old that grandma is not always smiling and looking happy when she thinks she is especially when I am feeling that I am working at something and forgeting to enjoy doing it.

 

 

Sometimes You Have To Let Something Go To Make Room For Something New To Come In

rp_300px-Sabbatical_titlescreen.jpgAs you can see I am taking a sabatical this fall.  I have no classes to teach this fall which means it will be a squeeze financially but I will have more time to devote to writing for this website, more time to babysit grandchildren (which is a mixed blessing), more time to meditate in several different ways, and more time to pursue my own personal growth.

While I was teaching this summer (and taking an art class myself), I was feeling stressed out and at times it made me physically ill.  Do you think that as a psychologist I should have known better than that?  Maybe.  But I just know from past experiences that it is a sign that I should take heed of and do something about.

It took time and money out of my pocket in order to teach even though I have been enjoying it and growing a lot doing it.  Yes, I was paid but as a part-time instructor and only for what classes I taught each semester.  This summer I made an hour round trip trip to town four days a week for two months spending the whole day there two days a week.rp_300px-New_Life_Ranch_Sign.jpg

I will take two road trips this fall to see the evangelist Joyce Meyer and attend the homecoming celebration of my undergraduate college in honor of my class’s 50th anniversary.  I will be doing this on a shoestring; but I am not going to miss these chances to do something I want to do which only comes along once in a blue moon.

I have already gotten one surprise phone call offering me some financial help for one of my upcoming seminars after it was decided that I was not going to teach this fall. I also have recently found some books that answer questions I have been asking, but did not get the answers for that I have been gobbling up.

Yesterday, I caught up on some of my sleep and decided to do nothing that I didn’t have to do.  I missed one of my regular salesmen while I slept in the afternoon and I did not check on most of the things that I am checking on today and I did not turn my computer on.

I am growing.  I intend to explore new and old things that I have not gotten around to doing recently.

Feeling Beat Down And Worn Out?

Criticism and put-downs can be a form of mental abuse and so can sarcasm and being told that you can’t take a joke.  Constant volleys of such “verbal” abuse can wear a person down and definitely not help them back up. It is often used in arguments to denigrate the opinions  and/or wishes of those being put down.  The partner might find him or herself spending more time defending themselves than having a constructive arguement.

Anger Is Often Used To Control

Anger Controls People

Nagging can result from such interactions.  If a person is never allowed to win an argument by the means cited above, they may resort to nagging as a substitute for not being able to win in an argument.  Nagging can be a symptom of a relationship where one person doesn’t do something that the other person wants and in an argument over this issue, the other person feels that they don’t have to a chance to win.

Such forms of interaction discussed above can result in a negative living situation with one or both persons involved feeling “less than” and unable to cope.  Being constantly “put-down” does not generate a comfortable situation and it can become a constant war zone in which one person always wants to win and the other person doesn’t feel they have a chance.

Punishment is not a good way to encourage certain forms of behavior; positive reinforcement is.  Also on many issues over which partners fight there is often no one “right” answer.  Many such arguments are about personal preferences and not absolutes although some people like to think that they are.  Mother nature and our environments are set up to encourage certain types of tastes and certain types of skills.

Does Anger Bring Out The "Devil" In You

Does Anger Bring Out The “Devil” In You

For example, if I have sensitive hearing, I may prefer certain types of music over other types.  Does that make me right or wrong when I argue with a person with different sensitivites and experiences.  For example, I do not like most “bluegrass music,” certain old time country music, and polkas (unless they are extremely “lively”).  However that doesn’t mean that I don’t like music as a whole.

It often boils down to a whole issue of control.  If I maintain that the things I like and like to do are the only “right” ones than I can be sure that I won’t have to do or experience anything different that I might not like.  In one relationship I was in, I was not allowed to eat any onions cooked or raw at home or away from home for he could always tell if I did and he didn’t like them.

Nobody is happy if only one person is in control of the relationship.  The winner might get tired of having to tell the loser everything they are supposed to do and the loser might get tired of never having “any choice”.  This can be the motive for murder where one partner kills the other.

 

 

Neglected Gratitude

Theresa Caputo, The Long Island Medium

Theresa Caputo, The Long Island Medium Helping Someone

Think of all the people who have helped you. For a moment, don’t count the times that they didn’t. Be appreciative of what you did get even if you can’t rely on them now. It is unusual to look back and not find at least one person who has helped you. Even people who have did you great harm might have done something that benefited you once. It is also easier to notice the things that have gone wrong than to count your blessings.
So often we do not remember or note in any way things that people who treat you right have done and value more what someone who has neglected us has done. Be truly grateful. Why is a favor done by someone who usually rejects us mean more than one by someone who consistently supports you. “Ah, you say when this happens, “It doesn’t count.”
chinese-grandparents-sitting-grandchildren-26098101There was a mother who had a lot of children. Two of them took care of her and even at one point had her live with each of them. Who did she get excited about when they came to see her or when she had a chance to go see them, the ones who usually did nothing for her and usually weren’t around very much. Seems shallow, doesn’t it.
You may feel the same way about family. If they are not the ones doing something for you, then it doesn’t count. Yet hasn’t God sent other people into your life to help you at times maybe when your family wasn’t there. People aren’t all or always bad.
rp_7297340494_bbd50a8706_m.jpgNo one’s family life is perfect and I spent some time when I was younger talking about what my parents had done wrong in raising me and did not talk about the good things (Oh, yes, there were some). For example, my parents put me through undergraduate school at a private four year college. Also holidays and family get togethers were important to them.
I don’t want to underestimate anything that went wrong in your upbringing; but many times there are more than one thing to consider if you are looking at how you were raised. Yes, the bad things might have outweighed the good ones; but the good ones still existed.

The Need For Security Comes From Within

Women, men? Does the need for security control your life?  Are you afraid to fight with someone because it might end your relationship with them?  Women, people who put you down, often the man in your life, often win a potential conflict with the first blow.  If he or she is mad at me, it is all over.  It is very convenient to make a complaint or even make an angry comment when asking about something you don’t like or understand.

Anxiety and fFear

Conflict seems to be more natural for men.  They can almost fight one minute and be friends the next.  It can get pretty brutal one day and the next they are back to being the best of buds.  Many women are different making a denigrating comment to another woman can end a relationship forever.  So how does a woman react when someone puts them down.  If they are depending on the relationship for support and security, they go into emergency crisis mode and/or feel “knocked up beside the head” by someone they thought loved and appreciated them.

Women can take a lot of negative comments from a man in a relationship often things the man forgets about as it wasn’t that serious to him or the man didn’t even realize the woman took it seriously or so hard.  Men are constantly jousting, jockeying for position, and they don’t even think that seeing things ( from this perspective) that it was taken seriously.

Does Therapy Come Too Late?

rp_228552603_150_150.jpgWhy didn’t we learn to help ourselves in school?  Where were the role models of good adjustment at home?  Parents are often as clueless as their children and are afraid to admit it when they didn’t also get the instruction at home or school.

There are self-help books for adults.  Where are they for children?  Do parents feel that it is to their advantage to have children who don’t know anymore than than they did when they were children?

rp_300px-TV_highquality.jpgDo children learn how to deal with life from video games, violent programs, or from the drama they see and/or experience at home.  Values, ideals, and spirituality are close to being forbidden in schools or anywhere in the public eye.  Wholesome shows have been replaced by shows with lots of drama providing bad examples of how to behave in relationships or deal with problems.

Practicing therapy can be a frustrating business especially when it comes after a person’s beliefs and problem-solving behaviors have become crystallized and so much a part of a person’s identity that they feel threatened when challenged to change.  It has a lot to do with how a person’s self-esteem is developed and the practices that they are taught to maintain it.  Lying, deceiving, and avoiding responsibility are often used by someone when a person is afraid of being criticized and ultimately rejected.rp_Anxiety.gif

What results is a fear of change and a learned helplessness instead of developing helpful problem-solving skills and a desire to change for the sake of doing better.  We are evolving individuals and making mistakes and changing what we do or think is part of the process.  I once wrote a story or a poem about “Old King Never Ever Wrong”.

Stories are to teach and not just to amuse or vent rage.  Before most people could read or write stories were a way of teaching things and were passed down orally from generation to generation in order to do this.  What about the parables Jesus told in the Bible?  What about the Bible stories that are still taught in Sunday school or church?

Theresa Caputo–The Truth And Nothing But The Truth

Theresa Caputo, The Long Island Medium

Theresa Caputo, The Long Island Medium

Theresa Caputo  (the Long Island Medium) is not a phony.  She is very real.  And why is she so real?  She tells the truth and nothing but the truth.  I went to her presentation at a local center (Ford Center in Evansville IN) with two friends,  We were also mesmerized by her presence and the type of audience her presentation attracted.

We got to see the real her: longer hair, a bright blue attractive dress, and sparkly heels.  (I wondered how she negotiated moving around on the floor in them?).  She told us exactly what she would do and not do and how she utilized her fan club.  She was very honest and straight forward and I hung on her every word which I could do because cameras (only used for the presentation and then erased) and microphones followed her around and we could see her facial expressions and the reactions of those that she read.

Spirit seemed to pick the most urgent cases.  Those which would have left the theater in a turmoil with no feelings re leaved from a sudden tragic death or deaths and guilt not resolved.  Although, I did not receive a reading,  I got some insight into deaths I have suffered and about my own metaphysical gifts.

She is what she is.  She is not fake and even excused herself from reading for people who had messages or pictures that could be seen on camera because if she had read these people she might have been be accused of  getting information from these things and not spirit.

It was a very intense situation and she had a very intentive and polite audience.  (Also please note that there were people there some from Ford Center and some from her own staff to help out and they did so without distracting or impeding what was going on. )

Theresa was gracious and even invited two randomly chosen audience members behind stage after the show.   There was no press of people to get her attention and autographs after the show nor were any books sold; but when she was in the auditorium, she moved freely among the members of the audience.

It was obvious to me that she was “on” the entire time and that there was nothing “canned” nor  was there material that was used as  “filler.”  You came to see Theresa and there was no “staff” between her and the audience.  I just had to say, “Thank God.”  She was very honest about her beliefs and the most surprising one was that she believes that there is no hell.

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Sometimes It Is Hard To Be Me

rp_Truman_pass-the-buck.jpgSometimes it’s hard to be me.”  Do you ever think that especially after a hard day when you feel like you really got nothing done and several things have gone wrong?  I tried that out on some people the other day and they had to agree with it.

If you challenge yourself frequently to meet up to certain standards and set yourself multiple goals as well as take on too many responsibilities, you might feel that way.

rp_Anxiety.gifFrequently I suggested to people I saw for counseling that they set more manageable goals on which they could be better able to focus.  Simply the plan is to either to set a time limit on how long you are going to work on a given problem and then go on to something else or to determine what part of the problem you are going to work on and finish before going on to something else.

Don’t set yourself up for failure by not changing your goals when and if you realize that it is not possible to meet them on a certain day.  Everybody needs to experience a certain level of accomplishment and don’t be too hard on yourself if you realize that you haven’t set reasonable goals.

"Let me see here,"

“Let me see here,”

For example when I studied for my licensing exam as a psychologist, I set my self a certain number of pages to cover a day during the week and if I reached that goal, I did not have to cover any pages on the weekend to make up for what I didn’t get done during the week.  Also I was just starting to juggle my new role as farm wife with that of fledgling psychologist.

Also don’t forget to say to yourself (when this is going on), “Take good care of yourself.  You belong to me.”  You get that?  This is “you” saying it to “you”!rp_300px-Sweet-dreams-dreaming-of-snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarves.jpg

 

 

Conversation Stopper: People Are Rude Because Other People Are Too Polite To Call Them On It

Arp_300px-Kohlberg_moral_stages_vop.gifre some people rude and obnoxious because they count on other people to be polite?  Also do some people lie because other people won’t correct them for fear of being rude themselves?  Some people say hurtful and insulting things because they don’t expect other people to call them on it.  They will also tell lies because other people will often give them the benefit of the doubt or don’t want to start an argument.

What is often true is that the other person is uncouth and often cruel because they can get away with it.  It is sometimes even extremely obvious that they are doing this but they think that no one will say anything and they usually don’t.  Doing so often accounts for a period of stunned silence from the audience members with it being so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

For example, I once entered the room where a large family gathering was already going on and rp_300px-Determinants_of_Forgiveness_Graphic.JPGeverybody looked to see who was coming in.  The rude person in a loud voice asked, “Who cut your hair?”  It was obvious that person was being critical of the way I looked.  It had already been a long day for me and I replied, “Well, who asked you?” in front of the whole group.  This was met by stunned silence not just at the initial comment that had been made but at my reply.  I felt it had been very appropriate considering that this person made a game of doing such things.

rp_7510823738_6616ac3a63_m.jpgSometimes the only way you can handle such comments is by being rude, obnoxious, and impolite in return.  Such cruel people love to embarrass people and often do this when they have a crowd for an audience.  People who are crude this way often may unconsciously worry that they might have the same problem that they are pointing out in somebody else but we usually don’t call them on it.

If You Go, You Usually Have To Come Back Again

rp_23219947_8c2cef7e59_m.jpgIf you go you usually have got to come back and take up the reins again. Most trips aren’t one way.  It seems often you can’t have one without the other.  Haven’t you noticed it often seems to take longer to get to a new place then it takes to go back?  Why is it we often focus only on the front part of a journey and when it is time to go back, we say wishfully I wish I didn’t have to go back.

Does the trip going home wear you out more or the trip getting there?  In my mind’s eye I can see the exhausted mother and father standing just inside the door with bags and suitcases and parcels all around them on the floor where they have just dropped them.  Think of the dirty laundry that has to be done and the work, school. and church or other social schedules that have to be resumed.

laughing_catFor example, what about a shopping trip to the mall or the home supply store?  Where do we put the stuff that we get?  When do we start the project (and finish it) that we got the things for?  What about when we get the credit card statement and have to start making the payments?  What if the clothes or shoes don’t fit and we find out that we overly optimistic about this  What if we got lumber or something else that needs to be the right width or length and we discovered we had mis-measured?

Don’t we always find going shopping rewarding as we get to see and think about all the things that are available out there.  Are our eyes bigger than our stomachs?  Have we bit off more than we can chew?   How about when you have a party at your house and have to clean up all the mess afterwards.?

Remember when you go, you have to come back!  Makes sense doesn’t it?  It usually is no laughing matter!