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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.

Acknowledge Your Feelings But Don’t Let Them Control You

amygdalaFeelings can be overwhelming and are necessary at times.  Grief for example, must be expressed sooner or later.  It is very damaging especially to relationships if it can not be shared.  When I am very hungry, I get so mad that I could spit nails.  When I am with family or friends I warn them when I get that way.  I am literally not able to fulfill others’ requests until I get something to eat.  You probably could name more.

Some feelings people feel are so strong that they literally take over and people thus say that they “involuntarily” do things that they may or may not regret later.  They are out of control but it is not their fault.  For example, someone says, “He made me so mad…” and this justifies whatever that person does next.

Are we responsible for our feelings?  Well, “Yes,” and “No”.   We are frequently conditioned at a very young age to respond with negative feelings to certain things.   We may be even given rational explanations for feeling that way that we accept as something that motivates us to do certain certain things and often enables us to not accept responsibility for what we do then.

How do we resist all that conditioning?  It can effectively put limits on our life if we let it.   It is often difficult to undo.   How often have we heard someone say, “I can’t help it,” in relation to performing these type of learned behaviors.  Is it a Get Out of Jail Free” card like in Monopoly?

What have you learned to feel and to respond to in certain situations.  Is it you that is behind it or did you catch it from somewhere or someone else?

 

Competition Is Not A Threat. It Is An Inspiration.

Food for thought.  Some of us have always wanted to be on top of the mountain while everybody is down below.  Is this through a desire to be like God so far removed from everybody, nobody can touch them.    Like we think like God thinks.  One step ahead of everybody else and knowing it all.  (Is this possible?  No!)  This a protective mechanism because we want nobody to get ahead of us so that we can control our own fate and often theirs too because it is advantageous for us..

Solve Your Own ProblemsCan you handle being God.  I knew one four year old child that couldn’t and down underneath he knew it but he didn’t want his parents to know he really thought because he had ascended to the point where he and his family controlled everything that went on in that family like bedtime, their diet, and how they felt.  Was that a good idea.  Don’t bit off more than you can chew.  It is easier if you get by with a little help from your friends like in the Beatles’ song.

You can’t know everything in this computer age and when you find it that way you still have to make sense out of the information.  Being in a tower no matter how elevated is a lonely position.  Remember  Rapunzel who got stuck in a tower in the fairy tale and had to use her long hair to bring the prince to her rescue.

Alas so we always can’t solve our own problems and maybe the competition can.  Do you give up and see this unresolved issue as a threat in stead of an opportunity to do what you do that is even better?  Competition is not a threat it is an inspiration.  You wouldn’t have an competition if it wasn’t a good idea in the first place.  Also problems are also opportunities to fix something right now that might have acted up seriously in the future.

Do you really think you can do it?  A good CEO knows when he doesn’t know something, he finds someone who does and also  that new better selling ideas from the competition can inspire him to make some needed changes in his company.   Competition is inevitable and you should expect it.  What inspired you in the first place?   It was somebody else’s success and you became competitive as you wanted to do something somebody else did only better!

 

Do You Hear Only What You Want To Hear?

Do You Hear Only What You Want to Hear Or See Only What You Want To See?  Do you sometimes tune things out and skip parts of the material that is given to you? or that is shown to you?rp_3126327492_30718d4524_m.jpgI go to a place to meet my spiritual needs and I go to hear what God wants me to know.  I try to go with no preconceived notions of what I will get from attending church that day.  I quiet myself and pay attention to what is prayed, said, or done.  It is a time to be in the moment, not about feeling bad for what has happened in the past or being anxious or worried about the future.

Something was said yesterday during the service that I caught and am presenting here.  This idea not only applies to worship services, but also to doctor visits, books, lectures or workshops.We often hear what we want to hear not actually was said or intended.  When we learn something new, we often make changes to other ideas we have held or if this makes us uncomfortable we decide to tweak the material that was presented so it fits our notions of how the world should be.

Gossiping

Gossiping

Ever play the game of gossip and noticed how distorted the original message became?

We may tune in and tune out adjusting what we do hear to make it more acceptable no matter what the content.  We can have attacks of boredom.  We can become irritated because we have to sit there and listen to the speaker drone on and on.  We can day dream or even fall asleep.  Pay attention there may be something useful there.

This also can apply to visual material like posters, power point presentations.   Did you read the quote presented at the top of this post.  Here it is again.rp_3126327492_30718d4524_m.jpg How did it make you feel: comfortable or uncomfortable.  Are you generally open and receptive? or do you not like someone else telling you what to do and/or commenting  on your appearance, possessions, and family.  You have your own ideas and are comfortable with them.

I realize when I jump to conclusions I don’t pay attention to what is being presented.  Stereotypes of people and cultures leave much to be desired and prevent us from encompassing diversity and learning what these people and cultures are really like.

Now you may understand why that Active Listening (Carl Rogers) is so important in communication.  Being able to repeat what the other person has said before giving your reply encourages people to hear everything that was said.

Stay Involved, Don’t Opt Out

rp_Feelings.jpgSocial interaction is crucial to children learning language.  Watching a video or listening to an auditory version is not enough.  Are children becoming autistic because people in our world are becoming less and less involved?  What about a good old fashioned conversation or a satisfying read?  Being unable to interact with others is a very real problem and I can see the day when children have virtual play dates?  How removed from reality is this?  Will we all sit home and rely on clouds and the internet to keep us in touch?  Will the ethers be doing our talking?  It will no longer be necessary to read or write as computers will communicate for us just by talking and ultimately will thoughts and images not words be used to share ideas?

 rp_2269499855_31a018a8f6_m.jpg This just started out as a blog about how children need human contact to learn and ultimately to thrive.  Scarey isn’t it?  For example, someday people will not sign their names, not just because they did not learn cursive writing; but because reading and writing are no longer considered necessary.  We have done this since the dawn of the machine age and eliminating the human factor in creating things that we need and use.  Is it possible we are also eliminating the good vibrations that many skilled, dedicated craftsmen and craftswomen put into their work.

Flowers Versus Weeds. How Were You Raised? What Are You Raising?

rp_8150559597_f6b72c73b6_m.jpgIt all depends on your point of view.
The problem is that in your garden you may have been taught to see certain plants as weeds and which should be “weeded” out and others as flowers which should be cultivated.  Many people when they plant their gardens expect to get flowers but the truth is that when you plant a seed, you may get not get what you expected which is someone like you and you don’t know how to cultivate them.  How do you handle this mystery seed as a disappointment or as a wonderful new discovery  if you got what you were hoping for.  Why take it out on the plant, because you have to learn new cultivating  techniques and, for example, provide different amounts of water, different amounts of sunshine or shade, and different kinds and amounts of plant food as well as protection from different types of insect infestation.  Some require  more space than others or grow taller and block the sun getting to other plants and/or your view of them.  You can look on this as a pleasant surprise or as a serious disappointment and/or you might learn new things about growing different “plants”.

rp_300px-Drill.jpgThe famous Kennedy family had their developmentally disabled daughter unsuccessfully operated on to deal with her unconventional behavior and then institutionalized her because they couldn’t cope with her unfortunate behavior changes after surgery and her perceived inability to benefit (they thought) no longer from family life with the other children.  Could she who was seen as an unfortunate weed that needed to be changed been raised successfully (at least for her if not for them) in the in the Kennedy family compound? They felt that they couldn’t cope with her behavior and poor ability to comprehend and benefit from what was going on around her.  It was an unfortunate decision and at the time, they didn’t know that the operation would not help her, but injury her further.

Did you get what you individually needed to grow and flourish as the flower that you actually  were or were you treated unfortunately as an unwanted weed? Also what were your parents considered to be by their parents, teachers, and even peers?  Flowers or weeds? and how were they raised? you-are-exactly-who-you-are-suppose-to-beTaking account of the differences as well as the similarities is important in raising your own off spring or the children you have contact with, students, nieces and nephews,  etc. .  Consider such happenings  as a pleasant  surprise and  as a splendid way to learn new things and see life from a different point of view and not as dealing with an unwanted pest and, at best, as at least an inconvenience to have such a child and set them the child up for the rest of his or her life to be seen as a failure or to be at the least second best when compared with a sibling or or siblings who might more meet your expectations and fit your style of dealing with life itself.

Take Your Own Advice! Nobody Else Can Use It So Well!

 

Road Rage As An Example

Road Rage As An Example

(Short;  but not too sweet.)

Do you ever listen to what you say to others?  Did you ever try to take your own advice?  What kind of advice you give can be very self-revealing.  Carefully done it is like looking in a mirror and seeing yourself reflected there, not someone else.

What are the problems that you see others as having that bother you the most?  Could it be very revealing to list them and see if you often have them too?  Make a list of the things that bother you the most.  Put them somewhere where you can look at them.  Either inside a cupboard door or the bathroom cabinet door  or out on a mirror where you will get a chance to look at it every day.

Ever hear someone say, “I don’t see why someone should do something or something should be done about that?, ” and it is clearly descriptive of what the person them-self needs to do or have done.

Don’t let yourself read this with a self-satisfied smirk as you apply it to someone else and forget who this is really about!  “You!”  Whose behavior can you really change?  “Yours!”

Mine is to tell the truth, sometimes the hardest thing for me to do, as I fear and think that I can’t handle rejection.  Why do we reject others, when we don’t want to be rejected ourselves?

Never Stop Learning New Things. Don’t give up!

rp_2269499855_31a018a8f6_m.jpgOnce you’ve met your peak.  Once you have met your goals.  Don’t give up.   Learning is a life long process and it doesn’t end until you are at “Heaven’s” door.  Once you have the motivation, you will never give up.  Life continues to unfold as you know more and more.  This way you’ll never be a bore.  I have not stopped and I never will.

Many people once they reach the “mountain top” begin to slide down the slippery slope toward life’s ending.  Whatever goal they achieve, they may say to themselves, “Is that all that there is?”  and if they get back the answer, “Yes,” they give up and tread water for the rest of their lives until they get tired of doing it and sink into the throws of life’s end.

rp_Machine-Doest-Have-Brain-Sign-S-8429.gifFor me death is not an ending, it is a transition.  I prefer to call it that because I believe that life goes on in another way when you reach it.   I realize that transitioning can happen at anytime and for many it comes too early and for others, too late.  I don’t like to keep my brain busy with thinking about  it.

Sometimes it is better to focus on the present moment and enjoy what happens.  For example, a person with early memory problems may enjoy a phone call or reading a card; but then not remember everything that was talked about.    Should family and friends stop communicating with this person because they will not remember all of what is said?  My answer is, “No.”  There is still pleasure in the moment.  Why deny them that?

rp_5238574678_75a3ca1b14_m.jpgFor the person above the pleasure of learning “new” things happens over and over.  Why deny them that pleasure.  Why deny yourself the pleasure of learning new things or of seeing things in a new way?  Holding too strongly onto the “old” can deny yourself the pleasure of the “new”.  Who knows what is left to learn?  Learning new things is known to keep your brain young.  Sharing the joy of learning can bond people of any age.  Why be a “bore” or a “stick in the mud”. Especially to yourself!

Out With The Old, In With The New Or Is It In With The Old Out With The New?

There are a lot of articles about decluttering your house, your apartment, your dorm room or your room at home.  How about decluttering your life or better yet your mind!  How long do we hang on to old ideas like old clothes, old newspapers, or worn out shoes?   We haven’t used them in the last few years or we haven’t reevaluated them recently to see if they still serve their purpose or reflect who we are.  Have you ever noticed a woman or a man who hasn’t changed their style of dressing and/or hair style since they were much younger?  It may not suit them anymore but they continue to wear them.

Now Is The Time That....

Now Is The Time That….

When we are younger, we learn rapidly and may change our minds just as fast.  Have we changed who influences us and/or what we believe? even if we have found evidence or had experiences to the contrary?  Sometimes we are even proud of this.  Yes, if it still makes sense continue to believe it.  Or do you not change your opinions or the way you practice your beliefs because of stubborness and/ or pride.  Or are you afraid that someone will find you to be easy to be led by the ring in your nose? or just plain wishywashy?  Who controls your life?  Is that what you really want?

Who controls your life?  good?  or evil?  How comfortable are you about the decisions you have made?  Are you afraid of losing your identity. of not knowing who you are any more if you realize that rp_KUWtK_titlecard.pngyou need to reconsider some of the decisions  you have made about yourself and your life.  Remember what works for one person may not work for another and you may be unhappy if you follow the crowd and continue to judge yourself by what you think that the crowd thinks is important.  Anthropology is the study of different cultures in different lands and it might surprise some people if they study anthropology that different people find different things and different behaviors necessary to be considered civilized or attractive.  In our society, consider Kim Kardashian’s  posterior anatomy which some men find very enticing.

This is especially true if a person is raised to follow some standard because of what other people might think.  This is as true of teenaged gang members as it is or was of teenagers in Beverly Hills.  Isn’t it amazing that sometimes someone will do something or wear something that is very original that will start a new trend that then it seems like everyone now has to admire and/or follow?  I was raised that way and I wondered why everybody was more important than me.  Such a thing detracts from one’s self-worth.

rp_1360757052_a551272cf9_m.jpg

There is room for a lot of different beliefs in the world if one believes in freedom.  Why do some people think that they have to destroy or convert (often by threat of death) anyone who does not believe as they do?  Diversity can be a good thing.  It is often a good thing if most people like different things and activities.  If their were no people who liked to cook how would we get something to eat?  What makes one occupation better than another?  Who would fix our toilets or collect our trash?  Is an airplane pilot more skilled than an airplane mechanic.
When my brother was in the U.S. Air Force, he told me that in the Canadian Air Force that pilots were sergeants and mechanics were lieutenants just the opposite of what was true of the U.S.
Air Force.

Another thing to consider is if we should be constantly changing to something new like the new core curriculum in schools?  It appears too complicated for elementary students to grasp or even for adults?  Who is going to help children with their math?  Homework already has been difficult enough for parents to help with.  What happened to common sense?  What happened to the freedom of school districts to determine what and how to teach something.  Different teachers have different strengths and can use different approaches to teach the same thing from other teachers or within the classroom with different students.  Why are these choices being made more and more by people who are far removed from the very situation that  they are making the decisions for.  A good leader uses his or her employees’ or supervisees’ knowledge and strengths in order to make decisions.  They also delegate authority when appropriate..