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Centerpointe Research

psychotherapy

Blogging, The New Journaling

Blogging is the new journaling.  Writing a journal has often been recommended as a form of therapy.  I used to  never be able to get into it (I have lots of journals that I started writing in and then quit); but give me a potential audience and I am a writing fiend!  I also can marshall my thoughts better on paper than in a discussion with someone.  On the one hand, I find myself when someone is asking me for advice telling them to read my blog and on the other hand, using that person’s question as topic of a future blog.  At the same time, my blog is an account of my journey into my own psychology and the progress I have made partly because of my writing.

St. Augustine writing, revising, and re-writin...

St. Augustine writing, revising, and re-writing: Sandro Botticelli’s St. Augustine in His Cell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am an auditory writer and I hear what I am writing in my head as I write it.  Then I reread it and make additions and revisions as I listen to them inside my head.  I add pictures and look at a preview of my blog and hopefully add visual interest to it.  When I am procrastinating and not getting anything else done, I can always write.  Anything that occurs to me during the day as well as much of the material I read adds grist for the mill.  I sometimes go back and read previous blogs and have found now and then that I have written a very satisfactory post, but don’t remember doing it.

All the reading and writing I have done has helped me in my “journaling” online.  I have spent hours dictating social histories in one pass over the telephone from my interview notes.  This may account for my auditory approach to writing.  I have always liked to learn and explore new ideas.  I have more books on self-help and mysticism than anybody really should have.  Most of my life, I have been cut off from cosmopolitian centers where people attend groups and workshops and study these sort of  things.  These many books have provided me with alot of food for thought and this knowledge has been incubated over the years and has now blossumed forth.

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Family Therapy, Entering A Child’s World

mental-health-family-therapy-counseling-sessionFamily therapy is one way of entering a child’s world.  Often when a child is being seen because of emotional or behavioral problems, family therapy is recommended.  What you might not know is that the child is often not the real problem, but a symptom of the problem.  One way of seeing this is by observing the process of family therapy.

Parents often say they are stumped.  They say that they don’t know what is causing the child’s problems.  Family therapy can reveal hidden problems by entering the child’s world.  Sometimes there is a big secret that the family is concealing from the outside world.  It is can be symbolized as “the elephant in the room”.  For example, there frequently are problems between the parents who may even be on the verge of a divorce or one or both of the parents is or are having an affair.  The child or the identified patient can also be the scapegoat.  Actually there maybe another child in the family who has bigger problems than the child with the referring problem.  Often the child calls attention to him or herself by acting up distracting attention from the real problem.

Not only what is said in family therapy is important, but also what is conveyed by bodily positions, facial expressions, and gestures is important.  It is noticed and commented upon.  Where and by whom a person or child sits is noteworthy.  The volume and the amount someone talks is also of concern.  Whether or not someone responds to another’s comments or questions is noted.  Whether or not a person’s facial expression is conveying something different than what they ares saying can be worthy of interpretation.  Family therapy is fertile ground for exploring and entering a child’s world.

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The Mirror Of Life

life-is-a-mirror-1024x682(pp_w649_h432)What we encounter in the mirror of life is important for our personal development.  Things come into our lives to reflect different parts of ourselves that we often can not see otherwise.

The mirror of life does not reflect the same things to different people.  Psychological studies have shown that when people who witness the same scene are asked to recall what they saw, they will recall different things depending on who they are and what they are interested in.  Picture a murder scene in a mansion.  Besides the family of the murder victim, there are three witnesses.  An interior decorator remembers the abominable decor and what horrible taste the murder victim had who owned the mansion, a mechanical engineer remembers how hot it was in the room and that the air conditioning system must not have been working and that the body would decompose rapidly, and a psychologist might have noted that the members of the murder victim’s family who were present were not very upset.  Different things struck the attention of each witness and it effected what they remembered and/or found significant.

life is a mirrorThe mirror of life just does not only reflect our interests in life, but also presents certain things for us to see and experience.  Some religious or spiritual people feel that certain people and certain things show up in our life for a reason.  For example, a person who is not comfortable being around people with developmental disabilities might find themselves having a child or grandchild with Down syndrome.  Other people who are sensitive to certain kinds of slights are more likely to interpret or misinterpret what might seem to another person just to be a harmless remark.  An extreme form of this is paranoia.

The judgments that you pass about a given situation or certain person may tell more about you than it does about the situation or the person that you make a comment on.  Psychologically a person or persons who find overweight people disgusting may be hiding the fact that they have an eating disorder and are secretly scared that they might become overweight themselves.  On the one hand, what you comment on in a given situation presented to you by the mirror of life might reveal more about you than you would like.  On the other hand, you can use this information to understand yourself better and possibly even make changes in the way you do and see things.

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Things You Are Not To Talk About

not.talkThings you are not to talk about keep you in a prison of silence.  There are things you don’t share with others.  It can be a burden to carry these things alone and to whose advantage is this?  Probably it was to the advantage of the person who taught you not to talk about these things.  Yes, they probably told you that they were telling you this for your own good.   If fact, they may have implied that they and only they can tolerate you and even they don’t want to hear certain things from you.  These are things  which you will not talk about if you want to be loved and accepted by them.

When it comes to abuse, it is the things you are taught not to talk about that keep you, if you are the abuse victim, from stopping the abuse.  Abusers often use this ploy to get you (the one who is being abused)  to believe that others will reject or punish you if you talk about the abuse and that the abusers can cause harm to you or your family if you talk about the abuse.  There is no way to know if this will happen or not if you don’t tell somebody.

Take a moment and make a list of things that you are not to talk about.  It will tell you a lot about you and the people who influenced your life.  Low self-esteem is fostered by the idea that you really are a failure and/or a bad person and if someone else found this out, they would reject you.  This is one of the most important aspects of therapy being able to tell another person anything without losing their support.

embarassingquestionsI am not talking to you about this in order to make you a compulsive truth teller.  I believe that you have a right to choose what information that you will share with others.  There are people out there that will ask you some very embarrassing questions and for information about you that you don’t need to share with them; but who are you protecting and why?  Are there people in your life that you can and should share this information with?  Is it causing you more stress to keep this information to yourself than it would to be to finally get it off your chest?

 

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Why People Do What They Do

reward-punishment Do you know why people do what they do?  Do you think psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors know this automatically when they get information about a new client’s problem?  Sometimes it takes at least just a little more knowledge about a situation than what has been given to start with to understand why something is happening.  I was taught to do behavior modification therapy and although the process I used was by the book; it had to be tweaked to work right.  The necessary rewards and punishments had to motivate the client to do or not do a certain specified behavior or behaviors.  For example, I have a family member for whom chocolate ice cream wouldn’t work, but for time for this family member to take a nice long bath would.

Marestail shows moisture at high altitude, sig...

Marestail shows moisture at high altitude, signalling the later arrival of wet weather. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This has been a problem not only when doing behavior therapy but also when doing other kinds of therapy.  Sometimes it’s not what you think that is why people do what they do.  I knew of a farmer who drank when the weather forecast was bad.  I figured he was upset that he couldn’t get into the field the next day and was worried that he wouldn’t get his crops in or out.  No, I found out later that he knew he could drink that evening because he wouldn’t be operating farm equipment the next day.

Smoking cessation

Smoking cessation (Photo credits: www.mysafetysign.com)

I was using a very successful method of hypnosis for helping a person to quit smoking and I was getting nowhere.  The person had very serious health problems caused by smoking.  When I did a through follow-up interview, I found out that the only thing that person did for his or her own enjoyment was smoking.  He or she constantly did for others 24/7.  The amount of such work that he or she did was mind boggling.  He or she was at the beck and call of family and friends.

 

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In Sync?

5 Senses

5 Senses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Continuing the discussion on the senses, Without A Thought, Effortless Living, ” if you use the same sense as your conversational partner prefers when talking about how he or she perceives things,  you will be more in sync with them and you will find that he or she may be more agreeable and more likely to accept your point of view.  This could be a very good sales technique and it is also used in establishing rapport in therapy or inducing trances, especially in a conversational style of induction.  In any relationship, paying attention to such things would give you a clue as to the type of activity or gift someone would like.  How about, “That smells good,” for example.  Makes you think of fresh baked goods or scented candles or perfume or aftershave.

As you grow psychologically and focus more on your direct experience (Ah la mindfulness), you will probably become more aware of your own sensory experiences.  Colors may become brighter; sounds, more noticeable; smells, more attractive or more obnoxious.  You may become able to create a more realistic experience when you imagine a restful scene when using relaxation techniques.  Start with your area of strength, usually the one sense that you use the most when describing things.  By doing so, you can get in sync with yourself and have a more intense experience when you do this.  The more of this you do, the better your visualizations (for want of a better word that would include the use of all the senses).

The Collection ('N Sync album)

The Collection (‘N Sync album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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