Many clients ask me, “Why does psychotherapy take a long time?”
I’d like to illustrate the answer to that with a short story called ‘The autobiography’
I walk down the road. There is a hole in the road. I do not see the hole. I fall in the hole. It is very deep, and at the bottom where I lay broken, it is dark and cold. I can’t get out.
I walk down the road. There is a hole in the road. I see the hole as I am walking down the road. I fall down the hole. Its familiar and quite cosy. I can’t get out.
I walk down the road. There is a hole in the road. I see the hole as I am walking down the road. I fall down the hole. I want to get out.
I walk down the road. There is a hole in the road. I see the hole as I am walking down the road. I dread falling down the hole. I fall down the hole. And I look up and decide to get out.
I walk down the road. There is a hole in the road. I see the hole as I walk down the road. I think, “oh, ha ha, no, no, I’m not falling for that again!”. I fall down the hole. I start climbing out.
I walk down the road. There is a hole in the road. I see the hole as I walk down the road. I try not to, but I fall in the hole again. I get back out straight away.
I walk down the road. There is a hole in the road. I see the hole as I walk down the road. My foot slides and I fall in the hole again, but I do not hit the bottom. I cling on to the side and get out of the hole.
I walk down the road. There is a hole in the road. I step over the hole. I do not fall into the hole.
I walk down a different road.
There are some underlying beliefs and assumptions that are implicit within the methodology of NLP.
If we can operate out of the assumption and belief that the following statements are ‘the way that things are’ we can get some very interesting and useful results in terms of self improvement.
- Everyone lives in, and operates from, their model of the world.
- Mind and body are a system. They inevitably and inescapably affect each other.
- Human experience has a structure that can be represented by the sensory modalities
- Every behaviour is useful in some context. People always make the best choice for themselves given their unique model of the world, and perception of the situation.
- Individuals have all the resources necessary for change (what they may need help with is to access these resources at appropriate times and places).
- There is a distinction between the person and their behaviours. The positive worth of a person is held constant.
- There is a distinction between the behaviour of a person and their intention, or of the prupose of that behaviour. It is useful to assume that every behaviour has a positive intention.
- Each individual is infinately more than can be percieved by themselves or others.
- A person cannot NOT communicate (and behaviour is the highest quality communication)
- The meaning of the communication is the response it elicits. There is a difference between the meaning and the intention.
- If you always do what you have always done, you’ll always get what you always got. If what you are doing is not working, do something different.
- There is no such thing as failure, only feedback. Every ‘mistake’ is an unprecedented opportunity to learn.
- Individuals with the most flexibility have the highest probability of achieving the outcome that they desire. (This corresponds to the Law of Requisite Variety in Cybernetics)
- If it is possible for one person then it is possible for another (me). It is just a matter of how (including time, effort, and attention).
After reading the presuppostions, notice your response to them. Do they all seem true to you?
If some seem to be contradictory to your beliefs, use those statements as the basis for personal coaching with an NLP coach or therapist, to improve your life.
How can we have energy and feel motivated about our very existence?
I have identified three ways that, if addressed, go a long way toward bringing about a sense of loving life. This is possible for any of us.
Firstly, our life has to have meaning. We can have a sense of meaning in different degrees. Three levels of meaning and how to get them are talked about below.
Secondly, we need to ensure we are adequately refreshed, in order to deal with life and still feel energised.
Thirdly, the crucial thing, possible for all of us, is that we must transform our past pain into positive energy for living today.
Lets look at the first way of attaining life energy…
What are the different ways in which we get a sense of our life having meaning?
A sense of purpose in our lives can come from a variety of different places, and may not be the same combination of places for any of us.
There are three levels of purpose: superficial purpose, underlying purpose, and sustaining purpose.
- Superficial purpose. This gives a sense of meaning that is transitory. We are engaged and entertained, but the sense of meaning does not accumulate over time. Examples are things such as, short projects, casual club associations, and social situations.
- Underlying purpose. There is usually feelings of accomplishment that add up and give us meaning which provides this second level of purpose - having children, for example, or a meaningful career.
- Sustaining purpose comes from a life-long interest that sustains us, and provides hope and powerful life-energy. These are the things that you are committed to, or are very passionate about, for example, a love of gardening, following a sports team or a musicians events through ups and downs, love of learning and growing, devotion to God, commitment to personal development, etc.
Without a sense of superficial purpose, we may feel bored. Without a sense of underlying purpose we may have a low grade level of agitation or flatness. Without a sense of sustaining purpose we may feel that life has no meaning, and we could feel quietly despairing.
For emotional health we need to feel all three levels of purpose in our lives. Particularly important is a sense of sustaining purpose as it can provide hope in the way that love can provide happiness. Once we are engaged with life in a way that is deeply meaningful, hope develops, and life-energy grows alongside it.
The second way of attaining energy is to refresh…
What activities renew and refresh you so that you are able and willing to return to the responsibilities that we have taken on?
How do you re-charge your batteries?
Different things can be effective for different people.
If you are an introvert (in the Jungian sense) then you re-stock your energy stores by being alone. Extroverts, on the other hand, spend time with others when they need to generate energy and feel charged-up again.
Some people like to meditate, relax in the bath, or have a massage. Others like to sing, dance or play tennis. For others, still, it’s a cathartic release such as a rock concert, a fast drive, or a ski holiday that does the job.
Burnout doesn’t only happen on the job - it happens to your life. That means to your relationships, your emotions and your physical state. Rejuvenation is essential. Little and often is best.
Now, the third way to ensure that we are tapping into all of our potential life-energy, and not letting any of that negative life-energy sap us, or take up psychological space, is to transform it…
Past negative experiences can be transformed into nourishing contributions to ourselves and others today.
- Failure, disappointment, loss, pain, regret, guilt, and even shame.
All of that heavy stuff can be recycled and can become the food to fuel your energy for living today.
In the safety of the therapy room, we do something with it. We acknowledge it, understand it, tolerate it, learn from it, and heal from it. We may sometimes start with small steps, but whatever the size of the steps, we walk towards wellbeing. Motivation builds and life-energy is once again present.
“I have listened. And I have looked with open eyes. I have poured
my soul into the world, seeking the unknown within the known. And I
sing out loud in amazement.”
Indian Philosopher and Nobel prize winning author
It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
“Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean
over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will
suddenly know everything there is to be known.”
~Winnie-the-Pooh. (Fictional bear created by A.A.Milne)
I think laughter may be a form of courage. As humans we sometimes
stand tall and look into the sun and laugh, and I think we are never
more brave than when we do that.
~Linda Ellerbee (1944- ) American Journalist
“The good thing about the past is that it is over.”
~ Richard Bandler, Co-founder of Neuro-Linguistic Programming
“Fear less, cherish more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe
more; talk less, listen more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours.”
~Old Swedish Proverb
“Gratitude is wealth. Complaint is poverty.”
~Doris Day, American actress
Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.
~Lord Byron (1788-1824) English Poet
“I sing what is in my heart. My only thought now is to sing as I have never sung before.”
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
~ Dr. Seuss
“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.”
- Henry David Thoreau, essayist
Life is short and far too fragile. Whatever you dream of doing, begin. Put a first step or a “down payment” on your schedule and make it happen. Create memories. Have fun. Have an adventure. Take a (reasonable) risk. Be audacious. Laugh out loud. See what happens.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
You are younger today than you will ever be again. Make use of it for the sake of tomorrow.
~Norman Cousins, editor
I live a day at a time. Each day I look for a kernel of excitement. In the morning, I say: ‘What is my exciting thing for today?’ Then, I do the day. Don’t ask me about tomorrow.
~Barbara Jordan 1936-1996, Lawyer, Educator and Politician
Do not take life too seriously. No one gets out alive.
What happens to people?
As people, at different times in our life, we have individual crises such as loss, death, destruction, abandonment and betrayal.
As survivors of these situations we can often be left feeling helpless, depressed, full of guilt, or angry. Sometimes clients describe it to me as ‘in a black hole’ or a ‘being pulled down into a downward spiral’ ‘trapped’ or ‘up against a wall’.
Clients may find it difficult to control their thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and may be experiencing uncomfortable sensations or having upsetting images.
Often we find, as we get talking in counselling sessions, things revealed, such as,
- They doubt the possibility of existing without danger,
- They don’t feel able to control their destiny,
- Their confidence in their decision-making has gone.
What is the impact?
These people may feel angry or rageful. They might have a sense of powerlessness. It is common to oscillate between the two concepts of self (on the one hand ‘important and angry’ and on the other hand ‘insignificant’). They may lie awake at night thinking. They might be battling with solutions and come to no satisfactory way to put the situation to rights, or let it rest. This might lead the person into frustration, or being fatigued.
Temptation to adopt a ‘victim’ identity is quite strong. I speak with clients who are going through all of this and they commonly discount all previous achievements and cannot account for future accomplishments. The trauma has taken over and clouded their whole experience.
How can counselling help?
Through counselling we can move from being a victim to becoming a victor. Using the counselling conversations for reaching the inner pain and then discovering our inner strength.
The aims of the counselling are to acknowledge what happened, how it is impacting you and how to move forward.
What can we do in counselling?
The part of therapy that is about moving on from acknowledgment may include such things as:
- Understanding what happened
- Discovering coping resources
- Changing priorities and assuming self responsibility for healing
- Build a flexible balancing of tension and relaxation
- Developing strategies for dealing with crisis, stress and trauma
- Develop positive affirmations of resilience
- Possibly discovering compassion and using forgiveness
- Perhaps engaging in mourning / using rituals
- Re-examine personal space
- Rebuild trust
If you wish to understand yourself more, as counsellor and client we can look at many different facets of limiting ways of being, find the positive in them. We might look at:
- The way that you think
- The things that you believe
- The way that you regulate emotions
- The expression of feelings
- Your physiology
Clients are recounting personal recollections of traumatisation in a safe place and they may use, not only words, but also share dreams and nightmares, use metaphors and stories.
What is the outcome?
Everyone is different, and each person may wish to work towards a differnt outcome - one that is right for them.
By talking through these things, and dealing with the associations, we can elicit new ideas and possibilities, which can take over from the old patterns of thought and response.
As a counsellor I don’t give the answers. There is no one single appropriate method for coping with all crises reactions. Each person has their own specific combination of coping modes and resources. Each person finds his or her own answers. And we do this together.
Clients need someone to bear witness to what they have gone through, or are going through. They need to be acknowledged and listened to. They need to express their reactions. They need to revisit some things in a safe environment (the counselling space).
Ultimately, clients acknowledge, and describe their pain, and then move through it. They then plan strategies of self rescue, reach a place of emotional and psychological safety. Feel once again secure and confident, and regain their potency and personal power.
Counselling, these days, is holistic. This means that the person is understood as a whole.
What do Person Centred Counsellors do?
Person Centred Counsellors (of which I am one) believe in awareness of the core conditions, i.e. empathy, congruence, and unconditional positive regard. And these core conditions underpin the quality of relating between the two people, therapist and client.
What do Transactional Analysts do?
In Transactional Analysis the same things are known, but the language is different. TA therapists (of which I am, also, one) say that everyone has worth and everyuone has the capacity to think - and therefore deserve to be treated accordingly.
People who know a little about TA have probably heard of the saying, “I’m OK, You’re OK” - this is not in the sense of “I’m all right, Jack!” but rather, “I know that I am worthwhile in my own eyes and in yours, and I know that you are worthwhile in my eyes and yours”. (If the client does not yet believe either part of that, therein lies psychotherapeutic growth-potential).
Counsellors across all modalities respond to their clients at different levels
We humans are so complex and we function at a number of levels psychologically. Therapists and counsellors need to listen out for those different levels and respond to those different levels of functioning in both clients, and in themselves.
There is benefit in both the non-diresctive style and in the directive style
Person Centred therapists are known for being non-directive. What is important in this way of therapy is that clients can develop new meaning in their lives by retelling their life stories - by making narratives. Having those experiences emerge and perhaps be expressed at a metaphorical level, not only in the words, but also in the felt meaning that is shared between the two people present, is very valuable.
Valuable, also, is a therapist sometimes being directive, and confronting clients’ beliefs, or defences. Counsellors, therefore, need to make judgements and take choices about which way to respond to clients at any one time. This is related to the levels of functioning, mentioned above. The same therapist will be engaging in an empathetic way, using non-interrupting style sometimes, in response to certain levels of a client, and at other times, in response to other levels, the therapist could be making interventions and taking more risks.
Why do some people end up rich, and some people end up poor?
Millions of men and women have started off with nothing and become financially independent.
- How did it happen?
- What are the common principles of becoming wealthy?
In this article we are going to discuss what wealthy people do and do not do.
You can apply these things to yourself.
You become what you think about most of the time
The things that you think about define your reality. If you dwell on something, the belief that ‘that’s how it is’ grows.
Wealthy, successful people fill their minds and thoughts with images, words and pictures of wealth, affluence, success, productivity. These thoughts trigger the reticular activating cortex in the brain - the part that makes you alert and sensitive to the things that are important to you.
So, you will start to notice that which you focus on. For instance, if you want a yellow car, and you think about that a lot, you will notice yellow cars.
Your brain is sensitised to pick out those things and draw them to your attention with greater frequency and vividness.
People who are not well off fill their minds with scarcity, lack, poverty, being unable to afford things. They talk about how little they have and can have.
Think like wealthy people think
People who are now wealthy, were thinking from an early age,
- How much they already have (rather than what they don’t have).
- How much they want
- What they can do to earn the money to get the things that they want.
You can think and talk only about the financial success that you have and desire. (Refuse to dwell on of lack of finances. If you must think about them, do it, and then think about what you are going to do to change things).
When you do notice yourself thinking, “I cant afford it” change that dialogue to “how can I afford it?”.
Your attitude towards money affects your emotions and your motivations. Therefore, what you believe about money, and the way that you think about money, will determine how much of it you accumulate.
For some people money is coded as a deficiency need, i.e. it is something that motivates you when you don’t have enough. Then when you have enough, you don’t think about it as much and it is no longer a motivator.
The effect money has on your emotions depends on your attitude to it.
If you are concerned that you have too little, you can become over-focused on the sence of scarity and this can dominate your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Arguments over money put a strain on marriages and relationships, can ruin friendships and excessive worry over money can cause psychosomatic illnesses.
Deep-seated beliefs can be obstacles to accumulating wealth.
What are your beliefs about money?
Do you believe that money is …
Have you ever believed that money…
- Ruins relationships
- Changes people
- Causes more problems than it solves
- Breeds resentment
- Is a tool to hurt others
- Makes people leave you
- Makes you unlovable
- Turns people nasty
If you answered ‘yes to any of the options above, ask yourself whether it is the money, or the way that people used money that caused you to conclude those things.
Beliefs are not all based on factual information. They are a distorted conclusion made in a very primitive way, either in childhood, or by being convinced by what others say or what cultures instil, or by drawing conclusions without analysis.
We can often test out beliefs, once we are aware of which beliefs we hold. Ask yourself whether what you are believing is true. Ask yourself to provide evidence for that to support its truth. Say it out loud. Ask other people’s opinion about whether they also think it is true (people who are different to you). After different perspectives ask yourself again whether it is true.
Be willing to hold a new reality
What if money is good?
What if money is used to buy homes and food, cars, education, entertainment, and toys and fun things. What if that is good?
What if money is neither good, nor bad
What if it is to do with the people who use the money - whether they use it in productive ways to produce valuable goods and services, create opportunities for others.
What if there were no money?
- Would all the badness related to money go away?
- Would people still fight over wealth? Still use objects and services to have power over others?
Is it money itself that is bad, or how you decide to use it?
Unless you are not in a capitalist system, you have a duty to acquire money. A duty to yourself and your family, to use it keep yourselves healthy and happy. To meet your survival needs, and then after that, a nice quality of life.
If you want a lot of money, fine. If you want sufficient money, fine. You decide the life that you want. And then work out much money you need to give yourself that life.
Pretending that you don’t care about money when you really do, will make you unhappy.
Spending time and effort into gaining more money than you need to provide the life that you want, is a waste.
If you really want more money, you are going to have to do what it takes to get the money - it will not just come to you, as if by magic (no matter how much you believe that you are going to get it).
However, if you improve your attitude to money and change your beliefs about the availability of it, or your ownership of it, then money will become much less of an issue in your life. The issue will, in fact, become more about the activities that you engage in to gain the money, as well as the quality of your life that the money funds.
We have just spoken about beliefs about money itself, now lets move on to beliefs about you having money.
Some people believe that they don’t really deserve to be rich.
Some believe that they shouldn’t be successful and rich (”its not right for people like me”)
If you have those kinds of beliefs, and then you do manage to become wealthy you may struggle with feelings of guilt or shame.
I have known people have these feelings quite strongly, and it has affected their thinking, and their actions.
They subconsciously try to get rid of the money, they…
- Lose it
- Waste it
- Give it away
- Invest foolishly
To try to numb the feelings, they may
- Drink excessively
- Use drugs
- Have affairs
- Do other destructive, risky, or self-sabotaging behaviours.
If you want to change your results with money you need to change your attitude to it.
- Value money,
- Respect money
- Do worthwhile things with money.
Money flows through the fingers of those who do not understand it, or take care of it, or use it wisely.
Some people say things like, “I’m not very good with money” or “I’ve never got any money” or even worse, “I’ll never have any money”.
Being good with money, acquiring money and using money to make your life better is a skill that all of us can learn. Saying that you are just not very good with money is a cop-out. An excuse. A way of not taking responsibility.
Money doesn’t just come to you (usually) you have to do something to get it and keep it and use it wisely. It doesn’t just happen. You can take responsibility for making that happen. If you don’t take responsibility for making it happen, you need someone who takes that responsibility for you. Somebody has to be good with money, or you have none.
Detailed belief changes
The starting point for acquiring money is to change beliefs.
- Believe that you have an unlimited capacity to obtain all the money that you will ever need.
- See yourself as a financial success
- Feel like a person who is deserving of all the money that you can honestly acquire.
- Let those images, thoughts, ideas and feelings guide you in what is foreground, and what becomes the scenery. Allow your decisions to be made while taking in the big picture (i.e. everything that you want in life, not just your immediate needs).
(If you know about NLP, or if you can get to an NLP practitioner, make the concepts of a ‘moneyed you’ have plenty of sensory detail. Anchor those states)
Keep your focus wide, and stay ethical
The preoccupation with money, to the exclusion of the really important things in life, is a problem - not money itself. Behaviours fuelled by greed, and pursuits driven by a sense of entitlement (rather than those of responsibility) not only hurt other people, they hurt the self, too. They have a stunting affect on our personal growth.
We can grow on a personal level and accumulate wealth at the same time. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.
- Earn your money honestly.
- Treat people with respect.
- Be loyal to people who have treated you well.
- Work to get what you want
- Take responsibility for your financial situation
Money is essential to our lives, and also essential is having good relationships, being loved, loving, laughing and being relaxed and at peace.
Decide now which beliefs about money are not serving you well.
Confront those beliefs by asking yourself, “what if the opposite is true?”
Be the person that you want to be. Create the financial situation that you want.
Do not confuse money with happiness or with success.
But, alter your opinion, attitude, and beliefs about money and your financial life has the potential to change your life, by impacting on your decisions and actions.
Angry behaviours captured on video.
Below are some links to videos of people doing inappropriate behaviours because they feel that they cannot manage their anger.
There are all sorts of ways that we behave that are inappropriate. You know -nobody is perfect. We could all over-react, and probably have done at one time or another.
If over-reactions are becoming habitual, you may decide that you would like to do something about it. Either you dont feel good about what you are doing, or you feel uncomfortable or ashamed, or perhaps people around you have let you know that it needs to stop.
Some examples of inappropriate behaviours are shown in the videos below. This is by no means an exhaustive list. (if you know of more, or better, please let me know).
In displaying the videos it is my intention to let you see how things might look from the perspective of other people.
- You could be caught on video, doing your angry displays!
If you feel that you would like to speak with me to address some of your issues around emotions, please get in touch. You will be treated with respect and understanding. The main focus will be to help you to change things and put things right.
After missing her flight to San Francisco, the woman throws a tantrum that was filmed by an employee of the airline Cathay Pacific.
She is seen screaming at the departure gate and then falls to the ground wailing “I want to go! I want to go!” in Cantonese while an older man traveling with her tries to get her on her feet. “Don’t be so upset, don’t be so emotional,” a Cathay Pacific employee is heard saying on the video.
Watch closely, because at the very end of the video, she stops acting hysterical and begins to give her travelling companion a hard time. She takes her anger our on him, and he has done nothing to contribute to her anger
- Having a silly tantrum, but look at the end of the video, very subtle anger / bullying towards her male friend
Dad in the garden playing with card tricks. Son on the stairs on laptop. Mum over-reacts, much to the surprise of dad. How does dad handle this afterwards? How does mums behaviour affect their relationship?
Go to youtube video of mum with sons laptop. See how a brief moment of going out of control can cause sadness to someone else
- Spontaneous loss of control
This is an extreme version of a rage. Most people do not go this far. However, take a look at this video.
- Flipping out and having a big impact on others
If you are tempted to be amused by what happened, and giggle - take a look at another version of the same thing - listen to how frightened people are. Getting itno a rage really frightens the people around you
- Version with sound
Feeling Entitled to show everyone how angry you feel
Some people have a problem with anger that stems from the fact that they feel entitled to show and display their anger to everyone around - no matter how deep the degree. In fact, as the level of frutration increases, so does the feeling of entitlement to show others just how mad they feel.
Notice, not only how undignified it appears to others, but also, how frightening and disturbing it is for other people
- “I believe that I’m entitled to show just how frustrated I feel”
Blaming others for what is not their fault
This needs little explanation. He got into a rage and lost all notions of proper conduct, and didnt consider any consequences tha would resut from his actions
This professional man was arrested.
What would have happened if the police were not there already?
- Blind rage
Go to the page on anger management counselling