A few weeks ago I went on a bender of complaining to my therapist that I needed more appointments, that I was feeling rushed through our sessions, and that I didn’t feel we were talking about the things I needed help with. My therapist was kind enough not to react to my venting but waited to respond. She said to me that a lot of the “resistance” I push back with is because I have been in therapy for years. I am used to the way old school therapy works. Today, the model that many mental health agencies used is “brief therapy”. The goal is to sort you out and then get you out. Personally, I don’t agree with this approach. Yes, I can hear the arguments about becoming dependent on a therapist, but my curt reply is “look at the other things people become dependent on — and tell me what’s worse!”
I spent some time in school studying therapy and psychology. And as I’ve mentioned, I’m also a consumer or client or patient (whichever works for you). I am probably the sickest person I know (being hubristic) but there a few things from my studies which I think everyone can use. Everything I’m going to tell you, I am pulling from Rogerian therapy, also known as Client Centered Therapy, or Person-Centered Therapy. It’s a humanistic psychotherapy. Humanists believe in capabilities of other humans. I think…
Maybe you’d like to watch a video of Carl Rogers giving “Gloria” therapy. I find it entertaining, but then again, I’m an oddity.
Here are 3 lessons we can learn from Carl Rogers and the therapy model he created. I feel these things can benefit most people and their relationship with their self and their relationship with others.
#1 – UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD
Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR) is psychobabble that means accepting and respecting others as they are without judgment or evaluation.
How to do it:
- Don’t compare yourself to others or others to others
- Forgive yourself / others – you did your best at the time
- Do something to know yourself – journal, blog, paint, stare into the mirror
#2 – VALUE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
In a sense, even the most antisocial of us still need people. Relationships are powerful forces for good and not so good. Relationships define part of you and facilitate your growth or stagnation.
How to do it:
- Identify the people in your life – friend, lover, mother, child, nurse, mailman, warden, etc. even Tom Hanks character had Wilson the volleyball on the deserted island
- Be aware of the time you give others and yourself. Are there parts of your day that are invested in tripe? Could you be investing more in yourself or others?
- Write an email, bake some cookies, don’t screen your calls, crochet a scarf, have a date night, go to a tupperware party, smile at strangers, spend an afternoon in the ‘self help’ section of Chapters
#3 – PRACTICE EMPATHY
Empathy is to put yourself in the shoes of another. It’s a manner of caring that brings us very close to understanding from another’s perspective. A lot of people don’t want to be fixed, they want to be heard.
How to do it:
- Listen, ask questions, seek clarification
- Be a participant, be vulnerable, be genuine
- Close your eyes and imagine someone; what do they see, what do they feel, what do they want? What is their “point of need” where you can fit?
I hope you enjoyed this post. It feels very basic and limited because well… this is a blog, not a textbook. And yet, if you practice a few of the things I mentioned, especially in the ‘How To’ sections, you will find a deep experience and some beneficial insights.