Have you ever been in therapy? Know someone who is (or was)?
Therapy can be both a positive or negative experience, depending on the kind of therapist you have and their level of experience. I’ve had clients discuss both experiences and unfortunately, many of my clients felt the techniques they were taught in the past were nothing but theories.
Ideas are good until they have to be tested out. When ideas come face to face with reality, they either stand up to the pressure or show themselves to be nothing more than mere conjecture.
In this article, I will share with you a technique I have found most helpful with my depressed and anxious clients. I will also offer you my free list of 38 ways to relax.
When I work with anxious or depressed clients I tend to start with their perception of reality. We have multiple sessions in which they discuss their challenges throughout the week. Sometimes we end up going down memory lane or searching for clues/emotions/hidden thoughts about childhood. During this experience, I am looking for patterns of behaviors, emotional reactions, or thoughts that negatively affect my client. Then I point it out. But first, we have to identify the “problem behavior” and then later inspect why it’s occurring.
Once we do this we then decide on a few ways to tackle the issue. Because therapy is no guarantee of “recovery” or growth, we spend each week trying out new things, talking things through a bit more, or exploring techniques.
One technique I find most helpful is the Wise Mind technique from dialectical behavior therapy. I teach it a bit different by encouraging my clients to:
- Question yourself but don’t overdo it: Questioning ourselves can be a positive experience as long as we don’t obsessively and compulsively question ourselves. Once we become obsessive we lose our ability to be objective and clear-minded. We become emotional, subjective, and far removed from reality. But if you are going to question yourself about something, I encourage you to try doing this when you are alone with your thoughts and feelings. I guess you can call this “mindfulness” as you will want to go somewhere quiet and be alone. I often encourage clients to write their immediate thoughts down in a journal.
- Ask yourself questions: I like to tell my clients to ask themselves what I call “existential questions.” These kind of questions are spiritual and philosophical in nature. They focus on possibilities and truths that may not make sense to others. An example of this type of questioning may be “why am I being this way to someone I barely know?” “Am I jealous or in love with this person and can’t admit it?” “Why am I so competitive and why do I always have to be first? Who gave me the right to feel this entitled?” These kind of questions are tough because they may reveal something deep inside yourself that you never thought was there.
- Embrace someone who is balanced and trusted: I have such a loving mother. She is my balance when I’m emotional. For a lot of people, their mother or spouse plays the balancing role. It’s perfectly okay to go to this kind of person in your life and ask them to help you “solve” a dilemma.
- Step away and re-assess: Taking time away to examine the situation from multiple perspectives and give yourself a break from thinking about the situation can be helpful.
- Step out on faith after you weigh pros and cons: Once you think things through, weigh the pros and cons, question yourself, rely on those who balance you, and (for me) pray, step out and draw your conclusion.
In this video, I discuss and teach you about the dialectical behavior therapy technique known as “wise mind.”
Please consider giving a thumbs up to the video and subscribing! The first video of this series is in the previous week’s article found on the homepage of this blog.
What do you think about this concept? Can you use this in your daily life? Is this too “therapeutic’ and unrealistic for you?
As always, I look forward to hearing from you.
I wish you well