Monday, July 25, 2016

Progress in psychotherapy on the ground, in the office

I have been studying schema therapy this week and the model is based on five childhood needs which continue into adulthood. 

The first need is for connection and acceptance and how we end a session makes a big difference to our inner child. I usually say something like, "I've got five more minutes and then I'm going to have to finish. Is there anything else you wanted to address before we finish today?" or sometimes I'll ask, "Did you get what you wanted out of our meeting today cause I'm gonna have to stop in about five minutes?"

The second childhood need is for autonomy and competent performance. To provide positive feedback about how things are going should enhance this sense. I said to my client yesterday, "I just can't get over the positive changes you have been able to make since the first time we met in March" and then I mentioned a few of things that are different in a positive way. We agreed that making changes with patience and persistence, what I call the two Ps, can lead to success. The two Ps are based on social emotional learning skill models simply put as "emotional intelligence." My client is becoming much more emotionally intelligent and it is paying off.

Noting progress is one thing, but developing models and skills for ways of noting progress is another.

As the Solution Focused Brief Therapy folks suggest, ask "How would you know, how could you tell, if things were going better."

I asked my client and he said, "We aren't fighting so much, and I don't fall for that thing she does."


And what is it that is making a difference?

"I just try to stay calm and let it go."

"You rise above it?" I ask.

"Exactly," says he.

I say, "My colleague upstairs told me that when life gives you white water you should get a surf board."

He laughed along with me.

I said, "It sounds like you've taking up surfing."

"When can we meet again, " he says.

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