Tuesday, December 20, 2005

change therapy?

hi everyone ...

why is this blog called change therapy? i can't give you the exact historical reasons for it - i dimly remember that it was past 1 am when i first started this blog, so who knows what exactly prompted me to come up with that term.

however. i'm a big fan of the "talking cure" gang - scott miller, barry duncan, and a bunch of other interesting people at the institute for therapeutic change. and i know i had been reading some very interesting stuff in scott miller's "escape from babel" when i first started this blog. here are a few quotes from that book that i really like:

the aim of counselling/therapy is to start the solution process rather than to stop the complaint ... therapists are more likely to facilitate hope and expectation in their clients when they stop trying to figure out what's wrong with them and how to fix it and focus instead of what is possible and how their clients can obtain it
if we focus on stopping the problem, then a) we still focus on the problem and b) there's a danger of getting stuck (once the problem is solved, then what?)

whatever methods we use, it should remind the client of a previously successful experience
change happens much easier when we recognize its possibility, at least at some level. there is a story about some ships around the time of columbus approaching an island but the people on the shore could not see the ships because they had no concept of "ship" at all. they were just meaningless blips on the horizon.

questions that can be asked about previous change experiences:
- how does change usually happen in your life?
- what do you do to change
anything? (e.g. how you dress, when you start a new job, etc.)
- how do others in your life help you make changes?

research convincingly shows that people come to therapy not because they have problems but because they have become demoralized about their chances of resolving particular challenges.
we all have problems, all day long. many seem completely insignificant to us - but they may be huge for others. i have always been fascinated by how one client may be totally desolate about her money problems and brush even the most difficult relationship problems aside ("oh well, it's not so great but i'll deal with it") while the very next person may face completely opposite dilemmas. so again, what we want to work on is that there is a solution (yes, this is really a ship out there on the horizon) and, even more importantly, that creating solutions is possible, just as it is possible to solve the myriads of "small" problems that we encounter at every turn of our lives.

hmmmm ... this all reminds me of something they say in 12 step programs:

"live in the solution!"

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