The Shrink’s Links: Crucible® Therapy

The Shrink’s Links

Bringing you the best of mental health on the internet every week.

Today’s Shrink’s link of the week is

Crucible® Therapy

I recently began a new series on relationships. I should say that I haven’t come up with these ideas solely out of my own head. I have my sources. The first is David Schnarch and what he calls Crucible® Therapy. The second is Gottman. More on Gottman later. For me, Schnarch provides much of the theoretical framework of how I work with couples; Gottman helps with the application.

Schnarch didn’t come up with these ideas solely out of his own head, either. He built on a foundation first laid by Murray Bowen, one of the pioneers of family therapy. While Bowen is not a household name, even in households comprised of shrinks, such as my own; he gave us such widely used concepts as boundaries, triangles, ideas about the influence of sibling position, and the differentiation of the self. Alright, maybe you never heard of the differentiation of the self, but you will when you read my series; again and again and again. I believe the concept is fundamental.

I’ve never been one to hand myself over completely to a guru and make his or her ideas and methods my own without adding many idiosyncratic twists. And, in case you were thinking of making me your guru, I don’t think you should either. I only keep the parts that work for me and seem to resonate with the couples who come to me for counseling.

There are two more things about Schnarch that I want to say. Yes, he has a funny name. Let’s get that out of the way first. Although, I must admit that, as a person with a very ordinary name, Wilson, I feel a little jealous of him. It’s distinctive, at least.

The second is this. You’ll see it if you go to his website. He has taken Bowen’s ideas, given them his own clever turns of phrase, and trademarked them so no one else can use them.

I understand why he does it. He’s protecting his investment. I think it’s outrageous. Science (and, yes, counseling psychology is a science, as well as an art) requires that there be a free exchange of ideas. Trademarking one’s expression of them just gets in the way.

So, in my series, I will respect the trademark law even though I don’t respect Schnarch’s use of it. When I use his, and Bowen’s ideas, I use my own phrases. Please feel free to pass them on and use them yourself.

Click here to go to the link

Click here to go to the entire Relationships series.

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Relationships, Part 1: Marriage is for Adults Only

giraffes

Marriage, or any committed relationship, is not meant for children or those that act like children, except when they are just having fun. On the other hand, we are all just children until we enter a committed relationship and make it work. Relationships add the finishing touches to adulthood.

Think of the process by which people grow. An egg is fertilized by a sperm and grows into a fetus. At this stage it is scarcely indistinguishable from the mother. The fetus grows into a baby bump, but it is still the mother’s baby bump. The child is born and the cord is cut, but the baby is utterly dependent on its caretakers. Little by little, over years, the child becomes less dependent.

This process is called differentiation. You see it? The child grows increasingly differentiated from the mother until they are fully independent people.

Then the supposedly independent person gets into a committed relationship and, guess what? They expect their partner to be their mother. They are still not yet fully differentiated.

They may find a partner quite willing to be their mother, for a while. Sooner or later, the partner resents having to take care of an adult or wants some mothering, too, and unhappiness results.

People who work through this conflict with their partner grow up the rest of the way. They become adults and ready for marriage, even though they may have been married twenty years.

In the next posting, Four signs that a person is an adult.

Click here to go to the entire Relationships series.

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The Shrink’s Links: Body Language

Bringing you the best of mental health and relationship articles on the internet.

Links

Today’s link from the shrink is:

Your body language shapes who you are

Here’s something you may not have known. Your own body language not only communicates to others, it’s also how you communicate to yourself.

Click here to go to the link

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The Shrink’s Links: Mind Hacks

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Links

Today’s link from the shrink is:

6 Mind Hacks That Keep Stress In Check (Really!)

Click here to go to the link

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Some Things You May Not Know about Your Self, Part 2

Peeling the Onion

peeling-onionsWhen you meet someone for the first time, you’re generally on your best behavior. You will present the most polite, least objectionable version of yourself that you can come up with. This is called the public face, the mask, or the persona. Most of us cultivate this persona as carefully as we edit our Facebook page. Indeed, the Facebook page is another, virtual version of the persona. You probably possess several personas, some for work, others for family, and another for each circle of friends.

Many look at all these masks and say that they’re there to hide the real self. I disagree. The masks you choose are as authentic a part of your self as what lies beneath. Appearances do matter. The fact that you select, for instance, a bragging, audacious persona versus a reserved, deferential one says something, even though both may hide a fragile ego.

Seeing the truth about your self is like peeling an onion, not like cracking an egg. With eggs, there is a clear division between the inside and the outside and, once you get in, you are all the way in. Onions guard their insides more assiduously. You wouldn’t think so looking at the fragile skin they cover themselves with, which is easily rubbed off and sticks to your fingers. Onions are devious and defend themselves by raising a stink, bringing tears, and presenting layer after layer of vacant, unremarkable surface. Peel off one stratum and you are presented with another until, at last, when you believe you have reached the core of the onion, you find that there is no core, there are only layers, in the end, protecting nothing.

Maybe the fact that onions have nothing in their core is what makes them so preoccupied with security. They don’t want you to know the truth; the truth that they have no truth.

So, if people are like onions does this mean you have no essential truth within yourself? Are you hollow inside? Is there nothing behind all the layers of masks? What is your true self?

Well, who has been doing the peeling?

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The Shrink’s Links:

Bringing you the best of mental health and relationship articles on the internet.

Links

Today’s link from the shrink is:

You’re Such a Dumb Ass

No this isn’t a site you can go on to get abused. It offers dating a d relationship advice. Who among us has not, when dating or in a relationship, said to themselves, you’re such a dumb ass?

Click here to go to the link

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The What Anger Says Series: Why Anger Does Not Need to be Managed

idiot lightI get calls all the time from people wanting help with anger management. I offer to meet with them. I help them the best I can.

Let me tell you a secret: I don’t believe it’s anger that needs to be managed.

People call it anger management because that’s the name for it, but what they really mean to do is prevent violence. They’ve done something that scares them. They’ve lost control and hurt someone, or broke stuff, or said hurtful things and they’re in trouble. They’re afraid it’s going to happen again, as they should be. They should be afraid; very, very afraid.

However, they should be afraid of their violence, not their anger. Anger’s like the idiot light on your car that tells you that something needs your attention. If you saw that light glowing on your dashboard saying TEMP or OIL, you would get it check out, right? You wouldn’t go on driving as if you never saw it, you would take care of things.

When you feel some anger, that’s your clue that something’s not right. It’s time to slow down or stop what you’re doing and see what’s the matter. What is the matter? Oh, I don’t know, it could be lots of things. Maybe there’s injustice afoot. Maybe you’re expecting too much. Maybe you’re tired and cranky. Maybe it’s not that little straw that’s breaking the camel’s back, maybe it all the rest of the load that’s weighing you down. You’ll have to figure it out. The point is, it’s not the light that’s the problem. The light, the anger, is just telling you there’s a problem. Don’t put tape over the idiot light, you idiot.

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to call you an idiot. I should know better than to talk that way to someone who needs to read about anger management.

Before we get too far, did you notice that feeling you got when you thought I called you an idiot, that feeling you call anger? You cannot stop that feeling from appearing any more than you can stop people from knocking on your door.

If someone knocks at your door, do you always let them in? Do you offer coffee to every Jehovah Witness, every Girl Scout selling cookies, every campaigning politician? Do you let them move in, raid your refrigerator, sleep in your bed, and take over your house? Of course you don’t; and, just because anger comes knocking and all those dark, murderous thoughts come to mind, it doesn’t mean you have to entertain them.

Let me put it another way. You can’t stop your feelings any more than you can stop your toenails from growing: but you can clip them, and I hope you do.

Anger management does not stop anger from arriving. That’s not the objective. The idea is to shorten it’s duration and minimize its impact. The idea is to prevent violence.

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The Shrink’s Links: The Art of Manliness

Bringing you the best of mental health and relationship articles on the internet.

Links

Today’s link from the shrink is:

The Art of Manliness

If I had a teenage son, I would have him read the Art of Manliness. That website contains far more than I could ever teach him. It has everything from how to be a mountain guide to how to be a good neighbor, everything from whistling to workouts, having integrity to preventing swamp crotch. Come to think of it, adult men need to know that, too.

Click here to go to the link

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The Shrink’s Links: The Plutchik Emotion Circumplex

Bringing you the best of mental health and relationship articles on the internet.

Links

Today’s link from the shrink is:

The Plutchik Emotion Circumplex

“How does that make you feel?”

I’m a shrink. I say that a lot. Much of the time when I ask that, the person looks like a deer in the headlights. It’s not that they’re not feeling, it’s just they don’t know what to call it.

The Plutchik Emotion Circumplex can help.

Robert Plutchik’s theory of emotion is, my opinion, the most reasonable classification of emotions there is. He considered there to be eight primary emotions: angerfearsadnessdisgustsurpriseanticipation,trust, and joy. These ‘basic’ emotions are biologically primitive and each is the trigger of behavior with high survival value.

His circumplex model uses the idea of a color wheel. Like colors, primary emotions can be expressed at different intensities and can mix with one another to form different emotions.

Plutchik

Clink here to go to the link

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