Rogerian Person Centered Counseling

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A therapist who doesn’t practice Rogerian Person Centered Counseling is like a musician who doesn’t practice scales. It is so basic and foundational that I wouldn’t know what to do without it. But, going to a therapist who only practices Rogerian Person Centered Counseling is like listening to a musician practicing scales. It gets pretty tedious and you wonder if it’ll ever go anywhere. Continue reading

Taming the Pumpkin, or, How to Influence People without Getting Wacked

Once upon a time a traveler hiked down from the mountains into a remote valley to find all the farmers there in a panic. They were running from their vegetable garden into their village, screaming. The women clutched their children close and the men grabbed their hoes, rakes, and pitchforks to defend themselves.

“What’s wrong?” said the traveler.

“There’s a monster out in the field. It’s big and orange and it wants to eat us.”

“Show it to me.”

“Go see it yourself. But be careful, he might eat you.”

The traveler went out to the vegetable garden and there was indeed something big and orange there. He returned to the village. “I saw it. It’s nothing but a pumpkin, you idiots” he laughed. “A bird must’ve dropped a pumpkin seed into your garden and it grew and you think it’s a monster.”

The men of the village looked at each other and attacked the traveler with their hoes, rakes, and pitchforks because they didn’t like to be told they were idiots.

A couple of weeks later a second traveler hiked down from the mountains into the remote valley. By now the vegetable garden had been taken over by weeds and the pumpkin had grown larger and larger. The villagers had constructed a wall protecting their village. They were cowering behind it. The traveler came to the gate and the villagers pulled him inside.

“Come in before the monster gets you.”

“There’s a monster out there?” he said. “I didn’t see it.”

“Yes, there is,” they said. “It’s big and orange and it’s taking over everything.”

The traveler stepped out of the gate and looked at the garden. “Oh, yes, I think I see it. Hand me that hoe and I’ll slay it for you.”

“If you think you can, but be careful, he might eat you.”

The second traveler boldly went to the garden with the hoe and busted the fearsome pumpkin into a million pieces. He held the hoe over his head and shouted. He took a piece of pumpkin in his hands and bit it, the juices ran down his chin.

He marched back into the village expecting the villagers to cheer him, the men to shake his hand, and the women to throw their arms around him and kiss him. However, the men of the village looked at each other and attacked the traveler with their hoes, rakes, and pitchforks because, if he could slay the big orange monster, then this creature who looks like a man must be a monster, too.

A year later a third traveler came down from the mountains into the remote valley. Although the land was well watered and fertile, all the fields were overgrown and neglected. Hundreds of pumpkins grew in the former garden, their orange skin glowering from behind the weeds and volunteer vegetables. The villagers hid behind their wall. They were starving, too weak even to meet him at the gate.

He walked in and said, “Why are you all starving inside these walls when the valley is well watered and fertile?”

“Didn’t you see the big orange monsters?” They took him to the gate and pointed to the pumpkins. “Last year there was only one, but now hundreds have come to eat us.”

This traveler was wiser than the first two. He said, “Oh, no, I didn’t see them when I walked by. They were hiding in the weeds. I’m lucky I made it here.”

The villagers smiled and said, “You better stay with us until they go away.”

The next day the third traveler said to the villagers, “You know, if I’m real careful with those monsters, I may be able to tame them. Hand me that little bit of food you have left and I can see what I can do.”

The villagers were reluctant to hand over the last bit of food. They met and discussed it for hours. At last, they gave it to the third traveler and said, “We discussed your proposal and decided that if nothing was done, we would all starve anyway, so go ahead and take our last bit of food and try to tame the monsters. You’re a very brave man. Be careful out there.”

The traveler took the food and carefully crept out to tame the monsters by luring them nearby with the food. From time to time he would run back and say that the monsters had almost caught him, but he would always have his arms full of volunteer vegetables he had picked. The people of the village ate the vegetables but tried to convince him not to go out again. They all thought he was very brave. One in particular, the finest looking girl in the village, was very impressed, and would hug and kiss him every time he left, expecting never to see him again.

After a few days of this, he returned with a small pumpkin in his arms.

“Isn’t he cute?” he said to the people.

The villagers were amazed to see that he had tamed a monster, even if it was only a small one. One by one, each of the villagers came up to pet the beast and feel its tough, cold skin. The traveler even kept his tamed monster in his hut. Every day he tamed and brought in a new pumpkin and one by one, everyone in the village adopted one until there were none left in the garden. When all the pumpkins were tamed, the people could go out and tend their crops. They never were hungry again.

The grateful villagers elected the third traveler mayor. He married the best looking girl and lived till a ripe old age in the biggest house in the village. The villagers even renamed their remote land Pumpkin Valley and flew a Pumpkin colored flag. To this day, every house keeps a pet pumpkin seated in a place of honor on the mantle.

The Shrink’s Links: Colleen Klintworth

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Today I want to introduce you to:

Colleen KlintworthColleen Klintworth

Colleen Klintworth, CASAC, MHC-LP, will be working with me as an intern, with her own clients, using my office on the weekend and a couple of days during the week.

The laws pertaining to counselors in New York State are extremely rigorous and infuriatingly split into separate regulations concerning substance abuse counseling and mental health counseling, as if the two fields had any reason to be divided. Colleen already has a great deal of experience in the substance abuse field, she has even been a supervisor; but she lets nothing get in the way of treating her clients in an holistic manner. Therefore, to work in mental health and establish a private practice, she must meet the requirements to be a mental health counselor and come to work with the likes of me.

Her soft southern accent belies the years she spent in North Carolina, raising a family. Like most good therapists, this is her second career. She started off as an editor. Undoubtedly, she will help her clients re-author their own stories and develop sides of their own characters they never knew they had.

Click here to go to her site.

 

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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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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