In my ... practice I hear so many ... stories -- stories full of pain, anger and fear. My heart goes out to my clients every day. But the ... is ... to these stories and h
In my psychology practice I hear so many disenchanted stories -- stories full of pain, anger and fear. My heart goes out to my clients every day. But the wonderment is listening to these stories and helping my clients listen to themselves, recognizing the special capacities that each display in their stories. I try to help someone appreciate and even feel beloved toward herself as she realizes that she has had so many talents and strengths buried even in the worst of times. I try to help her see that it's her very coping skills that may reflect her genius, her humor and her capacity for endurance. If I can do this, then I've helped my clients and we have begun the healing process.
In my counseling and therapy, I teach clear ways of reframing a person's experience so that she can retrieve from it what are her positive capacities and even to reclaim what gives her pleasure and joy. For example one of my clients was constantly put down by her husband and was now separated, was able through telling me stories about her childhood to reclaim the wonderful talent of singing. Even though her childhood home had been dysfunctional, the family had the capacity to sing together and once she recognized as a great gift, she brought it frequently into her own life with her children. It was a small step in regaining a sense of self worth and actually having pleasure with her children.
I'd like to leave you for the moment with an easy activity to begin to reframe some of your life story:
1. Pick a year in your life and spend some time jotting down the main events of that year. They may be pleasant or they may be unpleasant.
2. Next make a list of all your talents, abilities, strengths, and coping skills that you used during that year. This may take some time as you may find yourself dismissive of talents and strengths. However, try to be fair and generous of yourself, as you would be if you were generating this list for a dear friend.
3. The third step in this activity is to go back and tell the story of that year of your life either on paper or to a friend or maybe just inside your head but tell it honoring some of the talents, strengths and/or coping skills that you used that year.
I think you will quickly begin to see that any year of your life takes a different shape and shape more favorable to naming yourself a wondrous person when you truly take into account the efforts that you gave to that year of living regardless of the outcome.
This material is based on an article from the Story Circle Journal.
Dr. Holstein is the originator of The Enchanted Self and a psychologist since 1981. She is the author of two books: The Enchanted Self, A Positive Therapy and Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU! Dr. Holstein speaks on radio, and appears on television in NY and NJ. She gives lectures, seminars, retreats and audio interviews on LadybugLive.com and is in private practice in Long Branch, NJ with her husband, Dr. Russell Holstein.