Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Secret for Psychotherapy

A little over a month ago I was compiling my "final paper" for my masters degree. This is a paper that is written as a substitute for writing a thesis. In the process of researching in order to write it I came across many reminders of what my years of education in the counseling realm was all about. I was reading quote after quote from textbook or journal article that would sum-up many areas of my learning.

When considering the direct practice counseling area I couldn't help but be engulfed in a feeling of "THAT'S IT" when I was reading a section in a textbook from one of my undergraduate courses. The more I thought about these few sentences, the more I thought to myself that if we as the human race could understand what is being said here, and truly live our life in a way that is guided by our understanding and acceptance of what is being said, life would be entirely different.

I truly believe this is one of the major underlying goals in counseling MOST clients--to get clients to see and understand this. If more people were aware of this and able to embrace it in their lives, I truly believe 80-85 % of clients coming to counseling would no longer need counseling, especially when considering the counseling given to the "worried-well."

Let me preface the MOST important quotation with this quotation:

"Almost every minute of your conscious life you are engaging in self-talk, your internal thought language. These are the sentences you describe and interpret the world with. If the self-talk is accurate and in touch with reality, you function well. If it is irrational and untrue, you experience stress and emotional disturbance" (p.107)

Understanding that leads me to the "MOST important quotation." What I like to think of as the secret to counseling. The quotation that I believe holds so much power and control for our lives in it's meaning and understanding:

"At the root of all irrational thinking is the assumption that things are done to you: “That really got me down… She makes me nervous…. Places like that scare me…. Being lied to makes me see red.” Nothing is done to you. Events happen in the world. You experience those events (A), engage in self-talk (B), and then experience an emotion (C) resulting from the self-talk. A does not cause C—B causes C. If your self-talk is irrational and unrealistic, you create unpleasant emotions" (p. 115)

Does it make sense to you? Can you see how using this understanding to guide our daily "being" could change our life?

The above quotations were taken from:
[Davis, M., Eshelman, E., & McKay, M. (2000). The relaxation & stress reduction workbook (5th ed). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.]

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