Feeling Better With Brief Therapy?

Ok, so I’m trying a new type of segment on my radio talk show. Tomorrow night I’m doing a segment called Brief Therapy. I tried it for the first time last week because I really wanted to examine how relationships affect people’s lives so invited a classmate of mine to talk about the top 3 relationships that have affected her life. I centered an entire hour around speaking with her and discussing her relationship patterns and history.

What I realized during this hour was…damn this therapy shit is hard! It’s so different from what I do as a life coach. As a therapist you can’t TELL people what to do or how to think, all you can do is ask questions that will help them see what they are doing and hope for the best. In your mind you’re thinking, “Why the hell are you doing that to yourself?” But you can’t say anything like that. Shit.. this is tougher than I expected. I sooo want to intervene and be like, “Honey don’t think that way, this is what you should do,” but a good therapist doesn’t tell the client what to think, she guides the client to think for herself.

So I’ll try again tomorrow night when my guest will be my highschool sweetheart who has issues with women. Dang..in preparation for the show I went to lunch with one of my professors yesterday and I asked her how I should approach this and she said, “Do you have all the answers to all of your life’s problems?”

“No,” I said.

“Well then don’t expect to have all the answers to your client’s problems. Be a reflection.”

A reflection. Ahh.. Yeah. I am a mirror of my client. I am there to sit and reflect back who they are so they can examine it and decide if and how they want to change.


I sooo want to be good at this, but I don’t know how.

I’m reading a book called In Search Of Solutions: A New Direction In Psychotherapy which Dr. G let me borrow. He said it changed his entire perspective on therapy as he read it. He said he realized that people are like a chain on a bicycle and their issue is like a snag in the chain. If the therapist becomes too involved in the problem, she creates a bigger problem but if she gently assists the client the client can work the kink out herself.

I’ve been enjoying this book because it reinforces the other ideas that I have been studying about creating your own reality. In one passage it said that we as therapists co create our client’s problem by the way we react to it. If they come in and express extreme distress over their life and start to talk about the different areas they are dissatisfied with, we weaken the strength of certain areas by overlooking them and focusing on others. That’s why solution focused therapists experience a rapid turn around in the satisfaction of their patients because with their approach, they know how to show clients how their problems aren’t really big problems at all.

With solution focused therapy, we frame the situation as though the client is the expert and they have all the resources and solutions necessary to handle it themselves. Man..but how do they do that? Man..I don’t know. Not yet anyway. I wish I knew right now though so i can be more of a help.

I did practice this model on my friend Tamara last week and it worked so well that she was elated! Tamara is a therapists bestfriend, well, literally and figuratively. Not cuz she has so many problems but because she’s so open about how she feels and rarely tries to cover things up to make herself look good.

I will get into the issue that Tamara and I had..in another post another time though.

I cried in class again yesterday. Dammit, I cry during every class. But this time I cried because I realized that I have irrational beliefs that prevent me from being satisfied.

According to a model called REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy) which was largely developed by Albert Ellis, there are 3 core irrational beliefs that cause dissatisfaction in our lives.

1) I must achieve outstandingly well in one or more important respects or I rate as a worthless person. (ANXIETY)
2) Other people must treat me fairly and well or they are bad people. (HOSTILITY)
3) Conditions must befavorable or else my life is rotten and I can’t stand it. (LOW FRUSTRATION TOLERANCE)

Well, I don’t know about you but I’m guilty of all three of these beliefs! The point he was trying to make is…Life Is…

It just is… There are no MUSTS, or well, there shouldn’t be. When we place MUST’s in our lives we create an opportunity for dissappointment.

I MUST become a bestselling author or my writing ability is no good. That’s not true.
I MUST be respected at all times by people at my job or the job isn’t worthy of my time. That’s why the fuck I quit jobs so easily How dumb!
I MUST experience bliss on a daily basis or my life sucks. How the hell can I think like that?

I’m so dumb…

See! NO, I am not dumb. I just didn’t know. It’s okay not to know sometimes. It’s okay to be where I am right now.

I’m okay just like this, trying my best to become a good therapist and help others.

My perfectionist tendencies are gonna be my downfall if I let them. I should learn to let go.

Well, lemme go read some more so hopefully I’ll be able to help my friend out tomorrow.

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