Saturday, 10 February 2018

Chasing your own tail with tales - My first #SoCS after an extended break

This post is written as part of LindaGHill's 'Stream of Consciousness Saturday' activity. Find the most recent prompt HERE

OK, so the prompt for this week is tail/tale. Well I can work with that, and can even link it into the theme of my blog which is coaching and counselling. So, where to begin. Maybe an explanation of why I think the connection is a good one would be ideal. Ok.

So, in counselling settings (and even coaching if I'm honest), clients can all too often end up stuck in a cycle of 'telling their story' (the tale part is here). This is because they have felt that this becomes the way in which they must live their life, to the point that it becomes an unescapable narrative and a even a self-fulfilling prophecy. Consequently, the client feels there is no way out of the cycle and becomes stuck. Effectively, chasing their own tail.
God this sounds a bit too hamfisted the way I am explaining, but it is the truth - what I have found to be the truth anyway.
So, as a counsellor/coach/therapist, it can be my job to help interrupt these cycles of thinking and open up the client's perception so that they can see the full breadth of possibilities in managing their situation. For instance, they may feel that they "can't say no" - an issue I am working through myself - when the truth of the matter is that they WON'T say no. This can either be the result of fear or habit. I myself find that I can't say no because I worry that the person will get angry, or that they will think I am weak and unable to help other people. Then I worry that they will tell other people and they will stop coming to me for help and they will make fun of me. All of this happens in the split second between being asked to help out, and me saying yes. As you can see, the thought process can occur incredibly quickly and is instinctive. I'm sure that many people have similar, automatic thinking processes. That is because we are all human, and it is a characteristic of the human mind to automate whatever it can in order to free up space for self-preservation. The problem with this, however, is that what started out as a useful defensive tactic, can become overgeneralised and applied to a large number of situations which there really is no need for the 'tool' to be used. Alas, the brain becomes so productive that it is counter-productive.
So, how do we break this cycle? CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is a good approach. This is because it is centred around the idea of breaking unhelpful thinking cycles. It has techniques to open out the cycle into its individual components; this enables the observer to see where the defective step in thinking is. The observer/client can then decide on a more productive thinking step, and begin to introduce this in order to set off a new way of thinking. This can be hard, as it is essentially retraining the brain into a new way of thinking which is conflicting with its habitual patterns. Over time, and with repeated effort and prompting, the brain can learn to adapt to a way of thinking which is desirable. This is useful for issues such as anxiety, worry, addiction, and phobias.

I think I might be starting to ramble on a bit much, so I will leave it here for now. Maybe I should put links to other resources? No, it's fine. A quick google search will bring up enough results. Oh, and Pinterest too. There are loads of free printable worksheets available on there too. Ok, let's leave it there for now. I need a drink of water and am sat in a weird position. I've enjoyed writing this sort of post again. Hopefully I can get back into blogging. Maybe even get back into making videos again soon. I will have plenty of opportunity over the summer to do that, and whilst I am on holiday from work too. I must get my assignment work done too though, that is top priority.
Right, ok. That's enough for now. Time to schedule this and head off. Done!

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