Sunday, August 26, 2012

Musings on Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Theory and Other

     People change due to what is around them and can, in turn, change the things around them.  I like the diagram of Bronfenbrenner's theory because it helps me realize that we are a product of everything around us, but that we have the ability to alter our surroundings.  That being said, I do not believe that anyone has the ability to change anyone else.  Any intra-personal change that can be made must happen due to a choice from the individual.  When therapists talk to clients, the client must make a conscious choice to do something.  Even listening in the first place denotes a level of sub-conscious choice either in response to the person or his/her message.
     If the client makes a conscious choice to deny the message, then the therapist can do nothing for them . . . except appeal to their subconscious.  I don't know how to define the subconscious . . . perhaps the base of what makes us human . . . desire, passion, humor, sadness.  Emotion.  Perhaps the problem, when someone shuts down from help, is that they don't feel close to the therapist.  Perhaps its their relative positions; perhaps race; perhaps any number of things.  That is somewhat immaterial.  Appealing to their emotions can get you past that.  Tell a joke.  Be funny.  Disclose (carefully).  At that point it may be possible to bypass their conscious and talk to their feelings.  This process would probably take quite a few sessions, but it is a start.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

First Entry

     I'm starting to understand more and more that 1) all psychotherapy is actually no more than individualized applied philosophy, 2) studying and, dare I say it, understanding psychotherapy is a slippery slope (akin to "understanding" quantum physics), and 3) there is no way that anyone studying therapy cannot change or expect no change to occur.
     I understand that therapy is derived, at its roots, from both ancient and modern philosophers.  Sure, Socrates was a philosopher, but I find the chance scarce that anyone could masterfully argue that Rogers, Ellis, or Freud didn't work in the same vein.  My reading into each author's work forces not only queries specific to technique and therapeutic intent, but also those general, unanswerable questions about life, the universe, and everything.
     It is this study and self-questioning that leads me to sit in my recliner in the twilight of the evening, understanding nothing.  This lack of understanding, or, better put, this surplus of questions with a marked deficit in answers pushes me forward to study more in the vain hope that I will find these answers.  Is it all for naught?  I'm not even at the end of my theoretical quest (will I ever be?) and already I know that it will be worth it.  This is one of the many situations in life where the journey is much more worthwhile than the goal.
     Already, even in my relative infancy in this program, I have found my place along the theoretical spectrum, my temperament, and my view of the outside world changing.  I firmly believe that program, more specifically, as class such as this requires introspection and personal change.  Without this flexibility, how am I to effect real change in anyone else's life?  To not be altered or to not be open to being altered by such an experience is akin to an unforgivable sin in this course of study.
     I'd like to end this entry with one thought:  When I was little, my parents told me to always be positive.  I don't believe this is possible.  When I was in college, my instructors told me to always be skeptical.  I don't believe this to be healthy.  Now I believe that it's enough to always be thoughtful.