Sometimes other strategies don’t work because persons try to get rid of, change or run from what they see in themselves as bad, wrong or harmful. Or they may be focused on getting others to change when that’s impossible. They may be overlooking the effects of trauma or loss.
Persons also tend to believe their challenges reside just in them. In my experience, a lot of approaches miss a crucial reality: an individual’s connection to their family of origin’s beliefs, rules and patterns for handling anxiety, stress and life difficulties.
I operate from three basic principles:
Nothing grows or changes in a climate of shame, self-hatred or self-criticism.
Many people come to therapy deeply unhappy with and unloving toward themselves. If this describes you, you’ll have to change that, by believing yourself worthy of love and kindness and also taking responsibility for yourself. You might start here.
All humans have predictable and also unique ways of functioning, surviving and thriving.
Symptoms are messengers to pay attention to.
Everyone has strengths and qualities that empower healing and changing.
Everyone has habits and go-to ways to numb, distract or avoid when there’s discomfort in your mind, body and emotions.
Getting to know your patterns when triggered, anxious or sad, as well as when calm and relaxed allows you to experiment with customized, more productive ways to be with yourself and others.
Humans are an inextricable part of the systems, culture and society in which they were raised and where they are living their lives now.
Increased understanding of yourself in your family of origin by identifying issues, patterns, strengths, rules, roles and relationships reduces anxiety and helps you see the bigger picture.
Learning the rules that govern all systems will help you understand and navigate yourself in your family and other systems.
Working to define yourself in your family of origin correlates to greater ease in other relationships along with being more grounded and accepting of your own self.
Releasing efforts to change others is vital. Sorry, no exceptions.
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