Saturday, May 09, 2009

Thinking (and Acting) Outside the Therapy Session

I'm a huge fan of psychotherapy. One stretch of 11 sessions over a few months when I was 32 years old led me to start writing fiction and to get (happily) married. We celebrated our 25th anniversary in December. And, BTW, I married a therapist.

At the same time, I think it's important not to act like the whole world is a therapy group. Both self-questioning (to which I'm prone) and processing every human interaction can get really annoying--and counterproductive!-- if they turn into a full-time thing.

So I was delighted to find a wise blogger who agrees with me: a singer who writes about vivid living. Christine Kane's blog has lots of good lists of tips. Here's item number 7 from "10 Ways to Set a Powerful Intent."

"Move out of therapy thinking and into forward thinking.

Therapy is and has been a great help to many of us, AND it can be easy to get stuck in seeing yourself as flawed. It’s a habit. Therapy thinking says, “I have to get it all fixed before I can move on to better things.” Forward thinking says, “What would happen if I acted in spite of how I’m feeling about my life, or my capabilities?”

When it comes right down to it, we’re all complete train wrecks. Have a little celebration about your own train-wreck-ed-ness (invite the rest of us too), and then move forward, take actions, and learn that it is possible to function well without having figured it all out."

My fellow train wrecks, she's right. My own wise Mom tends to say: "Life is not about getting ready." And: "Do something, if it's wrong." This shorthand does not mean to go rob a bank, it means take some action that would appear to be toward the good and if that doesn't work, modify it or try something else. In other words: rock on!

(And have a Happy Mother's Day today.)

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billie said...

I love this post.

One of my favorite parts of being a therapist is when it's time for the client to "take this stuff back to the real world and just be with it there for awhile."

The therapy often intensifies during planned breaks, hiatuses, and also, wonderfully, upon termination. I only know this because of being in my own intensive therapy, and I'm glad I learned it then, b/c it was never taught to me in school!

Debra W said...

Rock on, indeed, Peggy. And I love your mother's short and to the point words of wisdom. Funny how the annoying things our parents used to say to us as we were growing up, suddenly seem wiser as we get older. I'll be happy when my girls reach that point!


Peggy Payne said...

Debbie, your daughters sound more tuned in than average. Though I know everybody goes through bumpy adjustments, soon or late.

Billie, I'm glad you liked this one, especially because you're a therapist. It's curious, the things that get left out in school. I got a teacher's certificate, but no one ever discussed how you go about teaching a class.