Saturday, May 8, 2010

Structure, Yay!!

I've been doing much, much better lately but have been struggling a bit with feeling kind of "stuck" where I am and not knowing how to structure this ambiguous "work" on myself. I'm better, but still having a hard time coping with some of the more difficult aspects of the life changes I'm undergoing. A clinical supervisor once told me that the great thing and the difficult thing about being a therapist is that we're always in therapy. My belief is that I'm a better therapist if I'm willing to do what I ask my clients to do so I'm always working on my own "shit." Well...needless to say, I've had a lot of shit to work on lately.

I'm in a case conference with 4 amazing therapists and was consulting with them about a client or five who are struggling with anxiety and life transitions. My friend and colleague, John, shared some books about mindfulness he's found very helpful. The one he suggested starting with is called Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Went out after work yesterday to get the book. Started reading it this morning and found that Kabat-Zinn suggests an 8 week program for implementing the various tools he introduces here. There are also CD's to assist. I ordered those today!

What I plan to do is to follow the 8-week program and write about it here. Should be interesting. First, I'll read through the first part of the book that describes the techniques while I'm waiting for the CD's to arrive.

The metaphor he uses is that of a sailor working with wind and weather to propel the boat. "When we are able to mobilize our inner resources to face our problems artfully, we find we are usually able to orient ourselves in such a way that we can use the pressure of the problem itself to propel us through it, just as a sailor can position a sail to make the best use of the pressure of the wind to propel the boat."

In the introduction, Kabat-Zinn has already set an inviting, realistic tone. No crazy promises of miracle cures. He says, "In this learning process we assume from the start that as long as you are breathing, there is more right with you than there is wrong, no matter how ill or how hopeless you may feel." He goes on to say that given this, still "a certain kind of effort and energy on your part will be required." So it can be stressful to do this. We'll see how it goes! 

1 comment:

  1. This sounds very good - I always do better with some sort of structure, and I like the idea of an 8-week program. I never can seem to stick with that sort of thing, though. Keep us posted about how it goes. I like the idea that "as long as you're breathing, there's more right than wrong with you". Is he a Buddhist? Seems like I read something about him in Shambala Sun. Good luck!