Monday, May 14, 2007

"I just wanna be"

Name that movie.

Let's take this therapy discussion to a philosophical level. First, we need to define a couple terms:

Interpersonal: of or pertaining to the relations between persons.

Intrapersonal: existing or occurring within the individual self or mind.

Therapy is both an interpersonal and intrapersonal process. So far, most of this blog has been about the interpersonal facets of therapy: how the empowered client prepares for and communicates with the therapist. But the intrapersonal process of therapy deserves equal time, if not more.

Being in therapy is more than filling an hour each with week with an appointment. It is a personal choice to enter into a season of introspection, vulnerability, and openness to change. A season where you spend time looking at yourself - why you do what you do, think what you think, feel what you feel, and are who you are. It's important to be aware of this - therapy is all 168 hours of the week, not just the one or two you spend in session. The more you allow yourself to engage in this intrapersonal process, the more you'll understand about yourself. And the more you understand yourself, the better able you will be to make decisions, relate to others, change the things you can and accept the things you can't.

"So what can I do to understand myself?" you may ask. Our culture loves to have things to do: Depressed? Follow these 5 steps. Bad relationship? Complete this homework. But rather than check off boxes on a list, your time is better spent getting used to being with yourself. How does one do this? I cringe at the idea of telling someone how to "do" being. But I'll give it a crack.

First, stop doing the things that distract you from yourself. Turn off the tv, ipod, cell phone and internet, forget about the dishes and laundry for a minute, sit down and be quiet. It's amazing how difficult this can be.

Next, try to quiet your mind. People often find that a few minutes of silence results in an anxious recital of regrets or things to do. Promise yourself you'll take time to think about those items later, and go back to the quiet.

Finally, ask yourself how you feel. Then let yourself feel it. You're being.

That's all Crash Davis wanted.

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