|Sponsored by the HealthcareTrainingInstitute.org providing Quality Education since 1979|
On the last track, we discussed four important factors to consider in addressing avoidance in Gestalt therapy. These four factors were, contrasting avoidance and expression, avoidance is an ongoing self-regulatory process, avoidance is not a sign of weakness, and a vast majority of clients will engage in avoidance at some time. We also discussed the Rule Book technique.
On this track, we will discuss four concepts regarding acceptance of feelings. These four concepts are, avoided feelings can be a source of difficulty, problems with beginning to accept feelings, building confidence, and confronting the idea of acceptance.
As you know, there are few feelings that are universally accepted or avoided by all clients. In addition, avoided feelings are not always "negative", not are accepted feelings always "positive". One client may accept the experience of grief, while another client may not. On the other hand, one client may accept the feeling of affection, while another client may avoid feeling affection.
Four Concepts Regarding Acceptance
Concept #1 - Avoided Feelings a Source of Difficulties
I replied, "Well, sometimes avoided feelings, even 'negative' ones, can have purposes and messages which are to your advantage. Let's say I successfully avoid feelings of fear. One day, I am walking along, and a rabid dog charges at me to bite me. Not accepting feelings of fear increases my chances of being bitten, because I don't take precautions to remove myself from the situation. If I accepted my feelings of fear, I might look for a car, tree, or fence which I could climb to escape the dog."
Concept #2 - Beginning to Accept Feelings
Clearly, this is a critical moment for a client, especially considering that the negative feeling may be the one that led to the client's avoidance in the first place. In my experience, in this critical moment the client may be tempted to avoid the feeling again. This, of course, leaves the client right where he or she was.
Concept #3 - Building Confidence
As you know, learning that he or she can experience an avoided part of the self and survive can build a sense of confidence and strength. Additionally, by staying with an emergent feeling, a client may begin to experience positive feelings that have also been avoided. Steven stated, "If someone couldn't cope with feeling afraid a year ago, how is that going to be any different now?" I stated, "Well, after time passes, this someone might find that his or her current situation is different. He or she might now be able to do the things that their fear suggests might be constructive."
Concept #4 - Confronting the Idea of Acceptance
Technique: Staying With
Steven stated, "Usually I feel very strong and capable. But since I broke my hand, I can't fix my own damn breakfast. You'd think I was some kind of baby, with as little as I can manage…"
By allowing himself to experience a little of his weakness in the now, Steven found that he didn't 'melt away'. As a result, he was able to feel less threatened by his weakness. I felt this was an important step in Steven's moving toward accepting his feelings of weakness.
Think of your Steven. Would he or she benefit from trying the Staying With technique adapted to his or her own avoided feeling?
Online Continuing Education QUESTION 14
I hope you have found the information to be both practical and beneficial. We appreciate that you've chosen the Healthcare Training Institute at homestudycredit.com as a means for receiving your continuing education credit.
Other Home Study Courses we offer include: Treating Teen Self Mutilation; Treating Post Holiday Let-Down and Depression; Living with Secrets: Treating Childhood Sexual Trauma; Interventions for Anxiety Disorders with Children and Adults; and Balancing the Power Dynamic in the Therapeutic Relationship.
Others who bought this Gestalt Course