The Self-Connection Podcast: Episode Five What is support? Part 3

Today we explore the kind of support that therapist provide and how that is different from personal relationships such as friends and family.  We also explore a unique exercise taught by Virginia Satir called “Do you mean?” that you can use within your close relationships to improve your listening skills and practice separating what is said from what is meant.

0:14 Meditation starts

5:17 The conversation begins.  We explore what do therapist do to prepare themselves for their work and Sharon shared that it is important that she does things outside of being a therapist that feeds her soul .  

7:00 We talk about the therapist’s maintaining a healthy boundary and respect for the others internal capacity for healing, their inner resources as a means of avoiding burnout.   

11:00 Sharon talks about her experience of connecting to her community through song as a way of grounding and healing and feeding her soul.  Allowing herself to be nurtured.

15:00 Sharon talks about Virginia’s metaphor of the candle representing the light that exists in each person.   We talk about support as being the genuine belief in the worth of another human being and the genuine look of awe that comes of that belief.   

18:15 We do the exercise of “Do you mean?” to demonstrate an activity which helps deepen ones understanding of the other by making the listener work hard to workout possible meanings. This facilitates a separation between what is said and what is meant and helps in building an individual ability to attune and validate another’s message.

We run through an example to demonstrate what the exercise looks like.

24:40  Sharon shares an activity called “With whom am I having the pleasure?” This is where you sit with a new person and allow yourself to look at the sense , explore memories, characteristics and explore feelings , stereotypes, reminders of someone else, third party information, thoughts and projections and to be aware of what comes up automatically without any direct experience. This exercise helped people separate reality from their perceptions/interpretations and also encouraged them to comment on these things openly.  

28:40 Sharon shares the longer the relationship the more intimate, the longer the database of projections are.

29:30 We explore the differences between support in a professional context compared to a personal one.  In personal role, people avoid getting stuck in a fixed and rigid role for example as caregiver, rescuer, scapegoat, victim, etc.

34:00 the development of supporting skills requires a constant negotiation of role, expectations, beliefs to ensure a mutual and health connection in personal relationship that remains distinct from a professional role.   

37:20 “The problem isn’t the problem; the problem is the coping with the problem” Virginia Satir. We engage in patterns of coping based on our negative experience. For example, we can cope with the situation with our reactive emotion of anger and behaving aggressively to try to get our needs met. The therapist offers a transcendent stance and energy of acceptance, compassion, growth, openness to cope with the problem.  

40:00  We can shift our identity from “I am depression” to “I am love” and begin to use the positive energy to be a container for holding the painful emotions/experiences.  When we are connected to someone in a supportive role, like a therapist, they facilitate that experience with us. Growth/healing/health is in the integration of rejected, toxic and pained parts of ourselves.