Saturday, October 10, 2020

Counseling to help our patient understand how they view their world through their past experiences, beliefs, thoughts, and values, and why they view the world differently to others

In counseling, I often like to use this diagram to help people realize that we perceive our environment and reality differently, depending on our beliefs, values, thoughts, past experiences, and imagined “projected” futures.  Let's call these filters for simplicity sake. 

Person with Filter A will describe their perception as a square. 

Person with Filter B=rectangle 

Person with Filter C=pyramid

Person with Filter D=a simple line

So who is more correct?  Of course, they are all correct in their own way, but chances are, they will argue with each other on who is more correct. 

To solve the problem, sometimes we have to defuse and step back to see the 3D prism, and explore, acknowledge, and appreciate our different filters. 

In counseling, we are more interested in seeing the different ”filters” rather than the squares, lines, pyramids, or rectangles.

So what if person A don’t like their perceived square/reality, or it is now becoming more maladaptive?  They may want the rectangle, line or pyramid. 

In counseling, we try to help person A with 4 key strategies. 

1. Get the resources and skills to change the square into a rectangle, line or pyramid. This may include skill training like relationship skills, interpersonal therapy, parenting skills, structured problem solving, and other “life skills”. 

2. Disable the filters through mindfulness and being present because filters operate as “lens of the past”. 

3. Detach the filter, and continue to create and live a life that you want. This can be addressed through mindfulness, defusion skills, taking value based actions as described in Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT). 

4. Remove the filter and change to another filter. This strategy is more around how to be aware of thoughts, beliefs, and schemas, and how to defuse, challenge, and change those. 

5. A combination of all the above. 

The challenge is, many folks are not aware of “filters”, and even if they are aware, their “filters” are a bit stuck.  The interesting part of counseling is to explore these “filters” with our patients, help them to change or get unstuck from these, and to help them create and live a life that they want, despite their challenges. 

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