In counseling, adopting the right mindset is super important. The right behaviors and techniques, but without the right mindset, may still result in a poorer outcome or poorer sustainability.
So what is the ideal mindset for counseling?
There are three “states” or “schemas” one need to be aware of when engaging in counseling.
I gave it these silly names to add an element of “defusion” to it. We don’t want to judge them as good or bad. It’s good for some contexts, and not so good for others. Like gears in the car, different gears is required for different situations.
Onesie (1sy)= If you don’t care about me, or do things my way, I am going to get very upset. What about me? The technical term for this is “entitlement”. This is a self preservation or survival mode. We may have to be careful not to label or judge this state as “selfishness”. It can also mean good selfcare in the right context.
Twosie (2sy)= If I am nice to you, you must be nice to me. If I put in a lot of effort, you must put in a lot of effort too. If you ask my advice, you need to follow it. This may represent the values around justice and fairness. It’s “transactional”. I do this for you, do you must do this for me.
Threesie (3sy)= I have unconditional compassion or positive regard for you. I care for you “no matter what”. This may represent a degree of “self sacrifice”, or the value around compassion.
To be more effective in counseling, consider the 2.1sy and above mindset for “that given moment”. Many of our patients when stressed or unwell, will be in the 1sy-2sy state of mind.
So why 2.1sy and above?
Because of the dynamics between us and our patients with the different mindsets.
If we are a 1sy and our patient is a 1sy, we have conflict.
If we are a 2sy and our patient a 2sy, we also have conflict, because everyone’s idea of fairness is different.
If we are a 2sy and our patient a 1sy, we also have conflict, because from a 2sy point of view, you treat me like this, I will treat you like this too.
Cultivating a mindset of 2.1sy and above, will give one much more acceptance, tolerance, patience, and assertiveness, without excessive anger or frustration. It’s more enjoyable and sustainable this way.
Same principle in parenting for those who have kids.