Sunday, May 2, 2021

Helping our patients with more adaptable mindsets for better emotional health

In counseling, I see many folks who are not aware of their mindsets and schemas, and how these can impact significantly on how they view their world, and how it can impact the meaning of their actions and expressions.

Let’s define the following mindsets.
Mindset1,2, and 3.

Mindset1= Survival mode. If you don’t love me, care about me, do things my way, or live up to my expectations, I will be very sad, frustrated, or angry. I get “triggered” or offended easily, although I may not want to be. 

Mindset2= Justice, fairness or transactional. If I am nice to you, you must be nice to me. If I do this for you, you must do this for me. If you are not nice to me, then I don’t have to be nice to you. Things must be fair. Life should be fair.

Mindset3= Unconditional positive regard, or in parenting, unconditional love. I have positive regard for you no matter what. I love you no matter what. It doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want. There are still rules and boundaries, but I still care about you no matter what.

And of course, there’s the ranges in between. It’s a spectrum.

In parenting, if a parent have the mindset between the 1 to 2 range, then when delivering a consequence, it may be perceived as a punishment. If delivered with a mindset2.1-3 range, then it may come across more as a consequence rather than a punishment.

When one demand action/change with a mindset1-2 range, it may come across more as “aggressive” rather than “assertive”.

When one demand action/change with a mindset2.1-3 range, it may come across more as “assertive” rather than “aggressive”.

If one stays predominantly in a mindset1-2 range, then it’s harder to be happy with more tendencies for “fight or flight” responses. It can be very destructive for relationships especially for those with the mindset1.

If one stays predominantly in the mindset2.1-3 range, then usually there are more acceptance and assertiveness, rather than the “fight or flight” responses. 

Some may fluctuate between Mindset3 and Mindset1.  This can occur amongst the “self sacrificers” who have not paid attention to adequate selfcare.  They go from looking after the needs of others excessively and “burn out”.  Mindset1 kicks in with “what about me”, and then they feel guilty for being “selfish”.  It can be awfully conflicting for them. 

The question is, “on average”, in what range are we and our patients reside?

Being aware of this will assist us to unhook from our old mindsets and shift into more adaptable ones for our context. 

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