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Defining Moments For Therapists

Defining Moments For Therapists | Counselling and More | Scoop.it
If therapy is a relational process, it takes a person on the therapist's end. The goal of the project is to capture the therapist's evolving sense of self as it is shaped by our experiences as active participants in a creative interaction.

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Free e-book (pdf) to download or read online: http://lifesherpa.com/zug/books/Defining-Moments-For-Therapists.pdf ;

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Ian Townsend's curator insight, May 21, 2013 1:58 AM

Well worth looking at, folks

Counselling and More
Counselling / Psychology / Well-being
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Focusing: Searching for the Truth that Is Far Below the Search

Focusing: Searching for the Truth that Is Far Below the Search | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"...When a felt sense is present, they “keep it company,” as you might do with a young child who is trying to express something that they don’t yet know how to say. After a period of just attending to the bodily quality of the felt sense, the Focuser may try to find a word or short phrase or image that “fits” it. This is called a “handle.” It is not an attempt to explain the felt sense in any way, but is just a textural, visual or metaphorical description of what it feels like just now: “jumpy,” “sticky,” “like a hard ball,” “a squishy place with warm edges.” Usually it has a specific location—in the chest or the belly, on the right or left side—and the Focuser may indicate this with a hand. Sometimes a gesture rather than words will constitute the handle.

 

The key is that the felt sense itself is always primary. Any verbal handle that comes is checked against the felt sense to see if it fits. The Focuser will move back and forth between the handle and the felt sense, a process called “resonating,” adjusting or replacing the handle until the fit is optimal. You know you’ve got a right fit when the felt sense itself gives a little shift, a kind of easing or opening, a sense of being truly recognized—like being lost in a crowd of strangers and suddenly hearing a friendly voice calling you by name.

 

This process of resonating encourages the felt sense to emerge more clearly, to come into focus. Then there can be a further step called “asking,” in which we invite the felt sense to tell us more. The hallmark of a felt sense, according to Eugene Gendlin, the originator of Focusing, is that it “talks back.” Some questions it won’t like and won’t respond to, others it will. Focusing questions can be endlessly varied, but classic ones are: “What is the worst of this whole problem?” “What is this situation wanting now?” “What is in the way of everything being fine?”

 

The magic of Focusing comes when you pose the question and then don’t answer it—not from the head. You wait, just as you would if you were talking to another person and that person was taking their time, groping about inside before responding. You wait, with patient, caring, interested attention, and notice if a response comes in the body. It may not—getting nothing in response is actually a sign that you are really Focusing rather than thinking discursively. Sometimes the felt sense won’t respond to one question, but when it is reframed a little differently, suddenly it does respond. There is a playful, exploring, creative quality to this asking, not knowing in advance what you may get. The not-knowing allows for novelty to arise...."

 

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Are You Listening Without Empathy?

Are You Listening Without Empathy? | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"Empathy means a quality of communication that conveys to the sender of a message that the listener is feeling with her, putting herself in the shoes of the sender, living, for a moment, inside the sender.

 

[...]

 Some parents find out they are very uncomfortable with feelings–their own as well as their child’s. It is as if they are compelled to ignore a child’s feelings because they cannot tolerate her having them. Or they want quickly to push her feelings out of the picture, and therefore deliberately avoid acknowledging them. Some parents are so frightened of feelings that they actually fail to detect them in their child’s messages."

 

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The 3 Relationship Skills You Need to Practice

The 3 Relationship Skills You Need to Practice | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"...Empathy refers to being able to step into another person’s shoes and understand their experience and point of view so that you can gain an appreciation of how they feel, and then step out again. Of course, you also have to be able to convey your insights to that person accurately for them to benefit from your efforts at understanding.

 

Most couples struggle with empathy for a simple and, well, stupid reason: They believe that because they’ve been in the relationship for a long time they "just know" what the other person is thinking or feeling. Of course, countless studies demonstrate the faultiness of that assumption—we’re simply not very good mind-readers, even of our spouses. Our assumptions are almost always biased or just off the mark..."

 

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Healthy Living and Focusing

Healthy Living and Focusing | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"...Now, what are some assumptions which can guide our actions to healthy living? Let’s consider:

 

- Human beings are a unit. We can talk about different dimensions: body, mind and spirit. But, by being a unit, we assume that what happens in any of them affects the whole, in the direction of well-being or discomfort.

 

- "The body (strictly speaking) and the brain form an integrated organism, and reciprocally and completely interact with each other through chemical and neural pathways... Body, brain and mind are manifestations of a single organism." (Damasio, 2003: 194-195). The divisions we made are only for research and teaching purposes.

 

- There are different forms of valid knowledge. The logical-rational knowledge is not the best or the most appropriate in all circumstances (Michel, 2006; Villoro, 1984).

 

- According to Gendlin (1978/1983), there is a special kind of body knowledge, reliable, with which we can guide our life. He notes: "there is a kind of body awareness that deeply influences our lives and can be used as a tool to help us achieving personal goals" (57).

 

- Our body (from the neck down) is as important as our brain. In fact, both better work integrated than apart. From the perspective of Damasio (1994/1996: 260), "regardless of what we are doing or thinking, it is clear the quasi-inevitability of body processing. Chances are that mind is not conceivable without some degree of embodiment".

 

- Lifestyle, the meaning of life for each one of us and how we position ourselves in it as well as what we think, do and feel, significantly influence in healthy living.

 

- Physical and mental health is primarily a biopsychosocial matter which implies society, families and individuals.

 

- Same living conditions, hygiene and nutrition influence in a particular way in each person and family.

 

- There are no diseases but healthy or sick persons, with processes which are similar to those of others, but also particular. We must find and build the personal path to healthy living in the relationship with others and with the environment. The same applies to regain health.

 

- Many of the so-called corporal diseases are closely related to living conditions, to our way of living, to what we do, feel, value and think. Same thing happens with the healing process; hence the effectiveness of medical procedures in every person also depends on these factors (Berteuris, 2007, Jaffe, 1980; Lara and Salgado, 2002; Schnake, 2008).

 

- Our body-organism (Moreno, 2007, 2009) provides reliable signals of our state of comfort or discomfort. When we recognize and follow what Gendlin (1986/2001) called a felt sense, we can find concrete ways to live healthy. In his words: "that feeling is a new step. It allows you to discover a more appropriate way to act because the feeling is related to more things than it can be normally interrelated" (163)...."

 

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The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"The cognitive mechanism in the self-fulfilling prophecy is explained by this: we see the world through our own prejudices, filtering the information that comes to us in such a way to strengthen our own expectations. We learn these cognitive structures by heart, resulting in the fact that we will explain what is going on around us through this kind of crippled thinking. By this, our expectations create the social reality and, even when the expectations are not authentic, they end up becoming true.


The wrong definition of a situation can be involuntary, by lack of contextual information, or deliberate,generating a social manipulation, obtaining certain benefits.


The wrong image about a person will lead to the self-fulfilling prophecy and at a behavioral confirmation. Thus, if we imagine about “the other” that he is open, friendly, social, we will be kind to him every time we meet him. The response of our friend will be usually convergent with our own expectations: he will try to play the role we created, even if, in his own way, he is more inclined towards introversion. Then we will naturally conclude: “He’s exactly how I expected him to be!” Of course, we can imagine this scene in its negative version, in which we qualify “the other” as “cold, distant, arrogant”, fact that will make him respond to our aggressive attitude aggressively, even if he is usually a meek and generous person, fulfilling again the “prophecy”..."

 

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Networks of Genes Respond to Social Experiences

Networks of Genes Respond to Social Experiences | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"...Social connectivity has powerful effects on genes. The gene networks of social experience are consistent through many animals.


- Studies show human loneliness predicted less immune response to microbes. HIV patients who were hiding their sexual orientation had greater amount of cancers and infections.


- People with more friends have fewer colds.


- Stress has major effects on the immune system. Monkeys with SIV (simian HIV) who were moved constantly into new social groups became ill more frequently. The immune system did not respond to the stress signal.


- Another study showed that lonely and engaged people had dramatic differences in hundreds their genes.


The immune system sends both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory responses at the same time to make sure that the inflammation doesn’t get out of control. In lonely people, the 130 genes that keep inflammation in check were not functioning, but the 80 causing inflammation were very active. These imbalances of the immune functioning operate also in people in poverty as well as people with cancer, depression, and those caring for the ill.

Social isolation is much more devastating than stress—the best-known disease risk factor. Isolated poor people do very poorly, while high pressure stressed people in good networks do well. The diseases of isolation are obesity, diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, and strokes.


- Poor children showed more active inflammatory genes. Ambiguous social situations are threatening and affect immune genes. If the social scene is frightening then it affected gene networks, not just poverty.


- In abused children where negative gene changes occurred, those children who had one adult support experience monthly did not have this gene effect. The lack of connection was more damaging than the abuse. Isolation was the most damaging.


- With ovarian cancer 220 genes were activated for those women with less support and depression..."

 

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Five Communication Mistakes Almost Every Couple Makes

Five Communication Mistakes Almost Every Couple Makes | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"...One partner is just not willing to give up, continuing toxic conversations and repeating rash lectures.

 

It does not lead to any constructive dialogue, but a partner affected by the woodpecker syndrome perseveres, as if seeing some invisible "keep going" sign. She becomes a diligent and insensitive lecturer, making forceful monologues that drown in defensive silence. Nothing gets resolved; the relationship deteriorates further. Both partners get exhausted and wary.

 

This is a communication pattern of ever-diminishing returns. Soon just the mentioning of "let's talk" makes one want to run or hide. A pattern of talking at someone, not to someone, breeds disconnect and widens the relational rift. It does not matter how well-intended the comments are once they are delivered as a bullet point list of suggestions or a stern monotone monologue with no intermissions. Such a way is doomed to just sink in silence and can't serve any good purpose...."

 

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Children see, children do.

Your children look up to you as their role model. Choose your actions wisely. Children see, children do.

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The Self Is Not Defined by the Boundaries of Our Skin

The Self Is Not Defined by the Boundaries of Our Skin | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"...[T]he mind is not simply brain activity.  The mind, beyond subjective experience and beyond conscious and non-conscious information processing, can be seen as a self-organizing, emergent process of a complex system. And that system is both within us and between us and others.

   

A complex system is characterized by these three features: It is non-linear(small inputs lead to large and unpredictable results), it is open(influenced by things from outside of “itself”), and it is chaos-capable(meaning it can function in erratic, unpredictable ways at times). Sound familiar in your life? If our own lives meet these three criteria, then we ourselves are complex systems.

 

Now, the math of complexity theory reveals that all complex systems have emergent properties, processes that arise from the flow of the system’s elements across time. So math—a form of science revealing aspects of reality—suggests that one of those emergent properties is self-organization. This is where a process arises from the elements of the system and then turns back and regulates that from which it arose. That’s called recursvity, how there is a positive feedback loop reinforcing itself over time..."

 

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Should we be mindful of mindfulness?

Should we be mindful of mindfulness? | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"The idea behind mindfulness is straightforward. Kabat-Zinn calls it "paying attention on purpose, moment by moment, without judging". Practitioners argue that the brain's habit of reliving past stresses and worrying about potential future problems can become an obstacle tomental health.

 

Mindfulness encourages people to get those critical thoughts about the past and future into perspective so they no longer dominate. Instead, people are given tools to help them become anchored more in the present, and to focus more on the sensations of the world from moment to moment. That is achieved through meditation techniques such as the body scan – a practice where participants are "invited" to focus on the sensations of their own body. Thoughts that pop up during the exercise are acknowledged and "observed kindly" before the mind is refocused back to the sensations of the body.

 

Other practices focus on breathing and on linking stresses and mental distractions to physical sensations in the body such as tense shoulders, clenched hands or shallow breath. It sounds simple, but it's not. It takes hard work and lots of practice."

 

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One Word That Helped Me Stand Up To My Inner Bully

One Word That Helped Me Stand Up To My Inner Bully | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"During the two years of my overly distracted life, I communicated more to a screen than to the people in my family. My schedule was so tightly packed that I constantly found myself saying, "We don't have time for that." And because there wasn't a minute to spare, that meant no time to relax, be silly or marvel at interesting wonders along our path. I was so focused on my "agenda" that I lost sight of what really mattered.

 

Calling all the shots was a mean voice in my head. My internal drill sergeant was continually pushing me to make everything sound better, look better and taste better. My body, my house and my achievements were never good enough. Holding myself to such unattainable standards weighed heavily on my soul and my inner turmoil eventually spilled out at people I loved the most.

 

Sadly, there was one person in particular who bore the brunt of my discontent: my first-born daughter..."

 

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Being a wise friend to your angry self

Being a wise friend to your angry self | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"...Now, as you go through this calming period, you will notice your angry self chattering away, saying things like, “That idiot who made me angry is a stupid jerk.”  Other derogatory statements about the source of your anger may come to mind.  Perhaps you will think about how you can do harm to the person your mind is insulting.  This is part of the anger process. 

 

At such times, see if you can observe your angry self in a nonjudgmental manner as this is happening.  If you can’t, there is no need to punish yourself.  Anger is a strong emotion.  Be as kind to yourself as you can throughout this process—just like a good, compassionate friend would.

 

From time to time, see if you can take a few seconds to observe the physical sensations you are experiencing.  The chattering in your mind may make this difficult, so if this does not happen, again you are not encouraged to punish yourself.  Just gently remind yourself that observing the physical sensations you are experiencing could be useful to do if you can...."

 

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An introduction to "guilting"

An introduction to "guilting" | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"Blaming is an easy mode to fall into, particularly when you feel the other side is indeed responsible.  But even if blaming is justified, it is usually counterproductive.  Under attack, the other side will become defensive and will resist what you have to say. They will cease to listen, or they will strike back with an attack of their own."

 

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10 Things Highly Intuitive People Do Differently

10 Things Highly Intuitive People Do Differently | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"Cognitive science is beginning to demystify the strong but sometimes inexplicable presence of unconscious reasoning in our lives and thought. Often dismissed as unscientific because of its connections to the psychic and paranormal, intuition isn't just a bunch of hoo-ha about our "Spidey senses" -- the U.S. military is even investigating the power of intuition, which has helped troops to make quick judgments during combat that ended up saving lives.

 

"There is a growing body of anecdotal evidence, combined with solid research efforts, that suggests intuition is a critical aspect of how we humans interact with our environment and how, ultimately, we make many of our decisions," Ivy Estabrooke, a program manager at the Office of Naval Research, told the New York Times in 2012...."

 

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Your Brain and Gut Decisions

Your Brain and Gut Decisions | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"...When you're self-aware, you get a gut feeling. You have a heartfelt sense. Sometimes those feelings are really important. There's wisdom in the body. Yet sometimes, if we have been traumatized, for example, the gut feeling we get can lead us astray.

 

If you've been bitten by a dog or hurt by someone who had red hair, when you see a dog or a person with red hair, your gut may say "bad, bad, bad", and may create a tone of negativity that is based on past traumatic experience. So bodily input doesn't always mean you should respond to it directly. You should analyze it...."

 

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Mick Cooper, John McLeod: Person-Centred Therapy: A pluralistic perspective

Mick Cooper, John McLeod: Person-Centred Therapy: A pluralistic perspective | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"...[F]rom a pluralistic perspective, to be person-centered means to be someone who acknowledges the vast diversity and unknowability of human being, and who prizes the unique needs and wants of each individual client. It means to be someone who puts their clients’ wants for therapy before their own assumptions about what those wants might be, and who strives to be responsive within the limits of their own training, expertise and interest. For some person-centered therapists, it may also mean drawing on a variety of therapeutic methods from both PCE and non-PCE sources. Whether or not a therapist practices pluralistically, however, a pluralistic person-centered standpoint means an acknowledgment and prizing of the many different ways in which non-PCE therapies can be of value to clients; while also a recognition of the power and depth of the established PCE approaches..."

 

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Applying Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy to Treatment

Dr. Stuart Eisendrath, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Director of the UCSF Depression Center, explores alternatives to treating depression that include cognitive therapy and cognitive mindfulness-based therapy, a new technique that blends mindfulness meditation and cognitive therapy techniques to lessen depression, particularly in individuals with recurrent episodes. 

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Useful articles about PCA and facilitation

Useful articles about PCA and facilitation | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

An extremely helpful webpage with a rich content regarding Person-Centred Therapy and facilitation, containing articles of some of the approach's legends. 

[click on the title for the resources page]


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Dr. Elizabeth Freire: Congruence Revisited

Dr. Elizabeth Freire is a Lecturer, Trainer, Supervisor and Researcher at the Counselling Unit of the University of Strathclyde, UK. She is the Editor of the journal Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies.

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60 Seconds to a Stress-Less Life (and a More Compassionate World)

60 Seconds to a Stress-Less Life (and a More Compassionate World) | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"...The most popular practice I know to take back control of our lives and step into the choices and wonders that are all around us is the STOP practice. A few years ago when A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook came out I did a YouTube video of this practice and it has almost 70,000 views. A year ago when The Now Effect came out I put a more professional video out again and it already has almost 10,000 views. The reason this is so popular is because it benefits children, adolescents, adults, parents, politicians, educators, athletes, business people, and any human being. It’s necessary for healing stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, trauma and stress-related medical conditions.
 

The fact is, we all need to learn how to:

 

- Stop.

- Take a few deep breaths.

- Observe where we’re starting this moment from physically, emotionally and mentally.

- Proceed with what actually matters..."

 

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7 Surprising Signs You Suffer Fear of Intimacy - Counselling Articles

7 Surprising Signs You Suffer Fear of Intimacy - Counselling Articles | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"Fear of intimacy stems from childhood, and a failure to complete important parts of psychological development.These parts are known as bonding and separation.

 

Bonding is when as a child you develop a sense that you can trust others. It hopefully starts at birth, involves being nurtured and held and encouraged, and means that by about aged three you are ready to physically and emotionally separate from your primary caretaker with the confidence that the world is a safe place and you are strong enough to navigate it.


But for some of us this process was disrupted. This could be because of emotional, spiritual, physical or sexual abuse, or emotional or physical abandonment or neglect.


But it doesn’t even need to be so traumatic. In many cases fear of intimacy as an adult stems from a lack of emotional attunement between child and parent. This can be a parent who is unable to love you due to depression, has a lack of understanding for your needs, is too controlling, or is simply too distracted by their own problems such as divorce or addiction to take time to understand you.

 

When bonding and separation don’t occur for you as a child, the effects are felt in each further state of psychological development, creating a pattern of isolation and disengagement as well as the creation of psychological ‘walls’ to protect you from further emotional pain. This all of course leads right to an adulthood marked by an inability to trust others and have healthy relationships."

 

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"Person-centered therapy: A pluralistic Perspective" | PCE 2014

"Person-centered therapy: A pluralistic Perspective" | PCE 2014 | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"...from a pluralistic perspective, to be person-centered means to be someone who acknowledges the vast diversity and unknowability of human being, and who prizes the unique needs and wants of each individual client. It means to be someone who puts their clients’ wants for therapy before their own assumptions about what those wants might be, and who strives to be responsive within the limits of their own training, expertise and interest. For some person-centered therapists, it may also mean drawing on a variety of therapeutic methods from both PCE and non-PCE sources. Whether or not a therapist practices pluralistically, however, a pluralistic person-centered standpoint means an acknowledgment and prizing of the many different ways in which non-PCE therapies can be of value to clients; while also a recognition of the power and depth of the established PCE approaches."

 

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‘Just Like Me’: When Parents See Children As Reflections of Themselves

‘Just Like Me’: When Parents See Children As Reflections of Themselves | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"...We are familiar with parents feeling great pride in how they played a role in their children’s successes. But when parents boast incessantly about their children’s accomplishments to the extent it doesn’t feel like typical parental pleasure, we typically consider them to be narcissistic. For Peter and Rose, their great dismay in what they perceived as their children’s deficits, problems, and failures was also narcissistic.


The term narcissism comes from the Greek myth of Narcissus, in which Narcissus falls in love with his own reflection in a pool. The notion of reflection is pertinent to the experiences of Peter and Rose. Rather than experiencing narcissistic pleasure, these distraught parents experienced a narcissistic wound. They couldn’t tolerate the pain of looking into the pool (i.e., at their child who also represents the parent) and seeing something that is not “beautiful” reflected back. When they looked at their children, they saw a reflection of themselves. It was intolerable that the reflection they saw was “a mess” or had a “damaged brain.” It was not “beautiful.”


These parents are responding narcissistically, and they have not differentiated themselves from their children. One has to wonder how parents, who view their children as reflections of themselves, may have influenced their child’s separation/individuation process. As parents become more aware that their beliefs that their children are or are supposed to be “just like them” are assumptions, they will be in a better position to examine those beliefs. As a result, parents will experience less pain, and their children will be helped to develop into separate, unique individuals...."

 

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The Power of Self-Compassion

The Power of Self-Compassion | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

"...There is another way to feel good about ourselves: self-compassion. Self-compassion involves being kind to ourselves when life goes awry or we notice something about ourselves we don’t like, rather than being cold or harshly self-critical. It recognizes that the human condition is imperfect, so that we feel connected to others when we fail or suffer rather than feeling separate or isolated. It also involves mindfulness—the recognition and non-judgmental acceptance of painful emotions as they arise in the present moment. Rather than suppressing our pain or else making it into an exaggerated personal soap opera, we see ourselves and our situation clearly.

 

It’s important to distinguish self-compassion from self-esteem. Self-esteem refers to the degree to which we evaluate ourselves positively. It represents how much we like or value ourselves, and is often based on comparisons with others. In contrast, self-compassion is not based on positive judgments or evaluations, it is a way of relating to ourselves. People feel self-compassion because they are human beings, not because they are special and above average. It emphasizes interconnection rather than separateness. This means that with self-compassion, you don’t have to feel better than others to feel good about yourself. It also offers more emotional stability than self-esteem because it is always there for you—when you’re on top of the world and when you fall flat on your face...."

 

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Emily Budman's curator insight, February 25, 10:42 AM

Do schools breed self-compassion or do they create a competitive environment in which students are trying to be better then their peers?

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A Communiqué to Focusers in Japan with Eugene T.Gendlin Ph.D.

A Communiqué to Focusers in Japan with Eugene T.Gendlin Ph.D. | Counselling and More | Scoop.it

Focusing is the practice named by Dr. Gendlin. It originated from the research and insight of Dr. Eugene Gendlin, who organized the skills into a teachable practice. Focusing teaches us to pause the on-going situation in life and create a potential space for new possibilities of acting and living forward. 


This practice, developed from the Philosophy of the Implicit, teaches us how to apply open attention to something which is directly experienced but is not in words.


In this clip, Dr. Gendlin is videotaped sending his message via DVD to a large Focusing Conference held in Japan in 1998. In a simple language he explains what Focusing is and also offers guidelines for psychotherapists how to enhance their practice with Focusing skills.

 

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