Having an adventurous life
Life is an exercise in exploration and curiosity. This is evident in the way of being of any healthy young child. Whatever it is that is happening, it’s an adventure, a challenge, an opportunity to learn.
This is such a useful orientation to have, because when we are playing learning is easy, it’s a positive by-product of the process, rather than just a destination we aspire to arrive at.
Psychotherapy is one example of where this is a useful frame to hold. In therapy we are being curious about what is happening inside us, what is happening around us, and how the two things relate. I believe that our reality is something we construct, and can therefore re-construct. I mean that the way we approach things, and the way we think about things, changes our experience of them. We influence not only our own way of being, but also what then happens around us.
There are things we can focus on in therapy that help us to engage curiosity. Listening to Bill O’Hanlan speak recently I was reminded of some of them.
We can help clients imagine a future that is better, to be clear how this will look, sound, and feel, what will be happening and how they will be within this.
We can develop a clear sense of how the client will know that therapy is done. Taking them to this perspective and getting clear about what they will be noticing creates a sense of hope, and possibility, and a powerful guiding light for the process of therapy.
We can discover how life would be for the client if they were not experiencing whatever is bringing them to therapy and causing them pain. This again builds alternative possibilities in the mind, seeing beyond and around the symptoms to something better.
We move towards what we think about. Neuro-plasticity, the capability of our brain to grow and change, lasts a lifetime. The pathways we use get stronger, the ones we don’t use get weaker, and in time wither and disappear. Where our focus is is important, it literally affects brain wiring.
Now, lest this sound like advocacy for positive thinking, let me clarify. It seems to me that possibility thinking is way more powerful than simply the positive. When we have a sense of hope and potential, then we can begin to move towards this. We can begin to recognise our own resourcefulness and capacity for change. We are not looking simply for the opposite of whatever troubles us, we are seeking ways to move forward, from where we are, towards what we want to create and breathe life into.
What adventures would you like to have in your life? How would you like your inner world to evolve? And what might your first step be?
For attuned, resonant psychotherapy that helps you tap into your own inner resources, get in touch.