Having connected with your emotions, Speaking & Listening Therapies now will examine your past or current relationships/situations/beliefs more closely. To see the same episode from different perspectives, so as to increase the “Ah ha” moments for you. You’ll evolve from simply identifying your problem zones into recognising the different coping mechanism available before you.
You’ve discovered the process of establishing an authentic connection with your therapist, has done you a lot of good. It was also mentally reassuring for you to experience conversations, unlike those with your partner or family or friends, as a space where you may have felt properly heard without interruptions. This listening involved not only the words you spoke, but your trained listener also picked up your corporal language.
As you have touched base with your emotions, your therapist will switch gears. They’ll do this by calmly planting contradictory thoughts at the spur of the moment during your sessions. The goal being for you to sit back and have an “Ah-ha” moment, to think “I never thought about it like that”. This is done with the intention of you developing wings in order to independently process disagreeable situations and ways and means of handling these scenarios in the absence of your therapist to hold your hand.
One way of going about this will be for your therapist to delve further into situations that you don’t like. For example, initially you narrated in detail all the incidences where collaboration with a particular colleague was unpleasant. The therapist after having shared useful tips on handling those interactions, might shift their focus into other relationships in your life; people in your family, your neighbours, your friends, those you hold dear to you or those that are part of your everyday life. They’ll do this to jointly study the possibility of your co-worker reminding you of someone who presents some problem or barrier for you, and working out how you can get around that muddle.
To strengthen your auto-analytical powers, the therapist might try the education track too, like teaching you about conditions affecting you. Say that unfortunately Covid-19 stole someone very dear from you. As you mourn this loss, your therapist will give you the space to grieve, and then tenderly walk you through the stages of grief. For what may appear to you as visions of a future known, they may instead explain how your heartache will evolve and blossom into celebrating the life of that person and yours in positive ways.
Your therapist will no longer be a passive listener in this stage, but also attempt to mildly counter your fixed opinions by giving the other side of the chronology. Let’s go back to the story of your office mate. Your therapist might talk about the “rat race” and excessive competition to climb the corporate ladder, and the way this may harden some people. In this case, the merits of empathy for your fellow worker could be laid before you. Hmmm…not convinced? Why not examine another case.
Say you can’t stand your mother’s Oncologist because they never seem to have the time to answer your questions and do not appear to understand your mother’s (and your) concerns. Therapy in this instance would gently remind you to consider the several factors affecting the smooth functioning of hospitals, the problems faced by doctors and medical staff, the workload of Oncologists, and the tactics to deploy in order to gain their attention and thus meet your objective. By regularly hearing the other side of the stories, your brain will internalise that differing thought process, thereby broadening your perceptions about situations and life in general.
The multiplication of ‘Ah-ha’ moments will do something wonderful to you. Little by little, it will activate an internal mental switch. A very useful event because your brain-neurone mechanism will transition from identifying “what are my sensitive hotspots”, to “what to do” about them mindset.
With your practitioner you shall work through several coping mechanisms to confront the issues that trouble you. Your homework assignments will require some effort on your part. You are not in a race, so taking your time is perfectly normal. It may not be smooth sailing. You’ll have several misses, but crucially also several hits. And cheerfully, your trigger points will begin to metamorphose into something akin to a ‘doable task’ in your mind.
The unburdening of you, will spark better mental analysis. Meaning, since you studied difficult situations through various angles in therapy, you’ll evolve to understand the formative process and its effects on your emotions. Simply put, you’ll go from recognising scenarios causing perturbance, to grasping an understanding for why this scenario is troubling you so much. Developing this sort of skill set, importantly enables you to move and manage both your emotions and undesirable scenarios, to the best of your abilities. And continue to evolve these new skills.
All this would happily translate into you seeing the stress and anxiety in your here-and-now differently. Instead of being a source of untold tension and high blood pressure, they’ll become a wellspring of renewal and vigour. When you see and recognise your teammate differently, you’ll cooperate with them more efficiently. The Oncologist too will come across less like an unfeeling robot, and more closely resemble a human.
Your conversations will hit different notes, you’ll connect better with others, and that’s a wonderful feeling.