the reckless dad

‪reck·less /rekləs/ adj. without thinking about the consequences. rash, heedless, impetuous, impulsive, daredevil, audacious, madcap‬

Category: Therapist (page 1 of 3)

Listening Ears

dog listening

I consider myself a pretty good listener. I try to cultivate a slow tongue and hear what you have to say. I make a conscious effort to allow you to speak, to allow you to communicate your point of view your side. I would like to think I make rational decisions after having weighed all the facts and heard all that needs to be heard.

Granted, I’m not always like this. Ronda will tell you I am an interrupter. And I am… at times. There are moments when I don’t want to listen. When I don’t feel like I need to listen. I honestly don’t believe those times dominate my ears. In my judgment, I listen pretty well.

The other morning, I was having a conversation with a professional who was not a good listener. She interrupted me multiple times and would not stop until I closed my mouth and heard what she was saying. This didn’t stop throughout the entire conversation, even after the second time I said, ‘as I was trying to say’.

This was very frustrating to me. I felt as though this lady would not allow me to get a word in edgewise. Do you ever feel this way? Do you ever feel as though people are some consumed with getting their voice heard, that they don’t hear yours? It almost doesn’t matter what you have to say, because they don’t want to hear it. They are sure what you have to say doesn’t matter. I find it annoying when I encounter people like this.

I have been reading through the book of James a lot lately. At my church, we are going through series of sermons in the book so I have taken this opportunity to study the book as well. This morning I read from James chapter 1, where James encourages us to be ‘quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger’. These are great words of advice for several reasons. I think our interactions with others would be improved if we would make a reasonable attempt to live this out… not just because the Bible says so. Here are three reasons why it is a good idea to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger:

  1. When we don’t listen to others, we dismiss them. Not only do we risk dismissing a potentially good idea from them, but we are dismissing them. Not just their ideas or thoughts, but them as well. When we are dismissive of others, it communicates they don’t matter. We communicate to them they are important, their voice isn’t worth hearing. We communicate t them they have nothing to add or say of value. Nothing that could be important or beneficial to hear. When we are slow to hear, we are dismissive of others and being dismissive doesn’t build relationship it tears it down.
  2. When aren’t slow to speak, we often end up putting our foots in our mouths. We’ve all been there haven’t we? We open our big mouths and say something we think to be informed by the truth, only to find out we don’t have all the information and we were wrong… and we look like fools, idiots really. I always think about the apostle Peter when I think about putting my foot in my mouth. On one occasion, Jesus was telling his disciples he was going to have to suffer at the hands of the religious leaders. When Peter heard this he was, “There’s no way I’m going to let that happen to you! I will take them out! I will introduce them to my little friend!” Jesus responds with the classic, “Get behind me, Satan!” Open Peter’s mouth, insert foot. Peter didn’t fully comprehend what was going on, opened his mouth and Jesus likened him to Satan because to stop the imminent suffer would have been akin to stopping God’s perfect plan. Being slow to speak allows us to gather enough information to speak with wisdom when we do speak.
  3. When are are quick to anger, it has a tendency to be unrighteous anger. Ephesians 4:26 reminds us to not sin in our anger. For me, this is a prescription to not be angry… because I don’t seem to be able to be angry and not sin. I’m a work in progress to be sure. Either way, if we easily anger there’s a pretty good chance we aren’t being angry in a sinless layabout things we should be angry about. Short fuses rarely lead to righteous anger. Again, it is a matter of having enough information to know whether our anger is justified or not, whether it is something ‘worth’ getting angry about. I suppose we need to understand what would qualify as ‘worth’. In my mind, righteous anger is warranted when the issue at hand would also anger God. If it is an injustice or situation where God would be angry, then we can be angry as well. Too many times we et angry quickly, when choosing grace and mercy would have been better choices. If we are slow to anger, consider and think rationally through the feelings of anger we are feeling we will better equipped to be angry at the right time about the right things.

We should be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger… essentially because it promotes the most healthy and best relationships with others. It is the best way to interact with others. I don’t always get it right. I miss the mark, often. James encourages us to slow down and make more of an effort to get it right.

Victimology

colbycriminaljustice.wikidot.com/criminal-profiling-2012

colbycriminaljustice.wikidot.com/criminal-profiling-2012

victimology |ˌviktəˈmäləjē|
the possession of an outlook, arising from real or imagined victimization, that seems to glorify and indulge the state of being a victim.
I want to share with you a mindset or approach to life that has crippled me more than anything else other than being a sinful, fallen human being.
Being a victim. I should clarify, I don’t mean I have been crippled by an actual victimization that has occurred. That is different than this. Some of us have experience trauma and abuse and are victims of tragedy. I mean another kind of victim.
I mean the kind of victim that can best be described as passivity. This kind of victim revels in being a victim. This kind of victim using their victim-ness as an excuse to not move forward. This kind of victim is crippled and unable, dare I say unwilling, to make any changes or adjustments to their live in order to grow and move on from whatever circumstance they find themselves in.
This kind of victim is passive. They allow life to happen around them, to them… without taking any stand or trying to effect or impact what is going on around them. This kind of victim assumes they aren’t able to change anything so they don’t try. They passively watch as life passes them by, thinking to themselves how unfair it is that everyone else has everything they want and how good stuff happens to everyone else but me, I’m stuck here in the mud with crap just happening to me.
I am a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern (fancy way to say Licensed Mental Health Counselor in training) and have suffered my share of mental health related difficulties. I am aware of the intricacies of mental health struggles and how difficult it can be to take responsibility and action in our lives. I know how easy it can be to allow life to happen without trying to engage and impact the direction of life. Please understand that when I say, we can’t afford to passively approach our lives.
I only took seven years to complete my Master’s degree, which gave me plenty of time to think through and mull over how I approach mental health. I have realized a couple things about how I approach mental health issues. First, we all have a backstory. Each one of us has a history that helps to explain who we are and where we have come from. For many of us, in that backstory are clues to why we are using the particular coping strategy to manage life. Oftentimes, we don’t even realize our coping strategies are maladaptive or unhealthy… they are the only ones we know.
Secondly, in that backstory is the root issue we must face and overcome if we are to move on with our lives. For each of us this is different. It may be trauma or abuse. It may be our perception of experiences we had growing up. It may be unresolved guilt or anger. Whatever the root issue is, it will eventually have to be overcome.
Thirdly, I know we are responsible for our actions, thoughts and behaviors. We have to be. We aren’t machines or robots. There are at times circumstances making it more difficult for us to act, think or behave in certain ways… but that doesn’t give us a pass to sit back and stop acting, thinking or behaving in rational healthy ways. If we want things to be different in our lives, we are the catalyst to make that happen.
We can no longer accept passivity and victimology. Can’t continue to live life from the sidelines expecting for it to somehow get better or be different if we aren’t willing to get in the game and make an effort to make it different and better. You are responsible for the way you approach life. You are responsible for your victim mindset.
And so am I.
I have come to understand when we approach life and mental health circumstances we have to uncover the root issue in life causing us problems. We have to learn better ways to cope or manage our behaviors. We have to restructure the way we think each day. We have to adjust our behavior patterns to healthier ones, to ones utilizing healthy coping strategies to combat life. We have to take responsibility for ourselves, our actions and the place in life we find ourselves.
I am no longer content playing a passive role in my life, allowing someone else other than me or God to have the spotlight in my life. Are you? Are you ready to actively engage in your life? Let’s and together and overcome passivity and victimology.

I’m Reacting to Myself

20140307-103150.jpg

​In my internship we had to complete two papers where we reacted to a particular therapy session we offered to our clients. This is the second one I turned in this term. This photo is my professor’s comments on my paper.

I am trying to think through a session I have had where I was caused a disturbance or caused me to feel or think in a particular way, which stands out to me as something I need to process or think through. And in all honesty, I am having difficulty. So rather than try to find something that may not be there, I would like to react to this program, and my involvement in it.

I can’t believe it! I am here! I am finally at the end of this program. When I started it years ago, I am not even really sure why I chose this program. When I lived in Gainesville and worked for DCF as a caseworker, I applied to and got into FSU’s MSW program (they offer it in Gainesville every three years or so). So for me, beginning the road to be a counselor was not what I envisioned myself doing. I always viewed myself as more of a social worker than a counselor. But here I am, or there I was… in the program now.

I have often described me begin in this program as ‘by default’. I said this because I am not sure how I ended up here. I don’t know exactly why. Over the last 6 years, I have struggled with some of the main concepts or tenets of what makes a person a counselor. Viewing myself as a social worker, I have found it hard to learn to not fix people. When someone comes to counseling, it is not my role to tell them what is wrong and how to fix it. This is very hard for me. I am a practical kind of guy who wants things to be fixed and moved on from. I have come to learn and appreciate the value of assisting others on their own journey of discovery. What makes the answer so poignant to us, is when we come to it on our own. I have grown much in this respect I believe or the course of this program. I have better listening skills. I am more apt to listen first, and second before I offer advice to someone. I am willing to journey alongside people as they come to the conclusions of what they need to do and where they need to go in life. This is very refreshing! It relieves the pressure of me having to fix everyone… which obviously is impossible to do.

I have also struggled with trying to find my theoretical approach to counseling. Again, I have always viewed myself as a practical kind of guy who wanted to fix things and then move on. Because of this, I tried to fit myself into the mold of begin solution-focused. This fits sometimes, but is not the overarching fit for me. It may be my upbringing or it may be the way I am wired, but I have an intense desire to understand why people think and act they way they do. I want to know the underlying reasons for their behaviors. What is happening in their unconscious mind leading them to think and act the way they do? When I was in middle school and high school, my father completed an MSW program. I remember the family joke around the dinner table was we were going to ‘psychoanalyze people’ to understand why they were doing what they were doing. This became the running joke for us. But, there is much truth to it for me because learning this psychological motivation for why people do what they do is fascinating to me. I have seen how in my own life, this is the only real way to learn how to overcome the various struggles we have in our life. In my own journey of counseling, I tried to learn ways to manage attitudes, behaviors and thoughts; but it wasn’t until I uncovered the root cause that I was able to overcome it. I certainly don’t know all there is to know on this subject, but this program has assisted me in defining who I am as a counselor and what I want to know about my clients so I am able to help them.

While I can’t answer with certainty why I ended up in this program, I can say with certainty this program is the right one for me. I entered this program at a critical time in my life and it has been one of very few constants in my life over the last six and a half years. I have learned a great deal about myself. I have learned a great deal about how to manage myself. I have learned a great deal about how to assist other people who are facing similar circumstances in their lives. After much thought and consideration, I believe I am in this program because it fits well with who I am and how I desire to help people. I am glad I am on the verge of graduation. These last six years have been some of the most difficult years of my life and it has been the years where I have grown the most. This program has allowed me to realize the person I can be. I am thankful for being in the program and being able to complete this milestone.

I'm Reacting to Myself

20140307-103150.jpg

​In my internship we had to complete two papers where we reacted to a particular therapy session we offered to our clients. This is the second one I turned in this term. This photo is my professor’s comments on my paper.

I am trying to think through a session I have had where I was caused a disturbance or caused me to feel or think in a particular way, which stands out to me as something I need to process or think through. And in all honesty, I am having difficulty. So rather than try to find something that may not be there, I would like to react to this program, and my involvement in it.

I can’t believe it! I am here! I am finally at the end of this program. When I started it years ago, I am not even really sure why I chose this program. When I lived in Gainesville and worked for DCF as a caseworker, I applied to and got into FSU’s MSW program (they offer it in Gainesville every three years or so). So for me, beginning the road to be a counselor was not what I envisioned myself doing. I always viewed myself as more of a social worker than a counselor. But here I am, or there I was… in the program now.

I have often described me begin in this program as ‘by default’. I said this because I am not sure how I ended up here. I don’t know exactly why. Over the last 6 years, I have struggled with some of the main concepts or tenets of what makes a person a counselor. Viewing myself as a social worker, I have found it hard to learn to not fix people. When someone comes to counseling, it is not my role to tell them what is wrong and how to fix it. This is very hard for me. I am a practical kind of guy who wants things to be fixed and moved on from. I have come to learn and appreciate the value of assisting others on their own journey of discovery. What makes the answer so poignant to us, is when we come to it on our own. I have grown much in this respect I believe or the course of this program. I have better listening skills. I am more apt to listen first, and second before I offer advice to someone. I am willing to journey alongside people as they come to the conclusions of what they need to do and where they need to go in life. This is very refreshing! It relieves the pressure of me having to fix everyone… which obviously is impossible to do.

I have also struggled with trying to find my theoretical approach to counseling. Again, I have always viewed myself as a practical kind of guy who wanted to fix things and then move on. Because of this, I tried to fit myself into the mold of begin solution-focused. This fits sometimes, but is not the overarching fit for me. It may be my upbringing or it may be the way I am wired, but I have an intense desire to understand why people think and act they way they do. I want to know the underlying reasons for their behaviors. What is happening in their unconscious mind leading them to think and act the way they do? When I was in middle school and high school, my father completed an MSW program. I remember the family joke around the dinner table was we were going to ‘psychoanalyze people’ to understand why they were doing what they were doing. This became the running joke for us. But, there is much truth to it for me because learning this psychological motivation for why people do what they do is fascinating to me. I have seen how in my own life, this is the only real way to learn how to overcome the various struggles we have in our life. In my own journey of counseling, I tried to learn ways to manage attitudes, behaviors and thoughts; but it wasn’t until I uncovered the root cause that I was able to overcome it. I certainly don’t know all there is to know on this subject, but this program has assisted me in defining who I am as a counselor and what I want to know about my clients so I am able to help them.

While I can’t answer with certainty why I ended up in this program, I can say with certainty this program is the right one for me. I entered this program at a critical time in my life and it has been one of very few constants in my life over the last six and a half years. I have learned a great deal about myself. I have learned a great deal about how to manage myself. I have learned a great deal about how to assist other people who are facing similar circumstances in their lives. After much thought and consideration, I believe I am in this program because it fits well with who I am and how I desire to help people. I am glad I am on the verge of graduation. These last six years have been some of the most difficult years of my life and it has been the years where I have grown the most. This program has allowed me to realize the person I can be. I am thankful for being in the program and being able to complete this milestone.

Empathy

Several sessions with clients at Sequel have caused me to think through a wide range of feelings, emotions and thoughts I experienced. Most of the time they don’t create in me a particular disturbance. Admittedly, early on in my internship last term, I had to work through some issues of working with this population. I have come to grips with the realization they need the assistance we are offering them. I have also realized some of them are here because they have made huge mistakes and deeply regret what they have done and are learning from the treatment how to ensure this never happens again. Some of the clients here will not have happy endings.

6613_6613_5There are several sessions that will always stick out to me and be a constant reminder of my time here. One of those sessions was with a client who had been here about a year. His charge is for molesting his younger sister. During a session we were discussing what he thought was appropriate punishment for various individuals who had committed sex crimes against others. The questions in the workbook asked the following (and his answers): If it were up to you, what would the punishment be for someone who raped your mother? Client responded they should get the death penalty. If it were up to you, what would the punishment be for someone who raped your wife? Client responded they should get the death penalty. If it were up to you, what would the punishment be for someone who sexually abused your child? Client responded they should get the death penalty. I then asked him, how he thought his parents felt about the offense he committed? He thought about it long for a time and then responded with ‘that’s probably what my parents think should happen to me.’ It was at this moment the client had a realization of the gravity of his offense.

One of the coping strategies I have noticed the clients at Sequel employ often is one of disassociation. They disassociate themselves from their sex offense. It’s like they conceptualize it as something that someone else has done, but not them. They think of it in terms and don’t truly connect the dots for them. They objectify it and separate themselves from it. This is very difficult for me to process through internally. I am not sure that i am able to understand how it is they are able to separate out like this. When we talk about the details of their offense it is as though they are recounting something they saw in a movies or on t.v.

I suppose this is an effective way to cope with the awful things they have endured in their lives both as victims and as perpetrators. This doesn’t create any particular disturbances in me, what it does it makes a little more difficult for to me understand where they are coming from. Makes it harder for me to be empathetic towards them.

I overcome these feelings inside of me by remembering they were victims too. I learned that very quickly at Sequel. They have all been victimized in some way. This doesn’t change the fact they have victimized someone, but it does humanize them. Remembering they are also victims, provides a setting for empathy to be offered because they have been hurt and are still healing from their own hurt. We have all been victimized in some way and we all need some one who is willing to listen to our story and offer some understanding and assistance in unpacking the bags we have brought with us. That’s why I like being a counselor. Offering understanding and assistance. Offering empathy.

Older posts

© 2017 the reckless dad

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑