To be an effective therapist and healer it is supremely important that we genuinely care about those we wish to assist and also believe in their ability to realign, heal, and prosper. The maximum therapeutic benefit is realized when clients recognize these qualities in their therapists and healers and, more importantly, find them to be present and active in the therapeutic relationship.
The unquestionable value of caring and faith in facilitating healing is well documented. However, the clinical application of these elements can be complex. We want to care about others in a manner that empowers them to change while not taking responsibility for changing them. It is unproductive to attempt to facilitate healing in those who are not personally committed to changing their attitudes, beliefs, and circumstances. Armed with this awareness, along with a bit of clinical experience, therapists can readily learn to recognize when a person is ready and willing to take responsibility for changing.
Ideally, when a client demonstrates a lack of readiness or willingness to change, our relentless caring, unconditional positive regard, and confidence in their future outlook will remain intact. True caring and faith are unconditional and continuous. Indeed, resisting change can be a valid behavioral response for a particular person at a particular moment in time.
To maximize the healing process, it is of utmost importance that both the clinician and client believe in the client’s ability to be happy. Faith in positive, future outcomes is more easily established if we are already in a positive feeling state. A positive mindset can be accomplished by intentionally focusing attention on thoughts, memories, and perceptions that feel good. There are many simple, practical ways to create this mindset. For example, we can intentionally recall a time we were cheerful, light-hearted, and passionate about something while emotionally engaging the positive feelings associated with that memory as if it were happening now. Or, we can take a walk outside with an intention to notice and appreciate the warm sun, fresh air, gentle breeze, clouds, trees, birds, etc. These type of activities are likely to increase positive feelings at the moment.
In conjunction with this type of activity is it helpful to teach clients the value of intentionally directing their attention. We want clients to know that where they place their attention, along with how they feel in relation to that focused attention, determines the reality they will experience. In other words, where they place their attention, energy, and focus determine the reality they create. Everything that they have experienced, are experiencing, and will experience is a result of the attitudes, beliefs, expectations, and feelings inside of them.
Knowing what one wants and expecting to get it, maximizes the chances of manifesting that particular want. Contrary to popular belief, success is not based solely on the amount of psychological energy and behavioral effort we direct toward changing and eliminating problems. When change appears to take a long time, it is often because we simply needed a long time to get to the point where all elements of our being became aligned with the changes we desired.
When attempting to help another reach their goals it is important to know where they are placing their focus, attention, and energy so that we are not fighting an uphill battle. If there is little or no hope and expectation that positive change can and will occur, there will be little or no positive change. Clients create positive changes when they direct their focus away from what they don’t want, redirect their attention toward what they do want and desire, and then expect their desires will be fulfilled.
In brief, positive change occurs when a person reduces conflict and resistance by directing their attention toward their desired goal and aligning their attitudes, beliefs, expectations, and behaviors with what they want.
All people will benefit from relaxing, being easy about change, and simply letting it flow easily and naturally. Changes can happen in a timely, smooth, graceful manner. This is a valuable message to provide those we are attempting to assist. Change doesn’t have to be hard, extensively time-consuming, laborious, or painful. Yet, change will have these qualities of effort and burden if we believe them to be necessary and expect these qualities to manifest.
Most of us have developed a belief that change is effortful, hard work because we have been trying to change ourselves and others without considering the importance of recognizing where we have placed our attention. The reality we create is determined by where we place our attention. Positive change is difficult when our attention is continually directed toward avoiding, challenging, and reconfiguring negativity and pain. Focusing on negativity and pain keeps us attached to these unwanted experiences while preventing us from bringing positive, pleasurable experiences into our perceptual field. Change can be quick and easy when we maintain focus on the positive goals we desire.
Motivation is a complex concept that is consequential for the client’s transformation. The clinical and empirical data often emphasize the powerful, positive impact motivation has on positive change. While motivation can positively influence change it can also have a detrimental impact. Depending on the circumstances, assisting a person to become strongly motivated can be a highly ineffective method for achieving positive change. Mustering a large amount of energy and asserting a great deal of effort to push against and through problems is not particularly practical or useful. In many cases, energy and effort are wasted with this approach, which often results in disappointment and disillusionment.
Clearly, developing strong motivation can summon a large amount of energy. However, if this motivational energy is pushing against resistant forces consisting of attitude, beliefs, and expectations that conflict with our desired goals, the result will be a disappointment, pain, and suffering. Bringing our thoughts and feelings into alignment with what we want is required for a smooth transition to a positive outcome. Motivation is helpful when we are aligned, in every way and on every level, with our desires.
Many people believe that developing motivation for change simply means mustering up a great deal of energy in an effort to change. There is more to consider because the form and direction of the energy has a crucial impact on the results that will occur. Science teaches that positive energy flows naturally and spontaneously while negative energy resists movement. We experience positive emotional and physical feelings when energy is flowing naturally and freely. Negative feelings are experienced when the flow of energy is being resisted and blocked. Therefore, a large amount of energy is beneficial when it is flowing into an aligned, positive, dynamic, expanding, and creative manner. A large amount of energy is detrimental when it is flowing in a manner that pushes against resistant objects or forces, such as contradictory and negative beliefs, expectations, and behaviors.
The principles of alignment and deliberate creating, as promoted by Positive Psychology and Solution-oriented theorists, tell us that our problems won’t get resolved easily and quickly if we attempt to assert a strong force against the problem. As stated earlier, for something to be considered a “problem” it must be resisting flow and movement. Therefore, exerting force against a problem will only fuel the resistance which will cause the problem to increase and grow.
Even when we think we succeeded through hard work and effort, what really happened is that positive change occurred because, at some point, we achieved greater alignment by incorporating positive attitudes such as acceptance, trust, hope, positive expectations, non-judgment, and gratitude into our change process. Introducing these positive forces released and reduced resistance so that creative, dynamic energy flowed spontaneously and freely. Freely flowing energy feels pleasurable and moves people toward more positive life experiences.
In conclusion, when positive cognitive, emotional, and behavior elements are affirmed and aligned, resistance is released and spontaneous, dynamic, creative, energy flows more freely. As stated earlier, naturally flowing energy feels good and when we are in alignment with this flow we perceive people, objects, situations, and ourselves more positively. In its unencumbered form, the flowing vitality of life is experienced as joyful and fulfilling. Our chances of experiencing life in this way are vastly improved when we intentionally engage positive, productive, and pleasurable thoughts and perceptions. As therapists and healers, our ability to effectively care for others are greatly enhanced as we become more proficient at accessing and aligning with the positive potential residing inside ourselves. Increasing our personal proficiency with these skills significantly increases the chances of successfully passing these skills on to others.