Thursday, May 05, 2011
Sacrificing Personal Control for Change.
What if the fabric of your life is made of dilemmas? What if change that is necessary violates your personal sense of control? How can one deal with that?
These are thoughts that come to mind when dealing with individuals that have personal perfectionist and protective values and beliefs that are no longer working. They experience certain levels of ambivalence with situations or subjects that are difficult to deal with or change. For example, a person may have the belief that they are required to achieve a certain level of grade in their schooling, but when not attained experience near debilitating levels of anxiousness, depression, or other psychological problems. The dilemma occurs when they realize that they have to change their idea of self-control and perfectionism, which to them may mean that they are losing a part of themselves. How do they cope with that? How would you cope with it, if you struggle with the same issue?
Here are a few thoughts. One could approach it psychodynamically by looking at the internal goings-on and the roots of the problem--start backwards and move forwards--how the past affects the present. This can be beneficial, but with some it may only explain the "why" and not the solution. With some, the "why" may be sufficient. Another approach is solution-focused. Picture what it might be like to not have the "issue" (look towards a future goal) and make small reasonable steps, much like Bob Wiley from "What About Bob." If you recall from the movie, though highly dramatized, his steps were often painful and frightening and required constant behavioral monitoring and adjustment. William James, a frontrunner in psychology might agree with this approach as he said "It's easier to act yourself into the correct way of thinking, than to think yourself into the correct way of acting." While acting into the correct way of thinking one will need to be aware of the thinking processes and how they feed the ambivalent thought and emotional patterns.
There are other ways at approaching this, but I do not wish to make this blarticle (blog and article put together--I just made it up) all about what I think. What are some of your thoughts? How can one be at peace with a change that challenges the very fabric of their values? What are other examples of intrapersonal struggles that you are aware of?