Hidden biases – We ALL have them.

Bias chart

Psst! Your thinking is biased. Do you know all the ways in which thinking may be slanted to support or confirm what we already think or believe?

If not, this is for you. If you do, then all the groovy chart will do is give names to what you already know and how thinking biases distort reality.

via You Can’t Always Trust Your Own Thoughts, And This Terrifying Chart Shows Why | HuffPost Canada

Not really cheating …or is it?

dsc09005
Building connection through shared activities.

Couples often come for help because there has been infidelity, or the mutually acknowledged imminent risk of an affair. Also often, in completing a clinical interview and exploration of the history of the relationship, it becomes evident that ‘cheating’ was happening in significant ways before the physical affair.

The research data out of The Gottman Institute is long term, and unambiguous, encompassing multitudinous couples. Sometimes, something apparently innocuous grows to become A Thing which can threaten the health of an already existing intimate relationship. When individuals within a committed relationship begin to make emotional connections with a degree of intimacy that rivals their primary partnership, trouble brews

3 ways we may be cheating

It is a myth of epic proportions (and a completely unrealistic expectation) that one individual is capable of meeting all of another’s need for emotional connection and intimacy. Paradoxically, it also a reality of being human that we need to experience a degree of intimate connection with another individual that is mutually exclusive; to be known and accepted as is. This need is what makes the pain of betrayal so significant. When an individual, as part of a couple, discovers that this degree of intimacy has been extended to a third party, emotional and psychological security evaporates.

In what ways might you be unintentionally or inadvertently jeopardising the health & happiness of your relationship?

The Therapist’s Office

Currently, over on LinkedIn, one of the discussion groups is having a pretty rockin’ debate about the “proper” decor for a therapist’s office. The comments range all over the map, from “stark, bare, and business-like,” to “looks like my living room,” and everything in between.

This is actually an important point …and guess what? There’s been some research done. Since the primary element in effective therapy is the therapeutic relationship, it stands to reason that the next most important element would be the environment. So, here we have the research and I am chuffed to know my office fits right in with the findings. Dim lighting, comfort, and safety are the the hallmarks of more client self-disclosure, and overall participation in the therapy. So here’s my office… feel free to drop in talk to me.

Ambition

Source: Ambition

My friend Anna-Lou is an amazing bundle of everything Tigger would be if he were a grrrrrrl. Or maybe, Anna-Lou just channels the spirit of Tigger on the way to wherever she is going. We live very far apart and I read her posts and see her in my mind’s eye gracefully flitting, book(s) in hand, from one shiny thing to another, scattering a frothy mess of feather bits, sparkles, and paint splots. (Anna-Lou will snicker. I said “gracefully flitting” instead of what she really does.)

All this and ambition, too. How groovy.

Appreciative Inquiry

Personal growth, professional success

369f9a1Quite often, LinkedIn is a great source of information, resources, and thought-provoking posts by professionals engaged in the process of networking. I usually spend at least part of my Sunday reading through the week’s posts, commenting, curating, and collecting stuff in my “good in a workshop” file.

Today, this post from Joshua Freedman ended up in my inbox through LI, and I took the time to read it now because Bill and I had just had a discussion about curiosity for a course we’re working on.

We’ve been trying to put together another Udemy course, this one for people helping with resettling refugees into new lives, specifically in this case, Syrian refugees. Our years in the Middle East have given us a perspective and understanding of some of the challenges that might be encountered by everyone involved. We had quite a discussion with our director about how to get away from dichotomous “we/they” language. We did not want to offer solutions or suggestions from the place of separateness, but rather of collaboration and empathy.

Bill suggested that we structure the video series as “appreciative inquiry,” and look for metaphors and narratives that are common to being human. After much ‘argumentative progress’ he came up with a brilliant metaphor for the first video that resonated so strongly with me that I cried, really touched by the visual picture the metaphor he created to illustrate the experience of many refugees. (You’ll have to wait for the video to see what it is)

Today, reading Mr. Freedman’s article on curiosity and how reframing his thoughts from judgment to curiosity completely changed his emotional response to another’s behaviour, I was struck by the thought that this is the concept in psychology of ‘attributing benevolence.’ Or, as Carl Rogers puts it, offering Unconditional Positive Regard. By moving past his first critical thought to “something deeper” ~ Joshua tapped into a curiosity that offered an array of possible reasons for the observed behaviour ~ he was able to remain “free and light” within himself.

This is such an important facet of criticism and judgment overlooked by most. The habit of judging others is a reflection of our own inner landscape. When we are able to attribute benevolence to another’s words or actions through appreciative inquiry , we will experience a shift in the habit of self-judgment.

You get that, right? Just as it is impossible to give to others what we do not have for ourselves (name it… money, love, goodwill, mercy, truth…), what we do/say to others is a reflection of what we do/say to ourselves. If we were curious about our own motives for doing/saying anything, rather than judgmental or critical, everything would be different.

Everything.

Appreciative inquiry. Curiosity. Benevolence.

YOU must be the change you wish to see in the world.

~Mahatma Gandhi