The power of a good navel-gaze

by Rod Smith

Therapists often get a bad rap. It’s often suggested therapists lead clients to “navel gaze” or blame their parents. I have heard amusing tales of therapists who apparently sit and passively listen and offer random, affirming utterances. You’ve probably seen the cartoons.

My own approach is eclectic, which, by the way, in the therapy world, is cool.

I can be very active in sessions.

I can be very quiet.

I draw lots of flowcharts (also called Genograms), prescribe books, and offer challenges.

I (almost) NEVER ask people how they feel and I spend zero time cultivating empathy.

Whether I fully identify with a client is not nearly as important as the ability to stimulate a client into action on his or her own behalf.

All this said, there are things worthy of good, solid navel-gaze:

  1. Are you being the healthiest member of your family (or group) you are able to be?
  2. Are you regularly using your developed skills and strengths?
  3. Are you blaming others for anything?
  4. Have you abdicated your God-given power over any part of your life?
  5. Are you exercising illegitimate power over anyone?
  6. Are you harboring resentment?
  7. Are you exercising “downward mobility” by seeking to serve rather than be served?

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