Archive for ‘Therapeutic Process’

July 30, 2017

This week at Chatel…..

by Rod Smith

cropped-e-is-for-enmeshment1Five (very lofty) goals for the week

Teach, facilitate group so students and staff are empowered to find, enjoy, and use their backbones, most creative brains, and voices, each to maximum of his or her current level of helpful, “growthful” discomfort. (Yes, I occasionally make up my own words).

Facilitate each student’s possibility for growth (to get bigger or smaller) into his or her appropriate size (a) as a distinct individual, (b) as a distinct individual in within a variety of contexts (like current or immediate family, family of origin, a class of students, a sub-culture and a broad culture of national heritage), and (c) finally, as a member of the Church, immediate and universal. This means examining contexts, roles, boundaries, skills, talents, gifts, and resources.

https://kona.wordpress.com/2006/04/05/jesus-herds-traingles-and-a-woman/

Teach, model (if it possible) Differentiation of Self by “watching” it in Scripture. We will use three Gospel encounters to illustrate this delicious way of life.

cropped-ladderjpg.jpgGive practical insights into healthy or unhealthy TRIANGLES, GENERATIONAL TRANSMISSION, HERDING, and other usually INVISIBLE pressures that can undermine or sabotage healthy individual, family, and organizational functioning. We will use two, perhaps three, Gospel encounters in order to illustrate.

Give practical tools to minimize individual and group anxiety, to grow and support healthy invisible individual and group loyalties, and to develop the awareness of necessary sifts from REACTIVITY to RESPONSIVENESS, from STEMMING and EMOTING to THINKING, and from AMPLIFYING or IGNORING to EMBRACING and EMPOWERING.

Further reading: Bowen, Murray; Friedman, Edwin; Schnarch, David; Gilbert, Roberta; Satir, Virginia; Framo, James; Minuchen, Salvador

February 27, 2017

Spirituality and spiritual abuse…..

by Rod Smith

Ten signs of the presence of spiritual abuse, manipulation, domination, or intimidation.

Spiritual Abuse (always on a continuum) is occurring when a pastor, leader, or even a friend:

  • “Hears” God for you. God apparently “goes through” him/her to speak to you. This requires a sense of superiority – from him or her and is often framed as being “more mature,” and a sense of being “less” from you.
  • Alienates (shuns, ignores) you if you do not adhere to his/her guidance, leadership, or authority. This is usually VERY subtle – so it is easy to deny.
  • Suggests that rejection of his/her “higher understanding” is done so at your spiritual or even physical peril. You will hear things like, “Be careful. You will move yourself from the covering and protection of God if you don’t listen to me.”
  • Rewards your obedience with inclusion, and punishes your questioning or resistance with withdrawal. Compliance gets stroked; resistance gets struck.
  • Demands “cathartic” honesty. Unless you spew out every detail of your life you must be hiding or withholding something and that “something” will, of course, impede your spiritual development.
  • Lavishes you with praise, acceptance, and understanding when you are “good” and “pushes” you away when you are “bad.”
  • Is apparently fixated on the use of titles like reverend, pastor, elder and cannot appear to relax in the company of “ordinary” mortals. The issue is not in the use of legitimate titles (or robes or religious garb) – it is that identity seems impossible without the titles or the trappings.
  • Leaves a trail of cut-off relationships. Usually in the trail are those who refuse to bow, to submit, to stand in awe of, to be thoroughly entranced by, the will of the pastor, the leader or the friend. Always regard with suspicion or caution leaders who are cut off or alienated from members of their family, especially their parents.
  • Lives from a “for me/or against me,” “black/white,” “all/or nothing” platform of “relationships.”
  • Genuinely sees God’s Call so zealously, so fervently that any signs of resistance are seen as the expressions of The Enemy or an enemy – thus, relationships are expedient (disposable) in the light of getting on with God’s work.

The perpetrators of abuse apparently fail to see that reconciliation, and forgiveness, “space,” and room to move, and room to respectfully disagree (boundaries, morality) are all part of the glorious work of the Gospel.

Freedom begins with recognition. Recognition must result in action.

Stand up to those who misuse their positions of leadership. Spiritual abuse serves the welfare or neither the perpetrator nor the victim – quite apart from the disservice it does to the church.

All authentic holiness, spirituality, Godliness, is LOCAL. If it’s not present and respectful in the most immediate one-to-one relationships (spouse, child, secretary, mail-carrier, in the traffic, at the airline check-in, with the dog) it will not be authentic in the one-to-many relationships, no matter how many thousands or tens of thousands make up the many.

December 31, 2014

Planning 2015 / Become your own CEO

by Rod Smith

The Mercury – January 1, 2015

Ways to think about the New Year that will lead you into new dimensions of living that you design for yourself:

All behavior has meaning. Assess your behavior – your responses, your attitudes.

Try to see the behavior of others (good or bad) as none of your business.

Draw. Using stick figures of various shapes and sizes, draw your family according to the influence you perceive them to have.

Think about your patterns. Diagram your relationship traps and triangles.

Chart your position: how it’s changed over the years and how you’d like to see it modified in the future.

Use colors.

Give the colors meaning. Track the information-flow.

Until you become your own Chief Executive Officer and Human Resource representative in your own family you will not see the changes you’d prefer. While you are not in charge of you, someone else will be.

Keep your drawing private. You are looking for change, not an argument.

Everyone sees his or her family differently because we all live in different families – EVEN if we are siblings.

Allow yourself, and everyone else, the kind of grace you’d like shoveled your way. This is partly what it means to accommodate homeostasis (yesterday’s column). Allow for some degree of regression and failure on all of your parts.

December 21, 2014

Text for help from a woman who is cutting……

by Rod Smith

“There’s a young woman cutting herself outside my flat. What can I tell her?”

(Text received from South Africa)

Assess the level of urgency.

Does she need an ambulance or your presence?

If it’s the latter, your presence is more important than your words.

Be very respectful.

Be calm.

Be gentle.

Ask if she wants you to say anything at all.

If she tells you to be quiet, be quiet. Tell her you will sit with her in silence.

Allow the quietness between you to settle in, and this could take a long while, then tell her gently that you are willing to listen to her for as long as she wants to speak, and that you will not say a word while she talks or try to rearrange her thoughts or mess with her feelings.

If she tells you that you may talk, tell her very gently, after much silence, that there is help available to people who think that hurting themselves is helpful; that while her strong feelings that result in her inflicting pain upon herself may offer her a tangible outlet for her strong feelings, there are steps available toward more permanent relief from whatever she is facing.

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July 17, 2012

The joy of our humanity

by Rod Smith

Is found in our connection with others (a connection sufficiently powerful so that we are not alone) and can therefore give and receive strength to and from each other. It is yet separate enough so that we not drain each other of the adventure of being unique and distinct beings. This is one of the greatest blessings accompanying our humanity and, when it fails, it becomes the source of exceedingly powerful pain.

July 14, 2012

Indications of becoming healthier in an intimate relationship

by Rod Smith

1. You experience greater OBJECTIVITY and can “see” your most important relationships as if looking at them through someone else’s eyes.
2. Despite any pain, any trauma, any uncertainty, you can see some HUMOUR in what you are experiencing even if it is short lived.
3. You are progressively gathering a small community of friends who know everything (or almost everything) about you and their SUPPORT is becoming easier to trust.
4. You are seeing with greater and greater CLARITY what are and what are not your responsibilities within your most important relationships.
5.”No” comes easier and it is not accompanied by guilt. “Yes” is your response when you really want what you agree to. You begin to BELIEVE the words you say. Your words reflect you, your desires, and are not said from guilt or the impulse to keep the peace or make others happy.

July 13, 2012

Love AND Control

by Rod Smith

Love and control cannot co-exist in the same relationship anymore than light and dark can exist together in the same space at the same time.

June 19, 2012

Three requests

by Rod Smith

“You and Me” will be a little different today. You have three invitations:

1. Please send me the names of the 10 books you believe every English speaking child should read by the time he or she is 15. Please don’t refer me to website. I want your personal list of essential children’s and young adult literature. Kindly indicate “m” of “f” if necessary. Skip Potter, “Vampire” books, and anything with Chicken Soup in the title.

2. I received this yesterday from Kayise Maphalala, producer of Three Talk, SABC Television. If interested please contact Kayise at kayisem@urbanbrew.co.za:

“Three Talk is doing a show on forgiveness and one of the areas we would like to also look at is forgiveness in relationships. Would you be so kind as to recommend a couple who has gone through a difficult patch to come in and talk about the importance of forgiveness. This is for a show next to be aired on Tuesday, 26th June 2012.”

3. I have “pushed” Passionate Marriage (David Schnarch) and Failure of Nerve (Edwin Friedman) for years as the best books on (respectively) relationships and leadership. What books am a missing on these two topics? Please send me your suggestions. It is summer in the USA. I have vast amounts of time (I am on three months leave) for reading.

 

July 1, 2011

Achieving MUCH with YOUR life is a profound act of mothering

by Rod Smith

1. Enriched is the woman who does not lose herself to her marriage or motherhood. She has a strong spirit of independence while being a loving wife and mother.

2. Enriched is the woman who does not accommodate poor manners (being taken for granted or being victimized) from anyone (not husband, children, in-laws, siblings, or her parents).

3. Enriched is the woman who lives above manipulation, domination, and intimidation. Her relationships are pure and open; her boundaries are defined, secure, and strong.

4. Enriched is the woman who does not participate in unwanted sexual activity. She honors her body as her private temple and shares it, even in marriage, only by her own deliberate choice.

5. Enriched is the woman who has developed a strong, clear, identity. She regularly articulates who she is, what she wants, and what she will and will not do. She is unafraid of defining herself.

6. Enriched is the woman who knows that pursuing her dreams to be educated, to work, to accomplish much, to expect much from her life, are profound acts of partnership in marriage and profound acts of mothering. She knows that the woman who “takes up her life” does more for herself, her husband, and her children than the one who surrenders it.

June 29, 2011

There is help for addicts but the first step is recognition….

by Rod Smith

Addictions and addicts are swamped in denial.

The use of any substance or participation in any behavior is a problem (an addiction) for you if one of the following is true for you.

As a result of the use of a substance or engagement in a behavior:

  1. You’ve lost, or come close to losing, a significant relationship or a job.
  2. You’ve had a run in with the law.
  3. Your children are unsettled by your activities.
  4. You have physical cravings when you have been without it for a few minutes or a few days.
  5. You violate your values, or appear to have no values, to sustain your activity.
  6. You build your life around something people who love you wish you wouldn’t consume or do.
  7. Your life – finances, faith, and relationships – has become progressively unmanageable.
  8. You hide or you lie about your whereabouts and/or behavior.
  9. People who love you are put “on duty” and you expect them to lie for you.
  10. People, especially those you love, are embarrassed by your behavior.
  11. You hate a list like this list and hope certain people won’t see it.
  12. When confronted with this list you argue about definitions, display anger or rage, or write the writer off as an idiot.

Please, get help, AA, AL-ANON, and similar organizations are able to assist you. You do not have to live like this!