I’m going to share a secret with you now, so just come a little bit closer.
It’s a big secret and I’m going to have to ask you to not tell anyone though, please. I know I can trust you on this.
The thing is, if you did tell anyone, particularly a therapist you might shatter their ego and perhaps they are not as ready as you are to be let in on this little secret.
I do a lot of work one to one with people, and after a session, or some times later, they will say to me, “I can’t believe you made me do …” or “I can’t believe you made me change …”
And this is in spite of me telling them before a session, “I can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do, you are the one that does all the work here.”
In fact, it’s not just in therapy session, but it’s in life you hear people say, “You made me …”
You must have heard people saying it, “You made me drop that” “You made me lose that” “You made me feel that.” I know I have. In fact, I know I have even said things like this, I probably still do on occasion!
See, as a therapist, I don’t actually make you do anything. I can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do. If I could then I’d be retired by now as the most famous therapist on the planet!
I just act as a guide; a facilitator if you like, helping to get you to your chosen destination.
When you go on a car journey somewhere unfamiliar you take a map book right? (And yes, for our more modern and technically astute readers you may be using Satellite Navigation, but some of us still use maps, so just substitute Sat Nav for map here.:) )
Does the map book get you there?
No. It does not.
You use the map book and it guides you there. It tells you the route to take, but you actually get yourself there.
You could ditch the map and just go by gut instinct, but it’ll probably take you much longer to get there, if you got there at all. And who knows where you would end up on route!
This is how it works with therapy sessions.
The therapist is the map, and you are the driver.
As a therapist, I use my skills, my knowledge and my experience to guide you safely through the quagmire to your chosen destination. You could make the journey yourself, and some people do, but it can take longer and be a much more treacherous route.
Of course, this doesn’t just apply to therapists though; it can apply to any area of your life. You can use the knowledge and experience of experts to get you to your goal quicker.
If you take up a new hobby or sport, you don’t tend to sit in a corner and try to work it all out yourself. You will normally go for lessons or at the very least get a book by an expert. When you start a new job, you are generally taught by an “expert”; someone who already knows the ropes.
In effect, you model the expert, learn how they do it and then do the same. Kids do it all the time. It’s how they learn. Ever noticed how your kids always pick up those annoying habits from you; the ones you really didn’t want them to have?
For modelling to be truly effective, instead of just copying what a person is doing, you must learn what is going on in their heads and copy that too. You need to understand their mental processes in order to effectively model their results.
If you are learning to break a wooden plank with your bare hands, it’s no good thinking about your shopping list whilst going through the motions. You have to copy the mental processes and then you will shatter the wood.
Whatever your goals in life, use a “map book” to help you get there. Model an expert and your journey will be much easier and safer.