as if

January 2, 2016 at 4:35 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

there are many theories in psychology and some therapists use one while others avail themselves of all that feel right for the patient.  over the years i have come to recognize for me it had to be the use of what would help the person sitting in front of me.  like most things in life there is seldom a one size fits all unless you happen to be that size.  when i first started my internship i had to declare what theory i would be using and i chose one that while not freudian was similar.  it was created around the “listening” theory.  the idea is if you let people talk after a while they know what they need to do and are now able to do so.  you can not give any advise even if they persist in asking what you think.  you can only be this blank canvas, imparting nothing of yourself in order to keep the process clear your influence.

it was not long before i knew for me that didn’t always work.  there are people who know what they need to do and just need to be able to say it aloud in order to act on it.  others really do need a sort of guidance or reality check and you are the one place they can receive that gift.  notice i said receive? that is there are certainly others who could and would give them this gift , however, it is can they receive it under those circumstances?  for some the answer is clearly no.  this is where the as if comes in to play.

with behavioral therapy it is obviously focused on behavior.  one element of this is to act as if. sometimes there are things we don’t like or want to do, there may be things we are afraid to do, with this technique you ask the person to go ahead and do this thing and act as if it’s ok.  the reasoning being pretty soon your brain will tell you that it is ok to do this thing.  here’s an example- when i was in the army running was a big part of my life.  it is part of the physical training and once a year a part of the physical test that you must pass.  long before i knew about the as if theory, like most of you, i was using it.  i had a friend in the army who hated running.  she avoided it at every opportunity.  as we were in the medical field we were often on our own for keeping up with our fitness.  lots of soldiers fail the pt test (physical training) the first time around.  they sort of cram for the next one and barely scrap by unfortunately.

wanting to help my friend i suggested she run with me and act as if she liked doing so.  over time it became easier to get her to put on her running shoes and head out with me.  what happened was her endorphins were kicking in and telling her this was enjoyable.  by acting as if she liked it she actually started to like it.  this obviously will not work with all things but for some it is a near miracle.  the mind is a powerful tool my friend, very powerful.

today i used my act as if theory as i often do when pain becomes almost unbearable.  walking down the hall each step became so contrary that i started laughing.  while it did not stop the pain it did distract me long enough to get to the bedroom.  it makes me wonder about something people say, more than once i have heard someone say “i can’t act as if i like something i don’t.”  actually you can and probably do more than you realize.  if over time my friend had still hated running it would have been true for her.  i can’t help but wonder if that would happen if she had not let herself act as if?  on the other hand i am finding it more difficult to act as if.  my guess is there comes a point where the body says “hey you are not fooling me! this hurts!!”

thank you for listening and letting me have that safe place to go where i can receive the “listening” from someone who will not judge me.  it is the new year now.  for the first time i have no plans for the future.  we, however, continue to act as if there is one.

Permalink 13 Comments

%d bloggers like this: