Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Working with the Therapeutic Self

"We think we want to do things, but that simply isn't enough, for without emotional motivation, the thought won't go anywhere. It's like a car without gas."....Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht

As writers we have many, many unique opportunities to help our readers or listeners towards change, but that won't happen unless the written or spokenWord is well-marinated in hot-desire emotional images that speak directly to the therapeutic part of our audience's mature self. It's also not going to happen if we are not taking good care of ourselves, both physically & emotionally. This is especially important for those of us who write in the field of self-help & self-development, although well-written fiction has placed many a person on the road to change because the subconscious mind doesn't know the difference between truth or fiction.


Inside each of us is something called the therapeutic self. In the practice of nursing, this is a key element in designing the nursing care plan for the patient. In writing, I find this just as important. When someone says "your writing or your audio really speaks to me," you know that you have reached the door of the therapeutic self.

The concept of the therapeutic self plays a major role in the development of a positive attitudinal approach, both for the writer & the reader/listener. What you do, what you say, as well as what you think & feel make you unique & your uniqueness is the key to deep caring. The depth of the caring will impact on the ability to bring change. To achieve positive change, each of us, writer & reader/listener must be invited & then to be motivated to look at ourselves & to examine our assets & liabilities.

Without the knowledge gained from an honest appraisal of the personal self, the therapeutic self can be in jeopardy of being ineffective as a change agent. So yes, as writers, we have our own self-work to do, if we want to bring this depth to our audience.

To be therapeutic, you must be yourself. And so, you need to recognize your personal strengths, as well as your weaknesses & to work with them, bringing them to their highest levels. In the practice of Interactive Self-Hypnosis, this is accomplished with the help of the subconscious mind. Here's an inner working example:

Invite yourself to relax deeply into the moment. This is as simple as finding a quiet place, utilizing a few cleansing breaths & intending to bring this experience to yourself. Once settled in, tilt your closed eyes up about twenty degrees & view the mind-screen. If you are not a visual person, just pretend that you are sitting in the second row of a movie theater & put your limitations aside. On the screen place your mature or therapeutic self, perhaps sitting on a comfortable chair. On the right are chairs for your assets & on the left sit the chairs for your liabilities. Image them as children coming in & taking their appropriate places. Notice there is no voice of judgment.

Once everyone is settled down, notice the light filtering in through a big window & entering both the assets & the liabilities. Black drops exit the fingertips, transmuting into gold dust as they touch the floor. Notice the assets are becoming bigger & stronger; the liabilities smaller & less intensive. The gold dust is now presented to your therapeutic self to bring back to the workshop of your daily world.

Here you are being genuine, honest, open & flexible. There is no voice of judgment. Nothing here speaks to errors or mistakes or any other negatives. Here, the self-esteem grows strong. In allowing yourself to just be, you share feelings, as opposed to trying to mask or cover them. Sharing is a very meaningful part of honest & open communication, but before you can have it with others, you must be able to have it with yourSelf. This is the practice of being human & is the essence of professionalism, both with yourSelf & with your audience. This is mature growth.


The therapeutic self needs specific positive attitudes for living at healthy levels. This is so for both writer & audience & so when writing, we come from our own therapeutic position & speak to the mutually mature aspect of our audience. Here are some powerful additudes to entertain, as well as to deliver in your writing:

Personal Worth: This is the viewpoint your hold about yourself & others. For example, staying aware & understanding such things as cultureal & social differences, respect for humanity, tolerance & patience towards human fraility. This is especially key when writing for addiction or other self-help areas. Whether it be the spokenWord or written word, the writer should demonstrate a conviction that dignity, individuality & equality of people must be protected.

Personal Integrity: I believe strongly that we must all maintain a sense of honesty towards ourselves & with others. We communicate on so many different levels & if we are living a dishonest life, then this will come through as well....not the type of delivery we want.

Open-Mindedness: We can model a willingness & ability to change, for it sits within all of us. As we practice, this will find itself in the work we deliver to our audience.

Hopefulness: As writers, we must practice looking at our own life situations from the bright side. This will then allow us to easily convey brightness to our audience, keeping in mind that we cannot give what we do not have to give.

So writing is not just about getting the words on paper, or the sounds on the disk. It's not just about deadlines & struggling with mental blocks. Writing is also about how we care for ourselves & the attitudes we hang around with, for like it or not, they are a part of what we share, consciously or subconsciously.