Monday, January 23, 2012

Bringing passion to a boil

Wow, look, another post in the same month! (Don't get used to it.)

It is now New Year's Day in the lunar calendar. I've made this point before that it's not the "Chinese" New Year, but the Lunar New Year. Why? Because other Asian cultures celebrate the Lunar New Year, too! So, on behalf of my people (who just call it New Year), I want to let people know we are not trying to hog the Lunar New Year.

So, I understand that this is primarily an art blog and that there has been very little art. Yes. I know. The art has been subsumed by the immense amount of time and effort the three internships (yes, you read that right) have been taking.

That's a lot of psychology. It's a lot of therapy.

I might have written before that I practice a kind of therapy known as FIT, which is short for Feedback-Informed Treatment (or Therapy). It's an outgrowth of CDOI, which stands for Client-Directed Outcome-Informed therapy. Basically, they are two approaches, rather than theories, which utilize feedback from clients to improve positive outcome in therapy.

Getting feedback works well in any situation where you'd like to improve or have more success. Randy Pausch (may he rest in peace) of The Last Lecture fame, advised, "Get a feedback loop; and listen to it!" It could be measurements (like an evaluation at work or grade at school) or a person (like someone you trust to tell you the truth, customers in your restaurant, etc.), but whatever your feedback loop is, pay attention if you hope to develop your potential. We keep thinking in terms of the hero being The One and all alone, but if you look back, all heroes had allies and gifts (and a gift is given to you--by someone or something else).

Anyway, where FIT and CDOI differ (as I understand it) is that FIT is concerned with the excellence of the therapist's skills, like that of a concert pianist or Olympic athlete, beyond any sort of psychological theory.

CDOI is more strongly rooted in the "common factors" which state that all theories and interventions have about the same, minimal effect and that there are other, more powerful factors at work in psychotherapy that help clients get better, and that all factors (there are mainly four) are common to all therapeutic practices. It's an "anti-theory," since theories aren't seen as the star of treatment (it's the client). However, in being an anti-theory, it's become a theory of its own.

And once again, I do have a point. As interested as I am in psychotherapy, a friend who is also a FIT practitioner talked with me and I just had to admit: My passion is not in being one of the so-called "supershrinks." It gave me no tingle to strive for this level of achievement.

"So, what do you have passion for, if not psychotherapy?" he asked.

"My clients. I have a passion for people to be happy. I care about what happens to them, and I study psychotherapy to serve that end, but psychotherapy in and of itself isn't my passion."

There I had it (although my friend still had to describe it to me)! My passion (one of them, at least) is about helping people live happier lives. Ease their suffering and so forth. Psychotherapy is just another vehicle for it.

Another therapist friend during another conversation gave me a homework assignment.

"Every night for a week, write down what you were passionate about that day. It doesn't have to be career related. This will strengthen your muscle for discovering and accepting what your passions are."

Let me tell you, this is a great homework assignment!

I am passionate about soup.
I am passionate about dandelion greens and unusual edibles.
I am passionate about conversations.
I am passionate about blue.

That's just a sampling, but I have to say, the one that kind of struck me was my passion for conversation.

I thought of books as a letter, or conversation in the form of a story, with the authors. I felt safe and thrilled when I read wonderful stories, and moved when I read poems. I didn't feel alone in what was a very dangerous world to me. Comics were a particular treat because the conversation was both visual and textual.

I always thought I'd be an author when I grew up. (I still do.) I wanted to give that sense of security, hope, and fun to others. I wanted to share my philosophy of life, any wisdom I had gathered, through entertaining stories.

Oh, right. The other thing I'm super passionate about: Imagination. It takes my breath away and makes life worth living. If you haven't watched Six Degrees of Separation, please do. The part about the imagination in that film is wonderful. Imagination is not escapism, it's a way to go deeper into life.

And since there was an art dealer in the film, I cannot forget my first and unrelenting passion for beauty.

I am Passionate about Happiness and Conversation and Imagination and Beauty.

Ain't that a hoot?

Invite Beauty,

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