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December 13, 2011

Goal Directed Therapy

Goal-Directed Therapy between Helper (Alissa Bleecker) and Help-Seeker (Lorraine)

A: Hi Lorraine, what would you like to talk to me about today.
L: Well before I go to sleep at night, I always think about my son, Jeff, and that goes on and on and on.
A: Well what have you been worried about with him lately?
L: About his future and the decisions he makes, you know, the ups and downs of his telephone call. Sometime he talks to me and he’s all concerned and the next night he doesn’t bring up the problem again. So I don’t know if he’s dealing with it. I don’t know how he…and then I can’t get a feeling for it. And I don’t get together with him because he’s always so busy. So it’s one thing to talk to a person in person and actually see the facial and physical reactions when we’re talking or I’m listening. And I’m not getting that. It’s worse than…it’s similar to texting or email. You know, to hear the words and the expressions over the phone, but yeah I’m really worried about his future.
A: You’ve just mention two different concerns to me. The first, from what I understand, being your worries about the things he’s struggling with in his life right now, and the second being your inability to communicate with him properly about these things based on the cell phone or technology in general. Which is the most concerning to you?1
L: Well I think it’s all related. When he talks to me over the phone it’s about his decisions that he’s making, or lack of them. And I don’t know if he understands everything about his future.
A: How would you like it to be different?
L: I would like him, as I said to him awhile back, to move on and make a go of his business. And Jodi, his sister said the same thing. He seems to be kind of a night person. He does most things at night, instead of in the morning when his employees are there, and he’s got to correct that. It’s not healthy. He’s gotten his life turned around. And as a result of that, he’s in the dark. Then people take advantage of him because of his hours. And I feel that he…and I ask, and he really doesn’t want to hear that.
A: It sounds like if…
L: If he were there then people wouldn’t be out smoking all the time, do you know what I mean?
A: It sounds to me that you’re very concerned about him and you said that the thing that concerns you the most is his lifestyle. How do you think…I mean you told me how you want that to be different, but those are his life decisions, and seeing that you can’t control what he does, what can you do so that you yourself don’t have to stress out so much about what he’s doing?
L: Well, first of all, I feel that there’s no one else that he can confide it other than me because he has had these physical problems and my husband and I were always there for him. And we went through a great deal of ups and downs.
A: Ok, but right now you’re talking a lot about what’s already happened. What are some ways that you can now deal with the stress in dealing with him?
L: I just tell myself, it’s in his hands. He is making these decisions, and this is all I can do is listen to him and give him some advice, and I try to find answers. Saying, you know to deal with life differently. Perhaps to deal with your employees differently, you won’t have these problems, and you’ll be more efficient.
A: I understand that Jeff is having a difficult time right now, but the things that he’s dealing with in everyday life are not the things that you’re dealing with. What you’re dealing with is him talking to you about these things, and the way he’s doing it is also stressing you out. What are some ways you can make your life less stressful? Maybe in the way you both communicate? Or is your primary stress his actions in general?
L: What I’m telling you is that the way he talks to me is, it’s a need he has. He has this need to talk things over and be in touch. Although I don’t know that much about his relationships. I’m concerned for his future, you know, he’s 52 and I want a good life for him, and he came real close to it, but then things happen when you get hit by a car, hit and run driver. And then he had a rod placed in his leg and he’s still in a wheel chair. So I was hoping he’d be getting around a lot better, but he still needs help going up and down just one or two steps. I think that he really has more problems than he’s had in the past. So I just don’t know about his future, really. And I’m his mother.
A: What about you? What can you do to make your life less stressful?
L: Get a good night sleep.
A: Didn’t you say earlier that he was calling you at night?
L: yep. And that way too, I just enjoy the moment. I try to find beauty in my life. There’s a lot of beauty in my life that I see, and I enjoy those moments. And I am just very aware that I make decisions all the time. And I’m healthy and am aware of an organ in my body that helps me to realize that I’m making decisions all the time. If I feel unhealthy, I try to change the way I’m thinking. I say, you know what? This is really making me uncomfortable, these thoughts, and I don’t like that. So then I try to have other thoughts, and through my illness, I learned to be kind to myself.
A: It sounds like you stay really positive by finding the beauty in life. How can you find beauty in life when you’re feeling stressed out or down?
L: Just to enjoy humor, to enjoy life as it comes, being with my family is very important to me. Knowing that what we have is precious. I don’t take it for granted at all.
A: Based on your enjoyment of humor and family, what are some specific things that you can do to help you feel beauty in life when you’re feeling stressed out about Jeff.
L: I’m an artist, I can enjoy just color. I get up in the morning and enjoy colors. And I enjoy nature. In fact, my husband would say, I would be real worried about something, and I would say, I’m going to go do some gardening, and I would be kind of sad and then I would return to the house, and I was just a different person. And I was relieved, and I didn’t feel all the stress that I felt on the way out. And Don asked, well how does that work out? And I would just work through things. Another thing that I’ve discovered and discussed with other people is when one prunes, it can almost become a spiritual experience. Because you’re out of your body. You’re working on beauty and watching the branches of the tree and you’re completing centered on that trunk and project. And I can do that. And I told me neighbor, and he rolled his eyes because he goes out there with the electric tool and gets everything down at the same level and all, and he gets the job done quickly, and I see the beauty in the bush. Then I can watch it grow.
A: That’s great. So next time you talk to Jeff, if you’re feeling a bit stressed after your conversation, do you think you could do some gardening or art afterwards? Would that help make you feel more relaxed?
L: Not at nine at night. What I do is find comfort in my bed at that hour, and fortunately it works, because I have my favorite blanket and all that stuff, and I’m very comfortable in the bedroom. It’s very warm, and I feel comfort in the room.
A: You’ve mentioned a couple times about him calling at night. And it doesn’t seem like an ideal situation for you. Do you think that it would be better for you, if he were to call you during the day, because if he did, then you’d still be able to talk to him about the things he’s experiencing and at a better hour for you?
L: No, I won’t request that because he has the need for it at night. He’s a night person, so no, I’m willing to do it because I feel I can deal with it. Another thing that I’ve done, I don’t ask him any questions that could make him feel miserable. To go through all the stressful times. I feel a little guilty about not asking some of these things, but if it bothers him enough, he will share it with me. And I don’t bring up the things he’s shared with me in the conversation the night or two nights before. I’ve learned not to deal with the heavier things.
A: That’s good, that you have that system working for you. Could you make it a goal to continue to avoid those topics in order to feel better before bed?
L: Yes, I think I can do that, since he can still talk to me and reach out to me if he wants to.

Examples of Moves and Desired Outcomes:
Leading. Desired outcome: She had mentioned a few concerns, and I wanted to narrow it down to the main one.
Transforming. Desired outcome: For Lorraine to think about what would be a positive and ideal change.
Eliciting Goals. Desired outcome: For Lorraine to make a goal about what she can do to make the situation more positive for her.
Eliciting Goals. Desired outcome: Attempting to lead her into forming a goal instead of problem saturating.
Smalling. Desired outcome: For her to identify small steps towards approaching her problem.
Compliments. Desired outcome: To praise her outlook on life and encourage her to use this as a way to approach her goal.

Posted by desolada at December 13, 2011 10:06 AM

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