Time to make change? Listening to ignite your mind.

You might think that going to see an osteopath is really a pretty simple job: you lie there: I do something. Da na! You can go back to your life and you are fixed. I've waved my magic wand and you can go back to slumping at the desk for 8 hours a happier person.

Of course really changing the symptoms involves changing something else. Doesn't it?

Old Einstein is often quoted as saying the definition of insanity is:

"doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" 

But of course we all do it. We want the cake and want to eat it too. And the buns, biscuits, chocolates....We want our bodies to feel great without getting up off the sofa or off the tablet/phone/computer.

So when it comes to therapy and working with someone therapeutically, we may have a large wall to cimb to get over this kind of thinking and the assumptions that lie behind it. Because they are often the only thing really in the way of getting better. 

Imagine, for example that a doctor or consultant you saw told you in your childhood about a symptom or inury that nothing could be done and "you'd have to live with it"or even "it will only get worse as you get older".

Imagine that you've just come to that conclusion yourself over the years "I won't ever get better".

These are things, sadly, that I hear a lot. And you can imagine how likely it will be that that person responds well to treatment with that belief deeply embedded in their sunconscious. Because that belief is going to want to find evidence that supports it. And every little tweak or twinge can be seen as proof that treatment isn't working and nothing is any different.

And of course that person was probably being honest based on their knowlege and capabilities. But medicine, science and particularly neuroscience continues to move on massively. We know realise the power of the mind behind our decisions, choices,motivations, successes or failures in sport and our careers, our parenting, our relationships and as a result, health and our experience of life on earth. 

Many of the things that doctor was stumped at knowing what to suggest, other people specialise in and make a difference to daily. From my own practice, adding acupuncture for example has helped me get someone with polycystic ovaries having regular periods again, who hadn't for over 10 years. When I learned rehabilitation, again I can do things now I never was taught on my 5 year Osteopathy degree.

Today millions of people live with their diseases and manage them now, rather than dying of them. Understanding and knowledge advances and moves on.

So we use some cunning, and quite intelligent stuff here. making the assumption that the person has come for treatment to get out of pain and suffering and would genuinely like this situation to change. And may need some help getting out of their own way.

The first is to try to create at Qi to Health what Nancy Kline author of  Time to Think calls a "listening environment". This has ten components:

  1. Attention: Listening with respect interest and fascination
  2. Incisive questions: removing assumptions that limit ideas 
  3. Equality: treating each other as thinking peers
  4. Appreciation: practicing a 5:1 ratio of appreciation to criticism
  5. Ease: offering freedom from rush or urgency
  6. Encouragement
  7. Feelings: allowing sufficient emotional release to restore thinking
  8. Information: providing a full and accurate picture of reality
  9. Place: creating a physical environment that says back to people "you matter"
  10. Diversity: adding quality because of the differnces between us.
Actually being listened to properly is a rare thing. Going to the doctors, we often have in mind we are only allowed to talk about one thing and there's a strict time limit. It doesn't help us to use our minds to find the solutions we all have if we're not given true thinking time. 

This is  particular style of coaching, and for many people, just providing the environment and listening with heart allows them to do all they need to think their way out or forwards or free.

If however they are stuck in a very limiting assumption, then an "incisive question" that allows them to see over that, round it or through it (because most limiting assumptions aren't true) may be just the ticket.
I know this has worked when people mention a long time after "that question you asked me" and that it helped something shift. for the better.
Then we can get on with the osteopathy or acupuncture or bouncing up and down on the balls!

So some days, with some patients, we don't do any hands-on stuff at all: because what they want to get out of the session is time to think it through, uninterrupted, for themselves. Without the washing to do, the people demanding attention, tea to cook, meetings to prepare for, emails to respond to: all the demands of modern life with other people.

And the lovely thing about Nancy's philosophy is that everybody has this ability to work it out for themselves and it stops this heirachical thinking that assumes because I'm the therapist I somehow know better than you. 

I first did a listening skills course in my 20's as a young teacher as I was a form tutor and of course the first port of call for the pastoral needs of my year 7 pupils. I felt woefully underqualifed or equipt to deal with the barrage of emotional upset in a class of 30 young people, in a new school in a very deprived area.
I can honestly say it changed my life. And hopefully helped change a lot of other people's lives as a result.

I knew from my own experience of couselling at university how transformative it is to find someone who has the skills and provides the environment for thinking and have also experienced how wrong it can go (in the form of a psychotherapist who told me I didn't need help and refused to see me again).You can imagine how that went down...

Often when we listen to someone, we too jump to how we see their situation, projecting all our horrible histories onto their story, and frequently rushing to solve their "problem". We're so bright and experienced! We must have a better solution than anything they can come up with! They're not doing it like we would.We must enlighten them...
If we're really not listening... then we tell them what happened to us!   

So if that's whetted your appetite, I can highly recommend Nancy's 2 books "Time to Think" and "More Time to Think". They may revolutionise life for you.

 I'll leave you with a bit of Cat Stevens, because I like the lyrics "think alot" and what's not to like about a man with a guitar? Father and Son

And if you decide it is time to make a change... give me a call.