There are many different aspects to therapy, particularly because it is so specialized. Although there are many interventions, there is a therapeutic concept that I have been discussing with clients rather frequently lately. It can be applied to almost any personal challenge we encounter, whether it is big or small. The following is my summary of this concept, The Choice Model, in its most simplified form.
Imagine that you are on a road. It is your life road. You are going about your business, and then all of a sudden a “crisis” happens, as is usually the way with crises. You might find yourself feeling overwhelmed, distressed, and fearful. This is often when negative and critical self-talk will erupt, and you might head down the path of the victim that leads to significant worry and anxiety. You might begin to blame yourself, tell yourself all the things you should have done to prevent the crisis, and/or blame others around you. Either way, there is going to be much wasted energy and upset. This road is automatic and problem-focused. It often leads to the quicksand of low self-esteem and depression.
However, there is another way: the positive path. It requires imagination and engaged thinking because it is solution-focused. It starts when you can acknowledge that a crisis has taken place, and continues when you examine what your new choices will be in light of it. You can choose to look for new options and possibilities, and to be a good friend to yourself in the process. Instead of putting yourself down, you can be compassionate and gentle towards yourself. You can put your energy into creatively looking for the choice that will help you to stay on track with your goals, and enable you to work through challenges in an effective manner. You can seek out new information and organize your resources, as well as make self-care a priority.
It is not easy to take the positive road, but it is always possible. Too often, people forget that they have great power within them. Asking one positive question, such as “What is the most useful action I can take right now?” and thoughtfully answering it can put you on the solution-focused track. Teaching yourself to consistently seek out the most life-enhancing choices can become a habit over time.
Perhaps, you might need some help from someone else. That is okay. You can be supportive of this choice too. The facilitation of the most positive path is often a goal in therapy. Continually maintaining one’s focus on the proactive road will undoubtedly help you to move forward and surmount difficulties. Your self-confidence and resilience can only increase on the positive track, and the possibilities can be endless. The positive road is always waiting for you, so why not try it out sometime soon? You have nothing to lose, and you might become truly inspired by the incredible power of choice!