I won’t ask you about your “triggers” or how you’re coping or what coping skills you’re using.
I won’t ask you because I’ve heard feedback from people who have participated in treatment programs how unhelpful those phrases are. The first time I heard this feedback it stirred up curiosity as it is fundamental to training as a behavioral health provider. I can see it from the other side, though. The word trigger has a negative connotation in today’s culture because it is more commonly associated with a gun. That image must be a millisecond flash across the brain when the word is used to determine the source of a person’s emotional response. How was your brain working to rescue you, might be a better way to discover what your reaction is to a perceived life-threatening event, even if it’s a memory that flashes like lightening across the sky. People are held hostage at gunpoint and when you are working to address your intense reactions you need a path to feel freedom from experiences not kept as a prisoner in them.
Then comes the phrase coping skills. How are you coping with these events? Coping seems like an act of desperation as if all events in which you have an emotional response are difficult and daunting. How about these experiences elicit a human response and instead of coping with the experience you find a way to care for yourself afterwards? How can you nurture your emotions and physical being in such a way that you feel cared for and understood, rather than struggling to calm yourself, as the word’s definition implies?
Sometimes, people have the belief that profound, seismic shifts are going to occur when they reach out for counseling. And that can occur for people who experience some health issues, such as addiction. When they give up their substance of choice, the body dramatically works to re-establish equilibrium and good health. They may need assistance from professionals to kickstart the process, however, the individual’s own inner resources and miraculous healing capacity completes the work.
Other people require minor modifications in how they view their experiences in the world. And that can be as powerful, too. Sometimes it’s changing one word here and another word there. If you are walking and change your direction by one degree, you are going to end up in a much different place from where you originally headed. One step to the right or left and keep going for a completely different outcome.
Have a New Thought, take a Right Action and Change Your Life!
Copyright 2018 Brenda Henning