Thursday, June 21, 2018

Friction, Traction and Action

“If there’s no friction, then there’s no traction. If there’s no traction, then there’s no action.”
– Matt Hoffman (Taking the Escalator subscriber)

If given the choice ahead of time, most of us would likely choose to have the smooth and easy path toward our goals, hopes and dreams. Realistically speaking, however, the more worthwhile and rewarding paths in this life are rarely ever easy to travel. The above quote really puts this process into a practical perspective:

A positive way to view some of the struggles we may face on our journey toward our desired destination is to consider the reality that:

It is often those times where there is some “FRICTION” (e.g. resistance, irritation, strife, etc.)

…that we learn to proverbially dig in and gain some “TRACTION” (the state of being drawn or pulled)

...that leads to positive “ACTION” (an exertion of power or force)

Drawing Strength from 
Your Personal Experiences and Struggles:

If you are in a situation right now where you are dealing with a substance use or coexisting mental health issue, then it is extremely probable that you have been through your own personal share of life challenges, struggles, and obstacles. The good thing is that if you are here reading this right now, then on some level you have pulled through enough to keep on moving forward. Good for you.

So often substance use group therapy can get hung up on negative consequences and losses, which has its time and place for discussion so that we can learn from our mistakes. However for the rest of this particular group exercise, focus on the positive gains that you have achieved personally by first facing friction in your life, then digging in and gaining traction so you were able to bring about positive action toward your goals.

Group Activity:

Pick one of the following words below that stands out to you when you think about a time in life when you faced some adversity but you made a decision to pull through which lead you to where you are today – Then take turns sharing your personal experiences associated with your chosen word:







Friday, June 8, 2018

I Feel Like No One Understands...

Have you ever been in a unique and challenging situation that caused you to feel like no one really understood what you were going through? Just about everyone has had that feeling at one time or another. One of the beautiful things about group therapy is that being involved in a cohesive group program provides an opportunity for group members to share their individual experiences with others who can respond with empathy.

Besides love and compassion, empathy is one of the most powerful factors when it comes to connecting with other human beings in a positive manner. Empathy involves shared thoughts, feelings and attitudes, even when personal experiences and backgrounds may be different. Empathy is like a bridge that connects one person to another through identification and understanding.

Three quick but key points for showing and experiencing empathy: Empathy comes more naturally to some people than others. Here are a few things to focus on when showing empathy:

Suspend interpersonal judgement – When empathizing with another person, judging that person’s actions can get in the way of understanding. Temporarily forget about whether or not you agree or disagree with what that person did when trying to empathize.

Focus on their heart and mind, not your own – When showing empathy, forget about how you imagine that you would think and feel in that person’s situation based on your experience and focus more on how that individual must have thought and felt from their perspective (which may be completely different than how you would feel in the same situation)

Imaginatively get into the other person’s world – Allow the other person’s point of view, circumstances and experiences to take you out of your own head and into their world, seeing and feeling things from their point of view and frame of reference as best that you can imagine

Showing Empathy Group Exercise:

Think about the title of this page: “I feel like no one understands…” Take a few minutes to think about a situation in your life which can be difficult to understand. Take turns sharing your situation one person at a time and allow your group members to try to show you empathy by responding according to the following rules for listeners:

Listen, but:
  • Don't give advice
  • Do not focus on whether you agree or disagree
  • Do not explain how you think the situation could have been handled differently
  • Try to respond with empathy and understanding

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