Friday, July 25, 2008


I recently attended a two hour "seminar" of one of my professors at Edgewood. The topic of the seminar was basically "What personal baggage do we (as therapists) bring into the therapy session, or the 'system' if you will." For example, my professor is very turned off by racism - meaning she doesn't like it and it gets her upset easily when people are being racist. After the 9/11 catastrophe, one of her clients made some very derogatory comments generalizing all middle eastern people. It took all of my professor's energy to not "yell" at her client.

So, it got all of us attendee's minds going about what "triggers" we have. What sets us off? What will set us off? What are we sensitive about? Why? What do we hold important to us? How will we respond? How can we keep from responding negatively, thus turning our client off or damaging the open and trusting relationship?

This got me thinking that we could all benefit from knowing our hot buttons. Society could run a lot smoother if everyone was just a little more introspective.

Consider the parent that yells at a young referee at their child's soccer game or the person who screams out their window (and flashes the bird) to someone who cuts them off while driving down the road. Why do they overreact?
What about yelling at kids or a spouse/partner or an employee?
What about complaining all day about Favre or flooding or who's house gets rebuilt by ABC?
Do people really get that upset about each of those things? Why some people and not others?

As I've stated in previous posts, I think a lot of how people respond to things (including reviews) has a lot more to do with the person responding than the thing or situation they are responding to. I'd venture to say that most emotion is internal and is only elicited by external situations. Almost as if we look for an opportunity to release it. We need the release.

What if everyone knew where their pent up emotion came from, knew a healthy way to release it, and could come up with a successful way to avoid negative/damaging feelings from building up inside them in the future?