Elsewhere in this blog I have written about problems I had with mental help that was judged to be legal and ethical. I thought then that I had communication problems, and looking back, I still see communication problems, exacerbated by psychotherapeutically correct terminology.
Now I have written a 10-step communication guide that could have prevented those problems, and I hope for feedback from professionals and customers of mental help.
I do realize that for many who need help, there is no choice. I had none - it was "take what is offered or prove that you are treatment resistant".
So if I had done things differently, it would not have changed anything. What did help me, was to finally the difference between what communication could have been and what it was, to remove the niggling sense that "everything is OK, it's just my reactions that are wrong".
I: Written information about the helper’s views and methods, read and signed by the customer if they agree to be helped in this way.
II: An agreement signed by both parties at the start of help, where both commit to using the following communication tools on an equal footing:
III: «COULD YOU PLEASE REPEAT WHAT I SAID?"
To check if one is actually communicating. And if there seems to be a pattern of misunderstandings, this can be expanded:
VI: “WHAT HAVE WE TALKED ABOUT THIS TIME?”
V: “WHAT DID WE TALK ABOUT LAST TIME?”
VI: SORT THOUGHTS FROM EMOTIONS/REACTIONS/PATHOLOGIZATION
"I feel that ...» is a thought. For example:
Instead of saying "I feel that you are invading my boundaries", one can say "I am feeling invaded. Would you please join me in looking for a grain of truth in that feeling?
A helper who is used to treating the customer's reactions as psymptoms might find this difficult, and the question can be just as difficult for people who have problems protecting their borders and noticing border violations, but when both persons are willing to look for a grain of truth, we get a win/win situation.
Instead of discussing if the reaction is transference or an overreaction; it can be seen as a double reaction: A reaction is always triggered by something in the here-and-now, even when the trigger is tiny compared to the reaction.
Finding the grain of truth affirms the intuition of the person who asks for it, and it also shows that the rest of the reaction belongs elsewhere.
VII: RECORD A SESSION
Go through the recording together and look for:
CRITERIA FOR CRITICAL THINKING
AND DOMINATION TECHNIQUES
Ignoring, making invisible
Blaming and shaming
Interpreting reality for others
VIII: CHECK IF THERE IS AN ALWAYS-WRONG SITUATION:
An always-wrong situationis a communications dilemmawhere others know that our reactions are always wrongand it is impossible to discuss the problem or resolve it.In this situation confusion is a natural response,and we can only get rid of the confusionby removing ourselves from the situation
IX: MEDIATION AS A LAST RESOURCE
Set aside professional theories, symptoms, jargon and diagnoses, and check with the help of a mediator if it is possible to communicate on a basis of ordinary good manners and common sense.
X: A written agreement to end help, where both parties note their reasons, signed by both parties.