Coping and Overcoming Life Stressors 4

This afternoon’s session is the last in this series. We concentrate on the Congruent Stance of the Satir Model, in relation to the four Coping Stances covered in the first session (on 2 June 2017).

  • Behaviour – this person is always vibrant and energetic, confident and competent, loving and balanced;
  • Speech – honest with feelings, thoughts, expectations and wants, open and sharing, listens to others;
  • Emotion – also known as the Dominant Effect, this is the level at which one is peaceful, calm and loving, always smiling and curious;
  • Resources – there is self-awareness in the person, responsible, caring and connected to self and others;
  • Physical  & Psychological Symptoms very healthy.

If we can reach the stage of Congruent as a person, we can manage and overcome our stress. There’s always this tension in life but it will not turn into a strain or chronic stress. Going through this process, we need to not only appreciate ourselves but also others. Life is more complex than what we think, so sometimes we need the other four Stances to help us cope.

In working towards Congruent, we need to

  • Focus on Self – attend to our body signals, breathe to become calm, confirm our self-worth & become centred and aware;
  • Make Contact with Others – see & hear, attend to body, show respect and accept & trust;
  • Change Within the Context – change ‘the problem’ to coping, deal with feelings, reframe preceptions, set realistic expectations, and increase choices and possibilities.

At the same time, we need to refer to the Iceberg Diagram (covered during the sessions on 9 & 16 June) and the building blocks for self-esteem (covered on 16 June) so that we have good ingredients that help us grow up properly at both the emotional and physical levels. It is very, very important to nurture Self, as nobody else can do that for us. We have to value, love and appreciate Self so that life and energy, personality, intuition, creativity and the way we relate to people will be in harmony.

It is very hard to change others, therefore we must change ourselves. Using the Iceberg metaphor, we must be aware and understand what’s going on underneath, and have a full awareness of ourselves, deep inside, the internal and psychic.

If we can’t change ourselves, it means we can’t let go of certain things. So we have to go back to the Needs. What is holding us back? What about our blind spots? Can we accept that feedback? We need to ask ourselves why, and if we are aware of the reasons. If we are ready, then we should accept what will help and discard the rest (and this requires our wisdom to do). Then we go back to Self.

Taking care of Self is not selfish; it is Self-Care. We must realise that inner healing and psychology must work hand-in-hand. Instead of avoiding it, we must deal with it so that we will be at peace with ourselves. The question is whether we can do this without help.

The fact is: when we want to deal with something, we can’t do it ourselves. It has to involve others. The four Coping Stances and circumstances also make a difference. Can we love ourselves? We are created for relationship with people! Everyone has his own Iceberg, so how do we connect with another person? Often, we connect at the Behaviour level, and that is where a lot of problems surface. We need to connect at the Needs level. We need to appreciate ourselves. Communication is important to let others be aware of our needs. It is important to understand each others’ needs in order to address a more basic need.

Satir believes that everybody has the potential to grow. We can use the frame to guide us; to anchor our thoughts and feelings so that we are not all over the place. A problem is not the problem; the problem is the way we manage the problem. When we have a problem, we can try to cope with it using one of the four Stances.

Ms Abby, the facilitator, uses many case studies to illustrate the Satir model and the Iceberg metaphor. Her analysis and explanation is very clear and impressive. She displays great patience and empathy too. I look forward to participating in another course facilitated by her.

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