A Want of Want

When Nines self-erase, you lose track of what you want. The next time someone suggests lunch, speak up and suggest a place to eat rather than your reflexive deference to the other person. You need practice asking for what you want. You might even make an “I want to do” list in the morning instead of the traditional “to do” list.

I blame Calvin more than Freud

I love lawyers: they think so critically. A favorite lawyer of mine sent me an article on the demise of talking therapy. A choice quote: For patients seeking help for serious problems, old style talk therapy typically isn’t helpful— and for depression, ruminating on the possible unconscious causes of distress can actually make it worse. While long term therapeutic guidance is needed in some cases, it’s not realistic to expect insurers to cover ongoing talk sessions for those who aren’t severely disabled by chronic mental illness.

By ignoring these facts, Gottlieb is missing the most important issues. Psychotherapy doesn’t have an “image problem”: it has an evidence problem. The treatments provided by most therapists are not those shown to work and the treatments shown to work are hard to find because therapists don’t practice them, since instead they instead want to “go deep” like Gottlieb does.

In a Q&A with the Association for Psychological Science, Kazdin described the problem this way: “Most of the treatments used in clinical practice have not been evaluated in research. Also, many of the treatments that have been well established are not being used.”

Read more: The Trouble With Talk Therapy | TIME.com http://healthland.time.com/2012/11/27/can-branding-save-talk-therapy/#ixzz2jGxeGlPe

I am a theologian and I see the origins in narrowing therapy down to talk in our Puritan religious tradition. Compare/contrast a medieval cathedral for traditional Catholic worship: superb architecture, magnificent sounding organs, statues, stained glass, incense, flowers, oil, water, processions, vestments) with the exclusive talk worship in a (think Christmas Card) white, plain, small church with only words: mostly talk, some words sung (except strict Calvinism. Calvin forbade music except for the psalms because they were inspired.) Our schools have followed suit. In times of economic pressure, only words are sacred: reading writing and arithmetic. What gets cut? Symbols and the body. Art, music, shop, physical education (only self-supporting sports survive), drama, home economics, the list is as long as your body.
So with this mentality – that the word alone is necessary for personal development- it is no surprise that Freud was welcomed in Puritan America. Just talk and we’ll make it all better. I think one reason so many resort to chemistry is that other than just talking, they have no other resources. (Exhibit “A” The DSMV which specifies the malignancies that the insurance companies will pay a therapist for fixing) is a huge book of diagnoses (which can be done with words). Cures? Not much at all.

Many coaches are now doing what I do: I assign “fieldwork” or “homework” that is active, usually symbolic, even rituals, often physical. (The research is consistent: exercise cures depression better than antidepressants in all but dreadfully (usually trauma-based) serious cases. Even for Fours!

As Bill Maher crassly put it: “Ask your doctor if getting off your ass is right for you.”

Forms of power

Eights are keenly aware of some forms of power — mostly external and active. So if you are an eight, you might make a list of the forms of power in your family or community or business. Don’t forget sexual attractiveness, beauty (think Apple vs Motorola, who invented the first mp3 player) the ability to listen carefully, patience and a military one – embeddedness. Who is powerful just because they are knit tightly into the group.

Booby prize

Sevens often don’t distinguish between production and action. Sevens sort for action and at the end of the day may feel they have accomplished a lot because they “did” a lot. But their actions are often scattered — selected for diversion or entertainment — and they didn’t get much done to forward the goals they not only said but in some sense really intended. Mere activity is the booby prize. They worked hard but all they got was tired.

How to decide

Sixes often have difficulty making decisions. One reason is they confuse decisions with conclusions. A conclusion follows from data. This happened, this is a factor, these things have to be considered, therefore: this is my conclusion.
But a decision comes from the Latin word meaning to chop down (with a sword or knife). It is about your eagerness (or lack thereof) to go in a single direction. To take a job or spouse or vacation you would like some information, of course, but the future (which is what you are committing to) does not contain information. Sixes usually have to go inside and separate what THEY want from outside pressures. These outside pressures are usually what they consider the group (any group) wants or expects. Six: can you please yourself slightly before the group? Not against it or without it, but putting the group second.

Recharge your battery

I was riding with a Five on the plane a while ago. After we chatted a bit and his five style was clear, I asked him for a metaphor for his life. Without hesitation he answered, “I’m a battery and other people drain me.”
May I offer a coaching suggestion: in order to see others as a resource instead of a drain, why not make a list of people who have contributed to your life. If that works for you, then make another list of people in your life who are on your side that you can count on — and what you could count on them for.

You are not alone, or at least you shouldn’t be.

Fours often longingly admire genius without realizing how genius is dependent on community. Beethoven was considered outrageous until other musicians acknowledged him. Shakespeare was considered talented but later literateurs canonized him. Van Gogh painted weird stuff until other painters liked, imitated and developed “impressionism.” So if you are style four, you might affiliate with a community that can be helpful. A community can bring you a matrix for your personal subjective work and ideas to be critiqued and — more pleasantly — recognized. A four’s focus is on how you are different and subjective. A community balances that with a moderate objectivity. Genius is not collective. Recognition, approval, support and encouragement is.

Nobody’s looking

If you are a style three, you usually have the vague belief that you always have an audience: present or past or future. To weaken this belief, you might do something YOU want or approve of that no one can find out about. This strengthens your inner authority.
In our American style 3 culture, practically every book has “NYTimes best seller” to convince you that the multitude is right. Your authority supersedes theirs. Believe it!

Maybe you can’t

If you are a Two, you may be implicitly confident that you can read people’s minds. Maybe you can’t. You frequently come close because of your focus on what others need. The next time you think you know what the other needs, ask yourself if maybe you need some of that, too. This will weaken your deleterious habit of meeting your needs in others. You may feel selfish as you acknowledge your own needs, but that’s the feeling you can profitably challenge.
I am a theologian and Jesus is part of the problem if you only know about him in popular piety. He is pictured as loving and giving and asking nothing in return. This is especially true among people who are ignorant of the gospels. Jesus mentioned people getting what they deserve many many more times than he mentions love. Fact: Jesus mentions money more than love in the gospels. One scholar estimated his mentions of fair distribution of money more than 100 times. In the internal world that means justice precedes charity. You need to give everyone, including yourself, what you deserve. It’s a matter of fairness. If you are not fair to yourself, you will compensate in ugly ways.