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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Ask For What You Need

I have been thinking a lot about relationships lately. What makes friendship work, how siblings communicate love, why people fall and grow in love, and much more. There is a lot of information out there but lately I've been specifically thinking about the idea of asking for what you need in relationships.

I work in a job, as a therapist, that is entirely relationship based. It is pertinent to have a good therapeutic alliance with my clients. I can't do my job if my clients don't trust me. As a human being I think the same thing is important. To be in a healthy relationships means that you take care of yourself and the needs of others--two whole people that learn to trust each other and become vulnerable.

I love studying *positive psychology, The Arbinger Institute, and recently listening to my friend Nate Bagley's "Loveumentary" podcasts. All of these people teach about a principle of self care, serving others, asking for what you need,  healthy communication, treating people as people not objects, etc. It got me thinking...

At my current job I am required to used a research based outcome measure tool called My Outcomes before and after every individual session I do with my adolescent students. There are 4 questions my clients rate on me and how the session went at the end of each of their individual sessions. It works on a sliding scale sort of like 0-10.

  • I felt hear, understood, and respected.
  • We worked on and talked about what I wanted to work on and talk about.
  • The therapist's approach is a good fit for me.
  • Overall today's session was right for me.
I've had to be accountable to these 4 important questions for the last 18 months. It has created opportunities to talk about my therapeutic relationship with my clients. Some of these conversations have been uncomfortable and hard to hear where I wasn't meeting their needs.  In each of the 4 above questions I get to check in with my clients and adjust to what helps them feel more heard, respected, focused on what they want to get out of their sessions, and so forth. We are consistently adjusting the way we communicate with each other. They ask for what they need and so do I. 

Having to adjust my communication,  the way I go about approaching hard conversations, and so forth has made my relationships much more intentional.  A thing of which I think is vital to healthy relationships. Asking for what you need isn't selfish-it actually means you may get what you want and a better, stronger, healthier relationship.

* To be more intentional when it comes to love check out my friend Nate Bagleys's Loveumentary & Unboxed Love and tune into his podcast: Loveumentary.

To learn more about self betrayal, treating people like people not objects, and great leadership skills check out, "The Anatomy of Peace" by The Arbinger Institute.

To look into Positive Psychology I recommend you check out these books: "Quiet" by Susan Cain, "The Happiness Advantage" by Shawn Achor, and  "Authentic Happiness"by Martin E. P. Seligman to begin.

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