CREATIVE PSYCHOLOGY WITH DR. DUG
learn all that you have ever wanted to learn about me, but what about the values and beliefs that guide the psychological services I provide?
When I first started thinking about the values that I want to drive my company, I came up with a big list of values, including Creativity, Courage, Flexibility, Transparency, Kindness, Collaboration, Effort, and Laughter. However, as I considered this further, I realized that these were merely parts of the bigger overarching values of Clarity, Connection, and Hope, which I consider to be the main ways for people to attain well-being.
Clarity is the first step to any new venture. When we create a new business, we create a vision statement, mission statement, and values as overarching guides to make sure we stay on track toward our true north. But when we’re born, our parents (typically) do not create vision, mission, and values statements for us.
Through the years, our priorities change and we adjust our compass. This itself is not a problem at all.
The problem happens when we get into a seemingly endless cycle of reflecting and analyzing what we are doing, why we are doing it, how we are doing it, and what we are going to be doing next. I call this the River of Reflection. Some of us dip our toes in and some live on a riverboat.
Reflection is a bad thing? That’s not what Therapy 101 says.
No, what I’m saying is that reflection is helpful when it is a tool for life, but becomes unhelpful when it becomes a way of life. Sometimes reflection takes such a prominent role that it crowds your mind, zaps all your energy, and stops you from experiencing your life.
Instead of endless analyzing, we can figure out what you truly want and need and where to aim your compass.
Let’s approach this differently and create clarity by straightening out your priorities and putting you on a path to living by your values.
There is an epidemic in this country that has been going on for a long time. Isolation. People complain about feeling lonely even when they are surrounded by loved ones. When this happens, they are left to believe that this is just the way life is going to feel from now or that something must be wrong with those relationships.
But what if, instead, I told you that there’s a two-fold approach to combatting loneliness and isolation?
First is to open yourself up to really being seen by others and to be willing to really see others, rather than only seeing what we want to see. This, however, would be much easier if we saw ourselves truthfully, knew how to see ourselves, and liked what we saw. In other words, having an intimate and positive relationship with yourself.
The second part of this approach is to take advantage of your membership in whatever community you identify with, whether that’s very local (your family) or global (an Earthling). There is a primitive drive inside each of us to belong to a group and to be recognized as a group member. This only happens when you are an active member and when the group becomes a part of your identity.
In typical therapy, you will talk about each of your relationships and determine all of the shortcomings and how to fix those problems. I think there is a more creative solution. We can instead expound on opportunities for self and group connection as a pathway to improving the relationships in your life.
Let’s approach this differently and build connection by improving your relationship with yourself and grounding you as an integral member of the community.
Think back to periods in your life when you have felt hopeful. As an adult, you may have felt hopeful when someone commits to something for the future or you develop a new connection with someone. Or when you were a child, maybe you felt hopeful on special occasion as, such as on your birthday, or on days when you noticed your parent was in a good mood.
These examples hold one thing in common – there is some sign or piece of evidence that is telling you that something might be wonderful in the future.
Chances are good that at some point during your childhood, you may have felt like this most of the time. You were constantly learning new things – about the world, about your surroundings, about your capabilities – and each new learning carried with it some possibility. What could be.
I think that people who chronically over-reflect about themselves, their lives, and others are trying to attain two things. One is safety (trying to make sure you’ve covered your bases) and the other is hope. People who over-reflect are sometimes trying to find some new sign that some wonderful possibility is ahead.
Here’s one more potentially controversial hypothesis – I think that we (psychologists and clients) focus on the safety part because it seems more acute and disturbing. But when we focus on the safety part, this makes people reflect even more!
Let’s approach this differently and re-gain hope by revealing the possibilities that could be.
My Professional Beliefs
I believe that all people have the potential for change.
I believe that children are the key for a better future and should be nurtured as such.
I believe that strong relationships are founded on mutual respect, fondness, appreciation, and admiration.
I believe that wellness relies on us living our values with intention and aspiring toward greater meaning.
I believe that it is vital for each of us to contribute something to our communities and that we are all connected.
I believe that acceptance is necessary to attain life satisfaction.