Healing Arts Report

Practices for an Evolving Life

They Don't Tell You How

“You need to love yourself more.” “You shouldn’t feel that way.” “Always put other people first. Don’t be selfish.” The one thing that is missing from all this good advice is telling you HOW to do it. We introduce you to practical tools using your own character traits to support you in creating practical answers to those questions. Read more here.

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Books

Two memoirs tell about times of extreme personal growth in the author’s life. Sunny Side Up is a window into the early 70s when certain young adults were searching for a way to head off society’s path bent on materialism. The Transparent Feather tells of a dying author passing the torch of writing to her new friend cum student.

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Mission

You can love yourself and other people as well. At Healing Arts Report we explore fulfilling personal development that at the same time serves to create the shift to a peaceful new world paradigm.

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” ―C.G. Jung

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Blog

The Gentle Way To Take A History

First thing I was told in social work intake practice was to always take a history, but when I once again heard a new client sigh deeply then rattle off events from long ago with a tone of both boredom and impatience, I figured there would be time enough to gather it while engaging in a real conversation.

After all, what drove them to speak with a stranger about their concerns was alive and intense for them in the moment. Now that I’m working with people on expressing their values rather than treating them through a medical model, I can easily apply this gentle method.

I designed a single-sided information sheet that allows them to tell me with whom they live, what their job is, what their gifts or knowledge strong points are and, equally importantly, their goal(s) for talking with me.

Strangely, the last is the one question that is skipped most often. And this is the question that allows us to connect. Sometimes the individual is overwhelmed with a number of challenging situations going on at once–losing a job, possible foreclosure, a difficult relationship, and not knowing where to start fixing things.

This beautiful sculpture seems to me the embodiment of hope.

This beautiful sculpture by Angela Conner seems to me the embodiment of hope.

Some people make their statement short and to the point. Anxiety. I ask what are the ways they experience anxiety.
“I have heart palpitations for no reason. I cry myself to sleep. I worry about everything.”

I ask for more information. Have you had your heart checked by a doctor? What happens when you can’t sleep? What have you tried? What things are you worried about?

If the emotional intensity is high I might introduce the idea of energy work with the intention of giving them some immediate relief from feeling overwhelmed. Being more relaxed helps us talk more comfortably, too. Tapping especially builds rapport because it so strongly affirms what the individual is experiencing.

As we explore their current situation, we might go back to the first time he or she remembers feeling this way—sorry, angry, or scared, for example. Then the history we discuss is relevant and there’s no boredom in their tone of voice. Instead, there is often wonderment, a baffling feeling as they discover a current link to something very old and nearly forgotten.

I usually have a pretty good history by the end of the first appointment, but what is better is that we have done work on the subject that brought them in. In addition, there is now usually a sense of hope because we’ve created some order with our exploration, proof that they can address their goals, and a sense that the person now has a companion to help see them through the process.

 

DO IT FOR YOURSELF: When you’re feeling overwhelmed, sit quietly for a few minutes. Then describe to yourself or, if you can, write a list of what is disturbing to you right now. You don’t have to write all the details, just the amount of words needed to remind you of what it is. When you’re done, slowly take one breath in and out for each item on the list. Do not try to do anything with the list. Finish this exercise by thanking yourself for listening to your concerns. That’s it. Continue with your day.

CONTACT. If you’re feeling self-critical for being disorganized, consider contacting me for a free 20-minute phone call or a one week email consultation to explore gentle acceptance of needing to sort through an abundance of ideas and concerns.

 

Discussion

One Response to “The Gentle Way To Take A History”

  1. I love what you have described doing with people. A good riff on the common wisdom about taking history first. It is much more empowering the way you integrate history-taking. It makes the client more of a partner in sharing information.

    Posted by Beth Raps | February 14, 2015, 8:52 am

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