moving towards emotional maturity in helping relationships

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  • Moving Towards Emotional Maturity in Helping Relationships

  • What Are the Three Most important Resources you Bring to a Helping Relationship?YourselfYourselfYourself

    Bringing the best possible Self to the relationship is not self-ish. It is responsible, healthy, and generous.

  • What is Stress/Anxiety ?The bodys response to a threat, or a disruption to the homeostatic balance of the organism.Includes automatic physiological adaptations to the threatening environment.There are physical and psychological changes (heart, immune system, sleep, learning, memory, etc.)

  • Chronic Stress/ AnxietyWhy Zebras Dont Get Ulcers, Robert Sapolsky, professor of neurology and nerurosurgery at Sanford University. Zebras react only to acute stressHumans turn on the same stress response for perceived or imagine threats.Humans have a hard time turning off their stress response system.

  • For the most part, only humans can keep theHPA axis going indefinitely. We can do thisbecause of how our faculties of perception,thought, and emotion are produced in the brainand how they are connected to the stressresponse. (McEwen)

  • Chronic stress leads to SymptomsThe Balance Within: The Science Connecting Health and Emotions, Esther Sternberg, M.D. , NIMH, NIHPhysical SxEmotional SxSocial Sx

  • So. . . .Anxiety/Stress (threats, real or perceived and our response to them) will impair our ability to be a resource for others.

    Anxiety/ Stress is a significant contributor to the challenges others face.

  • California sea snailFrom Metapsychology to Molecular Biology:Explorations Into the Nature of AnxietyEric R. Kandel - American Journal of Psychiatry 140:1277-1293, 1983What intensifies Stress?

  • California sea snailFrom Metapsychology to Molecular Biology:Explorations Into the Nature of AnxietyEric R. Kandel - American Journal of Psychiatry 140:1277-1293, 1983Train one group of animalswith warning cue, then a head shock; train other group without warning. Measure escape locomotion of each group.

  • California sea snailFrom Metapsychology to Molecular Biology:Explorations Into the Nature of AnxietyEric R. Kandel - American Journal of Psychiatry 140:1277-1293, 1983Train one group of animalswith warning cue, then a head shock; train other group without warning. Measure escape locomotion of each group.

    Assay degree of learned anxiety by measuring the amount of escape locomotion an animaldisplays following training:

  • California sea snailFrom Metapsychology to Molecular Biology:Explorations Into the Nature of AnxietyEric R. Kandel - American Journal of Psychiatry 140:1277-1293, 1983Train one group of animalswith warning cue, then a head shock; train other group without warning. Measure escape locomotion of each group.

    Assay degree of learned anxiety by measuring the amount of escape locomotion an animaldisplays following training:

    Animals trained with warning stimulus showed no increase in escape locomotion when tested in absence of warning; when signal present, however, group exhibited significantly more escape locomotion than when signal not present. This means the animals had no apprehension in the absence of a cue (anticipatory).

  • California sea snailFrom Metapsychology to Molecular Biology:Explorations Into the Nature of AnxietyEric R. Kandel - American Journal of Psychiatry 140:1277-1293, 1983Train one group of animalswith warning cue, then a head shock; train other group without warning. Measure escape locomotion of each group.

    Assay degree of learned anxiety by measuring the amount of escape locomotion an animaldisplays following training:

    Animals trained with warning stimulus showed no increase in escape locomotion when tested in absence of warning; when signal present, however, group exhibited significantly more escape locomotion than when signal not present. This means the animals had no apprehension in the absence of a cue (anticipatory). Animals trained without warning cue, show a generally heightened responsiveness thatis unaffected by presence or absence of a warning cue (chronic anxiety).

  • California sea snailFrom Metapsychology to Molecular Biology:Explorations Into the Nature of AnxietyEric R. Kandel - American Journal of Psychiatry 140:1277-1293, 1983One Example of intensification of stress response:-- Unpredictable--Uncontrollable

    In helping relationships we are confronted with the constant stress of dealing with situations that we (as helpers) cant control and cant predict.

  • What Do we Do?Fight, Flight, Freeze, Care-takeAutomatic, instinctive, pre-cognitive reactions reduce the stress!!ConflictDistance/Cut offOver/Under FunctionTriangle

    None of these are long term solutions for toning down the stress/anxiety.

  • What Does Work to Reduce Stress/ Anxiety?Becoming more of a Self--- Developing emotional maturity.

  • Definitions of Emotional MaturityThe ability to be responsible for my own thinking, feeling, and acting while allowing others to do the same.Be in contact with highly anxious people/situations without taking on the stress for yourselfClear about the difference between thinking and feeling, know which one you are doing, and free to choose between them.

  • Levels of Emotional MaturityLow levels: feeling-dominated. No distinction between feeling & fact. Energy into seeking love & approval, and little available for life goals. Intellectual functioning submerged. (Minimal self-regulation.)

  • Low levels: feeling-dominated. No distinction between feeling & fact. Energy into seeking love & approval, and little available for life goals. Intellectual functioning submerged. (Minimal self-regulation.)

    Moderate levels: Beginning differentiation of emotional &intellectual systems, with most of the self expressed as pseudo self. When anxiety is low, functioning can resemble higher levels.

  • Low levels: feeling-dominated. No distinction between feeling & fact. Energy into seeking love & approval, and little available for life goals. Intellectual functioning submerged. (Minimal self-regulation.)

    Moderate levels: Beginning differentiation of emotional &intellectual systems, with most of the self expressed as pseudo self. When anxiety is low, functioning can resemble higher levels.

    Moderate to good levels: Enough differentiation between intellectual & emotional systems to function as a cooperative team. Functional intellectual system. (High self-regulation)

  • Levels of Emotional Maturity relate to how much self exists in relationships.

  • A conceptual continuum of SelfNo-self: Cannot differentiate between feeling and intellectual systems. A dysfunctional intellectual system. Only capable of a narcissistic I, such as I wantIm hurt-I have the right. Others exist to meet my wants and needs. I exist to meet the needs or wants of others.

  • Pseudo-self is made up of knowledge incorporated by the intellect and of principles and beliefs acquired from others. It is acquired from others, and it is negotiable in relationship with others. It can be changed by emotional pressure to enhance ones image with others or to oppose the other. In the average person, the level of solid self is fairly low in comparison with the level of pseudo-self. A pseudo-self can function well in most relationships; but in an intense emotional relationship, such as marriage, the pseudo-self of one merges with the pseudo-self of the other. One becomes the functional self and the other a functional no-self.

  • Solid self is a manifestation of a functional intellectual system that withstands pressure from the feeling system. It is made up of firmly held convictions and beliefs that are formed slowly and can be changed from within self, are never changed by coercion or persuasion by others. (I believe-I will do-I will not do.)

  • Compassionmalignantcompassionmalignantindifferencesolidselfno-selfno-self

  • Compassionmalignantcompassionmalignantindifferencesolidselfno-selfno-selfanxiety-drivenanxiety-driven

  • Compassionmalignantcompassionmalignantindifferencesolidselfno-selfno-selfA person in this mid-range has enough solid self to experience compassion for others without feeling compelled to launch into an overfunctioning mode. Ie. Doing for others what they can our should do for self.

  • How Emotional Maturity DevelopsDevelop clear values, goals, beliefs, principles for the situation or relationship. Define your self by your actionswhat you will or wont do without needing to convince or persuade others.Stay in contact with stress-producing people/situations.Observe your self.

  • BenefitsHealthier, stronger You. When an anxious mind comes into contact with a less anxious mind, the anxious mind calms down and has better access to thinking.

  • Relationship Dilemma and Symptom DevelopmentCopingMechanisms:

    distancingto insulatefrom emotionalintensity-seeing theproblem as inthe other-emotional well-being derived fromdoing for the otherFailurein Adaptation:

    blocked fromsustainingemotionalconnection-seeing cause ofproblem as inoneself-feeling isolatedandout-of-controlreciprocalprocess

    Eric Kandels ideas about chronic anxiety are relevant to Bowen theory, but not the same. I will clarify what I mean after discussing Kandels work. I think Kandels work is particularly useful for getting beyond equating anxiety with a psychiatric disorder and seeing it as a natural process. My interpretation of Bowen theory is that Bowen theorys ideas about chronic anxiety fit more with what Kandel calls anticipatory anxiety, which I will explain as I go along.

    My interpretation of Bowen theory is that Bowen theorys ideas about chronic anxiety fit more with what Kandel calls anticipatory anxiety, which I will explain as I go along.

    Each becomes something in relationship to the other. These are not fixed personality traits, but functioning positions.