Whether Bold by the Front Door or Reticent at the Back, It is Just as Warm by the Fire
This wisdom of my grandfather has served me well through the years. In counseling, it is often the quiet, sometimes gentle, but nonetheless persistent pursuit of facts that can guide someone in counseling to insight. The funny thing about insight is that once gleaned, change soon follows. 

Sandra Anice Barns wrote, It is so hard when I have to, and so easy when I want to. I have come to look at this line as speaking to what individual dealing with addiction or compulsive behaviors often realize when realizing that the hassle of change is less than that of continuing. 

Change is many things, but first, it is an "inside job." People do not change other people, but they can influence others to change themselves. I have found that humor, metaphor, and allegory are all pretty good means by which to invite people to step back, look at themselves and their behaviors from a new perspective and answer a simple question: Is what I get by following this path worth what it costs me to continue taking it?

When the answer is yes, the journey continues along its present trajectory. If, however, the answer is no--or, and this is the precursor of change, I am ambivalent and therefore unsure--I contemplate change. When this contemplation is internal, when the tipping point in my cost-benefit analysis of my behavior is reached, I do not so much decide to change because something or someone external to me "made me," but because, as Barnes suggests, I move from feeling I have to change to deciding I want to change.

I have found many stories, cartoons films, music and other examples from the popular culture that have served to be useful in my efforts to invite individuals to evaluate the facts in their lives from a different perspective. Last week I found another and wish to share it here.

I found this video clip - see http://bit.ly/dT6d8g - humorous. It was sent as a link in one of the ubiquitous emails I receive from friends and acquaintances who share "stuff from the web," the purpose of which is to prompt a smile. Although I smiled when I watched, the potential the video held to stimulate a serious conversation about drinking to excess, particularly in a collegiate population, struck me.

If you have a moment--the video is only 3-min long--watch it and enjoy. If you have a thought regarding the video in general or, more specifically, if use in stimulating serious discussion with a group regarding prompting change, I will look forward to your comments here...or you can write directly to chapman.phd@gmail.com

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Dr. Robert


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