Can You Change The Way You Frame Your Way Of Living?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: P. Piero Dell'Anno, BA. MA. PgDip. BACP Reg.
13th March, 2013
At the end of the 60s, Peter Berger and Thomas Luckman of the New School of Social Research in New York published The Social Construction of Reality, a text midway between the philosophical and sociological survey which laid the foundations in the '90s to a new current of thought - namely Appreciative Inquiry.
In opposition to the view which identifies and defines contemporary life as a problem to be solved, this theory - modeled at Case Western Reserve University’s research group and led by Professor David L. Cooperrider - is based on the assumption that our lives are constantly evolving and, therefore, the resulting construction is not "self-evident", but rather a constantly evolving process; that has its roots and its meaning in action and, since the action is driven by the thought and conveyed in the conversation, the conversation becomes the instrument through which reality is created.
Changing our way of conversing changes the quality of our reality, which can obviously be perceived as more problematic or alternatively as an opportunity to be discovered and exploited. As Stephen Sondheim wrote in his famous musical Into the Woods: “Opportunity isn’t a lengthy visitor”. This is why, in our life, it is paramount to catch the opportunity when it comes along...
It is in this context that the "heliotropic hypothesis" can be taken into account; a hypothesis which asserts that individuals evolve towards the positive image they have of themselves, in the manner of sunflowers turning towards the sun in search for energy.
These images are not always available and often individuals live their lives out of awareness; although the more we learn to let these positive images to emerge, the more they become affirmative of our identities and of our way of being and living. Positive images can help us to create a new reality and are useful in supporting our search for what is precious in our current lives.
Through a process based on dialoguing, listening, through our ability to read critically our thinking and assumptions, which ultimately determine the construction of our reality.
To dream, to discover, to create, to communicate, are part of our lives, are characteristics of our way of being and interacting with others. The ability to make them available in our daily lives determines the actual quality of our experience in the world.
Joseph Jaworski writes in Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership: "I always thought that we use language to describe the world; now I find out that I was wrong. Instead, through language, we create the world - the world is nothing until we have described it. We do not describe the world we see, we see the world we describe.
How can these ideas be used to improve our life and experience? One possible option is through counseling and life coaching, integrated with the Appreciative Inquiry method and tools. If it is true that the reality is not that self-evident, but the product of a social construction and the construction is in the act of dialoguing, then the questions that we ask ourselves determine the quality of our reality.
In the first question we ask ourselves, we can already identify the seeds of our future. Counselling and life coaching are forms of dialogue, very effective in building a different future for ourselves.
The comprehension of our assumptions, the ability to identify goals, the definition of an ideal way of living and our willingness to achieve it, are all present in the counseling and life coaching sessions. Counselling produces excellent results when it is integrated with a positive vision of the reality, reducing the importance of problem solving as methods to find a new solution.
To start with, you can experience an easy example. I previously said that reality is created in conversation; you can now ask yourself to write a story about what valuable exists in your current life. After your have written your story, highlighting the positive characteristics in your current life, design an image of how you would look like your future to be on the basis of this current positive characteristics. Now write few paragraphs on how to achieve your desired future, highlighting the first three actions you need to take and introducing elements of innovation where possible.
At this point, based on what you've written and designed, describe your ideal week and set daily goals, designed to ensure that the future described has become your present. Remember that language determines reality...
I would like to leave you for the time being with the words that my little niece has whispered to my ears on a hot summer day; "Uncle Piero wake up, it's already tomorrow." The quality of that tomorrow depends upon your ability to positively see your present.
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