Drug Rehabilitation, Addiction Treatment and Transformational Counseling Part III- By Harry Henshaw, Ed. D., LMHC
September 29, 2004 -- The first goal of Transformational Counseling is to assist an individual in becoming present to his or her self-limiting belief, of bringing it into ones awareness. It is this distinction or awareness of ones self-limiting belief that is crucial to his or her recovery and transformation. Without such awareness ones future will be as it has been, will be what can be referred to as the "probable almost certain future". Without such awareness, ones future will merely be the past and even with the constant attempt on the individual's part to fix the self-limiting belief, his or her life will merely be to continue with its fulfillment and actualization in their experiences and life. Awareness of ones self limiting belief can be gotten by the person experiencing its genesis or the originating event and with it the belief that the person invented or created about themselves at that time. An individual can also become present to the self-limiting belief by monitoring his or her spoken word. The self-limiting belief exists in our language, in the words we say or speak. Mirror work will also facilitate this type of awareness as ones self-limiting belief exists inside the feelings that one will become present as the individual observes his or her image. Regression can also be utilized to assist one in getting the genesis of his or her self-limiting belief.
Once one becomes present to his or her self-limiting belief, the opportunity then exists, possibly for the first time in the person's life, to invent a possibility for his or her life, to begin to reinvent his or her life anew. An individual's possibility is how that person will be in the present, free of the constraints or barriers of the past, a creation from nothing. Within Transformational Counseling, an individual's possibility is a new or different way of thinking about himself or herself, of who they are, of who they will be in life, to themselves and others. Like the individual's self-limiting belief, a person's possibility is a personal affirmation or declaration. Like a person's self limiting belief, an individual's possibility also exists in language, and once generated by the individual, will begin to create or invent his or her experiences and sense of reality through the power of his or her thoughts and word. Unlike a person's self limiting belief, an individual's possibility will allow him or her to create a live that they truly love and be able to live it powerfully. For the recovering client this new life will be one that is free from the use and dependency upon alcohol and drugs.
The third component of Transformational Counseling has to do with the individual learning what Landmark Education refers to as the process of enrollment. Given that a person will either live life as his or her possibility or their self-limiting belief, there will be a tendency for a person to go back to or stay in his or her self-limiting belief especially as he or she leaves formal treatment and begins to live a life of recovery. This is what is very familiar to us, that is, being our self-limiting belief in our daily life. Learning the process of enrollment will assist the individual in being able to get out of his or her self-limiting belief and back into their possibility when he or she begins to live life on life's terms. When we have a breakdown, we have gone back into being our self-limiting belief and as we do so will truly experience a loss of power, freedom and full expression that is from the past. It is in our breakdowns that we are being inauthentic, that the self-limiting belief becomes hidden again. The process of enrollment allows the person to become authentic about how he or she has been being inauthentic, to again become present to his or her self-limiting belief, and in the process to continue generating his or her possibility or invent a new one for themselves and their life. Enrollment is the key to having a successful life of recovery and transformation.
The implementation or practice of Transformational Counseling with a client takes place inside a conversation about integrity. Integrity is simply planning your work and working your plan. Clients are encouraged to develop a written plan, a plan for their daily life, a plan for their recovery. A written plan allows the client to take on creating or reinventing themselves and their life in a new way that will support their recovery and wellness. Implementing ones plan also allows them to confront that which has always stopped them in the past. As clients begin the process of fulfilling on their plan, of working it, of living the life that they desire, they will have a tendency to get stopped, to have a breakdown and as they do so will develop an inauthenticity, living life as they once did, from the backdrop of the self-limiting belief. It is in working with a client and his or her plan through the enrollment process that he or she has the opportunity to learn how to get out of their self-limiting belief and back into their possibility and truly transform their life and as a result to continue their recovery. For the client enrollment is the practice of continuing to experience a true sense of power, freedom and full self-expression. It is through staying in and working with ones integrity that a client will have the opportunity to stay committed to living a life of recovery, a life that they love and to live it powerfully.
The conversations that take place with my clients at the Holistic Addiction Treatment Program are conducted primarily within the language used through my personal training and development with Landmark Education. These conversations are done so by design. While it is important for a client in recovery to begin to act and behave differently, it is crucial to their recovery that they begin to think differently too. The language used in Landmark Education is unfamiliar and tends to create a space or clearing, at least initially, of confusion. This confusion acts as a pattern disruption for the client, causing him or her to start to seriously question what is being said, the meaning of the conversation. It is through this confusion and questioning by the client that they will have the opportunity to become present to their very thought process, to that which has been the true cause in the matter for them, to that which has been creating their experiences and their sense of reality, especially as it applies to how they have been thinking about themselves, the basis of how they have been being and way of life.
As the client begins to live a life of recovery and transformation it is also important that the counselor be very present to the client's tendency to acknowledge or thank them for their assistance. As a counselor I let the client know that I can not fix or help them, that they must do this work themselves if they are to live a life of recovery, a life that they love and live it powerfully, that I only create a space or clearing for their work. In my work with clients I make a stand for the client to assume total and complete responsibility with true empowerment as the goal. To step over the client acknowledging the counselor is essentially the same as encouraging a client to use a blame pattern on someone. As with blaming, thanking another for this type of work does not allow the client to truly get it that he or she is the real cause in the matter and in both instances the client will not experience his or her true sense of power, freedom and full self expression. The client is truly responsible for being in recovery and transforming their life and it is vital to the process that they get this completely.
Transformational Counseling is an extremely powerful technique for assisting others in making a true difference in their life. For the client who is suffering from alcohol and drug dependency it is a gradual awakening to that which has truly been the cause in the matter, to that which has created and shaped their thoughts, feelings, behavior, experiences and sense of reality, to that which has been the motivating factor of their alcohol and drug use and furthermore, that there can be new and different possibilities for their life. To assist a client in being able to stand in their possibility, of being the possibility of "acceptance, freedom and creativity", as opposed to their self-limiting belief, of being "not enough", will allow that individual to live a life that they love and live it powerfully. When used in conjunction with other alternatively oriented techniques, such as mirror work, positive affirmations, therapeutic relaxation music, self-hypnosis and NLP patterns, modalities that are utilized at the Holistic Addiction Treatment Program, a space is created for a client to begin to transform his or her life forever.
In addition to learning the fundamental distinctions and process of Transformational Counseling, it also is important for the counselor to have an experiential understanding of this technology. To truly make a stand for a client and be able to make a difference for another will necessitate that the counselor have gotten his or her self-limiting belief, have invented new possibilities for himself or herself and also to have learned the process of enrollment. Being able to assist another in the process of transformation can only is achieved when the counselor is in his or her own personal transformation. For me this journey started when I enrolled in the Landmark Forum. It was through experiencing the Forum and the curriculum that followed that the process of transformation began for me as a counselor and more importantly as a human being. Within the conversation of transformation we are merely human beings assisting other human beings to transform their lives, to live a life that they love and to live it powerfully.
Harry Henshaw, Ed. D., LMHC
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