Certified Master Practitioner, Rapid Resolution Therapy
While driving to the second annual Healer the Healer Retreat from Tampa, Molly Sanford took the first exit off I-10 to Fort Walton Beach, FL, only to find herself on a long deserted highway that runs through Eglin Air Force Base reservation with her fuel tank quickly reaching empty. When she called I heard distress in her voice as she described the fuel light was on, and she was thinking her car would run out of gas before she reached civilization.
She had no conscious map or view of where she was relative to the nearest gas station. She had temporarily lost directional sense as the idea of running out of fuel activated her primitive mind to make her body stronger and more alert. "I don't want to run out of gas"...inner mind hears dominant thought- run out of gas- Yeeeeeks! She knows she can drive, but right now she doesn't know where to go.
I reassured her that I was familiar with where she was, and we'd take care of it. I then began to develop a target. I saw Molly calm, at ease, creative, and joyful at the retreat as she sat on the beach.
Step 1 - communicate you're not alone, you and I are connected, we're collaborating and will get this done! I had to figure out where she was, and then develop a plan for how to get her where I wanted her. She told me right away that she wasn't an auditory person, so I stopped talking in directions and started using visual landmarks to keep her with me. What I said was there, was there. I saw the steps--"You're here Molly, keep going, you'll see this, then that."
I saw a coffee cup, no time to develop an activator, but I knew that Molly's mind was wonderfully responsive to coffee. "You're going to see a Tom Thumb store on the corner. They have coffee and Gas." After you fill up, start moving again, more visual directions to our meeting place, and then follow me to the retreat. Whenever you get or give directions to someone, you rely on your own ability to go inside and mentally represent through a movie how to get wherever it is you want to go. Yes think about it. Even directions involve creating imagery of what it will look like!
Step by step my mind showed me what to do, and then I showed Molly in a way that her mind got it. She had worry thoughts of "What if I run out of gas?" She felt stressed and lost (yes these were certain responses that came up along the way), but she kept calm, moving and we were soon at target.
I started thinking this experience of getting her to the retreat was not unlike a RRT session. What's the problem, where are they now, and where do we want them? Dr. Jon Connelly tells us to be intentional. Begin with the end in mind. See the target. Demonstrate understanding, connect, create experiences that change is underway, lead the way with commands (directions) for where we want them until they arrive, and then celebrate.
If you'd like to chuckle a bit, can you just imagine for a minute what some of the other more popular therapy approaches might have done? Validate her, draw attention to her need for fuel, poison with sympathy, analyze why, was it something about her relationship with her mother, father; did she ever dream of getting lost and running out of gas, what does this really represent, was the problem irrational thinking, should we give her skills to cope and tolerate emotional distress, would it help if she was more mindful and accepted where she was so she would not struggle or try to control it, would they look at her readiness, desire or motivation for change? Sounds pretty ridiculous compared to RRT, huh?
I thought it's totally okay with her to not be running out of fuel and looking for the quickest way out of the woods! Only a RRT therapist would set the clear intention from the start - seeing her calm, at ease, creative, joyful, her mind showing her what has benefit, and possibility. In the end Molly delivered a creative, moving, and effective Heal the Healer Retreat.
For more information about upcoming Heal the Healer Retreats, please visit www.thehealerretreat.com.
Since 1991, Dr. Elizabeth Michas has been in private practice with Michas, Valentine and Gill, Psychiatric Associates in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. She specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, anxiety, and trauma and also has an interest in the application of mind-body medicine, neuroscience and integrative therapy approaches. In addition to psychotherapy, her practice includes psychological and neuropsychological assessment. Dr. Michas is licensed as a Clinical Psychologist in the state of Florida (PY4751) and is board certified in drelizabethmichas.com or email her directly at email@example.com.