An important theme recently among my clients has been the vacillation between hypervigilance and collapse. How do these two states live in your body? Hypervigilance is often a state of anxiety, of production, of doing – being early or on time, accomplishing tasks for a deadline, making lists in your head of all the tasks you have to do, shutting off many parts of yourself in order to please a boss or appease a customer. In essence, it’s a results-oriented stance.
I was debating what to cover this month, and what repeatedly kept getting my attention was the practice of journaling.
Journaling is a great tool in conjunction with psychotherapy. Why? Because there are a lot of thoughts floating around in your head. The practice of writing them down can be very freeing as well as clarifying.
Let me be clear – journaling is not a diary of the day’s events, although it can be. It is not scrapbooking either, although there can also be that component if that’s a medium you like. Journaling is bringing focus to specific issues, thoughts, and feelings that need some space and attention.
I often get the question from potential clients, “What is holistic psychotherapy, anyway?”
My New York aunt insists that in New York, the word ‘holistic’ would not get me very far – there’s this perception that the translation of ‘holistic’ equals California crunchy-oat-bread-with-sprouts-and-avocado-eating, Birkenstocks-wearing, lefty-communist protesters… Or some such comparison. Maybe they think we’re all driving around in ’68 VW Bugs hugging trees and singing Kumbaya.
He is half a “wise man” archetype, and half “New Age guru.” The latter comes out when he makes emphatic points like, “I know the Universe is here to support us all,” that, even were it so, is a pretty presumptuous statement. But that annoyance aside, I was up, couldn’t sleep, and was listening.
Today’s topic is about expectations. Conflicting views arise – one belief is that we need expectations so that we and others are accountable. The other belief is a more Buddhist perspective about letting go of our expectations to alleviate suffering. What is the deal with expectations, anyway?
Highs and Lows
First, we must remember that having low expectations and having high expectations are still both forms of having expectations. Studies show that students whose teachers have low expectations of them perform at a lower level. Students whose teachers have high expectations of them perform at a higher level. In this regard, believing in peoples’ abilities and having high expectations of them allows them to see themselves in a positive light.
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