You really think you have seen it all when you work in the mental health field. Once in a while, your clients like to remind you that you have not.
The client of interest this time around was a 13-year-old adolescent male struggling with an extensive history of family conflict, abuse, and self-injurious behavior. He provided me the perfect opportunity to bring out the old dialectical behavioral therapy/mindfulness techniques. In this particular session, we reviewed one of my personal favorites, radical acceptance. It allows an individual to confront a situation, feeling, or thought objectively and make an appropriate decision (To learn more about this technique in detail, feel free to check out my post: https://caringcounselor.blog/2017/07/25/radical-acceptance/).
I walked through several everyday examples with this young man to illustrate the basic principles of radical acceptance. We discussed how to approach a distorted thought and worked our way up to the part where one makes a decision on what to do – stuff it along with one’s emotional baggage or to throw it away. In the midst of this serious conversation, my client’s lips curl. A smirk grew on his face. He muttered in excitement, “Be gone, thought!”
We both started cackling right there in his living room. I looked at him with a mixture of amusement and bewilderment. At first, I assumed he made fun of what I said. A moment later, my laughter became genuine. I realized this kid found a way to relate to this skill by referencing a generational trend. For those of you out of touch with the younger generation, there is a saying, “Be gone, THOT (aka That Hoe Over There)!”
I felt like a proud papa. This was a sign that he tuned into the discussion and actively sought ways to make it easy to remember. It served two strong reminders too. For one, I never know what clients are capable of and will always keep me on my toes. More importantly, this experience highlighted the adaptability of self-care.
There are countless self-care plans, techniques, skills, activities, etc. out there. There is no defined way to “self-care.” I am a firm believer in educating yourself with multiple forms of available information and molding whatever you find helpful to fit your lifestyle. It not only makes it easy to remember, but you are much more likely to follow through on your plan and see your desired results.
Now, be gone and take care of yourself!
-The Caring Counselor