Listen to Your Creative Self
Recently, as I listened to a client, I noticed that she seldom made “I” statements of any kind even to say that she . Instead, she reflected on her life as a passive observer. She vaguely hoped that things that might work out, wondered if they might happen, and mused over possible changes and directions. She seemed cut off from her own desires and drives and unable to move forward without that kind of energy. I didn’t share this observation with her, but it was very much on my mind.
I often use creative ideas with my clients. Because this young woman is a client who likes to journal at home, I suggested she write a whole page of “I” statements reflecting things that she wanted to do for herself. I suggested she use color pens or pencils, and approach the assignment in a non-editing, creative way. She didn’t understand immediately, so we took turns making bold, decisive “I” statements.
“I want to exercise 3 times a week.”
“I want to study for all my exams.”
“I want to eat 6 fruits and vegetables per day.”
“I want to pay my bills on time.”
“i want to plan a vacation.”
I listened as her voice grew bolder, she got color in her cheeks, and began to smile.
She opened our next session full of enthusiasm. She had been to the library, researched careers, and made plans with a mentor to learn some new skills. She said that making the “I” statements helped her clarify what she wanted to do and helped her shift into action. I was surprised and delighted of course!
I’m not suggesting that all our client’s problems can be answered with “I” statements or a journalling exercise. But I am suggesting that if we are fully connecting with our client and open to our own creative thoughts we might come up with just the right intervention in the moment.