I've studied psychology for many decades and have come to find, that in the realm of Positive Psychology, regardless of the specific method you choose for your own self improvement, there are four major events or phases that every client I've worked with will go through on their journey towards well-being. Below is a description of these four phases. Use this information to discover how you can recognize where you are in your own counseling journey.
All treatment modalities, spiritual practices, and other healing arts start with attention. What you place your attention on is what you become. Awareness includes all forms of mindfulness and meta-awareness, which is observing your mind as it experiences people, places, things, situations, and ideas that trigger negative reactions. Awareness leads to Insight and Understanding.
2. Insight and Understanding
Once we are aware of our condition, it leads to curiosity of the nature of the self-narratives about who we think we are both positive and negative. We are drawn to research the origins of narratives from childhood, inquire into our condition by reading books and articles, starting a course of therapy, watching videos, and otherwise educating ourselves about our condition. This “self-knowledge” naturally leads to greater Integration and Connection.
3. Integration and Connection
Integration and Connection starts with reconciling the fearful little child inside with the emerging powerful adult inside. We are able to set boundaries, adopt new healthy behaviors, develop spiritual practices, engage in hobbies and creative adventures, create new healthy relationships, and recognize gratitude and positive affirmations. We will begin to sense a new meaning, direction, and Purpose in life.
Discovering our Purpose in life is finding our “True North.” This is about finding self-transcending meaning, purpose, and direction that’s bigger than the old ego-mind-body. We begin to consciously practice empathy, compassion, and loving kindness. And ultimately there can be a true spiritual awakening. This is an experience of Love and Liberation!