Why do I do that? All behaviour serves a purpose.

I know I am always banging on about this but if one thing stayed with me from my training it’s the statement ‘all behaviour serves a purpose’ because it’s true.

No matter what people come to me for, I intently listen to the thing they want to stop doing.  Not because that’s how to improve things for them, but because that’s the biggest clue to what’s really going on.  That behaviour is almost always protecting them in some way, even though by doing so it’s causing them distress.  So I listen to what they are doing and think to myself and if they do that what is it stopping them doing.

Some examples are:

  • over eating – what’s it stopping them doing?  Losing weight – why would your subconscious put you through that?
  • I shake or stutter in public – what’s it stopping them doing? Being happy to be in public places – why would your subconscious do that?
  • I seem to only choose bullying partners – what’s it stopping them doing?  Being with someone nice – why would your subconscious do that?

The list goes on and on but the principle is the same.  The ‘why would your subconscious do that’ question helps me home in on the real issue. I work on the belief that even though the issues people are dealing with are causing them stress, they are created to protect. So my job is to work with the client to try and get to why your subconscious thinks you need protecting. By drilling down, we get to it.

These are generalizations but you’ll hopefully see what i mean…

  • over eating – by staying big you wont attract a partner so no chance of another heart break….
  • stuttering or shaking in public – well this would put you off being in public so you cant do or say anything to make yourself feel embarrassed in some way ….
  • choosing bullying partners – by doing that you can stay away from someone that might just make you really give your heart and then risk it getting broken again….or something in you makes you think you don’t deserve better….

As I said, generalisations, but it hopefully shows the maps I use to get to the root of your true issue, because what you present with is the side effect not the true problem. Roots and branches.

Some therapists will cut off the branch, i.e. give you the strength for a few weeks to diet or copping strategies to stay calm in social situations.  You will feel better for a few weeks but because you have not gotten to the root, your issue will return with vengeance and you will then feel nothing can help you.

I go for the root every time. Snip the head off a weed it will grow back, but if I pull the root out…..


  * Disclaimer:  results may vary from person to person

Tree pruning v get the root out

Tree pruning v get the root out…..

I was looking back through my client notes and noticed I draw the same picture in every initial consultation – a very sad looking tree. The reason is, pictures speak a thousand words. I draw a tree with branches and put their presenting issue on one of the branches. I explain that a lot of ” therapists” will butcher the branch off and that for a few weeks their presenting issue will go. But, as with all weeds, if you do not get to the root it will grow back, stronger and slightly different.  The problem is made worse.

An example.

In my early days of being a therapist I had a lady come to me who wanted to loose weight. She was hell bent that chocolate was the problem. Being keen and naive I dealt with the chocolate issue and loved the accolade of her telling everyone how great I was because she did not eat chocolate anymore!  A few weeks later she was back – no weight loss – yes she had stopped eating chocolate but had now developed an obsession for jelly babies. I was at fault for disregarding all my training and going for the quick fix or sticky plaster. I did not look for the root. Now this could have gone on for months and each time I removed her craving for something – something else would have stepped in.

Clients want you to sort them out quick and a lot of therapists will happily take your money and prune your branch.  Oh you will keep going back because you will be amazed that they stopped you eating chocolate – but in my humble opinion they are failing you and my profession. Now when I draw my trees I put the roots in.  I tell this tale allowing me and my client seek out the root. You know, if you get to the root, it can’t live or grow and so the issue goes and a strange thing happens – the weight goes too!.

Yep its quicker to get the branches pruned but it’s pointless and expensive. So I guess I will continue to draw a tree for all my clients so we can both set our sights on doing the job properly and getting to the root of the issue.


  * Disclaimer:  results may vary from person to person