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Friday, September 20, 2013

Satir's Fifth Freedom

The Freedom to Take Risks in One's Own Behalf, Instead of Choosing to be Only "Secure" and Not Rocking the Boat.

According to Satir, congruence comes from being emotionally honest which is necessary for making contact. That means taking risks. Taking risks is doing something you have never done before or doing the same thing in a new way. For growth we must all be willing to change. A wise thinker coined the phrase, no gain without pain.

Change creates anxiety. Welcome anxiety as an invitation to learn and grow. You handle it by giving yourself encouragement and affirmations:
  • "My anxiety tells me I am choosing to risk. I can manage it."
  • "What do I need to learn from taking this risk?"
  • "What can I do differently to make this situation better? Do I need to set boundaries? Do I need to risk? Where does my power lie?"
  • "I am choosing to love. I am choosing to put down my shield. What an adventure!"
As you learn to take responsibility for your own anxiety, you open up to loving and being loved with no strings attached. A world renowned family therapist, author, lecturer and consultant, Virginia Satir's work, books, and posters had a profound influence on my life, books, counseling, teaching, and now on my blogs. Her five freedoms are at the heart of her wisdom.

The introduction to her little book, "Making Contact" begins with this. "I believe the greatest gift I can conceive of having from anyone is to be seen by them, heard by them, and touched by them. The greatest gift I can give is to see, hear, understand and to touch another person. When this is done I feel contact has been made."

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Satir's 4th Freedom

The Freedom to Ask for What One Wants Instead of Always Waiting for Permission

My book, "Becoming Soul Mates--How to Create the Lifelong Relationship You Always Dreamed Of" begins with a chapter on intimacy. Many men do not know how to respond to their wife's or lover's complaints of lack of intimacy. Women, apparently, have difficulty asking for what they want.

I begin my book with: "A deeply frustrated man sat in my office and burst out, 'I don't know what she wants me to say. If I knew, I would say it.' One way or another many men express the same sentiment to their therapist in response to their wife's or lover's complaints of lack of intimacy."

Many times the lack of communication results from the speaker's believing she has been heard and understood when she hasn't. When asking for what one wants, be clear, specific, and check to see if what you asked for has been understood. Remember, men and women speak separate emotional languages. A conflict in language can easily turn into a conflict of needs. In many surveys nine out of ten women surveyed ranked intimacy highest in what they want from marriage. Men rarely rate intimacy first.

Shortly after my husband and I married, I would say, "Talk to me." He would answer with a smile, "Lie down and I will talk to you."

Satir ably describes the five freedoms necessary to make contact with others. In her book, "Making Contact" she also describes the four types of communicating that often go with people who have low opinions of themselves, who have not yet learned to live their five freedoms. She describes them as placating, blaming, super reasonable, and irrelevant. I highly recommend this book.