I really admire this amazing Danish professional, Jesper Juul, who seems to truly go to the bottom of the issue of social relationships. He uses a lot of systems theory concepts, but he adds to that a certain warmth, rather than the cold evaluation that is characteristic to Minuchin, Watzlawick, Gregory Bateson, Jay Haley, or other systemic thinkers.
"Personal language -'I want', 'I don't want', and so forth- only works if it really is personal. If it is undetermined, used for other purposes, or used as a linguistic trick, such as merely replacing 'you' with 'I', it ceases to be effective. Those [...] who grew up in families in which personal language was forbidden or considered unsuitable, need time to rediscover this form of expression, but it is worth the effort. It is invaluable in rescuing not only our relationships with our children, but our relationships with spouses, parents, colleagues, superiors -- and ourselves. "
Applying this to my clients who are busy professionals:
Personal language has to do with knowing that someone addresses us in a genuine way. That they really mean what they communicate to us, that they are able to personalize their talk, their discourse, their communication. If someone really makes an effort to have a genuine dialogue with us, by using a personalized language, we feel that they truly appreciate us as we are. That means that we matter, that we count, that we exist!
Juul makes sure to specify that no behavioral or any other change will occur within a social system, which in this case is the stressful work environment, if we merely mimic the personal language, if we just pretend, imitate, reproduce a technique seen or learned in a coaching workshop.
There are thousands of motivational speakers and coaches out there who are very popular for "inventing" a recipe of how to fix relationships with others and/or your own self. However, real and durable change is not possible by applying recipes, by transforming the communication with Self or others into standardized, mass-produced interactions, delivered by a wellness machine.
It is the reason for which Synergis Counseling is working in a highly personalized manner. We custom our knowledge and expertise to EACH AND EVERY CLIENT. This ensures long term results, and not only a temporary decrease of the conflict level.
Synergis specializes in working with highly skilled, busy professionals who are experiencing difficulties in their workplace and/or personal life.
We work individually with each of our clients in order to help them identify
THEIR PERSONAL LANGUAGE, their specific way of relating and interacting with their staff, colleagues or friends.
This is why our "method" cannot be copied or reproduced, since it is PERSONALIZED, recreated every single time from scratch around a specific individual and circumstances.
"Neither adults nor children can thrive when uninitiated adults condemn spontaneous manifestations of their being. In this connection, the only difference between children and adults is that for a few years in their lives, children are under the impression that the world was created for them and that their parents are omnipotent and perfect. They will soon enough learn that this is not the way thing are; they don't need to be humiliated in the process." (Jespre Juul).
The difficulty of this process of transition is what often generates hidden, long term frustration, anger and aggression in the future adult. The aggression can be directed towards outside, and therefore visible, or towards self (inwards) and probably less visible. It ranges from aggressive behavior towards others to self-destructive behavior. A common self-destructive behavior is the addictive behavior, resulting from the compulsive and obsessive repetition of an certain action/activity: abuse of substances, food, sex, work, physical exercise, etc., aimed at numbing and diverting attention from what has been generating that anger for years. Of course, some compulsions are way less destructive than other. Physical exercise, for example, rarely becomes harmful. And being a workaholic is definitely better than being chemically and psychologically addicted to oxycontin or cocaine. What is important here is to ask yourself this question: what is that I am running away from? Why do I experience the obsessive need to avoid pain or gain pleasure?
"Quality of interaction overrules attitude and method" (JESPER JUUL).
What does that mean? It means, for example, the following: you are the VP of sales of a high-tech company. You come to see me because, for a few months now, you have noticed that some of your staff is exhibiting periodically passive-aggressive behavior. You are stunned and you do not understand why is this happening, since you always "behaved correctly" in front of them, you were always "mindful" and you had "the right attitude".
At this point I don't even need to know what you mean by "behaved correctly", "mindful" and "the right attitude". But I ask anyway, because it is important for you to lay down the circumstances, like a lego construction, which afterwards you will take apart and reconstruct the way you want.
I say that I am not interested in what you mean by these expressions simply because, although there are hundreds of correct attitudes and behaviors promoted by organizational consulting gurus, what matters the most is this: QUALITY OF INTERACTION. The quality of your interactions and relationships, as a VP of sales, with your staff and colleagues. Of course, as a leader it is very important to be able to set the correct boundaries and so on. But no best-selling books can teach you what is THE attitude and method. Simply because only you, XYZ, the VP of sales at Etc-High-Tech, Inc., know the people you are working with. A genuine, quality interaction with your staff is what will fix the problem.
How do I know that? Because I saw "the miraculous" change in ANY relationship (at work, with partners, spouses, children and friends) where an effort was made to replace what was believed to be the correct attitude and method with a genuine, good quality interaction, based on equal dignity and respect.
So I'll say it one more time:
"Quality of interaction overrules attitude and method".
Try it for yourself and you'll find out. And if it doesn't work, come and see me, I'll give you a free 1h consultation, face to face, in the office. No kidding!