Distill your anxiety

and extract it’s essence.

What if there was more than suffering in this pain ?

Here is an example of transformation of function of anxiety through the use of an augmental. A good way to increase variability.

John: I am really stressed out about my best friend. She’s starting to get really depressed and I am afraid she is going to do something stupid. I do everything I can to help her, I give her ideas on things to do, I try to change her perspective on things, but nothing works. I am so anxious for her that I am starting to avoid her sometimes, just to not feel this anxiety of not being able to help her. I know that when I avoid her I am helping her even less, but to see her like that is nearly unbearable for me.

Where is this problem coming from? Why do I feel so much anxiety? Am I too sensitive? Too weak? Why do I feel anxious like this?

Therapist: Are you worried about Barak Obama?

John: Excuse me? Umm, no…

Therapist: Are you worried about the immigrants in the Middle East?

John: Their situation doesn’t make me happy, I would love to be able to help them, but to be honest, I can’t say that it causes me anxiety, no.

Therapist: Are you worried about Olivier Gaudrillu?

John: Umm… who?

Therapist: An old friend of mine.

John (amused) : I don’t know him, so no, I am not worried about him!

Therapist: Are you worried about Tabaré Aguerre?

John: Who is that?!

Therapist: Uruguay minister of agriculture!

John (laughing) : No, not worried about him !

Therapist: okay, I think I know why you are anxious. You are anxious because you love your friend and you care about her. You are anxious because being loyal to those you love is important to you. You aren’t anxious because you are too weak or sensitive, but simply because you love your friend. We only worry about the people we love, right? This anxiety that you see as a problem is actually a sign that you care about your friend and that your friendship is important to you. It is proof of your love for her. It’s not the easiest friendship in this moment but it is certainly proof that you love your friend and that loyalty is important to you.

Maybe there is more than just a burn to this pain, who knows? You might be fine without it, but since it’s there, you might as well make the most of it, right? It might be worth taking a closer look at what it can do for you and what it can teach you about what is essential to you.

Want to increase your clients’ flexibility/variability? Join us for the online workshop Mastering the evolutionary processes of Process-Based Therapy


NB1 : this example is part of a therapeutic context and can in no way constitute a necessary step, nor be a magic wand capable of solving all the problems of each patient …

NB2: the most seasoned among you can debate about the characterization of this augmental. Formative? Motivative?

Translated with the help of Chelsea Davis-Laurin

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