Copyright © Harry Henshaw, Ed.D., LMHC. All rights reserved.
Transformation Counseling is all about assisting another human being to live a life that they love and to live it powerfully. Transformational Counseling is about creating a space for others to learn how to transform their lives, to live a life differently from how it was in the past, to truly create what they desire. Transformational Counseling is about assisting others in their getting and utilizing a powerful technology that will enable them to make a true difference in their life and in the lives of others. Transformational Counseling is about assisting another to become present to how they have stopped themselves in their life and in the process transform their way of being in the world. While comprised of a variety of distinctions that are important for understanding the process of transformation, the utilization of Transformational Counseling has five components that are crucial to its successful use with others and even with oneself. Transformational Counseling fully acknowledges the power of the human mind, of thought itself. The thoughts that we have are very important, if not the most important component of what it is to be a human being in that our thoughts are truly creative in nature. We are thinking beings that create initially from our thoughts. Everything that we do or take on in life begins as a thought or idea. It is very familiar for us to believe that the external world is that which is reality and that our thoughts are merely the effect or product of such a world. From such a belief we tend to give little or no real credence to our thoughts and thinking patterns as being the fundamental cause in the matter. As a result we commonly believe that in order for us to be truly happy we must manipulate or change something about the external world, other people, circumstances and situations. However, within the conversation of Transformational Counseling it is our thoughts that shape or determine our experiences, our feelings and behavior, our very sense of reality. Furthermore, it is the thought that we have or create about ourselves that forms the background of our life, the context or backdrop from which we experience life itself.
Transformational Counseling also acknowledges that we are totally responsible for creating our thoughts and most importantly that which we have about ourselves. Our thoughts are not the result of things happening to us, either from circumstance, situations or the behavior of others but rather it is our interpretation or meaning that we give to the events that makes them appear to us as they do. Events do happen including those involving others but fundamental to understanding our natural, creative process is that it is about what we do with the events, what meaning we give or make them out to be about that determines our experience. We are meaning making machines in a sense, constantly wrapping meaning around everything in life, people, places and things. The meaning that we give or create with respect to an event will determine the experience that we have as a human being and with it how we feel, the emotions that we have, and also the behavior that will eventually result. Every emotion that we experience and behavior that we cause is the result of thoughts that we create. As mentioned above, the most important thought that we create is that which is about us, the definition that we give ourselves and it is that which determines or defines our self-image, who we think we are in the world.
The first distinction necessary for one to begin to transform their life has to do with the existence of the self-limiting belief. Becoming present to the self-limiting belief is a process of getting what has truly stopped a person in his life, has stopped him from living a life that he loves and living it powerfully. Once there is the distinction or awareness of the self-limiting belief, of what has been driving a person’s bus, possibly for the first time in that individual’s life the opportunity or space has been created for them to begin to create themselves anew, to reinvent themselves, to be differently in the world. This creative act takes place with the inventing of possibilities. It is by taking on creating and living into a person’s possibilities that the individual begins to create a life much differently than how it once was before a conversation of transformation. Once possibilities have been created a person next learns how to consistently be or live inside his possibilities by learning the process of enrollment. Once the technology of enrollment is gotten and one begins to consistently apply it in his life, it is by engaging in the development of a Daily Plan and staying in the Conversation with others that the technology of transformation becomes fully realized and lived for the person. This powerful technology is applicable to both the one being assisted and the person doing the assisting and can only be fully realized when both are involved in the Conversation.
The self-limiting belief is a belief that we have about ourselves, about who we think we are in the world. The self-limiting belief is a belief that has affected if not determined our life in the past and shaping what we think, say, feel, and do in the present. Within the Conversation of Transformational Counseling, the self-limiting belief is a thought or idea that has its genesis between the ages of three and six. An event took place in the individual’s life, an event that the child believes should not have happened as it did and as a child the individual made a judgment or gave the event meaning. Given that for a child everything is about them, it is from this event and the meaning that they invented about it that the child also created an idea about themselves, about who they think they are in the world as a result of the event. The child next converts the idea into a belief, a belief that is all about their sense of adequacy, value or worth as person. A sense of something is wrong or not being enough is created. Getting the distinction of the self-limiting belief is crucial to the individual’s personal growth and continued development. If the individual does not get the distinction of the self limiting belief, if it stays hidden from them, of who they have been being, their life will remain as it has always been, as they will continue to be the person they think they truly are. Such a distinction can be gotten several ways. One way, for example, is to have a person begin to monitor their spoken word, to become present to what they actually say will eventually reveal the self-limiting belief. The self-limiting belief exists inside our everyday language, in the words that we say especially when reference is made about the self.
The second component of this process is that of creating possibilities for oneself. Creating possibilities is the process of redefining or reinventing oneself, of actually creating new language and words from which to begin to develop a new and more powerful, self-expressed individual. Once the individual becomes present to who they have been being in the world, to their self-limiting belief, a space is now created or opened up for them to literally say or declare who they will now be for themselves, others and the world. Such a process of redefining oneself is as simple as creating new words from which to begin to speak or refer to oneself as being. If an individual’s self limiting belief is that he is “not enough,” he could begin to redefine or invent himself as the possibilities of “acceptance”, “creativity” and “leadership” merely by declaring and intentioning himself to be these possibilities in his spoken word. Creating such new language from which to refer to oneself will become for that person his new self-affirmation. Committing such a self-created affirmation to ones spoken word will create a space from which the individual will have the opportunity to experience life differently, a life of power, freedom and full self-expression. Such a declaration is not merely linguistical but will begin to call forth action. Who we are, who we say we are, will eventually determine what we do and have.
The third component of Transformational Counseling is that of enrollment. Enrollment is the process of continuing to stay in ones possibilities and out of ones self-limiting belief. The process or technology of enrollment will be vital when ones starts to again experience a loss of power, freedom or self expression which is equitable to the negative human emotions of anger, depression, etc. When we have such an experience our past has again reappeared for us. Such reappearance is merely our self-limiting belief once again determining who we are in the world. Once again our self-limiting belief is driving our bus. The process of enrollment allows us to get the inauthenticity that we have created by again being our self-limiting belief. Enrollment allows us to get present to what we are pretending about the experience and what we are hiding. The pretense is always about another person, place or thing and with it there is the experience of some sort of sense of threat and blame. The story from pretense has something to do with the other person, situation or circumstance causing us to feel a certain way. Enrollment technology allows us to get that we created the pretense, a story, and furthermore what the experience is truly all about. Becoming present to what is hidden from us in the experience allows us to again make the distinction of our self-limiting belief and that which is truly creating the experience. It is our self-limiting belief that actually creates the breakdown due to the individual’s sense of inadequacy with respect to the situation, circumstance or interactions with another. Once we become present to that which is creating the inauthenticity we are able to give it up through enrollment and once again reinvent ourselves through the creation or even regeneration of our possibilities. Once a person does enrollment with himself the inauthenticity he created disappears and with it the individual’s power, freedom and full self-expression is once again restored.
The Daily Plan is the fourth component in the utilization of the technology of Transformational Counseling. Transformational Counseling is not merely about understanding the power of our thoughts but ultimately about action. We live in a world of action and for us to make a difference in our life as well as in that of another we must ultimately create through action. The Daily Plan allows one the opportunity to begin to create their life anew by assisting them in monitoring their day-to-day activities and behavior. As our possibilities will call forth action, the Daily Plan allows one the opportunity to begin to create their life differently by planning what they will specifically take on or do to create or bring forth their chosen possibilities in their lives. The Daily Plan is about making a commitment to oneself to fulfill on their commitments to fulfill on being their posssibilities. One of the fundamental elements of this structure is how will an individual measurably bring forth his possibilities into his life, how will he go about practically creating them for myself and in the world. The Daily Plan also allows one the opportunity confront his self-limiting belief as it arises in the fulfillment of his Daily Plan. Having a breakthrough with the creation of possibilities and especially with their implementation in our life will eventually create a breakdown and with the use of a Daily Plan will allow the person the awareness to again get back into his possibilities through enrollment and continue moving forward in his life.
The Conversation is the fifth component of Transformational Counseling and is about the self-limiting belief reappearing in ones commitments to his Daily Plan. While identified as the fifth component of this process the Conversation actually begins when one is introduced to the work of transformation. It is a question of whether or not one will stay in the Conversation to continue to do the work of transformation after enrollment has taken place. However, the Conversation is always about our communication with others. It is in the Conversation that we have the opportunity to begin and continue utilizing the technology of Transformational Counseling. There will continue to be breakdowns in life as we utilize the work of transformation. When we once again experience a loss of power, freedom and self-expression our past will once again reappear in our life and with it a breakdown. Staying in the Conversation with another person around transformation will give us the opportunity to become present to the inauthentic way of being that we have again created and experience another breakthrough. Processing the stories that we create in the pretense about others, situations and circumstance in a Conversation will create the space for us to get present to that which is also hidden from our view, that which is truly creating the breakdown experience. That which is hidden is always from our past and has to do in some manner with our self-limiting belief. The Conversation is about enrollment, enrolling ourselves and assisting others through enrollment. It is only in communication with another that we can continue to be our possibilities and with it stay in the work of transformation with another or ourselves.
There may be a tendency to want to leave the Conversation especially when one has first gotten or been introduced to the technology of transformation. The initial experience of power, freedom and full self expression is very enrolling and with this feeling of being touched, moved and inspired by our possibilities may led one to believing that no future work is really necessary. However, the technology of transformation is not something that you simply get but something that is constantly gotten. When not in communication with others inside the conversation of transformation there will be a tendency to stop doing the work and go back to what is familiar and especially to the familiar ways that we attempted to resolve breakdowns. It is the familiar that is the world of their self-limiting belief. As mentioned above, the self-limiting does not go away, it is there throughout our life. While the self-limiting belief will reappear in our life through a breakdown, staying in the conversation with another will assist us in distinguishing the inauthenticity that we create and once again empower us to get back into or create new possibilities for ourselves. Continuing the work of transformation by staying in the Conversation with others is not familiar and in many respects unreasonable. However, staying in the Conversation is crucial to our continued transformation as a human being living in the world.
Harry Henshaw, Ed.D., LMHC