Sunday, 12 July 2015
What happens when we take therapy outside the four walls of a room?
Walk & Talk with Rebecca
Just a few thoughts…..
Rhythmic exercise may have an impact on self-discovery.
Moving enables us to loosen the tensions that cause us to be ‘stuck’ in a set way of thinking.
Activity releases mood enhancing hormones that bring about deeper more creative thinking.
We may feel inhibited by the close confines of a room; being out in the open allows us to become less self-conscious.
Creative thinking, ‘outside the box’ is increased by being ‘outside the room’.
Changing the position in relationship to the therapist, walking parallel rather than sitting face-to-face, may make it easier to discuss difficult ideas.
When we are physically walking a new path we may open up new paths in our inner dialogue.
Movement literally and figuratively propels us forward; we are encouraged to make metaphorical progress.
The experience of freedom in the great outdoors may relinquish the social constraints that hinder revelations in a more traditional therapy setting.
When the therapist and client are walking together they will fall into step, the pattern of their breathing will align, the will match each other’s pace; becoming synchronised enriches empathy.
Sitting is passive, walking actively encourages taking responsibility for progress.
Walking together is a shared adventure in which both parties are equal.
We may reach a point at which we become lost in the process; walking and talking then becomes a meditative practice and allows deep access to our subconscious.
Walk & Talk with Rebecca
Friday, 10 July 2015
Many studies show positive links between physical fitness and brain function. Exercise literally changes the brain, stimulating new cells (neurogenesis). Vigorous activity grows new brain cells, especially in the hippocampus, the area responsible for certain types of remembering. Children who exercise regularly achieve better academic results, find it easier to pay attention and are generally calmer and happier. Exercising as adults reduces the damage of daily stresses on our brain, improving memory and mood. Physical fitness translates into mental fitness. When we exercise we produce more of the hormone Dopamine which helps us to be creative, focus, and remain emotionally balanced. As we age a regular activity programme can stave off many of the degenerative cognitive issues that a sedentary lifestyle appears to encourage.
So far so good; exercise of any kind is good for our brain, and therfore our mental health. But I think Zumba is even better than that. I feel that Zumba classes and Zumba teachers create the core conditions that are necessary to induce positive change.
A Zumba class allows people to be in a relationship (with the other participants and the teacher) where they experience themselves as understood and accepted for who they are, by an instructor who interacts with them genuinely and sincerely.
“If I can provide a certain type of relationship the other person will discover within himself the capacity to use that relationship for growth, and change and personal development will occur” Rogers
The three core conditions are:
Congruence – the ability to be yourself.
Acceptance - (Unconditional Positive Regard) being accepted and respected for who you are.
Empathy – to be understood in your own terms.
Many Zumba teachers will recognize the participant who flourishes after a few weeks of coming to class. The shy girl at the back starts to wear brighter leggings, she no longer glances nervously around, but joyfully ‘whoops’ with the pleasure of moving her body. And of course some of this can be attributed to the purely physiological benefits of exercise. However in my experience the attendees of Zumba classes are always warm welcoming and encouraging to ‘Newbies’ and Zumba teachers positive, accepting and understanding. Every class creates a space where we can be ourselves without feeling judged, a special kind of bonding encounter that keeps people coming back week after week and complete acceptance for all ages, shapes and sizes.
I wonder how many Zumba fans have made life changing decisions after taking classes for a couple of months; finally getting up the courage to start saying ‘no’, or taking more control at work and asking for recognition, or even leaving an unhappy relationship.
Zumba teachers notice the changes taking place in their class and are able to adapt with speed and flexibility to the needs of each participant in any particular session. Zumba teachers are great at judging the ‘feeling’ of the class and changing the tracks to respond accordingly. The whole time continue to support, encourage and smile; role models that class members mirror in their energy and their optimistic outlook. Neuroscientists discovered ‘mirror neurons’ which fire both when we perform an action and when we see someone else perform the same action; when they fire they enable us to understand others goals, intentions and emotions. Many scientists believe that empathy is largely explained by the existence of mirror neurons. When we mirror the Zumba teacher’s body movements and happy energy in class we become part of a positive cycle of congruence, acceptance and empathy.
Saturday, 4 July 2015
So following on from the last post more on motivation….. There is a theory of Self Determination, (SDT) that provides a way of looking at what needs underpin the foundations of motivation. These needs are Autonomy, Relatedness and Competency. I refer to them as the ARC of motivation. When setting goals you have a higher chance of achieving your targets if these three areas are enhanced. Autonomy in this instance refers to the need to have choices, to be in charge of the wish to change rather than have it imposed on you from external sources. Relatedness concerns the need to have a connection with others that is enriched by the goal, to be appreciated for the effort you are making. It can also mean the need to be understood and cared for when tackling new paths. Competence needs are met when we are able to manage our emotions and environments as well as new skills.
How does this work in the real world outside of theory? Taking my goal this week of writing two blog posts :
A - No one was looking over my shoulder or setting me a deadline, I chose to write for the pleasure and enjoyment of doing so.
R – My Blog connects me with others, the more often I write the more I hope to provide ideas that relate to helping people with their own goals. Writing about my own experience of therapy links me to others with similar experiences.
C – As with any skill the more I practise writing the easier it gets, and hopefully I get better at it. Writing about therapy clarifies my thinking, which will improve my practical abilities.
So goal achieved and gold stars all round.