Old unhealthy patterns arise from unresolved conflict and grief in the family of origin or other trauma. These patterns consist of painful emotions and negative ways of relating to self or others.
This report is based on concepts described in "Effective Counseling Skills: the practical wording of therapeutic statements and processes" by Daniel Keeran, MSW, at http://www.amazon.com/
Old unhealthy patterns can be changed or broken by taking the following steps:
1. Acknowledging and expressing the range of painful emotions related to unresolved painful experiences. Examples of painful emotions are fear, anger, guilt, sadness, emptiness, shame, low self-worth and despair.
2. Increasing awareness of unhealthy ways of relating to self and others that arise from (and as ways of repeating or perpetuating)
3. Adopting new healthy ways of relating to self and others such as positive talk toward self and others, assertiveness, empathic reflective listening to others, self-caring, self-encouragement, self-support, and choosing healthy people for relationships who are self-aware, caring, assertive, and who can listen reflectively.
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Implications for therapeutic group work:
1. Roles and patterns from early life may be observed in members of the group.
2. Communication styles between members, and between members and the group leader, can be discussed to identify and increase conscious awareness of old patterns.
3. Emotional reactions to member behaviours and communications can be explored to raise awareness of early unresolved issues affecting adult life and relationships as they occur in the group.
4. Members who engage in new healthy behaviour patterns may tend to react against their new behaviour, and members observing the new behaviour may also react against it and maintain old patterns.
5. The group leader intervenes to support healthy behaviour patterns and to assist members in gaining awareness of how current behaviour in the group may be linked to old unhealthy patterns or unresolved issues.
6. Members will be drawn to or return to old familiar unhealthy patterns and will resist or fear trying on new unfamiliar healthy behaviours.