In my personal theory of psychology and psychotherapeutic treatment, The GEBB Method, as it applies to therapists, states that it is vitally important to not be constrained by checklists and what appears to be within the typical psychotherapeutic milieu. Translation: Do whatever seems right in regards to the specific patient you are seeing, within the confines of ethics, evidence based treatments, etc.
The above might sound like a contradiction, but therapists confine themselves SOOOO much when they see their patients. There is in fact an awful lot of science and testing that goes into whether or not a particular treatment is effective, but so many therapists don’t seem to understand how much creativity they can have in their treatment of a particular patient. See my article from a few days ago on why I have a bicycle pump in my office.
So here’s another example. You see the above picture. It’s a piece of parachute cord that has been fished through a straw. If you look at one end of the cord, it looks like there’s something small, thin, and black on the end of it. When you cut parachute cord, you have to melt the ends because they will fray and come undone when you’re making something out of it.
You might be first wondering why I have paracord in my office at all.
I have a whole tub FULL of parachute cord. I bet I still have a thousand feet or more. Why? Well, firstly we’re making things. But… Rapport building. Manual dexterity tasks for catharsis. Logical operations to manage emotions. Why else would I have paracord in my office? On this day, well…today was a special day. I had a young patient that was having difficulty staying awake. Nothing was wrong, necessarily. They probably just stayed up too late, and with them being young and the weather change and the fact that they just got out of school and came straight to my office, well, it’s no wonder they were tired.
I had a bit of an interesting day myself, so I saw a straw on my desk, that I had used for a breathing exercise earlier in the day, and saw this bit of paracord, and thought, I’m going to try and fish that piece of cord through the straw even though the blackened, melted end looked too big to fit. Why did I do this? So my patient would stay awake. So my patient and I could have a shared experience. So we could facilitate an interaction without her falling asleep. We were both really into this stupid game I just made up. And what happened? We talked. We actually did some “therapy.” And most importantly, we LAUGHED. A LOT.
You’d be surprised how the simple things can help people.