Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Therapeutic Letters

Begin with kindness to yourself… We are all in this together. So when you realize that you’re talking to yourself, label it “thinking” and notice your tone of voice. Let it be compassionate and gentle and humorous. Then you’ll be changing old stuck patterns that are shared by the whole human race. Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves.

Pema Chodron

Therapeutic letters are a helpful tool to help clarify alternative descriptions of people and events; they challenge long-held beliefs and constricting stories that were created by others (White & Epston, 1990). They are custom designed to assist you and your loved ones to communicate more effectively. They can celebrate occasions or clarify ideas that are difficult to express. Generally they are written from the observer’s perspective and use quotes or examples from past conversations.

Problems survive with the support of ideas, beliefs, principles and practices that are promoted by all of us in daily life. We think we are using them to judge and label others, but we are really using them against ourselves. We limit ourselves when we rely on narrow, preconceived descriptions of people and events.

Thoughtfully constructed letters can bring valuable insight to predetermined ideas. They provide a space to re-evaluate established beliefs and accounts of events so we can absorb and reflect on fresh information. Rich descriptions leave outdated, outworn stories behind. None of us want to be defined by old narratives that are created and sustained by others!

This example shows a heroic view of a challenging life event and is reproduced with permission:

“… On several occasions you showed an astonishing determination to succeed despite enormous challenges. Each time you spoke about how difficult the journey was, it was inspiring to learn how your desire to provide a happy life for your daughter always came first.

When I recall our various conversations, I remember very clearly when you said, “A stumble in life is not a failure; it’s only a failure if you choose not to do anything about it. Anybody can stumble no matter how high they are or how much money they make… It just takes a split second”. For me, this demonstrates the essence of personal strength and determination to succeed in creating a life of your choosing.”

At The Light Tree we help restructure problem-based stories and help bring forth your hopes, dreams and ideas. New, preferred narratives will help clarify your thoughts and feelings. We believe that collaboration is the essence of effective letter writing; the process is only complete when it looks and feels right to the authors. We all know that when awareness is brought to misunderstanding, it is a joy to give and receive messages of love.