If You Look a Little Deeper

values It has been a while since I have given you a glimpse into the counseling room. This has been one of my favorite interventions this summer. I am not sure how it evolved or where it originally came from, so the credit belongs somewhere outside of myself I am sure. The first time I used it was in Georgia working with a young male adult. Supplies include a full length mirror and a pile of sticky notes. I alternate with the client identifying values that we write onto stickies, one value per sticky. Sometimes they need help getting rolling and then they can come up with a long list. I help put words to some of the values I believe they hold to high esteem and low esteem- what their parents value- what their friends value. Here is an example list. (Big ones are adventure VS safety, honesty VS forgiveness, freedom VS responsibility.)

And then after creating a ton of sticky notes, I ask them to rank the stickies for themselves and what they value. It may help to do a first step of separating top, middle and bottom. And then rearranging within those categories depending on how analytical your client is capable of being.

Then I have the client create the values of someone they are very close with and someone they have high conflict with. Questions I ask are... why do you think you a drawn to this person? Why do you think you guys have conflict? In what ways are you similar? Different? And the bottom line is 1. identify formation and  2. dissimilar values can cause conflict. It is helpful to recognize what your parents (for example) value (responsibility) and focus on how to communicate to them that you respect that about their role as a parent and will take that into consideration when you are asking for something you value (freedom). It is also helpful when identifying why teenagers who "play therapist" have some commonalities with their friends who are cutting, having sex, depressed, but do not feel a reciprocal friendship with them because those friends do not value responsibility, honesty and trust. Living out our values is the #1 way to improve self esteem. It helps if we know what they are! Emily