ET is not just Extraterrestrial (You know what I did there! wink!wink!) It could also be an acronym for Encouragement Therapy.No Kidding! It is one type of modern Psychotherapies that exist today.
Each and everyone of you who is reading this has definitely felt criticisms and scrutiny in life; has been subjected to moral policing; you have been abused or scorned off; you have been put down and humiliated individually or in a group by people deliberately or unknowingly. The resultant negativity, sadness or depression you have felt even for a second has formed a small foundation at the unfathomable depths of your mind.
“Every adult, whether he is a follower or a leader, a member of a mass or of an elite, was once a child. He was once small. A sense of smallness forms a substratum in his mind, ineradicably. His triumphs will be measured against this smallness, his defeats will substantiate it. The questions as to who is bigger and who can do or not do this or that, and to whom—these questions fill the adult’s inner life far beyond the necessities and the desirabilities which he understands and for which he plans.” – Erik H. Erikson (1902–1994), U.S. psychoanalyst. Childhood and Society, ch. 11 (1950).
So every incident would stick to this one and add layers and layers of associations in your mind. What happens is the Snowball effect – where a small process or a thing starts from a small insignificant state and builds upon itself in magnitude, intensity and becomes graver and potentially dangerous or disastrous. It is also called as the spiral of decline. This ultimately breeds something very fatal – also called as the vicious circle.
While you been hovering in negativity, low self esteem; a weak self-identity; wallowing in self-pity and with inferiority complex all through your life, you have basically lost all the trust in yourself. You are not optimistic of making a change in the world. You stop trying! You stop searching for opportunities and avenues that could do something great to you. This self inflicted constraint, breeding with you makes you a handicap – incapable of living or sustaining yourself in this competitive world.
Cause of Success
Now, take a few minutes and reminisce about all the achievements you have ever made; all the happy memories; all the victories moments; all the times when you have achieved your goals no matter how small they were; all your big and small feats. How did they happen? Where are the roots? Determination, unspeakable struggles, hustling in a competitive world and hard-work on your part, yes but even beyond that? What was that spark that led you to even begin your journey. It would have been some encouragement, some positive words, some positive stroke that you would have received from family, friend, stranger or yourself. A motivation that has persistently caused you to work for something. The motivation could have happened through anyone or anything or even within you.
Hold on to that thought – Now that encouragement is what I am talking about – the positive energy or power that is capable of a potential change. A change that is enduring, pervasive and so strong since it has been birthed by a positive force. It has opened a lot of new opportunities in this world. It has given birth to activists, innovators,writers, businessmen, soldiers,entrepreneurs and a lot of successful individuals.
A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success. —Unknown (Morris, 2012)
Now, what if I told you that you are a Spark in this universe. A micro blob in this whole ocean who is capable of bringing about a massive change in the entire universe. You are the reason behind that change. You did it! Your positivity did it. Your healthy, positive energy did this. This change may be micro again but nevertheless it is capable of impact. This little opportunity, this small goodness is laying there, waiting to be used by someone, waiting to be transformed into something massive. No matter how microscopic it is, you have still managed to create an effect. This is also a Snowball effect except that is causes a virtuous circle that is beneficial for humanity.
Eric Berne defined Strokes as fundamental units of Social action in his theory of Transactional Analysis. An act of ‘Stroking’ may be employed colloquially to denote any act implying recognition of another’s presence. An exchange of strokes constitutes a transaction, which is the fundamental unit of social intercourse.
An excerpt taken from Eric Berne’s book, ‘Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships’.
Strokes could be positive or negative. Eric Berne proposed we all need ‘positive’ strokes for our vital well-being.
An excerpt taken from David Moxon’s book, ‘Human Relationships: Heineman Themes in Psychology’.
Now Encouragement therapy is one of the forms of Psychotherapy, that we could imbibe in our day to day lives. Psychology of Encouragement has been a fuzzy past and has developed its roots from theories formulated by various professionals in the field of Psychology. Notably, Alfred Adler, a doctor and a psychotherapist, formulated the process of therapeutic encouragement to help his clients.
‘Adler and subsequent Adlerians consider encouragement a crucial aspect of human growth and development..Adler stated “Altogether, in every step of the treatment, we must not deviate from the path of encouragement”. Rudolf Dreikurs, an Austrian Psychiatrist and educator stated, “What is most important in every treatment is encouragement”. He further stated, “therapeutic success was largely dependent on the therapist’s ability to provide encouragement” and failure generally occurred “due to the inability of the therapist to encourage”.
An excerpt from the Journal of Counselling and Development, ‘Adlerian “Encouragement” and the Therapeutic Process of Solution-Focussed Brief Therapy by Richard E. Watts and Dale Pietrzak.
One thing about it has been substantiated. Encouragement is one of the means of survival for people. The encouragement you give is going to create a impact without a doubt. Of course, what sort of encouragement; when it is given; to whom it is given; how it is given;why it is given and is the issue in concern needs a healthy, positive encouragement or not is up to the giver’s discretion. It has to be used wisely.
‘Encouragement therapy is built on the premise that regardless of the technique a therapist uses, the major reason clients change is because they are motivated to do so. The encouragement therapist tries to motivate clients by stimulating feelings of personal responsibility (“It’s up to me”) and self-confidence (“I have strengths and I can do it”).
Phase 1 is devoted to building the client-therapist relationship and, in part, finding the client’s “claim to fame”.
Phase 2, cognition focussing is aimed at stimulating perceived responsibility and confidence
Phase 3, action focusing, involves firming up plans for what the client will do, and when.
Phase 4, the therapist hands responsibility for the client’s life over the client’.
Excerpt taken from Introduction to Psychology written by Clifford T. Morgan; Richard A. King; John R Weiss and John Scholper – VII Edition
A lot of you are working a lot everyday to financial independence and freedom and achieve self identity . So many of you would not be able to provide time for social service or for others. You yourself are also emotionally burdened and lack the hardiness to listen to depressing stories or incidents; counsel others; witness social issues; or go to the field and work on the grassroot level to address these social issues to impact change. But you could take out less than a minute to impact your life and someone’s life each day. Giving a positive stroke happens in a matter of seconds and changes lives completely.
Stop criticising, stop bullying, stop abusing, stop the hate.
Do not just become a bystander.
Start the virtuous Snowball
Since you have the power within you
To save a life
To save someone from self- harm
To save a soul from shattering to pieces
To save an idea or opportunity from dying