Awareness counseling is a conscious, controlled process that directs our attention inward to observe without judgment our current behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. We become an active observer on how we exist in the world, how the world influences us, and how past experiences parallel and influence our present day experiences.
Parallels exist more often than we know and impact the quality of our personal and professional relationships. Our past, no matter how far away we are from it, is part of our story, and when past events are left unresolved they magnify our present day experiences. As a result our perspective narrows, emotions become intensified, behaviors change, and we struggle to see the truth in what is happening in the present. Being able to identify and untangle the parallels is vital for developing healthy functioning relationships.
Benefits of Awareness Therapy
Gain insight into who you are, what your needs are, and what you desire physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually
Reduce self-sabotaging behavior and internalized shame
Develop a sense of safety within yourself and in the world
Reclaim your power, make conscious decisions, and create deeper, meaningful relationships
Reduce stress and improve overall health
Untangle unconscious parallels
Identify your strengths & limitations and learn how optimize your potential
Understand what it means to Be You through each stage of life
Unconscious Parallel Example:
Sarah and Jacob have been together for five years. Jacob was asked to call Sarah today to check in on her. When Jacob doesn’t call her, she decides to call him.
Sarah: “I was hurt today when you didn’t call me. You said you would. I was really looking forward to your call. I needed to hear your voice.
Jacob: “Work was really busy today. I must have lost track of time. I also left my phone in the car, and didn’t realize it until later in the day.”
Sarah: “You know that I am going through something right now. Every other day you find time to call me, but today you didn’t. It just so happens that your phone was left in the car. I feel as if you don’t care about my feelings and don’t care that I am struggling today.”
Jacob: “I don’t care? (angry) I call you every day, and today I forgot! I do everything for you and the one day I make a mistake it’s as if I am the worst person in the world. This is ridiculous. You are not the only person who is struggling right now. I am tired of dropping everything so I can take care of you. I can’t keep doing this!”
Sarah: “(Crying) Why are you being so hurtful? I feel like every time I tell you how I am feeling you get angry and yell at me. I feel as if you are punishing me for having my feelings and I am tired of it. All that I wanted from you was to know that you care about me and that you are thinking about me. Is that so hard? Is that too much to ask for?”
Jacob: “Right, it is always about you and what you are feeling. Listen. I can’t talk about this now. I need to go.”
This is a cyclical argument that this couple has. Early in the argument, both individuals get triggered by experiencing an unconscious parallel and struggle to listen to one another. As a result, they are never able to resolve what is happening.
For Sarah, she is hurt because she feels forgotten about by her partner. By not calling her she believes he is punishing her for expressing her feelings. She feels alone and abandoned by her partner. When her partner ignores her after telling him she is hurting she feels insignificant, needy, deficient, and abandoned. This leads to anger and a defensive posture on her end. She believes her partner is a threat and cannot entertain the fact that he may have forgotten his phone and may have been busy at work.
Unknowingly to Sarah, Jacob became all the people in her life who didn’t recognize her feelings or abandoned her. This is the unconscious parallel. More specifically, Jacob became her father who constantly put his needs above hers and dismissed her feelings when they emerged. To avoid feeling the anxiety associated with feeling insignificant, needy, deficient, and abandoned she becomes defensive and demands that her partner pay attention to her whenever she needs it and is dismissive of whatever he may be experiencing.
For Jacob, he immediately felt inadequate for not calling Sarah. He began to feel hopeless and defeated when it comes to making her happy. These feelings quickly turn into anger and he becomes defensive. He begins to blame her and tell her she is ungrateful and incapable of being satisfied. He projects his feelings of inadequacy and shame onto her so he doesn’t have to feel them. At this point, it is impossible for him to see that she is hurting because he is stuck in his unconscious parallel and cannot see past his own pain.
As a child, Jacob was guilted/shamed into taking care of the women in his life. More specifically he felt he had no choice, but to care for and protect his mother. To do so he had to abandon his needs and give up his sense of power. If he did not take care of his mother or the other women in his life, then they would leave him and he would be left alone. When Sarah confronts him about not calling he simultaneously feels resentment for having to take care of her and it never being enough, and fearful if he doesn’t he will be alone.