What do you do when you are confronted by a tantrumy toddler, an irrate customer or an uncooperative teenager? Most of us believe that you have to model ‘correct behaviour’ by deliberately acting calmly and talking sensibly to counter ‘bad’ temperaments. The Keep Calm and Carry On approach. Funny though it seems, we don’t always get the results we want and have to end up being offensive or defensive ourselves – They don’t seem to learn from our behaviour and change theirs.
A famous maverick psycotherapist in the 1970’s called R D Laing understood this type of problem and had a unique solution to it. In a famous case, he was treating a woman who suffered from frequent bouts of catatonia – whereby she would be unable to move or speak. So in his consultation with her, he sat there with her for the entire session being motionless and still. He was in effect mimicking her troublesome behaviour. As a result of the session, the patient made a decision, which was to embrace rather than counter her problem. She wanted to use her catatonia as an asset, so signed up to become an artist’s model. After doing this for a while, she experienced a significant shift in her health so much so, the bouts of catatonia all but disappeared and she was deemed cured of her affliction.
This method of handling people is still used today. Psyciatric nurses dealing with patients in potentially dangerous situations, as for example a psycotic person in a public place, will approach the patient whilst mimicking their physical behaviour. This would mean waving their hands around in a frantic manner and moving irratically. Once the patient ‘feels understood’, because the nurse is resonating with them, the they can slowly tone down the behaviour which will encourage the patient to calm down. This method In Neuro Linguistic Programming is known as Pace Pace Lead.
When we counter something that we think is bad, by doing the opposite, it can actually make is worse – as Carl Jung coined the phrased “Whatever you resist, persists”.
This is at the essence of homeopathy, as we seek to mimic the bad stuff with remedies. This allows it to heal naturally and without effort. When we fully embrace rather than reject anything, it will not take over you life as you might think. Instead, harmony will reign again. To put it another way, if we act in harmony with the world, the world will act in harmony with us.