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Outside Looking In

Someone Else’s Problem

Have you ever witnessed a close friend or family member who is really struggling – and despite your best intentions, you have felt powerless to help?

It can be painful to watch someone close to you going through a difficult time. Sometimes it can be obvious from your perspective what they should, or must do to resolve their issue. Perhaps it seems obvious that they ought to cut down on their drinking or drug taking, repair a damaged relationship, to get a grip on their uncontrollable anger or to stop hanging out with the wrong people.

But advice is often the last thing that the friend or family member wants to hear. And especially if it comes from you! Maybe they would benefit from counselling or some form of therapy, but they are absolutely convinced that talking to someone else about it would be a total waste of money and time.

The Hardest Lesson

One of the hardest lessons I had to learn after training as a human givens practitioner ten years ago was the difficulty in (often impossibility of) helping people who do not believe they need help. As soon as anyone admits that they are stuck and asks for help there are many options which can be explored, but until they recognise there is a problem and that they need help, they won’t even be listening – and anything you try to do is likely to backfire and can even make matters worse. Offering advice at this time can be disastrous.

What Can You Do?

So what can you possibly do to help someone when they don’t think they need help? There is an approach which can work really well – and it is based on looking at the situation from the point of view of “innate needs and resources”. Despite appearance, people do not engage in destructive behaviour for its own sake. At some level, they are always motivated by need. (It is true that in more serious cases, behaviour can be caused by the often subconscious effects of trauma – but I’m talking about more general issues here.)

Looking at a personal situation from the perspective of innate needs can be like shining a bright light at the problem – suddenly everything becomes clear. Whenever you help someone, no matter what their situation, to get their innate needs met – then they always feel better, calmer and more human. Quite often problematic behaviours simply fall away since they are no longer needed.

If you want to learn more about this subject, or simply want to help someone who you know is struggling then consider attending one of our in8 Cards workshops.  You don’t need any prior knowledge or expertise – just an open mind. These workshops are small, informal and friendly. You will learn a lot about yourself and your family dynamics. You may find practical things that you can do to help someone in need.