The Power of Mindsets: Nurturing Motivation and Resilience by Robert B. Brooks, PhD
Dr. Brooks used this video as an example of how sometimes we get stuck. He called it Attribution Theory -learned helplessness. “Regardless what I do nothing good is going to happen.”
At the other end of the spectrum is Learned Optimism! Dr. Brooks is the author of Raising Resilient Children that emphasizes positive characteristics.
So when an individual shows up for services with a mindset of – I think my success is a facade or a house of cards – how do we help change that mindset?
Dr. Brooks explains it begins in how we view individuals that come to us for help. Do we see people manipulate vs. advocate for themselves?
Dr. Brooks was delightfully honest – He remembers praying in the beginning of his career “I pray the patient not say anything important to me!”
Then after five years he recalls wanting to write a letter to his patients stating “I am so sorry. I had no idea what I was doing! I hope you turned out okay anyway!”
Our mindset guides our behavior stated Dr. Brooks. Mindsets: The assumptions and expectations we have for ourselves and others that guide our behavior.
Dr. Brooks reports he has anxiety any time he presents – he fears someone in the audience will say “I was one of your first patients!” Laughter is heard among the participants of the Psychiatry In 2013 Conference where the presenters are Harvard Medical School, Department of Postgraduate Education and McLean Hospital and the majority of the participants are medical professionals. I had the honor to be there with Della Ramirez, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and great friend.
Dr. Brooks asked palpable questions – How do resilient children see the world? What do we want to see? We want resiliency so we can overcome adversity. And my personal favorite – Who were the Charismatic Adults in our life?
Dr. Brooks gives credit to the late psychologist Julius Segal called the “charismatic adult.” I want to be a charismatic adult. What do I say and do?”
What three people in your current life are you looking as your charismatic adult? Would any of our patients or clients list us?
Dr. Brooks gave an example where mother and daughter were at odds. Mother would put daughter on time outs which daughter vehemently refused. This went on for an extended length of time – Dr. Brooks asked “How is it working.” Then Dr. Brooks applied his changing the mindset approach and mother showed up at next session more at ease than he ever saw her. Dr. Brooks inquired what happened? The mother replied that she and her daughter had the usual disagreement and mother decided to put herself on time out. To mother’s surprise daughter asked for permission to join her and they spent the time out together sharing each others’ perspectives.
Dr. Brooks reports patient’s are asked what makes them feel connected. “I felt my therapist cared.” “They call me back within 24 hours.”
Perceptual Control Theory – How do I help people feel? Do I actively ask what are your options? Do my patient’s feel they have the clarity to problem solve? Do I let my patient’s know “If I ever ask you a question that you don’t understand why I am asking- don’t answer it – tell me instead. If you want to bring forth motivation – understand patient’s have certain needs – how are we meeting those needs?
Deci’s focus on basic needs – The need to belong and feel connected. The need for self-determination and autonomy. The need to feel competent.
Hello – why are you here? What do you do that you do pretty good? What do you enjoy doing? We will talk about problems however I also need to know your strengths shares Dr. Brooks.
What are the characteristics of a resilient person? Dr. Brooks shares how he gave one of his young patients a business card. The next session the young patient reported he lost his business card and needed another. This went on for several sessions. Dr. Brooks asked the young man to check the seats in the car. The young man insisted he lost it. The time came to see the young patient’s parents so Dr. Brooks reports he just had to ask. The young patient’s mother reported her son placed a business card in each of the rooms in their house and stated he wanted Dr. Brooks to be close to him. Dr. Brooks adds that he felt touched but still wonders about the need to put one in the bathroom too! More laughter!!!
Dr. Brooks gives credit to Steven Covey – The Seven Habits of Effective People. Mistakes can be like a rock around my neck or feel like mistakes are expected. I have no control over being born with developmental disabilities. What I do have control over is learning how to function with them.
Dr. Brooks says “This sounds like a good idea” and asks “what if it doesn’t work?” Because how is an individual going to feel if it doesn’t work out? Dr. Brooks gave examples of patient feedback where asking that last question helped prepare patient in advance. How do we help people with what they have control over? Ask “Why do you think you were successful?” when they achieve a goal. Ask “Why not” so they can learn.
Covey’s “circles of influence” to believe that we are the authors of our own lives. Ask “If you were writing your life script what would you say?
Every child and adult has an island of confidence!
When a patient does something well let them know! “This is a good idea!” Then ask “Can I use this with other people?”
Apply the attitude of gratitude.
Guadalupe of Grace On You, L.L.C. was so blessed to be invited by good friend Della Ramirez of Positive Outlook!!!