Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Therapeutic Alliance and Hope Instillation

I attended EDUC340 lecture by Chris Bowden today. The issue was rather heavy and distressing - it's about youth suicide and escape-based behaviour from escape theory suggested by Baumeister (I will try to discuss about it in another entry later), in which a stimulus that explains suicidal attempts.

And we discussed about what we can do to intervene and prevent youth suicide. He mentioned about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the use of drugs such as antidepressant and combination of both. He also talked about a new intervention method called Problem-Solving Therapy which is still in experimental stage. But I don't fancy any of these methods. I was more attracted to how and what can we do to prevent suicide when people at risk of committing suicide show the "warning signs". Because the method reminds me of a story I read some times ago. Here goes the story:

Mark was walking home from school one day when he noticed the boy ahead of him had tripped and dropped all of the books he was carrying, along with two sweaters, a baseball bat, a glove and a small tape recorder.

Mark knelt down and helped the boy pick up the scattered articles. Since they were going the same way, he helped to carry part of the burden.

As they walked, Mark discovered the boy's name was Bill, that he loved video games, baseball and history, and that he was having lots of trouble with his other subjects, and that he had just broken up with his girlfriend.

They arrived at Bill's home first and Mark was invited in for a Coke and to watch some television. The afternoon passed pleasantly with a few laughs and some shared small talk, then Mark went home.

They continued to see each other around school, had lunch together once or twice, and then both graduated from junior high school. They ended up in the same high school where they had brief contacts over the years.

Finally the long-awaited senior year came and three weeks before graduation, Bill asked Mark if they could talk.

Bill reminded him of the day years ago when they had first met. "Did you ever wonder why I was carrying so many things home that day?" asked Bill.

"You see, I cleaned out my locker because I didn't want to leave a mess for anyone else. I had stored away some of my mother's sleeping pills and I was going home to commit suicide. But after we spent some time together talking and laughing, I realized that if I had killed myself, I would have missed that time and so many others that might follow. So you see, Mark, when you picked up those books that day, you did a lot more, you saved my life.

Yes, Chris Bowden talked about therapeutic alliances and instilling hope. Yes, it's about being there for the distressed person. As Chris said, we don't need to do anything for them (people at risk of committing suicide); it is simply by being there - to listen to what they want and have to say without agreeing or rejecting it - it helps.

In my opinion, therapeutic alliances and instilling hope do helps. Therapeutic alliance here can be understood as a therapy or treatment simply by connecting and allying oneself to a distressed person.This then followed by giving hope and support they need. Why I think it works is because distressed person often see themselves as a failure with severed connection to the world. They think they are not listened by anyone making them believe that they are isolated and of no value to the world. By being there for them to listen to the many things they want to say, we are actually reaching out to them thus showing a way out of the cloggy cloud inside their head. It is this kind of cloggy cloud that blocks their ability to think rationally and see the positive options to solving their problems.

We don't agree with their rantings. It reinforces their belief about how pathetic their life is. We don't argue with them. They can't listen and think rationally. We don't reject their rantings. It causes them to feel more distressed and want to close their heart and shut off. We listen to them. Attentively listen to their rants. Give them unconditional acceptance. That is the only thing they want and the least we can do.

It is because, by being there for distressed people and accepting them unconditionally we actually recognise them and add a value to their life. We give them hope and reason to live. As Bill said to Mark at the end of the story: When you picked up those books that day, you did a lot more, you saved my life.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

One Thing I Never Told Anyone . . . I Think

I was ten at the time. Or maybe eleven, I'm not quite sure. It was Friday night and there was a weekly religious talk going on at my village's musolla (a building smaller than a mosque where Muslims pray). As usual, my mom was coercing her sons to attend the activity. I was a naughty boy at heart but I respected elders especially my parents. So I went to the talk.

I went in and sat at the furthest corner nearest to the exit. The talk commenced and as usual, I was sleepy in less than ten minutes. I stretched but still feeling sleepy, so I went out from musolla for some fresh air. I saw some friends sitting on the musolla's wall, chit chatting about cartoons and other TV programmes. They waved at me and I went to them.

The musolla was ornamented with fairylights-like bulbs. And I sat right under one that has no glass bulb, with its filament exposed. I joined in the crappy conversation with my friends and I had my hands in my pockets. After a while, my friends left and I sat alone waiting for the talk to end so that I could sneak in and pretend as if I joined in and listened the whole talk. While waiting, I observed the bulbless light with curiosity. How these incandescent lights work? What the filaments are for? And without realising, I reached out and touched the exposed filament and ZAP! It was pitch black for me for one or two seconds and when I came to my senses, I realised that all the fairy lights were not working anymore. I jumped off the wall and went to the ablution facility when an adult came out to check the lights. He saw me and looked away to check the lights. He never expected me to have something to do with the lights' failure (and I know he never knew until today).

Well, that is the one thing I don't tell many people. I was zapped by God-knows how many watts of electricity and caused all the lights to malfunction. And I lived and still is living to see the sun shines. Ehehe~

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I Am A Dreamer

INFP - The "Dreamer"

INFPs are introspective, private, creative and highly idealistic individuals that have a constant desire to be on a meaningful path. They are driven by their values and seek peace. Empathetic and compassionate, they want to help others and humanity as a whole. INFPs are imaginitive, artistic and often have a talent for language and writing. They can also be described as easygoing, selfless, guarded, adaptable, patient and loyal.

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Expert Quotes & Links

"To understand Healers, we must understand their idealism as almost boundless and selfless, inspiring them to make extraordinary sacrifices for someone or something they believe in. The Healer is the Prince or Princess of fairytale, the King's Champion or Defender of the Faith..."
"INFPs are highly intuitive about people. They rely heavily on their intuitions to guide them, and use their discoveries to constantly search for value in life. They are on a continuous mission to find the truth and meaning underlying things. Every encounter and every piece of knowledge gained gets sifted through the INFP's value system, and is evaluated to see if it has any potential to help the INFP define or refine their own path in life."
- Portrait of an INFP (The Personality Page)

"creative, smart, idealist, loner, attracted to sad things, disorganized, avoidant, can be overwhelmed by unpleasant feelings..."
- INFP Jung Type Descriptions (

"An INFP's feelings form the foundations of the individual. They are sacred and binding, in the sense that their emergence requires no further justification. An INFP's feelings are often guarded, kept safe from attack and ridicule. Only a few, close confidants are permitted entrance into this domain."
- INFP Profile (INFP Mailing List)
"Highly creative, artistic and spiritual, they can produce wonderful works of art, music and literature. INFPs are natural artists. They will find great satisfaction if they encourage and develop their artistic abilities. That doesn't mean that an INFP has to be a famous writer or painter in order to be content. Simply the act of "creating" will be a fulfilling source of renewal and refreshment to the INFP. An INFP should allow himself or herself some artistic outlet, because it will add enrichment and positive energy to their life."
- INFP Personal Growth (The Personality Page)

"INFPs never seem to lose their sense of wonder. One might say they see life through rose-colored glasses. It's as though they live at the edge of a looking-glassworld where mundane objects come to life, where flora and fauna take on near-human qualities."
- INFP Profile (TypeLogic)

"Their job must be fun, although not racous, and it must be meaningful to them. They need a strong purpose in their work. They want to be recognized and valued, without undue attention given to them. They may become embarrassed when make the center of attention. As a result, they may undersell their strengths in order to avoid being singled out and made to feel conspicuous. They would rather have their worth be noticed gradually over time."
- INFP - The Dreamer (Lifexplore)

Take the test here.

Well, the description more or less describes me. Period.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I'm Back to Blogging

"It's been a while
Since I could stand on my own two feet again
It's been a while
Since I could say I love myself as well"
(Staind, It's Been A While)

It's been a while, hasn't it? Since I abandoned my Friendster's blog page, it had been a while since I write any blog entries.


In commemorating my 22nd birthday, I will try to write blog entries again. I may not write frequently, but I will try.