(This blog was originally posted on August 15, 2014)
|Photo by Rick Hustead|
I am a devoted fan of Patrick McDonnell’s Mutts© comic strip. During the week of (August 11-August 14, 2014, two of the regular “seaside” characters, Crabby and Mrs. Crabby, were having a marital crisis. Not only was the king crab feeling “happy” and content, he had suddenly become very kind and even solicitous to his wife. Mrs. Crabby was beside herself with worry because she had no idea how to deal with his sudden change in behavior or attitude. She literally did not “know” her husband since he was no longer grumpy and complaining. The Crabby relationship was in jeopardy because the basic system of their marriage had been disrupted.
The source or reason for Crabby’s sudden attitude change wasn’t revealed; it didn’t matter that his gentler, more considerate nature might have ultimately improved the overall quality of their communication their relationship. Remember, doesn’t even matter if the “change” is for the better and could even improve the overall quality of their interactions or communication. According to John Kappas, Ph.D.’s Theory of Mind, anything new is unknown and, therefore, painful. This behavior was very painful to him and Mrs. Crabby—so painful, in fact, that they had to enlist the help of a marriage counselor (an octopus) to help restore the usual status quo and save their relationship.
Right away, I knew that a Systems Theory Approach would be the most effective way to address this conflict. The basic premise of the Systems Approach is: every component of a social/emotional system affects the entire system. Whenever one member of that social system changes his or her behavior in any way, that change could still destroy the relationship if the other parties are resistant toward it. The ultimate goal of a Systems Approach is to bring the original System back into balance.
According to Hypnosis Motivation Institute founder, this approach infiltrates all areas of therapy regardless of what the client’s problem or issue happens to be. Even if only one member of the family or one spouse or partner in a relationship is seeking therapy, that issue must be dealt with within the context of the client’s own system. Therefore, the hypnotherapist must address components in the person’s work, relationships, family past, the hypnotherapy he or she is receiving, plus aspects of the entire social system or relationship. If these other issues aren’t taken into account, the therapy won’t be successful and only the issue being addressed in therapy will be “treated” (improved or eliminated) per the client’s goal, Dr. Kappas warned.
The presenting issue of Crabby and Mrs. Crabby’s case was marital accord, a complete aberration of their normal interactions. If the (hypno)therapist doesn’t keep Mrs. Crabby in mind during the therapy, she is liable to walk out of the marriage because she has not been taken into account within the “system.” Fortunately, both of these spouses were willing to come in for (hypno)therapy to work on their marital issues and learned some techniques to help them restore the natural balance of the relationship.
I am pleased to report that the “therapy” worked, Crabby is back to being his usual “crabby” self and he and Mrs. Crabby is delighted with the results! You can read about their relationship at https://muttscomics.com/strips-archive.