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Personal Style(s): Circle 1

WHO: The IDENTITY of the individual, determined by who/what the person has decided about who s/he CHOOSES to be.

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STYLE(S) I-2

Commitment to the Individual as a Therapeutic Approach

Self-definition is simultaneously the least acknowledged and most preoccupying natural life task assigned to human beings. It is least-acknowledged in the sense of being denied, distorted or disenfranchised by many social institutions and organizations which, instead of facilitating the self-defining process, either complicate it or usurp it. It is most preoccupying for individuals who have accidentally or deliberately become consciously involved in it as a significant developmental process in a sequence of tasks through which they can grow and mature, as they continue to seek experiences, relationships and other resources which will enable them to clarify and enhance their personal differentiation and growth.

One of the most imprtant tasks of therapy (or of education at any level) is to increase an individual's self-confidence and to teach them to trust their own judgment as it gradually improves. Frequently persons "in charge of" formal settings for learning emphasize the differences in status between persons in specified roles (e.g., teacher vs. student; doctor vs. patient; therapist vs. client; adult vs. child, etc) rather than pay attention to human similarities. Role disctinctions are often made in order to protect fragile persons who borrow their security from the position they hold rather than finding it in the kind of person they can be in relationship with others. Thus they maintain their position with such things as rules or procedures which are often contrived, or at best, unnecessary. This I call the "toilet-time-at-ten-and-two" phenomenon. Learning, when most successful at any level of development, enhances the uniqueness of the individuals involved rather than seeking to make all persons identical.