This is part nine of the nine-part series illustrating the emotional intelligence (EI) theory intervention paradigm. The content of these dialogues may have been of interest to the casual reader as well as the therapist seeking to increase h/er understanding and application of EI theory.
EI Guide: We’re coming to the end of our session. This is where I like to get some feedback, just to make sure we are on the same page. Tell me what we talked about today. Or, better yet, tell me what you remember most about our session.
Elliot: Most? I think when you said, ‘You cannot have happiness in your life unless you are loved and respected by everyone you meet?’
EI Guide: What about that interests you?
Elliot: Sometimes I think I cannot be as happy as I’d like to be unless people appreciate me and respect me. Like it’s the end of the world if someone doesn’t like me. I just wish I could do more about that.
EI Guide: It isn’t easy, but you can.
Elliot: If you could help me with that, I would really appreciate it.
EI Guide: What do you tell yourself, say, when someone thinks you behaved badly?
Elliot: Tell myself?
EI Guide: Yes, listen to your mind. It will tell you your beliefs. It will tell you what you think of certain things. Let’s say someone treated you rudely, say at the convenient store. Say the cashier talked on her cell phone and didn’t treat you very well, as a customer. What would you tell yourself about that?
Elliot: I would tell myself she was rude.
EI Guide: And . . . ?
Elliot: She shouldn’t be?
EI Guide: And . . . ?
Elliot: She should change.
EI Guide: Why?
Elliot: Because I want her to?
EI Guide: What if she doesn’t change?
Elliot: She would be a horrible person and I couldn’t stand that.
EI Guide: So you couldn’t live happily while she was in the world acting rudely?
Elliot: Now I get it.
EI Guide: If your happiness depends on how well people cooperate with your wishes, you are likely to be unhappy a lot of the time.
Elliot: I get that part, but what can I do instead.
EI Guide: Remember how we talked about viewing the situation differently?
Elliot: About seeing people who act strangely as insane?
EI Guide: Sure. If the cashier were viewed as crazy, what kind of behavior would you expect from her?
EI Guide: Should crazy people act any differently?
Elliot: I guess not.
EI Guide: Put that in your own words.
Elliot: I can still be happy in my life, even if people are acting crazy and saying crazy things. I don’t have to fight anyone or yell back at them. I can think, ‘Boy, this person is really making a lot of poor choices. They are saying all sorts of crazy shit and behaving strangely. I think I should just move away from them.’
EI Guide: What about your thoughts concerning being gay?
Elliot: I guess I still feel like it would be better to be straight. It’s easier when you’re like other people.
EI Guide: Can you be happy in your life if you’re not like other people?
Elliot: Sure I can. I just have to stop thinking that just because someone thinks something bad about me that it’s true. I have to give myself my own value, rather than taking everyone’s random suggestions of my value. I am in charge of the way I feel because I am in charge of the way I think. If I think differently, I will feel differently. I will never like it that peop1e don’t like me because I’m gay, or any other reason. But I certainly can live my life and be happy. Yes, I think I can do that.
- The Case of Elliot (part five) (eitheory.com)
- The Case of Elliot (part six) (eitheory.com)
- The Case of Elliot (part eight) (eitheory.com)
- The Case of Elliot (part four) (eitheory.com)
- Next Post (eitheory.com)
- The Bio-Psycho-Social Model (eitheory.com)
- The Case of Elliot (part two) (eitheory.com)
- The Case of Elliot (part three) (eitheory.com)
- The Case of Elliot (part seven) (eitheory.com)
- The Case of Elliot (part one) (eitheory.com)