Do you ever wonder why there are certain behaviors that seem to be your “go to’s”? It can be so frustrating! For example, I am really good sometimes of pretending like problems don’t exist. For example, the other morning, we had a little flood in our basement (which happens yearly since our house is kind of old) but I immediately wanted to pretend like it wasn’t happening because it would have inconvenienced my day - and I was tired - and I had a million other things to do - and I was trying to get our toddler and myself out the door. So, like normal, I decided it wasn’t a big deal and I was not going to let it ruin my day. I minimized the problem because in that moment I was feeling something and needed to cope with that feeling. Which was completely the wrong response to water backing up in the basement! My guess is you probably have these habits from time to time to. We all do!
Last week, Kim and I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Malibu, CA, to the beautiful campus of Pepperdine University to go through the Level 1 training for Restoration Therapy (RT). RT is a model of therapy that integrates and organizes emotional regulation, mindfulness practice, brain science and attachment theory, to help individuals, couples, and families recognize painful patterns and promote change. See the reason why I sometimes minimize problems is because I really do not like feeling like a failure. In that moment of seeing the water I immediately went to a space of “what could I have done to prevent this?” To cope with that pain, I used a trick I learned a long time ago: if I make it smaller, it can’t hurt me.
This is what RT recognizes as the pain cycle. There are certain feelings that bring us more pain than others. When we feel those feelings we learn coping behaviors to try and manage the pain. Now that I’m aware of this cycle, I have the opportunity to choose the truth instead of the old destructive cycle that I’ve always done whenever I feel that pain pop up. Once I took a breath, and had an opportunity to recognize my pain cycle, it occurred to me, “hold up, you are not a failure, this happens all the time because we have old pipes and giant trees! Call the plumber and get it taken care of now”. Instead of giving into my pain, I was able to choose my truth and take action. This is what RT recognizes as the peace cycle.
It was truly an honor to get to spend time with, and learn from an amazing couple who developed the model of Restoration Therapy and truly live it. Terry and Sharon Hargrave are both Marriage and Family Therapists, and professors. The training was taught by Terry who is such a dynamic teacher, and you can tell he has a great passion for this model, and offering a path to restore love and trust. We will be taking more time to go into depth with the pain cycle and peace cycle in other blog posts so make sure to check back in! It was a great blessing getting to have an opportunity to attend a therapy training together, and take a couple extra days to rest and recharge. Hopefully, you have this opportunity too!