We are constantly bombarded with problems. Think of what you have done today at this point: there will have been many decisions that you have already taken. I’ll use my morning as an example. Here are some of the decisions I had to take:
- Get up on time, or sleep a little longer?
- Whether to get dressed straight away or stay in pjs
- Whether to help my son get his packed lunch ready or to insist he did it himself
- Whether to feed the rabbits now or later, and whether to give them the remaining cabbage which was a little past its best
- Whether to answer emails before or after a bath
- Whether to respond politely, pointedly or not at all to a rude email
I could go on, but you are probably bored with my morning by now!
When making any decision we have two choices; we can use the full power of our adult thinking and feeling, or go into script. If we go into script we are perceiving the world so that it fits the decisions we made as children. We will blank out some aspects of the real situation and blow others out of proportion.
Looking at the list above, the last decision could easily have sent me script-ward, back to the time when I couldn’t handle people being nasty to me, but instead I used my adult thinking and feeling and decided that the rudeness was due to the writers process and so not mine to deal with. I handed it back.
There are four behaviours which indicate that someone is discounting:
- Doing nothing (the person will be experiencing themselves as not thinking)
- Over adaptation (the person does what they believe will fulfil the wishes of others (from Child))
- Agitation (the person engages in pointless activity rather than solving the problem)
- Incapacitation or violence (eg development of psychosomatic issues for secondary gain, or mindless violence)
To detect discounts, look for verbal cues, eg:
- I can’t
- I’ll try to
- Missing out part of a sentence. For example, a member of a therapy group says I want a hug, but the sentence doesn’t say who from
Non-verbal clues, eg:
- Incongruity between words and behaviour
- Laughing about something unpleasant