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 Manna Minute 
Sunday, May 17 2009

Although it was Saturday, I kinda worked yesterday. I’m playing a psychologist on TV…well, on a documentary. I am Kris Kimlin’s “psycholgist” for his documentary, “Losing It” ( He’s trying to lose 100+ pounds in about 6 months, and will be running a marathon in October 2009. Two very lofty goals. Admirable, even. And although I am really doing psychotherapy with him, it’s extremely different from my “regular” work circumstances – there are video cameras in my room (i.e., “the set”). It’s eerily natural. Perhaps I’m a movie star trapped in a shrink’s body? LOL!

Anyway, we had our second two-hour session yesterday. And it was vastly different from the first. Depending on the personality type, some people will come into my office and open up immediately. Some will come into my office and are actually analyzing me more than I analyze them. It’s quite comical at times. Anyhoo, during our first meeting, Kris being a pretty gregarious guy, opened up to much of the “stuff” that he typically shares with others. Until the end. Then, he let some of his guard down and we really got down to some more core issues that he didn’t realize.

Today, there was no hype in the guy at all. He was open, honest, and appeared to forget that the cameras were in the room. It was REAL work. Let me tell you, if you have never been in therapy, you got no reason nor room to knock anyone who goes. I have always thought that I have the most respect for the people who sit across from me in my office. Or on anyone else’s therapeutic couch. It’s an extremely deep, painful, voluntary, self-inspection. It’s like having open heart surgery with no anesthetic, where you give the knife to the doctor (while also participating in the surgery) and watching it in the mirror. Sometimes, during the surgery, the doc will touch on a nerve that will send you into orbit, and you may end up feeling unbalanced or off-guard. It obviously requires a lot of trust from the person undergoing surgery.

Anyway, the really cool part of my job is that I get to see REAL change regarding how a person has previously (most of the time, his/her whole life) viewed him or herself. Most people learn about who they are from their primary caregivers – moms, dads, grandparents, coaches, siblings, etc. These core people send verbal and non-verbal messages about who the child is, based on who they perceive (and need) the child to be. So, these messages develop over time in that child’s mind/psyche, and eventually, that becomes his/her “truth” about who they are. And then as a person grows up, these beliefs become a way that he/she interprets others and himself in the world. Over time, these “truths” kinda set and harden in your mind like your bones get set as you grow into adulthood.

However, if these “truths” cause you to think negatively about yourself, you got problems. And those problems turn into “habits” and relational patterns. And then the net result is divorce, abandonment, addiction, etc. The beliefs turn into junk that causes us stress and damages us and our relationships further. I like to draw a parallel between our beliefs and driving a car. Let’s say that your negative beliefs are like black paint on the windows of a car, and the more negatively you believe, the more black paint there is. You know those people – they are going along in their life, and CRASH into others. However, their blind spots prevented them from seeing the potential sources of danger in the first place. Then, and as they get out of the car, their reactions may vary from blaming the other person for the wreck, to taking care of the other person despite the fact that they (themself) are bleeding to death. You get the picture. Now, no pointing fingers. You do it too…

Anyway, my job is a bit like taking paint thinner and a scraper in order to help them see more clearly. Yup, me and God, we try to take the negative beliefs and replace them with real Truth. Now, I understand that I may ruffle a few feathers by bringing God into the picture. However, if I’m in a car that is covered in black paint, I am basically driving blindly. Can’t think of anyone else that I’d like to have in the car with me at that point in time. So, stick with me for a second. If you can believe a “truth” that has been developed over time, based on mere people who are driving cars that have black paint on them, then I don’t think that listening to God, who can see everything, is going to hurt. As far as I understand God, He thinks that you are great, even when you can’t imagine that anyone would like you.

So, as people begin to mentally replace old human-based “truths” with God’s Truth, life returns, people can breathe, and their esteem is raised. They begin to feel more in control of their life, more self-aware, and can more easily accept their own flaws. And they can begin to see others’ “black paint” more clearly. Hence, they can better navigate through life and avoid the crashes (and ensuing drama) in relationships.

So, Kris is going through this process, and is learning a lot. This is going to be a fun journey.

I LOVE my job!

Posted by: Genie Burnett, PsyD AT 06:32 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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