The group therapy meetings planted the idea and then convinced me that the atmosphere of acceptance, warmth, real sympathy and responsiveness which existed during them is a vital part of everyone's life and that any risk involved is worth it. It is this background of acceptance, security, and understanding that I know I have not had although I am very sure that both my father and mother would be unable to see that this is true. They both feel that our home has provided us girls with complete understanding and sympathy. Exactly what I am going to do with these changed attitudes, I do not know, but this doesn't seem to be causing me any concern at the moment. You don't have to understand someone's You don't have to be comfortable with someone's Trust that others understand their lives better than you do. Let marginalized people teach you about their experience, rather than imposing your beliefs on them. Your expertise or beliefs about their identities doesn't supersede their experience. Developing your cultural humility allows you to experience the richness that diversity brings. The world is a much more interesting place when we open ourselves to everyone's uniqueness. Still disagree? Perhaps an analogy can help. A friend describes being raised in an impoverished small town where there was little cultural diversity, with foods limited to their specific cultural tradition, mostly rice and beans. If you're upset with another person or frustrated by what feels like an impasse in the relationship, there's a good chance that you may have fallen into the mind reading trap. This is because, in your mind, someone hasn't given you what you want. The problem, of course, is that you haven't asked for it. At holiday time, if your mother-in-law comes over and it drives you nuts that no matter what you do she tells you a better way to do it, that can make you stressed. But if you can articulate in some way that you're not really asking for advice but that her assistance would be great, then you're letting the air out of that relationship stress point--likely for both of you. Not saying what we really want or need can create stress for both sides.

The next time you find yourself feeling frustrated or angry with someone, ask yourself: Have I communicated what I want or need to this person clearly and adequately? When in doubt, speak up. ESCAPE AN OVERGENERALIZING TRAP The interesting thing about overgeneralizing is that it increases the intensity of our feelings. I think that the acknowledgment and the consequent willingness on my part to let things happen to my emotions is of major importance and everything else will more or less fall in line. As a member of a group, the person learns what it means to give and receive emotional support and understanding in a new and more mature fashion. The self is redefined in a context not unlike that which initially created the need to distort the perception of the self, and of the self in relation to others. This is perhaps the most compelling quality of the group experience. Contrary to expectation, it is sometimes easier for a person to talk in the group situation than to an individual therapist, and this is a difference worth noting. A limited experience with several groups of severely disturbed veterans gives evidence on this point. The participants in the groups had all received individual therapy for varying periods extending up to a year, and they were referred for group therapy because they did not respond to individual treatment. Case records indicate that a few of the men who were unable to talk about their traumatic war experiences in individual therapy gained from the group the stimulus and the acceptance needed to permit them to relive many of the terrible experiences that they were sealing off from awareness. Capital is here made of individual differences in the ability to open up one's life. The group member most able to talk about himself may start, and thereby relieve pressure from more reticent members, who later take courage from his example and begin tentatively to follow his lead. When she first moved to San Francisco and was exposed to the diversity of food options, she was blown away. Kung pao chicken? Sticky rice with mango? She had no idea what she had been missing. Food suddenly became a lot more interesting, a source of delight and wonder. The prospect of congee with her morning tea gave her new reason to bounce out of bed with enthusiasm.

I promise you, right now you are missing out on so much possibility because your prejudice, conscious or unconscious, limits your ability to see the rich diversity of our world. This is not a personal indictment; As we increase our cultural humility and openness to truly seeing others, our world becomes so much more exciting. Prejudice, which is often unconscious and unintended, limits and hurts everyone, not just those on the margins. If we personalize, we may feel sad; If we externalize, we may feel angry. If we externalize and overgeneralize, we'll feel big anger--otherwise known as rage. Overgeneralizing is the equivalent of emotional kerosene. To catch yourself overgeneralizing, listen for words like never or always, or for character-indicting words like lazy, stupid, or jerk (or worse). The bigger your theory about yourself, another person, or the world, the more evidence you need to support it. Ask yourself: Am I really being objective and fair here, or is this my usual thinking trap at work? Is this person really always/never as I'm labeling them? Am I really a lousy parent, or a good parent just having a bad day? ESCAPE A PESSIMISM TRAP Such expressions as these are common: I've had that same experience, too, or When that happened to you, did you have that same feeling that I had when . Group facilitation, which has been studied by social psychologists in other contexts, operates. It is not to say all people will find it easier to talk in a group; But there is a possible gain in freedom, in the group, that is important. Many issues in personality theory and the therapeutic process center around the problem of values. One of the cardinal principles in client-centered therapy is that the individual must be helped to work out his own value system, with a minimal imposition of the value system of the therapist.

This very commitment is, of course, itself an expression of a value which is inevitably communicated to the client in the intimate course of working together. This value, which affirms the individual's right to choose his own values, is believed to be therapeutically helpful. The suggestion of an array of other values by the therapist is believed to be therapeutically harmful, possibly because, if they are presented by the therapist, they will inevitably carry the authority of the therapist and constitute a denial of the self of the client at the moment. The therapist cannot simply express a value for what it is worth; When I returned to my childhood neighborhood recently, I was thrilled to reconnect with Lisa, the fat girl who was mercilessly teased in high school, and to learn of her current groundbreaking research in cancer treatment. It made me wonder. That fat (or queer or disabled) kid we shunned in high school, what amazing gifts does she offer the world that we were denied seeing because of our prejudice? If you find it jarring, that's probably because you're accustomed to hearing it as an insult. Hang in there with me. My hope is that reading further in the article will help defuse the term for you. How did I miss out on seeing this back then? My high school experience would have been much different if I had had the friendship of a lovely person like Lisa. Instead, I missed out, too caught up in my idea about fatness, preoccupied with status, and stuck in the belief that she wasn't friend material. It pains me, too, to think about the hours and hours of time I'll never get back spent trying to fit in with the judgmental and narrow-minded popular kids. Think of the entry (and exit) to a pessimism trap as a spiral staircase. It begins with a single event, which leads to a thought . Things get progressively worse--and it doesn't just spiral in a specific domain. The negativity spiral gets broader and broader, like a cyclone. Pessimism has a way of bleeding from one area of your life into another, too. Things aren't going well at home, so you're not sleeping well, which makes you worry that you won't perform well at work.

Take meQuilibrium member Jillian, fifty-eight, for example. Jillian owns a successful consulting firm, is highly regarded in her industry, and has amassed more than a comfortable nest egg. Yet when even the smallest thing goes wrong, she's convinced it'll all go down the tubes and she'll end up on the street. Jillian explained her favorite and familiar spiral: If I don't make a train to get into the city for a client meeting, I think I'm going to ultimately turn into a bag lady. The client must actively cope with it. In group therapy the situation in respect to values is an interesting one, with consequences that appear very important. As in work with individuals from a client-centered viewpoint, the therapist quietly and consistently, in each of his expressions, upholds the primary value of the individual's right to determine his own way of life. This value is believed to be so important that the therapist will not cloud the issue, and possibly threaten the group, by raising other values for consideration. But values are raised, in plenty, by members of the group, and this rich and varied expression of ways of life offers to the individual member of a group many alternate perspectives without any requirement that he commit himself. The values being expressed are relevant to the individual speaking; In addition, the kinds of values expressed in a group represent something of a cross section of the values of the culture in which the individual lives, with considerably more variance than could be held by the therapist alone. The very diversity of values expressed is an important factor, it is believed, in creating a climate in which the final choice is left truly with the individual. Group therapy offers another opportunity, absent in individual therapy, which may be quite important in the therapeutic process. In the group the individual may be a giver of help while receiving help. Opening to the people behind our stereotypes will go a long way to enriching our lives. Developing your cultural humility around diverse identities--and quashing the gender binary--will help all of us. If you fit better in those gender boxes, what they're costing you may not be as obvious. Roles and expectations hurt cis people as much as they hurt trans people by placing limits on acceptable careers, ways of managing emotions, connections with others, and even possible wardrobes. It's just harder for cis people to see the toll the gender binary takes because no one is hassling them about which bathroom to use. My hope is that we can all learn a new gender etiquette where we don't force our assumptions about gender onto other people.