Principles for Effective Treatment and Living

By Deb Kennard, PTI Founder

There are some principles I believe are important for effective clinical treatment, these principles are imperative if working with trauma.  I will be exploring how some important principles are used in our PTI, Personal Transformation Institute, organizational teams and are reflected in all of the relationships in which we engage.  

The principles we use in PTI are also reflected in the way our organization practices as well as the way we live each day.  There is a meta view of the principles that runs from business practices, training and consultation practices and clinical practices.  These principles are:

  • Nonviolence (including clear boundaries)

  • Mindfulness

  • Radical Adaptation

  • Radical Responsibility

The first principle of nonviolence recognizes the clear boundaries, rights and responsibilities of human interaction.  We are setting the conditions for autonomy and inviting awareness and personal growth.  We are using the other principles as we embody nonviolence and we recognize the magic of mindfulness as we investigate what is here.  

These principles are interwoven as we attempt to co-create a safe, welcoming, open and compassionate environment in which we value the uniqueness of each person in the process of transformation.  As we embody nonviolence, mindfulness is a tool to help us in that process.  As we embody mindfulness we are doing so with the assumption that all humans are doing the best they can at the moment with the tools and experiences they have had.  The assumption of radical adaptation opens the door to radical responsibility as we invite the opportunity to look at our reactions and patterns with a compassionate eye.

Compassion makes space for other options and ultimately choices about how we operate in the world.  

This investigation is best done with curiosity as we embody radical adaptation and radical responsibility.  That means we are assuming that whatever is here, even if it is judgement, anger, expectations, feeling forced, offended, happy, appreciative or any other experience is a result of our own perception, history and adaptation.  

We are ultimately letting go of the end result and trusting the process without feeling like we are forcing or an impulse to make something happen. 

This applies to our business operations team, training team, consultation and training practice as well as our clinical practice.  We recognize boundaries, welcome and investigate what is here, co-create the conditions for transformation and allow the result to happen organically, without expectation.  

In that, we allow for and welcome individual differences and invite authenticity as we offer and become curious about what support looks like, without judgement.  In this model we are able to recognize ultimate responsibility and accountability.  

This is how this looks with our business operations team:

We begin every meeting with mindfulness.  Our business operations team has the goal of making the Personal Transformation Institute live, virtual and instant access training programs a quality experience that is cutting-edge and easily accessible for the people who want personal transformation of any kind.  In addition to those roles, they provide customer service and community outreach to agencies and organizations.  There are a variety of needs and the business team is there to support those needs.  Some of the people who interact with PTI may want to transform personally, others may want to transform professionally through our training programs or becoming a part of our training team.  Still others may want to transform others by connecting their behavioral health team with our training products.  

Our training team has the goal of co-creating an environment in which clinicians can transform personally and professionally in order to offer transformation to clients. 

Our training team embodies our principles as they offer learning through our online and 6-day training program and through our consultation groups.  It is our goal to embody the principles in all of our interactions whether it be our team meetings, training programs or individual interactions with each other.  We do this through inviting awareness for others and ourselves, welcoming what is here, being curious and non-judgmental.  

To keep with these principles on our training team we openly offer opportunities for self-directed learning in multiple ways.  We offer a path toward becoming a consultant, assistant and trainer for PTI.  We offer multiple ways to receive support and continue to learn in order to meet the needs of people at various levels of need.  We invite and openly acknowledge the opportunities are optional and require self-evaluation and autonomy. 

Along the way there is an open invitation to attend scheduled meetings in order to get support, consultation and further learning.  There is no requirement for attendance which is intentional, as we embody the PTI principles.   We also offer a wide variety of ways to learn and gain support outside of the meetings, including the ability to shadow various people at training programs and consultation in order to gain more experience, insight and skill if needed.  

In our training programs we teach as well as embody the principles as we invite, become curious about what is here and co-create the conditions for transformation, both personally and professionally. 

The experiential nature of our training can be exhilarating for some and daunting for others.  With this in mind it becomes very powerful when we can sincerely embody the principles and offer curiosity, mindful awareness, compassion through recognizing the adaptive nature of the human experience.  By demonstrating nonviolence, boundaries, mindful awareness, radical adaptation and responsibility we are able to teach as we demonstrate the most effective way we know to set the conditions for transformation to occur.

We recognize that while personal transformation is often desired, it is not often pleasant or easy 

In our advanced consultation program we continue to embody the principles as we recognize the individual needs of the consultees.  We invite and investigate how to best support the individualized learning.  As in all we offer, we have high standards which offer an opportunity for excellence.  We hold our standards very high in order to give that opportunity for those who wish to become expert EMDR clinicians, as we hold with compassion those who struggle with personal blocks through the process. 

Because our standards are high, it is natural and predictable that the consultees adaptive patterns and limitations will be illuminated. 

This illumination is an opportunity to apply the principles and experience the transformative results. 

It is also as important that we recognize this opportunity is optional and some will instead remain stuck in patterns that may include projection, victimhood and other unpleasant adaptations.  These are the times when the relational aspect of transformation is an opportunity for all to look within, with compassion, mindfully investigating what is here and how our adaptations are dancing with another’s adaptations.  

We can observe how we react to the unresolved issues of others or how we try harder to make someone understand or try to make something happen.  These are times that we find ourselves outside of the principles and these times are again an opportunity to invite compassion and awareness for ourselves as well as others.  

There are people who come to therapy, attend a training or a consultation and as they enter into the experiential work find themselves blocked by a personal unresolved issue that was once helpful and adaptive.  At the time, they will not likely see that the block is actually an unresolved issue but look outside of themselves for the cause.  This can look like excuses, blaming, procrastination, lying or a host of other ways to deflect and manage the moment. 

If we can assume that whatever we are seeing was once adaptive and not only useful but necessary for connection and survival, we can hold them with compassion instead of contempt.  This first step is often a difficult one to take, especially if we are the one they are pointing to to place blame.  

The shift to compassionate understanding is an opportunity to observe our own part of any pattern we are seeing. 

That pattern may be energetic as well as behavioral or in some cases only energetic.  As we say the words in an attempt to be within the principles we may find a way that our body tells us something else is here.  That something else may be an energetic resistance, judgment or defensiveness that is covertly coloring the relational interaction.  We will know this energy is present if we find ourselves trying to make someone do something or we are feeling frustrated by another person’s unresolved issue.  We may find ourselves spending extra energy trying to figure out how to help or support them.  

  • Can we look at our reaction and use mindful awareness to invite with curiosity about what is here? 
  • Are we doing the thing we do when under stress? 
  • Are we doing the thing that was so helpful as we grew up, trying to fit in and be loved? 

This is an opportunity that can be taken or passed.  Even for ourselves it is important to recognize that deepening our awareness of our patterns is optional.  If we choose to take that path, our principles invite us to do so with a deep compassion and intention to understand the parts of us that are still hurting in some way.  Those are the parts of ourselves that are showing up to help.  

There is a simple, yet powerful exercise we can choose to try at those times. 

  1. Noticing what we are doing, or even just what is our urge to do and then looking to the past to see how that has been helpful. 
  2. With a sincere desire to understand and illuminate the present, we can invite a memory to surface, a memory of childhood. 
  3. As we see that child, look into their eyes and recognize how amazing it is that the adaptation happened so naturally. 
  4. If possible, giving love to the younger part of us and offering the words that we may have always wanted to hear.  Those words might be something like…
    • “You don’t have to work so hard, it’s ok to rest”.  
    • “You are beautiful and lovable just the way you are”. 
    • “You matter, what you want matters”.

We are all amazingly beautiful.  We are all deserving of love.  We are all doing the best we can at this moment.  

If you are interested in this topic Deb is offering a free 2 hour webinar next Tuesday March 2, 2021, register here.  All recordings of these offerings are held in the Genius Lounge, click here to become a member.