One night last week, my friend was quite distraught over an altercation she had with a staff member earlier in the day. She talked about the hurtful things the person had said, the pain augmented by the fact that it was done angrily, and in public. The stress that resulted was almost more than my friend could handle, and she indicated that she wasn’t likely to get any sleep again that night.
She was particularly upset that the person who had clashed with her was one of the hospital’s “DBT trainers.” DBT is “Dialectical Behavior Therapy,” the method taught each day to all of the patients to help them get in touch with their emotions, manage those effectively, and find ways to connect effectively with each other. My friend lamented that the staff person was clearly better at teaching the method than she was at using it to control her own interactions with others. Then she added, “I go to the classes, but I just don’t understand any of it...There has to be an easier way!”
I grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil, and began to teach my friend the “Social Response Pyramid™.” After just a few minutes, my friend said, “I understand this! It is so much easier than DBT. It actually makes sense to me!” Visiting hours ended about ten minutes later. As she walked me to the door, my friend thanked me, and said that she was feeling much calmer, and knew she wouldn’t be losing any sleep over the issue. She had a better understanding of what had happened, and had a plan for what to do the next morning when she encountered the staff person again.
For me, that’s the beauty of the simple tool I’ve developed. The Social Response Pyramid™ is easy to teach and use, and typically “makes sense” to people; even those who struggle to understand social interactions on their own. I’ve often seen it diffuse anger or anxiety, and help people come up with valuable “next steps” for identifying and moving toward their goals.
Yet this isn’t a tool only for those who struggle due to mental, physical, or emotional functioning, financial or family circumstances, health issues, relationship difficulties, loneliness, etc. Like the staff members my friend encountered, I find that I need to use The Social Response Pyramid™, and a variety of other strategies, to continue to better understand myself and others, and to be more effective in my social interactions.
Whether you use the Social Response Pyramid™, or any of the many other strategies available today, hopefully you will continue to experience success, both in your personal life, as well as in your work with people who rely on you to come alongside them to teach, support, remind, and encourage.