Predict. Prepare. Protect: A Tool for Personal Change
Predict, Prepare, Protect™
My name is Anne Tomin. I am a licensed psychologist with a private practice in California. I have been practicing as a licensed psychologist for 20 years. The ideas below were born out of working with many people who struggle with how to break free from repetitive, negative, destructive, self-defeating behaviors, choices and reactions. If these situations go on long enough, most people reach a point at which they are ready to change their pattern or as least explore why breaking free has been too difficult.
Sometimes while there is a true desire to change and break negative patterns, a client may lack the tools and vital information to make the change happen. Many people do not see their inability to change as a lack of tools or knowledge, but rather they see themselves as a failure. This misinterpretation can lead to regret, self-criticism, self-doubt and even self-hatred. All of which make change and healing more difficult or even perpetuates the very patterns they want to shift.
In my experience when clients want to change but feel stuck in a cycle of long term repetition they can feel bewildered, disheartened, hopeless and ashamed. They might ask themselves such questions as, “How did this happen again?” Why did I say that again? The does same thing always happen?” What is wrong with me that I cannot stop doing this?”
At this time a in person’s life, if change is truly desired, they need something to hang onto, a touchstone or an anchor to ground them as they become unstuck and to begin replacing old unhealthy repetitious behaviors (choice and reactions) with new healthy ones. They need a set of tenets that shows them what is possible, to pull them out of the past and into the present. The present is the only place and time in which repetitive negative patterns and behavior choices can be understood, stopped and changed.
I have worked with clients of all ages who struggle with what I have described above and what I have coined Predict, Prepare, Protect™ (PPP) is just one way I have found that helps and supports people who desire lasting changes. PPP is a set of tools that can function as that touchstone, and anchor that guide a client embarks on their brave therapeutic journey.
PPP can be viewed 3-pronged self-study that revolves around the ideas of Self-knowledge, Self-Love and Self-Caring and how to apply these active states of being to each client’s personal change process. While, in my experience clients feel more hopeful as they integrate the tools of Predict, Prepare and Protect into their life, it is not an intervention of hope but one that engenders faith. Faith in one’s OWN capacity to evolve, change, transform and to make healthy choices in their life. It is an intervention that helps one see even the tiniest of shifts as progress and accomplishment. PPP sees success in ANY movement away for the unhealthy towards the healthy.
I want to briefly introduce PPP as a set of tools that helps people relate to themselves in a kinder yet more realistic manner, putting the focus first on curiosity and understanding and then identifying how they would like to be instead and finally on the behavior choices that are in the service of their own healing, wellness and personal evolution.
- Making the unconscious conscious
- Curiosity instead of judgement
- Deep personal exploration
- Courage to see one’s personal truth
- Identify triggers
- Who else is involved?
The process of Predict is the truth telling stage in which one explores the roots of the unhealthy behaviors and choices and any unconscious blocks that may be impeding change. In Predict, one also identifies the sometimes deeply buried the secret wish about what they want to be different about themselves, the other or the situation. This stage requires one to be brutally honest with oneself about one’s feelings, thoughts and behaviors. It also demands self-compassion and curiosity instead of judgement and self-criticism. In this stage, clients learn how to be kind to themself. Self-exploration at this level also requires courage because sometimes this kind of internal exploration takes us to places we have been afraid to go in the past.
For example, a person (adult) who struggles with food and emotions, dreads going to their parents’ house for dinner because they always end up feeling insecure, bad about themselves and eat too much. These scenario leaves this person feeling defeated. Instead of focusing on the parents’ behavior, Predict asks the person to focus on them self. “What happens to me when I go to my parents?” “What is happening on the inside of me?” “When does that bad feeling start and what is that bad feeling?” “What is my secret wish about how this I and this situation could be different?” These questions replace, Oh no! It happened again!” “What is wrong with me!”
In therapy, these questions and more like these are explored compassionately and curiously, until the patient fully understands what happens to them/inside of them when they go to their parents’ house for dinner.
The next set of tools is in a category called Prepare.
- What’s mine, what’s not
- What do I need?
- Envisioning most favorable outcome
In this stage one come up with plan/s based on self-knowledge and self-compassion gained in Predict. Following the previous example, the client would come to Prepare with the knowledge about their internal life and the secret wish they didn’t have before. With this new understanding a plan can be devised that meets the client’s needs in the situation in which the repetition occurs. A specific plan to address specific internal experiences is created. Armed with this very specific plan that is directly correlated with what is discovered in Predict, the client is prepared with what she knows will happen. This plan must be self-loving and in the service of the client’s healing and wellness. Such as using the above dinner example, ” I plan to pay more attention to my internal reactions to what my parents say to me.” or “If I start to get that awful feeling that I always get I will remove myself temporarily to regroup instead of enduring the feeling and eating to deal with it.” A patient usually has to do this multiple times before they are able to implement their plans fully and naturally. In Prepare any adherence to the plan is seen as success.
The last set of tool comes under the category of Protect.
- Seeing success in increments
- Feelings of accomplishment and self-efficacy
Protect is an active stage in which the client’s new self-knowledge and plan are applied. It takes place in the challenging situation for which the client has created the plan. The client makes every effort to implement the plan they came up with in Prepare. It is in the difficult situation that more information is gathered that will contribute Preparing more effectively next time. In this way the plan can be reworked based on new learning. What occurred in the situation is then reviewed and evaluated in therapy in a most kind and compassionate manner. Any change in the old pattern, whether it happens internally or externally, whether anyone but the client notices is seen as success and of value. The client must feel encouraged so that they have courage to apply their plan another time. Following the above example, the client may return to therapy saying, “I did it. I was aware of what was going on inside of me and I only overate a little.” Or “I was able to excuse myself to regroup the first time I felt bad but not the other times.” Or even, “I thought about the plan, but couldn’t do any of it.” All of those outcomes are successes because there was change toward health.
My clients who have gone through the PPP process have reported to me how helpful it is in all aspects of their lives. Some have integrated the stages so thoroughly that they now come naturally and are used as a part of their daily functioning.
For more information about Predict, Prepare, Protect or other therapy services, feel free to call today.