Keynotes # 12: Your Primary Focus During Times Like These

(Originally posted on July 9, 2016)

“Keynotes” are my brief comments about life and recovery and are intended to provide insight, inspiration, wisdom or humor to your day.

I’m reminded of what I heard from Dr. Cliff Mitchell at a conference I attended last September (2015), in Dallas, the city that I live in. Dr. Mitchell spoke about his area of expertise which is “Priming” our thoughts. His premise that day was:

“The mind moves you and your listener in the direction of the dominant thought regardless of whether it is stated in the positive or the negative.”

I happen to work as a Psychotherapist and I agree with Dr. Mitchell’s comments, as our dominant thoughts and the direction of our thoughts will hopefully be given careful consideration in light of the senseless and violent loss of life that we’ve experienced lately in our city and throughout other cities in the United States and in the world we live in.

My dominant thought is that we have an opportunity to focus (or refocus) our collective dominant thoughts and energy toward thoughts and behaviors that are therapeutic in nature, where the demonstration of appropriate acts of care, attention, help, service, ministry, etc. will move all of us toward the healing experience that could help us as a human race. The good thing is that thinking about and practicing therapeutic behaviors that help is not limited to my profession, my office, my license nor is it limited to your parish, church, mosque, synagogue or political affiliation.

My specific training as a Psychologist helps me to see things from an “Ecological” perspective. That simply means that when I’m provided the opportunity to assist people, I take into consideration the person, their history, the family they grew up in and the family they live in now, the neighborhood they live in, the schools they attend, the churches they worship at in addition to their places of work and the communities they strive to make better.

That being the case, my role is to assist the person to examine the “multiple systems” that he or she lives in and identify dominant thoughts that could eventually help them to make their micro (marriage or family) or macro (school, community, city) systems a better place to live in. That’s my focus and during times like this, in this city and country, perhaps we all could benefit from a refocus such as this. Remember, you don’t have to be a Therapist to pull this off.

So today, the question I have for you is how will you use your energy? What is the dominant thought that you’ll give time, effort and attention to because your family, friend or community needs your positive energy and effort to create therapeutic outcomes, especially in the city you live in? I choose to believe that you and the people around you are not the problems but you and the people around you hold the answers to the true diseases that impact all of us systemically on this Earth. I choose to champion people and help them to identify, implement and celebrate therapeutic behaviors that end in healthy and healing outcomes in our micro and macro systems. How about you? What will you focus on developing with the best use of your energy?

Here are a few suggestions that come to mind that I’m going to put into action:

  1. Grieve tenderly with others.
  2. Hug tightly and seek to comfort others repeatedly.
  3. Listen intently to the thoughts and feelings of others.
  4. Communicate respectfully and civilly.
  5. Brainstorm and dialogue about ideas that empower, protect and heal.
  6. Plan simply with the best intent and intentions in mind.
  7. Use my available energy to collaborate (or “co-labor”) to develop these effective outcomes.
  8. Think creatively when our ideas, situations, actions or the systems we endeavor to change need revision.
  9. Encourage others to keep their focus on pollination versus contamination.
  10. Celebrate any victory, great or small, due to our collective and creative efforts!

This list is not exhaustive; there are hundreds of ways for us to use our energy to focus our dominant thoughts on achieving better outcomes with one another. May God bless you in your efforts!

Dr. Ken McGill 


TeleHealth/Video counseling sessions are available for those who prefer to meet online – Dr. McGill

Businesswoman presses button psychological counseling online on virtual screens. technology, internet and networking concept.

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