The necessary components of the healing stage of personal development planning.
To effectively plan one’s own personal growth, divide personal development into seven stages. The first stage of a sound personal growth plan is Healing.
A summary of the full seven stage plan is described in A Seven Stage Personal Growth Plan. Healing is a necessary first stage because personal growth is a forward-looking process.
A personal history of abuse, addiction, depression, compulsion, or traumatic events that keep one mired in a life story of the past must normally be dealt with before facing forward to progress in personal development.
The healing process may require involvement of a mental health therapist or counselor in cases of severe depression or addiction. Less severe past problems might be resolvable by open discussion with a good listener, who could be a close friend or a trained life coach.
When to Use a Mental Health Counselor
According to one mental health professional, “a therapist is advisable if someone is essentially an unhappy person, and doesn’t like themselves or their lives very much,” adding that some of the indicators are:
- Self defeating behavior, such as addictions, compulsive behavior, and blaming others for one’s unhappiness.
- Feeling dissatisfied and unhappy in spite of external changes, or in spite of actually meeting goals.
- When old events keep popping up causing distress in spite of attempts to push them aside or ignore them.
Addictions and Compulsions
Emotional and physical addictions imprison a person in the current state.
Personal growth is difficult because growth implies change and addictions keep one within the confines of current behaviors, compulsions, thinking, and relationships.
Addiction and compulsive behaviors are situations requiring a mental health counselor.
The Value of Good Listening Skills
The consulted therapist indicated a good friend or life coach may be called for when people “feel pretty good about themselves as human beings, and want to have the lives they feel they are capable of and deserve.”
Good listening skills, including active listening, feeding back what is heard, and being empathetic can help a person prepare for subsequent personal growth stages.
Everyone has a story. Events and circumstances, whether good fortune or adversity, are a part of the personal history of every life.
Of major importance to personal growth is how a person processes and moves forward from past events.
Some people have difficulty separating themselves from the significant experiences of their past, essentially becoming the experience rather than someone who has had the experience.
This distinction is critical insofar as a person wishes to grow. A person who has had the experience of poverty has the choice of seeing themselves as impoverished or seeing themselves as someone currently in poverty, but not an impoverished person.
The fundamental beliefs one holds about self and life can either impede or support ongoing personal development.
A person growing up in poverty may see themselves as poor or impoverished. Parents or other influential people may reinforce that belief with words or actions that indicate poverty is their lot in life and it’s best to get used to it.
On the other hand, a poor child may be challenged or inspired by influential others to break out of the cycle, with encouraging words such as, “you’re bright, stay in school and get a good education and a good job.”
Beliefs Can Be Changed
Everyone has a set of fundamental beliefs that guide their actions and behaviors. These beliefs are not God given, nor genetic.
They are merely thoughts about self and life; powerful thoughts to be sure, but thoughts nonetheless. Thoughts can be changed.
The Healing Stage
The Healing stage of a personal development plan is a critical first step and foundation for personal growth.