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How (and Why) to Accelerate Your Personal Development

by Kimberly on October 6, 2010 · 6 comments

Have you watched some of the previews for that new TLC show “Sister Wives”? Although it’s not my type of show (I’m more into crime dramas and comedies), there’s a certain clip they’ve showed that has stuck in my mind.

In this clip, Kody Brown, the husband in the series, describes his four marriages as “accelerated personal development.”

You know what? I believe it.

This may seem like an odd topic to write about on a music therapy blog, but the thing is, “personal development” is an area of concern for all therapists. It affects our clients and it affects us as clinicians.

I believe that “personal development” will happen for most people naturally. But throughout our lives, we all have opportunities to choose paths that will “accelerate our personal development.”

One of those paths is marriage. Being married (or in a committed, long-term relationship) will challenge you and stretch your range of emotions more than you can imagine.

Another path? Have a child. Better yet, have two children (though I can’t speak for having three or more). If you want to be tested to the absolute in terms of your ability to love, to be angry, to cry, or to be scared, then you bring a child into your life.

But what about those who, as a friend of mine once put it, choose a less “traditional” path? Any time you venture from your “comfort zone” and do something a little scary, a little thrilling, or a little new and different, you are accelerating your personal development.

Try traveling. Try traveling alone. Take a college class. Learn how to paint. Take music lessons. Be in a book club. Present at a conference. Try public speaking. Write a book. Any of these (and there are countless more examples) can help you accelerate your personal development.

And you know what? As therapists, we are often challenging our clients to “accelerate their personal development.” The type of development can vary from challenging emotional processing to overcoming social skill obstacles to working with physical challenges.

There are two points here I feel are important to take away. The first is if we are asking our clients to accelerate their personal development, shouldn’t we be doing so as well? Shouldn’t we be putting ourselves through life experiences that accelerate our personal development?

And finally, often times these types of challenges are scary and maybe even painful (physically or emotionally) for our clients. So as therapists, we may need to allow time and be patient with our clients. Even if a task may seem “easy” to us, it may not be for our clients.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Natalie October 6, 2010 at 2:41 pm

I really like this post Kimberly. I love how you come up with topics that are pertinent and not necessarily directly MT related. I think the reframing reading this lets me do. I just recently started piano lessons again, and have been challenging myself vocally with starting lessons (again) in the past few months. Not to mention being active in my state with MT and now hoping to present at our regional conference. My husband calls it suicide, but I think of it as putting myself where I should be as a not so new (anymore) professional.

Ami Kunimura October 8, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Great article. Well said.

I had a client call me out on this. A few years ago a client asked me if I ever played music out in the community for fun and I told him I didn’t cause playing music at work was enough for me. His response was, “I believe that is what you would call a comfort zone.” And because of that comment I went out and started playing open mics around town. For years it was terrifying but I knew that feeling was the same thing I was asking my clients to feel. And you are right, doing something like that made me a better music therapist.

Steven October 13, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Yeah, my biggest motivators for personal development are failed relationships. They are definitely learning experiences!

Btw – I really like your Neurodevelopment song. 🙂
.-= Steven´s last blog ..Interview- Rob White of Mind Adventure =-.

Kimberly October 19, 2010 at 10:41 am

Thanks Steven! 🙂 I think any “failed” anything is a great learning experience. They say you learn most from your mistakes, right? ~Kimberly

Kimberly October 19, 2010 at 10:43 am

That is a fabulous story, Ami. Thank you for sharing it! ~Kimberly

Kimberly October 19, 2010 at 10:46 am

LOL! I think that’s funny what your husband says. It’s true we need to watch it and make sure we’re taking care of ourselves, too. My husband helps keep me grounded that way as well 🙂 ~Kimberly

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