TOC Next Previous

Discussion

The above activity facilitates interpersonal skill development in three areas.  First, the focusing on the six dimensions helps the client to think in terms of her interpersonal participation in more specific terms than is usually the case for most individuals.  They are inclined to think in terms of their behavior without understanding that they project themselves in multiple ways, with each dimension representing who they are as a function of self-perception and who they are in terms of perceptions of others.  Consultants will find that some individuals need assistance in looking at themselves physically, emotionally, morally, socially, sexually, and cognitively.  Nonetheless, the activity will lead to the client’s being more aware of herself and of her presentation to others.

Next, the activity facilitates the client’s thinking about the multidimensional styles of other family members.  For example, a client might begin to see that one family members acts more based on what is thought about something while another family member acts more on what is felt about it.  One family member may think more in terms of the social or interpersonal implications of an incident while another family member thinks more in terms of the emotional implications.  The consultant will want to facilitate the use of the activity to highlight these differing ways of understanding family members.

In addition, it may be useful to have the client set up a grid with each family member listed down the left hand side and the six dimensions listed across the top.  Each family member can simply be noted by a check mark in the column most applicable to her.  In addition, the client could rate each family member on a five-point scale indicating how the family member functions within each of the six dimensions.  The five point scale would consist of: 5 equals very strong emphasis, 4 equals strong emphasis, 3 equals medium emphasis, 2 equals weak emphasis, 1 equals very weak emphasis.  Once the grid is completed, the consultant may assist the client in thinking about the implications for the family of the completed grid.

Finally, the activity emphasizes the concept of style.  Most people will intuitively understand the idea of style, especially if they are asked to note two or three people that they know in or out of the family that, from their point of view, have real style.  Importantly, style is here understood as positive and represents the overall effect of self-projection to others.  Three characteristics of style need emphasis: recognizability, definability, and predictability.

Style is recognizable.  It is the general impression or idea of someone that develops and can be understood in terms of the six dimensions.  The activity, of course, facilitates the client’s recognizing her style but also facilitates recognition of style in others.

Style is definable.   As a preliminary activity, the consultant may want to have the client simply list those traits and characteristics of individuals that she finds to be the most positive, most appealing, the most characteristic of real style.  The activity itself assists the client’s defining her style in multidimensional terms.

Each of the responses in the activity should be positive, since the one’s style is a positive projection of self.  Also, this positive orientation assists the client in looking at other family members in essentially positive terms.  In this sense, the educational process begins maximizing and emphasizing the strengths and positive features within each family member and encourages a positive orientation to specific areas of family life developed in later activities.

Style is predictable.  This point is at the essence of the activity.  The underlying goal is to encourage the client to understand and take responsibility for her style.  This responsibility taking necessarily involves developing and maintaining a consistent and positive self-projection.  Predictability of style additionally means that the style of the individual does not change as a function of reactions of others, special circumstances, whether or not the client likes or is comfortable with what is going on at the time, or similarly externally initiated factors.

This point is emphasized by drawing attention to people with what might be thought of as pseudo style.  These individuals appear to have style in terms of its recognizability and definability.  The lack of predictability, however, shows that they are not taking the personal responsibility to project themselves consistently and with real style, regardless of the situation or circumstances.

Consciously accepting responsibility for self and self-projection – is the intentional or “on purpose” nature of real style.  It is not something that comes about naturally, accidentally, or circumstantially.  Style is a function of conscious self-awareness, self-examination, and intentional positive self-projection in the interest of more effective interpersonal involvement and relationships.  It is something one reflects with style, all the time, on purpose.

TOC Next Previous