What switches do clinical psychologists use?

Updated: Jan 27



Video Transcript


Phil: When i think of calm people Katie you're one of the calmest people that i know and yet i know that there are times where somebody will do something or something will happen and you can feel it brewing up what do you do and we in our language we call it switches, how do you get control, how do you how do you tame the ape you know what are those taming behaviours that you use to to you know manage it.


Katie: Well, my absolute favourite is related to the fact that we know that adults can hold internal representations of safe others right and this is something we learn as we grow kids can too anyone who has theory of mind can pretty much do this so beyond the age of two or three we can do this so my favourite thing to do in those really intense moments scary moments with clients or cranky moments is to conjure up an image of my safe other and for me that's my beautiful husband who i know you know yes and to imagine him there with me because he's one of the calmest people i know putting his arm around he's even calmer than you which is insane that's amazing yeah and and telling me you know what what he thinks about the situation and what he would do and just kind of imagining his safe presence there seeing his smile having him hearing him say to me you know you're okay in my book can really calm me down slow my system write down um and so yeah i think that would be my number one favourite switch and it's not always him sometimes it's images of my kids um like you know pretty much every parent everywhere i have them on the background of my phone yeah and in difficult situations i'll just pick it up and look at it and think yes there's a place where i'm safe and loved and valued yeah and that's a really good anchor for me to just come back to what's essential