The Battle for Structure

We marriage and family therapists often have to engage in what we call a Battle for Structure with clients. It's kind of a pre-therapy intervention we do with clients to maximize their engagement with therapy - a way of non-verbally getting the client to take personal responsibility for engaging in therapy. If therapists lose this battle by being over accommodating or handholding the client, the client typically does not make progress or benefit from therapy. Once the Battle for Structure is won, the client can then engage in the Battle for Initiative, taking personal responsibility for their mental health and wellness (attending appointments, completing homework, applying therapeutic techniques and interventions).

If the Battle for Structure is not won by the therapist, it's almost pointless for therapy to continue because clients won't engage or move forward significantly. This may be one of the down sides of person-centered therapy (meeting the client where they are at), which overly accommodates and validates the client's point of view, such that they win the Battle for Structure, and thus do not take ownership of their growth. Instead, they expect the therapist to "cure" them, which is not how therapy works.



Good health is not random. The future is a probabalistic numbers game. You can load the dice in your favor by:

1. Following a whole food, plant based diet.

2. Exercising daily (or at least more than never).

3. Avoiding alcohol, drugs, and especially nicotine.

4. Avoiding social media (the junk food of the mind).

5. Practicing good self care (which includes the above, and more.


Thoughts to Think On

I sometimes struggle with the dilemma of how to persuade people to adopt a whole food, plant- based (WFPB) diet. In spite of mountains of scientific evidence supporting the WFPB diet as ideal for long term physical and mental health, people still seem to adopt the narratives of the Food-Industrial Complex and the corporate mainstream media, respectively, that what we eat has no bearing on our health and that a plant based diet is extreme and unsatisfying.

When I notice myself struggling with this issue, I use mindfulness to remind myself that's it's not my responsibility to persuade people to improve their heath and wellness via ideal dietary choices. I'm only in control of my own health choices, and it takes a good chunk of my mental bandwidth to stay on top of that, much less try to manage other people's lives.

I think it is sufficient to point out a simple fact and then let people incorporate that fact into their own life narratives: No scientific study has ever concluded that eating more fruits and veggies makes your health worse or causes heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, or any other chronic degenerative disease you can think of. Ever. In fact, the opposite is true. Many studies have linked eating more fruits and veggies to longer life, better health, and lower disease risk.

Prove me wrong.