The Possibility Practice Manifesto
When I began working on re-branding my practice and articulating what exactly The Possibility Practice is and how it helps people, my creative partner Melea Seward (who is fantastic at helping people and organizations to do that, by the way) suggested that we develop a manifesto, and state exactly what the Practice and I am all about, and where we are coming from in our work.
As I usually do when Melea references something old or new and sounds like I should know more about it than I do, I did a bit of research, so I could learn more, and be clear about the task at hand.
There are some obvious famous manifestos: The Ten Commandments, the Communist Manifesto, and the US Declaration of Independence, and there are now a bunch of new ones floating around too.
I looked it up in a dictionary:
man·i·fes·to: noun \ˌma-nə-ˈfes-(ˌ)tō\: a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer. Origin: mid 17th century: from Italian, from manifestare, from Latin, ‘make public’, from manifestus ‘obvious’ First Known Use: 1620
A manifesto for a therapeutic and coaching approach? Is that necessary or important, you might ask? It is, I discovered, important to me, and if I may be so bold, I think it should be to you. Here is why: I think it is important that when you come for help, that you know who I and we are, how we see the world, how we see you as our client and ourselves as practitioners. It is important that you know what our view of health is, our intentions and motives in helping you get there, if you are not there already.
As we began to work on the manifesto, it became clear that we were making a public declaration of the viewpoint, the position, the perspective from which we work with human beings; a statement of our politics, if you will. Why poliltics?
politics: noun plural but singular or plural in construction. Pronunciation: too./ˈpäləˌtiks/ A particular set of political beliefs or principles.(often the politics of) the assumptions or principles relating to or inherent in a sphere, theory, or thing, especially when concerned with power and status in a society. Origin: Greek politika, from neuter plural of politikospolitical. First Known Use: circa 1529
What does politics have to do with therapy? Everything! Not the who you vote for, and do you believe in political parties kind of politics. The how you see what a human being is, what makes us human (Create your life.), how to relate to humans who are struggling (What if you could turn your greatest obstacle into discovery and possibility? We think you can), and how to function as the human doing the helping (See beyond your self- and societally imposed limitations. Engage in a practice that helps to develop the ability to see anew, to ask new questions, cultivate curiosity, and create possibility)- kind of politics.
All therapeutic/clinical approaches have a politic, a philosophy about who humans are – clients and practitioner – about what is and isn’t healthy (When we think that we know everything, we stop growing. We become stuck), about what help is and how to go about it, and have a particular picture of (mental) health that follows from that. Some are open about it, some are not.
The Possibility Practice manifesto expresses our beliefs about the nature of the world (Everything, and everyone, is connected, and in some way has an impact on everything else.), about the people we help, how we help you (Take a look at how you see; unravel the web of assumptions you have – about yourself, about others, about your problems, and about the world – that prevents you from living life in creative and gratifying ways), how we see ourselves, and what we think therapy, mental health and joyous living is all about. It reflects our understanding of the power and status of client and therapist, and how we give expression to it (We don’t give you answers. We help you ask new questions). It describes not only how we see, but how we work, and what you can expect when you work with us (Groups — whether two people or twenty-five — make growth possible. The interplay between and among people creates exponential possibilities for who you can become). We say it, proudly, publicly, and we work hard to walk the walk.
And, most exciting, it offers a way of life that, if practiced, will help you to create a joyous and creative and gratifying life.