Thursday, 18 February 2010

The Steppingstones: A Technique To Bring Together Past, Present and Future

The stepping stones technique is one of the most valuable contributions made to journaling therapy by Dr. Ira Progroff. “When we speak of the stepping stones of our life, we are referring to events that come to our minds when we spontaneously reflect on the course our life has taken from it’s beginning to the present.” Progroff writes; “they are significant points of movement along the road of an individuals life.”

He created techniques for uncovering an inner destiny and describes the journal method as a continuing confrontation with one self in the midst of life, and a psychological laboratory in which personal growth is recorded and studied to bring the outer events and inner parts of one’s experience into harmony.

Let’s imagine that you’re hiking in the mountains. Your trail ends at a shallow stream and then picks up on the other side, You and your friends decide that crossing the stream is no problem; you’ll just step on the stones, one at a time, until you’re across. If you think of the stream as a whole ongoing movement of your life, how did you get from where you were to where you are? Which stones did you select? And so the stepping stones of your life are the markers of your life, places where you paused, times when you said to yourself, “My life is never going to be the same again.”

Now we go back to the metaphor of the stream. As far as the stones are concerned, you could be a small child playing. You could have slipped and cracked your head. The white water could be up, and you could be pulled by the current. Or your could be trout fishing , for all the stones care. The stones are completely neutral; they are unmoved by any emotion significance you attach to the event.

Limit your selection of stepping stones to about 12 or 15. The point being to select those life events which seem to have significance within the context of how you are living your life today. Out of all the experiences you have had from birth until now, let only a dozen or so come into the foreground. These are the stepping stones of your life.