When I had to sort through some thoughts, emotions, and behaviour I couldn’t understand or control, my mother, a psychologist, recommended I try breaking it down based on Virginia Satir’s model of personal analysis. Being a thoughtful sort of confused person, I was extremely excited about the prospect of analysing my confusion, but my mother warned me to try it first and see if it helped before getting so excited about it. Well, one year on, I say it did help, for it certainly made even me consider more facets than my mind usually gets to. I was forced to be rational about something I really wanted to be on an irrational rampage about.

Sometimes there are ways that we have concluded we should be behaving or even ways we can’t help behaving, or sometimes we know the ways we should be coping, or how we think we should be feeling, perceptions we don’t realize we have, expectations we want to be true, yearnings we wish we didn’t have, and a self we perceive ourselves to be based on circumstances or assumptions. Letting that fester as an indistinguishable mess is like letting weeds consume your garden; the plants that you want to grow will not be able to grow. The behaviours or feelings you want cannot grow, and the yearnings you have may not be realistic or you may not even have admitted to having them.

Although I don’t think Virginia Satir meant this to be religious (rather, the submerged iceberg smacks of Freud’s subconscious), I find it a helpful way to figure out what and how to confess and pray. Facing a blank piece of paper draws a blank, but having categories like this is like filling in the blanks. Wherefore confession if you don’t see your state clearly?

Satir Iceberg

The iceberg metaphor in the Satir model… in a bilingual poster!