LSI 1 Series: Affiliative Style

Lorraine McCarthy, Counsellor/Coach, Human Synergistics Australia

We have finally come to the last of the 12 blogs on the styles in LSI 1. Taken all together the previous 11 have developed the theme that if our self-talk, reflected in our LSI 1 responses, show a close compassionate relationship with ourselves we are more likely to be effective and happy.

To be affiliative means to be ‘friendly’. Most of us know how to be a good friend to others. We listen and support when our friend feels down. Can we be sure that we always do the same for ourselves?

We were all born innately wonderful. If by magic we could have been scanned on the way out of the womb, for our LSI 1 Circumplex it would have been all blue. We had infinite potential to be creative in whatever we did. We were lovable unconditionally. Through our experience of life we grow into adapted adults with learned thinking and behaviour that enables us to cope. Many of our coping roles can be described in the Defensive Styles – defining our worth through doing things perfectly, being better than others, being in control, pleasing others and doing things right.

Metaphorically, in every present moment, we co-exist with the flawless child we were at birth. In our thinking and behaviour we express our relationship with them. We can be ignoring, focussing on others and the rules, (Passive/Defensive) and/or we can be critical and coercing (Aggressive/Defensive). I have come to see that having a Constructive relationship with ourselves in every moment, in every thought and behaviour, is essential to achieving peace and fulfilment in our lives.

Everyone seems to be talking about the idea of resilience at the moment and what we need to learn in order to be so. I believe that we are resilient and able to withstand any adversity if the adult and child we are stay hand in hand, close and sharing. Friends. Affiliative is about building relationships. In this relationship there is trust and liking, genuine concern.

In my work as a counsellor I use Psychodrama as a way of raising consciousness. I am lucky enough to have a professional supervisor who uses this modality with me. A few months ago I received negative feedback from a participant after a workshop. Believing myself to be in Achievement Style, concerned with cause and effect, I started to question myself on what I had done and not done. ‘Did you state your purpose clearly enough? Did you move towards the participant with love rather than judgement?’ and so on… My supervisor asked me to visualise Lorraine aged 5, to go and be her. I did this and he asked me, the child, what it felt like when Lorraine told me I had done wrong. I felt it immediately and had no hesitation in saying ‘it feels terrible, I feel alone and powerless’. As the adult hearing this I felt great compassion for her and straight away took her by the hand to be close to me. From this relationship as one, friends together, it was easy to work out what might have happened in the workshop.

Know yourself. Value your innate qualities. See the best in yourself. Be aware of your feelings and thoughts. Be relaxed and at ease with yourself, warm and open. Helpful. Be friends. Be happy.


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