Well, over the past week we have talked a lot about static things that don’t change much, but in the beginning we talked about the importance of change. So today we will be looking at the things that do change. Now this of course depends on the person you are talking to and these are my own personal feelings (interesting how I put feelings here and not thoughts what does that say about me?)
I think (and then think here very interesting) one of the main things that changes are behavior. A person’s behavior can change, we see this all around us every day. The behaviorists use the ABC theory to explain why we do things. A = Antecedent, B = Behavior and C = Consequence (very simplified version here much more to it). So looking at this we can see that we can’t really change the Antecedent but we can change our behavior which changes our consequences. So when we are working with clients we look at the antecedents and the behavior that follows and explain the consequence of that behavior. We then look at what would result from different behaviors. This will hopefully help the client see that a different behavior brings about better consequences, and they change.
Another thing that I feel (feel here) can change is perspective. I use guided imagery to help people see past experiences and then work with them to see those experiences through “healthy adult” eyes. By understanding past experiences through the healthy adult perspective they are able to understand why things happened and/or if they should have happened. For example the kid who is running toward the street hears his mom yelling at him. All he thinks is mom is mad… I’m a bad person… You can see where this can go. When we take them through guided imagery the healthy adult sees the scene from the mother’s perspective, who is scared to death that her child is going to get hit and die.
Emotions and feelings can change as well, in my opinion. This is explored through guided imagery as well. It is important to help the client see how and where these feelings are coming from.
Irrational thoughts are also changeable. Cognitive behaviorists employ many different tools to help modify irrational thoughts. Thoughts are confronted and challenged; they are looked at with a different perspective. (So all those who say they can’t write or they are not good enough to get published… I challenge you to think long and hard on this IRRATIONAL thought).
So what does this have to do with character development and knowing your character? It is important that we as writers setup situations that will change the behavior, thoughts, emotions, perspective, and feelings of our characters. It is the letter that is found, the loved one who dies, the sermon that touches the heart, the challenges that bend but do not break the person, and the unconditional personal regard from a person whom we respect.
How do you change? What other things do you believe change?