5 Thinking about your own experience
In the activities presented so far in this course, you have applied the model of the interpersonal circle to the interactions of other people. You will now look at an example taken from your own experience.
Activity 8 Reflection
Think of the last interaction you had in which, on reflection, you engaged in some behaviour from the maladaptive wheel of the interpersonal circle. (This might be from a work situation, your home life, an interaction in the pub or in a shop, when communicating online, or in some other setting.) Make a note of it here.
Now think about what happened just before your maladaptive behaviour and answer the following questions. You may find it helpful to refer back to the adaptative and maladaptive wheels in Figure 2 during this activity (you may like to open the figure in a new tab or window or download the pdf).
- Who were you interacting with?
- What was the context?
- Think about the person you were talking to. Where would you say they were on the model? Were they
- Hostile versus cooperative
- Dominant versus submissive
- Adaptive versus maladaptive?
Now think about your response/reaction or the initiation of the conversation (if you were the first to speak).
- Which of the octants from the maladaptive wheel (as shown in the model in Figure 2) would you say you displayed?
- What specifically did you say? (The gist is fine if you cannot remember the exact wording.)
- What happened following your response?
Now, taking that same situation, think through the model and answer the following questions. Hint: Remember that your ‘risk area’ according to the principles of the model maps directly onto where you will be pushed to go by your conversational partner. You should try and be in that position but on the adaptive version of the circle.
- Where would you plot the person you were interacting with on the adaptive and maladaptive wheels?
- According to the principles of the model, what was the ‘risky’ (i.e. maladaptive) behaviour into which you might have been pushed?
- Where would you have needed to be on the wheels in order to elicit adaptive rather than maladaptive behaviour?
- What was your longer-term goal? For example, in an ideal world, where would you have preferred your respondent to have been on the wheels, and how might you have enacted adaptive behaviour that would get them there?
Hopefully, using the principles of the interpersonal circle has enabled you to reflect in a structured way about a recent experience.