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The Power of Intention


We all have intentions. We may intend to become fitter, eat healthier or get up earlier. Intentions have the potential to be powerful. However, intentions are much more effective when they are specific and goal-driven. For the power of intentions to work for you, you need to make sure you know the real reason behind your intention.

By making our actions more meaningful, we know exactly what we want to achieve, which can lead to happiness. The power of intention is often linked to the law of attraction, that like attracts like. This means that when you have the intention, you are likely to achieve your goals. With the use of intention, individuals make themselves available for success.

However, it opens you up to a more positive mindset. This positivity can allow you to be more receptive to opportunities, instead of dwelling on pessimistic thoughts.

How to harness the power of intention

To use intention effectively, you need to realise what you want and understand precisely what you want to achieve. You then need to figure out why you want this. It is the ‘why’ that is your intention.

To help set your intentions on the right path, you may find it helpful to evaluate your life in the present so you can determine your intentions of the future. You can do this by using my free life evaluation tool.

Once you know what you want, it is time to visualise your goals and intentions. You can do this by writing your goals down or using visualisation techniques, where you see the best possible scenarios taking place.

How to use intentions

There are many ways to use intentions in daily life, here are just two of the ways that I recommend for my clients.

Therapeutic intentions

Although we may struggle to understand or accept how some people live, they are doing the best that they can with the situations they are facing. We all have very different ways of dealing with situations and also very different impacts from the ways that we have grown, developed and struggled throughout our entire life, particularly in childhood.

Again, this just emphasises the importance of trust offered to the client from the Therapist. However we may judge or view clients behaviours and ways of trying to strive and survive, if we believe in the Actualising Tendency, then we can trust their direction and growth. The client is doing the best that they can, given the circumstances and their learning and experience up to this point.

Misunderstandings and Misconceptions

Too Positive – What about all the bad things people do?

Although this is often used as a criticism of the Person-Centred approach in general, it is also used in regards to the Actualising Tendency and comes from a misunderstanding of the approach and the Actualising Tendency.

The main criticism tends to be something along the lines of – If the Actualising Tendency is always moving towards growth and development, then why are there so many problems in the world and people choose to do such destructive things?

The answer to this is two-fold:

1 – As Rogers said, the Actualising Tendency can be thwarted and warped. So in prime conditions (absent of all negative outside influence [which is impossible]) then it would likely to move only in positive, socially acceptable and moral good directions. However, as we know, this is not the case. People face terrible situations that change who they are as a person and so their behaviours, choices and judgements are thwarted or warped. So although it may not be the “ultimate” good for that person, it is the direction that they see best and maybe the only direction they know. This is an example of people trying to make the most of the situation they find themselves in (which is, in fact, an argument FOR the presence of the Actualising Tendency)

2 – The Actualising Tendency does not only operate within the Organismic Self (who we “truly” are), but also in line with our Self-Concept. Our Self-concept is quite simply how we view ourselves as people. This can be very varied and also changeable throughout our lives. It may be anything from ‘I am worthless and no-one likes me’ to ‘I am powerful and I can achieve anything I like.’ (and everything in between.) So as the Actualising Tendency is not only operating in line with our Organismic Self, it is operating in line with how we see ourselves. As a result, if we have a negative view of ourselves, then we will do whatever we think enhances and grows that view of ourselves.

This is one of the most common misconceptions of the Actualising Tendency, and more specifically, the term self-actualisation. As we can see from the image above, when Maslow uses the term “self-actualization” he is talking about a moral, creative, spontaneous, accepting individual (what we might associate more closely with Rogers definition of the Fully Functioning Person.

However, when Rogers talks about “self-actualization” he is referring to the actualisation of the self-concept and as I have outlined above, this could be a whole host of things – a murderer, a depressed person, a successful CEO, and self-actualisation would be the enhancement of these characteristics. This would mean become a better murdered, possibly a more depressed person or even a more powerful CEO.

Person-centred Theory is not bias or judgemental of what is “good” or “bad” in terms of peoples direction, choices and behaviours and this is no different in regards to the actualising tendency. It is merely a motivational force which enhances our experience in whichever ways we see fit, in line with however we see ourselves.


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