Serena is a lively 35 year old who lives with her husband and 12 year old daughter. She manages a small team in a healthcare setting. Recently, an interpersonal conflict with one of her team members resulted in his leaving the team. Serena felt depressed and disappointed, especially having invested much time and energy trying to solve this personality conflict with her team member.

This was only one of a series of problems, which could all be distilled to one central theme: Life isn't perfect. Life is not as I want it to be. Until now, she has tried to meet challenges by studying to understand and learn more: more theory, more methods, a Master's diploma, but this time that strategy didn't seem to work. I felt compassion for her, but realised that learning more was not going to provide the solution to this woman at this stage of her life.

The problem was that she couldn't accept life as it is as a woman in her thirties with a significant responsibility in an organisation. You can be optimistic, but life won't fulfill all your desires. You can try hard, you can try to be perfect, you can try to please everybody, but there will always be a team member or a boss who shows you that there are limits.

Serena hadn't really discovered those practical limits before in her life. Her training had prepared her well for the content and context of her work, but not for the blocks life itself put on her path. When she was challenged in the professional arena, her strategy had been to acquire more training and supervision, but it never seemed enough to meet all the demands in her daily life. She always wanted to “make it better” and took sole responsibility for everything that went wrong or anyone who felt bad in the workplace.

Serena's key issue is the inability to transition from a stage in life in which her task had been to develop by learning from others, in a safe learning environment, to a stage in which she has to learn to carry responsibility from the core of her Self, without relying on other experts: *She* was the expert now in a team that wasn't perfect in an organisation that wasn't perfect in a world that wasn't perfect. Such a transition is not a problem to be solved. It requires a transformation.
Serena was familiar with Logosynthesis. She had tried to apply it on the surface level, with the images of her annoying colleague and her boss. That hadn't worked, which wasn't surprising. She hadn't recognised the deeper level of the issue: She had wanted to create an ideal world. I gave her as a first sentence: "I retrieve all my energy, bound up in the world as I want it to be, and take it to the right place in my Self, in the here-and-now as an adult woman."  

After repeating that sentence, she started to cry. A few minutes passed. Then she started to relax and smile through her tears, and I offered her the second sentence, which didn't show much visible effect. I gave her the third sentence in the lost fantasy form:

"I retrieve all my energy, bound up in all my reactions to THE FACT that this world as I want it to be DOES NOT EXIST, and take it to the right place in my Self, in the here-and-now as an adult woman."

Again tears welled for a moment, but the work had been done. She looked at me with clear eyes and said, in a firm, deep voice: "Maybe there is another way I haven't considered yet."

Training situations often tend to create an illusory frame of mind in which there seems to be a satisfying solution for every problem. In reality there isn't. This can be a trap for trainees as well as trainers: trying to create a world in which everything is o.k.