Power of the Mind- Part 1
Most of us have heard of conventional talk therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy or psychoanalysis. Over the years, I have learned of other therapy methods that can be equally or more effective. Often these may be used in conjunction with traditional talk therapy, to address a specific issue.
In the ‘60’s and 70’s we experienced a cultural revolution around tapping one’s human potential and spirituality. We were interested in “mind expansion.” From the music to literature and visual arts to Timothy Leary and the Beatles, change was in the air. We asked ourselves, ‘How far can we go as human beings?’ and ‘What is our true potential?’ As a young man, the pursuit of one’s human potential using the ‘power of the mind’ became very compelling to me. Eventually, my journey as a therapist led me to discover some of most potent techniques that harness the power of the mind and the capability of the brain. These techniques have made a lot of difference for my clients’ lives.
Some observers believe that visualization is the most potent technique for the mind. If you think of the mind like an iceberg, the much bigger part underneath the surface might represent the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind carries a huge amount of data, it is the collection of every thought, emotion, and experience we’ve ever had, and starts to fill up from Day 1 of our lives. The subconscious ‘talks’ in the language of visual symbols, like when we dream at night. So, it is receptive to anything from the conscious mind, especially symbolic imagery.
I use a particular internationally popular visualization technique developed in the 1950’s by the late Phyllis Krystal and her colleagues ‘Cutting the Ties that Bind.’ The method uses universal/archetypal symbols which have been in existence for thousands of years. These symbols go deep into the subconscious mind, where our psychological issues are rooted, when the symbol is visualized in the mind’s eye.
The method is simple and quite effective. It is also fun and relatively easy to use as the subconscious mind has a playful and creative side to it. One of the symbols, for example, is the figure 8 which is a symbol that can be visualized internally and also drawn on paper.
I once had a client going through a divorce who for years had been manipulated negatively by his wife. By practicing this technique he no longer felt manipulated, and felt much more confident about his handling of the situation, which had been causing problems between them for the previous 2-3 years. After practicing the technique for some time in two consecutive counseling sessions, he thanked me profusely for showing him this technique. He felt it was one of the only things that was helping him retain his confidence, sense of self, and sanity during the divorce process. We began to call it ‘hitting the reset button,’ to be used whenever he felt a setback in relation to his wife’s antagonism.
I also have also used this technique with several addicted clients, as a tool to help them get over urges/obsessions to use drugs and alcohol. One client, a recovering alcoholic truck driver who was tempted to frequent his favorite neighborhood bars while out on routes in Chicago, found the figure 8 visualization to be just the right tool to fend off the thought of alcohol, and thereby avoid relapsing.
The Cutting the Ties Method can be used as a modern day puberty rite between a parent and child during or after puberty. This ritual can also be used by any person wishing to become free from the negative psychological effects of any external relationship or authority figure. The impact of this exercise is that it is a mutual gift of freedom. Each party feels freer in the relationship or free to move on after the relationship or attachment.
I had a client who held a grudge for a very long time against his sister. For years, he could not bear to be in proximity to her. I suggested that he ‘cut the ties’ to her when I had learned of this dynamic. Shortly after doing the ritual, his elderly mother fell ill and had to go to the hospital. While visiting her in the hospital, my client’s sister also showed up. It was the first time he had seen her in years. To his astonishment, he was civil toward her, and had a rather neutral emotional reaction. Afterwards, he connected his non-reaction and civility to the ritual we had undertaken.
These are just a few examples of the power of the mind. Using the visualization method Cutting the Ties that Bind can empower people and bring about real change in their lives. These visualizations, going deep into the mind, really can change things for people. Want to hear more? Call 630-799-0100 today to learn how simple, yet effective visualization methods can benefit you and/or your loved ones.