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Cognitive script therapy

At PsykosyntesForum, we use a specific methodology in which permanent changes can be made while the client is in a state of deep relaxation. The methods used come from Cognitive Script Therapy (CST). The treatment normally consists of three to five sessions, one hour each.

The subconscious is competent

Sub-conscious programs (scripts) are not negative per se, in the contrary most of them are very useful. Examples of this is our sub-conscious mind's ability to drive a car - we often drive long stretches in complicated traffic environments without being aware of what we exactly are doing. Sometimes we cannot even remember how we did it when we arrive at our destination, but we are despite this calm and convinced that we have driven the car safely.

The competence can become misdirected

Other sub-conscious scripts can though be experienced as negative, leading to negative consequences for ourselves and/or others. Despite insights of what we do, and the awareness of the negative consequences, we often have difficulties in trying to change these inner scripts. There are a number of reasons for this: it is in itself difficult to consciously influence our sub-conscious mind, the patterns / scripts can have been caused by important and positive needs, and if we stopped the pattern these needs would no longer be met, etc.

Examples of negative patterns are over-consumption of food, sweets, intoxicants, tranquilizers. Others are obsessions as smoking, gambling, uncontrolled temper, extreme jealousy. They can be expressed as body reactions in certain situations like headache, muscle tension, stomach disorders, speech blocking (stuttering).

Below is a figure that illustrates how conditioning can lead to compulsive behavior. The model is called "The Anxiety Vortex":

The Anxiety Vortex

"A threat is experienced" can be something happening in one's external world or something happening inside oneself, or a thought that something might happen. This "experience" is not yet conscious - the external or internal image triggers, through a "hard-wired" neurological connection, parts of the brain responsible for making us reacting quickly to threats: amygdala and hippocampus, farthest back in the brain region, just above the spinal cord.

Through a subconsciously learned programming a conditioned reflex now occurs, with a physiological body state as the first result. This can be a tension in the shoulders or in the stomach region, it can be an quick inhale and holding the breath, it can be a contraction of the surface blood vessels in the skin, or something similar. This happens rapidly and takes between 0,01 and 0,1 seconds, and the cognitive functions of the brain's frontal lobes have not even started to work. No conscious thoughts or emotions have at this stage been registered.

After another 1 to 2 seconds the cognitive functions start to become active, and they now interpret the physiological state. Note: the interpretation is not done of what is happening externally, it is based entirely on the physiological body state.
As the interpretation is made of a conditioned reflex of the body, in most cases an over-interpretation is now made, or a completely erroneous one.

After 5 to 10 seconds cognitive processing, the brain now activates the body and it acts. Through both learned behavior and genetic inheritance, this enactment is based on the so called "protective mechanisms": flee, freeze or attack. Most animals act instinctively in one or more of these ways. The purpose of the enactment is to avert the threat, and is therefore called "avoidance behavior".

The Avoidance Behavior, which almost always is the result of a subconscious interpretation, is also characterized by being a conditioned reflex, and can be either destructive (compulsory aggression) or self-destructive.
As the cause of the Avoidance Behavior is not consciously recognized, it leads to that the "experience of the threat" increases.

Which in it's turn leads to that the physiological reaction increases, which in it's turn leads to that the excessive or erroneous interpretation increases, which ... etc, etc in an emotional vortex spinning quicker and quicker, which soon, in seconds, leads to an emotionally stuck state. This can be of different kinds, for example panic disorder, phobia, social phobia, traumatic flashback, compulsory aggression, speech blockage and stuttering, etc.

Watch a video about The Anxiety Vortex (from the e-course Get Unstuck):

(Lars Gimstedt, Psychosynthesis Therapist. 12 minutes.)

Different therapy methods

States characterized by the description above can be treated with different therapy methods. Which method that is used can also vary depending on where one is in the therapeutic process. Different therapy methods are directed at different parts of The Anxiety Vortex, as is indicated in the figure above:

The first phase of the Vortex, the one from "external threat" to body state, can be treated with methods directly affecting the subconscious mind, for example work in a state of deep relaxation, daily repetition of positive affirmations, visualizations, Gestalt therapy, Eye Movement Therapy (EMI), etc. All these are examples of methods leading to a subconscious re-programming. They can of course also lead to conscious insights and a cognitive processing of the problem.

The second phase, from body state to cognitive interpretation, can be worked with through cognitive methods like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Script Therapy (CST), ordinary counseling, etc. These aim at changing the thought patterns and the thinking process, in order to making it possible to make a more realistic interpretation of what is happening outside or inside oneself.

The third phase, from interpretation to action, is possible to change with the help of methods affecting the behavior, like Behavioral Therapy, exposing to problem situations, social training, concrete home assignments, coaching with feed-back, etc. The goal of these methods is to get the client to test and to train other ways of acting, and to become conscious of an improved outcome.

At PsykosyntesForum we use all these methods, but we try to focus more on methods affecting the first phase of The Anxiety Vortex, as a successful outcome in this phase often leads to substantial changes in the two other phases as well. Sometimes it is possible to break the Vortex up completely through subconscious re-programming.

Self-help programs for re-programming

Individually adapted self-help programs on mp3 files or audio CD can be ordered. These are based on CST, Self-Hypnosis and Binaural Brain Wave Entrainment. They are designed via mapping of inner thought patterns during a couple of sessions.

The web-shop also has ready-made self-training programs based on self-hypnosis: Hypnoshop, Hypnosis Downloads , Hypnosis Network.

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