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Alex B. Confusion over different programs

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by hellokitty, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. hellokitty

    hellokitty New Member

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    Question
    Hi! I'm new to this forum - I just found it yesterday. I've been dealing with chronic fatigue and associated conditions for about 8 years. I'm re-reading The Mindbody Prescription after a few years, and I just also finished Stephen Conenna's book about using the Sarno method to heal his pain
    (Use Your Mind to Heal Your Body: How I used Dr. Sarno's medically proven treatment plan to eliminate my back pain forever).

    I'm confused, because before I read those books, I was following 2 different but similar healing programs (Dr. Joe Dispenza and also the Gupta Programme for chronic fatigue), which say that our negative states of being (like anger, depression, fear, etc), caused by negative thoughts and emotions, are what cause a deterioration in health. And that to heal, we have to be aware of our negative thoughts, and then be able to change those thoughts/negative state of being right away, out of fear/anger/guilt/shame, into joy/love/forgiveness/gratitude. And eventually, when we are able to mostly live out of the higher, more positive states of being is when the healing happens.

    Both programs have an amazing success rate, especially Dr. Joe's, in which people who do his meditations/workshops have reversed "incurable" diseases like auto immune conditions, cancer, etc. So now I've read the 2 TMS books, and I'm thinking that it says to feel those negative feelings instead of repressing/suppressing them? It seems to be the opposite of changing your state of being right away, which seems a little like denial or suppression? I don't know.

    For example, I'm having a conflict with a friend in which I find myself hurt and angry with her. Before, I would have focused on loving her anyway, forgiving her, accepting her as she is, instead of really FEELING the anger and hurt. Is that suppression? I found that when I allowed myself to feel, I became very very anxious. I tried to ignore it and eat my lunch anyway, and I could barely swallow, and then it turned into extreme nausea. I told myself that these sensations were not harmful or dangerous, and that they were just my body/brain trying to keep the emotions repressed, but the nausea persisted. I wonder if I should have just immediately stopped my negative thoughts and changed them, and if that would have prevented the snowball of emotion and eventually anxiety/nausea. I'm really confused and would love some clarity and feedback about this. Thank you!
     
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  2. Alex Bloom LCSW

    Alex Bloom LCSW TMS Therapist

    Answer
    Hi Hellokitty,

    This is a very insightful question, and you make some excellent points. It seems that you are aware of the pitfall of repression and your tendency toward it, which is also a good thing.

    While the two approaches may seem distinct, I think that you will find they have a great deal in common and that the differences may come down more to wording than to the deeper content. I think at their baseline, all of these various approaches are about addressing how you treat yourself. Specifically, they are all making the assumption that you are facing some kind of difficulty, that it is manifesting itself in intolerable ways, and that the core of the problem is an unhealthy way of relating to yourself and your emotions. So how do we address this way of relating?

    As you say yourself, the Gupta/Dispenza methods call on us to "be aware of our negative thoughts" and then "be able to change those thoughts". With the TMS Recovery program, we also put an emphasis on becoming aware of the negative thoughts and emotions that you may be experiencing, and that healing can only come after they are addressed. So far, no major disagreements.

    The next issues is how to "change" them, and you are absolutely right when you feel that repression is not the answer. Repression means a denial of what is there, whether because it feels wrong, or it is unfamiliar, or it prevents "healing" or for whatever other reason the thought may be unacceptable. When we see our thoughts and emotions as unacceptable it can have serious consequences, as you yourself experienced while you tried to eat your lunch! Just recognizing that those feelings are there is the first step, but it is just as important to accept those thoughts as real and legitimate. Because whether or not you approve of them, that is the truth of how you feel! When you think that your anger and hurt are "bad" and are getting in the way of your healing and are otherwise unacceptable, they have the capacity to generate all that anxiety that you felt. Certainly, it might not be "useful" or helpful to remain angry at your friend, but that is not really what we mean when we say to accept the feelings. Rather, it is about seeing that you do have anger, but that it is ok. It doesn't mean you have to hate the person, or never speak with them. We all have anger and hurt in our lives, it is part of being human and there is nothing wrong with it. In fact, the more we try to run from those feelings and hide them away, the more they have the capacity to leak out in unpredictable ways and create conflict.

    This is why all of these methods call on you to first "be aware" of what thoughts and emotions are actually there, in an inquiring and non-judgemental way. It is only from that perspective, one in which you accept the truth of how you feel, that you can come to understand yourself and let go of the judgment and anxiety that you are putting on yourself for your thoughts. Once you have done that, it becomes possible to accept and then move past some of these thoughts, instead of locking them away in the corners of your mind to eat away at you with anxiety and fear should they bubble up. My guess is that while you tried to focus on your feelings and allow them in, there was judgment around them and worry that they weren't ok, or even counterproductive. And then what? You try to ignore them and get attacked with nausea.

    When you see that "Yes, I AM angry and hurt and that is o.k.", it makes room for you to feel what is there and spend less energy and attention on trying to lock that away. This makes space for all the other feelings that are there, those "higher" states of being you mention like joy/love/forgiveness/gratitude. But before you can give those to others, you must give them to yourself.


    Any advice or information provided here does not and is not intended to be and should not be taken to constitute specific professional or psychological advice given to any group or individual. This general advice is provided with the guidance that any person who believes that they may be suffering from any medical, psychological, or mindbody condition should seek professional advice from a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions. No general advice provided here should be taken to replace or in any way contradict advice provided by a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions.

    The general advice and information provided in this format is for informational purposes only and cannot serve as a way to screen for, identify, or diagnose depression, anxiety, or other psychological conditions. If you feel you may be suffering from any of these conditions please contact a licensed mental health practitioner for an in-person consultation.

    Questions may be edited for brevity and/or readability.

     
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  3. hellokitty

    hellokitty New Member

    Ah, ok, thanks. That really helps. The Gupta program includes a meditation for non judgmentally observing, welcoming, feeling, accepting, and becoming one with persistent or overwhelming emotions and bodily sensations. One thing that he says a lot is, "what you resist persists". And that if you let go of resistance, whatever you were resisting will eventually dissolve. However, as far as I can tell, Dispenza doesn't really address the acceptance of the "lower" emotions. I don't remember exactly, though. I may have to review his meditations and his writings. Thank you for your feedback! :)
     
  4. hellokitty

    hellokitty New Member

    I just thought of another question - what about anger/rage/condemnation towards oneself? Should we accept that?
     
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  5. nowtimecoach

    nowtimecoach Well known member

    Good morning hellokitty, I enjoyed reading your post and then the answer from Alex. What I found to be most helpful for my healing was to first become aware of the anger I was holding in and creating for myself. When I first started healing, I had no idea I even possessed these feelings. By journalling and other tools suggested, I was able to start catching myself and seeing when I was berating or beating myself up. The next piece was to become aware in the moment, what energy that was cultivating in my physical body. When I started to actually feel the effects of this internalized bullying, I could understand why my TMS was so active. Then I started working on letting those feelings arise by writing them out and developing compassion for this little part of me that was vulnerable and really didn't need the chastising. The more I worked on forgiving myself and forgiving those who laid down the tracks of the inner critics, those moments of bullying started dissipating. The ticket for me was all in the awareness of when I was bullying myself and to explore the reasons why in the world I was doing that... and what would be a more loving and kind approach to take to the situation.
     
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  6. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yesterday I met up with some people who took a meditation class with me last year. During the class we were given CD recordings of different types of meditation. Apparently we were given one on Loving Kindness. I didn't recall getting this particular one. Today, seemingly unrelated, I decided to listen to a podcast interview with Tara Brach. She told some very moving stories that resonated with me deeply. I then realised that I must have that missing CD somewhere in the house unless I mistakenly discarded it so I went on a hunt. I couldn't find the CD but I came across my folder with the meditation class booklet and some loose leaf hand-outs given to us by the teacher. The upper most hand-out was on Tara Brach's method for befriending difficult emotions like the ones you mention above. She spoke about this during the podcast interview. She uses the acronym RAIN. Recognise when you are having a strong emotional reaction. Allow yourself to feel these emotions rather than cut them off. You can focus briefly on your breathing to help you pause. Investigate your feelings, specifically where you are physically experiencing them in your body. Resume whatever activity you had been engaged in and notice if there is a natural presence.

    When I read this post and thought it rather uncanny that you were asking specifically about difficult emotions towards yourself. Whether you are having strong feelings about someone else or they are directed inward, the technique or a variation of it would still apply.

    Ever notice when you are being mindful there are heaps of parallels, connections and alleged coincidences popping up everywhere?

    Anyway, if you'd like to listen to the podcast, here's a link:

    http://shrinkrapradio.com/422-finding-true-refuge-in-mindfulness-with-tara-brach-phd/

    I don't want to overload you with 'programs' as you've mentioned a couple of other ones but another suggestion of mine would be to check out and sign up for the Sounds True Self-Acceptance Project. Tara Brach is one of the featured interviewed guests along with a host of others. It's free apart from giving up your email address to Sounds True. They do send you emails occasionally but you can unsubscribe at whatever point you wish.

    http://www.soundstrue.com/shop/The-Self-Acceptance-Project/4249.pd

    Best wishes.
    Back to you, Alex.
     
    Ellen likes this.
  7. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Another gal who's used awareness and explored (investigated). We cross-posted, nowtimecoach. Another one of those handy coincidences?:cool:
     
  8. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, HelloKitty, I agree with the replies, especially yb44's nowtimecoach's saying she healed with she
    journaled about her anger from childhood. I did the same. I didn't even know I had repressed anger
    from my childhood, but discovered I sure had them. Thinking about them led me to forgiving
    those who caused my repressed anger and that healed my severe back pain.

    Journaling is a great way to get into our repressed emotions and that's where our pain began.
     
  9. hellokitty

    hellokitty New Member

    Thank you everyone for feedback. Very helpful. I love the loving kindess meditation.
    yb44: Thanks for the links. I actually downloaded the Sound True Self Acceptance Project about a month ago but haven't gotten around to listening to it yet.
    I find journaling to be very therapeutic. In college, I journaled about some major rage towards my mother and it was amazingly therapeutic. I was able to release it and forgive after that. Little did I know that I was staving off pain. :)
    I have a couple questions about something that happened this morning. I ran into a pushy, nosy co worker this morning, and I ended up getting REALLY angry with her. When I got home, I just talked and yelled it out to myself. I was trying to get it all out and just let myself express whatever I felt. But the anger is still with me and I'm still ruminating about it. What if you let it out but then still keep ruminating? Is it ok to vent to another friend?
     
  10. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I must admit I have a great tendency towards rumination. Although it's all still a work in progress at least I have recognised that it's a reaction I want to change. Rumination is yet another TMS equivalent. So instead of dwelling on backache or a migraine, I dwell on a conversation or event that took place this morning, last week, or ten years ago. Rumination serves the same purpose as pain. While we are engaged in this never-ending process called thinking we avoid the emotions our bodies are trying to convey to us now, in the moment.

    Venting at someone helps me as long as the listener really hears me. If they are dismissive or they give me unwanted advice it will frustrate and anger me further so I pick my listeners wisely.

    Recently someone lashed out at me in a work situation. I was literally shaking from the conversation which fortunately was by phone so they didn't see this. I took some time to breathe and tell myself I was safe. Think about airline security and how they tell us to put our own oxygen masks on before helping our children or others in need of assistance. When I calmed down, I considered the situation this other person was in. As Tara Brach would say, she was like an animal with its leg caught in a trap. The altercation I had had wasn't really about me. If I chose to act the victim then those pesky thoughts were going to go around and around in my mind for some time to come. I also took the opportunity to vent to a manager. He listened and reassured me. Right now I feel cautious about speaking to that person again but at least I am not replaying the conversation ad infinitum.
     
  11. hellokitty

    hellokitty New Member

    Wow, great insights. Thank you. Monday morning I was still ruminating and I thought I was going to go crazy. I was steeped in anger, anxiety, and fear, and what finally got me out of it all was using a surrender meditation and lots of prayer. It took me through looking at myself, the person, and the situation, and feeling the feelings, and then releasing them and surrendering to and accepting what is, and not judging myself, others, or situations. To go with the flow of whatever comes my way and be at peace with it, like a willow tree swaying in the wind. No resistance (what you resist persists). I have to always remind myself, it is what it is. Let it be. No judgment as to good/bad, right/wrong, etc. And then I listened to a great Course in Miracles teaching about getting out of negative patterns. And I did some reading of the bible, specifically psalm 91, which is a psalm of safety and protection. I reviewed some other comforting scriptures too. These scriptures are so comforting, but I usually tend to forget them and their truths when I'm in crisis mode. I also journaled. After that, I was finally able to let go and release, and I found myself in a state of peace, joy, forgiveness, freedom, and gratitude. BTW, I just bought Tara Brach's "Finding True Refuge", which has the RAIN method/meditation on it. Sounds True was having a 50% off sale.
    The ego keeps wanting to take me back to misery, but I have to now just firmly say NO, I REFUSE to go back to bondage. :)
     

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