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Journaling Technique: What is your TMS telling you?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by AndrewMillerMFT, Mar 1, 2017.

  1. AndrewMillerMFT

    AndrewMillerMFT Well known member

    Hello all,

    I wanted to share again a technique that has been quite helpful to many people I've worked with in the TMS community and hope that it's an added weapon in your arsenal to not just combat TMS but understand it as well. My hope is that this technique can become a staple of the growing interventions people use to address their TMS.

    The exercise that I wanted to share with you today simply asks: What is my TMS trying to tell me? Many of you are already familiar with a number of journaling techniques in relation to the work of Sarno, Gordon, Schubiner and Schecter. This technique is one more journaling exercise that can expand awareness.

    1) Sit down to journal and imagine your TMS in your mind's eye. You can close your eyes to do this but some of us prefer to keep our eyes open. When you imagine your TMS, allow your mind to explore freely and see if it takes a form beyond the pain, the symptom itself. Is it anthropomorphic? Does it take the shape of a person in your life or an animal, a place, an entity? Allow your imagination to run wild. One client of mine imagined it as a bear that was crushing her body with it's paws. She had a significant amount of Neuropathy all over her body.

    2) Write out a description of the TMS at the top of your paper. Try to describe what it looks like, sounds like, feels like here.

    3) Start a dialogue on paper with the TMS. What does it say to you? What do you say in return to it? What does it want? What does it need? How does it feel about you? How do you feel about it? Whenever you feel lost in this conversation, close your eyes again and review the description at the top of your paper.

    This exercise is a unique opportunity to explore the underlying characteristics that feed your TMS. People often find insight into deep patterns of self-loathing, fear, lack of self-care, and discover direction towards taking action in life. This last piece - discovering direction - can be important as sometimes there are nagging issues that need to be addressed in some way (not necessarily eliminated) to affect change in TMS symptoms.

    If you're open to it, I encourage anyone to try this and I would love to get feedback on how the experience is for you.

    If at any point the exercise becomes too activating, please stop and contact your doctor or mental health professional.

    Best of luck in your healing journey,

    Last edited: Mar 2, 2017
    Forest, Cara and Cap'n Spanky like this.
  2. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    Thank you for that, Andrew! I think it's good to have different methods to approach our writing and journaling. It expands our tool kit and increases the odds of getting better. It also helps keep the writing from getting stagnant.

    The journey never ends.
    AndrewMillerMFT likes this.
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Back when I was "doing the work" in 2011, one of my worst TMS symptoms was anxiety. During one visualization exercise I was able to imagine my anxiety as the figure in the famous painting "The Scream". As I talked to and comforted my real self, the figure started to run away, disappearing in the distance. It was quite powerful, and very effective.
    AndrewMillerMFT likes this.
  4. I use a similar method based on Brian Broom's book, "Meaning-full disease". He talks about symptoms as metaphors for what is going on in our lives. One of my clients was getting facial eczema and she was able to understand that her condition was "showing her face" to people in her church who were making things difficult for her on committees. Her eczema cleared.
    AndrewMillerMFT likes this.
  5. Marytabby

    Marytabby Peer Supporter

    I just did this. I only needed like 15 seconds of sitting and moving my back in the angle that makes it hurt and an image of a Rhesus monkey biting down on my back in the spot that hurts all the time. His big open jaws were clamping down on that sore spot on my spine and I came up with the idea that I have a "monkey on my back". So I asked the monkey "why are you here?". It said "I'm biting you to let you know that you beat yourself up way too much and also that you have to stop doubting yourself about leaving the job that you will be leaving at the end of the month". "It's time to go. 19 years is enough. You must trust yourself and find a new career." So maybe the job is the monkey. I cannot be sure. It's just a stab in the dark.
  6. AndrewMillerMFT

    AndrewMillerMFT Well known member

    Sounds powerful, @Marytabby . I'll be curious to see how you feel at the end of the month. Good luck on the transition!

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