1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
    Dismiss Notice

SEP feedback: Day 18 - Very Revealing

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by OnTheRoad, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. OnTheRoad

    OnTheRoad Peer Supporter

    Day 18
    Very Revealing
    Contact Information:

    I have noticed a curious thing the past three or so days. The day before this program prompts users towards a certain practise (dialogue technique; writing unsent letter; investigate your emotions), I have automatically been led to do said practise, even if I've never done it before. I wonder, is the program deliberately in such a way that these practises naturally start occurring at a certain time period during the recovery period? or have they been chosen "at random" in terms of time period?

    Not to get into this too much...overthinking is a problem, I need to focus on feeling my emotions more. But, just curious.

    Today was truly revelatory and I wrote about it in two forum posts, under my "handle" OnTheRoad. Many thanks.​
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2016
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi OTR - I hope that Forest sees this question, as he's probably the only one who can answer it for sure. That being said, I know that the SEP was put together by Forest and other early forum members - it's a volunteer project and a labor of love. I do think that there is probably a progression towards more sophisticated and/or more challenging exercises as the Days pass. People who are just beginning the process need to start slowly and be re-introduced to the topics that they typically only read about once, in one of Dr. Sarno's books.

    The other thing I'd like to point out is that the SEP introduces you to all kinds of different techniques. Different techniques will resonate with different people, and they will take away their favorite ones to be used in the future, whenever they experience flareups and setbacks. This will happen, since TMS is a survival mechanism of our primitive brains, and not actually something that can be "cured" completely, once and for all! What CAN happen is recovery - which to me means reaching the point where TMS no longer causes us fear, and no longer takes over our lives. Or, as I like to say, I have a completely different relationship with my symptoms now, when they occur - they are no longer a threat to my freedom or my lifestyle, and I know how to banish them when they show up. My favorite techniques are free-journaling, visualizations, and frequent short periods of mindfulness throughout the day.
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    To answer your specific question, @OnTheRoad, if you've been anticipating things, my bet is that that is just your own wisdom, connecting the dots and anticipating what comes next. A great deal of thought went into the design of the program and we we built on brilliant work by a variety of TMS doctors. My bet is that you were just anticipating what the next logical step would be.

    Great minds think alike, right? ;)

    In terms of how the SEP is organized, I realize I haven't written much about that. I maintain a spreadsheet that I use as a helpful roadmap for the SEP. Most people don't know about it, but since we have a lot of oldtimers on the site now, maybe now would be a good time to share it. I'll start by giving a bit of background.

    The TMS Wiki was originally meant to be a free online encyclopedia of TMS, following in the model of Wikipedia. The TMS Forum was actually an outgrowth of that project, as the software we used for our wiki encyclopedia had a forum built in and people seemed to enjoy interacting with others on the forum. We had some amazing content on the wiki encyclopedia, like lists of journaling techniques, meditation techniques, and success stories. However, the lists were too "encyclopedic" and not readable enough, so few people used them. The idea of the SEP was to have something structured, that broke the content down into manageable chunks that built on one another.

    To organize the different days of the program, I laid out the following spreadsheet, which I'm continuing to update:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1lyMrMl1GBt368p1iG23f2Ns3QZmpVBlLB1fMKn81kwg/edit?usp=sharing (Program Daily Schedule)

    The spreadsheet is like a roadmap to the SEP. Each day corresponds to a row in the spreadsheet, and each column corresponds to a type of activity that could be done on that day.

    I spread success stories throughout the program because there is so much to learn from them. Likewise, educational segments are spread throughout the program, with a special emphasis at the start. Finally, developing mindfulness can be crucial in being aware of our emotions and accepting them nonjudgmental, so meditation is slowly integrated throughout to give people a little taste. Education, success stories, and mindfulness make up the blue and green columns in the spreadsheet.

    I added three colums to the spreadsheet for the three sources of stress that Dr. Sarno identifies in his books: past/childhood events, current stress, and personality traits. The past is represented by the brown column, the current stress by blue, and personality by orange. Writing prompts for the past come first to get people thinking about the important role of past and childhood experience. After that, sources of stress from the present are introduced because we can all relate to them. Finally, personality traits are introduced last, building on the foundation from the past and the present. If you look at the spreadsheet, you can see this organizational structure by looking at how the different colored boxes are clumped in the columns, with brown (the past) clumped near the start and orange (personality) clumped near the bottom. I don't think that people should ever stop about the past or about other sources of stress, so there is deliberately a significant amount of overlap.

    So, that explains the the colored boxes in the spreadsheet. They helped determine the "macro-structure" of the program. The next two columns, "Details," and "Questions to Ponder," may be most relevant to your question of how the various days fit together and build off of one another. Within the structure provided by the colored boxes and the limits provided by trying to keep things at around 30-45 minutes per day, these two columns were where the program was really built. At this stage, a friend of mine named Chuck was exceptionally helpful. It was just the two of us and his wisdom and judgment are really reflected in the final product.

    I had seen some amazing and helpful interactions happening on the forum, so I decided to integrate the forum into the program using writing prompts such as the "Questions to Ponder," which has its own column in the spreadsheet. In hindsight, I now think that the forum integration is one of the most important parts of the program because it helps build connections with other people.

    For coming up with the actual content, we relied heavily on the TMS books that had the most explicit recovery programs. The best examples are Dr. Schechter's TMS Workbook and the program in Dr. Schubiner's book. However, we systematically reviewed all of the TMS books and several journaling books to see what they had to offer. (At this stage, it was just Chuck and I. Later on, I solicited more community involvement, but that was after the first draft was complete.)

    So that is the spreadsheet and how the program is organized. For anyone who has been around for a while, you probably want to take a look at the spreadsheet. I find myself referring back to it regularly:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1lyMrMl1GBt368p1iG23f2Ns3QZmpVBlLB1fMKn81kwg/edit?usp=sharing (Program Daily Schedule)

    If anyone has any other questions about the history of the SEP or my plans for the future, please ask!
    OnTheRoad, JanAtheCPA and Ellen like this.

Share This Page