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TMS Question

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Bobsaget, Jul 26, 2015.

  1. Bobsaget

    Bobsaget Newcomer

    Hi, I was reading Dr Sarno's The divided mind and he constantly repetes that in order to stop the pain, we must merely acknowledge the unconscious threatening emotions and not actually feel them to recover. He says that is is very uncommon for people to actually have these emotions burst out in consciousness.

    Then a few chapters later there is an article from a coleuge of his Dr. Robert Evans. Who talks about how the person must feel these emotions consciously in order to integrate themselves with their mind and body. He says "Though the goal is clear, the therapist must be careful in the early days of treatment to have respect for the physical symptoms, to find a balance between gentle confrontation of the defenses that protect us from feeling the uncomfortable, painful emotions, on the one hand, and creating and maintaining an environment in which we can feel safe and secure enough to begin to experience those feelings." He repeats this in a couple different variations.

    So my question is, which actually is it? Is it enough to acknowledge these painful unconscious feelings or do we have to figure them out to the point where they actually become conscious and we feel them?
  2. AndrewMillerMFT

    AndrewMillerMFT Well known member

    Hi Bob,

    The answer, like TMS is quite complex. Much of what needs to happen for a person to get better is dependent on the unique psychological make-up of each individual TMS client. There are some who, due to their make-up, simply use an acceptance and acknowledgement of unconscious threatening emotions to banish the pain. I suspect, for many of these people, their psychological make-up allows acceptance to be a far greater force than with other clients. For other clients, integrating these emotions - bringing them to consciousness - is necessary for their recovery. This is, as Dr. Evans puts it, a difficult process as these emotions, reactions and affects can be quite dysregulating to many people and should be done in conjunction with a trained therapist who can help the client regulate when these emotions begin to come to the fore.

    Part of your journey might be seeing how easy it is to accept that there are these seething, painful, rageful, scared, paralyzing emotions within you and whether or not that's enough to effect a cure. If not, that's okay, as it is a difficult but incredibly rewarding process to work on bringing those emotions to consciousness and integrating them. For in integrating them, we find we can live quite a bit more expansive lives, no longer dictated by unconscious triggers of those emotions.

    Hope that helps!

    jodib and Ellen like this.
  3. Bobsaget

    Bobsaget Newcomer

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for your response. If acknowledging the unconscious emotions seems to work and eventually dissipates my symptoms, will I be worse off than if I brought them to consciousness and lost the symptoms this way? The first way seems to be "leaving" these emotions in my unconscious mind while the latter seems to be fully integrating and naturally embracing them. Will the end result of both of these be the same, or will one lead to a greater, fuller life in your opinion?

  4. AndrewMillerMFT

    AndrewMillerMFT Well known member

    Hi Bob,

    I don't know if it's a question of "worse off" per se. I'd reframe it as looking at: What are your goals? If you want to just rid yourself of symptoms, you could explore your level of acceptance of unconscious emotions and see if that's good enough for symptom reduction and if not, explore going deeper. If your goals include changing patterns in your life and trying to broaden the way you address problems on various levels, you'll definitely benefit from a deeper exploration and probably have symptom reduction too.

    There will always be work to do to integrate unconscious emotions.

  5. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    I think one of the points Dr. Sarno was making is, we don't necessarily have to fully understand or experience all the emotions that are lurking, hidden in the unconscious. Just acknowledge them.

    However, in my experience, it IS best to try to "feel and explore" our conscious emotions. Feel them non-judgmentally. Don't beat yourself up for feeling things that may be inappropriate.
    AndrewMillerMFT likes this.
  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Bob. Good reply from Spanky. Some people can handle thinking deeply about the emotions that cause their symptoms. That worked for me in journaling about my childhood and parents divorcing when I was seven, which left me with feelings of insecurity. For others, deep thinking on emotional issues is hard and causes stress. If it causes you stress, maybe follow Dr. Sarno's and Spanky's advice and just acknowledge the hurtful or harmful feelings. Make it brief. Summarize them. Then get on with your day and do and think things that give you pleasure. Laugh as often as you can.
    jodib and AndrewMillerMFT like this.

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