Mindful awareness and western psychology

Once in the year it might be a good idea at least try to write in English. Or should I try to do it even more often?

It is a well known fact that often people around the world invent powder at the same time. That is at least here in Finland an old saying. That was my feeling, too, when I read the ideas of psychotherapist Linda Graham (Bouncing back – Rewireing your awareness for maximum resilience and well-being). Our ideas seem to be completly in synergy.

I have been couching and teaching therapeutic writing by using Ego State therapy as a tool for maybe three years. Ego state therapy is a great hypnothearpy tradition which you can use in addition to couching and therapy as a tool for self-guided transformation. I personally think that western psychotherapy and meditation traditions can be integrated and the hypnotherapy – especially Ego state therapy – tradition offers us a great bridging paradigma for that. It can also bridge our body and mind together.

By the way Australian Jan Sky have developed a great tool for mapping the Ego states (ESI® Executive State Identification), which I use both in my therapeutic writing groups and for couple couching. In my experience most of the clients get the Ego state idea very fast.

In Ego state therapy the basic assumption is that each one of is composed of separate mood states, parts, which everyone has. We all have an inner theater. Our parts are called Ego states. Problems result from states harbouring pain, trauma, anger of frustrastion and expressing this inappropriately (Gordon Emmerson).

I teach my couching clients to know themselves by using their own creations, Ego states, as self-reflection tools. Then they can use them for ”insight meditation” – creative writing. I teach them to express appropriately their Ego states. I often give them hypnotic interventions, psychoeducation, therapeutic writing and mindfulness exercises. My presumption is, that in self-hypnosis you may reach some of your deeper unconcious Ego states as well as in hypnosis.

I think it is possible for each one of us to find a director of our Ego states (observing self), which can sometimes catalyze a healing transformation experience. In that process I think it is important that the person has strong, supportive, adult wise Ego states, because sometimes strong, even traumatizing, intense emotions can arise in the process. I recommend each writer to have a therapeutic writing group or a (hypno)therapist as a support at least in the beginning ot the process.

I went through my own writing experience. I wrote for about one year dialogical plays with my Ego states and reflected many of my experiences by semifictive writing. I think that when we avoid identification to our Ego states and when we mix metaphoric fiction in our past experiences ans storylines, we can reach safeness in our healing re-experiences. We can not change our history but with imagination we can change our experience of it.

The western psychology is full of healing metaphors. Each one of un can psychoeducate herself. The healing metaphors are not the private property of therapists.

So it looks like we are living time of integration. All over the world we are bridging Eastern meditative traditions to Western psychotherapy. I think that Ego state therapy which happens in hypnosis or self-hypnosis gives great metaphors for this integratie self-reflective work. I think that if we really want to cultivate self-awareness skills, we need both therapeutic self-reflection and mindfulness meditation. Meditation gives us roots and therapeutic self-reflection wings.

Linda Graham emphazieses that finsful awareness and western psychology can be bridged. She writes:

Mindfulness – steady, nonjudgmental awareness and acceptance of experience – is one of the most powerful tools for brain change known to science. By strengthening the function o the prefrontal cortex and related structures, mindfulness leads to the self-awareness and shifts in perspective that allow the brain to remain flexible in its response to triggers and trauma, more easily rewiring itself for resilience.

Mindfulness allows us to perceive directly that it is the nature of all experience to change, including the constellations of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors we have come to identify s “me” or “I.” With practice, we can loosen our grip on the “stuff” of our “self” and relax directly into an open, spacious experience of our true self and the wisodom of our true nature, allowing our patterns of self to be more easily rewired.

The reflective investigation of mindfulness practice dovetails easily with the conscious examination of the observing ego of Western psychology, helping the brain integrate a sense of genuine wholeness that is key to resilience.

Ego state offers us integrative theory for observing ego and self-reflection in which we can use other psychotherapeutic traditions, too. This process in which we combine meditation and self-hypnosis (psychodramatic trance)  is often a spiritual wakening, too. It is quite calming and even sacred experience to get to know who you really are.

(Inner theater is in facebook!)

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