2. We are beings that think, not beings that are thought
Contrary to how it can seem, happy people are not happy because they just don’t have negative thoughts. Their secret is knowing that those thoughts are not reality.
When a client’s life is being ruined by catastrophic visions of the future, or an inner critic that spins torturous stories about their lack of worth, our sessions will involve work for claiming control over the more problematic patterns.
It starts with awareness. The knowledge that we’re thinking a thought already de-potentiates it. After that, we can play with it (quite literally) to further deny it of impact.
Human beings are programmed to learn through play. We’ve been growing this way ever since out first Spidey-suit. Some of the most easy and effective therapeutic interventions utilise this fact to help people change their minds. Here are two of them for you to have some fun with.
If you do your negative thinking in a voice, you can adjust its pitch or quality to change the emotion it provokes. Next time you catch your inner critic telling you that you can’t do something, make it sound like Mickey Mouse and listen to it again. I’m willing to bet money that it’ll feel a little less legitimate that way.
If it’s a visual thought — if you’re seeing yourself failing in some way — turn the mental image into an old, black and white photograph, so that it feels less current, less real. Then, imagine it getting smaller, or drifting off into the distance.
These things aren’t magic tricks. They’re just ways of making meaningful suggestions for the unconscious mind to hear.