In your work with Dr. Miller’s CDs, MP3s, and Tapes, you will probably be examining unwanted behavior patterns you employed in the past. This may involve the recent past (such as last week) or the distant past (such as young adulthood, childhood or even infancy). The kinds of behaviors you examine may include:
- Physical behaviors—such as nail biting, smoking, co-dependence (link to Finding Serenity), or alcohol usage (link to serenity prayer).
- Physical symptoms — including such behaviors as headaches, fatigue, high blood pressure or arthritis.
- Mental behaviors, symptoms in your thinking — including such symptoms as worrying, procrastination, obsessiveness, poor concentration, forgetfulness, etc.
- Emotional behaviors—such as anxiety, fear, anger, resentment, jealousy, envy, sadness, or depression.
When you examine your life carefully, you will discover that the offending behavior is customarily associated with certain specific situations or events. (E.g., “I tend to get a headache when I have an argument.”)
Developing a new way of relating with the world will involve achieving insight, discovering new perspectives, and learning new skills, techniques and approaches. Two most important tools for changing these patterns are deconditioning (or “deprogramming”) the old response pattern and writing a new script (or “program”) that is more to your liking. This process includes creating the new pattern, and teaching it to your body and nervous system.
The Selective Awareness Exploration
A most powerful method for gaining understanding and insight into dysfunctional behavior, patterns of thought, emotion and behavior is the Selective Awareness Exploration, a relaxation and mindfulness-based process for finding the root of imbalances and unwanted reactions of the unconscious levels of the mind, the emotions, and the body. It was originally developed by Dr. Miller in the early 1970s.
The Exploration integrates a number of powerful perspectives and approaches drawn from numerous fields, including Psychoanalysis, Meditation, Autogenic Training, Gestalt and Jungian Psychology, Hypnosis, Behavioral Psychology, Family Therapy and Transpersonal Psychology.
The typical Exploration involves several steps:
1. Entering a deeply relaxed state through Selective Awareness.
2. Exploring, memory by memory, the offending pattern back through time as far as possible, to discover that moment (or moments) in your life at which this dysfunctional perspective, expectation and behavior was first learned by your mind/body complex. Because this takes place in the state of Deep Relaxation, any emotions associated with these events are easily soothed, which erases (deconditions) the negative response pattern. Further, it gives the conscious, intentional part of your mind a solid, intelligent, frame with which to understand and respond to the world, rather than react.
3. Experiencing (in the safety of the deeply relaxed Selective Awareness state) the appropriate emotions in the appropriate historical contexts (healing the inner child). Catharsis, emotional accessing, understanding, and increased awareness occur at this point.
4. Analyzing this series of memories using the mature, nurturing, wise adult perspective to develop insight and understanding. Guilt, shame, fear, and excess anger often dissipate at this step, as the guidance of your inner wisdom helps you understand and reframe your experiences and feelings.
5. Formulating a new, more functional, more appropriate, more reasonable approach to life challenges, armed with the insight gained in step 4. This is where you actually create a new script (mental program) for your brain, nervous system, and body.
6. Deconditioning and Self-nurturing. Now that a new psychological and emotional perspective has been developed, you mentally relive these same memories in imagery. This time, however, you relive them with a new understanding, and with a sense of being completely relaxed. Reliving them without the original reaction breaks the internal conditioning. The inner part that had been carrying out the old behavior is treated with kindness, respect, and understanding by the nurturing adult part.
7. Rescripting. The next step is to relive the memories, employing the new “script” you have designed, one in which you are more in charge, more empowered, grounded, self-accepting and independent. As you go through each of these scenes, you reenact it according to this new script as though you were a playwright improving upon the script for an actor or actress. By visualizing yourself possessing and using the traits and abilities that can bring about success in such situations, you are actually installing new programs into your biocomputer (your subconscious mind).
8. Future Pacing. Finally, you project ahead to similar situations that are likely to occur in the future, this time envisioning yourself meeting such challenges with the new perspective, with new feelings, and with new behaviors. This provides a kind of “post-hypnotic suggestion” to encourage the new behavior automatically. The more powerfully you can feel the positive emotions, the more deeply you will be impacting your deeper mind.
9. Daily Practicing . Listening to and experiencing the CD or MP3 once a day “burns” the new pattern permanently into your mind. As you experience the changes in your everyday life, you reinforce them and replace the old pattern with the new one. If you listen two or more times a day, the positive changes happen even more rapidly.