Change Your Mind, Change Your Life
We are often asked what to expect in a appointment with Dr. Miller. Every appointment, whether for therapy or coaching, is unique, but the following is a common pattern. Here is a sample of the kind of thing that often takes place during the first few appointments.
Please be aware that the strategies noted below are used frequently, they are not always used in every session or even with every person. Your individual treatment will have its own unique arc; each plan is designed with your particular situation in mind. Other modalities and therapies, including some not described here, which would be appropriate in your case, might be brought to bear (e.g., Gestalt, EMDR, etc.). Dr. Miller has had extensive experience addressing a variety of conditions, and has studied a wide array of treatment options. The following illustrative example may, however, give you a feeling for his work.
The history of your particular life and challenges is very important. Every person is different, and the context in which your problems have arisen is central. A typical initial appointment (by phone or in person) begins with careful observation and listening, a history, and perhaps some physical examination, when indicated. The interrelationship of mind, body and emotion in your particular case is described, emphasizing the inner mechanisms relating the source and symptoms of your disorder. The role of events, beliefs, interpretations, and physiological reactions are especially addressed. (See Mind-Body Medicine)
Next, a strategy is developed for modifying your ongoing patterns of thought, imagery, emotional response and behavior. Cognitive behavioral techniques, EMDR, or other strategies may be initiated at this time, when indicated. Especially valuable is a recorded meditation, deep relaxation, and imagery experience usually made at this time for your daily use. This strategy helps you to use your particular talents and skills to deal more effectively and efficiently with the challenges in your life — whether you are dealing with a job interview, a diagnosis of cancer, or a troubled relationship.
Usually, in this appointment as in most others, Dr. Miller will create a recording especially for you to practice with between appointments. This “Software for the Mind” consists primarily of Dr. Miller’s voice, guiding you through deep relaxation, guided imagery, affirmations, and effective strategies for healing and change.
The purpose of this personal recording is to give you an easy way of mentally rehearsing the new behaviors (of body, mind, emotions, speech, etc.). Regular practice reinforces these new perspectives and possibilities in the subconscious levels of your mind. By practicing regularly, you actually retrain your nervous system to function in a healthy way to produce peace, balance, energy, and peak performance.
Between appointments you will practice with a meditation/guided imagery recording. Practicing daily is best This is a very valuable part of your work with Dr. Miller, as it is how you will train your deeper mind to be responsive to the changes you want to make. Especially valuable is a recorded deep relaxation and imagery experience made at this time for daily use. Repeated use of this “Software for the Mind” retrains the nervous system, emotions, and behaviors, leading to permanent change in a positive direction.
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On the second appointment, the results of the first appointment and the recordings used following it are evaluated. We focus especially on how the relaxation and altered thought and imagery patterns have improved your overall sense of well-being and ability to cope in stressful situations. Next, during this appointment, one or more recent or current stress-inducing situations or events are reviewed in light of:
- The environment and situation.
- The specific triggering incident.
- Your interpretation of the event. How was it perceived/interpreted by the deeper levels of your mind? What did it mean to you? For instance, if the event was a fear of public speaking, the interpretation might be, “I am in a dangerous situation. I’m vulnerable. These people may laugh at me. I may get fired if I don’t perform well.”
- The specific symptoms of stress that occur in reaction to this event (headache, anxiety, racing mind, insomnia, poor performance, muscle tension, allergic reaction, etc.).
- What behavior did you respond with to try to relieve or escape from the stress? In other words, did you race out to have a cigarette and a cocktail, get angry with a coworker, run five miles, have a migraine, obsess, go to bed or react in some other way?
Outcome Imagery and Self-Affirmation: Next, Dr. Miller will help you to develop a different, more adaptive perspective or interpretation from the one experienced. For example, in the scenario above, the new script might be, “I am safe, and my muscles can relax. I will do my best and be satisfied with it. I accept myself exactly as I am. Through my relaxation and self-confidence, an excellent performance is emerging.” (See I Am) This new “script” will reinforce a relaxation response and high performance response to replace the stress response.
Rescripting (Reprogramming): Once again, the deeply relaxed “Healing State” is induced, and, using powerful techniques of imagery and visualization Dr. Miller has developed, you rescript the event. You intentionally reprogram YOUR mind, body, and emotions with a new way of thinking and reacting to the original source of stress.
Now that a new pattern of thoughts and reactions exists within, it is projected into the future through mental image rehearsal and onto future occasions when the formerly stress-producing situation is likely to recur. Using the recording made at this time, you practice your new responses and behaviors one to three times daily.
The imagery may involve your inner thought patterns, your physical behavior, your social interaction, or the behavior of internal organ systems, such as your immune system, your vascular system or the muscles and glands of your gastrointestinal system. In this way desirable change is induced at the unconscious levels of the mind, the muscles, or the immune system. (See Exactly How Does the Mind Connect With and Change the Body)
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On the third visit, one of the possibilities would be to work with hypnosis, re-framing, and creative visualization. Another possibility would be to experience a Selective Awareness Exploration during which we use a deep state of relaxation to systematically trace the roots of the pattern of thinking, feeling, and behaving that you no longer want in your life. This approach to age-regression analysis and synthesis can help you discover the inner and outer causes and triggers for the pattern (e.g., illness, behaviors, emotional reactions ) that you wish to eliminate from your life.
Abusive parents, family alcoholism, threatening school environment, sexual abuse, or a lack of love, support and wise guidance are some common roots of our current maladaptive perspectives and reactions. Sometimes the situations were not this dramatic, but they occurred at certain very vulnerable points in the life of a sensitive person, and created fears and escape behaviors (e.g., anger, alcohol misuse, social anxiety, depression) that still persist today.
The resulting understanding of the roots of your troublesome beliefs, fears, and reactions enables you to create a new, healthier, more desirable you — and to become that person. With a more balanced self-image, and new, more functional beliefs about the world, you are now ready to take charge of your own life.
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Subsequent visits serve to hone your ability to relax and to develop new habits of thinking, feeling, and behaving (macroscopically and microscopically) to flow with the rapidly changing circumstances of your life. Freed of previous limitations, the focus may soon shift to developing higher levels of wellness, enhancing performance improving relationships, or making important life decisions.
Often people discover deeper issues they need to deal with, inner issues that were hidden because the symptoms of imbalance consumed so much energy. It is then possible that we explore these fundamental life questions as their importance becomes clear. Deeper identity, values, personal purpose in life (dharma), and spiritual questions tend to arise at this time.
Again, the above is just an approximation of a particular kind of case; its purpose is to give you a flavor of the kind of thinking and interaction that commonly go on in each. Although another patient’s appointments might look quite different, whatever the flow of events, their purpose is to:
- create the ability to relax and think clearly at will.
- penetrate to the deeper roots of the current symptoms.
- access deep inner wisdom.
- tap inner sources of courage.
- re-script (reprogram) maladaptive behaviors and emotions.
- develop a positive, effective self-image.
- create a compelling vision of the future.
Discovering the arc your appointments take is one of the most exciting and satisfying parts of the experience of transforming your life and creating your world.
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