Reverse Therapy

Bodymind healing and awareness

5 worst Xmas mistakes to avoid

According to a survey carried out last week 2.3 million people in London expect to get stressed at Xmas. That’s about a third of the population there.

Before you read the next bit it’s important to get clear about what ‘stress’ actually is. It’s not pressure coming from out there (as when some people say they have ‘a stressful job’) and neither is it an illness (as when your friends say they are ‘really stressed’). Stress is an experience. It is what goes on with your Body when you go beyond your limitations. Your Body will typically create uncomfortable feelings, headaches, muscular tension, nausea, skin problems and other symptoms – simply because your Body is on red alert and is using symptoms to let you know you are vulnerable. Viewed the Reverse Therapy way, Stress is what you get when you stop listening to what your emotions are telling you and you get over-involved with other peoples’ priorities.

The first worst mistake you can make about Xmas is to do it in the first place. The best Christmas day I ever enjoyed (and my family too) was spent on the ski slopes in Bulgaria. If you are obliged to spend Xmas as usual then do something different while it is going on. This year my wife and I are doing a hotel away-break on Boxing Day….

The second mistake is save up all your grudges for unloading once you reach that critical point when the kids are on at you, your partner has fallen asleep and your elderly relatives whinge on about missing EastEnders (this would be around 4pm by my calculations). If you have to hold grudges then make sure they are sorted before the day itself.

The third mistake is expect it all to be fun. In fact Xmas is hard work for most people. The less you expect, the more welcome those Winter Wonderland moments will be.

The fourth mistake is trying too hard to please others. You won’t succeed – so make sure you take plenty of time out for you.

The fifth mistake is the saddest. Many people are alone at Xmas and that is one reason why depression statistics soar at the end of December. If you are forced to spend the holiday on your own then consider doing some charity work. Most charities are crying out for volunteers and you will have the satisfaction of making other peoples’ lives a little bit better while the rest of the world is at each other’s throats.

Whatever you decide to do – I wish all my readers a Christmas filled with divine peace.

December 23, 2006 Posted by | Reverse Therapy, Stress | Leave a comment

The Rasputin Guide to Healing

Years ago, before I discovered Reverse Therapy, I wrote a spoof on psychotherapy called The Rasputin Guide to Therapy. The joke was that Rasputin – the so-called ‘Mad Monk’ of legend – might have had something more useful to say about getting people well than po-faced psychologists. In particular I was critical of the tendency of most forms of therapy to focus on Headmind, with complicated theories about why people get broken – not how they can be helped to get well. Specifically, how they can be guided towards connecting to Bodymind and accessing emotions. And then doing something about them.

Although I never published it there were some good things in it. In one chapter ‘Rasputin’ talks about the way people get trapped in convention and can become ill if they lose track of their passion. In another he discusses how so-called ‘intelligent’ people can actually become stupid if they get trapped in the intellect. In still another he advocates teaching people how to dance when they get stuck. In general Rasputin advocates that we will be healthier when we take time out to appreciate the simple things of life: friendship, love, nature, travel. In real life Rasputin once walked 2000 miles from Siberia to Jerusalem, along the way feeling inspired by the sea, the mountains, the lakes and the changing seasons on the way.

Here are a few of ‘Rasputin’s’ tips for a healthy life.

• Never give away your power to another person. This applies to partners, employers, children, parents, teachers and – most especially – gurus who claim to have better answers than you do to life’s problems. As human beings they will be struggling with their own problems and will not know more than you do about your own best way forward in life.

• Trust in yourself. Learn to recognise what is true for you and be guided by your own emotions about things.

• Learn to dance, sing or play music. At the very least you will get an endorphin rush.

• Whatever you do for a living, or if you care for others, then do it with a passion. If doing things is an obligation rather than a pleasure then be sure to balance these chores with other activities for which you do have a passion.

• Never look back. If things go wrong, or if you are sad and disillusioned, then move on and find a better way of life.

• Take risks – often. You will never find out what you are capable of unless you experiment. And the more you move outside the comfort zone Headmind has circumscribed for you the more confident you will become.

• Seek the humour in things. If you are not very good at doing that then spend plenty of time with people who are.

• Make time for people you love.

• Be honest. Don’t compromise on the truth just to keep someone else in their comfort zone. Practice gently opening your heart to others.

• Cultivate enlightened selfishness. If you don’t take a break or go easy on yourself from time to time you won’t be able to care for others. Even Christ and the Buddha needed time off from their mission.

Finally, here are some of Rasputin’s mistakes to avoid:

• Don’t drink too much
• Don’t give away all you have
• Don’t trust strangers who invite you to their house at midnight (they might want to shoot you)
• Don’t get mixed up with the Royal family

December 18, 2006 Posted by | Bodymind, Health, Reverse Therapy, Therapy, Wellbeing | Leave a comment

Helping a client get well

This is an email dialogue I held with a client a little while ago. I have edited some details to preserve anonymity. She has had M.E. for six years and is now improving rapidly.

The aim is to give anyone with M.E/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome some thoughts on how to get well. And, of course, any of our clients out there can learn from this too.

Client: During my second appointment with you last month I had difficulties in saying what I needed which you helped me to overcome by teaching me how to put things into words. I told you I was confused with what you were telling me and that I did not understand. You guided me to establish contact with my Bodymind and I felt relieved. I think there is a strong component of fear inside me. Fear of staying ill, fear of not being able to succeed with Reverse Therapy.

My comment: It is important to distinguish between Headmind worry and Bodymind fear. Bodymind sends you a fear emotion when it notices that you are vulnerable in some way – in order to encourage you to express your need for help and support, and take small steps to raise your confidence in that situation. Your Headmind worries about not being able to get well and not being able to do Reverse Therapy. This is natural but unhelpful. It is important not to give any time to these worries. Instead, do something like this:

Go into your Body

Remind yourself that you know how to be well

Spend a little time in your body deciding what feels good to do next about your messages and go and do that straight away

Client: This is all Headmind stuff, I know, but fear is somewhere stuck deep in my cells. One day, soon after my first RT session I was in a meditation group – and we were guided to recall our most important event over the summer. I “went” to my first session with you while I was in a deep state of contemplation and I felt – very strongly and clearly – how something was “melting down inside” as tears were dropping on my face and this was helping in the process of recovery. I was impressed when this “something” that I was feeling so clearly deep inside me came out as “fear”. That fear I felt at that time when I was recalling the first RT session was deep in my body and the whole process of retrieving that RT session while in a meditative state was helping a lot in letting it go.

My comment: This is good work! You may indeed have become vulnerable and your Body created fear to remind you to be gentle on yourself and take good care. There is no need to let go of fear – just honour it and act on it.

Client: Is this fear – which I’m not generally aware of – a fear that my Bodymind developed when I was under a lot of stress, specially when I had glandular fever and I kept working under stress, without resting? Is this fear misinterpreted by Headmind and leads me to be afraid of not being able to recover?

My comment: See above. But Headmind stuff will be worry rather than fear.

Client: One of my concerns is my need – I guess a Headmind demand to “understand”. Which probably comes from a need to control. So I spend too much time in my Head. Although I am learning that when I am living in the moment, in Bodymind, I feel at peace. But the thing is that I live in a world that is run by Headminds!

My comment: Yes – it is about ‘unlearning’ the Headmind habits and conditioning you received through unbalanced education. Reverse Therapy is a discipline (like meditation) which needs to be practiced everyday until it becomes more natural to stay in the moment and let go of Headmind’s need to explain, worry and control. We have to acknowledge that the world is mostly run by ‘Headminds’ but that doesn’t mean we have to play the game.

Client: Getting onto the more practical aspects of doing Reverse Therapy, I am not keeping the journal up to date. Nor am I planning activities. I have never been good at organizing my time. And having spent 4 years without working has not helped me much in that.

My comment: OK – let’s not make the Journal into a burden for you. It is only used to help you remember the discipline of noticing your symptoms, acting on the messages, and noticing what happens to the symptoms. But if it has become another Headmind chore for you then let’s drop it for now.

Client: I am now trying to do more things I enjoy – like walking with my husband, visiting friends, arranging dinner-parties, shopping, and the like. And I have had fun, and people who knew me before the illness have mentioned to me how much more energy I have. It shows in the way I talk, in how I am with people, and in the joy I have in doing things. Just as an illustration, the other day, over a dinner with a group of friends, I told a joke – a long one! And I realized when I was about to start that it was the first time I had done that for more than 4 years! It went well, they all laughed, and my husband was very happy when he saw that. He likes me telling jokes!

My comment: Very good! Please do more of this as your Body clearly enjoys being with your friends. Interestingly, it has been established that laughter is a sure way to enable Bodymind to release endorphins, which both reduce symptoms and confirm that you are on the right path towards recovery.

Client: Yet a couple of hours before we all met for dinner I had symptoms. My energy level was very low, I was feeling sick and I just wanted to lie down. There was kind of a “fight” inside me and finally I won through the faith I have in you. My Headmind could not get that something other than lying down could help me in that situation. But I trusted RT and I did what I was told to do in these situations. I regained confidence and energy started to come back. The problem was my husband was late getting back from work and we were going to be late for dinner. After getting into Bodymind and reading the message I started to act with serenity and coped with the situation. The dinner went great!

My comment: Excellent! You really let go of that Headmind trap there!

Client: Next day, we had a lunch at home with a friend. I woke up very tired and thinking I could not be able to manage it. I was feeling sick again. Headmind telling me it was because I had done too much the day before (although I didn’t believe it). We normally do things at the last minute and my Body was probably telling me to slow down. After reading my message I calmed down and I decided to take it easy and got on with other things. It was like I was expressing my needs to myself. It worked well. We both enjoyed having lunch with our friend and we had a wonderful time.

My comment. Hmmmm. Might be an idea to get together with your husband and look at some ways for you both to have more time to get ready.

Client: One of the things that concerns me a lot is my sleep. I seem to need to sleep forever. As a student, I always stayed up until late during exams and woke up late in the morning. When I was working, I always tended to stay late to do tasks that required more concentration. What is happening now is that, in the absence of any activity that requires me to be somewhere early, I tend to wake up very late in the morning, which gets me very restful but feeling quite useless.

My comment: I am afraid it does take time for your Body clock to get back to normal. It is important not to stay in bed too long but get on with activities you have planned for that day. Please also ensure that each week has a balance of early nights and late nights. Remember, your Body might be using morning fatigue to warn you that there is not much enjoyment available. Finally, watch out for Headmind and its yada-yada-yada about your being ‘useless’ because you have symptoms.

Client: The other main concern is about my poor skills in planning and organizing. As I told you, I have never been good at that, but now it’s even worse. Over the week I have few fixed activities, but I still struggle to get to them in time. And I have not yet learnt how to fill the gaps in between, unless I improve, which does not take me very far. I simply do not know how to design an activity schedule. I feel quite frustrated and helpless about that, especially now that I realized how important it is for my recovery,

My comment: Can you not get your husband or a friend to help you do this? Otherwise we can work on it together when you next see me.

Client: Something else I wish to tell you is that I have put my hopes in RT and that I trust you. I think you are a very talented person and I feel very thankful to be able to get RT from you. I also get lots of confidence from reading the testimonials of people who have undertaken RT and have recovered. But my Headmind –here it is again – keeps damaging my hopes with doubts. One of them has to do with the apparent simplicity of the method. If RT is so simple then I think that what I have suffered during these years was “only in my mind”. I fought a lot during these years against the doctors who had no idea about this illness and who have even told me that I had nothing wrong with me. And when I asked them why I was feeling so ill they would shrug.

My comment. Your symptoms were certainly not all in your mind! Reverse Therapy is simple (although not always easy) but Headmind always wants it to be more complicated because it demands ‘explanations’ and intellectual control.

Client. Am I fearing recovery? Am I fearing that this is an underlying process that I cannot understand? I trust you, and I just want to be very honest with myself and to you, so I can help you to help me.

My comment. No – this is your Headmind daring not to believe that you can be totally well. Because all it has ever known for the last six years is pain, exhaustion and worry. The more days you have when your energy comes back and your symptoms go, then the easier it will be for Headmind to let go of the idea that you cannot get well.

Client: I feel good that I can share with you my inner concerns, and what I believe is Headmind resistance to the process. It is like if my Head wants to know “the secret of RT”. Also, I think there is some reasoning going on like “if it is so easy to overcome the symptoms that have got me to a completely disabled life, I must be an idiot”.

My comment: This is something many of our clients tell us. We always say to them: ‘It is not your fault that you became ill.’ As for the simplicity of the method, it is only ‘easy’ once someone has shown you the solution. Like one of those psychological puzzles when people can’t ‘see’ the face of the old woman/young girl in the drawing. But once someone shows you it is easy to see it. Surely, the real idiots are the people in the medical and psychological professions who have spent years studying the illness without coming up with any answers?

Client: It is not easy for me to write down what I have just said but I know you are not judging me, so I should not judge myself and I should feel confident in expressing my thoughts, no matter how distorted they might seem, even to me. So, being honest to you, John, it has been because I have faith and confidence in you and in RT that I do the assignments, not because I understand what I am doing. And this brings humility – the realization that the answers come from somewhere that is far beyond my head, and far deeper inside me.

I guess the big Headmind question is: “what makes RT work?” When I should mostly concentrate on: “how do I make sure I follow what has been taught to me so I can recover?” which is undoubtedly much more important to me than any of my “Research Scientist Headmind questions” that interfere with my recovery from CFS. But it is a fact that these questions exist and that I hope that it is not insane to have them, as far as they do not prevent me from practicing the assignments.

My comment. No, it is not ‘insane’ to have them given your training as a scientist. But, as you already recognize, they are irrelevant to your recovery. I always tell people who are interested in the research behind Reverse Therapy that they should concentrate on getting well first and then they can satisfy their curiosity about what makes RT work. But you are right – the most important question is ‘What can I do today that my Body would love?’

Client: One last question. For more than 3 years I have been going to a weekly Qui Gong session. After I started RT I have not gone back, I think it reminded me so much of “being ill”. What’s your opinion on that?

My comment: If your Body enjoyed – and will enjoy again – going to Qui Gong then go. You have to go with the feelings your Body sends you on this. If it doesn’t feel right then don’t do it.

December 9, 2006 Posted by | Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Reverse Therapy | Leave a comment

My new book is available free

My new book Reverse Therapy for Health is now out. You can download it free of charge.

I wrote it to explain Reverse Therapy in simple terms with a specific chapter explaining how and why Reverse Therapy works.

Unlike some other approaches I could name there is nothing secret about the Reverse Therapy process. In fact anyone can learn it if they really want to! You can download it by clicking on the link here

December 2, 2006 Posted by | Health, Reverse Therapy | Leave a comment