The journeys of the mind and their application to therapy

A reflection on the journeys made by the mind, visualization, and its use in therapy.

From the systemic perspective of psychology, we usually say that the important thing when accompanying a client in his process is not so much knowing how he has reached the state he is in or the state that brings him to ask for help, but the state you want to access.

That is to say, we like to look ahead more, since this is the way that remains to be traveled, using the past to collect the great number of resources that past experiences offer us.

Any behavior has a justification, and knowing it sometimes only helps you stay where you are since you found the reason, but curiously it rarely helps you solve the situation, since being focused on the cause you cannot design what you want, rather you design the “unwanted.” In this article, I will tell you why this difference is important.

The journeys of the mind and their application to therapy

The two directions of the mind

Our minds can travel in two directions and in two different ways.

Conscious travel

  • To the future, to visualize what we want to achieve and have motivation .
  • To the past, to collect the learnings that we carry out through lived time, through what we have experienced. It brings hope and security.

Unconscious or automatic travel

  • To the past: looking for causes and justifications. It attracts resentment and guilt to oneself.
  • To the future: wanting to resolve the uncertainty. Attracts fear and anxiety

Travels of the mind

Thanks to the fact that our brain is capable of creating images and making the pertinent synaptic connections, we could say that for it, it is the same that something is lived or imagined, since in both ways it experiences it as real, and thus it is registered in en its interior to be able to access it when you need it as if it were a lived experience.

For example: If you ever visualize that you are on stage with a red suit talking about your book, while you clap and a Janis Joplin song plays in the background, the more times you do that visualization, the deeper that content will be engraved in your mind, in such a way that tomorrow you will be able to access that visualization as easily as any other memory, you may even come to believe that it really happened. Magical, right?

That is why it is so important to be aware when we do the two virtual trips of the mind because we can build what we want in such detail that we could almost draw it.

There is a very interesting mechanism, and scientifically based for what this happens; I invite you to discover it, for now, stay with this: “The brain does not see what it does not know.”

Our mind likes what it knows, and on the contrary, it does not like changes, since our friend (primitive brain, in charge of our survival) is always in an alert mode in case some extra movement is necessary for the face of a real threat or imaginary. Therefore, our mind normally focuses on what it knows, trying to automate and thus consume little energy.

Advantages of conscious visualization

What is the advantage of psychotherapy patients visualizing their future in great detail (with all five senses)? Well, that image will be familiar to your brain, and from that moment on your focus will be available for everything that is similar to what you want, eliminating all those stimuli or situations that do not lead you to that image.

So on the one hand we have a clear vision of what we want, and on the other hand, our brain will only see what we want, because as you already know, with our eyes we look, and with the brain we see.

Going back to the state-conscious design desired by our client, what if we focus on figuring out why the client is in the state it is? Well, simply that we will be helping you to keep the focus exactly on what you do not want, with which your mood will generate more difficult to change.

If you present yourself with anger, fear, guilt or rage, or perhaps anxiety or apathy, it is going to be very difficult to create the belief that you can change. Possibly we will be helping to validate your status and you will walk away knowing why but you will not get how to get out of your situation because there will be no attractive place to go.

And perhaps he will be hijacked by uncertainty; fear and it will be creating an unattractive scenario, but unfortunately, it is the one that the mind will recognize when it presents itself to it and will select it from everything else because it is what it knows.

The brain does not judge, but it is very obedient and will give you what you create because the other will still be in limbo and to be discovered.

The journeys of the mind and their application to therapy


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