In a memorable Peanut’s cartoon, Pig-Pen enters a room filled with his young colleagues. He is spotless, his face scrubbed, cheeks rosy, hair impeccably coiffed, dressed in clean shorts, a starchly ironed shirt, and a perfect bow tie. In the second frame we witness him mingling with his astonished friends. A frame later he turns to leave and displays the dusty, unkempt imp we know and love: clothes frayed and torn, hair disheveled, neck grimy, mud caked on the back of his shoes, the cloud of dust enveloping him. Charlie Brown questions the dichotomy. Pig-Pen responds, “I care what people think of me when I enter a room; I don’t care what they say when I leave.”
Those with social and other devitalizing anxieties do not have Pig-Pen’s self-assurance and insouciance. Although born with the strength and determination to surmount the obstacles thrown at us through normal exploitation, perceived abandonment, and the natural consequences of life, we experience chronic depression―feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and unworthiness. Pig-Pen’s ability to shrug-off the outrageous fortunes-of-life is an unreliable fantasy. As participants in the human condition, we are often negatively affected by the demands of life and begin to accept what other people think of us, anticipating the harsh glare of less-than-adequate. We become Adhemar the fallen jouster, laid prostrate at the feet of young Thatcher: “You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting.”
1. Our Innate Desire to Improve Our Condition.
There is little suffering greater than that of an individual who deems him or herself powerless to effect change. In someone who is consumed by anxieties and harmful behavioral traits, this feeling of helplessness, of inadequacy, can exhibit itself in anguish, despair, shame, even grief. One major dysfunction of many standard behavioral recovery programs is their adoption of powerlessness as an acceptable catalyst for growth; others focus on eliminating the negative behavior without providing a compensating and positive replacement. The perception of impotence―the belief that we are not the steward of our own behavior, our values, our well-being―is an unhealthy misconception that can severely inhibit our potential for growth and change. Reconciliation with and recovery from dis-ease, stress, and immoral and maladaptive behavior is achieved only through unequivocal acceptance of our condition, and our willingness to change.
In the tradition of Platonic elegance, we are all innately drawn towards the desire for excellence. Through ReChanneling, we refine that goodness extant within us, redefine that which has been distorted or falsified, and reinstate that which has been lost or misplaced. The methods found in ReChanneling are effective in the resolution of multiple behavioral neuroses including social and other anxieties, coping with loss or a stressful situation, depression, and other symptoms of discomfort and dis-ease.
2. GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder).
GAD affects 6.8 million adults or 3.1 percent of the U.S. population. GAD is characterized by persistent and excessive concern which can materialize in anxiety, depression, panic, phobias, social anxiety, stress, bulimia, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other neuroses. GAD can express itself in anger, a low opinion of self, and physical health problems, like pain or fatigue. Individuals with GAD find it difficult to control their anxiety. They worry more than seems warranted about actual events or may expect the worst even when there is no apparent reason for concern. People with GAD often anticipate disaster and may be overly concerned with everyday, typical life circumstances, worrying even when there is nothing wrong, or in a manner disproportionate to actual risk.
3. SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder)
The essential features of Social Anxiety is a marked and persistent fear of social or performance situations in what may ostensibly result in embarrassment or perceptions of rejection and ridicule. Those with this disorder recognize that their fear is excessive or unreasonable ―but that doesn’t stop it from being and affecting our quality of life. In these feared situations, individuals with Social Anxiety are afraid that others will judge us to be anxious, weak, inadequate, inefficient, dull, stupid, ad infinitum. Symptoms of anxiety can include palpitations, tremors, sweating, gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhea, muscle tension, blushing, confusion, etc. The fear or avoidance that results from social anxiety can wreak psycho-physiological havoc to our normal routine, occupational or academic functioning, or social activities or relationships.
Common associated features of SAD include extreme sensitivity to criticism, negative self-evaluation, perception of unworthiness, preconceived rejection or dismissal, unassertiveness, timidity, and low self-esteem or feelings of inferiority. Social Anxiety can control your life. Many individuals with SAD desire companionship but their fear of looking foolish or rejection is so severe they avoid social situations altogether or engage in substance-abuse. SAD is especially prevalent in the LGBT community.
Remedy is achievable once we unequivocally accept our condition and engage the willingness to change. It takes concerted effort (self-analysis and repetition) in order to rewire the neural networks so firmly established from years of negative thinking. This doesn’t happen overnight―the neural network that memorializes our habitual actions must physically realign themselves. We don’t have to change all 80+ million nerve cells but we have to reroute those that produce the anxiety and that takes time.
CBRT (Cognitive Behavioral ReChanneling Therapy)
Cognitive theory assumes that anxiety, maladaptive behavior, and poor self-image (components of dis-ease) are the result of inappropriate or irrational thinking patterns caused by deep-seated reactions to situations and conditions. CBRT addresses the restructuring of the mind (the rerouting of our neural networks) by disputing these irrational thoughts and beliefs and substituting rational ones until they become automatic or habitual replacements to the irrational thoughts.
The Behavioral component of CBRT requires the individual’s participation in an active, structured therapy group consisting of people with similar distress or neurosis, training these individuals to modify their negative tendencies through activities that address the discomforting behaviors with alternate exercises and repetitious behavioral activities.
ReChanneling encourages the individual to consciously replace the maladaptive behavior with one of positive and comparable value while addressing the integral influences of the mind, body, and spirit. ReChanneling emphasizes the homeostasis of the beingness-complex through the combination of contemporary cognitive and experiential remedial theories, the authentic presence and emotional recollection of Stanislavski’s method, and the Arbhidharmic concepts of mindfulness governance.
CBRT is a powerful tool used to address emotional challenges. In terms of anxiety, some of the everyday issues or behavioral problems that are addressed include:
- misperception of ourselves in terms of appearance, ability, and self-worth,
- feelings of guilt and embarrassment arising from past social situations,
- anger arising from past situations,
- self-assertion strategies to rid us of passive-aggressive expressions,
- the illusion of perfectionism and the perils of pursuit,
- procrastination due to anxiety worries and doubts,
- techniques for coping with stressful life situations,
- emotional awareness and management,
- resolution of relationship conflicts through effective communication,
- coping with grief or loss.
The CBRT programs typically train you to:
- Identify troubling situations or conditions in your life. These may include such issues as a medical condition, divorce, grief, anger, or other symptoms of dis-ease or distress. You and your mentor will identify what problems and goals you want to focus on.
- Become aware of your thoughts, emotions and beliefs about these problems. Once you’ve identified the problems to work on, your mentor will encourage you to share your thoughts about them. Through discourse and introspection, you will be able to identify the causes and discover solutions
- Identify negative or inaccurate thinking. To help you recognize patterns of thinking and behavior that may be contributing to your problem, you and your mentor will analyze the contributing factors and triggers through the analysis of the integrality of the mind, body, and spirit.
- Redefine maladaptive or inaccurate thinking. You and your mentor will discover whether your view of a situation is based on fact or on an inaccurate perception of what’s going on. This step can be difficult because your neural pathways have become static due to long-standing ways of thinking and acquired habits. With practice, helpful thinking and behavior patterns will become a replaceable habit and your neural networks will begin to realign appropriately.
Through ReChanneling, you will master the integral fusion of the mind, body, and spirit as it is refined, redefined, and reinstated through:
1) Cognitive restructuring, which involves correcting your inappropriate or irrational thinking patterns. Clients with psychological disorders have incorrect beliefs about the dangers that situations pose, and these patterns are addressed and restructured.
2) Exposure, which consists of role-playing activities designed to get clients to confront comparable situations. It is part of the behavioral aspect of CBRT where attention is paid to stressful conditions through safe and careful experiments.
3) Homework. It is recommended that the client spend about 30-minutes daily, practicing certain exercises. Much can be accomplished through the conscious application of positive and comparable replacement behaviors. In the evening it is suggested that the client mentally revisit the day’s events and evaluate what worked and what could be improved upon. These homework assignments are specifically designed towards the individual needs of each client.
4) Introspection (inner-discourse) is simply conversing with yourself about the day’s stressful events and how they affect your quality of life. For those things for which we do not have immediate answers, the client is encouraged to let-it-go (relax, sleep) and allow the internal computer do the work for you.
5) Journaling. Memorialize your thoughts and conclusions in written form. Many people avoid this element because it seems repetitive, annoying, and time-consuming. Yet, how many times have we thought of something significant and forgotten it within seconds because something else replaced the thought? A brief notation on a notepad, or transmitting it into a tape-recorder or your cellular phone will memorialize the thought until you later disseminate it in the journal. These thoughts are essential for the client-mentor discourse.
Cognitive Behavioral ReChanneling Therapeutic Sessions
ReChanneling Weekend Workshops
Personal Development Seminars
Subscription Series Video & Lecture (July 2017)
© 2017 ReChanneling
Dr. Robert F. Mullen