Category Archives: Recovery

Embrace Your Dysfunction

We share an intimate and unhealthy relationship with our dysfunction or discomfort that manifests in many ways. Let’s take a look at the most obvious ones non-conducive to recovery.

The tolerant relationship. Simply put, we recognize our condition is detrimental to a healthy and productive lifestyle, but we are too lazy, scared, or lack the moral determination to do anything about it. 

The resigned relationship is borne by our expectation or acceptance of failure. Not only do we accept the problem, but we wish we could something about it. Because we don’t value our worth or ability (often a component of our dysfunction), we convince ourselves any attempt at recovery is futile. We have given up.

The self-pitying relationship is sadder, still. We welcome our unhappiness because we believe we have suffered more than is fair or reasonable. We wallow in our misery because it comforts us and confirms our victimization.

The assimilate relationship. We have become so acclimated to our condition, we adapt to it and absorb the poison into our system. This is the one relationship where we truly become one with our dysfunction.

The denial relationship. Refusing to acknowledge the problem in the irrational hope it doesn’t exist or will go away is a common escape mechanism. Our lie becomes so pervasive we begin to believe it. This drives the truth into our subconscious where it metastasizes, like unchecked cancer. 

The guilt relationship. Guilt is a moral emotion that manifests in response to self-disappointment. It is self-consciously evaluated, meaning no matter the severity of the offense, explicit or otherwise, it is our personal assessment that matters. Until we forgive ourselves, we cannot expect to recover. Forgiveness rids us of the self-indulgent bile of guilt and opens us to possibility. 

The cognitive distorting relationship. Cognitive distortions – common to anxiety, depression, and their comorbidities – are tendencies or patterns that twist our thinking. They are irrational perceptions that influence our emotions and behavior. We are all subject to cognitive distortions but, in their more extreme forms, they are a hindrance to recovery. These are a few of many:

  • Magnification and minimization. Believing our accomplishments are inconsequential, or our mistakes excessively important.
  • Overgeneralization. I made a mistake; therefore, I am a stupid person.
  • Personalization. Taking responsibility for something that is out of our control. It’s my fault my lover drinks excessively.
  • Disqualifying the positive. Dwelling on the negative aspects of a situation and ignoring the positive.
  • Absolutism such as “always,” “never,” or “every.” I never do anything right. Everything I try, fails.

Those are just a few unhelpful and detrimental relationships. Of course, the healthy way to address our dysfunction or discomfort is to do something about it, but how we approach this is important. Most processes ask that we accept it, educate ourselves on its symptoms and impact, then challenge or confront it. Here’s why this is not the most productive approach. 

The confrontation or challenge relationship is not a positive one, but one of hostility and retaliation. Confrontation is, by definition, an act of hostility, sowing discord. When we confront something, we oppose it, assault it, attack it, and threaten it. Our current condition is part of who we are, a component of our current being. In essence, we are expressing hostility against self. 

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, we are deceitful, unempathetic, manipulative, irresponsible, and incompetent. The American Psychological Association labels our condition distressing, irrational, obsessive, compulsive, dissociative, depressive, and exaggerated. 

Fundamental moralists and the ignorant assume we are dishonorable or lack moral fiber. The public view our behavior as bizarre and illogical. The urban dictionary calls us silly and stupid. Adolescents derisively assign the term mental to the unpopular, different, and socially inept. 

No wonder we feel we have to confront it with guns blazing. These negative and hostile aspersions on our character are supported by public opinion, media misrepresentation, and the disease model of mental healthcare. The general perception of the psychologically dysfunctional is a dangerous and unpredictable individual who should be isolated from society. So, our emotions tell us, the only way to fight it is to confront it head-on, a person possessed. 

Our primary objective in recovery is the restructuring of our neural network. Every stimulus we input causes a receptive neuron to fire, transmitting a message from neuron to neuron until it generates a reaction. Our brain is an organic reciprocator. It doesn’t understand our motivation. Maybe we want to confront our dysfunction in order to mitigate its symptoms. Our neural network only gleans the unhealthy input of confrontation. Restructuring requires positive input to compensate for the years of negation. Hostility defeats the purpose. Only a conscious input of healthy thought and behavior reverses the trend. 

By embracing our dysfunction or discomfort, we embrace ourselves. It is an act of love. Love is linked to positive mental and physical health outcomes. Love motivates change far better than hostility. What is there to be ashamed of? A dysfunction or discomfort is a natural component of human development. Think of it as an emotional virus. It is evidence of our humanness. After all, that’s who we are: a human being with a dysfunction. Embracing it does not mean we don’t want to transform to a healthy and more productive environment. It encourages transformation. Self-love is a fundamental component of self-esteem and the value of self-esteem in recovery is immeasurable. 

Embracing is not acquiescence, resignation, or condoning. Acquiescence is accepting our condition and doing nothing to change it. Condoning is accepting it and allowing it to fester. Resignation is defeatism. Embracing is logically accepting ourselves for who we are, which is a person currently dysfunctional or discomforted, but one abounding in ability and potential. Embracing is recognizing our character strengths, virtues, and attributes that facilitate the motivation, persistence, and perseverance to recover. We can never meet our potential until we truly learn to love ourselves. 

Embrace you, know you, love you, then transform you.

Deconstructing ReChanneling

a paradigmatic approach to historically and clinically practical methods

ReChanneling is dedicated to researching methods to alleviate symptoms of psychological dysfunctions (neuroses) and discomfort that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life. It does this by targeting the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration. ReChanneling is a system of common-sense solutions, evident in their simplicity. It is a paradigmatic approach to historically and clinically practical methods. 

ITS ORIGINS

Affected with social anxiety disorder, ReChanneling’s director spent his developing years assuming his emotional and behavioral problems were due to some moral inadequacy, a diagnosis supported by family, clergy, and even health professionals. Years later, study for his degree revealed social anxiety disorder. Armed with that knowledge, Mullen set forward to develop methods to alleviate the symptoms of dysfunctions and discomforts, beginning with colleagues also afflicted with social anxiety disorder. These efforts developed into workshops and practicums for over 400 individuals in the San Francisco bay area. Recognizing the similarities among psychological dysfunctions, Mullen broadened his research to include the multiple forms of anxiety and depression and their comorbidities, e.g., PTSD, OC-D, substance abuse, self-esteem issues, etc. ReChanneling is the culmination of those efforts. 

Dr. Mullen facilitates seminars and practicums on ReChanneling, Strategizing Your Psychological Dysfunction, and Memory Retrieval and Emotional Recall, as well as workshops focused on specific mental disorders. A published worldwide academic author, he is a philosophy graduate of California Institute of Integral Studies; his dissertation focused on advanced human potential―the capacity to harness the intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living and the potential to lift the human spirit. Mullen’s academic disciplines include contemporary behavior, modified psychobiography, and method psychology. A former director and teacher of method acting, Mullen incorporates Stanislavski’s emotional retrieval and retention into his programs. 

Psychological dysfunctions and discomforts. Both conditionscan result in functional impairment which interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. Both impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life. Both are addressed through the same basic processes. The primary distinction between the two is severity. A psychological dysfunction is defined as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder of sufficient duration to meet diagnosable criteria. However, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is prone to rampant misdiagnoses and substantial discrepancies and variations in definition, epidemiology, assessment, and treatment. ReChanneling advocates and supports the Wellness Model over the etiology-driven disease or medical model of mental healthcare. The Wellness Model emphasizes the character strengths and virtues that generate the motivation, persistence, and perseverance to function optimally through the substantial mitigation of symptoms of psychological dysfunction and discomfort. 

While we recognize the value of trauma-based and regression therapies, our focus is on the here-and-now, advocating the Wellness Model’s emphasis on solution over the problem-oriented disease model.

A PARADIGMATIC APPROACH 

The Wellness Model. One of the disadvantages of the etiological perspective is that you focus on the dysfunction over the individual; traditional psychology has abandoned studying the entire human experience in favor of focusing on diagnosis. Evidence suggests that conventional psychiatric diagnoses have outlived their usefulness. The National Institute of Mental Health, for example, is replacing diagnoses with easily understandable descriptions of the issues based on the emerging research data, not on the current symptom-based categories. 

The disease model of mental health focuses on the problem. We become our diagnosis. The Wellness Model emphasizes the solution. A battle is not won by focusing on incompetence and weakness; it is won by knowing and utilizing our strengths, and attributes. That is how we positively function―with pride and self-reliance and determination―with the awareness of what we are capable. 

One-size-fits-all. The single solution approach perpetuated by the disease model of mental health and the American Psychiatric Association is insubstantial. (Almost 90 percent of recovery programs pursue cognitive-behavioral treatments.) One-size-fits-all approaches’ ineffectiveness is evident in their singular focus, which cannot sufficiently address the complexities of human thought and behavior generated by the individual human systems which help determine personality. Personality is how we embrace and express the sum of experiences.

Complementarity is the inherent cooperation of our human system components in maintaining physiological equilibrium. Sustainability-of-life and sustainability of a psychological dysfunction require simultaneous mutual interaction. Recognizing the constant collaboration of our mind, body, spirit, and emotions is crucial to emotional and behavioral oversight. 

A TARGETED APPROACH

Addressing the complexity of the personality demands integrating multiple traditional and non-traditional approaches, developed through client trust, cultural assimilation, and therapeutic innovation. There is no one right way to do or experience growth or recovery. Any evaluation and treatment program must be innovative, fluid, and targeted. Culture, environment, history, and associations in conjunction with social, creative, and intellectual needs and aspirations are necessary components of any successful strategy. Consideration of each determines our value and the efficacy of the program.

A WORKING PLATFORM showing encouraging results for most psychological dysfunctions and discomforts is an integration of positive psychology’s optimum human functioning with CBT’s behavior modification, neuroscience’s network restructuring, and other targeted approaches.

Positive Psychology. The Wellness Model’s chief facilitator is positive psychology, which originated with Maslow’s (1943) seminal text on humanism. Positive psychology focuses on virtues and strengths that help you transform and flourish. Until recently, the focus on optimal functioning’s positive aspects ignored the individual’s holism by neglecting their negative aspects. Positive Psychology 2.0 emphasizes the positive while managing and processing the negative to increase wellbeing. Although it functions best in conjunction with other programs, PP’s mental health interventions have proved successful in mitigating the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other disorders. Growing research suggests that PP not only improves life outcomes but improves overall health. PP interventions produced significant improvements in emotional wellbeing while also decreasing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

CBT.  Cognitive theory assumes that our dysfunction results from negative, irrational thinking and behavior caused by our ingrained reactions to situations and conditions. CBT trains us to recognize these irrational thoughts and beliefs that sustain our discomfort or dysfunction and replace them with healthy ones until they become automatic and permanent.

The behavioral component of CBT involves activities that reinforce the process. Despite recent criticism, when utilized in concert with other programs, CBT has been proven effective in addressing depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other disorders. CBT is structured, goal-oriented, and focused on the present and the solution. The repetitive behavioral exercises of CBT and positive affirmations are beneficial in the reconstruction of our brain patterns. 

We acclimate to our condition, and our neural network transmits chemicals and hormones to support it, so it is often difficult to envision a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Neural Restructuring.Science confirms our neural pathways are continually realigning. Our brains do not think or analyze; they are organic reciprocators. The irrational thoughts and behaviors that we feed our brain are neuro-transmitted back to us in the chemicals and hormones that sustain us, creating an unhealthy cycle that affects our entire outlook on life. A conscious input of healthy thought patterns reshapes our neural network to a structure supported by neurotransmitters conducive to dramatically altering our outlook on life. However, it does not happen overnight, which is why we begin the process on day one of recovery. 

SPIRIT

Spirit is defined as those qualities that form the definitive or typical elements in a person’s character. The strength of your spirit corresponds to the depth of your self-esteem, which administrates our self-qualities, i.e., self -compassion, -love, -regard, -respect, -worth, and other wholesome attributes. 

Healthy Philautia. The loss of self-esteem is due to the disruption in our natural human development caused by childhood physical, emotional, or sexual disturbance. This disturbance impacts satisfaction of three basic human needs: physiological, safety, and belongingness and love. That lacuna hinders the development of our self-qualities essential to our emotional and physiological development. Healthy philautia is the polar opposite of narcissism–the self-appreciation that recognizes we are consequential and worthy of love. Healthy philautia serves as a focused revitalization tool for self-esteem. 

Abhidharma is mindfulnessofthe eightfold path that leads to emotional wellbeing and quality of life. Essential to that is the implicit ninth path, which supersedes the others: making the right choice when our humanness leads us to behaviors that aggravate our discomfort and dysfunction. Challenging this irrationality is essential to reinvigoration and recovery. 

EMOTIONS 

Emotions are associated with mood, temperament, personality, disposition, and motivation. Do they dictate our behavior, or are we able to manage their volatility? Rather than succumbing to emotional instability, awareness of the origins of emotional instability prevents reactionary outbursts and inconsistency due to lack of foresight, empathy, and perspective. 

Recovered-memory process is the umbrella term for methods or techniques utilized in recalling memories. We repress certain feelings, thoughts, and desires unacceptable to the conscious mind and store them in the archives of our memory. It is helpful to retrieve and address the emotions felt in those repressed memories that once flashed by like a meteor. Stanislavski developed a method for authentic stage-acting that addresses our volatile emotions to deconstruct and better understand them. 

Affective Emotion Management. Emotions are not solitary and exclusive but fluid and mutually interconnected, although we allow one to dominate the others. Love and hate are indistinct and interchangeable extremes of the same instinct as are laughter and tears, resentment and acceptance, and so on. The ability of the film actor to project an emotion when script and scheduling demands it, demonstrates they are controllable. Any situation can be experienced though laughter, tears, pride, or anger. We choose the one that suits a psychological need, which exposes its transience and manipulability. Utilizing Stanislavski’s method of emotional management, we assume control of our emotions, rather than allowing them to control us,

PRACTICUM VERSUS THERAPY

ReChanneling is practicum over therapy. A practicum is designed for self-reliance. While therapy often incurs a subordinacy to or dependency on the counselor, a practicum is a program developed in collaboration with the individual that targets her or his unique condition. We design a blueprint and provide the recovery methods, but the responsibility for achieving the goal rests on the individual, who controls the progress with the facilitator’s guidance.

SIMPLE CONCEPTS, CHALLENGING EXECUTION. 

The solutions are common-sense and evident in their simplicity. ReChanneling is not a new concept; it is a paradigmatic approach to historically or clinically effective methods. Its holistic advancement is in targeting the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration. Developing the methodology is the easy part. The challenge is in its execution. While progress is exponential, goals are not met overnight. Human development is an ongoing process. For example, neural network restructuring begins immediately, but estimates suggest it may take up to a year for significant rebuilding restructure significantly. That may seem like a long time but remember, your dysfunction has likely impacted you since childhood. Recovery is a lifelong work-in-progress.

ReChanneling Inc

ReChanneling.org rechanneling@yahoo.com

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