Depression Part 2
I also claimed we have had a lot of success dealing with it through the Radical Forgiveness and Self-Forgiveness technology.
In this follow-up session, I would like to say more about the method we use that gets these results.
The first stage in Radical Forgiveness, as with all other methods, is to find a way to have you talk about what happened, without being judged, and without the listener trying to fix you. It is essential that you feel understood and that your feelings are validated.
The more you talk, the more the tension is released from your mind and body. Being encouraged to focus on body sensations as you talk gets you more in touch with the memories and feelings you experienced at the time, as well as those you experience as you relate your story.
Feeling the feelings is the second stage in the Radical Forgiveness process, and we know this to be a crucial step. You can’t heal what you don’t feel. I know you’ve heard me say that many times, but its true.
However, one of the effects of having used and made permanent one or more of the defense mechanisms, is that you may have numbed out. You’re unable to feel your feelings. It’s not that the feelings are not there. You are simply unable to access them.
Doing something physical helps you discharge pent-up “fight-or-flight” emotional energy—something explosive and fast-moving like beating some cushions with a tennis racquet. (It makes such a good noise!)
When you do this, the body takes over. Your mind gets out of the way and the resistance to feeling the feelings dissolves.
The anger erupts. You’re likely to collapse in tears, shake violently for a few minutes and then go quiet.
Then come the feelings beneath the anger – sadness, grief, hurt and very often, with soldiers having PTSD, survivor’s remorse.
“Why was I spared when my mates were killed? It should have been me.”
Beating the cushion is a technique I use all the time in Radical Forgiveness Therapy. You have to get in touch with the raw emotion behind what happened.
However, I never recommend that you do it on your own without having support from someone who can hold the space for you to go through the anger and the whole process without needing to intervene or being fazed by the process.
It is not always pretty and can be upsetting to someone who is not used to it.
As you probably know, the 3rd stage in the Radical Forgiveness Process is collapsing the story.
This is where we take some of the heat out of the trauma by trying to rationalize it, understand why it happened, what factors might have made it inevitable, and so on.
This is cognitive therapy, pure and simple, and for most people who have been traumatized, this is the end of the road. There’s nowhere else to go.
That said, it works well enough for man,y even though it takes a great deal of time and money, and in my view, probably leaves a lot undone.
With Radical Forgiveness, we take it to the next level. It’s at this stage that the healing really takes place and at a very fast rate.
The person is gently introduced to the idea that what happened was supposed to happen that way and that, far from being a tragedy, it was what their Higher Self had set up for them to experience. That’s when the healing process really takes off and goes into overdrive.
However, the timing has to be right. The Radical Forgiveness reframe has to be introduced carefully and with due respect for the person’s existing consciousness at the time.
If it is proposed too early, the person can be re-traumatized. The idea that they created it and that, from a spiritual perspective, it was entirely perfect might be just too radical for them.
My approach, when I have done all the emotional work and have completed the cognitive analysis, and feel the person is ready, goes something like this: “Would you possibly be open to seeing this situation from a different perspective?”
If I sense curiosity coming back from them, I then launch into it, step-by-step, looking to see how it might be landing for them.
I never ask them to believe it. In fact, I usually say, “I don’t believe it myself, but something happens if we just become willing to believe it. So, for a moment let’s just suppose…” And I go from there.
They nearly always buy it. Tentatively at first, of course, but gradually they find a sense of rightness about it. It resonates. They notice that they feel different inside. A weight has lifted from them. They become alive again.
My main experience over the years has been with people traumatized by sexual abuse and other relationship-based traumas.
But no matter how a person has been wounded or traumatized, I am totally convinced that Radical Forgiveness Therapy is at least part of the answer.