Do you have problems with ANGER, FEARS, SADNESS, OBSESSIONS or COMPULSIONS?
Do a simple exercise to find out if emotional baggage is subconsciously causing your problems.
- Think of an issue that is interfering with your life right now. This may be anger, sadness, anxiety, an obsession, compulsive behavior, etc.
- Take a few seconds to recall the worst and/or clearest memory of a time when that issue showed itself.
- Now review that memory in your mind as if you were watching a video tape.
- Go to the worst or most vivid moment and put yourself back there, all five senses, as if it were happening right now.
- Be aware of any feelings or sensations that come up.
- Rate on a scale of 0-10 how upset you are right now when you think of that memory.
- Now allow memories from various times in your life that connect with that feeling to come into your mind .
- Pick the worst or most vivid of these memories.
- Now allow yourself to relive that memory, going to the worst moment.
- Rate on the same 0-10 scale how upset you are right now as you think of that memory.
Here’s what your results mean:
- If the feeling gets stronger when you go to the past memory then you ALMOST CERTAINLY HAVE emotional baggage.
- If the feeling stays the same or reduces some you MAY HAVE emotional baggage.
- If the feeling disappears when you go to the past memory then you ALMOST CERTAINLY DON’T HAVE emotional baggage around this issue.
Okay, so I have some emotional baggage that I need to get rid of, what can I do?
Unhealed and unresolved emotional experiences create emotional baggage. Conscious and subconscious emotional baggage acts like a secret computer program that causes you to react in the same dysfunctional pattern over and over again. The baggage creates negative emotions and causes you to overreact or underreact to any situation that resembles the baggage in any way. Furthermore, the negative emotions drag down your confidence and creativity just when you need them the most. This baggage can interfere with any and every area of your life. It can affect your mood, causing problems with anxiety, depression or anger. It can generate problems such as phobias, flashbacks, upsetting dreams, compulsions, or substance abuse. It can affect your marriage causing vicious-circle arguments, communication problems or lack of intimacy. It can affect you family leading to family conflict and child behavior problems. It can affect your health leading to a variety of stress related conditions. It can affect your wealth by limiting your effectiveness at work causing you to choke, procrastinate or just be sub-optimal.
There are two ways to deal with this baggage, from the top-down and from the bottom-up. Traditional talk therapy is primarily a top-down approach. This is where you learn to reconceptualize your problem, to use your thinking mind to control your feeling mind, to use your logic and understanding to prevent emotional baggage from the past from interfering with your life. This is an important approach, however the underlying baggage does not actually heal and so problems can develop later on. The bottom up approach focuses on healing the underlying baggage, clearing the emotional channels so that you can think more clearly.
Achievement Centered Therapy uses a blend of bottom-up techniques that we have refined over the past 20 years. These techniques are designed to help you to achieve four goals.
- Emotional Baggage Check – First we help you to uncover and map out the emotional baggage associated with the issue or problem that is bothering you.
- Baggage Control – Second we help you to identify and use some ‘off switches’ – mental tools that you can use to temporarily turn off emotional reactions that get in your way.
- Emotional Boot Camp – The third step is the hard part. We roll up our sleeves and help you to fully heal and resolve each piece of baggage. To do this we use powerful tools and techniques developed to help people fully resolve major life traumas, like military combat or rape. While these techniques were designed to address these big ‘T’ they work just as well and even faster with little ‘t’ traumas like divorces, breakups, loses, illnesses, job or family conflicts, etc. that generate emotional baggage for just about everyone. We have the same goal for big ‘T’ and little ‘t” baggage, we want them to completely and fully heal. For instance, if when you really allow yourself to think about some emotional baggage you get upset at a 9 or a 10 on a 0-10 scale when you begin then it should be at a 0 or a 1 by the end of our work. The healing should be so complete that you will not be able to get yourself upset about it even if someone paid you to try.
- Retooling – Finally we help you to rediscover and enhance your emotional tools, the experiences, role models and accomplishments that form your foundation, the resources and skills that you need to handle the challenges of life. While it is tempting to start with this step, we have found that it is much easier to find and expand on strengths once the negative issues are out of the way.
As these 4 pieces fall in line we both watch as you begin to spontaneously react calmly, confidently and creatively in those same troublesome situations that used to stress you out. Without the emotional baggage you are now able to use all of your abilities all of the time — especially in the situations that used to give you the most trouble.
Please contact us if you want more information about our services or if you want for us to help you find an appropriate therapist close to you.
Adrienne Marcus says
Thanks for this educational blog.