Monday, 18 July 2016

Targeting the seven basic patterns associated with depression: 4. The complex issue of control

This is the fourth in a series of seven blog posts to be published over the coming weeks in which I will explain briefly how the symptoms of depression are dealt with using hypnotic suggestion and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). I will post links to the other articles as they become available. The session structures are based on the work of the American psychologist Dr Michael Yapko and the co-founder of the "Human Givens" psychological system, Dr Joe Griffin. This approach provides a gradual lifting of depression symptoms over the seven week programme. It works by targeting the unconscious thought processes that the depressed state is built upon.

1. Dealing with sleep disturbance

2. Looking forward to the future optimistically

3. It's time to do something different (follow the links to my earlier posts)

4. The complex issue of control

Everyone wants to be in control of their own life and their own destiny as much as is possible, but most people understand that not everything in life is in fact controllable, no matter how much they would wish it to be otherwise. Sometimes things go wrong, despite their best efforts. It's the way life can be.

The depressed patient very often has a distorted perception of issues of control. This is generally in one of two ways:

The first of these ways is the perception of oneself as being helpless in the face of circumstances or of the actions of other people. In short, it could be described as a "victim" mentality. Everything is out of control, there is always someone or something else to blame. The sufferer sees themselves as being unable to control the external people or events that are responsible for his or her predicament and are causing the depression. Of course, this type of thinking is itself out of control and actually contributes to and reinforces the depression.

The other side of the coin is the distorted pattern thinking referred to as illusion of control. Well-meaning maxims such as "where there's a will, there's a way" or the perceived "power of positive thinking", or the "law of attraction" as marketed by many self-help books lead many people to have unrealistic expectations of what they are actually can control. When things don't work out as planned, disappointment, frustration, and often anger can ensue. It's another route to the same destination; a feeling of being the victim of circumstances and life being out of control.

Self esteem is the first casualty of these thought patterns. Session four of the programme is chiefly about rebuilding this, by hypnotically teaching the client to understand better what is in his or her control, and what is not. This leads to better choices being made about where emotions are to be invested, and a recovering sense of becoming more and more in control of one's feelings - and one's life. The client becomes ready for the next phase, which is dealing with boundaries; what is my problem, and what is someone else's? That will be the subject of the next session and the next article in this series.

Links to the seven stages will be posted here as they become available:
  1. Dealing with sleep disturbance
  2. Looking to the future optimistically
  3. It’s time to do something different
  4. The complex issue of control
  5. Drawing the line
  6. Guilty or not guilty?
  7. Prevention
If you are a depression sufferer and would like a more detailed and specific explanation of how this approach could work for you, please feel free to contact me to organise a free introductory consultation.

021 487 6072