The power of words as a therapeutic device

Self-talk

internal dialogue

mantra

sentence

button-pusher

litany

statement of intent

declaration of power

transformational language

self-hypnosis

Conversations with spirit guides

These are the terms I use to describe the various word-based therapeutic tools I teach my clients how to use during consults. The one word I don’t use is ‘affirmation’. If I use the word affirmation, I lose the client’s attention. This word sparks a cascade of associations that have nothing to do with the exercise at hand. Everyone is an expert on affirmations; we have all read material about affirmations, we have all used them and most of us have favourite techniques and have been indoctrinated by a set of ‘affirmation rules’. So to keep people focused on the job at hand, I deliberately use terms other than affirmation to describe what we are doing.

SELF TALK

Your self-talk is the sway you speak to yourself in the privacy of your own mind. A lot of the time, our self talk is habitual, conditioned, and often quite unconscious, or lacking in mindfulness.

During consultations, I often ask my clients to use their imagination to recreate stressful events and observe their self talk. For example, a client might come to me asking for help to stop yelling at her children. To help her with this, I might ask her to think back to the last time she yelled at her children. In particularly, I want her to examine the time leading up to this event. Not only am I asking her to note specific stress triggers, muscle tension, and breathing patterns, I also want her to notice what her self-talk is like leading up to the yelling episode. Becoming aware of our self-talk helps us understand the connection between thoughts, emotions and behaviours. From here we can deliberately rewire ourselves by changing our self-talk; we can ask ourselves how we would prefer to respond to specific stress triggers and what kind of self-talk would help us accomplish this.

INTERNAL DIALOGUE

An expansion of self-talk is internal dialogue, where we become aware of a conversation between two aspects of self. I use this technique when my clients are struggling with internal conflict. The conflict can often diffuse when we make it more conscious and seek to understand the values and motivations driving each voice. We are complex beings, and many of us struggle with mixed feelings and conflicting values. As with self-talk, much of this internal conflict can lie just below our conscious awareness. Some of my clients are gifted repressive copers who are very good at blocking this internal conflict off from their conscious minds. The benefit might be less conscious stress and worry, with greater composure, but the downside is that much of this conflict and tension will then express itself via the physical body. Helping a client become more consciously aware of their internal conflict can relieve the physical symptoms of stress.

Quite often, I will act out the two voices that are at war within a client so they can see them more clearly. I try to use a little humour to lighten the intensity, often including a little self-depreciating humour so that they know they aren’t alone or being judged: we all struggle with these internal conflicts! At heart, the conflict is between yin and yang- for example, over 50% of the internal conflicts I see in people are essentially a battle between responsibility and freedom. As with all internal conflicts, the answer lies not in choosing one voice over the other, but in mediating between the two to find a more balanced perspective. We swing back and forth between each voice, with first one then the other gaining the upper hand, and while this might make us feel like a yoyo with a split personality and a headache to boot, this is natures way of helping us find the middle path. My job is to speed the process up, smooth it out and make the ride a little easier for the client by teaching them mindfulness, detachment and mediation skills.

MANTRA

A mantra is a sentence we repeat over and over again, in a meditative way. I teach my clients to repeat a mantra silently in their own mind on the inhalation, and to release any other thoughts on the exhalation. A mantra can be a useful way to harness and practise positive self-talk, while also blocking out negative self-talk. A mantra can be a single word, a series of words, or a sentence. For example, I will sometimes link mantra work to a feeling state and a colour. We can do this now:

*Think about an unpleasant feeling you have regularly. Find three words to describe how this feels. If you could paint me a picture of your aura to show me how this feels, what colour would you aura be?

*Now think about how you would rather feel. Find three words to describe this. Repeat these words on every inhalation while you focus on invoking the feeling. If this feeling was a colour, what colour would it be?

*Now repeat the positive words to yourself on the inhalation, imagine you are surrounded by this beautiful colour, and inhale it as you repeat the mantra, imagining you are feeling yourself with this colour, this feeling.

*If you want to, you can also release the unpleasant colour (blowing it away) on the exhalation.

SENTENCE

Sometimes I refer to mantra sentences, simply as sentences! On the odd occasion I will ask a client to repeat a sentence out loud, so we can both hear their voice. Vocal tone says a lot- you can often tell how much you really believe something by noticing how easy or not it is to say it out loud. When a person doesn’t believe what they are saying, or the sentence triggers emotion for them, you will hear catches in their voice, they might stumble or mispronounce words, or simply lack conviction in their tone.

BUTTON PUSHER

The sentences I ask clients to use during healing often function as button pushers. In effect, we are ‘testing’ the sentences to see how well they hold or take in the aura; how well the ‘sit’ with a person. For me as the healer, specific sentences can act as powerful button pressers that bring wounds up to the surface so I can see them clearly. I very carefully watch the aura while a client uses a sentence, observing their reactions and noticing the patterns that surface. A really good button presser sentence will provoke emotion in the client. for example, being asked to say to yourself “I am deeply loved and supported”, when you feel anything but, can bring grief and anger to the surface of the aura so they can be faced, dealt with a released. It’s often at this point I will switch gears and start teaching my client how to release emotional congestion from the body/aura in a safe way. It’s also an opportunity for me to help the client build greater mindful self-awareness by drawing their attention to the body sensations associated with or caused by the emotions they are experiencing. “Aha!” they say to themselves, suddenly realising that their chronic jaw tension is linked to frustration, or that their shallow breathing is linked with fear or grief.

LITANY

My mum will often string a series of sentence mantras together to create a what she calls a litany, and she repeats this to herself when she goes walking, with a lovely sense of rhythm being created by the steps and the words combined. Often her litany has a musical or lyrical quality to it, and it’s always uplifting, positive and empowering.

STATEMENT OF INTENT

To some extent, mum’s litany is a statement of intent. She is letting her energy field, her subconscious, her body and spirit, know what she wants and how she wants to feel. She is exercising her will, or her capacity ti invoke a specific state, with intent.

This is another skill I teach my clients, especially my healing students.  Intent is the active side of psychic ability, with perception being the passive. We use psychic perception (intuition) to scan for and gather information. We active psychic intent to move, direct and instruct energy. For example, you might use psychic perception to check to see if you are grounded or not. You could do this by asking yourself “Am I grounded?” and then waiting quietly for an answer, which might come as a feeling, words/thoughts or a mental image. If you sensed that you weren’t grounded, you would then switch from passive information gathering mode to active intent mode. To intend grounding, you might picture an image of a mountain, a rock or a tree with its roots in the ground. You might remember what it felt like last time you felt very grounded, or imagine what it would feel like if you WERE grounded. And you might use statements of intent such as ‘I am grounded”.

DECLARATION OF POWER

“I am grounded” could also be thought of as a declaration of power. I AM statements are powerful because they remind us that we can choose; that we are in charge of our own state. There is a lot we don’t have control over in life, but even in the midst of turmoil and chaos, we can make choices about our own personal state. This isn’t always easy to do, but it makes us feel very empowered when we do actually pull it off.

TRANSFORMATIONAL LANGUAGE

This is all about making conscious choices regarding our self-talk style and the way we verbally express ourselves. Here are some examples:

*Going on a ‘no apology’ diet can be very powerful for people who are habitually obsequious and overly apologetic. In this instance, they ban themselves from saying any form of ‘sorry’ for a week. This helps them become more aware of how compulsive and insidious their habit is, while also forcing them to discover new, more empowering ways to express themselves.

*Going on a ‘freedom/choices’ binge for a week. With this exercise, the client bans themselves from using words like ‘should, ought to, must, have to, should have’ etc. Instead, they focus on using phrases like “I can, I could, I choose to, I chose to, I could if I wanted to, I could have” etc- This wording reminds them that they are free, and is useful for busting through guilt, regret and blame patterns of thinking.

*Replacing ‘I, me, mine” language with “Our, us, we” language, if you tend to be too independent.

SELF HYPNOSIS

All of the tools described above could be thought of as self-hypnosis tools designed to help you recondition your subconscious mind. At first they might seem stilted, unnatural  or forced, but with practise, these new ways of thinking, feeling and expressing can become second nature.

CONVERSATIONS WITH SPIRIT GUIDES

The more we improve the quality of our self-talk, the more likely we are to access inspiring, loving, quality exchanges with our spirit guides. And the more we practice talking with our spirit guides, the more beautiful, uplifting and refined our self-talk has the capacity to become. Talking with spirit guides is an excellent way to improve the quality of your self-talk because spirit guides always speak to us in a respectful, healthy manner. If you hear anything less from a spirit guide, it isn’t a spirit guide, it’s your wounded inner child masquerading as spirit. If this happens, switch gears and become the healer/counsellor/parent by setting boundaries with love, or accept that you aren’t in the right frame of mind for quality spirit work: go do something else for a while- something grounding and nourishing and come back again when you are in a better mood.

So much of managing your own mind-body state is about nipping the unhelpful behaviours in the bud and practising healthier alternatives.

Blessed Be

Om

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