symptoms and potentials

[New? Start here:]

The basic Coherence Therapy symptom fits into this framework: “Even though X is really bad, I can’t/mustn’t stop doing or experiencing X because Y would happen or be true, and Y would be even worse than X, possibly devastatingly worse.”

A symptom is something you want to replace with empty space (freedom, choice, possibility, nonreactivity).

What about the something that you want to replace empty space with? (agency, choice, selection, action, intention, creation). I guess I’ll call it a “potential,” cf. a “symptom.”

So, here’s another framework to try:

“It’s painful and I can barely even think or say this, but even though some things about W feel very, very right, I must never think/feel/want/do/be/have W because Q. Q is unthinkable, so W must be unthinkable.”

See if filling in some of the blanks below gives you more material to work with. (You might try starting with the Q portion first.) Resistance to filling in these blanks can be treated like a normal Coherence Therapy symptom. And, once you’ve got a sentence in limbic language that resonates with emotional truth, you can work with it in the usual Coherence Therapy manner, to access potentials in addition to alleviating symptoms.

(By the way, you could of course treat “can’t articulate what I want,” as a symptom, too, if you want to stick with the usual Coherence Therapy framework. There are many ways to frame stuff usefully. I’ve found my new framing to give me access to things I care about with a bit more specificity and ease. YMMV. And see if you can come up with your own, additional useful framings. And share them!)

I am not a licensed mental health professional, and this is not a substitute for treatment by a licensed mental health professional.

[Eugene Gendlin’s Thinking at the Edge made this post possible. Check out this pdf.]

I wish I could _____ but I can’t ever because ______.

I wish I could _____ but I can never because ______.

It would be beyond my wildest dreams if _________ but this can/must never happen because _________.

It’s too painful to think about __________ because _____________.

I would be filled with ______________ [e.g. spacious joy, freedom, limitless gratitude and life and excitement–choose what you’d actually feel!] if ___________________ but this absolutely, positively can/must never happen because ____________.

I hate to admit it but I would never _________ because ________ even though I want/need/should/would-like-to.

I hate to admit it but I would never _________ because ________ even though ___________.

I hate to admit it but I would never _________ because ________ would happen.

It hurts to even say this, but I must never _____________ even though I want/need/should/would-like-to, because ________.

It hurts/cuts-to-the-bone to think/say this, it makes me a despicable, disgusting, cruel, slimy, evil person to say this, but I really want to ________________, and I can’t/shouldn’t even think about this, and I certainly can’t do this because __________________.

I can never have ________ because __________.

I can never do __________ because __________.

I can never be __________ because __________.

Also, this is an old trigger list I designed that you may find useful [pdf].

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