Cognitive Principle Therapy for Short or Long term counselling.
If down-regulation is true then working on behavior and automatic thoughts will not address the underlying issues causing mental illness.
In my experience as an anger management counselor for the last 15 years, I can offer solutions to clients which will substantially reduce their anger in four sessions. If fact I can achieve a 70% reduction in anger in one session, if the client is committed to change. However, their is a cycle of negative emotions which has to be followed to complete the underlying cause of the the problem. The cycle is:
- Fear [attack]. Anger [defense], Sadness [hurt], Critical [evaulation-how do I fix this?], Until it is fixed there is Confusion [head], anxiety [Heart], guilt [Gut]
Short term counselling, like anger management, can work to reduce one or two of the elements in the cycle, but not if the client takes things personally and moves outside the cycle [splitting]. They have to be come back into the cycle and be guided to successfully complete it. The cycle may be successfully complete for one type of issue, but there could be multiple issues related to work, family, partners, finances, etc.
Short term counselling works between the conscious [System 2-Expereincing self] and subconscious mind [Sys 1-Remembering self] [using Daniel Kahnemen's terminology]
The underlying issues are located in Sys 1, between the Real Self [Freud's Super-ego] and the Remembering self. The unresolved issues are held in the shadow. [Jung]. They can be hidden from the Experiencing Self due to defense mechanisms, such as dissociation.
With longer term counselling the goal is to restore the splitting by completing the following steps:
- Reconcile the core beliefs in the Remembering self and the Real Self, which are located in the shadow. There may be multiple differences in the various areas of life.
- Provide awareness of the defense systems and provide techniques to eliminate them. Awareness can come through the client understanding which of the 16 dysfunctional personality styles they use when their resilience is broken through. [Vagal brake is turned "off"]
- Work with the four brains [Head, Heart, Gut & Spirit ] to restore the splitting, starting at the lowest level first then moving up, that is from Control [Gut] to Attachment [ Heart] to Meaning [Head]
The Experiencing self uses the Spiritual brain to work on the negative energy in the body [Gut] and the heart.
- The spiritual principles neutralize negative energy. The main spiritual principles are hope, unconditional forgiveness, unconditional acceptance, humility and suffering [suffer and grow, not blame]. Start with hope, when the pathway to the goal is broken [one type of splitting]
The Gut holds the influencing principles, such as courage, patience, assertiveness, calmness, self-control. The Real self's core beliefs and the influencing principles keep the Vagal Brake "on" and ensures the emotions [Heart] stay in balance
The Case for Down Regulation
- Polyvagal Theory-Evolution of the Vertebrate Autonomic Nervous System
"In most vertebrates the two primary defense systems are fight-flight and immobilization. As mammals evolved, they expressed a broad range of social behavior, including caring for their young. these behaviours supported the survival of mammals. Mammals developed a second vagal pathway [Named "engagement nerve"] for this purpose."
For these social behaviors to occur the mammals nervous system had to selectively down regulate defensive reactions to fight-flight or freeze [immobilize]
"According to Polyvagal Theory the social engagement system is regulated by complex neural circuits, from visceral [ie.bottom up] and higher brain structures [ie. top-down]"