One of the things that I have noticed when working with people is that changing a person’s mind about something is not always enough to resolve the issue that the person is seeking treatment for. For instance, if a person continues to get into relationships that are verbally abusive, this person can learn all about how to set boundaries and about the Cycle of Abuse, and this person may feel confident that he or she has mastered these skills. This person may completely understand what to do on a mental level and think they are resolved.
And then something happens. This person is out and sees someone that catches his or her eye. This other person is attractive, something about them just feels good to the person in treatment. Phone numbers are exchanged, dates are gone on, heartbeats race. The attraction is undeniable. And the next thing that happens, that same cycle the patient was just working on breaking, they are in again!
What happened? The patient understood completely what to do differently this time. The patient created a solid plan: boundaries were identified and how to enforce them was too. Yet this person is struggling to stick to those boundaries.
What happened is that this person only healed on the mental level. This is an important level and the education piece is a crucial piece to understand for change. However, in order to have effective change, change that feels true to our bodies in order to correct our attraction compass, healing needs to take place at the emotional level.
To heal at the emotional level is to remove the charge from our body that tells us to move towards that person that isn’t really a good fit for us. This is accomplished by examining where the pattern started. For this example, where did this patient learn that it was okay for his or her boundaries to be violated? Was it at age 5? Age 7? There are a variety of techniques we can use to heal at this level, including guided imagery, the empty-chair technique, an energetic technique, or somatic mindfulness to name a few. The technique isn’t as important as it is to heal at both the mental and emotional levels.
When our mind and our emotions are coherent we are able to shift limiting patterns with ease and this gives us the freedom to create the life that we truly desire.