Psychological Techniques

Submitted by admin on Tue, 08/16/2016 - 12:16
a mental map
a mental map

There are many valuable techniques. In general they all tend to clear blockages and problems, and uncovering our own wisdom, wholeness and full potential. I want to give you an idea of what is available and how useful it might be. But, please remember that it's always better to learn these techniques with a qualified practitioner if you can.

These are some of the ones that have worked for me:-

Sub-personalities from psycho-synthesis - Link to the Psychosynthesis Trust 

Psychosynthesis has many wonderful ideas and techniques, and I recommend a full training.

However, the idea of sub-personalities has been especially useful to me. It seems to me that I have a number of clear sub-personalities – these usually help me handle the world more easily

  1. Tour Guide – I love doing guided tours – I used to do a lot of them, and may start again.
  2. Market Trader – I like being in the market place – I did this with my apple project and compost project (although once a week is probably be enough for me)
  3. Computer Expert – I tend to avoid this now, people expect help !

The challenge is that you don’t want your sub-personality to take you over, or pop up at unexpected and unwelcome times. For example, being a teacher, priest or doctor is a sub-personality, but you may not want to be in that role all the time. Though these are vocations, you need to also step out of them when you want to. I knew someone who had a sports commentator sub-personality – he couldn't stop providing a running commentary all the time !

At the core of the technique is the idea that you can sit down and have a good talk to your sub-personality, and discuss how it can help you better. This can lead to a positive reorganisation of yourself.

Non-Violent Communication - Wikipedia article

They have a set of ideas derived from psycholinguistics. A friend gave me a book on it, but it's a challenge to see all the different areas of communication where violence is built-in. However, there is one great culprit which I feel I can pass on:-

When you think about it, the word SHOULD is always intrinsically violent – even if I were to say “you should brush your teeth after every meal” it is an act of violence against that person. First, it is nothing to do with me, second, it is separative and unfriendly – it attempts to impose the speakers world view on the other person. How would you feel if someone said it to you ? What does it demonstrate about the speaker’s way of thinking ?

Unfortunately, it is a word that is very deeply engrained, at least in me and my family (giving advice may be a slightly improved form of saying should), and I need to be vigilant to see all the ways in which "should" is implied, and then to stop doing it. Perhaps when I’ve made more progress with this I’ll go on to the rest of the book !

Reframing from NLP - Neuro-Linguistic Programming - Wikipedia article

Nearly all of us have movies that play in our heads – a few might be pleasant memories, or visions of  how we’d like things to be, but most of them are of unpleasant or difficult episodes from our past. In the extreme, such as in post-traumatic stress, these memories can poison our lives. The reframing technique can help, but perhaps try it on a mildly unpleasant memory before you try to deal with major trauma. Essentially, you are investigating your  “home movie” - is it surrounding us, or in front of us, on a screen, in midair ??

The technique suggests that you can play with this –

  1. could you imagine your scene playing on a 14” television a few feet away ? how would that feel ? what if there were a black border to the screen ? You can experiment to find ways that feel good to change the size, scale and intensity of the movie.
  2. Then could you turn the sound lower ? adjust the contrast ? see it in mono (or in colour) ? could you even turn it off ? 
  3. Could you do a slow motion action replay ? can the the actors say different words ? could you even take control of the script and edit it ? or have a word with the movie director to see why they put that scene in the movie at all ?

There are lots of possibilities – it’s better to do this with a practitioner, but, if you are patient with yourself and start with exercises that are non-controversial for you to practice, you should be OK

NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming. I have mentioned it above to describe a little of the Reframing technique, and elsewhere with the NLP decision making method. 

There are several other valuable techniques in the NLP toolbox, such as sub-modalities, and the idea of anchors and then “collapsing anchors”. While you may be able to learn about these from the books such as “Frogs into Princes” and “Reframing”, it is far better to learn from a qualified practitioner, although this can be expensive, and their trainings to become a practitioner are very expensive.

Essential Peacemaking from the Earth Stewards Network

This is a short series of workshops on the difficult issue of relations between men and women. At times it seems that we are different species or from different planets. There is a series of 3 experiential workshops, which I found very worthwhile (I have done all 3, but I'm not a particularly talented student !) The workshops are available worldwide.

Holotropic breathwork

This is a breathing technique developed by Stanislas Grof - his website is GTT - Grof Transpersonal Training Once again, you should find a practitioner that you like, and do a weekend workshop. It uses a special form of deep and rapid breathing in a carefully controlled and safe environment, and has a range of positive effects, particularly the deepening of spiritual connection and awareness, however, there are some risks too.

Mental Mapping,

Tony Buzan has written some excellent books on mental mapping – it is a very useful technique, often used by students in their revision for examinations.

However, it is also useful in any complex situation where it can help us to see the linkages between factors, understand the positive and negative, etc.

Edward de Bono also created a lot of useful mental techniques, especially lateral thinking.

Group Consciousness / Process Oriented Psychology, by Arnold Mindell

Arnie and Amy Mindell have produced some of the leading psycho-spiritual work of recent decades, and a number of useful books, particularly about the dream body and their process work system, which is called process orientated psychology. I have read many of their books, and attended one of their week-long World Work sessions. I can genuinely say that I think that the processes and energies we experienced DID have an effect on the wider world as well as on ourselves.

Group Consciousness. It’s difficult to find something to recommend here – it is almost entirely experiential, and I don’t know of any good trainers. I did workshops long ago with a trainer who had been to Esalen, and she used a lot of techniques that are (strange but true) developed by the US military – if you have a platoon going off into a dangerous situation with little support, you need them to be a group with very high levels of mutual trust, and the ability to switch roles quickly and easily from leadership to supporting to caring. This takes training and practice !


Privilege. Arnold Mindell also emphasised the problems around privilege. I am privileged by being white, male, healthy, English-speaking, prosperous and educated (but, I don’t have many privileges of class, wealth or birth). Because this is normal to me, I often don’t realise that other people don’t have these privileges, and that I need to be respectful of that. I am aware of my own negative reactions to people who I feel are abusive because of their class or wealth assumptions. Other things that can annoy me are forms of “entitlement” and “assertiveness”. I feel it’s only fair that I try and diminish any negative impacts that I might accidentally create myself among people who don’t have my privileges. This is an important area.

I have included similar short articles on Astrology and Oracles in the Spiritual Techniques section.