Invasive History Syndrome. Have you experienced it?

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Invasive History Syndrome respects no one, and can strike at any time. Know what I mean?

I don’t know whether the medical profession has another more technical name for this, but IHS, in Auto Response Psychology, stands for Invasive History Syndrome. You first heard about it here.

Let me give you a brief introduction, but the chances are YOU can tell ME about it…

It’s what it says on the tin – when memories, thoughts, bad experiences, pain from the past, invade your present and threaten your future.  Know what I mean?  Typically, you can be carrying on as usual when someone says or does something and the emotions and remembrances of something in your history – a comparatively minor childhood trauma, a bad experience when you were 13, the rejection of a failed relationship, an unkind word spoken in jest – simply invade you.  It sweeps in, carrying all before it, like a tidal wave, so that you can think of little (or nothing) else. It may take hours, days or weeks to get over it, for your thinking to settle down and the pain (it is usually pain, though it can be other emotions too) finally subsides and you can carry on. 

Invasive History Syndrome.  IHS. It is a killer of healthy living, can affect the children, and other members of your family and social group, and exhausts you. You may need to sit down, go to bed early, or take a shower. You may need space. Or you may just take another tablet.  Invasive History Syndrome has struck yet again.  However tough you may be, you may feel profoundly intimidated by its power and end up shaky – and fearful for next time. It is associated with guilt, abuse, PTSD, insecurity and inadequacy, eating and sleeping disorders, and depression – and can sometimes be a strong, usually negative, motivational driver of unwanted behaviours like anger and violence.

But IHS may not be overwhelming.  It may just appear above the surface like the Loch Ness Monster for a few minutes, and subside, leaving you wondering, without clarity or closure, awake at 4.00am. Where did THAT come from? Will it be back?

IHS can be treated. In fact it can be completely sorted for the most part. Gone. Finished. Most of the people who arrive in my client room come with IHS as a feature of their experience, and go away in charge of their life and future again.

No need to have your life distorted – however subtly – by your history invading the priceless quiet spaces of your day or night.

Call me. Together we make sure it doesn’t happen again.  My direct line is: 077-71-63-1945, or andrew@powerchange.com

I’m here to help,

Andrew.

PS:  IHS has an upside.  It can be an overwhelming sense of joy, profound excitement, a deep sense of love – anything that invades your thoughts triggered from a moment in your history and stops you in your tracks.

 

 

Supremely Confident? I hope so!

I wasn’t quite sure how to take it then, nor when it has happened since. Was it an accusation, a mere description, or something else.  The person had asked what did, and I described my coaching and how effective it was in the lives of my clients.

First my honest description, then came the exclamation, “You are supremely confident!”  I simply said yes. With a little more analysis, I suspect the word ‘supremely’ is a bit over the top, but I am confident in what I can do, yes. I was glad when the person accepted it as an honest response – which it was. (*see Postscript below)

What are you really good at?

This blog isn’t primarily about me. Its about you. The truth is, like me you’re really good at 100s of things. Reading this. Speaking English. Telling a story. Getting dressed.  Eating lunch.  Saying kind things to complete strangers (maybe you haven’t found out just HOW good you are at that one yet!)  I’m good at Therapeutic Coaching. Very good in fact. To deny it for the sake of some inconsistent false modesty serves no one in the end.

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Some people are really good at doing things that harm them. Putting themselves down.  Self deception (that’s telling themselves things that aren’t true). Jumping to negative conclusions. Describing themselves as being low in confidence, or hopeless, or a failure.  With such thoughts and words they literally form their physical brains, and the thoughts become self-fulfilling.

Those of us who have left what Robert Kiyosaki calls the ‘Rat Race’ of employment to start their own businesses or become self-employed know that unless we are confident in what we can do (and it goes without saying, can match the words with reality) potential clients are very unlikely to be confident in what we can do for them, with disastrous results for both the client and the business.

I have had the privilege of changing the lives of uncountable thousands of people’s lives across the world through those I have coached and trained through Powerchange. I suspect only a tiny percentage of those people would be different (freer, happier, more fulfilled and content, more motivated, stronger,richer, more inspired, off their psychotherapeutic medication) if my response to that statement had been a mumbling self-effacing, pseudo-humble denial. What might happen when you speak honestly about what you’ve done.  Besides which, would you go to an eye surgeon who was stumbling and unsure of himself? I wouldn’t.

Know what you are good at.

Accept that you are good at it.

Be Better at it tomorrow than you are today.

Don’t be afraid to say so.

If this blog has highlighted something important for you, take a moment to email me about it, andrew@powerchange.com. You might need a bit of therapeutic coaching – or maybe find out you really don’t!

*PS:  I had explained how people change when I work with them, often radically and permanently, often to the surprise and delight of their GP, and occasionally in the face of disbelief from their psychiatrist. Sadly, the unenlightened view of many so-called ‘psychological disorders’ still is that they are incurable, so “We’ll put you on these tablets for life”, as one person quoted their GP, becomes the norm. My client didn’t take the tablets at all, so wasn’t on them for even a day, and has never needed them.

Courage and a Course.

You know, there are people who think its not the ‘done thing’ to be passionate about what you know is good. It’s regarded as pushy, or arrogant. But think about that.  When you know that a person will never be the same again, will have their lives redefined, and their hearts and hopes brought alive again, well, in my view that’s priceless. And to withhold that knowledge because of fear of what people might think? It isn’t very loving is it?  Whether or not you join us on this PCS (see below), perhaps this blog will encourage you to be a little more courageous in speaking out. Sometimes you need to, don’t you?  So here goes…

For months people have been pestering me (in the nicest possible way, of course!) with questions like:  “When are you going to run another Coach Training course?” or “I’m looking for some more CPD – you do coaching skills training, don’t you?” and “I so need to upgrade my Powerchange skills!”

Well, ITS HERE – the Powerchange Coaching Skills course!  And yes, I AM delighted with it.  It looks to be a fantastic ten days (five monthly weekends) – starts 16thMarch – full of state-of-the-art information on how people change, powerful skills for you to practice, lots of insights and at the heart of it all, our regular compassion to make the world a (much) better place to live in, not least by improving ourselves.  I don’t always live up to my motto to ‘be part of the answer not part of the problem’, but this course is definitely part of the answer, and YOU are invited on board. In fact we would love to have you join us.

Join us.  You'll never be the same again.
Join us. You’ll never be the same again.

Yes, please apply – and if you can’t make it, click all the necessary Twitter and Facebook boxes on this page to ensure your friends know about it – or come with them, because unless we get the message out and get ourselves skilled, we cannot proactively make the difference we all want. (There is absolutely no need to be hampered by ignorance or apathy these days.) My guarantee is that no one will wish they hadn’t come. And anyone you invite will thank you for recommending it to them. And it is so affordable.

At the risk of getting myself in trouble for putting my phone number on a blog page, call me personally for more. leave a message/text on 07771631945, or email me: andrew(at)powerchange.com, and I’ll get back to you asap. I’m so looking forward to us meeting up on the course. I wonder what will happen for you on those weekends.

Maybe you’ll learn, among all the other things, how you can coach yourself and others towards greater courage?!

See you there   😉

The Kind Stranger. Chapter 2: The Second Encounter

Read the previous chapter? Then enjoy the second chapter of this amazing story…

It was the day after I met him that I first noticed a change. Now, as I think back, it is hardly surprising that it would affect my future life.  I had experienced something very special, and through the night I tossed and turned and wondered about it all. Was this really just a remote chance encounter, or was I missing something?   The Kind Stranger had singled me out for his attention. This was new to me – it had never happened before – well, not like this anyway. I didn’t know how significant it would be.

I felt both weakened and strengthened at the same time by that first encounter. It was the weakness that felt strangely good. My carefully constructed defences had softened. I had softened. I could sense myself more flexible, more open, and much more relaxed. For the first time in years I felt safer, stronger, in fact much stronger inside.

I decided to make a drink and sit down quietly. And that’s when I heard his voice again.

It felt so close, and it was not just in my head. It felt as if he was in the room with me, not physically, if you know what I mean, but definitely here. I put my drink down, and just sat, relaxed, attentive, waiting.

I know this sounds weird for a rational human adult, but to me it was as real as the chair, the drink, me sitting here, and I felt a wave of warm emotion as I heard the Kind Stranger’s voice again, as real as yesterday.

He was smiling still. You can tell when someone is smiling, can’t you. And this time his voice was quieter, more personal, almost intimate, but with that wholesome respect and trustworthiness I’d begun to associate with him. It wasn’t a whisper, just reassuringly quiet. Perhaps he knew I needed to hear him that way today.

“I said I’d come.” I heard him smile. “You can trust what I say.” How did he know that my trust in people was at a low ebb these days? “I’m here to remind you of the truth,” he said gently, “the truth about you.”

I wriggled a bit in my chair (I won’t admit to squirming!) and took a moment to settle myself. He waited. I took a deep breath, and as I relaxed he gently continued.

“From the moment you arrived on this earth as a human life until the moment you depart from it – and that includes now of course” (he smiled again) – “you have been, are, and forever will be of indescribable worth. The word I’d like to use is ‘priceless’. No amount of gold, diamonds, or any number of banknotes in any currency would compare with your worth.”

The Kind Stranger stopped for a moment to let his words sink in. They needed to. I had long doubted that I was worth anything much. Yet in his voice was a wonderful reliable confidence. He knew he was right, and in the deepest caverns of my soul I heard myself receive his words as truth for me. For the first time since I was a tiny child, I realised how valuable I really was. Priceless.

Overwhelmed, I felt my emotions well up. A single sigh, suppressed for so long within those deep echoey caverns, rose within me, and as I breathed it out, the doubt was gone. I knew the truth.

“I’ll be back soon.”  I think I may have felt his touch on my arm again as he left, though I could have imagined that.

I sat awhile, comfortably alone and at peace, consciously and unconsciously surrendering each part of my life to what he had told me. It would change everything.

Watch the video of Chapter 2 .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1i9AjJCXI_Q

Auto Response Psychology and dis-ease.

This IS rocket science!  Not hard to understand once you let your brain take it in, but no doubt right up there with rocket science.  Imagine – your auto immune system applied to your mind and your thinking. The way you automatically respond to the world around you.  Your Auto Response Psychology. Imagine having an allergic reaction to a word, or the way a person looks at you, or the thought of betrayal. Imagine that the short term irritation you feel on the inside when a person jumps the queue is just as real on the inside as the comparatively short term irritation on the outside when you’re bitten by a mosquito.

Friendly, eh?

This is about ‘allergic’ reactions, similar to things like nuts or pollen but to the hidden stuff, the stuff of your mind and thoughts: a child misbehaving or being rude in the store, the sense of feeling trapped, and out of control. Whether it is inside or outside makes not that much difference. You’re human, and humans have allergies, and an allergy is an auto immune reaction.

Several years ago I went to give blood at the local transfusion service. These are voluntary, good-natured occasions,  and as usual I joked with the nurse who asked me if I was allergic to anything. I produced my stock light-hearted answer, “Just two things.” She looked up expectantly.  “Pain and rejection,” I said smiling. “I handle both badly!”  Instead of laughing as most people do, she burst into tears. Maybe she was allergic to them as well.

These days most psychologists would accept that your mind is part of your physical body, and that what happens in one part affects the others. We’d like to take that a step further and say that the actions of your immune system and your psychological auto-response system, and even the language we use to describe how they work, show just how closely they are  linked.

In English we use the same references: Haemotologists use the name Natural Killer cells and Helper cells to describe two of the many sorts of white blood cells (or leucocytes) that march round your blood system looking for invaders, tagging them and destroying them.  We say that a person’s language was ‘inflammatory’ and a damaged patch of skin was suffering ‘inflammation’. We know that both you and your psychology use physical barriers to protect you from others. (Clothes are both a physical protection and a psychological one.) We describe particular physical illnesses as dis-ease, and a particular state of mind as un-easy. Not much different there either!  In Powerchange we remind ourselves that our unconscious Auto Responses are there to make sure we are emotionally safe, whilst reminding ourselves that the purpose of an Immune System is to provide both a passive and active biological protection system round us.

Ever heard someone say “That’s just not ‘me!'”?  Your body’s immune system, like your mind’s Auto Response System, needs to know very clearly what IS ‘Me’ and what is NOT ‘Me’ in order to screen viruses and other unwelcome visitors attempting to enter and damage you. It cleverly ‘tags’ which is which and orders a round up of all the invaders. In psychology we call that ‘a clear sense of self’. Without it your immune system breaks down and starts attacking itself, and your psychological wellbeing deteriorates.

And sadly, even though your body and mind are stunningly clever, both your defence systems make mistakes from time to time and attack the ‘wrong’ things.   So what happens when that happens? We call that process ‘auto-immune disease’ in the medical world, and it has many different forms. In  Auto Response Psychology we call it generically ‘psychological damage’ and it results in various levels of emotional ill-health, not least dis-ease.

I’ll explore this more in a later post.

Psychological ‘Junk Food’ – or a Healthy Diet?

As you probably know, Powerchange focuses not merely on external behavioural change, as the standard life-coaching and CBT models tend to, but on the underlying Auto-Response systems of a client’s life. Whilst much of the ‘Success’ industry feeds its ever more desperate junkies with addictive ‘success fast-food’ and turns its back as they become psychologically obese, we’ve been taking a different tack, digging ever deeper to uncover more of ‘how human beings are designed to work’, as we put it. We spend time explaining to our clients HOW thinking works, HOW it is that they have been unsuccessful in the past, and HOW it is that they were unable to follow through despite being so committed, determined and motivated. Consuming psychological junk food will make you fatter and hungrier, but not happier.

Pricey.

Just like the ‘burger meals’ on the street, psychological junk food is very expensive, with people forking out huge sums for what they believe to be ‘the answer’, only for their success to be sabotaged by another part of their psychological system – and the unnerving suspicion that they’ve been taken for a ride.

We’re not alone.

We recently were introduced to the work of Dr Robert Kegan and Dr Lisa Lahey at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, and found that many of the principles they and we have been working to over the last decade are highly complementary. Whilst having a conversation over lunch with Mary Orr, Professor in Southampton University’s School of Humanities, we were again aware of the importance of working collaboratively with those deeper inner drives that make us human beings what we are. Mentally healthy people honour the essential ingredients, the staples of psychological long-term health, the fresh vegetables of human well-being. Among other key qualities of character, we deem these to be the pursuit of truth and integrity. Without these essential vitamins, individuals – and the societies they make up – become diseased, corrupt, poor and sick. The subjection of that natural desire to live with the freedom self-sustaining truth and integrity brings eventually means that the essence of our communities dies of a kind of ‘values starvation’. People stop believing and trusting one another.  When seeking truth goes, trust goes too – and society with it. Noticed?

I guess none of us would pretend that we know it all, but we do know that confidence and self-trust are wrapped up in knowing deep down that we are trustworthy, that YOU can trust YOU, a key foundation stone for a truly successful future. People who have high integrity levels experience massive inner strength, and they can use that to power their own change.

Do I always live with integrity? No.

Although seeking truth and living with integrity are pursuits, in order to meet my own current standards of integrity I must answer ‘no’ to that question. No, not always. Am I always truthful?  I’d like to say yes, but no, not that either. Am I pursuing those as desires for my life. I can say an honest YES to that one, and am pleased to say that I’m getting more honest at a deeper level, not least with myself. Do they work as foundation stones that help me to feel secure and safe – a trustworthy launchpad for what I do and teach? Absolutely. Unlike my physical body that is naturally weaker than when I was twenty one, the core of my psychological life is probably stronger than it has ever been.

What about you?

My clients live more fulfilling and successful lives because of my invitation to discover the truth about themselves through Powerchange coaching. For many it is a very rewarding positive ‘shock’ to find out just how valuable they are! The coaching we provide will take you into a much better place personally, regardless of whether you end up with the touted millions deemed to be evidence of success by other coaches using other methods. The people we are now working with suddenly realise that they can live a healthy psychological life free of the ‘junk food’ that has become embedded into the mental eating habits of their life and work. They may have consumed much of it over the years and are fed up with it. They are redefining success. And yes, we DO discover those well-intentioned assumptions, attitudes and behaviours that are pulling them away from where they sincerely want to go.  Together we sort those out too, so that those inner values become an unstoppable vibrant engine of personal power and freedom.  If that’s what you want really, you know what to do!

Obsessive, Compulsive. Disorder?

I’m studying obsession at the moment, and I’ve some questions:

Good or bad? Obsession describes a scientist working all hours to prove a theory. It describes a person exclusively focused on a finely defined ‘compulsive behaviour’.  It speaks of single-mindedness and eccentricity. It describes the hunter, the detective, the art collector and the painter, the perfectionist, the musician.  It describes an unbalanced person, someone who cannot stop, who is driven forward by an inability to get closure.

What is the difference between obsession and strong passion? Or between compulsion and exceptionally high motivation?

In my field, obsession is associated with the word ‘disorder’, which in and of itself has judgement attached, as if ‘order’ is good, and ‘disorder’ is not.  Yes, you’ve got it: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, a psychiatric label attached to a group of actions that constitute a ‘syndrome’ that seems to give a certain satisfaction to the bearer, who clearly loves order more than me.

Let’s deal with those words separately.

Compulsive? Compulsive behaviour includes many of the fatherly and motherly actions we associate with family life – things like picking up a crying baby or protecting the said infant from ANY sort of perceived harm. (Consider the parent compelled by love to rescue their drowning child?) It includes our own desire to conform to norms like wearing clothes and eating. Compulsion is built in to us, an unconscious Auto-Response to many of the things we experience in life.

Obsessive? Yes, obsessive behaviour, as we have already discussed, is demonstrated by every committed adventurer, explorer, inventor and scientist.  Obsession can be VERY productive.  You and I are alive because people have obsessed about our welfare. Obsession is very very important to human safety, as any obsessive Health and Safety officer will tell you.

Disorder? So when was ‘order’ such a good thing?  And who decides what that ‘order’ might be? Public ‘disorder’ has produced massive sociological changes to bring us freedom down the ages.What about the person who is so obsessive about getting the highest grades in their exams or determined to get an Olympic Gold that they willingly sacrifice their emotional health? Or maybe it is their parents and motivational coach who are obsessive, compelled and… disordered?

Perhaps we need to ask the question, ‘Who decides?’ Please don’t leave that to your GP or psychiatrists – they are some of the most compulsively and obsessively ‘ordered’ people in the world! And don’t leave it to writers, artists and others practising the creative arts. They seem to be the ones who, some would say, are obsessively and compulsively ‘disordered’.

Maybe we are using those negative-sounding words to describe someone whose world has a different focus to our own, and who we are inconvenienced by, or somehow their differentness offends our sense of what ‘order’ is, or should be?

Maybe in our obsessively prescriptive, authoritarian world where compulsion comes in the form of a soldier with a gun, and where conformity is the way to acceptance and non-conformity the way to prison, we could make a case for more disorder, not less? Just maybe the ones with the disorder are those so obsessed with their own standardised version of ‘order’ that they are compelled, by their own fear of a society out of their control, to suppress, bully, section, incarcerate, treat, drug, mock, and otherwise dis-empower those they don’t understand.

Such people, given the power, may obsessively and compulsively attempt to force their environment, perhaps even the climate, to shrink from any semblance of disorder.

OCD appears in all sorts of different guises, doesn’t it?

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