Lecture 9: Disentanglement

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Hi, I'm Dr. Rich blonde, and welcome back. Welcome to session nine on disentanglement. And this is the final session on the strategies designed to help develop psychological flexibility. And also the next to the last session for the course in session 10. I'll show you how to integrate these AC coaching principles into your practice. But right now we're going to finish up with the psychological flexibility and disentanglement is a couple of powerful techniques.

I'm going to teach you in this in the session that you're really going to be able to use and really help your clients get unstuck, and they build on all the others that we've talked about so far. So let's get started. Okay, all right. Once again, there's our Ramp model going from psychological inflexibility to flexibility and you can see disentanglement there And how it's the last of the core strategies that are based on AC coaching theory. Now, this entanglement is based on or helps offset what's called cognitive fusion. And we talked about this, I guess in session two or three, way back when one of the underlying theoretical principles is over attachment that some clients have to one aspect of their conceptualized self to the point of getting stuck.

And if we're talking about, you know, being stuck in a sexual rut, sexual relationship, right, it's probably over attachment to one aspect of their sexual self, to the point where this just stands in the way of everything. And it really is connected to technique, self as content view, my mind is telling me this, and therefore, this is a reality of it, and I'm stuck. And I mean, it could be something that has to do with gender role. You know, let's just say I mean, I'm 66 and I grew up in a different era of pen today, today rather than with younger people, and, you know, certain sexual behaviors were taboo, and certain, you know, kinds of activity I grew up in with a very rigid male gender roles. And I always love to cook. And, you know, from the very beginning, I would go food shopping and cook.

And I remember just getting, you know, totally harassed with that, because real men don't, you know, don't do that. So, I mean, I grew up in an era where, you know, these these concepts about what it means meant to be a real man or real woman, you know, we're, we're stifling, and people would attach to them to such a degree, you know, big boys don't cry, that you know, and they were in emotional distress, they wouldn't cry. So that's what I mean about over attachment to one aspect of the sexual self. could be any any aspect of sexual identity from you know, gender, Id identity to gender role to sexual behavior. But it's basically allowing what your mind tells you about this, to keep you stuck on this one point of view. Alright, let's move on.

Now the problem with you know, with fusing with an outdated aspect of your sexual self is that it's usually based on something on some outdated and unhelpful learning some past relational frame that no longer holds true. And it's really not helping you move forward. So again, what we're trying to do is we're trying to help our clients, you know, identify and then get rid of these outdated, unhelpful thoughts and feelings and we're just acknowledging them and shifting attention off of them. So things like you know, messages received about your penis or your breasts, you know, my breasts, my penis, anybody part are too big, too small. You know, I'm not very masculine. I'm not very feminine.

I'm not a very Good luck, I'll never be able to have relationship you know, because of all my past failed relationships. So these, you know, outdated aspects of the conceptual conceptualized self if clients fused with them and they become so predominant that they overshadow all other sexual thinking, they can really cause people to be stuck in a rut. So what disentanglement does, is it helps clients step away or diffuse from these unhelpful thoughts, personal scripts, painful emotions, and view them from the observing self perspective. So it's actually showing clients how to engage that observing self and use it. As AC coaches use different activities to help clients create mental and physical distance from unhelpful sexual thoughts, scripts, emotions, mental images. So it's both How do I mentally distance help clients mentally distance themselves from their thoughts, as well as physically distance themselves.

And I'll show you one real powerful technique that does both. What the distancing oneself allows, is it allows this entanglement In other words, if I can step away, if I can step back, if I can step out of my skin, you know, you've heard all of those kinds of phrases, then I can look at these unhelpful thoughts and feelings and personal scripts from an observer self view. And a further if I can get them out of my head and onto paper onto a chalkboard onto a whiteboard. If I can get them out of my head and onto something tangible, then I can really step back and physically distance myself from them. So that's what I mean. You know, we want to get these unhelpful thoughts that clients are fused with and we want To get them out of their head, put them on paper, let them look at them.

And then to step away and distance themselves and the mental and physical distancing just gives clients a whole new perspective on all that unhelpful stuff that's going on inside their minds, stuff their minds are telling them. So this is a real simple activity that I put together cool. My mind is telling me, it's just something for clients to repeat over and over and over again when they get stuck. And it's real, real simple. To help them start adopting that my mind is telling me perspective, when they start anticipating negative sexual experiences, you know, and try and figure it all out in their head. So grab that activity and we'll just walk through it real quickly, while I grab one more drink of water.

The thing that this is based on Is the understanding that we clients anticipate what's going to happen in the future, you know, with their current partner or with a new partner or just by themselves, those thoughts and feelings that are being projected into the future. Remember, they're influenced by past relational frames, past learning contexts. In other words, something is happening now or is going to happen in the future. And my mind's taking me back to something similar in my past, maybe my initial experience with that or initial couple of experiences, those initial relational frames, and it's going into the present with that information and extrapolating into the future and looking at 1001 things that might go wrong. The thing about the mind doing that it's it's very self protective, it wants to protect, protect you from harm. So it's saying these are all the things that could go wrong, so don't do this.

And as we know, that is what keeps people stuck. That's experiential avoidance in a nutshell. So here's the instructions. The next time you're stuck on a sexual issue, right and then repeat the following things about what your mind is telling you. My and here's the first one. My thoughts about this future sexual event are based in part on what my mind is telling me actually happened in the past.

What my mind is telling me is not going to be 100% accurate. I need to examine how this information My mind is telling me from the past matches up to my present sexual values. It's okay for me to dismiss unhelpful things that my mind is telling me about future sexual experiences. I can coexist with these unhelpful thoughts and feelings about what my mind is telling me as I take action and create new helpful sexual relational frames. So again, what we're trying to get clients to do is just, you know, repeat this month Trouble that this is stuff my mind is telling me about what might happen in the future. And it's based on my mind's recollection of things that have happened in the past.

And it's taking those recollections of things that have happened in the past and throwing them into the future and projecting what might go wrong in the future. And what I need to do is stop relying on what my mind is telling me start dropping that sack of pain and suffering, I'm caring and start taking a chance on creating a new, positive, sexual relational frame that'll help me moving forward. Okay, so this simple activity just really helps clients disentangle from unhelpful thinking traps. And using the phrase My mind is telling me helps keep that observing self in the forefront that observing self view. Now the whiteboard is the absolute most powerful technique I actually don't think you need any other technique for disentanglement than the whiteboard. I use it in my stress management work and my sexuality work in just general of being stuck issues.

And I'm a big writer, I like to write things down. So it's particularly good with clients who like to write. And it employs writing down unhelpful thoughts, scripts and images on a whiteboard, to get them out of client's head and onto what I call neutral territory. So the whiteboard is sacred ground, that's neutral territory. And then once they get them out of their minds and onto the board, they can literally step three feet, six feet, nine feet and create distance and the use of physical distance helps create mental discipline distance rather, and disentanglement. Okay, so the that that, you know, very tangible use of distance and you know, when I did this and I do this in the office, I mean, I can go back about 12 feet with a client.

My wife's have a basement office and I had a client once and I took them three feet and six feet and then 12 feet, and actually started crying about how powerful this was. And I'll tell you a little bit more about this later. So get your copy of the activity right now. I'm gonna take one more sip of water and we're going to do it. Okay. All right, let's go to the instructions.

So I want you to think of where you're stuck in your sexual relationship. And remember your clients came to you because they're stuck in some kind of sexual rut. And I want you to write this heading, unhelpful thoughts My mind is telling me about and that and it's about where you're stuck. Okay? So list all of the thoughts and personal scripts Your mind is telling you about being stuck on this issue. So literally, you just list you know, and you can do this on the whiteboard and just list one after another.

So my mind is telling me this My mind is telling me this you know this little dialogue string of dialogue My mind is telling me and write all that stuff down. Now you want to be sure to list all of your thoughts no matter how crazy silly or inconsequential you think they might seem to be? Right get it all out out of your mind onto the board. Now write the following heading, the unhelpful, scary pictures my mind created about and then again, you know, you write down what the issue is. And then you describe all of the scary mental images Your mind is creating about being stuck. Whatever it is, describe all of your scary pictures, no matter how crazy silly or inconsequential you think they might be.

And then finally, write the following heading painful emotions. My mind is created about being stuck and describe all of the emotions you feel, no matter how crazy silly inconsequential Alright, so when you're done, you'll have, you know, all of your thoughts, your personal scripts, your mental images and your feelings on this board. So when you're done, put the marker down, I want you to step three feedback from the board or the flip chart. I want you to look at all of your unhelpful thoughts, personal scripts, mental images and emotions from this safe distance. And then tell yourself, boy, my mind has been pretty busy churning out all these things. A lot of this stuff is not very helpful.

Now feel the effects of your self talk and you're verbalizing what you just said about your mind and the things going on in it related to being stuck. And then think about the distance you have now between yourself and what's going on or what previously was going on in your mind. It's now out of your mind and on the board, to feel the effects of being at that safe distance. Now I want you to step back three feet more, go back six feet. And how does this feel? How does it feel, to be able to distance yourself have this safe space and say, gee, my mind's been pretty busy turning out all these things, you know, a lot of stuff is not very helpful.

I've carried it around a long time. You know, boy, it's really kind of, you know, determined, you know, influenced my life for so long. And I've finally gotten it out. And there it is. So in time practicing disentanglement shows clients that the things going on in their mind, that are getting and keeping them stuck are just that things going on in their minds. And they can learn to separate themselves from the troubling thoughts and feelings and then to discard them.

If they're not helpful in meeting their sexual relationship goals, to take their focus off of them. You know, I say discard I mean Put them in that rucksack and drop the rucksack I've another visualization of all the pain and suffering all these unhelpful things we carry around. I say take the rucksack put it in a steamer trunk and then put the steamer chunk up in your attic. Now all of your pain and suffering and all the negative crap you've been through and all those unhelpful thoughts and feelings, you know what, they're still yours, but you don't have to carry them around on your shoulder and be aware of them and focus on them, you could take your focus off of them. Okay. All right.

Let me just tell you a story about using disentanglement using the whiteboard. I had a client who was a mountain of a man I mean, this guy was 689 320 big guy, huge meaty hands. He was a Mason and he had a very successful business with concrete work doing Concrete Work, and he came to me for coaching because he just He wasn't clinically depressed, but he just, you know, was sad and he wasn't getting the most out of out of his job and out of his relationship. And he just wanted to know how to kind of formulate some some life goals to get unstuck and to kind of move forward because he, you know, he was very successful financially. He was in a good relationship, loved his wife, but something had happened in the past related to an incident with with a nephew who wound up dying because of that, and he just carry that in his mind everywhere he went.

And, you know, really kind of felt that he didn't deserve to be happy because of that. And when he got that out and put it on the whiteboard, and stepped back and looked at it and step back again. It was really amazing because he just shuttered like his whole body shuttered, and just sobbed and he said it was it was like the weight of the world, but we moved off of his shoulders by getting that stuff out of his head and onto something tangible that he could step away from. He said, you know, and he had talked to people about it and talk to people about it for a long time, but never really had found that he could get unburden from it until this exercise. So I was blown away by it. And he was profoundly thankful and I've used it you know, several times since with varying degrees of success, but I find it very helpful still in my own relationship when I get stuck on things.

And I just need to get them out of my head and onto a board and then create some mental distance and some physical distance. All right. So that's it. Those are all of the sessions. You know, we started out by talking a little bit about what is AC coaching and a little bit about AC theory a little bit about how the mind works, and then a lot of you know very good concrete information about sexuality and you know sexual identity and the components of sexual identity. And then really started looking at how to use AC coaching techniques to get unstuck and move forward.

So that's kind of where we are now. And you can see how all of the six techniques kind of work together and reinforce each other. Now you start with becoming more aware through mindfulness, then you start accepting. And then you start building, you know, doing some values exploration, and then do some goal setting based on the values, and then disentangling and etc. So really, really good stuff. In session 10.

I'm going to show you how to integrate it into your coaching practice. I don't want to go into more details about rehashing and now because in Section 10, as I go through, I'll show you how to work this and how to work this and how to work this thing and will make more sense. So I hope you enjoyed everything up to now. We have one more session to go and After that, you should have a pretty good feel for how you're going to use this in your own practice how much you're going to use a bit, how you're going to tweak it to work for you. All right. Okay, let's just get out of here.

And thanks for being with me for these nine sessions. One more to go. So stick around.

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