Psychological Tools - Specific Evaluation

Excerpt from Chapter 10 - Psychology

Covering Over - Adaptive Personality Trap. The most important psychological tool we acquired as children was the adaptive personality. It helped us then and helps us now to cover over our upsets, hurt and pain. But, it is a two-edged sword that limits our lives and keeps us in fear. Fear limits our capabilities for aligning with our souls. The adaptive personality causes us to please others, to gain more approval and to cover over our difficulties. Many socially approved tools assist the adaptive personality: methadone, Prozac, meditation, prayer and God's love. When our difficult emotions are on the rise, we grab our favorite covering-over tool. If your spiritual teacher advises you to be in the now, to forget psychology, or to tap into the love of God more often, that teacher is often helping you cover over any psychological difficulties you may be experiencing or about to experience. As a healing method, covering over does not work. It results in repetitive (often painful) life lessons. It causes us to be overstressed, to have high blood pressure and an elevated heart rate.

Insight. If you recognize that your ongoing difficulties with X were caused by situation Y in your past, then that recognition will feel good and probably result in less tension in you, at least temporarily. This is insight, it does have some value and most of the effective psychological healing methods will trigger insight(s). Insight alone will probably not be enough to cause permanent changes. After a while, old behavior patterns tend to return, perhaps in slightly different form and bodily tension returns to higher levels. Whether insight will be sufficient healing for you or for anyone else is never known in advance.

Feeling the Feelings. Many therapies focus on feeling the feelings we have inside. Commonly, these provide temporary relief. If I feel my feelings fully about the present circumstances, I will feel better. It is a useful step, but frequently it is not sufficient for permanent change. Similarly, if I partially feel my feelings about some past experience, I will feel better temporarily.

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© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze


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Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: " The result of our people-judgments is that we often throw away someone's ideas because they are voiced by the wrong person or because we don't totally agree with all their ideas."