In my previous post, I introduced two ways to help reorient clients to the present moment. Here’s one more:
3. Strengthening their executive functions. Our minds are complex chaotic systems within systems. Yet, somehow our minds sustain us physically, emotionally, and so forth. This is all due to the blessing of our executive functions. You can read more about them here. Anxiety, depression, psychosis, as well as psychosis and many other states (including bereavement) levy a heavy price on these functions. Here are some of the things that I do with my clients to strengthen them,
Get them writing. Shopping lists, budgets, schedules, reminders, sudoko games, and journaling help organize frenzied minds. Whether it’s with paper and pencil or using an app on a phone, the physical act of writing grounds and organizes. Grounding reduces cognitive stress so they can more easily focus on the challenges and opportunities of the moment.
Get them physical. Anxiety, depression, psychosis, you name it, are states that remind me of a scene in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey when one of the astronauts has been severed from the tether that connects him with the space ship. We see him horribly and helplessly floating away. My clients always relate to that image. My answer is to get them reconnected with Earth. They do this through bathing, cooking, cleaning, walking, peeling potatoes, dancing in their living rooms, or tossing a ball from hand to hand. Anything that gets them out of their ‘lost in space’ mind set and back to Earth will help them reorient to the now.
Use Prostheses. Without getting into the spiritual and psychological downsides of smart phones, tablets, and all the rest, technology can really help our clients. Calendar apps, To Do List, apps, Journaling apps, and even Cognitive Therapy apps (here’s a good one). And let’s not forget how the convenience of music, lectures, and guided imagery meditation in the palm of the hand. This technology is no different than the prosthetic arms and legs and eyes that we use to the limited live again. And living brings people back to the now.
To be continued!