Linda Adler, L.C.S.W.
There is wisdom in that title statement and most of us would endorse it, at least to some degree. However, if it were that simple, we would all be exactly who we want to be and do exactly what we want to do without limitation. Unfortunately, there are often underlying causes that prevent us from fully achieving our imaginings and becoming our dreams.
I suspect that most of us embrace the concept that we create our own reality, although we might not agree on the exact meaning of that idea. If we are both the Creator and the Creation, we can also be Creative and, in alignment with the Higher Self, re-create our reality.
As a Gestalt therapist I was encouraged to be expansive and creative in my work, and was trained to use imagination as a part of the healing process. I was thoroughly schooled at creating experiential exercises designed to bring the client into an “organic” knowing about his/her limiting and dysfunctional patterns and to develop exercises designed to create an experience of what it would be like on the other side of those patterns. Regression therapy is Gestalt therapy without time limitations. Process-oriented, it seeks to uncover unfinished business that the client is carrying like a “hangover” from the past and bring it to closure or to a Gestalt.
As an actress for 13 years, I learned the power of the magic “If.” If I were, If I could, If I had, If I did, If I was. While reframing an experience can change ones perspectives, attitudes and perceptions, rescripting can change the event itself. Using the magic “If” offers the client an opportunity to recreate the event or experience in a way that he/she would have liked to have been able to handle it ‑ with an outcome that the client would have liked to experience.
As a student of multi-cultural Shamanism (see article in this Journal), I have expanded my view of what is real and valuable. Shamans have worked in transpersonal realms of consciousness for centuries. In the transpersonal state time is transcended, and there is no distinction between real and imagined. We call this “non-ordinary” reality and it is in this state of consciousness that knowledge, wisdom, guidance, healing and empowerment take place.
In regression therapy, it is in this transpersonal realm that rescripting may be appropriate and may even occur spontaneously. When the client has relived the experience fully and understands the belief systems, attitudes, and behaviors that have resulted from the experience; when the underlying cause of the issue or trauma has been dealt with completely; and when the lessons from that life experience have been explored and the karmic implications have been reviewed, rescripting can be an effective tool to empower the client. The client’s Higher Self is at work and, if offered the option, will decide whether or not rescripting is in the client’s best interest.
If I am anything, I am not a purist. There is no one right way to do something. Rescripting is a tool, like any other, and must be approached with an open mind. Dr. Hazel Denning writes: “Any method or technique that motivates a client toward the improvement or the resolution of a problem has some merit and should not be dismissed summarily.” (Journal Volume III, Number 1, Spring 1988).
The soul is ever-evolving. All experience is real. In an altered state, our expanded consciousness allows us to alter our experience; to enhance our reality. We create our own experiences and outcomes all the time. How else can we explain Simonton’s or Siegal’s work? If we can use the magic “if” to heal disease and dysfunction in our bodies in present time, is it so unthinkable to imagine that it can also be effective in past time?
Allowing for expansiveness, for different styles, for all possibilities in the healing process is important. If each of us is a hologram within a holographic universe, then we already know everything we need to know and we must not lose our trust in the innate ability of the client to heal him or herself.
Let us not stifle our creativity or that of our clients. The real power is in knowing what to do. The more tools we have in our therapy toolboxes, the more successful we will be in assisting our clients. Our only limitation is the array of colors we have collected on the palette of our imagination. An open mind is a wondrous thing. Expand your view, the possibilities are endless.