25 Jun Explanation and Introduction to Emotional Core Therapy
Robert A. Moylan, LCPC
The goal of this book is to reach anyone who desires to learn how to live a full life of vitality and energy. To live life to its fullest, without any regrets. One of the best ways to do this is to get the most out of each day you live. One of the best ways to get the most out of each day you live is to not have the debilitating feelings of fear, anger, and grief inhibit or cripple your lifestyle. Emotional Core Therapy is the simplest and most effective behavioral psychology treatment available worldwide for most relationship stress including addictions, depression, anxiety, anger, personality disorders, childhood emotional trauma, sports psychology, and marital therapy. How does one test the validity of a psychology or self-help book? What you have to do is list the top ten to twenty stressful events in your life. With the 8 step ECT Flowchart in my book you can process almost any relationship stress that occurs in life.
It is really quite that simple. All you have to do is reflect on the ten to twenty most stressful events in your life. Then write those events down on a sheet of paper. Once you have read Emotional Core Therapy (the process sinks in through repetition best) you can then process your ten stressful events through the ECT Flowchart. You will then have verified proof that ECT is the only behavioral psychology approach that is so simple you can use it for almost any relationship stress in your life. No other psychology approach, religious teaching ,or educational process can claim these results.Up till now, the vast majority of counselors, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and ministers have been relying on psychology techniques/approaches such as Rational Emotive Therapy/ REBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy/CBT, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy/ DBT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Psychoanalysis, Motivational Interviewing, 12 Steps, even religious teachings such as Buddhism and Christianity to heal people.ECT uses some of the same techniques as these aforementioned approaches. However, ECT includes my own unique research and findings and condensed the ECT process to eight steps.
With ECT, there is renewed hope that addictions and mental health issues can be treated more effectively throughout the world.How can one prove the effectiveness of a psychology approach to assess the capability for treating human relationship stress? Can we measure a psychology approach like we do with a major league pitcher throwing a fastball, or an Olympic runner racing in a 100-yard dash? Unfortunately, we cannot measure any psychology approach, including ECT, over an extended period of time. When I say extended period of time I mean three to six months or longer. Why? Too many variables exist that would adversely affect an accurate measurement. For example, training of mental health professionals vary. Educational and aptitude level of people vary greatly.Resources and environments vary from person to person. Each person varies in how they experience life stresses. Also, each per-son carries new stress that would adversely impact any study.Again, the only effective way to truly measure any psychology approach is to list ten to twenty stressful events that a person faces in their daily lives. Then try and process them through whatever psychology approach, religious teaching, or educational approach that you currently use. Then do the same with my eight step ECT Flowchart. There will be your proof.
Only ECT effectively treats the root cause of human relationship stress. How does ECT do this? There exists a cause and effect relationship with stress. The ECT Flowchart depicts how the natural state of stress occurs. For every relationship stress a person encounters on a daily basis, one thing happens with certainty every time. What is that? One of the four true feelings, joy, grief, fear, or relief will arise and occur. These four temporary feelings cause stress to humans by altering one’s central nervous system.You can’t deny, suppress, or ignore the four true and authentic feelings for very long without hurting yourself in some fashion. The four true feelings will happen no matter what you do on a daily basis. Illegal drugs and alcohol can only alter, dull, or dampen, your five senses and four feelings. That’s why emotional healthy people realize that, for the most part, taking drugs or medications won’t change the conditions you face in life. Only your perception changes. Altering your mind and yourself up with depressants and stimulants will only delay your emotional growth. Why? The four true feelings are with us hourly and daily our whole lives.ECT is one of the most important discoveries in the history of the field of psychology and mental health. Why? With ECT we have discovered the root cause of relationship stress! The root cause of stress is the temporary arousal of the four true feelings.
With the eight step ECT Flowchart, we now have a psychology approach that can effectively treat the root cause of relationship stress for humans. The good news is that ECT is the simplest and most effective psychology approach to treat nearly all psychological disorders and relationship stress that people face. The exceptions are some cases where permanent physical or psychological damage has occurred. Even activities such as throwing out your back lifting a heavy object or changing your tennis swing can be understood clearer using the ECT Flowchart.I’ve never encountered a stressful human interaction that I wasn’t able to comprehend how I feel using the eight step ECT Flowchart. In some rare occasions it is hard to distinguish the exact variable that caused you stress. For example, hitting a golf shot out of deep rough on a downhill slope on a cold windy day. You mishit the shot badly. Often, the variables are too many to accurately know what caused you stress. What you can always recognize is the true and authentic feeling of grief or fear that follows taking the poor shot.This is similar to a college fraternity boy who has a hangover from drinking vodka, beer, smoking marijuana, and staying up late. He is not exactly sure what caused the pain, but he sure knows he feels the pain/ grief.Every stressful event in a person’s life (for example, divorce, financial loss, spousal abuse or neglect, parenting stress, supervisor yelling at you at work, gambling addiction) can all be traced back to the four feelings. Why not honor and learn from these four feelings? Why run away from them or disconnect from them? That is the focus of ECT!
When you learn from emotions you become more aware of what limitations your body and mind has regarding the four emotions.Think of it this way. Two gold diggers are on a sandy beach hunting for precious metals. One miner has a metal detector that detects hundreds of metals, many of them useless. The other miner has a metal detector that can detect the four true minerals of value (for example, gold, silver, platinum, and aluminum). Who has the simpler and more effective method of mining? Obviously the second gold digger is more efficient. The same goes with emotions. We will show in the book there are hundreds of names for emotions. When you can reduce the number down to the four true emotions, a person will have a much easier job learning from them. Why? The four true and authentic emotions serve as a navigation tool or compass in life by helping you choose healthy relationships that bring you joy and leaving unhealthy relationships that bring you grief and fear. All my clients that leave therapy success-fully have real power and confidence in their lives. Why? They leave therapy knowing they can have a relaxed, meditative state of being, very close to what is termed “mindfulness” in psychology circles. Then when any type of stress occurs in their lives they have the full confidence in the eight step ECT Flowchart. They know that they can identify, process, and release this situational stress and get back to a normal relaxed state of being.
No other psychological, religious, or educational approach can do this as they are continually redirecting you away from your true emotional state.Another example I use is a school teacher in a school ground. One teacher has to super-vise 150 children. Another teacher has to supervise four children. Who has the easier job? Obviously the school teacher who super-vises four children has the less stressful job. We breakdown needs in our ECT Flowchart down to four categories also. The needs and demands people face from their relationships are what cause stress. So when we simplify the needs and emotions for people we can help them learn more quickly and effectively.Stress, in the form of the four true feelings comes hourly and daily for people. The key point for all healthy individuals is to learn to cathartically release these emotions. ECT is the most inclusive psychology approach worldwide as it can incorporate any psychological technique that is proven to help release emotions. I give over 20 examples in my books on how to successfully release emotions. Mental Health professionals will learn to love ECT as many of the techniques they have learned in school (EMDR, biofeed-back, hypnosis, art therapy, etc) can be incorporated into ECT when problems occur with clients. Even common ways of relaxing such as yoga, Pilates, sitting in a warm Jacuzzi, listening to music on headphones, etc, can be easily incorporated into the eight step ECT Flowchart.
The key concept to understand here is portability or deliverability. What can the mental health professional easily teach and deliver to the patient that he can easily digest and learn and apply in his daily life. The goal of ECT is autonomy and independence for the client.ECT is now being used through many parts of the world. Since joining Linkedin last year, I have now been endorsed by thousands of professionals throughout the world. ECT was the top rated book in two categories (Emotions and mental health) on Amazon in 2014. Approximately ten thousand people have read and reviewed ECT without any major criticisms of the ECT process. Why? It works as a process to identify and release stress if used correctly.Currently, I teach ECT to medical and mental health professionals both online and in per-son for continuing education units (CEUS) for their license renewal. This includes psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses, marriage and family therapists, physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and several other professions.
ECT is approved by a dozen United States licensing boards for continuing education credit and renewal.I have a strong commitment to better the world and make it a more peaceful place. The psychology field can unite us as human beings if we work together and educate teens and adults on learning to really love themselves and love others. My hope is to have all mental health providers utilize ECT and bring people throughout the world closer together as human beings.
Lastly, remember that knowledge is power! You and your loved ones all have been hurt and in pain from emotional stress of some kind from a relationship. It is only human nature to be a bit “stressed out” from time to time. With ECT you will now have the tools to help yourself and others. ECT is the closest thing I know to an “Emotional Fountain of Youth”. When you learn to cleanse your soul daily you can keep yourself feeling youthful all your life.This book teaches you a simple step approach that brings one closer to mastering the mind. The ECT Flowchart that you see on the adjacent page will be placed throughout the book at the end of each chapter. This will be beneficial for those visual learners who want to monitor their growth and progress in order to measure how much you have learned about the ECT process. A simple suggestion would be to use a highlighter or black marker at the end of each chapter to note which sections of the ECT flowchart you are able to comprehend.
The author does not want to cause the reader undo stress so he emphasizes that oftentimes we do some of the ECT steps automatically or instinctively.A great way to learn psychology techniques is through storytelling. This book will utilize that approach as it makes learning the process of Emotional Core Therapy even simpler and more enjoyable. For readers who learn through a more interactive style, there will be a list of important concepts at the end of each chapter.
If you’re human, keep reading. This book is about you. Yes, we’re all individuals and we have plenty of differences, but what you’ll learn here applies to all of us. That’s because every single one of us, at one point or another in our life will struggle with problems. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s a perfectly normal part of life. What happens, though, is people often don’t know how to handle difficulties in life when they inevitably darken your doorstep. This is where Emotional Core Therapy (ECT) can help you. I’ve been practicing it and using it to heal people throughout my career. Even better, you can learn how to use it to help yourself.
My approach to therapy is to first make sure that people realize that an anguished mind is every bit as painful (sometimes more so) than a hurting body. Of course, people feel compelled to seek medical assistance to set a broken leg or treat a sore throat. Yet, when it comes to our mind we are either embarrassed to admit that we have a problem, or confused about our treatment options.
It doesn’t have to be that way. What’s important is recognizing not only that you need help, but that you deserve it. Why would you deprive yourself of something that could be so beneficial to your life? In using Emotional Core Therapy, I’ve come to understand that there is no one “right way” to do therapy. There are lots of great therapists out there, utilizing a wide variety of highly innovative and successful techniques. We build upon the work of those who have gone before us. For example, Sigmund Freud, the founder of the discipline of psychoanalysis, is held in high regard and developed lots of useful treatment techniques. Albert Ellis, an American psychologist, brought the world Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, which is well respected and used by many therapists. Many other great therapy approaches exist that day in and day out help people to grow and understand themselves better. If I tried to teach all of them, however, it would be overwhelming for the patient. ECT introduces a group of techniques that are simple to do, and they work over time. More importantly, it empowers people to help themselves. If I could teach someone the perfect baseball swing, but they can only do it when I am right there standing next to them, what good would that do for them? By the same token, what good is therapy if it doesn’t work when you leave the therapist’s office? That is a basic premise that I always keep in mind when teaching people about the power that all of us have within ourselves to release our pain and to feel better. ECT has a primary goal of autonomy for the client.
Emotional Core Therapy helps put structure and better performance on one’s therapy by providing a simple framework. This new therapy approach examines the root cause of all emotional problems, which is entering and leaving relationships with people, places, or things.
Once one feels the emotional pain of fear and loss, they start to examine their body and mind sensations. By learning to monitor their feelings, people can find out what has “hurt” them in life, and only then can they begin to heal it. Consider the following phrases:
“Once bitten, twice shy.”
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Each one of these offers advice for identifying what it is that hurts us, along with a corresponding solution that implies we grow and learn from the conflict. This is the same fundamental logic of ECT, to learn from each time that we have debilitating feelings of fear and loss. Let’s look at something so simple as putting on a jacket on a cold and blustery day. Most every child knows that to protect them from the cold, one has to put on layers of clothes to keep warm. It is something we all learn at a young age. This is the same dynamic we are doing with our feelings. Harmful feelings of fear and loss can cause harm and danger to one’s body in much the same way that a snowy and wintry day can adversely affect a person dressed only in a T-shirt and shorts. ECT is a form of self-care that has as a desired effect to reduce toxic pain.
The goal of this book is to make the reader so familiar with the process they can use it anytime, just like one uses a winter jacket. At the heart of Emotional Core Therapy is learning how to identify and process the four authentic feelings that arise from all relationships. They are joy, grief, fear, and relief. Could it get any more human than that? It’s for all of us, regardless of gender, race, sexual preference, economic status or religion. This is an approach that encompasses the entire human family. There is no problem in the world that someone else has not experienced.
Emotional Core Therapy offers a practical, realistic and very effective method for dealing with all of them. It all begins with honoring your five senses: hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting and touching. Pay close attention to all five of them. What are they telling you? You will never really know if you impair your senses with toxins such as caffeine, drugs, or alcohol. An individual who honors his senses will be more aware not only of the outside world, but of their own inner world as well.
I like to use metaphors. They’ve been invaluable in forming my understanding of the world in assisting those who come to me for help. I will use them throughout this book. One of my favorites involves golf. A golfer needs to be honest with himself, and decide if their emotions on the course are helping or hurting them. For example, would an aspiring pro golfer who throws his clubs when he misses a drive, be an improved golfer if he handled his emotions properly? Can the proper understanding of emotions lower your score? How many shots does one throw away because of poorly handled emotions? Mastering the psychology of the mind is essential for any amateur or professional golfer who strives to be his best. The idea is to truly be comfortable with oneself as well as learn to identify feelings that are uncomfortable, but sometimes things get a bit more complex.
Let me explain. Consider a golfer that hits four to five excellent shots in a row. To the naked eye, no problem, he is playing well, so he will want to keep the positive vibrations going. Right? Wrong, that is not what the elite golfers do! If they do, they will elevate their central nervous system, and before you know it they will make an errant shot from too much adrenaline. That is why, to the contrary, elite golfers have a calmness about them. Most have learned to maintain a good, balanced psyche. It is also important to realize that it is possible to have too many feelings of joy and relief.
For an example outside of golf, think about an adolescent listening to rock and roll music. Some teens will rock and roll for hours. They get a mindset that life is more pleasurable than it really is. That sets up an unrealistic expectation to have, i.e., that life is always that pleasurable. In reality, though, one way or another, the party will be over one day. Some kids try and use substances to keep the elevated feelings longer. The point is, you can now begin to see how having too much of the authentic feeling of “joy” can also be problematic for humans.
But this emphasis on learning how to process our true feelings and properly handle our emotions not only goes well beyond golf, it actually applies to virtually all of life. Think about it, even without a major crisis, on a day in, day out basis we all have minor psychic pain of one sort or another. It could be a difficult to live with mate, a boss with a short fuse, kids who are always “pushing your buttons,” etc. Though not debilitating, these daily irritants can build up and steal away your happiness and peace of mind. As you become more aware of your feelings, you will be better able to decide what you can handle and what you cannot. It may need to involve terminating certain relationships. For example, if a boss is so overbearing that you are living in misery, the only solution might be to find a new job. But there are also other techniques that can be used for identifying and releasing feelings, as we will see.
Of course, you have to use prudence and common sense too. If at any point you ever feel that you might be a danger to yourself or other people, you need to either call 911 or immediately check into a hospital Emergency Room. Though common and universal to all people, normally mild ailments such as sadness, anxiety and anger can sometimes be serious enough to require hospitalization. In every situation, err on the side of caution, as it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
To help explain the many benefits of Emotional Core Therapy I want for you to imagine a rudderless rowboat rowing down the river. What does it take for a rowboat to traverse down the waterway? Fuel of course. In this case, fuel would consist of a healthy diet. By that we mean not using stimulants such as coffee, caffeinated soda, and excess sugar, all of which affect the central nervous system. All stimulants or depressants affect the four authentic feelings of joy, grief, fear, and relief. Minor uses such as a cup of coffee in the morning or salt on your popcorn, likely would not affect a person’s central nervous system in a chronic manner. The best advice I can give here is to speak with your family doctor if you have concerns with your dietary intake. The important factor to remember is that food and drink can have a positive or negative impact on your central nervous system. Although the topic of food intake is beyond the scope of this book, just keep in mind that the relationship exists.
Back to our rudderless rowboat…it’s gliding through the water effortlessly and smoothly. Try and visualize the peaceful state of the row-boat as it courses downstream. Soft, tranquil, yet very sturdy. Quite a vessel, wouldn’t you say? Now imagine if this rudderless rowboat was able to traverse the sea and ocean for months and years in the same manner. What an enjoyable experience. This is ideally, the emotional state of a person who has successfully learned ECT. Even if a person never read a word about ECT, they could have this same feeling. How? By just staying emotionally balanced and healthy their whole lives. Sounds like a fun and enjoyable way of life. So what is so hard about achieving this state? Rather than give you the answer, let’s realistically explore what happens to people as they experience life using the rudderless rowboat example. Now, with our rowboat traveling the water-ways, what happens from time to time? Inclement weather affects our sturdy little vessel. High winds and rain, along with cold and hot weather seriously call into question the reliability of the boat to keep out water. From time to time, a big wave (rainstorm) causes water to leak into the rowboat. Consequently, the rowboat slows down and its power is weakened. If a tornado or hurricane passes in the path of the rowboat, you can be slowed to a near stop. This is in effect, what happens to individuals when the relation-ships they are in go sour. Their vitality and vigor for life becomes diminished when negative and toxic emotions adversely affect their central nervous system. Recall how it feels when you lose a close friend who you bonded with for several years, or any other human tragedy. The devastation that they felt is similar to what has happened to someone aboard this fictionalized boat.
Taking the analogy a step further, we could reasonably ask why not just use the rowboat in a small river and have an enjoyable boating experience for life? The problem is, that is not generally how humans operate. First of all, people need food, water, and shelter to live. This takes money and resources to provide these invaluable resources. Work has built in stresses like bosses as well as physical and emotional demands. Work requires training. This means schooling and education, which are all mandatory requirements of our youth. All of these demands will inevitably cause stress on the body and mind. Most of us (once again imagining the rowboat) will have water leak in from time to time.
Another dynamic of human nature is the needs and demands of people. Most, if not all humans will test themselves somewhat with wanting more out of life; in other words, they prefer not remaining in the small waterway. People will usually challenge themselves to achieve what they perceive the next person down the street has achieved. Whether it’s new friends, lovers, work, or travel, humans find a way to partake in more and more relationships. As Emotional Core Therapy explains, it is the entering and leaving of relationships that can cause tension and stress in our lives.
Examine the list below of commonly occurring stressful events in life that can cause debilitating feelings of fear and loss.
- Death of a family member including spouse/child/sibling/etc
- Divorce or separation of a spouse
- Major health problem such as cancer, diabetes, etc
- Being fired or placed on review at work
- Problems or disputes with relatives or close friends
- Pregnancy or gaining stepchildren
- Being bullied at school
- Failing grades at school
- Marital affair/catching your partner cheating
- Being relocated at work
- Spilt or breakup of a partner/boyfriend/girlfriend
- Changing your career or schooling plans.
- Major weather disaster such as hurricane or tornado
- Loss of important leisure activity due to injury
- Being harassed at work
- Loss of home due to moving or relocation for work
- Long standing disagreements with spouse or family member
- Children getting in trouble with the law
- Change in health of close friend or family member
- Home being foreclosed upon.
- Problems with the law including jail/parole, etc
- Children going off to college/getting married
- Stock market crash
- Close friends move out of state/out of town
- War/major epidemic of disease such as serious influenza lasting months
Any one of the above stressful events would cause any human being to suffer. The real difference is that emotionally healthy people, including those practicing ECT, appropriately process their feelings. The predominate state of a person that successfully has learned ECT is one of tranquility and a balanced equilibrium. Joy, grief, fear, or relief does not dominate an emotionally healthy person. These four authentic feelings are just temporary states that affect the person from time to time. Let’s face it. A perfectly smooth running rowboat does not exist. It is not realistic. What is realistic is that one can expect some minor water coming in from time to time. In rare instances, a rushing torrent of flooding water threatens to sink the rowboat. A perfect analogy for when we need to seek out professional help. This means visits to therapists, social workers, doctors, etc.
Let me describe for you what life would look like for an emotionally healthy person practicing ECT. This person is committed to a life of having peace and comfort in their day. Their mind is allowed to daydream and reflect. Reflection is key as it is a relaxed way the mind can roam and wander from thought to thought in an effortless manner. There is no effort underway to learn and acquire information. Cognition is another word for learning. That takes effort and taxes the mind. The beautiful state of meditation is different in that the mind is not charged with working on a task.
One way we may be able to attain a healthy meditative state would be taking a bubble bath in a dimly lit room with candles and soft music. This atmosphere allows the mind to wander. A bubble bath is not possible for everyone on a daily basis of course, but the point is nonetheless well taken. One needs to create an atmosphere of self-soothing. There is just no substitute for taking time to relax every day. It is a way of loving yourself to allow oneself time to be rested and peaceful. When you can relax you have a great opportunity to let your mind wander and daydream. Often times I work with clients for a month or two just on learning the valuable state of meditation.
Here is a list of 40 popular ways to relax:
- Exercise before work, get the blood flowing
- Practice yoga, Pilates, or chi gong
- Reduce the amount of coffee you drink
- Go for a run around the city at lunch time
- Practice deep breathing throughout the day
- Get the daily chores out of the way now instead of worrying about them
- Cut out the sugar in your diet (it causes stress)
- Throw out stuff around your house you really don’t need or use
- Do some gardening in the yard
- Get some fresh air by taking a brisk nature walk
- Breathe deeply
- Do some deep muscle stretches
- Practice sewing or needlework
- Go somewhere where sunlight warms your face
- Call some old friends and meet for lunch
- Tidy your room and make your bed so it’s clean when you go to sleep
- Head down to the beach and walk in shallow water
- Escape by reading a relaxing book
- Take some allotted time to do nothing at all
- Go to bed early
- Drink some lemon tea or green tea
- Take a day off from work
- Go and see a comedy show
- Get a neck or a foot massage
- Go for a walk around the markets or some-where with lots of natural produce
- Ride a bike in nature
- Read a book you enjoyed as a child
- Get off the computer and relax your eyes
- Listen to classical music
- Play any sporting event such as golf or bowling with friends for fun
- Watch a movie or TV show
- Say a reflective prayer over and over in a relaxed chant
- Sing to yourself in a humming or relaxed manner
- Journal, draw or paint your random thoughts
- Watch your thoughts without engaging them
- Go fishing or boating
- Spend some time with your dog or other animal
- Pick up a hobby you have neglected
- Plan a getaway you would love to take in the future
- Go out to a nice restaurant for dinner
OK, at this point, you may be saying, thanks for that great list, but really, why would some-one possibly write another self-help book? After all, ECT sounds interesting, but there are many excellent psychology books out there that do a great job at highlighting specific psychology techniques. There are wonderful books on ways to improve one’s individual health on a variety of mental health issues. Whether it is depression, anxiety, anger, addiction, narcissistic disorders, obsessive disorders, or the many other disorders of the self, odds are, someone has written a book on the topic. Add on couples, family, and work-place stress, and you will find more good books on ways to get one’s emotional health back on track. So why add yet another book? First and foremost, people are still suffering emotional trauma day in and day out. Look at America’s prison system. We have several million people incarcerated in our jails and prisons, with mil-lions of others on probation or parole. On top of that, we have thousands of people in psychiatric hospitals. Moreover, we have millions of people who are in so much pain that they are either under a doctor’s care, or are self-medicating through illegal drugs or alcohol to numb the pain. It’s a gigantic national problem.
Much of this pain can be avoided with proper care of one’s emotional health. That is why I think it is so important for people to learn the techniques of Emotional Core Therapy, which is the primary purpose of this book. It is a way to take care of one’s self in a preventive manner. Think about all of the other self-care techniques that you employ every day. Taking a shower and brushing your teeth for example. Both of these daily habits help keep disease away. ECT is also a daily habit, that when used correctly can help maintain one’s health. Even better, it is so simple that normal everyday people can practice the technique. Is it the only route to mental health? Not at all. In fact, I would love to write a psychology book using the numerous other techniques available to me as a therapist. Unfortunately, it would be just too overwhelming. Probably ten to twenty volumes long. And guess what? It still would not be complete. It also would not work. Most people would not read it, much less buy it. In most large bookstores you can find a section on ways to do things easily. For example, books with titles like, Divorce for Dummies. Taxes for Dummies. How to Build a House for Dummies. These books offer quick and easy ways, often abbreviated, to help people with specific problems. Another example would be Cliff Notes. Don’t have time to read Romeo and Juliet, you can pick up a book of Cliff Notes that will simplify matters and at least give you the main idea.
While this book is not a Cliff Notes primer on psychology, it is an attempt to shorten or abbreviate one specific way to stay emotionally healthy. Nothing would make me happier than for this book to rid humanity of all of its emotional problems. Sort of like the fountain of youth, you can stay young forever. As ECT highlights, however, this is impossible! Why? Relationships, toxic or harmful, are a part of life. They are unavoidable. The only thing one can really do is educate oneself on what is a healthy relationship.
A healthy relationship can only begin if one is emotionally healthy. A healthy or stable person, as seen through the lens of ECT is a person who has full awareness of the four authentic feelings, joy, grief, fear, and relief. Furthermore, a healthy person knows a relaxed and meditative lifestyle.
A healthy relationship is built on mutual respect. The communication style is one of openness and honesty. Lying and stealing are not part of a healthy relationship. Being able to trust and share one’s authentic feelings is para-mount to a healthy relationship. One can only do this if the relationship allows for a caring atmosphere to exist where all feelings are welcomed and understood. This means that one has to be able to share feelings of fear and loss as well as joy and relief.
One of the most important benefits of Emotional Core Therapy is that you begin to examine why particular relationships cause you debilitating feelings. This enables you to learn from your relationships and make better “relationship choices” next time. You begin to empower yourself by identifying and participating in healthy relationships, which in turn leads to more hope for the future.
In order to understand ECT one has to be ready to love oneself and protect oneself. It is also necessary to be willing to take a risk and practice something that you have not done before. This book about Emotional Core Therapy is meant as a teaching tool. That is why we used the approach of storytelling. It is a great way to teach as you can learn through others’ experience in a joyful, non-threatening manner.
The alternative, simply ignoring our emotional needs or seeking relief in unhealthy ways, can prove disastrous. Oftentimes people begin to learn inappropriate self-soothing techniques and bad habits in their teens. My hope is that by writing in a short, storytelling, easy to read style, even young people can start to learn to process their feelings in a safe and healthy manner.
When we examine the escalating prevalence of mental health issues, we may ask the following question: is there a single remedy or psychological approach that works? If so, why don’t we use it? Why don’t we have a cure for mental health like we have for polio? The truth is we have a multiplicity of approaches that may alleviate many symptoms, but there does not exist one single approach that every therapist has utilized and every client has used and become healthy. There does not exist a one-sized fits all approach to therapy. If there did, all therapists would be trained in that approach and use it with their clients.
A similar question can be asked regarding ECT’s simplistic approach. Why would ECT not work to help mental health issues? What would be problematic when one processes authentic feelings? What happens when one monitors their body for symptoms of stress and then works to alleviate those symptoms through commonly used psychological techniques? What could be problematic with the continued use of meditation and relaxation on a daily basis? What would be problematic about examining all relationships from a framework of entering and leaving them as a cause of stress? Well, the fact of the matter is that time and will (motivation) are needed for this approach to fully work. Why? Mature relationships, work, school, lover, friend, etc. frequently require the needs of others to be met. Even our own needs often have to be met in relationships.
Whether it’s emotional, financial, spiritual, or physical, humans are often required or asked to meet the needs of others in relationships. A key point of ECT is the concept of working to meet the needs of yourself as well as others in relationships.
As we begin to discuss the benefits of ECT we need to point out that some people may have to work longer and harder to reap these benefits. There are individuals who have impairments with one or more of their five senses (seeing, touching, smelling, tasting, and hearing). These impairments can cause their feelings of joy, grief, fear, and relief to be adversely affected. For example, a visually impaired person may not receive the same response watching a movie at the theatre as a non-visually impaired person. Also, there are individuals who have suffered severe early childhood trauma that is permanent in nature. For example, a child suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome may have some sensory problems that affect the ability to sense and feel. It is not that some of the benefits of Emotional Core Therapy will not be utilized, but the desired outcome of learning ECT may be harder than usual. Another example would be those individuals in chronic pain. I have seen several patients over the years suffer debilitating accidents that cause acute pain. When the pain is so pervasive as to effect a person’s entire day, they might not be able to fully sense their feelings.
What other situations would arise that would cause ECT to not be successful? This book outlines situations and exceptions to where ECT may not have success. Like all treatment approaches people have to be comfortable with the process. Having the book told in a “simple storytelling fashion” is a means that has been successful with other psychological techniques, and I hope and trust that you will find it very helpful here as well.
If your goal is to be an authentic human being, then what would be more authentic than practicing ECT on a daily basis? What would be more authentic than respecting one’s four authentic feelings? We have all heard of the book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” The book has a core premise that highly effective people all share certain key virtues, which may very well be true. Let’s take this same framework for emotional health. What would the seven habits of an emotionally healthy person look like? I believe that it would be a great habit if you were to always honor your four true feelings. Meditation is a way of caring for oneself, so that is another great habit, as is honoring the four true feelings of others. In fact, as far as emotional health is concerned, those three habits would be a great way to live. So we might even jokingly refer to ECT as, “the three habits of emotionally healthy and highly effective people.”
So if you’re ready to finally love yourself to the core, to love yourself enough to care for yourself emotionally in ways that will improve your life for-ever, keep reading. You’re in for a journey that will transform the quality of your being. All identifiable information about actual clients has been changed to protect patient confidentiality. Some cases are hypothetical and are used as a teaching tool.
Robert A. Moylan, LCPC