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Day 7 of Australia 2013: Hearing Voices and Mind Mapping

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"That's me at four years old," he said.   He described times of feeling frightened, and, again, unprotected.   We repeated the process and drew in that stick figure.   The next voice only cursed.


"Who's that?" I asked.


"That's rage," he said.  


"I can understand that," I said.   "Anyone who'd had your life experiences would feel a lot of rage at a lot of people.   I talked a bit about Jaak Panksepp and his ideas of the seeking system.   It's our nature to seek.   In Marshall Rosenberg's (non-violent communication) terms, we seek to have our needs fulfilled.   Quinn was seeking to fill his need for safety and security.   Others were frustrating his search.   Frustration from seeking leads to rage.   "How old is rage," I asked.  


"He's every age," Quinn said.  


"I'll bet no one likes it when rage bursts through," I said.   Quinn nodded emphatically.   "But if you don't give rage a chance to express himself," I said, "he's going to sneak around and wait for a good opportunity to take over, and when that comes, he's going to leap out and make himself heard."   Again, Quinn nodded emphatically. This fit his experience.   Sometimes he became inexplicably (to others) enraged and couldn't stop shouting and cursing.   I suggested that this behavior made complete sense when we considered the cast of characters inside his mind and the politics of their interactions.   We continued to look at the other voices he had diagrammed.   The next voice said, "you're a failure and you're no good."   I asked him who said that.   He said that he said that.   I suggested that perhaps he was speaking for others and repeating what others said.   I used some basic CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) techniques and asked him why he thought he was a failure and no good.   He said he was a failure because he didn't have a job.   He was a failure because he didn't have friends.   He was a failure because he wasn't successful.   I asked him who says that people who don't have jobs are failures.


"Everyone," he answered.   "Everyone says that."


"I don't say that," I countered, so not everyone says that."


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Lewis Mehl-Madrona graduated from Stanford University School of Medicine and completed residencies in family medicine and in psychiatry at the University of Vermont. He is the author of Coyote Medicine, Coyote Healing, Coyote Wisdom, and (more...)
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