Relearning Experience introduces an innovative and original brief therapy for the permanent resolution of emotional and psychological problems.
The book provides a new and comprehensive psychological theory of the genesis, development and manifestation of therapeutic problems, making the book indispensable reading for clinical practitioners and all serious students of human motivation and psychology. The method described in the book, Relearning Experience Process, explains how to identify the origins of a therapeutic problem in a person's biography and transform behaviour, thereby resolving the therapeutic problem.
New critical ideas
- The concept of unconscious body
- The meanings of and differences between feeling and emotion and how to identify emotions accurately
- How learning from experience creates an inescapable precedent for future pathological behaviour
- The distinction between beliefs and learning, central to understanding behaviour
- How problem behaviour once provided a solution
- The importance of formulating goals that are more appealing than the problem
- Why feelings motivate action
- The distinction between practical and therapeutic goals
- The universal quest for personal dignity that underlies all human interaction
The book throws light on many formerly intractable problems in psychology, overturns traditional viewpoints, and introduces radical new conceptions. The author, Jonathan Livingstone, who has 30 years' experience as a clinician and educator, argues that the idea of mental health is a misnomer and what is regarded as unconscious mind should be understood as unconscious body.
The relationship between emotions and feelings is described and a method of accurately identifying emotions is explained. The book argues that feelings drive behaviour and the quest for personal dignity underlies all human interaction. The denial of feelings underlies pathological behaviour, which is subsequently rationalized and justified.
The genesis of a therapeutic problem
Central to the work is the discovery that unwanted behaviour relates to an experience in the past when a person modified his or her behaviour in order to cope with or ameliorate a difficult situation. This 'remedial' behaviour becomes the unconscious blueprint, or precedent, for behaviour in similar circumstances subsequently, and cannot be overridden by conscious will. When this behaviour prevents a person from achieving a desired goal, it becomes a therapeutic problem.
Finding the origins of problems
Although the original experience creating the problem behaviour is ordinarily unknown and unconscious, it can be discovered by a simple process called 'tracking back'.
This process identifies the origin of almost any psychological problem within minutes. Once the experience has been identified, the therapeutic problem is resolved through a 'relearning' of that experience. The relearning provides an alternative reference so that the body can unlearn the original, pathological response.
The resolution is permanent and absolute, effected by an intervention made at the site of the original experience.
Relearning Experience is a game changer in psychology. Unlike traditional psychotherapeutic methods, it doesn't require months or years of application; unlike cognitive therapy, it doesn't simply tackle behavioural symptoms: the book explains how permanent transformation can be achieved in hours or minutes, through resolution of the problem's origins. Although the ideas are new and challenging, the arguments are so plausible they seem almost to be common sense.