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continuos you

Im looking for the 'continuos you' exercise, can anyone help

Continuous You exercise

Hi Karen,

Here's one version of it. I'll send you another that I've got as an attachment.


The text of the "Observer Exercise" from the 1990(!) agoraphobia manual:

"THE OBSERVER" EXERCISE (Do not read. Use as a guide.)

Close your eyes, and follow my voice. Just relax. For a moment now, turn your attention to yourself in this room. Picture the room. Picture yourself in this room. Now begin to go inside your skin, and get in touch with your body... Notice any feelings that are there. Now notice any emotions you are having. Now get in touch with your thoughts. Now, get in touch with the observer--the part of you that noticed the bodily sensations, the feelings, the thoughts. As the observer, hear and follow this:

Think back to a time when you were a child. Think of a specific time. Remember what you were doing then, what was happening. Now as you are thinking about that, I want to ask you a question. Was that you then? Does the person looking from behind these eyes share an essential continuity with that child. I want you to notice that you have been you your whole life. Thus, while you have a body, you don't experience that you are your body. When your body changes, you are still you.

Focus your attention on this central concept: Allow yourself to realize this as an experienced fact not just as a thought, or belief, or point of view. Think of all the ways that your body has changed, all the situations it has been in, while you remained constant. (Leave a period of silence.)

Now let yourself consider this:

"I have a role to play, and yet I am not my roles. My roles are many and constantly changing. Sometimes I'm in the role of a (fit these to client, e.g., "mother... or a friend... or a daughter... or a wife... sometimes I'm a respected worker... other times I'm a leader... or a follower.".. etc.) I play some role all the time. If I were to try not to, then I'd be playing the role of not playing a role. Even now part of me is playing a role... the client role. Yet all the while, the observer... the part of me I call "I.".. is watching. I can play my constantly changing roles, yet all the while I can be there, as a constant, steady observer of it all. So I have roles, and yet I am not my roles."

Allow yourself to realize this as an experienced fact. You know it is true, and you've known all along, although sometimes you may forget it. This is no just another rap, or belief system, or perspective. It is your experience of your life roles, and you are simply allowing yourself to realize that you are observing your own roles.

Now, still as the observer, look at this:

"I have many emotions. My emotions are countless, contradictory, changing. They may swing from love to hatred, from calm to anger, from joy to sorrow, and yet I have been here right along. Even now I am experiencing emotion.. interest, boredom, embarrassment, relaxation. And throughout, I am capable of observing it all. Though a wave of emotion may come over me, it will pass in time. The observer part of me knows that I am having this emotion and yet I am not this emotion. The emotions are constantly changing. The observer remains there, the same. Thus, I have emotions, but I am not my emotions."

Focus your attention on this central concept: "I have emotions, but I am not my emotions." Allow yourself to realize this as an experienced fact, not just a belief. Think of things you have liked, and don't like any longer; of fears that you once had that now are resolved. Yet you experience yourself as a constant. You are there through it all.

(Leave a period of silence)

Now let's turn to a most difficult area. Your own thoughts. Consider this:

"I have thoughts, but I am not my thoughts. My thoughts are constantly changing. In my life I have gained new ideas, new knowledge and experience. I can think something falsely and then find out the truth and think something entirely different. Sometimes my thoughts are foolish and make little sense. Sometimes thoughts come up automatically, from out of nowhere. Yet all the while, the observer part of me is seeing these thoughts. The observer part of me knows that I have thoughts, and yet I am not my thoughts."

Allow yourself to realize this as an experienced fact. This is the way it is, though often we lose touch with it. And notice even as you realize this, that your stream of thoughts will continue. And you may get caught up with them. And yet in the instant that you realize that, you also realize that a part of you is standing back, watching it all. So now watch your thoughts for a few moments-- and see that watching happened, and then observe that as well. (Leave a period of silence)

So you are not just your body... your thoughts... your feelings... your roles. These things are the content of you life, while you are the arena... the context... the space in which they unfold.

As you see that, notice how you can distance yourself from the things you've been struggling with, and putting up with. You've been trying to change your roles, to get rid of your "bad" feelings, to control your mind. And the more you do that, the worse it gets... The more entangled you become... the less you are even "there." You've been trying to change the content of your life. Yet the observer knows that there is no need for the struggle. You don't have to change these things first before your life can work, because they are not you anyway. You can give up the struggle, and start being OK about yourself. Not because you think so, but because the observer knows that as an experienced fact.

(Pause a few moments)

Now again picture yourself in this room. And now picture the room. Picture (describe the room). And when you are ready to come back into the room, open your eyes.

d. Process with the client his or her experience of the exercise just completed. Avoid analysis of the experience, but focus on the experience itself. Leave the client with reference to the chessboard metaphor, saying, "There is one other thing which the board, as a board can do, other than hold the pieces. It can see what is there, feel what is there, and still say, `Here we go'! Next week we'll be talking a little more about what this taking a direction is all about."

notion of completion

Hi Steven, 

I've read with fascination the Time magazine article a few years ago and I am currently reading 'Get out of your mind and get into your life'. I have a question: Have you heard of Landmark education? In landmark education there is the notion of completion. How does fit into your framework? 

In my experience it works sometimes and it does not work other times. My understanding is, completion of a past incident of what we said to ourselves can be complete of any lingering effects if one is able to stand in the self and see the incident as separate from ourselves. But from my understanding of your work, such feelings and messages the past may come back again and again but we have the power to see it as something from the past and therefore have a choice since we can stand in the self.

Does your theoretical framework support the notion of completion?



measuring progress in the patient

I have 1 session left in the ACT program. I would like to chat with anyone, therapist or patient, who has seen a patient go through the program and if there are any measurements, parameters, anything that you can put a finger on or define to talk about progress. I think I feel better is a little abstract. What have other people experienced. I have a clinical psychologist, Ph.D, we have a very good relationship and I think we have done good work. Again, what does that mean? My underlying diagnosis is PTSD, childhood onset. I'm 56. Would love to chat online with anyone with experience with this stuff.