This method suggests that the ‘self’ can be thought of a product of four relationships – to the (i) Body, (ii) Others, (iii) Thinking and (iv) Emotions. (B.O.T.E). Our aim is to explore how these four relationships emerged as a product of conscious and unconscious adaptation to surroundings from an early age. By taking a new perspective on how these relationships were formed the individual will gain sufficient understanding to stop blaming themselves for their behaviour and choose how they wish to live rather than following habitual and unwanted patterns.
Body. In this first session we explore how the client formed a relationship to his or her body. This begins with an enquiry into the stability of their grounding – the roots of their upbringing. We then discuss the extent to which individual was nurtured by their caregivers. What example was set by their parents: were they mechanical beings with strict timetables and an interest in discipline? Were they physically affectionate each other? Did the parents present their labour as a form of sacrifice which explained their bodily exhaustion or were they playful and open? Which of these bodily practices is the individual repeating now and how does this affect them?
Others. A fundamental element of grounding explored in the first session is the role Others play in it. If the individual has been securely grounded, then other people will have a less powerful role in shaping their behaviour. If, however the childhood of the individual featured many changes of address, family upsets and sudden traumas then the effects of these will still be with the adult and resonate in forms such as ‘people-pleasing’ in which every effort is made to cling onto people lest the original fear and anxiety of the past return. This session enables the client to stop blaming themselves for their responses to others and to begin taking a more compassionate approach.
Thinking. Everyone thinks in a certain way. It becomes the belief of the individual that they are their thinking in the most fundamental sense. This session begins by helping the individual gain a distance on their thinking so that they’re not overwhelmed by their thoughts. For example, a thinking style such as ‘magnification’ blows a small matter out of all proportion. The client knows that what they are doing is irrational, but they still indulge in it. Magnification is one of several unwilled responses to situations in which the emotions overpower thinking and effectively dismantle it. This session explores methods that allow the individual to step back from their thinking and produce responses which are calm and reasoned.
Emotions. It is not feasible to separate emotions from Body, Others and Thinking. In this session we focus on the Emotions to explore the individuals’ habitual response to them. For example, it is not uncommon to compartmentalise the emotions. Whilst this may have value in a particular moment, a continued practice of filing emotional responses away for another time can have the effect of building up their power, this may then be expressed in bursts of inexplicable anger and anxiety. The client will have learnt their relationship to their emotions from their parents, but it is this style of adaptation/self-management that may be at the core of their state of being. The session will help the client reflect on how this adaptation developed and then lead the client to a relationship to their emotions which is collaborative, accepting and compassionate.
The final session enables reflections on the previous sessions and suggests further lines of enquiry. Once the client has learnt how they were formed by adaptation they can now explore life as choices not compulsions. The client now has a more centred self and is equipped with the tools to bring themselves back into balance and alignment when confronted with life’s challenges.