Beyond Recovery – Inspiring Self-Realization and Self-Actualization

in Mental Health and Addiction Rehab

As addiction or mental health counsellors our impact must go deeper than that of suppressing, treating, or easing the unhealthy behaviour or mood. There is also the less visible condition of the fears, insecurities, sensitivities, demands, and misjudgments that are part of the disorder and interfere with both recovery and purposeful living even as the visible manifestations of the disorder appear to be lifted.

We can’t manage these for the person, but we can show the person how to manage it for themselves  so they live purposefully and productively rather than exist passively, even without the visible manifestations of the disorder.  We do it by knowing how to look into the psyche of our client and empower them to fix those issues beyond or after helping them manage the addiction or emotional pain. This course promises to show you how to do that while also remaining objective, caring, and purposeful.

“Lives of great men reached and kept, were not attained by sudden flight
but they, while their companions slept, kept toiling onwards through the night
” Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

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This course has been approved for 25 hours CE credits by the following organizations:

AN INTRODUCTION

There is a common fallacy that seems to pervade the delivery of addiction and mental health rehabilitation. This is that, behind the addiction, behind the overt behaviour or mood swings, there lies a conscious or rational mind that has just not yet taken authority over a distorted, diseased, or overpowering limbic system.  It is considered that its authority will return naturally as a strong and prepossessing force when we can contain, treat, suppress, or retrain the limbic system. This is no different from the parent who expects a youth to “act their age” or a manager who believes that financial reward/punishment will allow the developed but lazy conscious abilities to come to the forefront.

Nothing can be further from the truth.

Rational strength and capabilities must be purposefully realized and actualized as the essence of the person, the presence that defines and drives us. Observation of feral children has confirmed this. You may have learned how to teach your clients to correct their behaviour or activity and may even have perfected your approach to setting them on the path to recovery. You may have learned how to heal or help heal the hurts and disorders or diseases that may have contributed to or resulted from their behaviour. They still need and want you to restore, and show them how to keep that belief in themselves that propels them to better ‘doing’ and happier ‘being’.

This course will lead you to look at unhealthy behaviors and moods as natural, primal instincts that are ordinarily part of the human experience. They are our inherited strengths, the seed capital from which everyone is required to emerge. Everyone, however, also has to be personally enabled to access the power of mental strength and acuity and propel themselves beyond the limits of primal instincts. In other words, understanding overrules natural instinct. Insufficient understanding lets instinct rule, and it can become dysfunctional when used too often, too easily, or too intensely.

Any reliance, therefore, on primal instincts and the neurological pathways that serve and propel them reveals not only the disorder that must be overcome but also an insufficient mental maturation that must be redirected and refocused.

This course will guide you, in three sections, to purposefully and intelligently address the mental disequilibrium of your client as being an underdeveloped state that is definitely associated with the addiction, may have caused it or may have resulted from it, and help them correct that in order to achieve sustained recovery.

This will allow you to help them discover and embrace the idea that that life is but a journey

To an unknown destination

Often through unknown territory, tough challenges, and frequent stumbles.

That these are gifts, not penalties.  They are meant to make us stronger

Not weaken or dissuade us, because

Life is based on change.

So change is part of life; it is not a disruption of a stability that does not really exist.

We, on the other hand, are unique.

We are not made of the same elements as is the physical reality we occupy and from which we must emerge

Stronger

Surer

Happier

That, however, is something we must discover; it does not come naturally.
We must learn why it is our destiny – self-realization – and reach it purposefully – self-actualization.

This page is  for examination only. Some of the links are active so you can see how the course is delivered. The active links in the essay handouts are not part of the course and are inserted as readings you can use to see what type of arguments we will provide.  When in the course, you can challenge or request clarification on any handout.

Section 1. The Analysis - LOOK WHERE YOU CAN'T SEE

This is a discourse on how to look behind the behaviour and determine the parameters of what cannot be seen – the feelings, thoughts, capabilities, and limitations of the person. It shows how to look into how the client sees the world and their place in it, what are the visions that drive them and the insecurities that hinder them and generate the defensive behaviours.

Our job as forerunners, managers, counsellors, or parents is to help our protégés understand themselves, the inner essence that is their personality. To do that, we must be able to look into how they see the world and their place in it, not lead them as our project or responsibility.

This allows us to give them insights that empower them to examine themselves deeper and more objectively than they may have done before. Remember, a person knows HIM/HERSELF better than anyone else can. With the insights we lead them to have, they will be able to examine themselves deeper and more accurately than we can ever do for them.

This first part will encourage you to place greater focus on the person as an intelligent mind with the capacity to grow regardless of their level of immaturity or misperception of the world and their place in it. This will give you greater connection with your clients than you can get focusing on present feelings or on curtailing behaviours that are really only manifestations of the insecure inner core.

Let’s face it, however, whether the client is coming out of an addiction or actively engaged in the lifestyle, that person will be emotionally unstable. It is possible that the instability or uncertainty may have caused the addiction or caused by it. Regardless, it is an essential component in the healing process and cannot be left to casual or delayed consideration. It must be understood and incorporated in the treatment process if any positive outcome is to be expected or lasting.

You must be familiar with these different reasons. Some people use substances as an escape from the stresses of responsibility. Some people use as a means of soothing themselves physically or emotionally after enduring the ravages of a stressful reality. Some people use to build the determination or enhance their performance, albeit artificially, to face the stresses of responsibility. Yet, the more they use, the more that balance is compromised and the more they need to use. Thus, there is a need that compromises the emotional balance. While that need remains, the emotional integrity will stay compromised.

This part of the course will show you how to understand these differences, examine the connection between a need for soothing or one for boosting personal capabilities or that for escaping the challenges and the resulting effect this uncertainty brings to the integrity of the client emotionally. You will look at how to give hope to the client, that your focus is not only on taking away their “best friend”, but on giving them a way to have a best friend in themselves. You will learn how to focus on the need and thus become or be seen as a true mentor to the client.

POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS

I see myself as a little boy walking on the seashore diverting myself by now and again picking up a smoother pebble or prettier shell when, all along, the vast ocean of knowledge lies undiscovered before me. Sir Isaac Newton.

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Ah! But a man’s reach must exceed his grasp. Or what’s a heaven for?  Robert Browning

ESSAY HANDOUTS

Have you ever seen a person who has never been in a canoe before try to canoe? It looks like an exercise in frustration. He sits awkwardly on one of the seats and gingerly paddles, first on the right, and then on the left. On a smooth lake, it may even seem to be a pleasant exercise though somewhat overdone. Now suppose such a person sets out bravely enjoying a glassy-smooth lake early one morning. The zigzag path doesn’t concern him as he stays close to shore or secure within a small bay.

Now let us suppose that a young teenager with a fast motor boat zooms by close to this intrepid but inexperienced canoeist. What happens next is not difficult to visualize. The canoe rocks and may even capsize. What does he do?  GET FULL HANDOUT

Self-Esteem is an awareness of self as an existent or entity that is whole, complete, valuable, one who fits in with the reality he/she occupies.

Because there is not any initial self-awareness when a person is born, every child starts life without self-esteem. A child, and subsequently a youth, builds a personal vision of self that is based on attributes that appear to define and present them as the independent and respectable or acceptable individual. Therefore Self-Esteem is low when the attributes that the child can reach to define a value of self are unfavorable, disordered, or fragile. Think about it.

Let us now examine this carefully so we can understand the individual with low or fragile Self-Esteem and also see how to fix it. Perhaps no other self-help topic has spawned so much advice and so many (often conflicting) theories. They falter because they focus on building or replacing those visible attributes, not on the science of a deeper definition of self. So please allow me to walk you through an abstract examination of this dilemma.  READ MORE

Humans are cognitive beings. We think, create ideas and solutions for problems. We also react, but that is a failsafe. Thinking supersedes our instinctual reactions when that is called into play. When we have a problem, therefore, we have two types of responses. One is to act immediately to remove the problem. Another is to determine the cause and manage that. We do that in many areas of life that have come into our cognitive capabilities. We can stop a flood by looking for the leak in the dam. We can fix a motor vehicle’s sputtering by analyzing and then fixing the spark plug or timing belt, whatever we discover as the problem. A doctor does not just give medicines for symptoms. The doctor will first investigate the source and then treat that. READ MORE

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Section 2. Building The Foundation - EXAMINE WHERE NO INSTRUMENT CAN TAKE YOU

This is a discourse on how to engage the client in looking at life objectively. It requires and prepares the counsellor with the ability to place the client at ease while looking at stresses less as impositions that hurt or impede survival and more as challenges that can be used to stimulate and empower. It introduces ways to impart this to the client, first by understanding it themselves, and then displaying it to the clients convincingly. The first level will focus on engaging the counsellor in this understanding. This process of seeing life objectively from an observer state is that of self-actualization.

To be an authority in an area that is obscure, one must first understand obscurity.   This will be your attempt to influence your clients on how and why they should build insights into life, themselves, and their place in their world. We see this as the building of the foundation that allows you to guide them to see themselves more analytically and see what areas they need to build or strengthen. Emotions are obscure, however. We cannot truly measure them. Yet they influence every area of our client’s ability to act, change and react, or recover from an unhealthy state. Emotions are, however, simply the way we feel about ourselves. When we do not feel comfortable, capable, or safe in a particular situation or state, our emotions become frayed. When we feel capable, comfortable, or safe, emotions are balanced, even if those feelings are delusive. No one needs to treat a balanced emotional state. We only need to treat the unbalanced one. And we can feel unbalanced or unstable both when the pressures of life seem overwhelming and when we are weakened by personal limitations. Of course, when both are active or are present at the same time, the imbalance is at its peak. Since you are working with people whose emotional imbalance seems too much, too prolonged, or too frequently experienced, we have to assume or conclude that the combination or too much stress and too limited capacity is at play. To help, therefore, you have to know what causes too much stress, not only for your client, but for anyone. In other words, you have to be an expert on the nature of stress as an obscure phenomenon until released as life responsibilities, social injustice, rejection, or impositions, and interruptions in personal health or stamina. This part of the course will lead you to examine life as a perpetually changing paradigm of components that can make any event, any task significantly different from a more familiar state, and thus more stressful. You will see how this can play out, both in the challenges of social interaction and that of physical health and wellbeing. It will also examine another obscurity. This is the depth of a person’s capabilities, how this is developed and can be re-energized or re-activated. You will do it by first examining yourself and then others from a theoretical perspective. Remember, you will be leading them down a path of responsibility and self-realization that is quite unfamiliar and difficult no matter how intelligent or urbane they may seem to be. It is important to see that, when someone is moving from, say 1 to 100 and they reach 5, the observer sees only 4% improvement. Yet the person has improved 400% from 1.

POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS

The person is the creative mind.  We build and use understanding; the world is change. We have to learn to put them together appropriately.  

The mind is not the body; it is neither part of it nor formed by it but acts through it. We must reach it through the body, not as the body.

ESSAY HANDOUTS

(Published originally in a medical forum)

I have recently seen numerous billboard advertisements about mental health around Toronto. There is something that bothers me about them. The billboards scream mental health but the descriptions immediately launch into mental illness. It is almost a message that mental health is a condition that must be expected, and restored if it happens to be compromised.

Okay. We are used to health care as the sine qua non of medicine, the profession. It is used to mean the caring for physical health through a restoration of what should be there naturally. Physical health is a right. The body arrives as a fully formed system (with some occasional flaws that become part of the whole). Health care is the restoration of that form when it becomes distorted. So health care is a restoration. The mind does not arrive fully formed. So there can be no expectation or right. READ MORE

Self Respect is the ability to maintain dignity in the face of stress, rejection, criticism, or any activity that can erode one`s value systems. In a world of imposing immensity and persistent change, the forces that can strike at anyone`s value systems can be extreme, unprecedented, and persistent. Yet, we cannot contain or control those external events. There is no special stress that will always threaten every person. What threatens is the difference between what is imposed and the strength of the systems defining the person facing those impositions. If something destroys the systems that create value and define self, then it can destroy us. GET FULL HANDOUT

Stress can be defined as the distortion of the internal structure of an object by the imposition of an external pressure.Yet, human beings experience stress, often without apparent distortion. This is because any distortion can be so hidden that it is not easily recognized. In the human being, we are blessed with sensitive receptors that alert us to injuries in any part of the body to allow us to protect it. So, we are often made aware of distortions of even modest levels long before they are represented externally. Thus, we can experience a stress when an organ system is only slightly affected by the pressures imposed from outside. It is also partly because the human being is also a sophisticated mind. This entity can also be stressed. When stressed, it is a distortion that can no more be measured than thought itself. So the stressed mind can experience the stress but cannot manifest it externally to even the most astute observer. An observer is relegated to visualizing his/her own perceptions of a described stress and assuming these to be the experiences of the other. GET PDF HANDOUT

If management can be defined as the process of reaching a state of equilibrium with a task or responsibility, then life as a whole is a management challenge! It is management because, in order to succeed or at the least survive, we are required to achieve an equilibrium with the many things and people that form our environment. It is a challenge because, regardless of how well we may have managed one issue, change creates a disequilibrium requiring another effort at success or survival. In order, therefore, to be successful at any aspect of life – career, health, or relationships – we must first accept the responsibility as managers of our own lives. Then we must look at how this can be achieved most effectively in the highly volatile conditions we face today. GET FULL HANDOUT

AUDIOVISUAL LECTURES

CASUAL CHATS

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ASSESSMENT

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Section 3. Guiding the Application - HEAL WHAT YOU CAN'T TOUCH

This is a discourse on how to engage the client in looking at themselves objectively. It requires and prepares the counsellor with the ability to place the client at ease while looking at, not the faults and failures, but the blanks that need to be filled and how to fill them productively. This gives hope and, with that, the energy and desire to discover self (self-realization). This will also only focus on building the resources within the counsellor as the first level.

Give a man a why to live for and he will handle almost any how. Viktor Frankl.

Now that you have examined the machinations of the human mind, you are ready to do what was proposed in the first module – look where you can’t see. You will learn that you can see that only when the person chooses to reveal it. The good part is that every human being wants to reveal what they think. They are only hampered by the clutter of feelings and actions, and by the uncertainty that what they really have to reveal may be considered insufficient or undesirable. You must know how to help them bypass those concerns honestly and intelligently.

We will show you how to build the trust quickly so you can go about the more important work of empowering the person to expand and appreciate those resources and attitudes. You must, however, be able to distract them from the clutter of feelings and behaviors and help them focus on the art of self-realization and self-actualization.

We will show you how to use movies, books, and essays to help them see themselves objectively, analyze their own behaviours, and have the determination, not to fix them, but to build the power to function above needing them. New behaviors will become logic driven rather than reaction-based. In other words, they will start to change an old behaviour or mood, not by fixing them directly, but by building the opposite attitude and action.

This third section can go on for a long time. But they will realize that they now have the formula. They do not need you to chart their course as they will chart it and change it as the conditions change. Your job would have been done. “Finis coronat opus – the completion crowns the work.

POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS

 Unhealthy moods and behaviours are natural responses used too often, too readily, and too intensely, often in inappropriate conditions. Look for why, not just what.

 

True recovery meanms helping clients go betond addiction.  It means more than sustained abstinence. It means building the moral and intellectual fibre to take on the future with confidence – as the future unfolds.

ESSAY HANDOUTS

The need to communicate effectively in a marriage or family unit is perhaps one of the most challenging responsibilities we must face today. It is a responsibility because a relationship is the most dynamic area of life, dynamism that is based on the hidden, individual thoughts, desires and feelings of the people involved. People think constantly. Their thoughts are generated in directions that are influenced by past experiences, present perceptions and personal feelings. In today`s complex social, economic and mechanical world, no one`s total past experience equals anyone else`s. There may be some overlap, but the specific conditions that form any particular experience is entirely unique, and therefore specific to the person influenced by them. In addition, every situation is so multifaceted that two people observing the same event can have two very different perceptions. READ MORE

Every time I examine articles or listen to discussions on mental health, the subject always either starts with the mental disorders a person seems to experience or reveal, or it gravitates to that. It appears to consider that mental health is a state that signifies normalcy in a person. Then, if that normalcy seems absent or compromised, the conclusion is that the mind is disturbed or ill.

The pervading view, therefore, in the approach to a person with an unhealthy mood or behavior is to recognize the condition as an anomaly and work to remove or suppress it, or t5reat the person as a pariah who cannot be expected to function fully as human. That view is held whether we are trying to manage, heal, direct, judge, or help another person, or if we are the person who is looking for assistance or direction. READ FULL HANDOUT

Core Intervention Therapy is a form of therapeutic intervention that is designed to reach an accurate and easy analysis of the source of an emotional or behavioural malady and coach the participant toward fixing the underlying disorder permanently and effectively. Core Intervention Therapy makes the logical observation that, in a linear model, a task can be successfully managed using fixed logic or programmed skill. When the demands of the challenge increase, it can still be managed with an expanded application of the same skill and logic. A linear model is one that makes the simple assumption that a problem becomes difficult either because the solution is not known by the person experiencing the problem or that the problem is a (linear) extension of that for which a ready solution is available. A complex model recognizes that every problem is generated by a complex variety of conditions so that even a small change can be caused by a number of underlying variables making it a totally new challenge, not an extension of a familiar one. Thus, in a complex model, the application of greater effort can be significantly counter-productive leading to frustration, apprehension, or defeat. The renewed effort must allow the examination of every problem for the full range of invisible variables that give rise to it. This can only be accomplished by a strong core that operates with the flexibility and creativity that fixed logic or programmed skill cannot generate.

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If management can be defined as the process of reaching a state of equilibrium with a task or responsibility, then life as a whole is a management challenge! It is management because, in order to succeed or at the least survive, we are required to achieve an equilibriumWe live in times of great change. No one has been adequately prepared for the disruptions this brings daily in our jobs, family life, health, personal relationships, or the social interactions within the multicultural melting pots of our urban centres. It is natural then that the personal strengths we have learned to rely on will inevitably become stretched, even to breaking point. The result is that accountable people have time only to put out fires and many of us are beginning to fail at out jobs or relationships, addicted to the substances and activities that offer trivial respite, or lost in emotional angst we cannot escape long enough before the next stress arrives. These Unhealthy Moods and Inappropriate Behaviours can severely jeopardize our social, material, or physical wellbeing. We need to understand them before we try to fix them, or we will be left going around in circles and getting results only for trivial moments. with the many things and people that form our environment. It is a challenge because, regardless of how well we may have managed one issue, change creates a disequilibrium requiring another effort at success or survival. In order, therefore, to be successful at any aspect of life – career, health, or relationships – we must first accept the responsibility as managers of our own lives. Then we must look at how this can be achieved most effectively in the highly volatile conditions we face today.

GET FULL HANDOUT

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A SUMMARY

We propose that nobody is inherently bad or sick or purposefully wrong.

What we show is that everyone operates sometimes in darkness, and sometimes in clarity.

When anyone is acting in places of clarity that person will act appropriately, and with consideration. An inappropriate response is simply a natural physiological response when the rational mind is operating in  a state of darkness.

Therefore, a person who responds inappropriately should not be treated as wrong or sick first. He/she should be recognized as being insufficiently enlightened and simply falling back to basic instincts.

We cannot judge someone who is operating out of a dark place and punish them for being wrong, treat them for being sick, or fix them with our solutions.  We have to first discover their darkness by uncovering the areas of enlightenment, and offer to “turn on their light”. A person can only be judged unworthy if that person refuses to build enlightenment.

This technique is based on the understanding that all humans are souls, born rudimentary – in darkness – but invited to build the power of that soul. We owe it to those who seek our counsel to give them at least that fighting chance.

This is what Prometheus did. He defied Zeus who was angry with man and took fire from man as punishment, leaving them in darkness.  Prometheus stole fire from heaven and taught it to man – the sign of enlightenment. Of course the part easily remembered is that Prometheus was punished by being tied to a rock and the ravens came nightly and ate his liver. The next day the liver will grow back making a continuous feast for the ravens and continuous pain for Prometheus. But he did a good deed. He was the god of wisdom. He gave us the fire of enlightenment.

We, mental health workers and addiction counsellors, see people who are easily condemned by others as wrong, sick, or foolish.  We, however, understand that they are functioning from a state of darkness, a darkness to which we are all born. Some stay in it because they did not have the opportunity to build clarity.  We, as counsellors, can make a difference. We can share the fire and let our protégés build greater clarity because that is what makes us unique.

You must remember, however, that your job as a counsellor is not to be responsible for your client; it is to teach them to be responsible for themselves.  When you have done that, your job is done. Know when to let go.  People will stumble. Some may need refresher courses, but as long as you have given the message that life is for growing up, not for just being, your part is done.  Let go! Be compassionate if your client needs reassurance.  Give again your message of self-actualization. And free then client to be self-accountable.

You may not have taken away any specific pearls of wisdom from this course, but you will notice that you are already seeing things differently, projecting yourself differently.  I hope it will give you satisfaction and a greater influence where you can make your presence felt. Take great pleasure in your work. It deserves you.

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