Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The 10 StEPs in Relation to ACT, Buddhism & Object Relations Theory for Insight Work

I learned to use the first seven of 10 StEPs to -- in typical Buddhist parlance -- awaken the mind from it's usual, semi-conscious slumber in common cultural programming, or -- in psychoanalytic terms -- shake the ego out of its introjected and then re-projected object representations (see links on "object relations" below, as well as the later note about Buddhism added to this post in April 2016). 

Each successive StEP is both the object and result of the one that precedes it. 

Working "forward" in order, Noticing what is is the objective of Observing what is. Recognition of what is is the objective of Noticing what is. Acknowledgement of what is is the objective of Recognizing what is. Acceptance of what is is the objective of Acknowledging what is. Ownership of what is is the objective of Accepting what is. And Appreciation of what is is the objective of Owning what is. 

Working "backward," Appreciating what is is the result of Owning what is. Owning what is is the result of Accepting what is. Accepting what is is the result of Acknowledging what is. Acknowledging what is is the result of Recognizing what is. Recognizing what is is the result of Noticing what is. And Noticing what is is the result of Observing to see, hear, feel and sense what is. 

Those first seven ACTions (see the links to Steven Hayes's views of what psychotherapeutic ACTion is -- and is not -- below) seem to kick-start an at-first linear, but then cyclical, feedback-looping process that begins at the eighth "StEP," which is Understanding in precisely the manner described by Jiddu Krishnamurti in lecture after lecture and book after book (see below). (In Krishnamurti's view, "understanding" was only possible as the result of unfettered, uncontaminated, empirical observation. Period.) 

Understanding is more of an arrival or automatic result of the ACTions taken in the previous seven StEPs. But one has to get there to kick the door open to the Detachment (as in Buddhist parlance), De-Fusion (as per Hayes et al), Digestion or metabolization of the neurochemistry driving the affective states (e.g.: worry, remorse, regret, anxiety, grief, frustration, anger, rage) and Discharge that will also occur "automatically" at the ninth StEP if one continues to stay in the process by just Observing, Noticing, Recognizing, etc.  

BUT (and this is a very major but)... one has to know experientially what all of the labels of each StEP mean. And the only way I know of to get that down is to apply mindfulness skills when one reads the definitions of each of those terms, pretty much -- though not necessarily exactly -- as I ran them down from online dictionary definitions in the post at

Thereafter, it just comes down to using the StEPs in fairly much -- though not necessarily precisely -- the order I suggested. Because I do see that use in actual context may not work in that exact order, or even that all of the StEPs are required. (I often drop StEP six -- or Own -- out, because it doesn't fit in the context of some circumstance I am looking into "mindfully.") 

Hayes links: and

Krishnamurti links:

Object Relations links: and

(Don't get too hung up about grasping O/R if you're not a professional; the stuff requires a lot of "pre-requisites" to get one's mind wrapped around it for most people.) 

A later addition: 

I had not read -- or even heard of -- Stephen Batchelor's Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening (New York: Riverhead / Penguin, 1997). I found it recently when I began to dig into an increasing conflict between Buddhist meditation as a psychotherapeutic "practice" or "method" and Buddhism, a collection of proscribed doctrines, dogmas and beliefs. 

Batchelor did me the considerable favor of both fleshing out and clarifying my own concerns about the "institutional religification" of what Siddartha Gautama came up with 2600 years ago as an existential psychotherapy for the resolution of anguish. Anguish, according the Buddha, was functionally relieved by observation, perception, recognition, acceptance, ownership, appreciation and understanding of its existence, its origins in craving and attachment, its cessation and the path thereto. 

Thus, all I have really done in the development of the 10 StEPs is re-dis-cover the Same Old Truth, albeit with the considerable help of those cited in the list of resources following the later article at and highlighted immediately below:

Stephen Batchelor, Stanley & Carolyn Block, Tara Brach, Pema Chodron, Arthur Deikman, Daniel Goleman, William Hart & S. N. Goenka, Stephen Hayes et al, Jean Klein, Joel Kramer & Diana Alstad, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Stephen Levine, Daniel Siegel, Charles Tart, Eckhart Tolle, Chogyam Trungpa, Sheri van Dijk, Alan Watts, and Mark Williams et al.

© 2016 by Rodger Garrett; all rights reserved. Links are permitted. Please contact with comments or questions. Thank you.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Wisdom of Insecurity

Yes;  it is the title of a 64-year-old classic by the late (and greatly appreciated) Alan Watts. That book is highly recommended.

As is the one by the late Jiddu Krishnamurti entitled Inward Revolution (London: Shambala, 2006, and do see the link at the bottom hereof to his Wikipedia page) that triggered me to look into the matter of supposed "security" in interpersonal relationship, where it comes from, and how it can only contaminate, corrupt and ultimately make a co-dependent mess when we require it.

The word "require" is italicized above because I am using it in the sense that Stanley and Carolyn Block has used it in a series of excellent, self-help workbooks (see below). For them, a "requirement" is a mental demand, a must, a have-to. It's use in this particular context should become obvious in a few minutes.

Back to Krishnamurti, who was, as usual, expounding upon the nature of so-called "knowledge" as belief that what has been experienced in the more distant past is wholly and thoroughly reliable as an indication of what has just happened... as well as what is likely to occur in the future. Krishnamurti was more than wise enough to grasp the dialectic between the obvious utility of lessons learned as well as the potential of past experience to mislead (as it does for the delusionally paranoid schizophrenic and many with severe post-traumatic stress disorder, for example).

He saw very clearly in lecture after lecture (and book after book; there are more than fifty that I know of) that history is great stuff in the realms of technology, politics, the law and just remembering where you put your keys. But he also saw that mindless attachment to what happened in the past -- without due diligence to the potential for misapplication thereof in the present or future -- is probably the No. 1 reason for conflict in relationships.

For my part, I will suggest that this occurs because we have been almost universally conditioned to look to the past for explanations of the present and possible future from virtually every possible direction since we were old enough to understand verbal re-present-ations (yes; please do consider the way I just broke up that word). Small children, after all, are far more oriented to what is vs. what was, may have been, will or might be. But, we teach them, both instructionally and by behaviorally modeled example how to project explanations, interpretations, evaluations, assessments, judgments and attributions of meaning from experiences of the more distant past into events of the more recent past, as well as a future that has not yet occurred.

(Reconsidering the mental activities of the traumatized combat veteran or rape victim, as well as the schizophrenic who was repeatedly confused by his "crazy-making" family of origin may ring some bells here.)

Again, back to Krishnamurti, who said regularly that 1) "love is the result of seeing what is in relationship," and 2) "you can see how knowledge -- which is the past; the images you have built -- prevents relationship" by displacing observation in the present in favor of fragmented and suspect memory, ill-considered experience and (even worse) unconscious behavioral policies derived from internalized, unexamined and often unrecognized beliefs, instructions, rules and requirements.

"Don't just sit; use your capacities [to observe without unconscious judgment]," he wrote. So I did. And after a few minutes, I wrote:

"The vast majority of people will never understand that the concept of 'security' is just that... and only that: a concept. A mental invention by someone in the distant, un-recalled past that was repeated often enough (by those savvy -- and cynical -- enough to understand its profit potential in a world full of threats to life and limb? I dunno) to make it stick. "Security" is one of many ideas about the way things should be or ought to be or must be or are required to be that only exist as ideas. But if taught, trained, instructed and repeated sufficiently, such ideas become socialized, habituated, accustomed and normalized to such an extent that they are then taken for granted without further consideration.

"If we do consider it, however, we can see that 'security' is merely a hopeful, barely conscious projection of strongly desired future circumstances, regardless of whether those circumstances can actually ever exist... or not. Which -- because there is no such thing as wholly reliable fortune-telling or predicting what will be, makes 'security' a fantasy.

"The instant we are re-captured by our conditioned, socialized, habituated and normalized belief in, desire and demand for, and requirement of 'security,' we are no longer in direct contact with the actuality of the present moment. We are out the door and into Krishnamurti's specific conceptualization of mental 'time.' Which is projecting the future according to the fleeting, fragmented, suspect, often inaccurate, unquestioned and even unconscious memories of the past.

"One may have felt 'secure' in the arms of one's mother when one was a toddler. But as that toddler grows into school-yard childhood, he or she is confronted with the fact that The World is The Way It Is... regardless of how he or she might prefer it to be. And if it weren't for the perpetuation of the fantasy of 'security' by the agents of cult-ural tradition -- not to mention those who stand to make a buck selling it as the antidote to in-security (which really does exist) -- most children would see, hear and otherwise sense reality and come to terms with it.

"For many (and especially those who survived -- rather than enjoyed -- childhood) the institution of marriage is one of the unfortunate upshots of the actuality of in-security and the fantasy of supposed 'security.' Authors like Melody Beattie, Anne Wilson Schaef, Barry & Janae Weinhold, Charles Whitfield and the redoubtable Pia Mellody built entire careers on demonstrating the upshots clinging to the fantasy of supposed 'security' in marriage, as well as other institutions. They call the result 'co-dependence.'"

A bit later, it occurred to me that all of those authors did a bang-up job of describing the syndrome, its patterns and characteristics, and how to work around it, none of them got down to the core of the onion. Which is -- at least in my view, and that of some of the other authors listed in the References below -- psychotizing the populace into co-dependence by marching on and on behind the tattered flag of something dearly (and direly) hoped for that simply doesn't exist: 'security.'

If "security" really doesn't exist, what do we do? "99.99% of the population has been lulled into a daydream. If we wake them up, they'll go nuts!" Sadly, some of them do. Schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder -- see Gunderson, Millon, Freidel, Preston, and Kreger below -- are very often the result of insisting upon "security" instead of its far better alternatives.

The principle alternative is skill. Skill at dealing with life. And that skill is built on the diametric opposite of fantasy and belief.

I was able to develop the skill in the manner described at length at and discussed with respect to broader issues at There are other ways, of course. And a number of them are mentioned in those two articles. Some have used Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Some have used Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Some have used Action & Commitment Therapy. Some of have used Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. Some have used Mind-Body Bridging Therapy. Some have used the even newer somatic experiencing therapies. And some have used what they have learned from the real spiritual giants like Siddartha Gautama, George Gurdjieff and Jiddu Krishnamurti.

(A pair of earlier posts that may be germane: and

The main thing is to find one's way up the path however they do. Because "security" is just a superstition, and as Stevie said...


Anonymous: Co-Dependents Anonymous, Phoenix, AZ: Co-Dependents Anonymous, 1995.

Beattie, M.: Codependent No More, San Francisco: Harper/Hazelden, 1987.

Beattie, M.: Beyond Codependency, San Francisco: Harper/Hazelden, 1989.

Beattie, M.: Codependents’ Guide to the Twelve Steps, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990.

Beattie, M.: The New Codependency: Help and Guidance for Today’s Generation: Simon & Schuster, 2008.

Block, S.; Block, C.: Come to Your Senses: Demystifying the Mind-Body Connection, New York: Atria Books / Beyond Words (Simon & Schuster), 2005, 2007.  

Block, S.; Block, C.: Mind-Body Workbook for PTSD, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2010. 

Block, S.; Block, C.: Mind-Body Workbook for Anger, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2013.

Friedel, R.: Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified: An Essential Guide for Understanding and Living with BPD, Cambridge, MA: De Capo Press, 2004. 

Gunderson, J.: Borderline Personality Disorder, New York: American Psychiatric Publishing, 1984.

Gurdjieff, G.: Life is Real Only Then, When I Am, New York: Viking, 1974, 1991. 

Henry, J.: Culture Against Man, New York: Random House, 1964.

Henry, J.: Pathways to Madness, New York: Random House, 1965. Schizophrenia.

Henry, J.: On Sham, Vulnerability and other forms of Self-Destruction, London: Allan Lane / Penguin Press, 1973. 

Hoffer, E.: The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, New York: Harper and Row, 1951, 1966.

Kreger, R.; Shirley, P.: The Stop Walking on Eggshells Workbook; Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2002. 

Krishnamurti, J.: Education and the Significance of Life, San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, (1953) 1975.

Krishnamurti, J.; Luytens, M.: The Krishnamurti Reader, New York: Penguin Arcana, (1954, 1963, 1964) 1970.

Krishnamurti, J.; Huxley, A.: The First & Last Freedom, San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, (1954) 1975.

Krishnamurti, J.: As One Is: To Free the Mind from All Conditioning, Prescott AZ: Hohm Press, (1955) 2007.

Krishnamurti, J.; Rajagopal, D.: Commentaries on Life, 1st Series, Wheaton IL: Theosophical Publishing, (1956) 1973.

Krishnamurti, J.: Rajagopal, D.: Commentaries on Life, 2nd Series, Wheaton IL: Theosophical Publishing, (1956) 1976.

Krishnamurti, J.: Rajagopal, D.: Commentaries on Life, 3rd Series, Wheaton IL: Theosophical Publishing, (1956) 1967.

Krishnamurti, J.; Luytens, M.: Freedom from the Known, San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1969.

Krishnamurti, J.; Luytens, M.: The Second Penguin Krishnamurti Reader, New York: Penguin Arcana, 1970.

Krishnamurti, J.: Krishnamurti’s Notebook, San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, (1961) 1976.

Krishnamurti, J.: The Awakening of Intelligence, San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1973, 1987.

Krishnamurti, J.: On God, San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992.

Krishnamurti, J.: On Fear, San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992.

Krishnamurti, J.: On Love and Loneliness, San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993.

Krishnamurti, J.: The Book of Life: Daily Meditations with Krishnamurti, New York: HarperCollins, 1995.

Krishnamurti, J.: Total Freedom: The Essential Krishnamurti, New York: HarperCollins, 1996.

Mellody, P.; Miller, A. W.: Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Come From, How It Sabotages Our Lives, San Francisco: Harper, 1989.

Mellody, P.: Miller, A. W.: Facing Love Addiction: Giving Yourself the Power to Change the Way You Live, San Francisco, Harper, 1992.

Millon, T.; Grossman, S.; Meagher, S., Millon, C., Everly, G.: Personality Guided Therapy, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1999.  

Millon, T.; Grossman, S.: Moderating Severe Personality Disorders: A Personalized Psychotherapy Approach, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2007.    

Ouspensky, P. D.; In Search of the Miraculous: The Teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff, New York: Harcourt Harvest, (1949) 2001.

Preston, J.: Integrative Treatment for the Borderline Personality Disorder, Oakland: New Harbinger, 2006.

Rinpoche, S.: The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying, San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992.

Schaef, A. W.: Escape from Intimacy, New York: Harper-Collins, 1987.

Schaef, A. W.: Co-dependence: Misunderstood, Mistreated, New York: HarperOne, 1992.

Siegel, D.: Reflections on the Mindful Brain, in Mind Your Brain, Los Angeles: Lifespan Learning Institute, 2007.

Siegel, D.: The Mindful Therapist: A Clinician’s Guide to Mindsight and Neural Integration, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010.

Siegel, D.: Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation, New York: Bantam, 2010.

Siegel, R.: The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems, New York: The Guildford Press, 2010.

Speeth, K. R.: The Gurdjieff Work, Los Angeles: J. P. Tarcher, 1989.    

Tart, C. (ed.): Transpersonal Psychologies: Perspectives on the Mind from Seven Great Spiritual Traditions, San Francisco: Harper-Collins, 1975, 1992.

Tart, C.: Waking Up: Overcoming the Obstacles to Human Potential, New York: New Science Library, 1987.

Tart, C.: Living the Mindful Life: a handbook for living in the present moment, Boston: Shambala, 1994.

Tart, C.: Mind Science: Meditation Training for Practical People, Napa, CA: Fearless Books, 2013.  

Trungpa, C.: The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation, Boston: Shambala, 1976, 2001.

Trungpa, C.: Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Boston: Shambala: 1973, 2002.

Trungpa, C.: The Heart of the Buddha, Boston: Shambala: 1991.

Weinhold, B.; Weinhold, J.: Breaking Free of the Co-dependency Trap, Revised Edition, Novato, CA: New World Library, 2008.

Weinhold, J.; Weinhold, B.: The Flight from Intimacy: Counter-dependency--The Other Side of Co-dependency; Novato, CA: New World Library, 2008.

Whitfield, C.: Co-Dependence: Healing the Human Condition, Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications Inc. 1991.

Watts, A.: The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for the Age of Anxiety, New York: Random House, 1951.

Watts, A.: Nature, Man and Woman, New York: Random House, 1958.

Watts, A.: The Book: On the Taboo of Knowing Who You Are, New York: Random House, 1966.

© 2016 by Rodger Garrett; all rights reserved. Links are permitted. Please contact with comments or questions. Thank you.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Using the 10 StEPs as a Somato-Sensory Psychotherapy for Impulsive Reactivity to Environmental Triggers

An extensive description of the 10 StEPs of Emotion Processing is provided at

Building upon the platforms of

1) Erik Erikson's eight-stage developmental schematic (see link below),
2) Karl Menninger's "mentalizing" (see link below) and
3) Jon Kabat-Zinn et al's "mindfulness" (see link below); seems worth hypothesizing that the 10 StEPs can be utilized to "redevelop" the neural linkages that were both under- and mis-constructed during Erikson's trust, autonomy, initiative and competence stages of psychosocial development. I was looking into a "dysfunctional family" schematic handily described in object relations terminology by Shapiro, Shapiro, Zinner and Berkowitz in Jill Scharff's Foundations of Object Relations Family Therapy. In it, I was able to see how the 10 StEPs could be utilized to provide a developmentally retarded adolescent with the tools to not only work out of her over-socialized family of origin's subtle, very well-disguised double binding (see link below) but also deal with the affecting re-triggering of it one encounters in the common culture. (Because one will encounter such paradoxical injunctions as "be dependent on us" vs. "don't be dependent upon us" at least daily in the common culture.)

Dealing with such re-triggering is crucial for those who have been double-bound into neurotic, borderline and psychotic conflicts. Because while psychoanalytic interpretations (see below) of such dynamics in the family of origin may clear up the *original* problem, the cognitive-affective-behavioral energy tends to remain stored in somato-sensory channels in the PTSD fashion described by Bessel van der Kolk, Pat Ogden, Peter Levine, Robert Sapolsky, Bruce McEwen, Sonya Lupien et al. The construction of neural "hard-wiring" that resulted from the original trauma is not changed -- or de-constructed -- by insight psychotherapies. It is still there. And it can -- and probably will -- be re-activated by environmental challenges that deliver the same, subtle, typical well-disguised, "do this" but "do don't do this" message in the future. (The dynamic was well described by Martin Seligman in his work on "learned helplessness," see below).

I have seen (and heard) the particular dynamic described in Scharff in almost every Alanon, Co-Dependents Anonymous and Adult Children of Alcoholics 12 Step meeting I have ever attended since 1986 (see links below). I have heard it so many times now that I suppose that it must lay at or very near the essential etiology of the clinical depression, anxiety, PTSD and obsessive-compulsive behavioral presentations one can so easily observe in such meetings.

It is my notion that the acquisition of reality-based and effective ego functions is rendered difficult if not impossible by repeated family of origin conditioning ("socialization") of the sort described above to the point of unconscious internalization, repetitive habituation (in Watsonian / Skinnerian fashion; see link below) and normalization. In simple terms, the habituee is never conscious, mindful or aware of the automation of a cognitive-affective-behavioral chain and feedback loop he or she "ingested" over the course of years or decades. And this chain becomes an unconscious filter through which the habituee sees, hears and senses interpersonal relations, as well as the emotional energy -- or "force" -- that propels his or her automated, reactive behaviors.  

Worse, it is likely that those who are unconsciously double-bound in such fashion will feel increasingly stigmatized, invalidated, humiliated, demonized, rejected, bused and abandoned. And not only by the behavior of the family of origin, but by the reactions of those outside of and beyond the nuclear family in whom they project images of family members because these outsiders may in some ways resemble or remind them of the originals in ways that range from subtle to obvious... but to whom the habituees are "strangely attracted." (As Freud and Harry Stack Sullivan suggested decades ago, one with unresolved issues from the nuclear family is often drawn to those who seem "pathologically normal" to them.)

As stated above, it is generally useful to get the essential, pathologizing dynamic down via some form of insight work (as is often done in the 12 Step programs mentioned above). But unless the habituee has 1) the capacity to see him- or herself walking into the same old Karpman Drama Triangle (see link below) yet again, and 2) the ability to deal with the cognitive, emotional and behavioral upshots of it, the clinical manifestations are likely to flood back into florid reactivation.

So here's the suggested ACTion (as per Stephen Hayes, Victoria Follette, et al):

Learn how to...

1) observe (look, listen, feel) to
2) notice (perceive) to
3) recognize (identify) to
4) acknowledge (be aware of) to
5) accept (as being what is) to
6) own (as being what is in one's own mind) to
7) appreciate (why this is happening yet again) to
8) understand (in such depth that one can do the following) to
9) detach / defuse and digest / metabolize / discharge the affects (emotions, feelings, sensations) that drive the impulse to re-act in pretty much the same way one did as a child, masking off "intolerable" shame (for insufficiency and incompetence), guilt, anxiety, worry, remorse and regret to
10) get up out of the habituated cognitive / affective / behavioral box.

Rather than... fall into the twin traps of...

1) semi-consciously attempting to *suppress* the uncomfortable (believed to be "intolerable") experience with "behavioral control" or "stuffing" or "thought-stopping" or "changing the subject" or elective distraction; or

2) un-consciously trying to *repress* the uncomfortable experience with some form of acting out which could include anything from obvious, defensive hostility or "cooperative caving in" to sudden expositions of dissociation from the present moment into descriptive re-experiencing of other more pleasant events in the past.

The suppression and/or repression of the affective energy fueling the impulse to re-act is precisely what keeps the cycle of abuse (see link below) going.

Suppression and/or repression make it effectively impossible to transit the necessary stages of observation, perception, recognition, acknowledgment, acceptance, ownership, appreciation and understand that have to be transited to reach the then automatic result of de-fusing / detachment from the cognitive-affective-behavioral cycle and digestion / metabolization of the neurochemistry of the affects (emotions, sensations, feelings) that produces the release.

That neurochemically-fueled energy has to be "bled off." And the only way to do it is through 1) pharmacological intervention or 2) some form of conscious -- or "mindful" -- continuing awareness of it as sensory experience in the manner described by Marsha Linehan and the afforementioned van der Kolk, Ogden, Levine; all experts in the effective treatment of PTSD. The problem with the former, of course, is that it actually prevents the processing described here... and, thus, the long-term "de-pressurizing" of the thought-feeling-behavior cycle. Medication use will put the kybosh on the current cycle... but not the triggering or cause of its ultimate (and repeated) re-cycling. 

The 10 StEPs is a way to do that, but moreover, it is a way to compress the required ACTions in such treatment schemes into a mnemonic that can be easily memorized and recalled when potent affects creep into the greatly increased and improved self-awareness such therapies as those listed below tend to produce in those who commit themselves to acquiring such awareness... or "mindfulness."

One can find the references mentioned in this article below the original article on the 10 StEPs at Additionally, a later article in this series on the use of Ogden's Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for Trauma in conjunction with the 10 StEPs appears at

© 2016 by Rodger Garrett; all rights reserved. Links are permitted. Please contact with comments or questions. Thank you.