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The Four Elements Of Recovery

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The four elements of recovery are:

• Behavioural Action

• Emotional Expression

• Cognitive Reconstruction

• Spiritual Awareness

These elements reflect the four natural planes of existence that contain all human experience, namely:

• Physical

• Emotional

• Mental

• Spiritual

Co-dependents will have sustained damage on all four planes so conscious work on each of the four areas is necessary for full and meaningful recovery.

Behavioural Action incorporates taking action to change old behaviour. This is easy to state, but not so easy to achieve as it will involve the co-dependent relinquishing their grasp on all the old comfortable familiar learned behaviour in favour of scary new untested behaviour patterns. Painful though the old behaviour may be, the co-dependent will tend to still see this as less painful compared with their fear of change.

Healthy Emotional Expression is the ability to spontaneously express honest emotions in appropriate ways. By this I mean expressing feelings at the time in which they occur in a safe way without the need for masking, subduing, denying or delaying true feelings.

Resentments are caused by unexpressed feelings and emotions, especially those due to anger, hurt, grief, shame and guilt. If repressed for long enough, these resentments can in turn manifest into rage, inconsolable grief, depression, psychosis and other physical and indeed mental ailments.

It should be remembered at this stage that the main cause of unexpressed feelings stems from the co-dependents desire to be a people pleaser – only showing other people their good side, giving them what they think they want to see rather than displaying their true self and expressing how they really feel.

Cognitive Reconstruction is the act of reprogramming the way the brain thinks and reacts, replacing the old unhealthy programme with a new set of relationship skills.

Basically, it is the removal of the negative way of thinking, especially regarding the self, “not worthy”, “useless”, “unlovable”, “bad at relationships” and replacing these with more positive “self-thoughts”.

It is also a useful technique to use to combat catastrophising thoughts. Rather than jump to “worst case scenario” when something happens, for instance if partner is late home, rather that catastrophising this into “affair or abandonment”, cognitive reconstruction can be used to rationalise this into the more likely “traffic may just be bad”.

Affirmations is the name given to those positive healthy thoughts that are use to replace the old and unhealthy negative thoughts that co-dependents were taught in childhood and brought up to believe. They can be deliberately placed in the mind by verbal / written repetition, repeated regularly over a period of time. To this end they should be ideally short, punchy and thus easy to remember. They should also be affirming the positive rather than denying the negative.

For example: “I am a wonderful person” - positive statement

Rather than: “I am not useless” - denying a negative

These affirmations will need to be reinforced often to counteract the negative inner dialogue of the co-dependents inner commentator which will be trying to reinforce the negative learned beliefs such as “you are no good”, “all your relationships fail”.

Examples of good affirmations include:

• I am happy in my relationships

• My relationship fulfils me

• It is OK to express my feelings

• It is OK to be me

Spiritual Awareness is a very personal thing and what it means will depend on the beliefs of each individual client, but basically it is exploring the persons own existence by whatever means appropriate. This can be through religion, higher power, spirituality or whatever the client trusts and believes in. It will assist the client to explore the answers to such questions as “why am I here”, “why did this (suffering) happen to me”, “what am I supposed to be doing in my life” and “what is the point”. These answers are necessary in order for the client to give strength, depth and meaning to his life and relationships.

posted by;Villan

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