The "Mind Door"….is Widening


The "Mind Door"….is Widening

By L.T. Force, Ph.D.

Gerontologist






It was in the late-70’s, with a group of friends, walking down Bleeker Street in New York City - on a beautiful spring night. The area was bustling - street vendors and artists were on every corner selling their wares. One of the street vendors was creating crafts and art pieces out of: “twisted-wire”. He truly was an artist. He was also a very persistent salesperson - in fact, he was relentless. Everyone that passed his makeshift corner table he would approach, hawk, pester….etc. with the ask: “could he make something for you?” As we meandered around that area - every chance he had he was in our faces - asking repeatedly: “can I make you something out of wire sculptures?’” Even when the answer was: “No!” - he continued to press-on. Finally, I turned around and said: “Yes - you can make me something - make me a mind”. With that he paused, thought for a moment and turned away from us and began to look for new customers. Why? Because I asked him to: ”make something that was impossible to create - an image of the mind”.

The mind has always been illusive. The mind has always been a point of discussion. In my early days in the study of psychology - I remember the main schools of thought were psychoanalysis (Freud), behaviorism (Watson and Skinner) and the beginning evolution of Cognitive Psychology (Beck) and Cognitive-Behavioral Psychology (Meichenbaum). Each of these “schools of thought” had created their own unique style of intervention - and a language that reflected their styles. The belief was - these were the major schools of thought - to analyze, understand and predict the relationship of the mind…with the body….and with the intra and inter psychic ability to explain “things”.

My, have far we have come….fast forward to this present day and time - my, how things have changed. The “Mind Door” has widened. No longer do we just hold on to the belief that it is only the: “psychiatric scalpel” that is the only tool available to explore the mind to help in healing of the body. Today, we have truly embraced the connection between mind and body….the connection between western and eastern modalities….the connection and value of a complimentary approach - blending together east and west….and west and east - the “Mind Door” has widened - and so has our perspective of what matters - and it's reflected in our language and our practice.

Here is an example. Years ago, in the arena of addictions - the threshold of recovery was couched in: “abstinence and only abstinence” The thinking was: “if you are not completely abstinent - you weren’t sober”. Today, we have a much broader definition of progress and success. Harm-Reduction and Medicated Assisted Treatment (MAT) are considered to be signs of growth and applauded as forward-moving progress. In addition, today the landscape of who is considered to be of value - in working in partnership with Medically Trained, Psychiatrically Trained and Clinically Trained Practitioners in the recovery-process or life-process has expanded. Life Coaches, Reiki Practitioners, Energy-Healers, Yoga Masters, Breathe-Work Practitioners, Recovery Coaches, Health-Based Nutritionists, Strength-Based Physical Trainers, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Practitioners - and more - are now acknowledged as accepted, and in fact importantly needed and valued, modalities for health and wellness - especially, as it relates to exploring the connection between one’s mind, one’s body, one’s feelings….and one’s behaviors. Today, we have come to the awareness traditional modalities - coupled with complimentary approaches - provide a more powerful and effective intervention.

So, we have come a long way in deepening our understanding and increasing our awareness of: “who, what, when and how” can be a value-add to the person who is exploring the dimensions of the mind - and how it relates to their body….and their feelings and behavior. In the times of Sigmund Freud, there was a belief that a good clinician practicing the art of psychoanalysis would only see about 100 patients in their whole professional lifetime career. Hello! Today, did someone say technology and web-based interventions and modalities? And, as for that street-vendor hawking the streets of Greenwich Village in the 1970’s - if I were to ask him today: “create me a mind” - his options would be so much more expansive. The “Mind-Door” has widened - as it should…..and the take-away is: Use what works....Use it all….be "Open Minded!”