The Law of Attraction and Mental Health

I am sure my readers are all aware of the film, The Secret, which came out in 2016 and became a massive cultural phenomenon.  For those of you who are not aware or not too familiar, the film introduces and explicates a metaphysical principle, or law, commonly referred to as 'the law of attraction'.  To put it simply it is the law of like attracts like.  The film inspired and brought hope to millions of people by suggesting that each individual is far more powerful than they ever dared dream, and that we can all take control over what we bring into our experience by doing a better job of tending to our vibration (through the thoughts and beliefs we practice, and through cultivation of better feeling states).  If you get really into it, you may even do some 'visioning' for your heart's desires by creating a vision board, or making a practice of relaxing while listening to music that helps you cultivate the feeling state that you imagine the fulfillment of your heart's desires would bring, and actually visualize your dreams unfolding.  There is more to it, but too much to get into here . . . Alright, here's my honest-to-goodness stance on The Secret and 'the law of attraction' : I can dig it, because . . . why not?  Maybe it "works," maybe it doesn't.  But in either case, if you work the principle of like attracts like for one day, then you just created a better-feeling today and therefore, very, VERY likely a better-feeling tomorrow.  And you began to focus on what you'd like to create instead of on what you wouldn't like to create.  (And I'll let you in on a tiny little secret, because I'm racy like that:  It really, really does seem like the universe might be holographic, but I am NOT a quantum physicist.  I only know that Western materialist science to this day cannot explain how it is that matter produces consciousness.  So consciousness could be the primary medium of reality, not matter, as has been supposed in the West at least since the Age of Reason.) NOW.  Not everyone is always in a place, emotionally or clinically, to receive this.  There's a time for emotional vipassana and there's a time for loving kindness meditation.  There's a time for empathy and validation and there's a time for gentle confrontation.  In other words, there's a time to melt into it and go through it and there's a time to stop beating the drum of a shitty story.  Additionally, some folks need some help imagining the possibility of these meta-levels of reality because their viewpoint has become constricted to the point of pathology and is causing them real pain everyday.  On the other hand, some folks are already so deeply inside the meta-levels of reality, that practicing like attracts like may not be the tool they most need at a given time.  I think of the latter camp as the folks who were born to be mystics, and I like to help all of my clients become practical mystics.  Think of the image on the classic Rider-Waite tarot card, Temperance.  The woman has one foot in the water and one foot on land.  I like to get a sense of where people's feet are (if you will) and how they can find balance. ANOTHER DISCLAIMER.  Shitty things do happen to good people.  My biggest qualm with 'the law of attraction' and communities that are centered around it is the way that the teachings can be spun almost into subtle blaming of the individual who has fallen ill, or who is going through a divorce, for example.  Asking someone to consider how they may have manifested cancer, for example, is a way that this metaphysical teaching can be twisted into subtle (or overt) forms of cruelty.  (Again, it is too much to get into in this blog post, but it is helpful to consider also that "good" and "bad" are human judgments and qualifications.  No event is inherently 'good' or 'bad'.  I am sure you are aware of situations that at first seemed 'bad' but later turned out to be a 'blessing in disguise,' or situations that at first seemed 'good' and then turned out to be the varnished facade of something that was rotten underneath.) WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH YOU, YOUR MENTAL HEALTH, AND YOUR THERAPY?  If you have read this far, good on you.  You probably have at least one foot on the ground **wink**.   I would wager a guess that there is no good clinical reason why you shouldn't try keeping a gratitude journal. Now, buckle up: this is the fun part.  So, do you remember that moment in The Secret when Michael Bernard Beckwith declares something along the lines that the universe is always responding to your thoughts and beliefs, WHETHER those thoughts and beliefs are conscious or unconscious?  That's the rub, he says, but he doesn't get into how to address the unconscious stuff.  Here's where I come in and here's where I think therapy becomes almost like magic (and I realize that's still a dangerous thing to say). Therapy approaches like EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) are designed to target and loosen the grip of unconscious programs that have been running us all our lives.  Whatever your unconscious belief schemas involve (and this absolutely applies whether you believe in these metaphysical principles or not), any clinician worth their salts will be able to explain to you the hows and whys of unconscious behaviors designed to get the world and other people to reconfirm our unconscious beliefs about ourselves, the world, life, and other people, again and again and again.  When the origins of those schemas are understood and then they are drained of their emotional charge (with remarkable expediency with an approach like EMDR), then your ongoing beliefs and feelings about the most important aspects of your life will have shifted dramatically for good.  And no metaphysical principle is necessary to explain the ways that this leads to a much better-feeling life experience overall.  But if you do believe in metaphysical principles (such as the law of like attracts like) then, as far as I'm concerned, it really seems like completing a course of EMDR is probably the very best way to juice up your game. Schedule/Reschedule a Consultation Call Here to find out more ;)