"Emotional EEEEs" Part 4
If you have arrived here without reading the previous pages extracted from the book "Wanterfall", the four Es in Emotional EEEEs stand for Encourage, Explore, Express and Evaluate. These are the four essential steps when dealing with any painful emotions.
Facilitated Intense Emotional Catharsis, Part 2
(Continued from the previous page)
FACILITATED INTENSE CATHARSIS IS NOT SAFE UNLESS
The Basic Process
Unless already experiencing strong feelings, the participant is encouraged to talk about something which recently caused distress. If no recent example is forthcoming, previous material can be revisited. Using the minimum of words, the facilitator encourages attention to the feelings involved, and then moves the focus to expression of those feelings, using any of the many safe methods available.
Firstly, gentle methods of externalisation such as talking and crying, which were discussed under Gentle Expression, are not redundant here. They are included at every level of intensity. In this case, whenever the feeling being expressed requires it, the repertoire can be expanded to include shouting, screaming, swearing, howling, moaning and any other noises and contortions imaginable, no matter how loud.
That does not mean that any activity at all can be employed. Only methods which are effective for the participant and safe for all concerned are allowed. In practice, this usually means the methods already described under Gentle Expression, and two more techniques which will be described here.
In the first of those extra techniques, a piece of rubber compressor hose, approximately 45 centimetres in length and 4 centimetres in diameter, is used to beat upon something inanimate, to aid in the expression of antipathy. A rubber hose can make a lot of noise, but is not nearly as dangerous as a solid object, if anyone inadvertently gets in the way of it.
I don't actually remember anyone ever being struck by such a hose, but it is possible, so solid objects must not be used. If the hose is too long, incidentally, it can bounce back and hit the person holding it. If this occurs, the hose should be shortened, a centimetre at a time, until its rebound is controlled.
Suitable targets for the rubber hose include a roll of carpet, a log of wood or a plentiful supply of old phone books. A mattress can also be used as a target, but it will wear out quite quickly. The floor is not a suitable target, as the beater's knuckles make contact with it. A log of wood used as a target may need to be covered with carpet, so that splinters do not break off and fly around.
Any other target which can release projectiles must also be modified or avoided. The same principle applies to the rubber hose itself – hence the use of compressor hose, which has a composite construction, including a fibre mesh layer with high tensile strength. But it is still possible for a piece near one end to become loose, in which case that piece must be removed.
If phone books are used as targets for the hose, they shed lots of bits of paper as they disintegrate. But that is not a problem – in fact, it can be very satisfying for the beater. There is a symbolic significance in reducing the object of wrath to shreds.
While a participant is beating with a rubber hose, it is sometimes necessary for the facilitator to provide redirection, if there is a tendency to stray from the target – which could conceivably place other participants at risk of injury.
As previously mentioned, safety directions given by a facilitator are not negotiable – a participant who cannot accept safety directions from the facilitators cannot safely engage in the activity. I have never seen it happen, but as a last resort, the participant would have to be asked to leave.
The other extra method of externalisation, which joins the repertoire when all the prerequisites for facilitated intense catharsis are met, is for the participant to lie on their back on a mattress and "throw a tantrum" – using the voice and tear ducts to good effect at the same time. The rubber hose is not used during this form of expression – and the participant does not turn over to adopt a lateral, prone or hands and knees position (unless mandated by physical illness).
The mattress itself must be sufficiently large, thick and firm to prevent injury due to insufficiently padded contact with the floor. It needs to be much firmer than most mattresses used for sleeping, and should not contain springs, which might break and become dangerous after extended use. It may be necessary to source suitably firm foam first, and then arrange covers.
There must be a facilitator at the head end of the mattress, who must ensure that the participant stays on the mattress and safely away from its edges, as well as maintaining an approximately supine position. As with redirection of a straying beater, these requirements are not negotiable, because they impact on safety. In any other position there is some potential for injury, either to the participant or to others in the vicinity.
The facilitator must scrupulously avoid encroaching on any airspace which could conceivably be reached by the participant's arms, legs or head, to avoid either inhibiting the participant's tantrum behaviour, or being injured. A facilitator who remains alert, focused on the participant and in the correct position – near the head end of the mattress, but not too close to the head – is very unlikely to be struck.
Incidentally, whenever not lying on a mattress, a participant must be in a standing, sitting or kneeling position – otherwise the body, and especially the head, could be injured by contact with the floor. Any tendency to adopt an unsafe position must be quickly noticed by a facilitator, so that the participant can be redirected, usually to a mattress, until less distressed.
Whatever method of externalisation is in use, the participant is provided with encouragement and guidance by a facilitator when and if necessary. Frequently, the sum total of this input is simply the presence of the facilitator nearby. At most other times, input is limited to a few quiet words, or else to entirely non-verbal communication.
The quality of the facilitator's non-verbal communication is of critical importance at all times – for example, a slight change of facial expression when a participant shares some information could easily be construed as disapproval. Added to the participant's existing diffidence about self-disclosure, this might be enough to halt the externalisation process in its tracks.
FACILITATED INTENSE CATHARSIS IS NOT SAFE UNLESS
What might go wrong during the procedures described – and what is necessary to keep the practice safe for all concerned? The most essential needs for safety are the careful screening of participants, the careful choice of facilitators and the absolute requirement that participants must comply with safety directions from facilitators. These issues have all been discussed above.
Almost everything else that has been discussed above also has some bearing on safety. Most of the regulation of the process, however, is provided by example, aided considerably by the fact that the participants are invariably there to free themselves of pain – not to create trouble for themselves or others. The facilitators, and also any participants who have prior experience of the method, create a non-verbal atmosphere of mutual respect, tolerance and kindness. In this atmosphere, deliberate violence, whether to self or others, is most unlikely.
However, the slightest tendency towards unsafe behaviour must immediately elicit redirection by a facilitator on safety grounds. In most cases, the participant should be directed to return to the log or mattress and to work on externalisation of the current feelings, using the safe methods provided. The availability of safe methods of externalisation is the key here, as it provides a safe outlet for the very feelings which were motivating the previous unsafe behaviour.
While it is possible that a participant might not accept the directions given, it is also true that every person present is there because of a strong determination to make things better – not worse. Any seriously antisocial behaviour is therefore most unlikely. In fact, I think it would be far more likely to occur at a bus stop, or a cinema. Certainly I have never come across any such thing during EEEEs work, regardless of its intensity.
Agreement to attend unaffected by drug or alcohol use was mentioned under Participants. With the exception of prescribed medication, which should at least be of some benefit and is sometimes essential, the EEEEs method should not be attempted under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Not only are emotional perceptions likely to be distorted, but insight gained as a result of the process may well be diminished – or even completely inaccurate.
That is not to say that EEEEs work has nothing to offer to drug users. Almost all drug users suffer great emotional pain, which is often the main thing motivating their use of drugs. The relief obtained from their drug use is, unfortunately, temporary – and comes at a price far higher than the street value of the drugs. EEEEs work would give far more relief, with less candy but no poison (see previous footnote). However, participants should be drug free, or nearly so, while doing the work.
The transitional distress around the time of closure and departure, and the repercussions which sometimes occur after that, are not really complications, but rather normal responses. These issues, although peripherally related to the current heading, have their own headings below.
FACILITATED INTENSE CATHARSIS IS NOT SAFE UNLESS
This heading admittedly has no direct relevance to emotions, but I have decided to include it because facilitated intense catharsis is so often carried out in a group setting. It seems to me a great pity to reduce the benefit of such an activity by bringing home a new illness – especially if it is a serious one. However, if you are not involved in organising group activities, you may wish to skip this heading.
Whenever a number of people gather in one place, it is possible for infectious conditions to be transmitted between them. This can occur either directly or indirectly. As one obvious example, if more than one person has an accessible scratch, graze, laceration or ulcer, and at least one of them is infectious, then various serious infections, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, could be transferred.
This type of cross infection is possible whenever a body fluid such as blood, containing the infectious agent, contacts non-intact skin or mucous membrane – or sometimes, intact mucous membrane. In some cases, an amount of blood or other body fluid too small to see may be sufficient to transfer infection.
Although the original source of infections like these is usually a person, the immediate source can be a different person, or an inanimate object, in cases where either has previously become contaminated. Such contamination may involve a number of intermediate steps. For example, an infectious person could be scratched by a damaged door handle, leaving some blood on it.
The next person to use the door could get a little blood on their fingers, but not be scratched – and might then work with the nearest rubber hose (though that is strictly forbidden). The owner of that hose could later hold it in perfectly healthy hands, and subsequently rub or scratch an itchy eye. This is a very roundabout way to contract a life threatening infection – but that will be no consolation to the person who gets sick.
The above example may give the impression that cross infection is almost inevitable – but nothing could be further from the truth. The risk can be brought very close to zero, if the appropriate precautions are taken. And those precautions are not complicated or difficult – they are, in fact, just basic hygiene – which should be known by every child at school.
Having said that, it must be admitted that the hygiene measures to prevent cross infection by blood and other body fluids were greatly neglected until the discovery of HIV/AIDS – which, though far from being the only example, raised awareness of this method of transmission very greatly. Anyway, I will briefly mention the main principles of infection control in a general community setting.
The first principle is to apply all the basic cross infection precautions universally. If you wait until you know of a person with a transmissible infection before you practise good hygiene, the first person you know of with such an infection will probably be yourself. And by that time, there may be many other cases – most of which were also preventable.
The second principle, in very general terms, is to know how transfer can occur, and use that knowledge to prevent it from occurring. In the case of transmission by blood, probably the most important (but not the only) precaution is to cover any areas of damaged skin with a dressing capable of preventing infectious material from getting in or out. I will not consider other examples here, except to say that, unless you know the exceptions, it is best to treat every body fluid, and every body surface or cavity, as possible opportunities for transmission.
In the case of respiratory tract infections, there is something to be said for affected people wearing surgical masks to reduce the dissemination of infectious droplets. This almost certainly reduces the risk of infecting others – some of whom might become much more severely ill than the person donating the infection. It is common practice in Japan, but has been very slow to catch on elsewhere.
When masks are not worn, the next best practice is to remain at least one metre away from other people, and cover every cough or sneeze, so that droplets are not sprayed so widely. Handwashing, as below, and safe disposal of tissues, are also necessary, in order to reduce environmental contamination.
Handwashing is the third principle. It is perhaps rather boring, but nevertheless critically important. An alcohol based lotion designed to provide an equivalent effect is an alternative means of cleaning the hands, and is often more convenient. The main times to clean the hands are after touching anything which could transfer infective material to them, and before touching anything which needs to be kept clean.
A very few examples of the former situation are after coughing, sneezing, nose-blowing, attending to a wound, going to the toilet or handling objects which may not be clean. A very few examples of the latter situation are before touching the nose, mouth or eyes, attending to a wound, preparing or eating food, or handling objects which will later be used by others.
The fourth principle is to clean the environment routinely, at suitable intervals, and also to remove any known contamination promptly and effectively. This needs to be interpreted broadly, to include, for example, ensuring that any food, beverages, utensils or other objects provided are free of infective or toxic material. Local public health authorities should be approached for more specific advice about all this.
Attention to these four principles makes cross infection during everyday activities much less likely. However, for best results, both dressings and cleanup should be done by someone with first aid or similar training. Although the procedures themselves are simple, there are plenty of ways to render them ineffective – even with the best intentions. Also, good infection control is not a substitute for recommended immunisations.
Apart from the general principles mentioned above, there are also some precautions particular to our current context. One of these relates to the possibility of contamination of the lengths of rubber hose used when externalising antipathy. Using the hose very vigorously can sometimes cause skin abrasion, but another possible source of contamination would be an existing breach in the skin, which had not been covered immediately.
To prevent cross infection via rubber hoses, each participant should be provided with their own hose, clearly labelled with their name – and must only use that one. The cost of each hose, incidentally, is trivial if the tubing is bought in bulk.
It must always be remembered that a hose (or anything else) which looks clean is not necessarily safe. As mentioned above, an invisible amount of blood can transmit some infections, especially hepatitis B. Also, the residues of other body fluids may not be easily seen, especially at the cut ends of the hose.
The body fluids likely to be produced during externalisation are sweat, tears, saliva, nasal secretions and sputum. Unless they are bloodstained, these fluids are not, at the time of writing (2008) considered to be significant modes of transmission for the three viruses mentioned above. Some of them can, however, transmit various other infections – for example, conjunctivitis or influenza.
In the case of the mattresses used during externalisation, the basic principle is not to continue using a mattress if it becomes contaminated. It is also not wise to borrow mattresses which are in domestic use at other times, although suitable mattress covers would reduce the risks associated with prior contamination. Practical issues of decontamination of mattresses or their covers should be discussed with local public health or infection control authorities, as various methods exist and preferences vary with place and time.
Exclusion of persons suffering from infections which pose a public health risk, such as open tuberculosis, is also important. This is a complex issue, and regulations vary with time and place. The person's doctor, with the help of local public health or infection control authorities, should be consulted about this.
FACILITATED INTENSE CATHARSIS IS NOT SAFE UNLESS
Closure and Departure
When a session of facilitated intense catharsis comes to an end, some transitional activities are necessary before the participants return to the "normal" world. Otherwise, the sudden change from the exhausting and disturbing actions and feelings experienced during the session, to the activities of daily life – and the behaviour of "normal" people – can be quite a shock. Transitional activities also allow time for the acute edge of any repercussions (discussed below) to settle down.
As extreme exhaustion is very likely, the first activity might well be a brief guided relaxation, while the participants find a more restful use for the mattresses, or perhaps the floor. Very brief educational input relating to the EEEEs process itself is an alternative activity while participants rest. However, when more than a few of the participants are snoring, the lecture has probably gone on long enough.
If it has not already been done, information about follow-up options should also be provided at this time. If it has been discussed previously, this is a good time to include a reminder about it. Follow-up is discussed under the next heading.
In many (perhaps most) countries, once the participants are a little rested, there is a tendency for every person present to hug every other person present – sometimes more than once. As previously mentioned, this would usually be counterproductive during the externalisation process. In the transitional phase, however, it has significant benefits, and should be suggested by a facilitator if it does not occur spontaneously.
It is unlikely, in this environment, that the least handsome or glamorous participants would be passed over, while others exchanged hugs. However, if that did occur, it should be noted by the facilitators, who could then restore the balance. (In doing so, they would also be modelling appropriate behaviour, which would inevitably be copied by various participants.)
As mentioned earlier, a hug can provide non-verbal evidence of non-judgmental acceptance, which can be very valuable to those participants (usually all of them) who have been working with shame or guilt during the session. It also has the beneficial effect of moving the focus from intense personal feelings back to everyday social interactions.
Perhaps a hug also allows the exchange of beneficial interpersonal things which cannot be seen or measured. This, of course, cannot be proved – but then, it cannot be disproved, either. It can certainly be suspected, though – as many people do. In any event, hugs in all directions tend to create a good atmosphere, resulting in a relatively calm group of participants.
It does not usually take long before there is a general feeling of readiness to depart. Daily living activities can usually be resumed remarkably soon after intense catharsis. But if not, then tea and biscuits could be a suitable device for finding a little more time to acclimatise before departure.
There may be a participant who appears to need help with transport home, or perhaps continuing support until reunited with friends or family. One or more participants who are not in a state of distress will usually undertake this task. If not, it falls to one or more of the facilitators – whose job is not finished until all participants have been returned to a safe state.
Many participants will not require any specific follow-up after the activity, which may simply represent one aspect of a broader approach to their own emotional healing or personal growth. Others will have a range of options, perhaps including formal counselling, already in place. However, some participants may be in need of ongoing support, and may not know of any suitable options.
Sometimes, the organisation providing the activity will also be a provider of other services, which might include ongoing support groups, evening or weekend externalisation sessions, or individual counselling. However, when this is not the case, it should still be possible for participants to contact the organisers for advice about the availability of such services from other providers. At the very least, a participant who is experiencing severe difficulties should be advised to seek medical review.
FACILITATED INTENSE CATHARSIS IS NOT SAFE UNLESS
Time and Place
Apart from convenience, there are only two really important points about the timing of intense catharsis. First, there must be sufficient time after the end of the session for participants to rest, both physically and emotionally, before returning to work or engaging in any other demanding activity. And second, if an important examination, or some similar challenge, is approaching, it is probably best to avoid very intense catharsis for some weeks, or even months, beforehand. However, the need to postpone catharsis would need to be balanced against the need for release of pent up emotions, in any given case.
The choice of venue is a little more complex. The physical requirements are very simple, but are also very important. The room to be used must be in a safe state of repair (including access and exits). It must comply with local fire and other safety regulations. It must be large enough to accommodate the number of participants and facilitators who will be attending. And it must be capable of being secured sufficiently to prevent unwanted visitors from entering or watching through windows.
Permission to use the room for this harmless but very noisy purpose must be obtained from the owner or agent. Permission to make noise must also be obtained from any neighbours who will be affected by it. Neglecting either of these essentials is certain to cause problems, and could even stop the activity.
The room should be simply equipped with mattresses, tissues and some means of energetic expression of antipathy, as discussed under Methods and Equipment above. Seats should be available around the edges of the room. Access to toilets should not require leaving the safe environment of the venue.
There should be a notice placed on the outside of the door, such as GRIEF COUNSELLING IN PROGRESS. Details including a phone number could be added, in case the person reading the sign is interested in future sessions. Even better, a person could be available outside the room, to explain the activity if anyone enquires. In some locations, the presence of security personnel may also be necessary.
In practice, however, it should not be particularly difficult to find a venue. Community centres and church halls can often be used for this purpose, after the method has been fully explained. Residential workshops can often be accommodated in religious retreats or seminar centres.
FACILITATED INTENSE CATHARSIS IS NOT SAFE UNLESS
ALL THE DESCRIBED PREREQUISITES ARE IN PLACE
[This brings the description of Facilitated Intense Catharsis to an end - the rest of this web page addresses the place of this very intensive element as one type of Expression within the "EEEEs" process, and then goes on to discuss the fourth E, Evaluation, and the management of any repercussions which may occur, before ending with a few concluding remarks.]
To put the above description of prerequisites in perspective, it is worth remembering that facilitated intense catharsis is just one form of externalisation. Externalisation, in turn, is just one of the four Es in the Emotional EEEEs approach to the healing of painful emotions. EEEEs work itself, whether it is done as part of Wanterfall work, or alone, is just one way of reducing emotional suffering. And reducing emotional suffering is just one of the various useful things that can be done in relation to the human mind.
The third E of the EEEEs process, especially when seen in this most extreme form, is often rather dramatic. Not only can it provide dramatic improvements, but the process itself is often dramatically noisy and untidy. This might attract you, or it might repel you. But it need not do either – and ideally, it would not do either. It is simply a matter of finding problems and fixing them. In this, it has much in common with surgery.
In attempting to restore the physical body to health, we do not shrink from surgical operations which examine, modify or remove the cause. But a surgeon must have a very good knowledge of anatomy, and no little knowledge of physiology, if the procedure is to be safe – not to mention good eyesight, a steady hand and various technical skills.
No, I have not forgotten the scalpel. Certainly, it is also essential. But the scalpel is the last thing needed. If it were employed in the absence of the prerequisites just mentioned, it would be anybody's guess what the result would be. But it would probably not be pretty.
Well, if the emotional part of a person is sick, why shrink from procedures which examine, modify or remove the cause? In this case, surely, a very good knowledge of the anatomy of emotions would be needed. And some knowledge of their ramifications. The sight that sees emotions (and more) is self awareness. The steady hand is the non-judgmental attitude.
Those are the essentials, if the procedure of emotional repair is to be safe. And facilitated intense catharsis is somewhat analogous to the surgeon's knife. In other words, it is sometimes essential, but can only be wielded safely when it is the last thing in the chain of knowledge, skill and experience.
Why do I mention these things? Simply because I do not want you to confuse the latter parts of this book with its essence. Certainly, the latter parts of the book are important – especially, perhaps, the procedure of facilitated intense catharsis – but it is the earlier parts that make them possible.
Finally, there is a role for the intellect! Earlier in this process, the intellect tends to "run interference", rationalising and trivialising the emerging feelings. Indeed, it can mount a very persuasive case, based largely on childhood conditioning and societal prejudice, for not exploring feelings at all.
However, after feelings have been experienced and externalised, an intellectual overview of the situation can provide valuable insights, and may also suggest appropriate actions. The intellect then has a continuing role in planning and executing those actions.
In our present context, evaluation means carefully considering what has emerged, appraising, weighing up, pondering and reviewing it all – from every possible angle. In other words, it means thinking carefully about the feelings – and what precipitated them – in an attempt to understand them better, and to integrate them with the rest of one's experience.
The Wanterfall Chart is useful here, as it can act as a sort of corkboard on which to hang new insights – or, for that matter, new uncertainties. When enough experiences and ideas are hanging where they seem to belong on the Wanterfall Chart, a much clearer picture of the causes of unhappiness may emerge. This does not immediately banish those causes, but it does tend to put them on notice.
I hope the above comments did not give the impression that evaluation is necessarily complex. On the contrary, it frequently provides the simplest possible view of what may previously have seemed so complicated as to be utterly baffling. Evaluation is basically just thinking about things.
During evaluation, some of the mental mistakes corrected by modern psychotherapies like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy may well be noticed. However, it is important not to focus too much on mechanisms before externalisation is complete. There are certainly many self-help techniques, as well as many professional therapies, which can reduce emotional suffering. But unresolved emotions are the underlying cause of emotional distress. They are like a foreign body embedded in a vital organ – and it is always better to find and remove the foreign body before closing the wound.
Or, to put it another way, Evaluate is the last E. Most of us have a tendency to aim the intellect at emotions as a first response, neglecting the other three Es and hoping that we can fix everything with a relentless bombardment of brainpower. This would be a very attractive proposition, if it only worked. Sometimes, it seems to – for a while. But true healing of emotional pain requires all four Es.
Apparent complications quite often follow EEEEs work. This may give the impression that something has gone wrong, but in fact it usually means that something has gone right – and is still going right. Repercussions basically just need to be understood, after which they will frequently prove beneficial. There are two main sorts of repercussion that you might encounter.
The first is due to the "string of pearls" effect discussed previously under "Explore". Expressing one feeling frequently makes you aware of other feelings – which were previously hidden. This is beneficial in the long run, but it is not always welcome at the time that it occurs. That is hardly surprising. It means you have more work to do – just when you were feeling like a long rest!
In other words, getting in touch with one repressed emotion, or beginning to face a loss which has been partly or completely denied, is distressing enough. But getting in touch with more unexpected, uninvited emotions – especially a great flood of them – can seem quite overwhelming.
A person working with a counsellor quite often says "I feel much worse since talking to you". An experienced counsellor knows that this feeling is in fact usually a sign of progress. But do you know this? And, if you are not working with a counsellor, who is going to tell you?
That's easy. I am – twice. Once already, and now again. If you feel worse than ever, after externalising painful emotions, don't be surprised or dismayed. Far from being a true adverse effect, this type of emotional repercussion is a normal part of working with emotions, and is a definite sign that (a) you are making good progress and (b) you still have more good work to do.
The second type of repercussion is a feeling of intense shame following self-disclosure, either to a counsellor or to the other participants in a group session. Beforehand, you may have felt that people would think incredibly badly of you if they knew more about you. Well, now they do know more about you – now, in fact, they know just exactly how revolting you are.
This feeling is less likely to be strong if all those present behaved non-judgmentally – both verbally and non-verbally – at the times of the disclosures. However, a truly non-judgmental attitude is a pearl of great price – and of remarkably small distribution. Therefore, when you are dying of shame, you may have to rely entirely on your own resources. Is this even remotely possible?
More than that – it is entirely possible. However, it is hard work until you get used to it. Here is what to do, one step at a time. First, remind yourself that expressing feelings is what you were there for in the first place – and feelings invariably come out with considerable information content.
It was your choice – indeed, it was the very best decision you could possibly have made. In sharing what was in your mind with those present, you have done exactly the right thing, in exactly the right way, at exactly the right time. You could not possibly have done better – because no better choices exist.
Next, apply this simple rule (you don't have to believe it). Anyone who disapproves of me is wrong. I don't mean that they are wrong about you – after all, the information about you came directly from you, so it is probably absolutely correct. What I mean is, they are wrong, purely, simply and exactly, because they disapprove.
Disapproval is not only wrong, it is one of the chief causes of all the wrong in creation. It is a prime mover that sets person against person, group against group and, ultimately, nation against nation. So I trust you will be relieved to know that I am using the word "wrong" in the sense of "mistaken" – as in adding up figures and getting the wrong answer. Perish the thought that this book should disapprove of disapproval!
However, to say that disapproval is a mistake in every case, so that disapproval of disapproval is also a mistake, can easily be misunderstood. It might seem to suggest that everything should be viewed equally, that nothing is better or worse than anything else. But such an indiscriminate approach to life would not only be incredibly boring – it would also be utterly ridiculous.
To face life with intelligence and honesty inevitably involves discernment of differences. And discernment of differences will result in preferences, in many cases. Different observers will often have different preferences. And different preferences inevitably result in disagreement between different observers.
Have I just demolished my own argument? Not if disapproval is something different from discernment, preference and disagreement. And it is indeed very different from those things, although it is often associated with them. It has one extra ingredient that pollutes it totally – and twists it into error.
That ingredient is no stranger to readers who started at page 1 (highly recommended). It is the primary emotion antipathy. Antipathy, as you know or can discover by following its link, is one of the two primary emotions resulting from not getting what you want. A person who disapproves of you feels you should be different – effectively, they want you to be different. But they don't get what they want. That is not unusual, it is just another Wanterfall. But it is their Wanterfall and their problem – not yours.
In other words, a person who disapproves is "normal". That means that they have unfinished business – which inevitably reaches out its claws to mar their own happiness and that of anyone else who gets in their way. And that, finally, brings us back to you. You are getting in the way of the claws of the unfinished business of the person who disapproves of you.
If you can find it in your heart, feel sorry for this person. But if, like propathy itself, you are not in possession of any sympathy, empathy or compassion, then just ignore them. Whatever else you do, do not feel bad as a result of their mistake. That would be using your mind to inflict the pain demanded by their error.
Come to think of it, you probably will make that mistake, at first. Everybody else does – why should you be any different? But when you make it, and feel the pain it causes, at least notice the connection. That mistake hurts you. You don't have to make it. So – don't. Or, if it seems impossible to stop, just make a plan that once, fairly soon, you will experiment with not saluting when a person who disapproves says "Suffer!"
In summary, disapproval is someone else's mistake – but it can easily become yours. You can make it yours, simply by agreeing – by disapproving of yourself. Then, you are your own enemy. And that is the only way that someone else's disapproval can cause you emotional pain.
Disapproval can, however, have other adverse effects. It might, for example, prevent a promotion. It might even lead to physical assault, in some cases. So, while the emotional aspects of disapproval should always be like the proverbial "water off a duck's back", it is still a good idea to watch your own back.
So be your own friend, and also your own guardian. There may be a zillion things about you that you would rather were different. Some of them may be excellent reasons for making changes. That is a very good reason to consider changes. But it is not a good reason to direct the cruel and destructive force of disapproval at yourself. There is no good reason for that prince of errors – there are only bad reasons for it.
Of course, it is easier to write about this, than it is to actually do it. Especially as a person who disapproves of you often does not say so in words. In fact, disapproval is very often expressed entirely non-verbally. Then, your first task is to notice it consciously. As long as you only feel it unconsciously, it is very difficult to refrain from co-operating with it. You just feel really bad, but you don't know why. Always suspect disapproval when this occurs. (Your own, or someone else's.)
Once you realise what is happening, there is absolutely no point in engaging the source of the evil in any debate about it. In fact, it is usually better to avoid them as much as possible, until you have finished working with the particular feelings involved. They should be much easier to put up with, then. I suppose, if you wait long enough, they might even be less judgmental – but that would depend on their work, not yours.
What if no one else disapproves of you, and yet you still disapprove of yourself – and you don't seem to be able to stop? Fair enough – we all make this mistake. Just remind yourself of the basic principle mentioned earlier. Anyone who disapproves of me is wrong. Well, anyone includes you – and in this case, you are the one who is making the mistake.
So your task now becomes – not to agree with yourself, on this particular point. Yourself is asking you to hurt yourself. Just don't salute – and don't apply the prescribed torture, either. However, disapproval of self can be very difficult to let go of, and may require quite a lot more EEEEs work. This may often need to include facilitated intense catharsis, if available. Meanwhile, be patient with yourself – and try not to disapprove of yourself for being so stupid as to disapprove of yourself…
I have been talking about disapproval in the context of repercussions following EEEEs work. However, it is not limited to that situation. It is a pervasive evil – which is never far away. Now, as you know, this whole book is underpinned by the practice of constant, non-judgmental self-awareness.
The "non-judgmental" element is not there by accident. And it is impossible to practise non-judgmental self-awareness, unless a non-judgmental attitude to the world around you, and all the people in it, is adopted at the same time. This idea of a non-judgmental – which does not mean indiscriminate – approach to the whole of life, both inwardly and outwardly, is probably the most important idea in the book.
Anyway, back to repercussions. There is sometimes a third type of repercussion after EEEEs work, which is really a variant of the first type, in that it also depends on the awakening of previously buried feelings. In this case, however, it is the awakening of an urge to retaliate.
Retaliation – deliberately inflicting harm in the name of revenge, vengeance, retribution or whatever you like to call it – is a form of expression representing violent feelings found under the umbrella of antipathy. However, it is not a therapeutic expression. Far from resolving any issue, retaliation just creates another problem, to add to the original problem.
The most extreme example of this is the "blood feud" between families (and sometimes between countries) which continues for many generations, healing nobody, but generating ever-increasing hatred as the population is culled on both sides.
So I am not in favour of retaliation. Although I think it is entirely understandable, I also think it is a terrible mistake. It may sometimes be a misguided attempt to make matters better, but instead it makes matters worse – often, for many other people, as well as for the individual with the feelings.
However, I am not you, and if you have been treated very badly, it is you who will decide whether to seek revenge – or healing. Your choice has nothing to do with me. But if you do choose revenge, do not expect it to help or heal you – or anybody else. Instead, it will cause a downward spiral of pain and anger, as it always does – for all concerned. And all concerned, of course, includes you. So if you ever face a choice between revenge and healing, think very carefully. It is probably the most important choice that you will ever make.
This brings the book Wanterfall to an end. The overall aim of this book has been to provide the theoretical basis and practical tools which could, hypothetically, bring the Wanterfall itself to an end. But that would be a very tall order. The goals of most readers are probably much more modest, and more realistic – which is not to say that they are in any way trivial. On the contrary, I would say that every single drop of emotional freedom benefits not only the individual, but all mankind.
On the other hand, the idea of freedom from the effects of the Wanterfall, whether in a modest or a more considerable way, can also be rather daunting. We are used to our dualistic approach to life, and anything unknown is always frightening. There is not much point in asking what we might gain – we cannot know that in advance. But what might we lose, if we choose to leave more and more of the Wanterfall behind?
I suppose that depends on whether the Wanterfall has anything to offer, that we would wish to keep. Have a look for yourself, and see if you can find anything on the Wanterfall Chart that truly confers any long term benefit. I will be very surprised if you can. The Wanterfall causes untold suffering – it is very good at that. But it does no lasting good at all. Therefore, to whatever extent you abandon it, you will lose only your pain.
If you give up the endless struggle for freedom from fear, will you lose all hope of peace? Surely not, for it is the oscillation between hope and fear which prevents peace. If you walk away from the endless swing between pleasure and pain, are you abandoning joy? Probably not, for it is just when enjoyment is grasped as a pleasure – to hold onto – that it most often fails.
And if you cease to calculate your relationships on the ledger of propathy and antipathy, will relationship itself evaporate? This last question is perhaps the hardest. The warm and fuzzy feelings which shelter (while they last) beneath the umbrella of propathy, are often the very best things that we know.
So hope and fear we can probably dispense with, without incurring any loss. Pleasure and pain likewise, as long as joy is as much fun as pleasure (which perhaps remains to be seen). But can we afford to lose those nice warm things – including some of the meanings of the much overworked word, love – that beckon us from the shade of the umbrella of propathy?
I think that is something well worth wondering about. I have wondered about it quite a lot myself, while writing this book. However, I have removed the results of that wondering from the book, as they seem a bit philosophical – whereas this book is simply about the emotions of everyday life. I will publish them eventually, though – perhaps within a year or so.
I would say this about the emotions of propathy, though. They are certainly emotions. And, being emotions, they cannot possibly be depended on – because they themselves depend, and depend utterly, on the conditions which first gave them their apparent life. Plucked into existence from the propathy – antipathy continuum, they remain bound to that continuum forever. Change the conditions, and anything to do with propathy also changes – just like any other emotion.
That might give the impression that propathy could be left behind without incurring any real loss – just like the other primary emotions. But what if propathy were the sole foundation of all human relationships? That could be rather disconcerting, to say the least. Personally, I don't think it is. However, I must refrain from exploring that question, or else I will find myself waxing philosophical, after all.
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 Specific techniques, including psychodrama and the sharing of experiences in large groups, can also be used to help participants get in touch with feelings preparatory to cathartic work, but are not essential.
 The optimal length varies with factors such as stiffness, density and elasticity, and must be determined after sourcing the tubing to be used. If too long, it tends to bounce back. If too short, the knuckles strike the target.
 That in turn could raise safety issues. The participant would need to emerge from any intense feelings before leaving. Transport would have to be considered, and it is possible that someone might need to remain with the person for a time, or arrange for a friend or relative to do so.
 Most illegal drugs have adverse effects as well as a withdrawal syndrome. This is one of the "poisoned candy" aspects of such drugs – the other main ones being their lack of quality control (sometimes dangerously pure, sometimes dangerously adulterated) and the very unenjoyable life of crime which tends to result from the high prices created by law enforcement.
 A similar neglect has long existed in the case of cross infection by respiratory tract droplets and aerosols. However, despite considerable concern about the emergence of new respiratory tract pathogens, this neglect continues at the time of writing.
 Infection control in a medical clinic or hospital also employs these basic principles, but adds aseptic techniques, protective clothing and additional precautions which are determined by the particular infections involved.
 An ordinary surgical mask, worn by a person with a cold, partially protects other people, by reducing both direct and indirect transfer of infective respiratory droplets. A fine-particle (N95) mask, on the other hand, partially protects the wearer from those droplets, and also from aerosols which can spread many respiratory infections, including influenza and tuberculosis.
 The basic principles of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy are explained in an appendix to A Few Self-Help Techniques, a free e-booklet (in early draft) which may become available from www.wanterfall.com at some future date.
 As you probably remember, I think belief is an insult to the truth, because it is so often used to make something false seem true. (The adverse effects of belief were discussed in Section 3, under Conditioning.)
 Sympathy, empathy and compassion were mentioned in Section 2 under Propathy, mainly to explain why they have no place in this book. They will be wondered about at greater length in Philosophical Musings (see footnote 101, below).
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