Mind monkeys represent our unruly emotions, anxiety monkeys often being the most disruptive. Anxiety monkeys stir up the other monkeys and provoke lethargy, frustration, and self-defeating behaviour. They drain the energy that we need for change and make us feel stuck as a result.
Our mind monkeys will never go away, they are part of us.
Fortunately for us, when anxious monkeys mellow, their positive qualities shine through. They give us energy, focus, imagination, and foresight.
Monkey therapy offers a way for you to change what is draining your energy and holding you back, so you can get the good stuff from your monkey mind.
More specifically, monkey therapy helps you:
– Discover what is really stopping you.
– Change negative beliefs and thought patterns.
– Change self-defeating behaviours.
– Create a plan
– Put it into action.
– Build your confidence, compassion and resilience.
The structure of Monkey therapy is based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Like monkeys, CBT is unashamedly thieving. CBT allows its practitioners to use what works for clients from other theories and therapy models. So I draw skills, techniques, and concepts from CBT, Compassion-Focused Therapy, Affective Neuroscience, Transactional Analysis, and mindfulness.
What is Monkey Therapy?
Everyone is different, so sessions are tailored to suit you. And I provide these services online via Skype. Here´s is a breakdown.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
CBT works by breaking down complex psychological issues into its interconnected parts – thinking, behaviour, feelings, and physiology – and then focuses on the specific elements that aren’t working for the client. Though each element is considered important, CBT techniques focus largely on changing our thinking, behaviour, and physiology (e.g. breathing exercises).
My professional experience has taught me that sometimes focusing on these elements is not enough. By adding components of Compassion-Focused Therapy, Affective Neuroscience, and Transactional Analysis, I also address difficult emotions, neurological workings, and relational patterns. These are the elements of Monkey therapy.
Emotions and Compassion-Focused Therapy
Changing the way we think changes how we feel. However, our mood doesn’t always respond to logical thinking. We may tell ourselves that there is nothing to worry about but we feel deeply anxious nonetheless. Feeling compassion towards ourselves (including our disruptive emotions) can positively change our emotional state. Sounds simple, right?
Developing compassion is simple but it’s not easy. Anyone who has tried to stop their anxious thoughts knows..
There is a balance between striving to change the thoughts, feelings, and behaviour that are stopping us from being happy and accepting how our brains work. to That balance is achievable through compassion.
CFT draws from affective neuroscience, developmental psychology, and Buddhist practices to provide methods that train clients how to cultivate compassion for themselves and others.
Compassion not only makes us happier in general, research shows that many psychological conditions significantly improve when treated with CFT. These include anxiety disorders, clinical depression, chronic shame, and post-traumatic stress.
Making sense with Affective Neuroscience
Because of new (and amazing!) brain scan technology, we are able to see how emotions are processed in the brain. These exciting discoveries enable us to explain what happens in our brain when we experience fear, sadness, anxiety and depression. And they allow us to directly target areas that contribute our emotional distress. We know that we can’t change the past or its impact on our brain. But these discoveries demonstrate that we can consciously change our brains in the future.
In my practice, I use affective neuroscience to make sense of what’s going on in your brain when you feel distress and to target the specific areas to help you feel better.
If you don’t find neuroscience explanations helpful (some people don’t), we can still use the neurology-based techniques without having to talk about all of the neuroscience behind it.
Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) suggests that we focus directly on changing our emotional state in order to change how we feel.
Relating and Transactional Analysis
CBT helps us change our thoughts and behaviour, which ultimately changes how we relate to others. But sometimes we don’t realize how we relate or how it impacts our relationships or our ability to get what we want. Transactional Analysis explains how our relational patterns help us or hinder us. TA teaches you how to improve your communication, your relationships, and your ability to achieve your goals.
I practise these via Skype, which gives you the added bonus of accessing treatment from wherever you feel comfortable and safe. Skype therapy just means that we connect via the online communication app, Skype. Skype accounts are free and easy to use. Sign up takes about five minutes. Communication requires a webcam and stable Internet connection.