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‘When Did I Learn How to Learn?’: A Vicious Circle Releaser

I recently read / re-read some things on perceptual control theory and method of levels therapy by Timothy Carey and others (2015, 2015). Then I had a few sessions that seemed to go with them, and to be positively influenced by them.

How, indeed, to think and talk with someone who feels so very stuck–yet is trying to stay in the safe or familiar territory that always sort-of-worked before?

Ask yourself: “What did I always know how to do, even as a baby?”

No, it’s not a trick. Yes, there is something. You’re doing it right now, even if you aren’t conscious of it. It is as simple as my cat learning how to get my attention but, oddly, sometimes hard for humans. That’s because of our great but problematic gift of self-awareness. We get all tied up in our previous maps, and miss the new road.

Stay with me. Try: “Did I have to learn how to learn? If so, when exactly did I?”

The answer is a way out of all kinds of self-awareness booby-traps. The answers are: No, and Never. We just always innately and unconsciously learn. With mad respect to bugs, even they do it, and without knowing how.

Until we have some guidance, it is a practically random search but it still works well. Sometimes there are unintended side-effects but that’s all right, we then adjust again, one way or another. We just keep trying until something works well enough. Then, it no longer works, starts to backfire, or we want to grow even more. So, then we do it all over again.

A therapist, counselor, coach can provide nuanced, knowledgeable, caring guidance to shape, protect, and expedite this searching process.

Once you remember that this process will always occur, that’s where self-awareness becomes a blessing again. It becomes a flexible guide, not an authoritarian. The searching is ours to do and we know how, without having to know ‘how’ we know. Change is baked into you. But once you have guidance, it’s up to you what it will take to make it.

Benevolently, I would say our consciously thinking self has no standing to question this natural capacity. So we can stop, breathe, and try something new.

It’s hard, and it’s scary that it’s not a consciously controlled process all the time, but we do already know how. We just need the support and guidance for the search, the journey, and choices, too.

Try, modify, detoxify, and, when you need to, cry. Repeat. Especially with a good guide who knows about this process, something will work.

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