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The Intimate Dance

Stimuli Cognitive Structure Cognitive Process Sensory
Feelings Interpretation
Emotions Overt Behavior
Bump People are out to get me S/he did that on purpose Pain Anger Hit
Hit These kids are out of control I have to control this kid Hair stands on end Anger
Fear Grabs kid
Grabs kid People are out to get me S/he is going to beat me Hair stands on end Fear
Anger Punches
Punches These kids are out of control I am losing Adrenaline rush Fear
Anger Calls for help
Calls for help People are out to get me Now I’m done for Adrenaline rush Desperation
Despair Runs

The intimate dance has a series of components that occur between two or more people. Since the Cognitive Structures consist of relatively stable belief themes, different but similar components reoccur with people who are in a continuous relationship [e.g., parent – child. man – woman, teacher – student, etc. The above if read from left to right and then down, shows how a dance can get out of hand based on the ‘inner logic’ of the partners.

Various Dances

Stimuli Cognitive Structures
Beliefs about self, others & future prospects Cognitive Processes

Automatic Thoughts Sensory

Feelings Interpretation of feelings


Overt Behavior
Bump – 1 People are out to get me S/he did that on purpose Pain Anger Hit

Bump – 2 Other people are so incompetent
What a klutz!
Nasty Remark
Bump – 3 People are nice. Oops Pain Regret Sorry about that.

Bump – 4 I am stupid! Oh No!
I did it again! Pain

Blushing Anxiety
Fear Don’t hit me!


Based on the individual’s inner logic, the dances – and outcome – can vary.

The Feedback Loop

Stimuli Cognitive Structure Cognitive Process Sensory
Feelings Interpretation
emotions Overt Behavior
School test The world is not a safe place.
I am not capable.
Other people are dangerous to me.
The future is very doubtful I won’t be able to do this!

I am not prepared!
This is really bad!
If the teacher looks over here, I will look away! Stomach clenching; hard to breath; dizzy; reddening of the face and chest. Fear

I am freaking out!

I will lose control! Withdrawal

Facial grimaces

Inability to speak regularly

Crying in class Same I am so embarrassed!
I am going to be sick! Stomach clenching; gagging Fear/Dread

The end is near Throwing up


Whatever is perceived through the senses

Is filtered through the belief system
Which causes some thinking to occur in relationship to the filtered thought

Which causes a physical or somatic reaction Which is then interpreted through prior experiences – I have felt this way before – it means I am going to panic.
Which then causes the overt behavior that is a stimulus to the observer.

Cognitive Structures:

The major structures of concern to cognitive behavior management are the personal schemata [beliefs] that we hold about self, other people – including what we believe those people think of us. Across these two pillars of mental architecture lies a lintel of expectation for the future. These are the primary personal schemata that influence our relationships.

We also have other structures which are called conventional schemata which are all the thoughts we have about a specific domains – most of us, for example, have a restaurant schema which cues us how to behave in a restaurant. Our beliefs about ourselves can be referred to as a Self Schema. Schemata often overlap. Thus our Self Schema is affected by and affects what we believe other people think about us. The conventional schemata are, generally speaking, outside the realm of cognitive behavior management, although they may overlap. We are not likely to be interested in the person’s Restaurant Schema unless it overlaps the Self Schema [I am uncomfortable in restaurants when I eat alone]; or the Other Schema – [people in restaurants always take advantage of me]. The key ingredient of our concern lies in interpersonal relationships. We are most interested in helping people create and maintain mutually satisfying and gratifying relationships in any domain that they choose or are required to venture into.

The major use of these THOUGHTS is to help us predict and control future experiences through an accumulation of knowledge from prior experiences. Thus any time we experience anything new, we filter that experience through our cognitive structure and compare it to other experiences and schemata. If we find a schema that is close and we are comfortable with that domain, we are likely to be able to move comfortably into the new domain – we use the prior domain as an analogy or metaphor for the new – and process the information accordingly.

We can examine the dimensions of any domain through personal construct theory and a repertory interview. Personal constructs are the symbols we use to describe our judgements about things, events and people. Because constructs represent some form of judgement or evaluation, they are by definition. bi polar – the construct becomes a ruler by which we can ask the person to rate or scale – e.g. how good is this time, place, event, compared to that time, place, event?: that is, the concept good can only exist in contrast to the concept bad, the concept gentle can only exist as a contrast to the concept harsh. Any evaluation we make – when we describe a car as sporty, or a politician as right-wing, or a sore toe as painful – could reasonably be answered with the question ‘Compared with what?’. Such scaling questions are quite useful in counseling.

Once having determined the constructs, these can be changed if they are not proving utile. In fact, the constructs – like other stored thoughts are constantly being ‘groomed’ with new information and interpretations.

Cognitive Processes:

These processes can be compared to Structures in the same manner that thinking is compared to thought. We have thoughts, but we do thinking. We are constantly thinking and this thinking is coherent with our stored thoughts [Structure]. Based on dissonance theory, if we discover that our thoughts are not coherent, we are energized to change. Piaget called this ongoing change process assimilation and accommodation. In assimilation, we modify the novel thought to fit into the structure and in accommodation; we modify the structure to accept the new idea. Obviously if the new idea is so powerful, we can become traumatized since our coping skills lose their basis and until we build a new coherency of structure, we will have a difficult time functioning competently. In crisis theory, the crisis is both a danger [coping skills don’t work] and an opportunity [reorganization can improve the cognitive structure.

The major thinking that we do everyday is around 1) appraisals and/or comparisons of ourselves [based on our self schema] to others or events and experiences to others which are similar; 2) attributions – or the assignment of cause for an event; or and then 3) expectations of success or failure in performance areas, and finally disposition – disposition – the assignment of duties and responsibilities – is this good or bad and what are we going to do about it. These often occur internally as automatic thoughts. Disposition is involved with the ‘shoulds’ and rules we have for behavior of self and others. The thoughts are automatic – meaning that they usually occur without conscious involvement – the same as blinking or breathing. Often these thoughts leak out in self-talk and give the observer an opportunity to infer the structure of the person in a given domain.

The Structure/Process linkage

There are structures that are used as tools in the processing of information [thinking]. One is the cognitive algorithm. We have many, many cognitive algorithms and these are used in ‘mindless’ behaviors or automaticity. We for example, use them to walk. When we were learning to walk, to drive, to sip a glass of water, we had to think about what we were doing. However, once these actions were fully learned [habituated], they became automatic. In fact, if we think consciously about what we are doing, we lose the fluidity of action. Some of these cognitive algorithms are used in the major thinking processes and are manifested as automatic thoughts or ‘self talk’. The good news is that we can bring these algorithms into consciousness and ‘debug’ them if they are causing distress.

Another is the structure used for making judgements. Called personal constructs, they are the symbols or representations we use to describe our judgements about things, events and people. Because constructs represent some form of judgement or evaluation, by definition they are scalar. Our selection of personal constructs is again congruent with our other structures. You may judge a potential mate because s/he is ‘good looking’ instead of ‘ugly’, ‘bright’ as opposed to ‘stupid’ or ‘rich’ as opposed to ‘poor’. These measures may not be helpful in finding someone who is compatible. These constructs – like other structures – can be modified and changed.

Sensory ‘Feelings’:

Often a perceived experience will cause a visceral somatic reaction – such as hair raising, stomach clenching, flushing, etc. Such ‘feelings’ are then compared to previous similar feelings and a cognitive label is attached – embarrassment, shame, etc. Feelings are always biological, but emotions, the meaning labels we put on them are always biographical – meaning that they are idiosyncratic identifications that are made after filtering through our cognitive structures. Even pain is dependant upon such identification. Often people will incur an injury that does not hurt until it is discovered [perceived]. Athletes often do not discover injuries until after the game. Further, what you say to yourself about the injury will often influence how much pain you suffer.

Emotions: what we label emotions are the cognitive interpretations that we attribute to the sensory feelings. One might attribute the hair rising on the back of the neck and an adrenaline rush as fear or anger. A chill going up the spine may be fear or a cold draft. Again, our interpretations are based in large part on our experiences. If a Doberman pincher entered a yard with you, you may feel fear or friendship depending upon your experience with dogs. The person without fear is less likely to get bitten.

Overt Behavior:

Anything that can be observed by another is considered to be overt behavior. Facial grimaces, color changes, movement and the like can all be observed. Once one has overtly responded to a stimulus, their reaction may become a stimulus for another person who is unaware of the covert behaviors [cognitive processing] that has occurred and responds only to the overt behavior. Thus, the dog may respond to the signs of fear and withdrawal or running which may influence it to attack.

In the above examples, we attempt to indicate some of the intimate dances that occur both internally and externally.

General Dimensions of Cognitive Structures

Beliefs about SELF:

I excel beyond all other people.
I am competent in most every area.
I am competent in some areas and incompetent in others
I am incompetent in most every area.
I am worthless.

While these dimensions vary across domains, the person is likely to come to some generalized conclusion about where they fit on the scale. One cannot assume that these beliefs are, in and of themselves, positive or negative – until one looks at the OTHER dimension.

Beliefs about OTHERS:

Other people are better than I am.
Other people are just as good as I am.
Other people are not as good as I am.

These constructs go across two dimensions: performance and morality. Better performance has to do with competence. Better person has to do with moral virtue or value. I may perform better than others, but not be of the same value. One might separate ‘good’ into two categories: fit and pleasing (truth and beauty?). I may be fitter than others, but not as pleasing. In this appraisal, one also is concerned with self-affirmation and other confirmation. It is only part of the equation to believe oneself fit and find that other do not so believe, One thought is likely to erode the other. The elegance of scientific theory would include optimal truth and beauty – the theory is both an excellent fit and is pleasing.

In terms of affiliation and pleasantness, the construct is one of how other people treat me. If I believe other people adore me, it is hard, but not impossible to believe that I am worthless. Again, we have separate constructs:

People like me and treat me well.
People don’t like me and treat me badly.
People don’t like me but treat me well.
People like me but treat me badly.

However, even these constructs are not sufficient to define our overall belief about self and others for there is an aspect of control involved. I may be not so concerned as to whether people like me if I feel I am powerful. But I may not accept any positive regard for how well people treat me if I feel powerless. Thus, additional construct need to be added:

I have sufficient power to live my life as I choose.
I have limited power, but get along.
I have no power and no matter how good or bad life is, I am vulnerable.
I have great power, and need it to defend myself against evildoers.

The question of power is tied to the ability to predict and control the future, and to some extent to the expectation of success and failure. If I believe I will be successful and I believe that this success is the result of my own efforts, I am likely to feel a degree of power over may life. The questions of expectation are tied to the variables of internal or external locus of control; changeability and stability.

As these constructs indicate, there is substantial range in the way people feel about themselves and other people. The worst feeling is apparently to feel incompetent, unloved and powerless. In such a case, you are likely to have a self fulfilling prophecy that other people will treat you badly since your overt behavior is likely to lead to actions which are unlikable and potentially disruptive.

Buddhist believe that it is the desire for likeability and power itself that is the problem. That if you detached from desire to be – you could become everything that you want. There is some relevance in this thought since often our desires and attachments lead us to become frustrated and discouraged – thoughts that lead us down the primrose path of fear, sadness and anger.

I am struck, however, by Viktor Frankl, who states that human search for meaning is the primary motivation in life and not a ‘secondary rationalization’ of instinctual drives. Human beings, Frankl says, need ‘something’ for the sake of which to live. This seems like an attachment, and I am at first inclined to suggest that this is a typically western form of thought.

The term ‘existential’ may be used in three ways: to refer to 1) existence itself, i.e., the specifically human mode of being; 2) the meaning of existence; and 3) the striving to find a concrete meaning in personal existence, that is to say, the will to meaning.

A man’s concern, even his despair, over the worthwhileness of life is an existential distress but by no means a mental disease.

No instinct tells him what he has to do, and no tradition tells him what he ought to do; sometimes he does not even know what he wishers to do. Instead he either wishes to do what other people do [conformism] or he does what other people wish him to do [totalitarianism].

The existential vacuum manifests itself mainly in a state of boredom.

One should not search for an abstract meaning of life. Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.

Clearly Frankl is suggesting an attachment – a connection to a purpose to make life worthwhile. However, it is important to note, that he goes on to suggest that such an attachment is not an emotional connection, but rather a rational one – a decision to commit.

Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked. …Each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.

To life we can only respond by being responsible!

Frankl goes on to suggest that we can discover this meaning in life in three different ways:

1) by creating a work or doing a deed;
2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and
3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.

The first, the way of achievement or accomplishment, is quite obvious. Buddha dedicated his life to enlightenment and as a teacher to helping others become enlightened.

The second – by experiencing something -such as goodness, truth and beauty – by experiencing nature or culture or last, but not least, by experiencing another human being in his uniqueness -by loving him. The followers of Buddha experiences the goodness, truth and beauty of the Buddha and loved him.

For the third, what matters, says Frankl, is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement. When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves. Suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning such as the meaning of sacrifice. So Frankl’s writings are, perhaps, not so different than the philosophy of Buddha – it is the emotional attachment, not the rational commitment, which causes suffering – or rather the loss/trespass of such attachment. This emotional attachment can be to self, others or future prospects. Others in this case would include things as well as people. If we care deeply about out own self image, a loved one, a favorite item, or a future goal and this is taken away or spoiled in some way, we often respond with emotions ranging on a scale of sadness to anger, with the leveling factor being fear. Fear is determined by expectations of vengeance/restoration; attributions of cause; and our appraisal of ourselves against the perpetrator. The more we feel capable of revenge the more likely we will select a direct attack – the more we don’t believe in our capacity, the closer we get to hopelessness and helplessness. This is the elaboration of the fight and flight instinct carried out over time. All of the emotional elements of sadness, fear and anger are present in the loss/trespass of attachment. The different choice of fight/flee is based on the degree of fear. If I feel hopelessly at a loss to restore or revenge my loss, I am sad. If I feel that I can restore/revenge my loss, I feel angry. There is, however, a caveat. If I feel that I can restore my loss ‘as good as new’, this may diminish my anger and I become productive.

Buddha was nothing if not rational.

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

Whose problem is it?

Thought, feeling &/or behavior can be distressing to oneself
Thought, feeling &/or behavior can be distressing to other people

If the experience is distressing to oneself, the question becomes, what do you want to change?
If the experience is distressing to others, the question(s) become:
1) are you aware of the other’s distress?
2) do you care about the other’s distress?
3) do you have a goal to cease the other’s distress?
4) do you have an implementation plan to meet the goal?

If the experience is not distressing to oneself, it is not your problem unless you acknowledge that you care about the other’s distress. If that is the case, you should have a goal to diminish or cease the other’s distress and an implementation plan to carry it out. The helper’s role becomes one of helping the individual to shape and carry out an effective plan.

If the person does not acknowledge the problem there is little that the helper can do, except perhaps to work with the other person to deal with the problem more effectively. Obviously, the consequences of the behavior are not sufficient to cause the client to feel a problem. What is his/her inner logic?

Things we need to know:

Does the thought, feeling and/or behavior exist? If so, to what degree of frequency and intensity?

Stimuli – any thought, event, object or person that arouses consciousness thought
Perception – through the sense modalities – e.g., visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory or gustatory – these sensory experiences are coded through submodalites, which are the elements of the modalities [e.g., visual = brightness, color, etc.]. Thus any perception is recorded through both submodalities and modalities.
Thought – once a perception is recorded the person has thoughts about its cause, whether it is pleasurable/painful, dangerous/harmless, etc. These thoughts then create
Emotions – these are cognitive interpretations of the feelings or sensory modalities which are represented in the mind causing one to
Behave – overtly act – through subtle or large movements – which cue other people as to what is going on internally in you – although these responses can be hidden. These behaviors become a
Stimuli – for the other person.

Thus our formula is:

S/Pm/s1 -> TEB1 = S/Pm/s2 -> TEB = S/Pm/s1b-> TEB1b -> ∞


S = stimuli
P = perception
M = modalities
s = submodalities
T = thoughts
E = emotions
B = behavior
∞ = infinity since each behavior response ultimately leads to another behavior and response which continues until the interacting population dies out. Thus infinity should read as ‘whenever’.

For sake of example of the formula, we could imagine the following scenario.

Individual A sees a picture of him/herself in a compromising position – this gains attention (consciousness) and thinking “this is embarrassing” s/he experiences the shame affect [head and neck slump, the eyes droop and are turned away, the upper body goes limp, the face [and sometimes the neck and upper chest] become red and all communication with the other person is lost for a moment. Feeling shame, person A seeks cognitively to find another category of success to overcome these ‘feelings’ of inferiority and may cognitively select from the following withdrawal, attack self, avoidance and/or attack others as a means of recovery. If individual selects attack others, s/he will overtly behave by manifesting insults, verbal or physical attack, bullying of any kind, sexual sadism or anything that s/he thinks will prevent the momentary sense of inferiority. These behaviors become stimuli for person B.

The length of time that passes between these steps is, in terms of personal cognizance, infinitesimal. It may in fact seem that s/he saw the picture and hit instantaneously. However many thing have been happening between the perception and the action. There are several points where the hitting may have been avoided.

1. S/he may have reframed the moment to think the picture ‘funny’ – and not been embarrassed.
2. S/he may still believe the picture to have been embarrassing, but have
a. chosen to attack self – demeaning him/herself and making him/herself dependant upon the other person;
b. chosen avoidance – simply tried to make the ‘feeling’ go away without paying attention to the scene;
c chosen withdrawal which includes running away and hiding.
3. S/he may have chosen attack others, but using social skills chosen another time and place and/or subtle attack.

People with problems in living often:

• have rigid belief systems which do not allow them to reframe perceptions into more acceptable alternatives;
• make consistent cognitive errors in thinking;
• have limited emotional competence that allows them to think the worst in most situations; and/or
• have a limited social skill repertoire from which to select responses.

This is a dynamic system. Imagine, if you will, a pool, built as an equilateral triangle with sensory coding [submodalities along the slanted left side, cognitive coding along the slanted right, and cognitive interpretation along the bottom. The original stimuli, dropped into the pool, moves out into the triangle in all directions like ripples and rebounds off the sides to move back to another side. Each time, the ripple takes something from each side and begins to create an outcome. As it loses momentum in less than a thousandth of a second, the consensus is that “I have been trespassed and will recover through attacking others”; the submodalities change from color to drab and distant, and the cognitive coding assimilates the new information.

To the outside observer, the physical changes would seem instantaneous although the actual response behaviors may take a moment longer.

Event Identification Rating Responding Event Identification Rating
attributions attributions
appraisals Distressing appraisals Distressing
* expectations Not distressing * expectations Not distressing
[Automatic Thoughts]
May be identified by self report or through the
‘Leakage’ of self talk – the reports of others.

Such thoughts might also be identified through a Repertory Interview
Cognitive errors

& other
homework [Automatic Thoughts]
May be identified by self report or through the
‘Leakage’ of self talk – the reports of others.

Such thoughts might also be identified through a Repertory Interview
Cognitive errors

When an event happens this is either perceived or not depending on the degree of arousal.

If perceived, the person immediately tries to ‘put his/her arms around it’ and appraises it – comparing it with other events and making judgements about its fit with other patterns, schema and its utility [pleasure/pain] content; making explanations [attributions] about cause; and making predictions about expectations for the future and finally, a disposition. These thoughts often occur as AUTOMATIC THOUGHTS, which although they might not be conscious, can be made conscious just as the reflex behaviors of blinking and breathing can be brought to consciousness. Particularly in times of stress, people will often express these thoughts out loud and others can report such leakage if they are asked to report exact words spoken by the person in distress. Once these thoughts are identified, they can be rated by the individual person as distressing or not, and cognitive errors can be identified. If the person chooses to correct these thoughts, s/he can then be helped to attend through Journals and other homework, analyze the thoughts through formal and public means and create alternative meanings to the event. After comparing expected consequences, the individual can select what s/he believes and adapt to that selection.

When we experience events, we code the information in our mind in submodalities, modalities and metaphors – by bringing these to consciousness, we can change the meaning of the experience. We re-experience the stimuli from a new perspective [distance in time, older self, dissociation, etc.] and then code it differently from this different perspective.

We learn by making analogies e.g., applying information about something we know to something we don’t know [this new event or object is like x] Sometimes the analogy is so powerful that we suggest a metaphor “This is X!”. Thus analogies [this is like that] and metaphors [this is that] become an enduring symbol in our mental structures [knowledge] or meaning system.

We also code these memories in the sensory modalities we consider appropriate. Submodalities and metaphors or analogies are two different right brain levels of abstraction about the same experience. We can go ‘back to the basics’ and change the sensory experience or change the frame of reference in order to change meaning. We use imagining and the unanswerable question as methods to either relearn the experience or give it new meaning.

Language is the major way we have to communicate our experiences and levels of abstraction come into play here as well. Since we cannot convey the total experience, we nonconsciously select those words that we are going to use – omitting or leaving some things out, generalizing other things, and perhaps distorting the experience and what it actually meant to us.

Two components are necessary in the helping process:

• we need to gather information about what the person has experienced – some of which may not be consciously known by the person; and

• if the memories of the experience are distressing to the individual, we need to provide the person an opportunity to re-create or re-experience the event in order for him/her to re-order the ‘meaning’ of it.

Changing the meaning is accomplished though adding new submodalities or by providing a different metaphor or analogy [reframing]. It is suggested that anytime a higher level of abstraction changes, everything underneath must change as well. Thus if we believe that a tomato is a vegetable or a fruit will affect the way we use this food source – in a fresh fruit salad or a tomato pie, for example. All meaning is embedded in context and by reframing the context, we change the meaning.

Language, as the means of communicating subjective experience, is a very valuable tool for the helper for, if we listen carefully, we can gather several levels of information. First, we can get a sense of the person’s primary sensory usage. “I see what you mean” you might say – indicating a visual sense. Is this predominant in the way you talk. If so, it is probably predominant in the way you experience. When helping you change at the sensory level – we will probably want to have you visualize.

In addition, we can hear through your language the missing elements, the generalizations and perhaps the distortions. If you said “she always does that”, you have used a form of short hand which does not indicate who ‘she’ is, nor what ‘she does’. Unfortunately, all human beings fill in the gaps for themselves. We assume that we know who ‘she’ is and what she did because of the former content. However, if we ask, we may find that the person is at first confused as to who ‘she’ really is – they may have been using the present ‘she’ as a metaphor for some other ‘she’ and only when brought to consciousness, does the person sense the dichotomy. The same sort of thing happens when we ask who ‘everyone’ is – as in the phrase “everyone does it”. And if we were to as what these people do – we may be surprised that the answer is not what we had interjected.

Helping the person sort through their levels of abstraction and describe the experience in the most sensory term, we help them come closer to the actual experience. I once heard a proposition about levels of abstraction that has stuck with me for many years. The statement was that if Albert Einstein and Neils Bohr were debating whether light was a particle or a wave, we may hear the argument and side with one or the other – assuming, therefore, that the person we sided with was closer to our way of thinking. However, the suggestion was that as we increase our levels of abstraction, there is a tendency to consider first one side and then the other, moving back and forth, as it were, up two flights of stairs. Or if the analogy of a spiral is better suited, as we spiral upwards, we move from one side to the other. Thus, even though I support Einstein, he and Bohr are much closer together in their thinking, than he and I. I am at the beginning of the spiral since I know little about physics, and both Einstein and Bohr are at the top of the spiral, one slightly ahead of the other.

However, by making the assumption that Einstein and I think alike, I am, if in a helping process, not being helpful. I assume too much. I need to help Einstein articulate sufficiently about his experience so that I am not trapped in faulty thinking. Too many experts assume that they know what the client thinks, without ever asking, and mostly without even listening.

There are several methodological models available for helping one gather information, the Meta Mode, the Milton Model and the Metaphor Model. One deals with sensory, one with concepts and one with metaphor. A helper needs to have at least some experience with each if s/he expects to be able to be helpful.

Subjective experience Affect Interpretative trait [mood] Actions
Behaviors Helping Responses
People record their experiences in cognitive structures or domains using the codes of:
modalities: sensory representations
sub-modalities: the components of sensory representations
representations: symbols – usually language
analogies/metaphors: comparative is like or is I – pain system – report damage
II – drive system – report of the need to perform a particular function.
III. affect system – report about stimulus.

A. innate affects: bipolar constructs triggered by nothing more than the densities or gradients of neural stimulation
1) surprise/startle
2) fear/terror
3) interest/excitement
4) enjoyment/joy
5) distress/anguish
6) anger/rage
Dependant upon prior experiences and combinations of these various emotional components:

Anger: the moral emotion. Righteous – end trespass and repair damage. Prevent further trespass:
• thought – “I have been trespassed!”
• bodily feeling -Your sympathetic nervous system and your muscles mobilize for physical assault using the same mechanisms evolved for fear. After such preparation there is the action, The attack is towards ending the trespass – immediately.

Attack –

• others

• one’s self

Shut Down

To effect change of self is to seek methods to overcome primordial fear and the need for self preservation.

One substantive method of doing so is to seek to help the person with problems in living to evaluate for themselves their own ‘inner logic’ for its usefulness in helping them predict and control events. This can be a tedious process since most of the “cache” assumptions have been around for a while and have been at least “satisficing” – a word coined in business theory to indicate that it is sufficient, but not satisfying.
With the recorded information, we use cognitive processes or ‘thinking/feeling’ – covert behavior to 1) appraise – compare new experiences with prior experiences and 2) find ‘analogy’ which fits to 3) frame the new experience, so that it can be 4) assimilated or accommodated within the cognitive structure; 5) attribute a cause to the experience that is internal/external, sable/unstable and changeable or unchangeable, and 6) from this determination develop and predict expectations for the future. B Other affects – non bipolar
1) dismell affect of rejection before sampling – prejudice
2) disgust – affect of rejection
3) shame – triggered only when we are in a state of 3/4 above.
a) matters of size, strength, ability or skill
b) dependence /independence
c) competition
d) sense of self
e) personal attraction
f) sexuality
g) issues of seeing and being seen
h) wishes and fears about closeness The moral aspect is extremely problematic to the helping professions, since people with problems in living often “think” they are being trespassed, when the causal observer sees no such offense.
Fear is the primordial emotion. Fear is the survival response. Fear, oddly, is also the basis of “trust”. Since fear spurs the animal into action, the animal must trust its instincts and trust the warning; ultimately trusting the person who gives the alarm. When primitive man heard the warning- he reacted. He did not wait to see if the warning was true, for if it was and he did not react- he would potentially end up in harms way.
We don’t normally think of attachment as an emotion, but our attachment for people and objects generates a great deal of emotion. For example, our attachment to people or objects creates a wider range of areas for trespass and therefore, anger. It is the loss of important attachments which bring on sadness. It is the attachment to people who upset us and the attachment to our righteousness which leads to hate.


Escape Awareness – of one’s own automatic thoughts and Attendance or [mindfulness] of those thoughts – particularly beliefs about self, others and future prospects. Analysis – formal and public which includes seeking Alternative meanings and weighing the consequences of these alternatives, and finally the Adaptation to these new meaning through habituation.

We can also help the person change the submodalites as a means of giving new meaning [emotional content] to these experiences.

All meaning is a subjective experience based on prior subjective experience and all meaning can be relearned.
When meaning is distressful, people will seek ways to overcome the distress.


A system consists of input, process, output and outcome.

The input into the human system includes combinations of the various qualities of sensory information [size, speed, color, sound, taste, etc.] which are within the tolerances of the epigenetic rules [biological constraints on, for example, the level of sound or sight that a human being can experience] and later the cultural and personal constraints [cultural or social constraints include for example, the number of conceptions for color used in the language which limits the number of colors that are ‘seen’ by a person in that culture; personal constraints are placed by the cognitive structures in effect] AND is a combination that is novel enough to arouse consciousness [it is probable that other stimuli enter the system and are coded in memory, but never become conscious – but this fact is not relevant here]. The input may be produced externally or internally – we can make ourselves feel sad by thinking about experiences that we have had during which we felt sad.

The process followed by the system includes the two self created filters of information [cultural and personal] and includes three acts of thinking: comparing one thing to another by its sensory and after the first time – representative [symbolic] qualities. Valuing these alternatives through the process of determining utility – pleasure/pain and placing a value representation [emotional label] on it. The emotional labels are different than the feelings or affects caused by the sensory information which may include elements of the pain, drive or affect systems – these are biological responses – the valuation process is a biographical process and the label is based on the mental structures that are developed by the process we are identifying. The last act is to decide between or among alternatives so that the information can be coded symbolically including a conceptual or language representation, an emotional content and the sensory qualities that equate to this symbol. Almost all of this processing activity is done nonconsciously as a reflex behavior such a breathing and blinking. As these cognitive algorithms are created they operate automatically, although they can be brought to consciousness – often with disastrous loss of control. For example, we don’t think about how to sip coffee from a cup, but if we did, we may find that we spill it. In addition, other tools for making judgements or valuation are created in the form of bipolar constructs [good/bad] which we use to provide the labels. These constructs are personal to each individual and recognize the biographical data.

The output of the system is a mental architecture which can help the individual to predict and control events. Over time mental structures are developed through the constant comparison, valuation and culmination of decisions about these symbolic representations. The construction is generally coherent and is constantly developing through assimilation [modifying the new representation sufficiently that it can fit with the rest of the belief structure] or accommodation [modifying the belief structure sufficiently so that the new representation can be incorporated]. At some point a critical mass is reached so that the structure becomes more or less gelled into a theory of meaning about the world and the individual’s place in the world. This inner logic then seeks confirmation and tends to ignore disconfirmation. The major structures in this theory of meaning are concerned with the self, others and future prospects, although schema for many other domains are also apparent. .

The outcome of this system is that the individual now has an ‘inner logic’ which helps or hinders in the development of relationships with other people. When the mental architecture is such that the outcome produced is for the most part the development of mutually satisfying and gratifying relationships we have a competent system. If, however, the system produces outcome such as chaotic personal relationships and is distressing, we have a person who experiences various degrees of problems in living. Since the inner logic is responsible for the differences in outcome, it follows that changes in this logic are necessary for changes in the outcome of problems in living. What we are dealing with are problems of meaning – the meaning that the person has for self, others and future prospects being the major concerns. These meanings are usually ‘leaked’ in the self talk that occurs in the processing algorithms of comparing, valuing and deciding. Statements about self, others and prospects can often be linked back directly to the core beliefs. Depending on the degree of difficult and distress, the problems may be approached by assimilating novel thought which gradually modify the structure [cognitive process correction] or modifying the structure itself [cognitive restructuring] in order to accommodate new ideas. The beginning process of is the same for both: awareness of thoughts/thinking.; attendance to it; analysis [formal and public to avoid the confirmation bias], creation of acceptable alternative meanings and comparing their potential consequences; and finally the adaptation to the selected alternative. cognitive restructuring must go deeper and deals more with imagining and unanswerable questions.

By bringing the reflex action into consciousness, we can ‘debug’ the system and reprogram it for better response. This is a self-correcting process as only the thoughts that are acceptable to the individual are adaptable. However, there is a significant role for a helper as a psychological mirror to hold the person to seeking actual evidence instead of confirmation.