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Description of the Decision Maker
Stimulus and Sense Processes

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Stimulus Process

 





 

The Decision Maker Stimulus and Sense Processes

For over eleven years up to early 1996, clients were able to make radical changes in their behavior by using the Decision Maker Belief Process to eliminate the beliefs that caused the behavior. Frequently, there also were meaningful emotional changes. We were noticing, however, that sometimes a client would continue to have a negative sense of herself or of life, or a trace of a specific emotion such as anger or fear, even after eliminating all the beliefs we could find that seemed to be relevant. We usually assumed that there was another belief we hadn't yet discovered, but eventually would.

During this period we used the DM Belief Process on several occasions to assist clients to work on something we called sense of life and sense of self, that is, one's emotional sense of life or oneself, as opposed to a cognitive belief. It was somewhat awkward using the DM Belief Process in this way, but it usually resulted in a noticeable improvement in a client's emotional condition.

In 1996 we had a client who eliminated over one hundred beliefs and, as a result, made many fundamental changes in his life. Nonetheless, he still had several strong emotions that seemed intractable, for instance, he would get extremely angry when anyone asked him to do something. He had stopped acting on the anger and he was no longer run by it, but the emotion remained almost as strong as ever.

Over a period of several months we tried assisting this client to eliminate the remaining dysfunctional emotions. The result of this work was the realization that, although some emotions are the direct result of beliefs, many are conditioned responses that appear to be unrelated to beliefs. When that is the case, the DM Belief Process is not useful because there is no belief to eliminate.

Out of our work with this client and many others over a six month period, we developed a new process that we call the Decision MakerStimulus Process (DMStimulusP). Although it is based on the same principles as the DM Belief Process for beliefs, it is specifically designed to eliminate emotions directly. It is simpler to use than the basic DM Belief Process and usually takes only five to ten minutes to completely eliminate the stimuli for such emotions as fear, anxiety, anger and guilt. The Decision Maker Sense Process, a slight variation of the DM Stimulus Process, eliminates general emotional senses we have of ourselves and life.

Because Re-create Your Life had been completed before these two processes were perfected, they are not included in the book. Morty will provide case histories and a detailed description of how and why it works in his next book. In the meantime, however, we are providing a short explanation here of the two processes and the steps for using them, because we think a great many people will be able to use them effectively with others.

The Mechanism For Emotions is Hardwired

Many emotions are caused by beliefs, for example, the belief that Dogs are dangerous will result in an emotion of fear when confronting a dog. The belief People can't be trusted will result in the feeling of suspicion. When the beliefs are eliminated, the emotions usually will be also.There are, however, emotions that appear to not depend on beliefs, emotions that can be said to be "hardwired" into human beings.

HOW ASSOCIATIONS EARLY IN LIFE CAUSE NEGATIVE FEELINGS LATER IN LIFE

Very often we experience negative feelings in our life on a recurring basis, such as fear, anger, guilt, anxiety, and sadness. We experience these feelings every time specific events or circumstances occur, such as fear whenever we make a mistake or someone gets angry at us, or guilt whenever we are asked to do something. In many cases the events that stimulate the feeling in us do not produce the same feeling in others, and vice versa. Why, for example, does an event that is not inherently fearful produce fear in some people and not in others?

What appears to have happened is that we have a feeling today whenever we are confronted with anything in the present that we have associated with the real cause of the feeling in the past.

The classic example of this was an experiment a psychologist named Pavlov conducted with a dog. When presented with food, the dog salivated. Then a bell was rung just prior to presenting the dog with food. After numerous presentations of the food with the bell, the bell was rung and no food was delivered. The dog salivated anyway, because he had associated the bell with the food. In other words, a stimulus that normally would not produce a response does so because it gets associated with a stimulus that does produce a response.

Here is a real life example: Consider someone who experiences fear whenever he is asked to do something. When did he first experience fear associated with being asked to do something? Assume the original source of the fear was a father who always yelled, threatened, and terrified the client as a child. No matter what he did, the father was not satisfied. The father was always asking him to do things that he realized he could not do to his father's satisfaction, which led to him experiencing terror. When the client reviews the cause of the feeling of fear, he discovered that the fear was not inherent in being asked to do something. What caused the fear was the meaning he unconsciously attributed to his father's behavior: The person he depended on for his very survival was withdrawing his love. No love, no care; no care, no survival. That is what caused the fear. Can you see that fear is not inherent in not doing things perfectly or, in fact, any other specific thing you do or do not do?

The original source of almost every fear you experience today is the perception that your survival is being threatened. Rarely is the threat present today. The threat almost always is interpreting early events to mean a threat to your survival. More often than not, these early events involve your parents, the people whom your survival depends on. When you do not experience your parents' love as unconditional, you will feel at those moments when you do not experience their love: How will I survive if I cannot count on them? You will experience a literal threat to your survival, which produces the emotion of fear.

De-conditioning the Conditioning

The point of the DM Stimulus Process is to assist the client to realize that initially the current stimulus never produced the emotion. It was only produced by the meaning we give to the original cause; the current stimuli just happened to be associated with the real original cause in some way.

HOW THE DM STIMULUS PROCESS WORKS

The DM Stimulus Process works by helping you to realize that initially "being asked to do something" never produced fear. The original cause of the fear was the meaning you attributed to the way you were asked to do something (the anger), by someone whose survival you depended on (your father). You associated "being asked to do something" with a loss of love, which ultimately you experienced as "a threat to your survival." When the association is broken, when you realize that you made this arbitrary association, the events that got associated (being asked to do something) will no longer cause fear. In other words, when we consciously make a distinction between what really caused the feeling initially and the events that happened to be associated with it, the associated events (current source of the feeling) will no longer cause the feeling.

Notice the parallel between how the DM Stimulus Process works and how the basic DM Belief Process works: When we make a distinction between the events that were the source of a belief and the meaning we attribute to those events, the belief is eradicated. When we make a distinction between the actual cause of an emotion and its associated elements, the emotion will no longer be produced by those elements.

There is a difference between a specific emotion and a generalized emotional sense; the DM Sense Process works with the latter. (I use the word "emotion" as a simplified way of referring to both of them.) A specific emotion would be fear, sadness or anger. An emotional sense is a generalized, diffuse emotional state that cannot easily be put into words. We can have an emotional sense of ourself, life, money, relationships, and work. There usually is no single word or statement to describe it. The words describing an emotional sense can include emotions, colors, shapes, bodily sensations, and concepts. One example of a sense of self would be: Ineffective. Hard to get going. Sluggish. It doesn't matter. I want to go back to sleep. Why bother? It won't make any difference. No one is interested. Scared. No matter what I do it doesn't seem to matter, make an impact, change anything. Powerless. Impotence. Fear in my chest.

After these two processes were developed, I read a book that describes the brain mechanisms that underlie emotional conditioning and de-conditioning. In The Emotional Brain, Joseph LeDoux, a professor at the Center for Neural Science at New York University, points out: "Extinction [of a conditioned response] appears to involve the cortical [our thinking brain] regulation over the amygdala [the emotional brain]...." That is precisely what the DM Stimulus Process and the DM Sense Process do.

The following are the steps of the DM Stimulus and Sense Processes:
These are PDF files (click to open or download) If you don't have Acrobat Reader, Click here to get it.

To be used for a specific emotion that is caused by a specific stimulus:DMStimulusP.pdf

To be used for a general "sense of" some thing or some issue: DMSenseP.pdf