A new “therapy” was launched in January of 2018. The results have been extraordinary for the first fifty participants. This “therapy” doesn’t even have a name yet. It was introduced through a 21-day course called, Thrilled To Be Alive.
Not your typical therapy
I put the word “therapy” in quotes because this approach is so different that it does not fit our common ideas of “therapy.” This approach does not involve a therapist and a client or patient working together in the typical manner. Thrilled To Be Alive is a class in which each participant pairs up with a buddy. The buddies work together in a prescribed manner for twenty-one days.
If you’ve been in the field for a while, you may be familiar with Reevaluation Co-counseling (RC), a peer-based counseling system that was developed by Harvey Jackins in the 1950’s. Since that time millions of people have learned and practiced RC, which is a precise procedure in which participants listen to one another in turn and help each another “discharge.”
This new model is similar to Reevaluation Co-counseling in that the “patient” is not reliant upon a therapist, once they’ve learned the basic tools. The “patient,”—let’s use the term “practitioner”—works with a “buddy” who has also been through the course.
Best used as an adjunct to therapy
This is not an alternative to therapy; it is a powerful adjunct to therapy. It’s for people who have done some work on themselves, maybe a lot of work on themselves, but they continue to feel stuck. The people who have gone through this course said they feel a relatively good degree of well-being, but they also said, “Something is missing from my life.” This “therapy” addresses precisely what is missing.
The most significant difference between this therapy and others is that practitioners learn to access a different level of consciousness. First, they discover that there are different levels of consciousness, which in itself can be eye-opening for some people, and then they learn how to access these different levels of consciousness.
Most therapy takes place with both the therapist and client fixed in a particular state of mind— one specific level of consciousness—which includes talking about problems, having our experiences validated, learning new skills and behaviors, and learning how to work with our beliefs. We seek outcomes and measure our progress along the way. When therapy is effective, we clarify our values, establish healthy boundaries, process our feelings, and develop healthier narratives.
Most therapy relies upon safety consciousness
The state of consciousness in which traditional therapy takes place is what I refer to as safety consciousness. If you think of consciousness as a spectrum, I have identified three broad ranges of consciousness: safety, heart, and spaciousness. This new model of therapy is unique in that it helps people access and operate in heart consciousness.
“Heart consciousness” may sound like new-age jargon, but it’s not. This new model is not advocating that we live in heart consciousness all the time, but instead that we learn to navigate the different levels of consciousness, moving appropriately between safety, heart, and spaciousness.
I am not dismissing the value of traditional therapy or the need to become skilled at living in safety consciousness, which is what most therapy helps us do. I am pointing out that as valuable as those skills are, and as beneficial as traditional therapy is, those skills and traditional therapy are limited. We can get stuck navel-gazing and processing our feelings endlessly. We can strive to be better, work harder, and fulfill our potential—all of which are valuable—but we may end up running faster and faster on the same self-help hamster wheel and never experience the transformation that occurs when we shift our level of consciousness.
Shifting consciousness frees up energy
After we learn to shift our states of consciousness—through a few simple techniques—we stop seeing many of our “problems” as problems. The energy we were using to “work on our problems” is freed up, and this allows us to be more present, connect with people in healthier ways, and ultimately, be thrilled to be alive.
Sometimes our “problems” are real and need to be addressed. I am not challenging that reality. I am questioning the notion that having problems means I have to suffer emotionally. I don’t believe this has to be the case. To relieve my suffering, I can alter my consciousness and change my relationship, really, to everything.
I expect that this process, which is still being developed, will lead to a movement, something like Reevaluation Co-counseling, in which people will go through the basic course, which is either twenty-one or twenty-eight days (I’m still experimenting), and then work with various “buddies” as part of their ongoing practice. I also expect that those of you who have done therapy and are still feeling stuck—perhaps stuck on the hamster wheel of over processing and over thinking your “problems”—will find more freedom, appreciation, and joy in your daily life if you choose to engage in this form of “co-counseling.”
If you want to learn more, feel free to contact me. Each course is limited to ten people, and a new course starts every four to six weeks.