Tuesday, February 10, 2009

PTSD Healing: Meet Dr. Meaning

Some days you just need to go on a road trip. Today’s one of those days, people! Follow me to the Huffington Post where I want you to meet my new friend, Dr. Alex Pattakos.

Affectionately dubbed ‘Dr. Meaning’, Dr. Pattakos is a pioneer in transformational thinking. (Sounds like just our kind of guy!) Healing the past is always about transforming our thinking and changing our (sub)conscious perspective about traumatic events. There are those who say you can do that by constantly looking backward, but I believe it's more productive to turn your face toward the future and get a whole new view of the world.

Who better to give us good insight about moving out of the past and into a better future than the founder of the Center For Meaning? Pattakos’ highly acclaimed book, Prisoners of Our Thoughts, is based on the teachings of his mentor, Victor Frankl. The book lays out the following seven principles for learning how to bring deeper meaning and fulfillment to our lives. These are qualities that are healing because they represent choices we make about ourselves and our lives now, today, in the present. The more we live, love, create and enjoy in the present, the less we are affected by the past, the stronger we become in the future. I deeply believe that the foundation of healing is the development of a post-trauma identity. The BRIDGE THE GAP workshop is a path to that. Pattakos’ 7 Core Principles are pilons supporting that bridge:

1 - Exercise the freedom to choose your attitude—in all situations, no matter how desperate they may appear or actually be, you always have the ultimate freedom to choose your attitude.

2 - Realize your will to meaning—commit authentically to meaningful values and goals that only you can actualize and fulfill.

3 - Detect the meaning of life's moments—only you can answer for your own life by detecting the meaning at any given moment and assuming responsibility for weaving your unique tapestry of existence.

4 - Don't work against yourself—avoid becoming so obsessed with or fixated on an intent or outcome that you actually work against the desired result.

5 - Look at yourself from a distance—only human beings possess the capacity to look at themselves out of some perspective or distance, including the uniquely human trait known as your "sense of humor".

6 - Shift your focus of attention—deflect your attention from the problem situation to something else and build your coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and change.

7 - Extend beyond yourself—manifest the human spirit at work by relating and being directed to something more than yourself.

Interesting concepts, no? And this is just a quick overview. I’m about to read Prisoners of our Thoughts and then I’ll be able to flesh out the ideas with a fuller understanding.

Now that you’re all warmed up and ready to go, let’s head over to Huff Post where Dr. Pattakos recently posted an article on ‘Dereflection’, which I thought was so wonderful and informative I left a comment, which Pattakos thought was so terrific he conferred upon me the ‘Zorba the Greek’ award. Come on, let’s have some fun….

(photo: Alex Pattakos)

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