How we Learn, Un-Learn and Re-Learn
The Natural Learning Process
- The Natural Learning Process
After an event we personally consider important here's what, I believe, happens.
We move all around the new information, exploring it from many viewpoints, experimenting with it, seeing if it 'fits' with what we've already learned, and asking others for their opinion or viewpoints, which we can then accept, reject or modify.
We then reflect or look back on our full set of memories of similar experiences,
and try to organize all the separate internal pieces, from body sensations, the full range of emotions, thoughts, our sense of a unique self; and external feedback, into a coherent story, which we seem to need to keep the experience whole and move the separate pieces from short-term scattered memory into longer-term coherent memory.
Then at some point we reach a conclusion, and freeze it as a belief, and usually turn that belief into a rule of thumb for how to handle future similar situations. It will then stay in that frozen state, unchanged, and we will often defend our newly acquired opinion, belief, or conclusion to the death if necessary!
This holds for both real life events and formal learning whether we initiated the search, i.e. we were curious, or someone else, usually in authority, said: "This is important, memorize it".
A critical element here is time!
It takes time to 'process' or 'integrate' new knowledge. As that time is personal, each of us needs a different amount of time to absorb new information into our whole personal set of experiences. However, in many classrooms, and families, this time is not allowed.
- Trauma Learning
There is a second way of learning I call 'Trauma' Learning.
This includes both big "T" Traumas, like murder, rape, hurricane damage, Tsunami's etc. as well as small "t" traumas, which is basically anything beyond what you're currently able to integrate into your long-term memory, hence interrupting the 'The Natural Learning Process'.
Here we receive a huge amount of new information, usually in such a short time*, we cannot 'process' or integrate or understand it. We don't have the time to experiment with it, or ask others about it, so we quickly freeze it, which takes a lot of biological energy, into an arbitrary belief, and usually some very rigid rules of behavior for our future survival. We often construct walls or barriers to defend the conclusion or belief we reached during the trauma. Even later when the threat subsides, we often do not reflect on the event and try to look at it from multiple viewpoints, or ask others about it; it remains frozen.
Sometimes this is forced on us as someone else tries to control or manipulate us to stay in this frozen silence with a threat - "Never tell anyone about this!" Sometimes they even use that extremely vicious phrase: "And don't even think about it!"; denying us the natural resource of our own mind. Sometimes they'll back up their controlling, manipulative words with a physical threat, a fist, a knife, a gun, or a threat to harm us or someone we love. After many repetitions, they may only need a raised eyebrow. But the sad result is we now have a rigid belief AND the internal command to never review or update it.
* Sometimes it's simply the lack of time, as happens in so many families and classrooms.
When our existing beliefs and behavioral rules no longer serve us, we need to change them. There are many ways to do this. Some individuals prefer to have someone else guide them through the process, at least for the first few times. Others, do it themselves. Today there are even a variety of Internet Assistants. Which you choose is not as important, as making sure that the 'Change Process' works, hopefully not for just a little while, but permanently.
I've spent over 45+ years, sorting through over 140 'systems' of therapy to refine the essentials steps, that we must do to Un-learn troublesome beliefs, freely Choose new ones, and Re-learn these newer more beneficial beliefs.
I call this process the Metado Process. 'Meta' comes from the Greek, 'above' and 'do' from the Japanese, a 'way' of doing. Together Metado means 'a higher way' of living. While my first 30 or so years were very discouraging, the last 10-20 years has produced some excellent procedures which are much quicker, and far more permanent in their effects.
Here is a very brief list of some of the more effective, in my opinion, 'systems' introduced in the last 10-20 years:
- DOBT - now renamed to Coherency Theory/Therapy - This is perhaps the most thorough system in that it describes both a workable technique, and the 'Why', the reasons behind the technique. Created by Bruce Ecker & Laurel Hulley. See: Coherence Therapy
- Clean Language - Neck and neck with DOBT is an amazing set of ideas and techniques that are learnable by everyone, not just professionals, and amazing in their effectiveness not only in therapeutic settings but also in business and family life. Created by David Grove, and made accessible to everyone by Penny Tompkins and James Lawley. I've taken their training and it is excellent! See: Clean Language & Symbolic Modelling
Their website has numerous excellent and mind provoking articles.
- EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
This technique was developed by Francine Shapiro in the early 1990's. It is a 'How' a set of techniques, that are amazingly effective. It has gained worldwide acceptance, and is the preferred training method for trauma workers in many traumatic regions of the world. See: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
- EFT - Emotional Freedom Technique
This process, created by Gary Craig, has yielded results far beyond anyone's expectations, even Gary's. Like me, Gary takes an engineering approach, it has to work, or throw it out. His system has been expanded into many, many areas. Gary, as an individual is, to me, the ultimate idealist & realist. He wants his ideas to 'get out there'. First, he provides a free downloadable manual on how to do EFT yourself. Basic Manual Second, he has some follow on advanced training DVD's, at extremely reasonable costs and copying privileges. See: EFT - Emotional Freedom Techniques.
- Just below this threshold or golden standard or amazing level, there are quite a few truly remarkable new 'systems' of therapy. A hallmark of most of them is that they are simple techniques that everyone, not just professionals can learn and apply. I truly believe, like Eric Berne, creator of TA (Transactional Analysis) that 95% of all so-called therapy ought to be carried out by neighbors over a cup of coffee, or if you're in England a cup of tea, or in Germany a mug of beer! It's really not rocket science. The 'certification' of therapists and also teachers, has, in my opinion, created far more damage than good.
- TIR, See: Traumatic Incident Reduction
Closely related is: Applied Meta psychology at: Applied Meta psychology
- There are many, many smaller 'systems' which are effective, but work on a smaller range of human behaviors.
Very simply, if we re-habilitate 5 individuals a week, and at the same time create 10 more severely unbalanced individuals, we will have lost the battle.
Currently, personal violence is getting worse, not better.
It is both more frequent, and more destructive.
Prevention is basically, changing many cultural ideas of what is healthy and balanced, and what is unbalanced. The media owns a significant portion of this responsibility, but few of them own up to that responsibility.
Last Updated: Saturday, Apr. 28, 2012 5:19 PM
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