* The court room treatment for stressful thoughts

Many of us get a few stressful thoughts that repeatedly pop into the mind. The moment such a thought enters the mind, the associated feelings of anxiety, guilt or panic arise. Result is stress in the mind and tensing of the muscles of the body. Every time such a thought enters the mind, its power seems to get enhanced, like a balloon growing bigger every time you receive it in your hands.

Here is the ‘court room’ treatment to drain the power from such thoughts.It is like pricking a balloon and deflating it, every time it lands in your hand. A few repetitions of this treatment will disable such thoughts permanently.

To illustrate this technique, we will use the real life story of Latha (name changed) a woman in her forties who attended series of my classes. She had the recurring thought that she was responsible for the death of her father who died 12 years back, due to heart failure. He literally died in her hands when they were the only two people in the house. When he collapsed, she administered CPR as she knew it and tried to revive him. She promptly called her sister and emergency number #911. But her father died in her hands before the emergency medical team arrived. Though she did all that she could to save him, the guilt laden thought that she was responsible for his death haunted her for more than 12 years. She was suffering from Fibromyalgia, Insomnia, Obesity  and  more. She was single, living alone and unable to do any work in her own house. She stopped driving. She was living on disability payments and her family was helping for all the physical tasks like vaccuming. She got addicted to powerful pain killers to suppress her body pains and painful feelings. Here is how we used the  ‘Court room’ technique to defuse the destructive thought of guilt.

This court room has 4 key persons.

The alleged culprit (AC): This  is the silent woman herself, drowned in guilt. Imagine she is at the heart position.

The prosecution lawyer (PL): This is the voice in Latha’s mind, who is constantly blaming her, for her father’s death. Imagine that the PL is sitting on the left shoulder.

The defense lawyer (DL): This is the normally dormant or sleeping voice in the mind. He needs to be woken up and motivated to defend the alleged culprit (AC). Imagine the DL sitting on the right shoulder.

The Judge: This is your own cool, unbiased and fearless mind whose existence you may not even be aware. Its job is to listen to both the lawyers, examine the evidences presented by them and pass an fair and fearless judgement. Imagine the Judge sitting in your head position.

Latha physically enacted the court room scene in the waiting room of my daughter’s office where I was doing the classes. She played the roles of PL, DL and the Judge, one at a time. We set up four chairs in a circle. On one chair we placed a magazine to represent the (AC), alleged culprit, the woman herself. The woman initially sat in the chair labeled PL (Prosecution lawyer) and made the allegation that Latha, pointing to the magazine representing her, failed to save her father’s life though she was present with him when he collapsed. Latha was guilty of her father’s death and deserved an appropriate punishment. PL wrote down these statements on a sheet of paper under the sub title “Allegations by the Prosecution Lawyer”.

Then Latha moved into the chair labeled DL (defense lawyer), carrying the paper of allegations written by PL in her hand. I told her that in this second chair, she being the DL had to make as many statements as she could, to contradict the PL’s allegations. DL should try to prove the allegations of PL wrong or doubtful, citing the facts. This was a totally new thought process for Latha. Never in the past did she try to defend herself against the allegation. With some probing questions, she could recollect her loving and prompt actions to save her father’s life. As Latha started narrating, truly playing the role of the DL, she became quite emotional and vigorously defended herself. She felt some visible relief immediately. She wrote down the counter arguments as DL on another sheet of paper under the title “In defense of the (AC)”.

She then moved into the judge’s chair, carrying the above two sheets of paper in her hand. Now her job was to consider the statements of both the lawyers and give an unbiased ruling on the allegation. For the first time in the last 12 years after the incident, she genuinely felt that she did not deserve to be blamed for her father’s death. She said so in a matter of fact way without any difficulty.  The spell of guilt which kept her imprisoned for 12 long years was finally broken. She felt tremendous relief.

I told Latha that whenever the guilt laden thought entered her mind, she should promptly recollect and re-play the above process enacted by her in her mind.

After a few days, Latha said that the extreme panic she experienced whenever she even looked at her father’s photo gradually diminished. It totally disappeared in a few weeks.

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