Many traditional therapeutic approaches to mental health are built on the idea of trying to ‘fix’ a ‘broken’ anxious mind. The most recent research studies plainly show that this model of therapy is ‘so last century’. This old way of thinking about therapy can hold people back from living a rich, full and meaningful life. However, many therapists have their whole careers built upon this idea. In fact, many professionals have a lot invested in this being the ‘right’ way to help ’fix’ people.
First, it’s useful to get a broader look at what is helping people with a whole range of conditions including anxiety, depression, OCD and so on. The last couple of decades have seen a radical change in the thinking around how people can be helped. These innovative approaches have been confirmed by hundreds of randomised clinical trials, the gold standard for proof.
We live in an amazingly complex world that we humans have created. We have powerful brains that have evolved to solve problems, analyse, and make good judgements about what to do. To a certain extent, we can predict the future in our imagination and act now to prevent future problems occurring.
These are amazing mental qualities. However, these turn out to be the very processes that can cause us suffering when we turn them in on ourselves and on our own thinking. What we need is to use a radically different approach so solving problems that occur within our own minds.
When turned in on ourselves, these mental skills (that are so effective in the outside world) can, at the very least, perpetuate problems that we experience in our ‘inside world’. These ‘problem-solving’ mental processes can feed our fears, worries and anxieties, and keep them going and growing. They can even create problems for people. This is counter-intuitive. After all, these rational problem-solving skills have allowed us to solve billions of problems to build the world that we have. So why shouldn’t the same strategies work for our own minds?
It’s logical to come to that conclusion but it’s now known that the ‘inside world’ of our mind works to a different set of rules to those in the outside world.