Experience Processing is a way of allowing your brain and mind to work together to remove the painful thoughts and emotions that affect your daily life. Your brain can only work on things that it can see, and it can only see things and work on them if they are in your mind.
If you are experiencing recurring Depression it means that you feel powerful ‘depressing’ emotions, like sadness, guilt, shame, anger, and you probably think very negative and painful things about yourself. This frequently affects your everyday experience and how you cope with the things that happen in your everyday life. You are affected by some things a lot more than others are. If you experience anxiety you feel powerful ‘fearful’ emotions and you see certain things in a fearful way.
These thoughts and emotions are not your adult thoughts and emotions, even though it seems like they are. They are the thoughts and emotions you experienced at an earlier time in your life, probably in your childhood. They are ‘trapped’ inside you and they keep intruding into the present. This means that your brain was unable to do an important part of its job at that time, because the events that caused the thoughts and emotions were too painful to deal with or too complex for it to understand quickly. The child brain is particularly vulnerable to this because it is inexperienced and unsophisticated.
Experience Processing Therapy (EPT) is a way of bringing those past experiences to the surface of your mind to allow your adult brain to see them, feel them, and to do the work it tried to do in the past but couldn’t. The adult brain can now remove the painful emotions completely and reshape the painful and/or fearful ideas that have been troubling you.
In practice this means talking about your past, searching for the painful events that have been causing your difficulties, and allowing yourself (your brain) to think and reflect on them until the ‘processing’ work is completed. This is bringing things into the mind where the brain can see them and work on them. In most cases this is remarkably simple and straightforward, and the work can be completed with 6-12 hours of therapy. This requires a number of 2-hour sessions with one or two shorter sessions if necessary. People with very complex histories might require 10 or more therapy sessions.
The hardest part of my job is to convince you of the most important thing about achieving full mental health and wellbeing. It is that your brain needs “time to think”. We are taught from a young age that too much thinking is bad for us, and that we must always keep ourselves occupied to avoid that terrible thing we call boredom. Because we are taught this our mental health is a lot poorer than it should be.
If the therapy is to be quick and successful you must engage in ‘reflection homework’ for at least one hour each day. The more reflection you do at home the less therapy is required, which will save you a lot of money.
Anyone capable of talking and thinking clearly about themselves and their difficult experiences can heal. 90% of the work is done by your own brain, but it must be allowed to do it.
Note: Clients on anxiety and antipsychotic medication, or other sedating drugs like marijuana or alcohol cannot benefit fully from therapy. The sedated brain cannot do therapeutic work effectively. Most antidepressant medications do not affect therapy.