We must understand how problems develop

Problems occur when people form false beliefs as a result of negative and traumatic experiences that are reinforced throughout their life. From these beliefs, feelings flow that motivate behavior that is either adaptive or maladaptive.

We must understand how change occurs

Change occurs after recognizing negative behaviors that result from feelings that originate in what we believe about our self. Identifying our feelings and discovering what we believe in that situation, helps us discover if what we believe is true or not.

Behavior can be observed and feelings identified that motivate our behavior. Beliefs are unseen and discovered by knowing what and why we experience a certain feeling. Change occurs after discovering what you believe about yourself, which changes how you feel, and impacts what you do.

Accepting pain versus resisting pain

Change happens, then, when we recognize that choices are driven not by what we feel rather by what is true about us and most important to us. The place that many get stuck in is the painfulness of those feelings attached to conclusions they hold about themselves. It is in this stage that individuals will say, “I know what is true but I don’t feel it.” This results in decisions being made based on feelings rather than what is actually true.

Processing our feelings becomes the key to being able to accept our painful thoughts and feelings. We learn to be OK in that painful place. This allows us the freedom to make choices based on what is true instead of trying to avoid or escape the painful feelings. We discover what the true meaning of our pain is and begin to move towards what is most important to us.


In order to change we recognize when painful feelings show up (number 1) which moves us away from what is true and important to us. The painful feelings motivate inappropriate coping behaviors to either medicate or escape the painful feelings (number 2). This results in the behavior reinforcing the false meaning I give the painful feelings.

The cycle of pain is then reinforced and cementing the false beliefs we hold about ourselves keeping us caught in a cycle of acting out. The problem is number 3. If we do not give our painful feelings meaning then the coping behaviors cease. We are left with the painful feelings.

The key is to acknowledge the painful feelings without giving them meaning but instead change our focus and ask ourselves what is true about and important me and how do I move towards that.

We often resist our painful feelings causing our focus to shift from the very thing that is important to us. When we refocus on what is true and important, we are able to tolerate the pain while moving towards the truth of who we are.