Thinking about change in a different way

Many people come to PSTEC with various pre and misconceptions about the process; “this can’t work”, “no change really lasts”. They may have tried to change in the past, and had limited or even no results. They then formed various beliefs about themselves and the process of change that have kept them restricted to what is truly possible. These beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies. Equally, though, some people may have plugged away with PSTEC for some time and gotten mixed results. This article will explore some of these issues and suggest ways to resolve them.

Firstly, it is worth noting that change is inevitable. Even if we read no books, took no courses, and did not try to engage with personal development, we would still change. We would age and our bodies would show these changes. We would gain new insights and memories, and our minds would store these. If we lived by ourselves on an island for 10 years, we would change. We would simply not be the same person 10 years later: there would be little doubt, we would be thinking and acting differently. Perceptions shift. Our decisions affect us, our life stages alter us and there is a context to everything we do.

Secondly, it is also crucial to note that, with PSTEC, you are not changing yourself. You are changing something you possess: your model of the world. Throughout our lifetimes, we pick up beliefs and emotional conditionings, and we attach these to people, places, concepts and ourselves. Some can be very useful, while others are simply outdated. We have a choice here:

Find “APPiness”

It can be useful to liken our beliefs and emotions to smartphone apps. Imagine you bought a brand new smartphone and you immediately installed your apps from five years ago on to this new smartphone because, well, they used to work so well and you like the familiarity. You had basically overlooked 5 years’ worth of developer updates and changes to the operating system, because you preferred the familiar look, feel and level of comfort the old app gives you.

Well, here’s the kicker. Your phone from five years ago worked just fine, but these old apps on your new phone start causing problems; the phone starts to become less stable and shuts down a lot. The solution is a simple one: update your apps and new phone will work the way it was always intended to work.

While many of our emotional and behavioural patterns are running subconsciously or “under the hood”, they are often as outdated as old software running on a new computer. They no longer keep the computer ticking over and are actually bogging it down, rendering it sluggish and ensuring it does not run to its maximum capacity.

This is akin to our own mental computers, where we do not see all of the background processes, and the beliefs we hold. Some beliefs are very obvious to us – “She is a good person”, “God is punishing me” – whereas other beliefs may sit below our conscious awareness. Beliefs can generate emotions, and emotions can generate beliefs.

Our beliefs are just abstractions about the world (e.g. “The world is a dangerous place.”), ourselves (“I’m not intelligent.”) and people  (“People can’t be trusted.”), often generalisations we have made to keep us safe. They were formed at a time when they made perfect sense but, like outdated apps, will cease to be useful. However, without being identified and removed, they will still exist in our model of reality.

Like apps on the smartphone, we can uninstall the “software” that no longer works for us, as well as installing and updating software which is better for the whole system. To put it another way, we can remove the software that is stripping us of our happiness and replace it with an updated model. We are works in progress and can always renew ourselves.

We may not be consciously aware of every belief we have, but we are aware of our feelings in the moment. One effective way to hunt out beliefs is to consider the behavioural and emotional pattern you are feeling/conveying, and then ask “what would I have to believe about…to feel and behave that way?”

Challenge Negativity Bias

Because we were imbued with a negativity bias, hardwired due to our need for survival, the idea of changing  positively can be hard to fathom. Negativity bias explains why some people actively seek out negative assessments.

For example, if a product gets overwhelmingly positive appraisals, some people will seek out a few of the negative appraisals and give more weight to them: this is by design and the people who do this will possibly be looking for rationalisations to NOT spend money or time on something (in other words, they would link this with pain).

This would also explain why you may get twenty compliments in a day and then one criticism and it is that one criticism that stings, because what if it were true.

So-called “online trolls” prey on this vulnerability. You may see these biases with celebrities – it is the sense of rejection and withering criticism that stings so many of them. We may put more stock in negative appraisals, as they can be interpreted as a threat to our very survival.

We can empower ourselves by facing the criticisms and Click Tracking the unwanted emotion we have associated with them.

Most people would accept that, if they witnessed something traumatic (such as a murder) or experienced something deeply traumatic (in a conventional sense) like a prolonged physical attack, they would be changed by the experience. This may show up as PTSD, fear, anger and result in various behavioural changes too.

The truth is, people do change for the better as well. Libraries and book stores are full of stories of people turning their lives around and overcoming all manner of challenges. We may even have our own stories of triumphing against the odds – no matter how bad an experience once, we survived it.

We are imbued with the ability to heal and transform; I believe that life-changing modalities are created due to that truth. The human spirit is capable of overcoming some truly horrendous circumstances, and this is borne out by the numerous case studies from those who have applied PSTEC and other modalities to their lives.

So, to soften the negativity bias, I would recommend just being aware that thosuands of people have dramatically transformed their lives and everyday experiences through the systematic use of PSTEC. Anyone with sufficient desire and commitment can use the PSTEC suite of tools to get truly profound changes and, crucially, there is more than one pathway to utilise the tools to make these changes.


“Change is difficult…or impossible for me”

This belief can truly become a self-fulfilling prophecy and, unless someone embraces “difficulty”, they are unlikely to pursue personal change at all. With PSTEC, someone who holds the belief that “change is difficult” would probably be less inclined to try the process or, at best, would start out with the expectation of not getting the changes, or the changes simply not lasting.

Paradoxically, the belief that “change is difficult” can make change more difficult, as someone who held such a belief would be more risk-averse, more prone to give up and more sceptical about what is truly possible.

There can be numerous sources for “change is difficult or impossible” – believing other people (especially those you respect) who assert that “change is difficult”, trying some things and not getting the desired changes would certainly factor into this.

You can logically counter this belief with statements like:

  • “Maybe change was difficult for them, but wouldn’t be difficult for me”
  • “Maybe it wasn’t the right time for me to change, and that was what made it difficult. Maybe now is the right time”
  • “Maybe I/those people were afraid to change, and that is why we came up with the excuse that changing was too difficult”
  • “Maybe I/they were only trying to make superficial changes, and that is why I/they didn’t get deep-level changes.”

You could add dozens more of these.

Note they are logical interpretations.

These type of counterexamples will help soften the “truth” that “change is difficult” and, once you accept they are every bit as valid as  “change is difficult”, this will most likely result in a desire to approach change with considerably more zeal.

“There’s something wrong with me!”

This is a surprisingly common self-esteem belief and it might show up in different guises. Some people may think they are inherently flawed, doomed and therefore unable to change in any substantive way. They may have a sense of “why bother to change? There’s something wrong with me!”

They then may accept that change and happiness are things which just happen to “other people” or “normal people”…and not THEM. This may stop them from making the changes, or seeking help. They may even enjoy getting the attention for having “something wrong” or “being unique in not being able to be helped.”

For others, they may feel that there’s something wrong with the way they are thinking or behaving in life. However, the embarrassment of admitting they are less than perfect is holding them back. They wish to avoid the embarrassment or the fear of being judged, labelled or criticised. So, they may deny and use other distraction tactics to avoid confronting the belief that “there’s something wrong with me.”

Eliminating the belief can be hugely liberating and, as you eliminate more beliefs and unwanted emotions, undesired patterns simply begin to disintegrate and more healthy self-concepts spring up.

To eliminate these and any other beliefs, use:

Belief Blasters or PSTEC Negative

You might also get some great benefits by listening to Embracing Change.

“Am I there yet?”

“Am I there yet?” might present itself when people have a desperate need to change and will want to transform from Clark Kent to Superman overnight. You can make some truly remarkable changes with PSTEC, but other changes take some time to come into your conscious awareness.

Many people will give meaning to time: “time is money”, “it was a waste of time”, “time is of the essence.” By giving such meaning to time, you risk impeding your own progress and just creating a dynamic that is wrought with frustration. Progress does not run on a stopwatch.

You can go incredibly deep with PSTEC, yet some people give up when the dramatic changes do not show immediately. Others may have given up after making small changes when they were actually at the tipping-point of personal transformation. With effective identification and targeting of problem memories, emotions and behaviours, you can get there much quicker.

Many people find that working with a PSTEC Therapist can significantly speed up their progress. The advantage of working with a PSTEC therapist or practitioner is that, as with a good friend, we can spot some of the patterns more readily. They are just patterns. We all have them and they can be removed..

Self-help is fantastic and can build a real sense of personal ownership. It might not be the most prudent strategy for everyone – however, I have created a PSTEC Strategy Session, which might be perfect for those people who are inclined towards self-help. It is an excellent fusion of self-help and personal consultation and I created this to help those who just wanted more guidance on using PSTEC.

We all tend to have “blind spots” and so, in my experience, it can be easier to recognise patterns in others than in ourselves. This is because we have a tendency to engage in what I call the “three Rs”: repress, rationalise and re-imagine.

These are, in effect, a survival mechanism. It can be painful to “go there”, so many of us run from the problem (or, certainly, what we perceive to be the problem) and engage in all sorts of distraction and denial tactics. Working with a therapist who supports and accepts you fully can be a truly ground-breaking experience. It can be a huge catalyst for change.

Fearing the consequences of change

This is a common pattern and can be encapsulated in different ways: “if I change, people will reject me”, “if I change, I will lose something”, “if I change, I will be worse off.” You can make this real by imagining making a significant change in your emotions and behaviours and then completing the sentence:

“If I change…”

See what comes into your conscious awareness. Do any unwanted thoughts come to mind?

These “negative expectation” type of beliefs and these can be eliminated with the Belief Blasters. You can also use the Click Tracks to imagine the very worst-case scenarios of making changes and systematically eliminate notions of:

  1. being “rejected”
  2. losing something or someone important to you
  3. being worse off

Make these scenarios as real as possible and you can eliminate the unwanted emotional association with the imagined outcomes (using Free PSTEC Click TracksEnhanced Tracks or Click Tracks 2015) This can be a real game-changer and can create a life of infinite possibilities and personal freedom.

The beauty of PSTEC is that you can change what you desire to change and keep the things that you desire to keep. PSTEC is not so much about eliminating “bad emotions”; it is about eliminating unwanted emotions. It just so happens that the majority of people will understandably wish to eliminate emotions like fear, sadness, anger and unhappiness. This is because, well, they don’t feel very nice  

So, in effect, if you see a benefit in feeling a certain emotion (and you might), you can keep it. You may wish to question the benefit of keeping it but, in any case, you can always remove it at a later date if you believe that it has outlived its usefulness.

This article has given suggestions for looking at change in a different way and how to use some of the PSTEC tools to systematically approach change. With considered use of the tracks, you can dismantle lifelong patterns. Everyone has a different pathway to get the changes they desire and to enjoy the life they truly deserve; it is not just about starting, but continuing and persisting when the “going” SEEMS tough. I would strongly urge you to see yourself as a work in progress and commit to being more loving and accepting of yourself and others. PSTEC can certainly get you to that point and the process is worth it.

Suggested Reading

Kanouse, D. E., & Hanson, L. (1972). Negativity in evaluations. In E. E. Jones, D. E. Kanouse, S. Valins, H. H. Kelley, R. E. Nisbett, & B. Weiner (Eds.), Attribution: Perceiving the causes of behavior. Morristown, NJ: General Learning Press

By Paul McCabe – PSTEC Advanced Practitioner

Email: pa**@li****************.com