A guide to using inner dialogue and creative visualisation for relaxation, confidence building, and inner coaching. Accompanied by a stand-alone audio-tape, in which Deborah reads edited extracts from the book, including the Orange Liquid script for relaxing and energising.
We are all becoming aware of the importance of detoxing our bodies, but what about the importance of detoxing our minds? Deborah Marshall-Warren, a hypnotherapist practising in London, UK, offers you the opportunity to learn more in her book entitled Mind Detox, which is available now.
Mind Detox teaches you how to boost confidence and well-being with powerful dialogue techniques that combine relaxation, contemplation, and creative visualisation. It shows you how to clean away the cobwebs of negative thought that stop you realising your full potential by teaching you the art of personal inner coaching. This allows you to get in touch with your 'wise part' - the part of you which is creative, energetic, successful, and loving - and make sure this 'wise part' turns up when you need it, responds positively to life, and generally helps you get what you want.
Whatever you want to do - build confidence, lose weight, face a tough public speaking engagement or give up smoking - Mind Detox lets you tap into your inner power and change your life. You will find that you already have what you need - in your inner mind.
What is distinctive about the Mind Detox method is its working metaphor, the inner team. Deborah invites you to think of your mind as comprising a team of players, each of whom contributes something to your personality. There will be winning players such as Patience, and unhelpful players, such as Fear. The idea is to take charge of the hiring and firing and coaching of these players, and to get them to work together for your benefit.
Stopping smoking and weight loss are two subjects treated in depth in the book. Deborah takes you through specific illustrations of applying the Mind Detox method if you want to leverage your own inner wisdom and power to achieve these goals.
Mind Detox is published by Thorsons. A stand-alone companion audio-tape is also available for the book, featuring 'The Orange Liquid Detox'. The audio-tape is read by the author.
Talking to yourself has an unduly bad reputation. It may even seem rather silly. How could talking to yourself ever be a useful exercise? After all, since you are yourself, how could you ever tell yourself anything? But it’s not quite as simple as that. As Deborah Marshall-Warren shares with us in her ground-breaking book, Mind Detox, talking to yourself can bring quite surprising benefits.
Well, in Deborah’s method, you are not so much talking to yourself as talking to what she calls the ‘inner team’ inside your mind. We all have an inner team, apparently. The team is made up of players who represent particular factors in your psychological make-up. Each player may be good, bad, or indifferent. These players will each be working toward some goal: a player may be working for your benefit, or it may be working against you, or it be a bit confused and working sometimes for you and sometimes against you. The aim of Deborah’s method of ‘mind detox’ is to drop the unhelpful players from the team - or re-train them to bring them into line - and to draft in players who will do some good.
What are these teams really? Does Deborah really think that we each have a head full of players? No, of course not. As she acknowledges, it is a metaphor. The suggestive imagery of a team of players provides a conceptual skeleton that we can flesh out with vivid ideas. It makes it easier for us to think about the mental habits, scripts, and general tendencies that mould us as unique and complex beings. Without a metaphor of some sort, we would be floundering in abstraction. We need a framework that we can work with, something graphic that we can easily call to mind - and interact with. As we shall see, that interaction is a key advantage.
What sorts of beings turn up as team players? That’s entirely up to you. If you are into sport, they could be a hockey team, or a cricket team, or any team that partakes in the thrills and spills of physical sport. On the other hand, it does not have to be sporting. You could envision your inner team as a business team, or a family team. Or, if you feel more drawn to spiritual symbolism, the players may be angels. In each case, the basic idea is the same: a collection of different drives - each with its own distinctive energy - coming together and working on a coherent project.
In Deborah’s book, she also introduces some exceptional players who seem to be like super-heroes. For example, ‘Wise’ is a character who can always be called upon to provide insight and understanding, to create new ideas and to find new ways of looking at things. When negotiations with other players get stuck, Wise can be invoked to smooth things along.
The players are often referred to by adjectival names such as ‘Wise’ and ‘Naughty’. Apparently, this is because the inner mind has a child-like tendency to attach the simplest possible labels to the players. Abstractions such as ‘wisdom’ and ‘naughtiness’ are passed over. In an equally child-like way, though, this naming convention is sometimes breached in favour of using a simpler word. For example, the noun ‘Love’ would be used instead of the adjective ‘loving’, just because ‘Love’ is short and direct. By the way, this is not Deborah’s own eccentricity. It reflects the actual names that her clients have used and reported to her in her hypnotherapy practice.
In case you have any difficulty in thinking up the characters and names of players, Deborah provides extensive lists, helpfully organised into related groups. She emphasises that it is up to you to choose which players are best suited to give expression to your own unique inner mind. Her ‘diet’ of players is provided only as a suggestion: ultimately, your own creations are what will fit your mind most snugly. Nevertheless, she presents her "Constellation of Star Players" so alluringly that you may well find all the characters you need already laid out for you. It reminded me of going into a theatrical shop, and being surrounded by racks of costumes and props - each one representing a persona or rôle that I could adopt. In much the same way, I found in Deborah’s lists of players an invitation to step into any pair of shoes and to be that player!
I mentioned earlier that you can think of your inner mind’s ‘players’ in any way you wished. Actually, I like to think of them as stage players: actors of the mind. In real-life acting in the theatre, the actor must identify an aspect of his personality, and project it into the mould of the character who has been written into the script of the play. For instance, if he is playing an angry character, his anger must be brought up to the surface and used to bring the character to life. Or, if he is playing a shy and vulnerable part, then he must bring to mind his past experiences of feeling vulnerable and enact that feeling. The players that Deborah writes about work in the same way. In her ‘Tour of the Stars’, she includes the Inner Child, Patience, and The Broom, amongst others. Each of these offers a mental costume that you can put on in order to embody one facet of your mind and personality. And, moreover, you can then talk to that character. For instance, you can conjure up the Inner Child in your mind’s eye - you can play that rôle in your head - and then you can ask it questions, or invite it to play a bigger part in your life. For example, if you find your life is too busy or stressful, and you cannot let go and relax in your leisure time, then you could ask the Inner Child player for suggestions on how to play. Those suggestions might well be something that you’ve been longing to do, but your busy mind has not given you permission to do it. You may have been telling yourself that you have too many responsibilities on your shoulders to relax. But if your Inner Child instructs you to go for a run in the park, or treat yourself to a film at the cinema, then you may be surprised to find that this instruction legitimates the relaxation!
The basic idea that Deborah uses is to view each person’s mind as a repertoire of different characters that come out into the open at different times, in accordance with the varying circumstances. The idea itself is a very old one. What is new about Deborah’s approach is that she provides a scheme in which you can interact with those characters in a constructive and guided way.
This is quite a powerful innovation, because it provides a handle on the undercurrents of unconscious thoughts and feelings that Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung discovered and explored in the early years of this century. It gives you personally a means of getting to grip with your subconscious mind - or ‘inner mind’ as Deborah prefers to call it - so that you can negotiate directly with it instead of having to work through a therapist, cutting out the middle-man!
I mentioned above that I like to think of the players as actors on a stage. This comparison can be taken further. When an actor becomes fully engaged in a role, he will find himself identifying with the character to such an extent that words and actions come spontaneously - as if from the character. The actor no longer has to imagine, or work out consciously, what the character would say. When the actor is ‘in character’, it is as if the character were alive and inhabiting the actor’s body. Likewise, Deborah’s players can come alive inside your mind. If you allow yourself to get into the spirit of the exercises, and vividly imagine the players, and then engage them in dialogue, you will find the conversation can really flow easily. That is when the meaningful symbolism comes out and constructive work can be done.
Some people might think it is a bit odd to have ‘players’ in the inner mind talking back. But it should be no more odd than having dream characters talk to you in dreams that you have at night. In fact, they are probably coming from the same place. It is well known, since the pioneering work of Freud’s famous book The Interpretation of Dreams (in 1900) that the characters and actions in dreams are symbolic expressions of unconscious psychic forces. In a dream, as we all know, these forces are given free play and produce a haphazard and confusing drama that is hard to understand. In the method of mind detox, the same psychic forces are harnessed and then brought into play in a disciplined manner that works for your benefit. You can understand the play and steer it in the way that you want it to go.
One of things I like about Deborah’s book is its freshness. It comes from the heart, and from Deborah’s own personal experiences with clients in hypnotherapy. It is not embedded in a matrix of deep theory. You do not have to go on a head-trip in order to start detoxing your mind. It is very hands-on and very experiential. An extra advantage is that you do not have to buy into any doctrines. There are no speculative opinions that you have to accept on the writer’s authority. It’s all there for you pick up and use, and to be surprised at how effective and fascinating it is.
How does the method of mind detox stand in relation to the hypnotherapy that Deborah offers clients in her practice in North London? She does not say much about this fascinating work in her book. Instead the book is focused very tightly on giving you, the reader, the necessary tools for your own ‘change work’ (in Deborah’s phrase).
Doing the mind detox does not replace seeing a professional therapist. For deeper and more profoundly emotional change work, or for changes to players that are more strongly ingrained - such as a life-long habit - a few sessions of interactive hypnotherapy may be required to break through the blocks. On the other hand, for less profound changes, mind detox is an excellent ‘tool-kit’.
The book, Mind Detox, is accompanied by an audio-tape of the same name, read by Deborah herself. You can buy them and use them separately or together. Because the method of mind detox is not theory-based, you can work just from the tape if you prefer. The tape contains both new material and excerpts from the book. In particular, it includes the excellent ‘orange liquid detox’ script. This is a ingenious visualisation exercise that engages the whole body, integrating it into a wonderful pulsing fountain of coloured energy. Enjoy!