Frequently Asked Questions
We have listed some questions we have been asked about EMSRP – Expressive Meta-Schematic RePatterning, from different Forums and also some questions that we believe you may ask of us. Please let us know if you have any other questions.
1. Why haven’t I heard about this before?
EMSRP has been a well kept secret, not by design, but by default. It emerged out of my own personal inquiry, working with groups, my formal study and demand from other people for help. I wanted it to be the best it could be before launching it fully. It is not about making money, this is about making a powerful difference to people’s lives. In a way the information is their birthright.
I have shared it with people who have needed help as and when they have asked me, and free of charge. My dear friend and colleague Steven Harold is a well respected clinical hypnotherapist. He has been exploring the principles and processes in a therapeutic setting, and he has been very impressed by the results.
I have collected and continue to collect data relating to people’s progress over the years which has been very gratifying, and which we will be publishing here with some analysis to go with it in the very near future.
It isn’t just for depression, it is about restarting the developmental processes which became frozen early in our lives and parenting/facilitating them as they coalesce and grow – it is not magic, it is a normal human process which got limited or even stopped in its course.
People can get back into the dynamic process of becoming themselves.
Holding back the natural tendency for the human to grow and adapt is exhausting and self-defeating. It is fuelled by naturally occurring energy – resisting this core energy means using up our own energy to resist our own energy.
Anyhow – we are now going public with the programmes to let people get access to something which is arguably a birth-right.
2. What do you do and what got you to research depression?
(Many thanks to Mohammed for asking Mac this question)
Well, I have always been in the business of rediscovering innocence and then seeing a what becomes possible from there. I had a pretty difficult upbringing, and became fascinated by the nature of suffering. I seem to have always been attracted to and followed any paths which helped me :-
- to learn how suffering operates and
- to explore how to apply the learning to create better outcomes.
I trained as an actor back in the 1970’s and had a really exciting career, but I became increasingly curious about shame, self-destructiveness, depression, addiction and suicide – having a tendency towards suicidal depression myself in the past.
I studied formal psychology and I run a commercial psychology company working with big organisations helping them understand stuff which normal research doesn’t reach. (www.quantumsteps.com) . This company provided for me and my family and financed my research with groups and individuals into how to alleviate suffering from its deepest causes in us.
I developed a process called Expressive Meta-Schematic Re-Pattering (http://emsrp.org) and have road tested it in various forms for about twenty years. It is a simple and powerful process which allows people to look at the beliefs that run their behaviours full in the face and then to take a different role in relationship to them. They then learn to parent themselves before awakening the ‘postponed self’ again, restarting and taking care of the developmental processes which got knocked off course or even frozen so long ago, and which drive their depression, frustration and feelings of powerlessness. I am currently working with someone in Sydney Australia, having completed someone else there, and will probably be starting a group there in June. I am based in the UK.
Depression is what happens when we do not meet our needs – and our needs have become puzzles to us because they have become so secret and shameful, outlawed evidence that we are in some way ‘not right’. The longer the needs are ignored, disowned, unidentified and unmet, the more impact they have on our wellness – they emerge in our demeanour, temperament, inner consciousness, dreams, energy – gradually they creep into our bodies and somatise into aches, pains and conditions. They certainly emerge in what we create in our lives – relationships and projects of all kinds.
Plants react the same way, in fact all sentient beings – it is normal. EMSRP is not just about depression, it is about reawakening the developmental process, learning to facilitate it for one’s self and then to align everything to support individual thriving. It is not a discipline, or a one size fits all off the shelf thing – it is the same framework designed to enable each person to” learn themselves” again. It works for parents. prospective parents, people who want to change their relationships for the better, confidence issues…in fact anyone with anything which is stuck. I love it, it is both who I am, and what I do.
Embracing the Meta-Schematic belief is the first major task in EMSRP – it’s a simple process and very powerful, but it isn’t rocket science and anyone who wants to do it, can. You don’t need to be anything more than an ordinary human being.
3. What are your thoughts on Depression and EMSRP?
(Inspired by Mohammed’s chat with Mac)
I have been working with depression for nearly thirty years. One thing I can say for certain after all of my research, unless it is a result of some sort of brain damage or physical anomaly, it is actually a healthy response to situations in which a person’s needs are habitually being ignored.
Now needs are subtle things – of course there are the obvious ones, like water and food, warmth and shelter. But there are more needs which we are trained from birth to ignore through the ways we are treated by those who are responsible for our needs being met in the first place. It’s a tough time, the start of life outside the body of our mother. We have a single language (“Waaaaaahhhhhhhhh”) and absolutely no ability to keep ourselves alive let alone ensuring we are loved.
We form beliefs about ourselves – beliefs without words (really hard ones to shift when you can’t talk about them) based on how we are treated. Positive attention to our needs legitimises them and negative or no attention illegitimises them (is that a word?). We learn from this process in the same way you learn to catch a ball, not through words but through experience, a) who and what we are, b) what we should expect from others and c) how to adjust our self-expression, to get by at all costs, to avoid being abandoned.
You see, when you are totally dependent for all your needs on others, abandonment means death. At birth we are programmed to survive and we have little ability to process thought or reason as the large cerebral cortex is undeveloped. A fully developed brain would not fit down the birth canal (bit of a squeeze as it is!) and this is what means that all our young have to be supported through the early years.
Bowlby calls these early beliefs “Internal Working Models” of self, others and self with others. These beliefs are what we call “meta-schematic beliefs” – they are powerful beliefs which are unconsciously held as factual, and they organise (schematise) our behaviours – including our ‘need-meeting’ behaviours. As we say here – Chocolate will never hold you while you cry – only being held while you cry feeds the hunger to be held while you cry. As we grow, our needs become increasingly complex, but our need-meeting behaviours remain frozen by the inner laws of the meta-schematic belief and this can have puzzling and self-defeating results.
Now, put a plant in the wrong soil and it gets depressed. The difference between the plant and the human is that we are likely to be in the wrong soil, be feeling wrong for doing so badly in it and constantly trying all sorts of things to convince ourselves that if were just a little bit more educated, better looking, intelligent, happier, richer (and on and on and on)…..it just becomes evidence that there is something wrong with us and we’d better just keep quiet about it.
The medical model unfortunately promotes the idea that depression is a mental illness and using powerful medication intervenes in the delicately balanced and subtle biochemistry of the mood centers of the brain (serotonergic). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which is released when the environmental stimuli are present which feed wellbeing. If the relevant stimuli are not, serotonin is not released. It is not the person’s fault that they do not produce serotonin when the conditions of their lives do not support them – the cause is in the environment! It is right that they do not produce it – there’s a lesson in it.
Even people who have low serotonin levels benefit from managing how their environments meet their needs. Also serotonin is essential in reading the quality of your environment – it is a tool for accurate perception – if you mess it up then you lose this essential faculty. The soil remains the same and the situational cause continues to deny satisfaction. Mick Jagger knew all about it!
People need help in identifying their :-
- meta-schematic beliefs and default behaviours
- deepest unmet needs and
- ability to self-parent
They need to learn some self-parenting skills to start organising their relationships to support them thriving rather than accepting that there is something wrong with them which means they should settle for what they get. They then need to be able to adjust as they go along. This is what EMSRP is all about.
4. Can you say more about the Meta-Schematic belief?
The meta-schematic belief requires a session or two of facilitation to pin down, then to map the behavioural defaults which it drives (habitual behaviours). Once we have it where we can see it, we then help participants to make a key non-schematic choice which places them outside of its default plan; then comes the big step in being creative with it from outside of its grip in stark contrast to a lifetime of being created by it from ‘inside’ it as a limiting ‘whole’ identity. Once you have created with it – it, the belief, is clearly not all you are any more – you have demonstrated clearly that you are the creator.
This fundamentally alters your relationship with it for good – the dynamic is changed.
There are powerful techniques we then teach for getting free of its grasp for specific situations like public speaking, first dates, meeting new people etc. This part is important, and makes for a irrevocable fundamental shift.
To reactivate the development of the limited authentic self at core in a sustainable and responsible way, learning to become one’s own ‘best parent’ is essential. This takes some specific and carefully structured processes and assignments to implement: it is where the difference is really experienced, and the most beneficial life-shift is achieved.
I must stress that this isn’t a religion, although being religious is no obstacle, it is not a discipline, it is not a cultist philosophy (I do not want us to have a whole bunch of dependents in perpetuity paying me money and wearing our robes whilst waiting for the next truths to be revealed). It is simply a way to organise your relationship between yourself and others to support individual thriving, and to become your own best parent as you do so.
It really is simple – the insights on which it is based are somewhat counter intuitive at first. Each lesson is embedded into life through specific assignments. You could say that the assignments force each insight into action, which is why people experience so much change and such individually relevant results.