When issue or heaviness is acknowledged, the subject is given the chance to “do something.” They are handed the remaining color cards and asked to see if they can find a color that they feel -after having discussed the issue -that may feel better goes with that symbol. The subject has seen the issue, thought about and discussed it.
It is fascinating to watch the subject as they ponder each color again. Typically, they narrow their choices to two or three colors and finally settle on one. It is interesting that the color they choose to fix it is almost always associated with healing. Typically it is green. The subject is then directed to insert the new color under the symbol card and on top of the old color to the extent that it feels comfortable. The subject will move it back and forth so that the new color shows through in varying degrees. This process is undeniably therapeutic. The subject’s breathing and posture change as they move the new color back and forth. It is obvious that that their body-mind has totally engaged. When they have the new color showing through exactly where they feel it should be, they typically sit back, take a deep breath or even say something like, “Yes, yes. This feels so much better.”
At this point the practitioner encourages them to talk about how it is different and how and why it feels better. Every word is written down so that the client can keep it or so that the client’s words can be used as further reinforcement.
A MARI practitioner is used to having change occur very quickly -often within one session. The rapid change causes one to question many of the premises of traditional approaches. It is important to recognize that change only happens if the subject is ready. Occasionally, the client will not be able to find a new color or, if they do, are able to let it show through just the tiniest bit under the symbol. When this happens, it is an indication from the psyche that the subject is not ready and there is never judgment on psychic readiness. Most subjects are ready however. In my experience, at least 90% are indeed ready to change to some extent.
Traditional psychology appears to rest on unquestioned premises that change is difficult, clients are reluctant to change and if they are ready, change takes a long time. Using MARI causes one to questions all these premises.
NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), which challenges us to question our beliefs seems to apply here. How long does it take a person to heal, to recover from trauma, to be happy? In truth, it takes as long as we think it going to take. If we think it takes a year of therapy to really heal, then it does. If we think it takes a long time to recover from trauma, we are right. It takes as long as we think it does. It takes as long as we have learned in our years of specialized higher education in a mental health field that it takes.
MARI causes one to challenge their beliefs and what they have learned. This is especially true when it comes to our expectations around healing. Michael Crichton, a well known novelist, writes about an experience of healing:
“In less time than I took to open my mouth to speak, something extraordinary and profound had happened to me. And I knew it would last. My relationship with my father had been resolved in a flash. There hadn’t even been time to cry, and now that it was over, crying seemed after-the-fact. I had no desire to cry. The experience was already finished…This made me wonder whether my ideas about the normal speed of psychological change might be incorrect. Perhaps we could accomplish massive change in seconds, if we only knew how. Perhaps change took so long only because we did it the wrong way. Or perhaps because we expected it to take so long…”
Healing may or may not occur in an instant. The important thing is that we provide the opportunity for it to happen if the client is ready. MARI appears to be the best instrument to do this.
HOW DOES CHANGE HAPPEN SO FAST?
The Power of the Visual
The subject’s choices of symbols and colors are laid out on a template that is the developmental cycle that is comprised of twelve universal stages of life. This visual container provides a template for the client’s choices. They can see what they have chosen in a context of the Great Round. We cannot underestimate the power of actually seeing one’s psychic contents. There is no other way to do this -and it has never been available before. The impact on the brain, and hence, the whole psyche, is so powerful that we are only beginning to understand it.
The visual cortex is a master switch in the brain. When the visual cortex is activated it further activates other areas of the brain. The Right Temporal Parietal Junction, in particular is important. It allows us to not only see our choices but also to engage in thinking about our own thoughts. This area of the brain allows us to think in the present. It also allows us to recall -to go back to our thoughts and feelings. It also allows us to simultaneously learn from what we have been through and to project our new understanding into the future. We are able to process what we see on many levels.
MARI and PTSD
One of the most debilitating disorders is PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.) Born in trauma, the experience is so profound that it stays with us, in our bodies, minds and even cells. Those suffering with PTSD often suffer for years. Often an unpleasant memory is so vivid that it causes crippling fear and anxiety. PTSD may be so difficult that the memory alone causes anxiety, a racing heart and profuse sweating. Typically there is no difference between the memory and the actual event and it seems to be experienced again and again.
We now have a better understanding of how memory works. Some neuroscientists are exploring a theory called “memory reconsolidation.” This theory is based on the recognition that after a memory has being called up and relived, it has to be re-stored in the brain again. The important thing is that during this process the brain is in a “changeable state.” Some psychologists administer a drug during this state to take the edge off the difficult memories. MARI, however, provides an easier and better way. It gives the subject an opportunity to “do something” while the brain is in this changeable state.
Peter Levine provides a similar suggestion. According to Levine, an expert on PTSD, there is no need for the subject to relive the trauma, as it often suggested by traditional psychology. It is Levine who suggests, in his book, “Waking the Tiger” that we need to provide the client an opportunity to “do something.”
The recognition that the brain is in a changeable state right after recalling after a traumatic memory is key to offering opportunities for change during this time. MARI is right there to take full advantage of this opportune time. The subject sees their psychic contents, owns and reacts to it and processes it.