Friday, April 9, 2021

Helping our patients with the multiple “zoom levels” in our perception

When we focus on outside world data, inside head memories, thoughts, or feelings, we can have many levels of “zoom” with which we can perceive or interact with those information. Different levels of “zoom” will lead to different perceptions of the same data, thoughts or feelings.

1. Fusion or “superfocused”. This is at the “OCD” or “passionate” level. At this level, there can be strong judgements and urges/compulsion to act based on those perceptions. There may be strong impulsivity or recklessness, and at the same time, when superfocused on helpful information, we can have wonderful results like Einstein or Elon Musk.

2. Mindfulness. This is at the level where we are relative defused but not detached. There’s less judgement, and more reflection rather than criticisms. There are less urges/compulsion to act. We are able to observe information with curiosity and clarity, and act on those with more conscious awareness. We may be able to let go of unhelpful information, and act on the more helpful ones. There’s more calmness. “Human being” will show up more to balance with the “human doing”.

3. Detachment. This is at the level, where it can be quite “meh”. Its quite dispassionate. It’s great for spamming data, feelings, or information. Detachment of feelings is useful at times when one does not want “feelings” to contaminate decision making. The practice of law is a good example. Detachment from feelings but superfocused on the evidence.

4. Dissociation. This is “super zoomed” out. This can be useful in trauma but generally not in every day life. It can manifest as derealization, depersonalization, or dissociative types disorders. It can be quite problematic in relationships.

5. And of course, you can have all the spectrum in between.

The questions are, are we proficient at all these “zoom levels”?

Are we able to integrate all of these “zoom levels” into our life, and are we able to help our patients to do the same?

From experience, people are able to relate to number 1,3, and 4 well, but mindfulness(2) is often not done well. 

Counseling and mindfulness training are to help fill this void. 

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