Major Tenets Underlying the Mind Stimulation Therapy- A Sample of Highlights

Some of the elements of Mind Stimulation Therapy are as follows:

Awareness of the present moment of existence to maximize attention to the immediate present reality of living experiences, physical and social surroundings, and inner body cues through a practice of Body Movement Relaxation (BMR) exercise as outlined in our recently published book : Mind Stimulation Therapy: Cognitive Intervention for Persons with Schizophrenia (Mohiuddin Ahmed and Charles Boisvert, Routledge, 2013).  Seeing and experiencing one’s movement of body, one becomes acutely aware of one’s own living existence and one then can try to reflect on one’s personal connection to “others” and to the World.

Reflection on existential perspectives (existential uncertainty, existential anxiety, and existential mystery) that helps us see the time flow of our life as series of momentary living experiences, and gives us a sense of connection to living and non-living beings around us, and help us see the World around us as expression of an underlying universal “spiritual’ force , without necessarily contradicting one’s religious faith or science based knowledge.

Acknowledgement of “negative” and “positive” thoughts and feelings as a part of human living existence.  It is the practice of “redirection” that allows us to ‘reduce personal distress experience,” and gives us a senses of control of life that we value.

Awareness of the importance of processing “information’ in ways that are “adaptive” to us – minimizing social and personal distress and providing us with a positive meaning in our personal lives. Psychological problems often are a function of how one processes information (e.g., dynamics of anger experience may be related to one’s expectation of change that may not be “realistic”).

Recognition of the benefit of focusing on the “intact positive traits” that one may have, and not focusing on what one has lost or the negative traits that one may currently demonstrate. This kind of “negative attention focusing to oneself, may generate a negative relationship framework for a therapeutic encounter, as well as reinforce unwittingly the “negative behavior traits and feelings,” by a process of Law of Exercise, specifically for people who have been struggling with their long-term psychological problems and issues. As one tries to understand the “long standing” negative thoughts and behaviors, by visiting these thoughts by repeated discussions, one may in fact reinforce these thoughts and feelings through a simple repetitive process, and  thereby strengthening the “habit of negative thinking” and possibly the underlying neural networks that support them. Often diverting one’s mind to “other thoughts,” displaces these negative thoughts by itself, without necessarily understanding its dynamic origin, as they can be manifold, and may not be fully known or understood, and more importantly they are in the past, and not necessarily relevant to the present, unless one chooses to make it. We all, in our daily life, use active day routines, which serves the purpose of positive redirection in our lives (e.g., work, sports, religious practice, family involvement, recreational activities, daily routine of housework, etc.)

Mind Stimulation Therapy believes that independent of any level of “disability” or psychological problems that one may present, everyone has functions and capacities that not only contribute to one’s sense of well being, but by making them prominent in one’s behavior and thinking, one can help displace or “limit” the effects of “negative traits” on their present behaviors. Feeling of empowerment that may arise from this process can spiral itself into promoting “recovery” or “enhancing functioning” in one’s own life.

Mind Stimulation Therapy – Mohiuddin Ahmed, Ph.D.

I will be posting here from time to time my thoughts and commentaries on Mind Stimulation Therapy (MST), which I pioneered in the course of my clinical practice over a 40-year period working with varied client populations across ages in varied settings. The MST model was further refined and developed through my years of collaboration with a former student of mine, Dr. Charles Boisvert, Professor of Counseling, and Education Leadership at Rhode Island College, and through our many collaborative publications, and more recently by our collaborative work in writing a book:

Although this book is written by us, two clinical psychologists, the foreword and the published commentaries are by three eminent psychiatrists, signifying a strong cross discipline support and advocacy for the Mind Stimulation Therapy model and its application to clinical practice with “challenging mental health populations.”

The model will appeal to a large number of mental health clinicians of diverse clinical training backgrounds such as psychologists, psychiatrist, mental health clinicians, social workers, psychiatric nurses, occupational therapists who may be working in diverse clinical settings. Clinicians of all experience levels will find the model easy to adapt and implement in their ongoing clinical work with persons with schizophrenia. The model can also be easily adapted in working with clients in individual therapy sessions.

The appeal of the model is in its theoretical framework that provides practical approaches to work with difficult and varied clinical populations. The model can be adapted for use with substance abuse clients and psychiatrically and physically-compromised adults in nursing homes. Two chapters are devoted to the use of the MICST model with these client populations. (The use of Mind Stimulation Therapy model with substance abuse populations was presented at the 23rd and 26th Cape Cod Symposium on Addictive Disorders, and was well received.)

MICST emphasizes mind stimulation techniques characterized by stimulating and enhancing clients’ “intact” areas of memory and cognitive functioning so as to enhance clients’ information processing and ability to engage in reality-based discussions, and to promote recovery. MICST is grounded in information processing and cognitive stimulation techniques and operates out of a “positive psychology” framework