Some Major Tenets of Mind Stimulation Therapy (MST)

Mind Stimulation Therapy focuses on increased awareness of the present moment of existence that maximizes attention to the immediate present reality of living experiences: the physical and social surrounding, as well as learning to pay attention to one’s 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).  By seeing and experiencing one’s movement of body, one becomes acutely aware of one’s own immediate living existence, and in the process one may be able to affirm positive feelings about being “alive,” and reflect on one’s optimal adaption to one’s current living situations, and affirm personal connection to one’s social world.”

Mind stimulation therapy increases the 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”).

Mind stimulation therapy assumes that acknowledgement of “negative” and “positive” thoughts and feelings is 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.

Mind stimulation therapy promotes the recognition of the benefit of focusing on the “intact positive trait” that one may have, and not focusing on what one has lost. Paying too much attention to the negative traits that one currently demonstrates may generate a negative relationship framework for a therapeutic encounter, as well as may 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 repeatedly either through self-reflection on in counseling, one may in fact may reinforce these thoughts and feelings through a simple repetitive process, and  thereby strengthening the underlying neural networks that supports them. Often diverting one’s mind to “other thoughts,” displaces these negative thoughts by itself. We all, in our daily life, use various positive redirection strategies such as , active day routines involving work, sports, religious practice, family involvement, recreational activities, daily routine of housework, etc, and other strategies to divert our mind away from distressing thoughts and feelings of our daily lives.

Mind stimulates actively promotes the use of visual media in communication and discussion forums to highlight the issue that the traditional auditory based conversational model of therapy may have limitations in view of the fact that many have compromised ability to process information when presented only orally. Discussion are often aided by use of blackboard, easel, or other forms of writings to maximize communication, as is routinely done in classroom education and educational teachings.

Mind stimulation therapy uses a variety of strategies to promote cognitive processes involving logical thinking and associations, long-term and working memory via a variety of paper-and-pencil cognitive stimulating exercises, of which many of the examples are presented in our book.

Mind stimulation therapy encourages discussion of mental health issues, personal memories, as well as general knowledge of facts and information about various subject matters to promote “reality-based” thinking and logical and social reasoning that are necessary component to “adaptation” to and “coping with one’s living situations. Various scenarios are presented in out book.

While reflection on some “thoughts” lead to a productive problem solving experience, but some of “deep psychological and existential nature” may not, and persistent pre-occupation or attention to them may cause more “distressing experience.” As such, Mind Stimulation Therapy stimulates reflection on existential perspectives (such as existential uncertainty, existential anxiety, and existential mystery), and support of one’s practice of one’s religious faith. Counselors are encouraged to incorporate discussion of existential and religious perspectives, finding common ground in symbolic interpretations, and helping a sense of connection to all human beings.

Mind Stimulation Therapy believes that independent of any level of “disability” or psychological problems that one may present, everyone has adaptive thinking and behavior capacities that may be dormant or not prominent in behavior expressions. By stimulating these inherent capacities, one may not only stimulate their adaptive thinking capacity as well as their sense of well being. This may also help displace or “limit” the effects of “negative traits” in one’s behavior functioning.

The feeling of empowerment that may arise from this process can spiral itself into promoting “recovery” or “enhancing functioning” in one’s own life.

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