Contributor: Paul Pound, MS Mphil LPC LCADC ACS
Percocet is a narcotic pain reliever designed to treat moderately severe pain. It has the ability to increase the brain with dopamine which enables the user to feel euphoria, calmness, relaxation and pleasure. The purpose of this medication is short term pain management yet many individuals find themselves reaching for Percocet to manage chronic psychological concerns.
The development of substance abuse tolerance leads to higher levels of Percocet intake and in many cases substance dependence (Miller & Carroll, 2012). The PST Alignment Exercise is part of the Perspective Sharing in Therapy (PST) (Pound, 2014) toolbox that is utilized with clients who are seeking alternative methods to Percocet managed pain.
The Value of Stillness to Stop the Pain
The painful feeling of the Percocet addict is often the trace of a silent moment calling to the mind to pay attention. It is only when the mind can slow down to listen and appreciate the value of stillness that it will begin to resolve the psychological cry of pain. Relief of pain can be found in the unity of both the emotional and intellectual components of the mind.
An important element of psychological health is found in integrity. Integrity has been described as being complete or whole (Merriam – Webster, 2014). The PST Therapist views the individual as mentally being composed of integral parts each one containing a vast reservoir of content. The emotional component lies below the intellectual component and continues to absorb all the knowledge and reactions of the individual without reservation (Kanheman, 2013).
The Components of the Intellectual Mind
The intellectual mind is constantly filtering and judging external and internal stimuli in an effort to answer a question yet once the answer is found it is seeking new answers. This cycle continues until a change in attention or exhaustion. The intellectual mind often works alone without the integration of the emotional component.
The remaining component is the individual’s attention. The attention component is a mental spotlight that significantly influences both the emotional and intellectual parts. PST Therapy encourages the individual to develop integrity to obtain completeness by integrating all three components. This provides pain management through a feeling and thought of unity.
The Alignment Exercise
The Alignment Exercise utilizes both mindful and meditative practices with self – guided imagery. This combination of mental training is deliberate. The ability to be mindful in everyday activities has the ability to reduce painful anxiety and improve mood in individuals (Franks, 2006). This purposeful exercise is the building blocks to the meditative imagery that connects with the slower alpha and theta brain waves that are the resource of the emotional mind.
The PST method organizes the brain wave pattern of humans into three main categories in terms of human behavior.
- The first category is found in Beta waves as they are dominant in our Belief System and help us to analyze, decide and filter information.
- The second category is the alpha brain wave, which is our Acceptance System it is in alpha we begin to experience relief from pain.
- While the Theta brain wave represents the Transformation System, the individual working with Theta waves is transforming his beliefs and behavior.
Transformation occurs within the hippocampus a region of the brain associated with memory. Changes in addictive behavior and relief from psychological pain can be found in the reorganizing of hippocampal memories. The following Alignment Exercise has been used with clients and has statistically demonstrated a high level of clinical effectiveness.
Alignment Exercise: How to Do It
- Three minute breathing exercise: Client focuses on breath in and out with air moving through nostrils with gently closed mouth.
- Client creates image of outer energy ring of thought, middle energy ring of attention and an inner energy ring radiated by the brain representing emotion.
- The 3 energy rings merge together: client pauses to feel and reflect on the image of merged rings (1 minute)
- Clients asks question while holding image of merged rings (1 minute)
This exercise can be concluded with the final focus on breathe in and out.
The individual questions of step 4 are related to the concern of the client. In many cases clients have reported answers have emerged hours and days after an alignment session.
Effective results of the Alignment Exercise have followed from daily practice for three weeks.
The ability to find calmness, relaxation and pleasure from this natural form of psychological pain relief suggests the Alignment Exercise is a useful option for seeking an alternative to Percocet.
Franks, D. (2006). The neuroscience of emotions. Handbook of sociology of emotions, Stets J & Turner J, H., (Eds) Springer (pp38 – 61).
Kanheman, D. (2011). Thinking fast and slow. Macmillan.
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary copyright © 2014 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.
Miller, W.R. & Carroll, K, M (Eds). (2012). Rethinking substance abuse: what science shows and what we should so about it (pp41 – 42). Guildford Press, New York, NY.
Pound, P. (2014). Perspective Sharing in Therapy. Counselor Magazine Newsletter, July, Vol. 1.