The House Within
Our most valuable possession in life is our state of mind.
The only thing we can control in life is our state of mind.
Our state of mind affects everything we do and how we experience our lives.
People have the right to be taught how their emotions work and how to manage their emotions.
We need to create opportunities for learning.
Traditionally, society has expected that as people grow older, they will develop good management of their emotions. Four year olds are expected to be able to wait, to share and to manage their emotions more than a two year old. Senior school students are expected to be better at managing their emotions than their younger counterparts. We hope that 40 year olds will be more emotionally capable than they were as teenagers. And we hope that advanced age will bring life wisdom and skilled management of emotions.
And yet, as we read these words we will be thinking of many examples of emotional regulation skills not developing with increasing age. Older people often struggle with anger, sadness and negative thinking. Young people have issues with anger and insecurity. All ages report feeling anxiety and depression. We may also be thinking of our own shortage of knowledge and skill in this area.
Those who don’t manage their emotions well, may be offered treatments of various kinds such as medication, counselling and therapy, or punitive consequences. I believe passionately that we need to make room between society’s expectation of emotional development, and therapeutic treatment, or punitive responses, to teach people how their emotions work and how they can manage their emotions more effectively. All the above approaches are required in a well developed service system. Research shows that being able to manage our emotions is one of the major determinants of life long wellbeing. I believe it is more important to know how our emotions work than it is to learn maths and reading. It is core. It is primary.
Every person has a right to know what is presented in this model and to be given the opportunity to manage their emotions, and their states of mind, because our state of mind affects everything we do in life. Our state of mind affects how we relate, how we learn, how we work together, how we build community, how we care for ourselves and each other.
Also, our psychology knowledge base is changing. Neuroplasticity and other scientific developments have changed our way of understanding our emotions and how we can manage them. We have a responsibility to pass on this information to the community broadly, and in very accessible language. Recently, the emphasis in psychology has moved towards states of mind as a focus, where once the emphasis was more on what are you feeling and why. Both approaches are important, but the states of mind approach needs to be explained to the community
THE HOUSE WITHIN and mindfulness.
Everything around us is changing and while this is stressful for the community there are some good, new things emerging. One good thing is that we are teaching children about mindfulness. They are being taught to focus inward, to be in touch with their emotions, and to take responsibility for their state of mind. Mindfulness is the bridge to the future. If you are not part of the move towards a more mindful community, you belong to the past. As our old community structures crumble, mindfulness being taught to our children and grandchildren, carries within it, the chance to build new community structures founded on care and concern for our own mental state and for the wellbeing of others.
But Meditation is not for everyone or every situation.
Mindfulness with meditation is not for everyone and not for every situation. We need to offer a range of approaches to mindfulness, and for some in the community, what is presented here will be easier to put into practice than meditation. The House Within approach is like a form of meditation in the moment, always available to be used. If you are in the middle of a difficult meeting or the children are driving you crazy, meditation may not even be a possibility. But the techniques, or tools, in The House Within can be used at any time and in any situation to help people become centred, emotionally responsible, and thoughtful.
The House Within Book is written in a very simple format.
It is what you might call an adult picture book. It aims to convey its message directly to our capacity for intuitive understanding and not to our capacity for academic understanding.
Presented in this form, the approach is more readily integrated. I call the material presented here “pre-digested”. The academic underpinnings, including neuroscience, psychology, psychoanalysis, and Dante, have been studied and “digested”, so as to present the ideas in the most easily absorbed format.
Today, most people are interested more in the “how to” than the “why”. They don’t want lengthy explanations of the theory behind an approach. They want to know, “does it work?” “Does it help?” With our busy lives, it is often all we have time for. But if you want to know more about the WHY behind The House Within, please be in touch.
Mental health practitioners can read the book quickly, will readily understand the model and be able to teach it to the people they work with. Most people “get” the model immediately. And more to the point, they remember it and can apply it quickly and “in the moment”.
I have found the model is helpful when taught early in counselling and in longer term therapy, as it provides an emotional structure to support the exploration of deeper issues.
Medical professionals may find The House Within useful in helping patients to develop an emotionally centred state of mind during periods of illness or in living with chronic conditions.
Pauline Pearson Mental Health Social Worker www..thehousewithin.com
UNDERSTANDING THE HOUSE WITHIN MODEL
Here is an important question. If you are anxious, does that label for what you are feeling, help you to know how to become less anxious?
The word anxious helps us to describe a set of feelings and emotional experiences such as, fear, apprehension, and panic. It is useful in this way. Anxious feelings are a different set of feelings from sad feelings or angry feelings.
But the answer to the question is – No.
Sometimes the words anxious or anxiety may even make us feel more anxious because the term carries with it a sense of an emotional experience which is happening to us over which we have no control.
In The House Within, the words ”stirred up” are used to describe a similar but different range of feelings such as fear, apprehension, rage, stress, overthinking and excitement.
If you are “stirred up”, that label gives you an idea of what you need to do to feel better.
This captures the essence of The House Within Model. The language is simple, everyday language that embodies within it where we are located emotionally, and what we need to do to help ourselves.
The House Within Model also introduces the language of “stirred down” to describe another set of emotions or feelings such as hopelessness, resentment, “poor me”, bitterness, “its not fair”, and envy. Grouping these feelings under the heading of “stirred down”, gives us a sense of where we are and what we need to do to feel better.
The House Within model also incorporates some techniques to help us change our emotional state if we want to. You will learn about “the spiral staircase”, “spinning” and “how to stop the spin”, about “good dots” and about “the books on the bookcase”. These all help and they are easy to use.
When people are introduced to the House Within model, they are relieved to find that it gives them structure in their emotional worlds where there was no structure before. The universal image of a house, and the easy to remember and identify 5 floors, are readily integrated into their understanding and rapidly applied with effective results.
Most importantly The House Within Model introduces us to the Ground floor. This is the floor where things work best for us. It is the floor of gratitude and compassion. On the Ground floor our relationships work better, our work is better, and we allow ourselves to be in touch with, and to attend to, what life is telling us we need to do next. Here we can have emotions such as anger, sadness, and fear but we do not have to become angry, sad or fearful. We can have our emotions without them controlling our state of mind. And the Ground floor is the only floor on which we genuinely think and make progress. Some people live their whole lives without ever getting to know their Ground floor. Ground floor functioning is important for individuals and communities.
The House Within model encourages us to look at what is happening to us emotionally from an outside or objective position. Rather than allowing ourselves to get caught up in each emotion we are asked to look from outside ourselves and get an overview of where we are in our House Within and what we need to do to feel better. In the House Within model, this is called Astronaut thinking.
The language, the emotional structure and techniques, give you more choice about how you live.