Just as any construction or renovation project must begin with a site survey, architect’s plans, solid foundation, drainage and a sense of good form and function, psychotherapy must proceed with a plan, time frame, understanding of the hazards and a good philosophical underpinning. There are many approaches and schools of thought within the healing professions that can guide the professionals in alleviating the problems of their patients, with names like Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Implosion Therapy. Dr. Jerry Duvinsky approaches his patients and the field of psychotherapy with a philosophy he calls Integrative Mindful Exposure. It is a way to stabilize and complete the structure of the self and settle in comfortably.
But he refers to his new book, “How to Lose Control and Gain Emotional Freedom” as “the anti self-help self-help book”. The book is aimed at both present, past and future patients as well as other mental health professionals and the general public.
As a clinician, I have come to see that invariably, people come for help because their attempts at self-control are failing. They are feeling feelings that they don’t want to feel or that they think shouldn’t be feeling, for example, sadness, grief, anxiety, fear, despair, anger, and loneliness. They may have physical pain that they understandably no longer want to experience. They may not be able to modulate their speech or actions in interpersonal relations… the reason why they are struggling is not due to a lack of personal control, but indeed the very opposite. In fact, it is their very attempts at maintaining the illusion of control that is at the fundamental heart of their distress, symptoms, and general unhappiness and dissatisfaction. Therefore, my job, as I explain, is to help them lose control. –from “How to Lose Control”
Dr. Duvinsky does not try to direct people toward sheer emotionality or have them give off primal screams. Rather, he works as a guide through people’s anger, fear, shame and other “dark emotions” that are part of human makeup but often come to dominate an individual. The corrective would be to find the origin of the negative feelings, name and account for them and “learn to lay down any endeavors to engage in the control of shame [or other feelings] and, in fact…learn to embrace it.” His book includes a number of reader exercises through which a person can inventory personal shame or things they do to escape discomfort. There is also much practical advice, including how to deal with insomnia and the therapeutic value of writing.
Jerry Duvinsky, Ph.D., is a native of The Bronx. He holds a doctorate from Binghamton University and is a licensed clinical psychologist with Oakdale Psychology Associates in Endicott. He is also a student of Buddhist philosophy and Eastern meditation practices and holds a black belt in Tae Kwan Do.