Beyond Cognition – On the Way to a Psychotherapy of the 21st Century (subtitled)

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The lecture is intended as a contribution to an extended theory of human emotions. Representing modern cognitively oriented models of psychotherapy (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, EMDR, …), it argues for a fundamental expansion of the world- and human-view of modern psychotherapeutic methods by critically examining the paradigmatic foundations of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP).

The central basis of all cognitively oriented therapy schools is the assumption that undesirable emotional experiences as well as dysfunctional patterns of behavior are a consequence – cognitively influenceable in principle – of unfavorable evaluation schemes and/or emotionally stressful memories and future projections. The basic causal formula of modern therapeutic procedures is: „(Unfavorable) beliefs and imaginings generate (stressful) feelings.“ The goal of a large part of therapeutically oriented interventions logically then is to change these in such a way that a more favorable experience and behavior becomes possible.

However, many years of experience in the field of psychotherapy and psychiatry have shown beyond doubt that there is another category of emotional processes – experienced by people as cognitively non-controllable – which cannot be permanently resolved by these cognitively oriented approaches. In these cases, the basic causal formula is: „(Cognitively non-controllable) feelings and/or prolonged (undesirable) states generate (distressing) beliefs and imaginings.“ The effectiveness of cognitively oriented therapy models reaches its limits here.

Using Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) as an example, the lecture describes the world and human view of modern schools of psychotherapy. At the same time, it argues for a fundamental extension of their paradigmatic framework, which allows to go beyond the current limits of therapeutic effectiveness. Such a broadened view of human beings allows to change also those patterns of undesired experience and behavior, which cannot be influenced arbitrarily by human beings, in a sustainable way.

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