Mind-Heart Therapy for Teens

We Need the Mind and the Heart

Mind-HeartThere are two basic tools that we use to understand our problems as we go through life: the mind and the heart.[1] Using both is necessary to achieve personal identification and change.1

The mind provides us with intellectual-based acceptance.1 For example, when someone is using drugs, they may get to the point where they are able to say to themselves, “My drug abuse is a problem, and it is ruining my relationships, career, and body.”1 However, even though the rational and intellectual connection is made, they don’t truly believe it unless they feel it in their heart.1 They could be far away from taking full ownership of the situation unless the heart and the mind believe the same thing.1 Both our mind and our heart need to accept and understand our problems before we are willing to solve them.1

Mind-Heart Therapy

In therapy, the therapist plays an important role in this journey of acceptance and change, as they must help the patient understand the areas of themselves that they are responsible for and the areas which are out of their control.1 The therapist also must help the individual work towards finding their authentic meaning in life.1 It should be a slow process, as moving too fast may cause the person to shut down, as they cannot handle it all at once, intellectually or emotionally.1 They may be in a great deal of emotional pain and require sincere compassion as they work step-by-step to overcome it.1 Therapy may move forward, slow down, or even step back a bit, but as long as it continues, the outcome will be positive.1

Helping a patient explore his or her own beliefs and spirituality is extremely important.1 When it comes to teens, many of them believe that the quickest way to a spiritual experience is through the use of drugs.1 Many use peyote, marijuana, or LSD to explore themselves spiritually.1 Instead, of finding themselves, they are putting themselves in danger.1 During therapy with a teen, asking what “spiritual” means is a good way to start.1 They will be able to work on their own definition with the therapist as they explore themselves without drugs.1 They may examine their beliefs and begin to have an intellectual and emotional understanding of their own issues, whether they be addiction issues, mental health issues, or neither.1

Helping Teens Rely on Both Mind and Heart

Adolescence is the age where the mind and the heart are very sensitive.1 Teenagers may have a very difficult time accepting who they are as they find their authentic selves for the first time.1 Their issues may be extremely challenging to them, and although the mind must lead, the heart must also be engaged.1

[1] Zwolinski, R. (2011, August 24). Teens and Mind-Heart Therapy. Psych Central. Retrieved October 9, 2013, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapy-soup/2011/08/teens-and-mind-heart-therapy/

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