Therapy from a CDT Perspective

A growing number of people are interested in the Constructed Development approach to therapy as they see the benefit of raising a client’s Awareness of how we construct ourselves, our Thinking Style and the resultant behaviour. Traditional therapies are not interested in modelling out the construction of a client's thinking in the moment, preferring instead to impose the model of the world they learned in university onto each client. Whether this is a Positive Psychology approach, CBT, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy or even psychotherapy. This has been the experience and attitude of my clients on traditional therapy over the last decade.

The new approach is based on the premise derived from my above experience whereby those clients who are high level thinkers but have regressed for whatever environmental or mental reason (i.e. from Stevens' AQ6 to AQ4) and who thus come out at AQ4 after profiling, do not actually need therapy. A normal person at AQ4 would need therapy (or Coaching). But a higher level, self-reflective person does not.

Emotionally led therapy such as a person-centred approach (or positive psychology) will not work for them. Instead, what they need is developmental dialogue. In essence, in this new approach, we need to honour their original stage of development, not their regressed stage.

The further issue is that therapists are centred around Kegan's Stage 3 thinking (Socialised-mind) and are not trained in cognitive complexity - or CDT - so would not know HOW to treat the regressed high level thinker. They cannot have that developmental dialogue and instead, try to shoehorn their emotional-type approaches into the therapy process.

As a result, they give you a little Awareness of how you are thinking / feeling, but do not offer a bespoke solution.

This perspective was borne out in the results of Stevens' 5th study. Even those participants who had had therapy did not know how to "fix" their thinking about their construction of self. They knew they had habituated patterns of behaviour and unhelpful habituated emotional reactions, but not where these originated and how to stop doing them. And certainly not how to counter them in any meaningful way.

An example would be a client's inner voice that would use negative language, framed in an Away From perspective to avoid pain, or to keep them "safe". This is a lot easier to address when the person is aware of the construction of their language they use to talk to themselves using CDT as the frame.

Further to this, the data from Stevens' fourth study revealed that those participants who were very low on self-awareness (i.e. having patterns of irrational thinking/responding to certain internally/externally generated environmental triggers) when compared with their actual AQ score, was potentially indicative of a pre-existing mental health issue. There were a number of people who scored this way and although the number was not large enough to warrant a verifiable result, it was high enough to warrant an hypothesis that justifies further investigation.

The first hypothesis was: if your self-report AQ score is considerably under your verified AQ score, you are at risk of having some form of developmental concern related to sense of self, esteem, self-worth and so on. This can be addressed using the Coaching 2.0 framework more so than traditional therapy routes.

The second hypothesis to emerge from this data was: environment is the biggest intervention, and as such, a person can react negatively to the pressures of their environment, going down in the AQ scale, which does not necessitate therapy, but is instead an indication of environmental pressure which can be addressed using the principles of Coaching 2.0. These two hypotheses will be tested further by Dr Stevens in 2022/23.

With a different Awareness of how we construct our own thinking in the moment, the type of remedial actions required are different to the standard therapy routes. Dr Stevens' research shows that we can impact our choice in the moment to offer a better choice of outward behaviour. This is the foundation of Constructed Development Theory in that it utilises the Four Pillars of CDT to raise a client’s Dynamic Intelligence for qualitatively better decision-making. This is, in essence, the foundations of a NEW complexity-based therapeutic psychodynamic approach.

CDT also differs from traditional therapy as it radically changes how we think about therapy by ensuring the suitability of the therapist for the client by establishing the therapist's Dynamic Intelligence being a level higher than the client's to begin with.

This is thus not a system that is applied "to" the client, as is often the case, but one that takes into account the client's level of Self-Awareness in order to tease out their construction of self, in a Real-Time Modelling (RTM) approach. In this way, we move away from the ideas of traditional therapists entirely, towards a more Constructed Interventionist approach.

By utilising a method of RTM that emphasises a developmental dialogue (i.e. not therapy) to tease out a client's thinking construction in the moment, in order to ascertain their own perceived level of development for their own language construction. This then allows the CDT Interventionist to ask the most appropriate developmental questions to facilitate vertical growth, rather than emotional therapy.

Having the client tell the Interventionist where their thinking stands developmentally is not how current therapy works. This is a distinct shift in the therapy dynamic.

It is only when the primary (and unconscious) Cognitive Intention is brought into Awareness and reduced at Choice, are other intentions able to be exposed so eventually our habituated responses to situations diminish. However, although we strive for choice in our thinking and behaving, we must be conscious of the need for the system to seek and create future habituated thinking out of our new choices. This understanding should encourage continual Vertical growth within our clients.

Perhaps you have experienced a therapist who was more person-centred in their approach, which invoked emotional aspects rather than developmental dialogue, then perhaps their traditional version of therapy was not right for you. However, they were not versed in Constructed Development Theory so would not know HOW to "therapy" you appropriately.

This new approach has the potential to change the field going forward.

WARNING: Therapy should only be performed by a trained professional. No amount of NLP training or weekend courses can prepare an individual for the fall-out of bad therapy practise.

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