Practical and theoretical aspects of a psychological correctional technique "the director - script writer"


Natalya P. Tkachova


In the given article the description of a psychological method which is suitable as well for independent psychological self-help (self-correction) is offered. The method assumes transformation of not enough realized emotionally painted contents. In comparison with other methods which use work of imagination and the figurative thinking, the technique “the director - script writer” can give more safety as will involve a phenomenon of dissociation.


In the early period of the psychoanalysis Z. Freud had been put forward an idea that it is possible to get rid of an emotional complex, having reacted it, “blowing steam off”, so to say. Not reacted the emotions make a basis of neurotic complexes. This explanation corresponded with the idea of “mental energy” or energy of libido, blocking of a channel of which causes development of neuroses. Excessive social and cultural interdictions are, in Z. Freud’s opinion, obstacles for free current of mental energy [7; 8].

As appeared later on, fountains of emotions, even numerous, are not enough for making changes in the psychological status of a person. Reconsideration of the importance of certain events occurs through attitudes of two persons - the patient and the therapist - in so-called experience of “transfer”. There is a mentalities collision and comparison of experiences (including the unique algorithms of reaction going since childhood) taking place here. The patient partly submits to authority, partly chooses what is most suitable to him. It is going on in the so-called associated status of consciousness when the client realizes himself as an acting subject of his reminiscences, real sensations and emotions are being reproduced, and the story is being conducted grammatically from the first person.

The therapist acts in a role of an authoritative observer and partly a participant on whom the client checks up “correctness” of his reaction. From here the sense of “catharsis”, or “cathartic emotions”, will consist not in benefit of rough display of emotions, “blowing steam off”, giving vent to “superfluous” energy as Z. Freud considered once, but namely in testing emotions on the therapist. It is information interchange, though not expressed verbally. In fact the same strong emotions could torment the patient for years without a single “catharsis” if he experienced them alone.

Banal reaction occurs, besides in such a manner that a person is associated, he identifies himself with his emotions, he is completely seized by them, even subordinated. He does not supervise the emotion (by the way to say, the control, in the sense of constant restraint, is the worst variant of living, digress from naturalness and spontaneity also), but he floats with its current, on a stream of roughly escaped energy of libido. It brings temporary relief and feeling of authenticity of life, authenticity of own displays. But it seems unreasonable to reconsider that is authentic. Besides it is difficult to do, because the rational control (in sense of the high-grade analysis) is reduced during the reaction time.

How to connect an emotional experience to an opportunity to process the contents “with a cold head”? There is a way which lies in a dissociated experience, that means the experience of own emotion, as though viewing from outside. Many techniques of psychotherapy are working with visions which a client imagines or recollects. Some techniques of the neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) apply different modifications of dissociation. Psychologists have also noticed that indirect suggestion is more effective than the direct one (if it is not a trance technique of suggestion). The reason is that a person can protect his personal wealth of notions, the foundations, values and features of his character. Direct attempts to influence will come across resistance or misunderstanding, an open aversion even. The alternative variants of behavior presented as life experiences of others, not imposed, but simply existing phenomena, can “be accepted to consideration” at least. Psychological reorganization occurs then from the desire to imitate the best. The person adopts experience, making a free (conscious or unconscious) choice.

Sometimes in the neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) not a “part” of a person experiencing emotional recollections but only a part of circumstances of reminiscences is “pushed aside” and then transformed. For example, a picture of distressing memoirs is inserted into a “frame” and “removed” far away or it “is made dark”, or something else. Emotional attitude changes as a result of it [4]. But the person this all makes on his own, changing his perception himself, not separating the subject of action from himself.

At treatment of phobias or panic statuses if reminiscences are intolerable for a patient, a method of “a cinema box” is offered to him. He is sitting “boxed off” and “showing a cinema” of his memoirs, watching himself on the “screen” from outside [4]. Here the subject of action and emotions is separated from the “observer” whom the patient must be during this treatment. It reduces acuteness of experiences. (An idea of “director’s approach” resembling to the above is in the book of the NLP experts Joseph O’Connor and John Seymour [2, p. 93] who advise to apply it in designing a future behavior. In my opinion, this method is much more universal and promising, than the authors considered.)

But there also can be complications in processing of painful complexes with such a method. People treat themselves in different ways (and not always well!), especially if they “see” their own behavior from outside. “The observer” can turn out caustic, or indifferent, irreconcilable, show no sympathy, empathy and desire to help oneself at all. A patient can refuse to be dissociated in some cases because he would not like to see himself from another point of view and to acknowledge fair ratings of his associates. While he is such, what he is, he has an opportunity “not to understand” how it is possible for him to be another “with such a destiny”, “with such a life”, or “with such associates”. Resistance (which usually another direction of psychotherapy – the psychoanalysis - persistently struggles against) is in full bloom.

To bypass these obstacles, it is necessary to have a technique where a patient (client) would “see” his own emotion or experience (or even a physical sensation) from outside, and would not identify himself completely with the subject of action. It eliminates resistance at once. For this purpose it is necessary that the subject of processing of an emotional complex would be a character in a certain abstract scenario where circumstances develop, eventually, for the benefit of the protagonist. The experience of a differently developed destiny (or even an important sequence) is actually the processing of a neurotic complex. The patient in the role of the director and a script writer” “writes” and alters the script in appropriate way. He also maintains a continuous emotional “contact”, empathy to the protagonist. As “the director” he keeps watching that the hero would express and have the same sensations and emotions that the patient has in the situation of his memoirs or experiences. That is “the hero” should play the original feelings of the founder.


The following is offered to a client:

1.    Choose a distressing emotion, an unpleasant experience or sensation which you would like to work on and get rid of it. Precisely imagine, feel again that you have chosen.

2.    Imagine any suitable character that could have your sensations and experiences in your imagined “film”. You are not limited in a choice of an object for the role completely: he (it) can be you or not you (at any age), a person or any living creature, or even a conditionally alive thing (like animated things in cartoon films, “a clot of energy”, even “a supernal force”, for example). The only principle is that the object must pass through your sensations and feelings. Your unconsciousness should help you to make a correct choice. However, nobody forbids to you to change your character at any moment.

3.    Try “to discern” an environment of your hero, those circumstances in which he is, and also other characters if they present there. The pictures are not obliged to be clear. The minimal degree of recognition or classification is enough.

4.    And now create such a script where the topic would develop in favor and in interests of your hero until his (its) emotions or sensations would change for the better, until he would achieve satisfaction and calmness in your topic. Again you are not limited in any way in means (even in the most fantastic). Absolutely all is allowable. The given method, therefore, could be named a method of “personal magic” in reorganization of the internal universe.


The process of a client imagination work follows further that he narrates about. The psychologist plays a role of “an assistant to the script writer”, prompting ideas if it is required.

It is possible to call efficiency and safety as the features of the given method. This method is suitable for independent work. Any person having the slightest degree of imagination and the minimal abilities to visualization, empathy and dissociation from his experience can practically master it. Safety of this method is explained exactly by dissociation which is put in its basis. The person is excited here even less than while watching thrillers or melodramas on the TV, as an active role of a script writer is in hands of the patient and everything is dependent on him. Other methods of work with images differ here because they are not so safe and demand obligatory participation of a skilled psychotherapist [1].

But a script, suitable for a real film, differs very much from that “moving pictures” which are being developed in the given technique. There are separate patterns of reaction and separately taken feelings and sensations exposed to processing here, though sometimes this can display itself in a pretty entertaining plot. The person finds out thus how a latent “kitchen” of his mentality is arranged. (I recollected a couplet of A. Mironov’s song: “You will make a lot of discoveries … sometimes not wishing that at all!”)

What is possible to process with the help of such a method? - Not only emotions, but also sensations, psycho-somatic symptoms. It is possible to facilitate a somatic disease, having separated attendant psychological phenomena with negative sense. It is possible to weaken strained muscles in a body or in its separate parts. Also it is possible to carry out improvement of a body, mind and skills, including the skills of intercourse and personal contacts.

During a long practice a systematic character of mentality is appreciable. We can see interrelations of various structures in its contents, a hierarchy of its “layers” and a coherence of principles in the construction of notion systems. While remaking one of fragments, others, connected with it on any principle, emerge for realization. The symptom that was worked against never comes back in the former shape, but something caused by it appears. As an example of systematic character of mind it is possible to point at polar symmetry (ambivalence, conversion into opposite to initial). From under the “deleted” emotion of fear, for instance, aggression or something similar is being “liberated” suddenly.

And another manifestation of symmetrical properties of mentality automatically shows itself often. It is a change (or a transmutation) according to the rule of tetragon” of actions - sufferings: “I do (make)” - “I do not do (make)”; “I undergo” – “I do not undergo” that and that. The given “tetragon” also serves as a confirmation of ambivalence of mental aspirations and intensions that each person has.

It‘s a valuable experience for a person to reconcile contrasts, to adopt roles, rejected by his conscious moral control and opposite to his character and aims. As a result the person gains much more tolerance of other people’s views. He has better regard for people who behave differently than him, who possess other social values.

Now it is necessary to stop more in detail on the basis of the given method. Psychological methods, which use processes of imagination, are ways to have an influence on human unconsciousness [1, 5, 6].

The described technique “the director - script writer” is of great value among them owing to the safety which is combined with very deep penetration into unconscious sphere and ample opportunities for its change and organizing.

Nevertheless, about what subconscious mental outfit, the foundation of which is laid at early childhood (and even before a birth), the question is? What is its value, and what is its danger because of which its transformation may be necessary?

To adapt oneself to probabilities of the world and to master an environment in which all is far from being predicted, it is possible only on the basis of analogies of previous experience. They should be either selected according to the maximum probability values and frequency of occurrence (naturally, at the beginning a child is not so much a subject of selection acts as society and parents are), or they should be remembered from the very first as an imperative by means of the “value consciousness” and the “value thinking”. Since survival is based on experience, at childhood such experience is being got with phenomenal quickness. In reminiscences of the childhood not information side of them becomes important then, but an “idea” of practical activities and, especially, an essential adaptive meaning that become a pattern. The importance of children’s patterns and any precedents in general is explained from this point of view.

In the age of 3-4 years all system of mentality organization of a child is being transformed. The two levels of hierarchy appear in it. The system of adaptive experience, which was generated earlier, turns into the category of “methodology” of emotional perception and reaction and becomes as though a level of “software” of mentality.

According to new researches in the field of physiology [3], we can say, that the discourse concerns that part of human emotional sphere which neuro-physiologists connect with work of the certain brain structure – corpus amygdaloideum, - with the help of which a current behavior of a person is coordinated with his previous experiences. Probably, it is a function of corpus amygdaloideum to reorganize experience and access to it in accordance to the hierarchy. Since that the access to the methodological part of experience is closed for consciousness. I believe, it explains the well known fact that the early period of life is forgotten after 3-4 years. And in this way a wide layer of unconsciousness is formed. The system of conscious activity and the logic analysis operate then current experience of life already as the information about facts which is being collected in memory and is accessible to consciousness.

Further only the curtailed short patterns-impulses, instead of the full information about the early experience, are forthcoming from unconscious into consciousness specifying ways of reaction by analogy. Events of early childhood become almost imperceptible for consciousness. They penetrate consciousness with speed of an impulse however a person at this very short instant has time to understand, how it is necessary to perceive, feel and operate in a given situation. Practically during this small moment of comprehension he has received an intuitional pattern from memory which unequivocally sets a way to qualify the situation, to refer it to the certain type. Not realizing this, an adult person goes through sensations and emotions of his early childhood. (Whether they conflict with the logic analysis? – Sometimes. It’s another question, what prevails over, we shall leave it. Problems just arise when it is “a drawn game” and a choice is not made).

The set of “software” of person’s mind is very individual, as everyone is born with his own amount of health, everyone has his parents and relatives, everyone is exposed to this or that character of upbringing and education, and everyone experiences the especial events at early period. All this leaves a unique print on a way of understanding and attitude to oneself, people and to surrounding reality.

In this sense, interpretation of complexes and memoirs from the side of an analyst, even armed with a certain plausible general theory, that is characteristic of the psychoanalysis, looks unconvincing enough. Our memoirs, complexes, experiences mean only that they mean personally for us, and not for anybody else.

On the other hand, people though individualities, are not so different from each other that it would be absolutely impossible to compare. Inherent common requirements and innate primary ways of reacting and adaptation are identical with everybody’s and it is not necessary even to interpret them somehow. And they form a basis of mentality. Cultural features are superimposed then on this basis. Besides, character of children’s life up 2-3 years differs not much at people of any culture though traditions of the attitude to children and ways of their nursing and upbringing can be in some features unlike at different peoples. That’s why to “interpret” and to understand psychological phenomena it is necessary to search for the common inside cultural communities, instead of between them. In this respect I can recommend an interesting book of Erik H. Erikson “Childhood and Society”, where detailed descriptions of upbringing traditions of different peoples are given with the types of characters which they result in [9].

In general it is possible to draw a conclusion: a person carries his unique senses and notions about modes of life and they only partly can repeat the forms even distributed in his culture. And from this conclusion, and also from depth of penetration in unconscious the method “the director - script writer” accepts absence of interpretation from the side of an analyst as a principle. (Especially that treatment is conducted in images, even without words.)

It’s no coincidence to make a comparison of the technique “the director - script writer” with the psychoanalysis and to search for similarities and differences. Their main common feature is that the work is carried out with a material of unconsciousness. Differences, besides unacceptability of interpretation, are some others.

It is necessary to work by the given technique, just as by NLP and Gestalt-therapy, with that symptom which is available at present in a psychological status of the client or with that which has not yet lost its urgency and can be easily reproduced out of memory. But behind a symptom, a feeling, a reaction, a sensation which are current “here and now” there is always a layer of early memory that has caused the reaction. The technique “the director - script writer” can change the character of the given conditionality by imagined change of the events that happened long ago. Therefore the given technique is also psycho-analytical. But it differs from the classical psychoanalysis, which works (in the associated status of consciousness of a client) with a layer of recollections within the limits of conscious access that means with “information” of a human life. The method “the director - script writer” transforms the patterns of the deeper layer of memory closed from direct access of consciousness, the layer of memory - methodology (“software” of mentality), generated at early period of childhood. The method “the director - script writer” is, in essence, the psychoanalysis behind a side of reminiscences.

If to “catch” with purposeful attention what is slipping through consciousness in a curtailed and abstract appearance as a pulse, an algorithm, and to realize it, becomes then a certain emotion, a certain sensation. If to transfer this on an abstract “hero”, it can “acquire” again a developed picture of events, circumstances, other characters and can be turned to a “script” not forbidden to altering and rewriting, turning it to advantage to oneself, already from positions of the skilled adult thinking.

A new experience of a person seems as if borrowed from aside though he is its author. It’s going on according to the principle of emotional empathy and imitation, which is familiar since childhood to everybody. And it is very effective, it is possible to say, that a new pattern completely replaces the old one. The former pattern is reorganized into a new one, and also “transplanted” to new “roots” of the events played by imagination.

It is necessary to work with such a thing that comes itself in the sphere of consciousness, because “methodology” has already lost - for consciousness, but not in general, - its factual coherency, connectedness. On the basis of early experiences a set of patterns of behavior and reactions was generated which mentality operates with as separate tools. But once you transform such a tool, an effect of real coherence of the unconscious system makes itself felt. It becomes clear the logic, associative and symmetrical senses of connections of separate patterns among themselves. And then another pattern and associations of memory connected to it lay on a surface.

Working with the given technique it is not necessary to aspire to clearness of recollections and performances in the imagined “cinema”. Vagueness of early children’s reminiscences is not a minus, but, more likely, a plus. So abstractness not at verbal, but at the image level, and transposition on a series of similar subjects and images is achieved. An abstract image of “something” with a small number of identification attributes therefore can suit for a pattern.

But in the process of treating also real substantial fragments of reminiscences often emerge behind the scrappy attributes – symbols of patterns. And at long work (1-2 years) it is possible to restore very much of coherent true memory of very early childhood and understand, how the character of a person was formed.

It is actually possible to change a destiny, having broken a painful dependence on distressing experience of early childhood which usually leaves an indelible imprint on a person, his relations to people, to a life and to the whole world. It is not surprising, as in fact “methodology” (“philosophy”) of life is being transformed.

A sense processing in images is being carried out separately of each objectionable pattern. The processing must be conscious and have positive trend for a client. And the person must observe a continuous picture of transformations of behavior model and accompanying emotions in his imagination. Only then the work with the given problem can be considered finished.

A patient (“the director - script writer”) is not bound by absolutely any frameworks of reality in characteristics of “rewriting” of a pattern. The variants most fantastic or condemned by conscious morals are allowable. An explanation to it is again in the dissociated character of processing. There is no terrible irreversibility here that exists in a real life. The pattern itself as a new way of possible behavior and, that is even more important, a new way of feeling is significant here. The imagination is simply obliged to examine any variants and opportunities, even absurd, for the most complete knowledge of the world. The sense is in change of emotional frameworks of sensation of the probable in a person’s inner world. As well physiological sensations, more precisely, - even expectations of the sensations corresponding to a situation will be transformed.

Overcoming of emotional restrictions originally in imagination then breaks ground for rational planning. Only after that an abstract pattern will be, - if it will seem suitable to consciousness of an adult person! – transferred from a “cinema” into real methodology of a life. In what conditions it has been created - has no value. It’s no difference, whether there were true memoirs behind the “film” or it was a “cartoon film”, a fairy tale or a fantasy; there was it in the past, the present or the future, - because it is relative and “another’s” experience though also useful.

Actually, it is, certainly, not such “another’s” because the patient himself creates it and, more often, from his real memory or its fragments, supplementing them with desirable events.

Conditions and surroundings of the imagined “film” can correspond to real life events and be recognized or can be an abstraction, carry out a function of conditional sceneries. Just the same conditional and not detailed all the heroes of the script can be, including the main character. It’s only important here that a client would have unequivocal understanding of the action and experiences. “Interpretation” of a psycho-analyst is not required and is left out of account.

By the way, a character which a patient chooses more often is he again, instead of somebody else, only at the other age which he does not identify himself with any more. Actually, for the person it’s already other person with whom he has some common experiences. If the client chooses really someone another as a representative of him, it may be “an intrusion behind, taken root in the nucleus of his soul. It is useful to ask for “dividing in two” such a character and then you can see, what will turn out further and what kind of the relations will be between two new representatives.

If “a picture” is not clear or “a film” is stopped on any statuses which the patient interprets as “final”, which the action cannot develop further, the method of dividing - literally the analysis - decomposition on components of the character can be useful again.

Often people come to such synthetic, “integral” statuses in stressful conditions, combining inconsistent intentions - desires and interdictions or obstacles (“gas” and “brake”), and this all becomes then patterns of their perceptions and emotional reactions. It’s being fixed together in consciousness under action of stress as “reality”, immutability, inevitability of “reality”, and is remembered as a “lesson”.

Duration of psychological correctional work by the technique “the director - script writer” is shorter, than in the psychoanalysis. It reaches true patterns more slowly, while here it is required to work only with them “expanding” instant impulses of sensations and emotions into images. Therefore the method is effective, and achieves high reliability of preservation of the useful result. “Complexes” do not come back after their processing. However, it is necessary to say, that unconscious of a person is unfathomable as “a bottomless cask”. Always it will be something to work with. When the method is mastered, it can become a habitual means of “personal mental hygiene”. The help of an expert practically will not be required.

Duration of a separate session can vary from several minutes up to two and even three hours, depending on a general status of a client, his ability to concentrate and success of imagination work. In some cases it happens difficult to keep a sensation in the field of attention, to decipher and realize its sense and reproduce it in a script. The principle of work is - to reach even a small victory. This is a criterion to end a separate session. Certainly, it is possible to have time to work with several problems during one session if they are easy for correction.

Calming down and switching attention of a client over to his current affairs serve as a criterion of successful processing of a psychological problem. Just both – calming down and switching over to, are - but not emotional rise or a joyful status. Emotional excitation and gladness display a subconscious rating of the result as a miracle, an exception, a temporary or casual success, say, something doubtful. Such a rating demands, on the contrary, further processing.

Summing up, we can say, that all experience of a person is significant in respect that it represents methodological base for the future life. Even a separate experience is meaningful, when it removes uncertainty of life conditions in the world of probability. The urgency of psychological approaches which allow patterns correction follows from here as logic necessity. The given technique “the director - script writer”, as it seems, responds to this vital requirement.




The literature:


1.  Лейнер, Ханскарл. Кататимное переживание образов: Основная ступень; Введение в психотерапию с использованием техники сновидений наяву; Семинар: Пер. с нем. – М.: Эйдос, 1996. – 253 с., схемы.

2.  O’Connor, Joseph; Seymour, John Introducing Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Psychological skills for understanding and influencing people. – 1990.

3.  Симонов П. В. Лекции о работе головного мозга: Потребностно-информационная теория высшей нервной деятельности. – М.: Наука, 2001. – 95 с.

4.  Трансформация личности: нейролингвистическое программирование / Анализ и комментарии О. Ксендзюк. – Одесса: «Хаджибей», 1995. – 352 с.

5.  (Flemming Funch, 1996.) Фанч Ф. Преобразующие диалоги: Пер. с англ. – К.: Ника-Центр, 1997. – 384 с. – (Серия «Новейшая психология»; Вып. 1.)

6.  Фанч Ф. Пути преобразования. Общие модули процессинга: Пер. с англ. - К.: Ника-Центр, 1997. – 368 с. – (Серия «Новейшая психология»; Вып. 2.)

7.  Фрейд З. Психоаналитические этюды / Составление Д.И. Донского, В.Ф. Круглянского; Послесл. В.Т. Кондрашенко. – Мн.: Беларусь, 1991. – 606 с.

8.  Фрейд З. Психология бессознательного: Сб. произведений / Сост., науч. ред., авт. вступ. ст. М.Г. Ярошевский. – М.: Просвещение, 1990. – 448 с.

9.  Erik H. Erikson Childhood and Society. Second edition revised and enlarged. – W.W. Norton & Company, New York – London, 1963.  


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