Do you worry too much? When our minds will not stop with its their endless negative thoughts, it can be really upsetting. Affect Management Skills Training (AMST) is a type of therapy that has a remedy for worry. When we have upsetting memories that will not stop, there is a skill to empower yourself to change it. “The mind can change the brain,” says Dr. Daniel Siegel.
During the container skill, we imagine a container that will hold every disturbing thing. The goal of the Container Skill is to wall off the memories of harmful experiences and the unpleasant overwhelming emotions connected to them.
AMST uses imagery as well as techniques to activate both the right and left sides of the brain. This enables one to be in a whole brain state which enables one to see reality from a clearer vantage point. When we see things more as they are we think, feel and act differently.
The Butterfly Hug is one of many techniques used to activate both the left and right sides of the brain. The activation of both the left and right hemispheres of the brain is called, Bilateral Brain Stimulation. In her book, “Getting Past Your Past,” Dr. Shapiro recommends crossing “your arms in front of you with your right hand on your left shoulder and your left hand on your right. Then, you tap your hands alternately on each shoulder slowly four to six times.”
Dr. John Omaha, creator of “Affect Centered Therapy,” says that he demonstrates the Butterfly Hug to clients without emphasizing any particular speed and pressure of the tapping. He said he figures that each client will find the best rate and strength of touch that works for them.
Francine Shapiro suggests another technique to activate both sides of the brain: “alternate tapping your thighs (with the tips of your right index finger, then left index finger) at the same slow speed for the same for length of time (as she suggests above for the Butterfly Hug).”
AMST not only used Bilateral Brain Stimulation, but also uses symbols to influence the subconscious mind. The language of the subconscious is dreams. Advertisers and film producers know how to use the power of symbols. Commercials on television and on the internet motivate people to buy products. We can learn to use images to motivate ourselves. If we wish to use religious or spiritual images, AMST has the means to do so.
By rehearsing these skills of emotional regulation when our upsetting emotions are at a lower level, we develop mastery. Just like a musical instrument or a sport, the more we practice the skills, the better we perform. Please watch this video and learn how to use the container skill from AMST.