What Freud Didn't Know

What Freud Didn't Know: A Three-Step Practice for Emotional Well-Being through Neuroscience and Psychology

TIMOTHY B. STOKES
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5hj7gv
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    What Freud Didn't Know
    Book Description:

    In a thoughtful and down-to-earth way, Timothy B. Stokes overturns old formulas-and many Freudian concepts-for achieving personal change. During one's lifetime, hidden memories, along with their misleading assumptions, can unconsciously trigger conflicted feelingsùthe basis for most psychological problems, large and small.

    What Freud Didn't Know, well-supported by research and groundbreaking in theory, combines neuroscience and psychology to explain how the amygdala region of the brain evolved to unconsciously record, store, and activate emotional memory loops and imagery associated with painful events, especially those of childhood. This book is the first to bring together diverse, post-Freudian discoveries to produce a coherent three-step practice for understanding problematic aspects of the human mind which can be mastered easily, in a clinical or self-help setting. Stokes explores recent breakthroughs, many in marked contrast to Freud's views, which will change how we view psychological and emotional problems and their treatments.

    Grounded in current theories about brain circuitry,What Freud Didn't Knowintegrates ideas about mindfulness, habitual thinking, and insight imagery and provides readers with the tools to rescript their personal narratives for psychological well-being. As an alternative approach to treating stress, most types of depression, anxiety, and phobias without prescription drugs, Stokes's three-step practice can be used to build resiliency and inner peace.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-4814-2
    Subjects: Health Sciences, Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    Since Sigmund Freud’s time, it has been the job of psychotherapy to address difficulties like those of the people described above. Freud would have attributed their difficulties to internal struggles between id impulses, the ego, and super-ego inhibitions. He would have focused his efforts on buoying up their egos’ ability to mediate and moderate in this struggle. Freud’s genius becomes evident when we realize that his formulation of ego, super-ego, and id functions are roughly analogous to modern neurobiological understanding of the functions of three regions of the brain: the neocortical regions, the prefrontal cortex regions, and the limbic system....

  7. CHAPTER 1 Discovering Amygdala Scripts
    (pp. 17-32)

    To further familiarize ourselves with amygdala scripts, we call upon an expert as our guide: one of those pioneers who has always led the way in the Western world’s discoveries about the mind—a client. You will meet Mary and, in a condensed fashion, follow her through her psychotherapy.¹ The unfolding of Mary’s therapy portrays the typical stages of people involved in a successful psychological change process. The lens provided by amygdala scripts resolves her experiences into a clear and simple understanding of how psychological mastery can be accomplished.

    When Mary came in for her first session, she began by...

  8. CHAPTER 2 Amygdala Scripts: A CLOSE LOOK
    (pp. 33-48)

    The concept of amygdala scripts is drawn directly from research in neuroscience. When we look at psychotherapy through the lens of brain science, what we find is not merely intriguing—a neat convergence that shows what we have learned about psychotherapy has identifiable correlates in the brain—but more importantly, it is surprisingly suggestive about how we might improve psychotherapy. In particular, neuroscience points to ways we can concentrate and target the psychological tools that have become the mainstays of psychotherapy. Furthermore, the enhancements to the psychological change process that are provided by an understanding of amygdala scripts are not...

  9. CHAPTER 3 Overview of the Three-Step Practice for Mastering Amygdala Scripts
    (pp. 49-53)

    It has been about a hundred years since Freud introduced the concepts of personal exploration and psychological change to those of us in the Western world. Since then, psychologists have continually researched and refined various approaches to psychotherapy. It is interesting that long before psychotherapists knew about how the amygdala stores emotional memories and images, psychotherapy tools had been developed that now seem tailor-made for working with each of the three amygdala-script components. In particular, three of the mainstay tools for psychotherapy have been, and still are, mindfulness, insight, and cognitive change.

    Mindfulness practices were adapted into Western psychotherapy from...

  10. CHAPTER 4 Step 1: MINDFULNESS AND THE EMOTION COMPONENT OF A SCRIPT
    (pp. 54-75)

    When an amygdala script has been activated, most people, at least in retrospect, can intuit that there was an emotional piece to their experience. We begin this chapter with a statement about emotions that may seem surprising to some people: sensations in ourbodiesare what provide us with access to our emotional life. If as children we had been taught to be aware of subtle bodily sensations with the rigor applied to teaching us how to read or to analyze problems, this chapter might be very short. This is because our emotions actually manifest in our body, not in...

  11. CHAPTER 5 Step 2: INSIGHT AND THE IMAGE COMPONENT
    (pp. 76-99)

    A few years ago my brother was climbing a cliff in the canyon country of Utah. He had just pulled himself up over a ledge when he heard a nightmarish sound: the loud distinctive buzz of a rattlesnake right in front of him. “The next thing I knew, I was standing one ledge further down the cliff. I can’t say that I looked before I jumped, either. I’m very happy to report that there was a ledge just a few feet below me.” My brother had not actually seen the snake before he jumped. The sound of the rattle itself...

  12. CHAPTER 6 Step 3: CHANGING THE BELIEF COMPONENT
    (pp. 100-113)

    The examples of Martha, Mike, Stephen, and Geri portray how seed images can be used to work with the belief component of an amygdala script. By evoking and inserting herself into her seed image, Martha highlighted for herself an unconscious belief that had often undermined her self-confidence: she is selfish, mean, and in danger of going to hell. Mike’s image of being brutally hit by his father allowed him to further access the anger and fear that he felt at that time and to realize that while he was being hit, his mind was recording a belief that he must...

  13. CHAPTER 7 Putting It All Together: THE THREE-STEP PRACTICE
    (pp. 114-122)

    This chapter includes little theory or research. We are ready to turn directly to practicing the three steps.

    1 Note what upsets you at different points of the day and pick one of these situations for practice. (You may use the same situation over and over again.)

    2 Tune into the emotion associated with that situation and (if you can) associate it with subtle sensations in your body.

    3 Distinguish between those emotions that are old and scripted, those emotions that are situational, and those emotions that are empathetic—if necessary refer to chapter 4. (Once accomplished, this step can...

  14. CHAPTER 8 Therapist to Therapist: AMYGDALA SCRIPTS AND THE THREE-STEP PRACTICE IN THERAPY
    (pp. 123-146)

    We mentioned in the introduction that amygdala script theory has enhanced the therapeutic work of a variety of therapists. This chapter is written to make the benefits of this theory and the Three-Step Practice available to a broader audience of therapists.

    Amygdala script theory is most usefully conceptualized as a tool that is easily applied in a variety of different theoretical orientations. Psychotherapists seem best served when clinical innovations are cast as tools of the trade. If, instead, new knowledge becomes ensconced in a particular school of psychotherapy, there is less likelihood that it will aid therapists with different theoretical...

  15. CHAPTER 9 Making Unscripted Emotions Our Allies
    (pp. 147-164)

    In chapter 4, I described a mindfulness exercise that increases awareness of emotions. In that chapter the emphasis was on identifying the particular feelings that constitute an emotion component of a script. I have also noted, however, that mindfulness also increases our attunement to emotional reactions that are natural to our immediate circumstances. These unscripted emotions are a treasure chest of potentially useful information.

    I have suggested that after you notice an emotion and after you associate the physical sensations of that emotion with an area in your body, you can ascertain the origins of that emotion by asking yourself...

  16. APPENDIX A RELAXATION EXERCISE
    (pp. 165-168)
  17. APPENDIX B NEUROBIOLOGICAL RESEARCH NOTES
    (pp. 169-176)
  18. APPENDIX C AMYGDALA SCRIPTS AND CHILD CARE
    (pp. 177-180)
  19. APPENDIX D SUGGESTED READINGS
    (pp. 181-184)
  20. NOTES
    (pp. 185-206)
  21. INDEX
    (pp. 207-210)
  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 211-211)