A Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapeutic Treatment of Dystonia Symptoms

In this step: CHANGE
the Way You See the Physical and the Emotional

Step Four

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 Attachment to your symptoms is fearful, doubtful, and insecure; you're afraid of dystonia, unsure if you can or can't manage it, and you rock back and forth between hope and despair.

 In certain situations, dystonia is hardly present , as for example when you are distracted by a very absorbing task; in other situations, dystonia symptoms are much more striking and they go as far as keeping you from doing or finishing your task.

 The difference between these two situations is your emotional state: in the first instance you are not thinking about or expecting your dystonia symptoms; in the second instance, your subconscious  switches on the stress response, the hormonal release, and your dystonia symptoms appear.

 Your emotional state changes from calm to stressed - without your conscious knowledge  - when you're about to speak, put your golf ball, throw your pitch, play your instrument, go in front of an audience (even if the audience is just your family or your significant one).

 Your emotional state changes when you wake up in the morning and immediately dread that your tremor is going to be there, your eyes will be twitching, your muscles will spasm and that it's the beginning of another day in your life with dystonia.

 There is good news in this if you know where to look for it. Skeptical? Read on.

 Ask yourself why the symptoms greatly weaken or aren't even there in certain situations, and are so prominent in others.

 If your dystonia has medical or pathopsychological causes  the symptoms will be present nearly at all times, in varying degrees of intensity.

 If they come and go depending on the situation or vary greatly in intensity...that's very good news!

 It means that, if you could work on what makes your symptoms better (less stress) or worse (your stress reaction) you could weaken your symptoms in any given situation. In that case, you could put, write, speak, play, pitch anytime anywhere, just like when you were not dystonic or with minimal disturbance.

 There is an improvement, experienced by many dystonia sufferers, when they simply observe and learn when symptoms appear, worsen, improve, or disappear.

 This factual realization is very helpful, but not sufficient to get rid of dystonia.

 Your conscious mind may be already there, but dystonia persists. Why?

 This is because your body will continue to respond to your emotional stateas long as you stay consciously or subconsciously fearful, stressed, and doubtful about your success in the fight against dystonia.

 Learn -and fully accept- that the body responds to emotion, before facts. Learn to detach from the emotions that are directly connected to your dystonia symptoms.  How to regulate your emotions and detach. 

 Many symptoms of dystonia are simply a physical manifestation of the stress reaction.  

 Accept this simple truth, and you will be on your way to fighting your dystonia symptoms more consistently and more effectively.

 Embrace the idea of detaching emotionally from your symptoms: to let the symptoms happen for now, to be patient with your subconscious, and to focus on lowering your adrenaline and cortisol levels by calming down. What if I get discouraged, lose hope?

  Practice, and when you're ready learn the "trust building techniques" in step 5.

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