Hello fellow RRT Practitioners! I am so grateful to be part of this community of healers and to have the opportunity to serve as IRRT's Training Director. So much has changed in the past year--the Institute is growing stronger, word is getting out about RRT, and the demand for therapists skilled in this approach continues to grow. Just as Jon continues to refine and improve his approach, we are working together to make our training program even more effective, and to support you as you keep building your skills. This column is a place for me to share some recent updates with you, including Jon's newest refinements to the RRT process.
For those of you who haven't been to a training recently, I'm going to share a new addition to the RRT way of thinking about how our minds work and why we experience painful emotions. If you are familiar with goat and snowflake, this gives us some new language, and adds the concept of "out of range."
When mother bear sees a crazy guy smacking her cub with a broomstick, she gets angry. Why is mother bear angry? Most people would say that the guy is making her angry, but we're going to think of it this way: when mother bear sees what's happening, her mind causes her to become alert, motivated, and strong--what we call angry--in order to get her to do something to make it stop. Every time an animal experiences a painful emotion, it's designed to get the animal to do something in order to make something in the world stop. Every time a person experiences a painful emotion, it's coming from the primitive part of the mind, and it's designed to get the person to do something in order to make something in the world stop.
How long would the mother bear be feeling a painful emotion before doing something? You don't see a bear just sitting there feeling resentful. The mind of an animal causes the feeling to get the animal to do something, and it only causes the feeling when the thing is happening, and if it is within range. This is why we don't see dogs jumping into the air trying to catch eagles. Your primitive mind will only generate an emotion to cause you to do something if it believes the thing is happening, and that it is within range.
"Out of Range"
Here's an example to illustrate "out of range." The door behind you opens, and somebody screams "there's a little girl choking!" What happens in your body? You become alert, and your heart's beating faster. You're ready to take action. And you say "Where?" And he says "Idaho." Immediately, your heart slows back down, shoulders drop, breath returns to normal, and you calmly get back to what you were doing. Not because you don't believe that a little girl is choking in Idaho, and not because it's fine with you if people choke as long as it's in Idaho, but because it's out of range.
The Snowflake and Goat
The intellect (snowflake) can access data about things that aren't happening and can think about things that aren't within range. No other animal's mind is flashing information about a thing if the thing doesn't exist. If a rabbit sees a wolf, it means there is a wolf--not just data about a wolf. Primitive mind (goat) misreads the data about the thing as the thing; it misreads it as being within range when it isn't, and then it causes an emotion in order to get us to take action. As soon as goat gets that whatever it's jazzing us up about is out of range, it stops jazzing us up.
Things can be out of range geographically, but they can also be out of range for other reasons--an action might be out of range because it isn't possible, or because it isn't possible at this moment, under current circumstances. If a potentially useful action hasn't yet come to mind, then right now, it's out of range. If you are already familiar with the process for eliminating guilt and anger, you'll find that the responses "it's out of range" and "there's nothing that needs to be done" are extremely effective and can be applied in a variety of situations.