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Mental rehearsal

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Mental rehearsal

"We are greatly influenced by our past, but not inseparable from it. The past is impossible to change, but it doesn't have to determine our future." — James W. Tamm and Ronald J. Luyet

  • 30'
  • Serves 1
  • Medium



Letting go of the past to reclaim the future.

The following activity has been taken from James W. Tamm and Ronald J. Luyet’s book Radical Collaboration: Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships. The book guides individuals and organisations through a process of self-discovery and self-transformation to become more skilful at collaborative relationships.

This exercise will help you evaluate the usefulness of the stories and interpretations you attach to the external events that happen in your life. These stories give meaning to your life, but they can sometimes become an obstacle that may hinder your wellbeing. The following mental rehearsal helps you let go of the past that does not serve you anymore to reclaim control over your future. In particular, it will guide you through an exploration of the fears and rigidity that you developed during your childhood and enables you to understand how your present is different from your past. Over time you can learn to free yourself from phantom childhood fears.

To find out more about James and Ronald’s work, please visit their website: http://www.radicalcollaboration.com.




Setting up

Close your eyes and relax your body, taking several deep breaths. Notice if there is any tension in your body that you can get rid of by shifting your position. Pay attention to your breathing. Settle into a rhythm of breathing deep, slow breaths. To the extent possible, breathe down into your belly. Once you are feeling relaxed, continue onto the next step.


Recalling an experience

Recall a recent experience where you became fearful and rigid in your thinking or behaviour.


Identifying negative traits

Identify the negative traits, attitudes, or behaviours that you exhibited. Also identify any fears of being ignored, humiliated, or rejected.


Thinking back

Think about where you first learned these traits, attitudes, or behaviours. If possible, try to remember a specific scene early in your life where your first learned this fearful behaviour.


Noticing differences

Notice how the circumstances of your recent experience are different from those when you first learned these negative traits, attitudes, or behaviours.


Re-imagining the present

Imagine yourself in the present as significant, competent, and likeable and let these feelings flow throughout your calm, centred being.


Re-envisioning the experience

Now, in your mind, re-envision your recent experience with this new conscious awareness of your own significance, competences, and likability. Continue to breathe deeply as you let yourself integrate your new feelings into this recent experience. Imagine yourself re-experiencing the t recent experience, creating an outcome you would have liked to have experienced. Notice what is different in your behaviour, in your internal interpretation of the event, and in your capacity to respond authentically.


Noticing the present moment

Notice how you are feeling about the experience now.

Alessia Cervone

Chief Empowerment Officer at euforia. Co-founder Recipes for Wellbeing. Facilitator at Ashoka's ChangemakerXchange. Radical Collaboration Facilitator and Trainer.

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