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The Sedona Method: How to Get Rid of Your Emotional Baggage and Live the Life You Want

by Hale Dwoskin

listed in psychospiritual

[Image: The Sedona Method: How to Get Rid of Your Emotional Baggage and Live the Life You Want]

I found this 400 page self-help book a fast and easy read. It describes a deceptively simple technique that claims to enable you to release negative emotions on a daily basis and be able to feel calmer, happier and more alive and more in control of your life. It maintains that releasing negative emotion is a perfectly natural experience, which everyone has done unconsciously at some time; the technique is a way of doing it consciously, whenever you choose.

Hale Dwoskin classifies all emotions into nine main categories: six negative, and three positive: apathy, grief, fear, lust, anger, pride and courageousness, acceptance and peace. The Sedona Method is underpinned by certain assumptions about the roots of these emotions. One is that as children we have four major needs that we seek to have fulfilled. These are called the four wants:

\ind\• The want of approval;• The want to control;• The want of security;• The want of separation.

All emotions are connected to these wants. When you experience a negative emotion, there is an unfulfilled need at its root. The method encourages you to allow yourself to let go of your wants. The assumption is that when you let go of your attachment to having these needs fulfilled, you gain freedom, which Hale Dwoskin defines as a state of 'imperturbability', and the negative feeling dissipates. It is some way into the book that it becomes completely clear that the reader is not asked to actually let go of approval, control, security and separation themselves, but to let go of the feeling of lacking them, of wanting. Paradoxically, once someone achieves this, their needs are more likely to become fulfilled.

How do you let go? The Method says there are three ways of approaching the process of releasing negative emotion. The first is to let go of the unwanted feeling. The second way is to welcome the feeling and allow the emotion. The third is to dive into the core of the emotion. Beyond that, it maintains, is our own core, "a calm place from which we can witness the events of our lives without being affected by them. When you learn to access this place, your past issues dissolve more easily as you bring them to awareness."

All three ways together comprise the technique, which essentially consists of recognizing the underlying want when a negative emotion manifests and then asking a series of simple questions:

\ind\• Could I allow myself to want… (e.g. approval?)• Could I welcome wanting… (approval?)• Could I let go of wanting… (approval?)

The book goes on to give advice on releasing fear and dealing with guilt and shame, and there are chapters on habit-busting, decision-making and letting go of dependencies and habits. Those familiar with Transactional Analysis, Neuro Linguistic Psychotherapy and other therapies will recognise some of the underlying assumptions, e.g. "Habits are merely patterns in consciousness that have become customary", or, when talking about how parental influences shape our beliefs and behaviour, "Keep in mind that you're either living resistance to those early relationships, or you've modelled yourself after them – even if they didn't work". The solution presented to all emotional problems is the Sedona Method: allow yourself to perceive that all your feelings culminate in the four wants. Then allow yourself to let go of your wants.

Does it really take 400 pages to teach this simple technique and some of its applications? There is certainly a lot of repetition as the method gets drummed in, enlivened by anecdotes. Yet simple as the Sedona Method is, it is not necessarily easy for an individual working alone to recognize what wants and needs might underlie a particular emotion, let alone to actually "let go", and the process requires a safe environment for whatever might come up. The book does include guidelines for groups, stressing that confidentiality and safety are essential.

If this model is congruent with their own way of working and with their client's understanding, some therapists might incorporate the technique usefully into ongoing therapy, where safe support can hold the process within an ecological therapeutic framework.

Alexandra Chalfont

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