Inner Mental Training is based on 35 years of scientific research conducted in Sweden by Dr. Lars-Eric Unestahl, Sports Psychologist, founding President of the Scandinavian International University, Orebro University. Dr. Unestahl was also the founding president of the International Society for Mental Training and Excellence (ISMTE). This method is used with Olympic gold medal athletes, schools, the medical field, organizations, and for many social issues, including empowerment for the homeless.
Participants will learn the basic methods of:
- Muscular relaxation;
- Mental relaxation;
- Use of triggers (clues) to reach goals and reduce stress.
The visual art process requires no previous art experience or ability and uses art materials to create concrete images through color, shapes, or lines. This process will use the 7 C's (Confidence, Calmness, Concentration, Commitment, Creativity, Cheerfulness, Control) as topics for capacities important to life. This program currently is used in Swedish schools for fifteen minutes three times weekly as part of the curriculum from kindergarten through high school graduation resulting in mental focus, improved grades, increased self esteem, and stress reduction.
II. COURSE CONTENT AND METHODS OF TEACHING
This workshop is effective because it empowers the individual by putting the power in the hands of the person rather than the professional. Each exercise begins by clenching the left fist, taking a deep breath, holding and then releasing, which demonstrates the difference between tension and relaxation.
Progressive Relaxation is learning to use each muscle group by tensing and relaxing from head to toe. Autogenic Training utilizes feelings of warmness and heaviness. Triggers are cues which the individual decides are the most effective for obtaining goals. For example, placing your hand over your watch might trigger "time to focus", on the edge of your glasses to signal "seeing the situation clearly" and imaging yourself doing what you need to do prior to proceeding toward your goal. You create your own trigger and image.
III. FORM FOR TEACHING
Tapes from Sweden will be used (reading aloud is effective for muscular and mental relaxation and triggers). Think of some words to describe these concepts and their opposites from the 7 C's:
IV. REQUIREMENTS, SCRIPT, AND RESOURCES
- An open mind;
- Using these methods daily, and rehearsing changes can enhance your mental focus and reduce stress;
- Remembering the Swedish saying K.I.S.S., "Keep It Simple, Smart" (rather than the conventional American version of "Keep It Simple, Stupid");
- Focus toward the future although is is based on the present, and don't get caught in the past (unless it is positive), and when a negative thought appears replace it with a positive thought;
- Being aware of "what works" and "what doesn't work".
When Professor Unestahl researched why people feel they can obtain goals he found some unusual results. Success included the word "possible", then holding the image, moving into it, and working with alternative rather than dominant states of control toward the future. "Impossible" is often connected to the past rather than the future, trying too hard, feeling stuck and blocked. Professor Unestahl's research began in the 1960's for a one year period with a medical doctor (who prescribed the tapes prior to release with a prescription), and they found them extremely effective. Currently 25% of the Swedish population has been exposed to Inner Mental Training.
Utilizing the Basic Relaxation tapes and the 7 C's, Orebro University professors Elisabeth Solin and Lars-Gunner Solin collaborated with a South Australian physician, Dr. Harry Nash. The following script was created, along with other suggestions in "A Guide for Relaxation and Inner Mental Training." Note that most scripts can be created, usually accompanied by soft music, and beginning with clenching the left fist, taking a deep breath, and then releasing.
The following is an example from Script 3: "Make yourself comfortable and close your eyes lightly... Take a couple of long breaths in and out... Every time you breathe out, your body gets more and more relaxed... calm, and heavy... Notice that your face is relaxed... your neck and shoulders... your arms... your chest and stomach... your legs and feet are relaxed... All the tension in your body is flowing away... Now see yourself in a place you would really like to be... a peaceful place... Stay there for awhile... enjoy being there... (long pause with soft music playing)... And now slowly come back to this room again... Start moving a little as you do in the morning... Take a deep breath... and when you are ready, give yourself a smile, open your eyes and feel awake, alert, and refreshed for the rest of the day."
Bibliography and Resources
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