Logical Levels As a Tool in Therapy

I find logical levels to be a powerful tool in therapy. Typically individuals having a problem are feeling stuck in a problem frame underlied by an identity level statement " I am….x" such as stupid, depressed, unable to change something etc.

These statements are static, self defining statements which individuals use to define themselves. When stated at the highest logical level, statements constitute an internal representation of self. Even though these statements are injurious and often derogatory to self, individuals will defend those with vengeance because of an underlying fear of becoming decimated in their absence. For example an alcoholic will often defend that label as it represents a powerful identity level statement, the one that defines this individual’s social behavior, social network, activities etc. Being an alcoholic has positive aspects: AA meetings, rehab, social network of sufferers, etc. Take that label away and suddenly all these things vanish. A scary proposition.

I always say that when we remove something we must reolace it with something else so that no gaping wound remains. If it does, the behavior will be replaced with another one where the structure of the original one remains.

The idea here is to help an individual move from an identity level statement to one where they have choices, such as ability to drink and not be dependant on alcohol, while maintaining the integrity of the I statement, retaining the positive aspects of the behavior and facilitating a belief they have a choice to drink as much as they want (or not) and still be a valuable individual.

The idea is to help them redefine an internal belief from "I am an alcoholic (or whatever else)" into : I am an individual who had been choosing to drink too much for my health, and who by the same token has a choice to stop or drink even more, remaining in control of drinking, rather than being a victim of a drink".

In case of a child who believes he/she is stupid (as was the case of one of my clients-a 9 year old Oston), the process was as follows (a massive shortcut here for the purpose of this posting):

Oston: I am stupid
Me: How did you decide that?
O: I am doing poorly in school
Me: How so?
O: I fail my tests, math, English and Science
Me: Is there anything you do well at in life?
O: Yes, Computer games ( I can kill the dragon faster than anyone else) and snow boarding
Me: Okay. I don’t know how to do any of these. I must be really stupid.
O: No. You have to learn these things. If you practice you will get good at those (he is indirectly reframing his belief about himself)
Me: So, you know how to play games. What do you do to be so good at them?
O: Practice, find new ways to do them
Me: How could you do that with Math? Are there new ways you could practice so it would get easier for you?
O: Yea. Do more exercises from the book.

Now he is not thinking about BEING stupid or incapable (which is a lower logical level already) but thinks of strategies to improve his competency.

Once we had led a client to a lower logical level, he/she can suddenly discover options and steps into a dreamer strategy where different outcomes are possible.:blush:


Logical Levels As a Tool in Therapy

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