Learning to control actions is the first step in re-educating the brain; it the simplest way to achieve this and, although it may often seem almost childish at first, it does provide appreciable results.
If we observe the way psychasthenic patients carry out their daily activities, we notice a remarkable lack of clarity and precision. It is as if their thoughts were elsewhere most of the time, or they were incapable of thinking about what they are doing while doing it. This makes their actions hesitant - you get the feeling they lack any kind of determination.
Lef s look at an example: A psychasthenic wants to get something from his room, but by the time he gets to his room, he often forgets what it was he came for; if the object is in a locked drawer, he will take it out and then forget to close the drawer, or lock it, and so on.
All actions are carried out in an altered state of consciousness, without purpose or determined will; the patient is not able to retain the initial impulse, which was to retrieve such and such an object, and see it through to the end.
You can imagine how inconvenient this is in everyday life; in addition, all these semi-conscious acts have repercussions on the brain;
the mind tires of trying to remember what it is supposed to be doing; the constant uncertainty troubles the patient, and leads to a loss of self confidence.
We do not begin by asking patients to control all their daily activities - this would be impossible - but simply to perform a certain number of predetermined actions every hour. In a relatively short time, the constant repetition of predetermined, controlled actions creates a kind of cerebral pattern which patients find very useful.
Before we proceed to the re-education of actions, we must first understand what it is we are asking of patients.
A controlled action must be "conscious," which means that patients must be absolutely present and concentrated on what they are doing. This should exclude all distractions from interfering. That is the first point.
The second important point is the following: during a conscious act, the brain must be uniquely receptive; its function is to record precisely what is taking place; the brain must "feel" the action and not think it. This distinction between feeling and thinking clearly distinguishes a controlled, conscious act from a non-controlled one. Thinking an act means emitting energy, while feeling it means receiving energy.
By developing this receptivity, sensations become accurate instead of distorted, as is often the case with neurasthenic patients. Patients must get into the habit of looking clearly at what they're seeing, of listening to what they hear, and of feeling what they do.
Here is how to proceed:
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