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"Psychological Reversals": The importance of evidence based terminology

It was interesting considering the title of this blog piece. We hear lots about the mantra "evidence based" in relation to practice, but what about in relation to terminology?

Jeff and I have relatable views about the "Psychology of Reversals" material produced by Apter, Kerr et al way back in the 90s. I like the concept of being able to "force yourself" to see the world / incident / stressor from a different perspective as a specific, high-level cognitive skill. The essence of "reversals" is, of course, the concept of switching from one "meta-motivational state" to another and in so doing changing perceptions of a stressor and therefore influencing down to the pscho-physiological level.

But there is the rub - I have just condensed Kerr & Apter's writing to a sentence, selectively removing reference to multiple "meta-motivational" pairs, and identifying one of the predicted outcomes because I have found it useful as a system of change.

How carefully do we need to "choose our words"?

The analogy of forcing someone to change perspectives using some of the classic black-white / foreground-background visual illusions is very workable as being akin to changing perspective and physiological reactions to a source of potential threat. The idea "has legs". The images and steps have some substance, feel as though you are "doing something" actively to control your state, to make changes.

But here in the CF2 Project we are charged with creating a resource that will not only have an impact on the preparation of young athletes, but will make a noise in public and around the industry at the same time.

Keep the reversals concept in mind for when we are discussing the development of the app. If we can achieve some of the reversal style turn-arounds via various aspects of the app, then we will have gone a long way to making a major contribution to the system.

The thing is that not everybody is of the same mind in relation to different "therapeutic" or "training" approaches, and unfortunately, some just plain don't get it. Part of our planning will have to consider our "defence" to such potential critics.

This has all been a long way to coming around to this story. In going back to research sources around the Psychology of Reversals, I came across an "interesting"... no disturbing article purporting to discuss the area. Dr Mark Steinberg of California addresses "psychological reversals" in

t would appear to me that Dr Steinberg is a counsellor, the Americans would probably call him a "therapist". Here he would most probably be a clin psych. In his discussion, Dr Steinberg comes out with some classic lines. Perhaps we should view some of these in a manner similar to the "classic catches" of our summer of cricket....

"Psychological reversal can be tested when a person is attuned to a thought field. A field is an invisible, intangible structure in space that has an effect upon matter. A thought field is defined as a connection between cognitive awareness and emotions that generates a field that may contain perturbations"

"Testing for psychological reversal can be done in many ways. Because body and neural polarity generates holographically, it is measurable through multiple physiological responses. Muscle test strength and weakness, heart rate and variability, blood pressure, respiration rate, and GSR (galvanic skin response), visual acuity, and voice projection all can reveal reversals.

After so many years of identifying and correcting psychological reversal, I can often detect it in a client's manner, facial expression, attitude, or verbal content. One obvious clue to reversal is outright hostility, negativism, sarcasm, or hopelessness. Some people are much more subtle than others. Repeated failure for no obvious reason is frequently a sign of reversal."

"Psychological reversal is associated with several meridians in the body, most often the small intestine alarm point. Initial reversals can be corrected or cleared by tapping at least 15 times on the terminus of the meridian, most easily on the side of either hand in between the wrist and the tiny finger. It is critical to focus on the thought field that precedes and indicates a reversed state. Vocalizing the problem helps to focus the mind on the reversed thought field."

I will leave you to read the rest of his material. Please also read the other resources on the Reversals page of the website, and hopefully Jeff and I can include a conversation in front of you all about how we have used the concept. I have been thinking about ways to build some "how many reversals can you make in x minutes/seconds?" into the app.

Why did I write this?

There is a little comedy relief in the Steinberg article. There is an important warning to us about the importance of using "evidence based" terminology. There is a need to push "out there" in suggesting the use of some of our best applied innovations while retaining a concern for the potential of others misusing similar terms.

Perhaps this argues for a couple of "static" sections of our final solution website. We should look to include a glossary section that defines our usage. We should have a fact checker section that confirms the backgrounds of some of our usage. We should have a section that identifies a specific term that has been used across modules that confirms its definition / application across the modules.

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