Skillful Counselling: Clear unhelpful Habits and Patterns

Clearing unhelpful habits and patterns that get in the way is typically based on clear methods and principles.
habits and patterns

Clearing unhelpful Habits and Patterns is essential

Does your typical emotional responses give you the confidence and control you need?  And if you answer no or maybe not, then hope is at hand. Effective and long lasting emotional healing is available. These unhelpful habits and emotional patterns can be identified and cleared.

There are just a small number of pathways to the identification and clearing for most of these emotional patterns.

Where do unhelpful habits and patterns come from?

  1. An understanding or interpretation that is neither helpful nor reliable. To be Reframed, see below
  2. A coping strategy from childhood that still persists unconsciously. See Becoming Adult below.
  3. A childhood motivation for compulsive behavioursor shame. See Molar Memories below.
  4. From a perhaps long forgotten trauma experience. See Skilful Counselling: Trauma
  5. A life story or time line that just does not work. See Skilful Counselling: Narrative Reframing


Finding these unhelpful habits with the Affect Bridge

The affect bridge is a useful means to find the origin of many emotional patterns. As the name suggests, the idea is to form a bridge between the original source of the emotion and the current emotion.

A current feeling will be activated that is unwelcome or confusing. You will be invited, in a relaxed and calm state to move back to the first point in time where this feeling was felt. Once uncovered, the emotion can then be dealt with, typically in trance.

Listen to this, to find the origin  of that habit

Reframing unhelpful habits is the heart of all effective therapy

Ivan Tyrrell (one of the Human Givens founders) said to a class I attended that reframing is the heart of all effective therapy. And of course he is correct. The way in which a problem or situation is perceived, understood and processed can always be shifted – to offer the possibility of change and a sense of move or time limitation.
After all, nothing is ever quite what it seems. And how it appears to you today will not be the same tomorrow or the day after that. Colours, shadows, shapes, and even where you find it? So, we must strive to see what is in front of us and to know that what we see now is provisional and for just that moment. We must cultivate the openness of a child like mind.
Are you seeing your challenges from a position that is helping you? And if you are not, then perhaps you can just change the place from where you view it.


Useful reframes need to be time-limited (not enduring for an eternity), specific (to a time, place and situation) and empowering for you.

planet earth
Depending on where you are, you see things differently. And this applies to everything, not only to planet earth. And no viewing place is intrinsically better than any other. It is just different – and either helpful or unhelpful.

Metaphors and Stories

The creative use of metaphors and stories are essential tools for shifting unhelpful habits and emotional patterns. This has been well understood down the ages. 


Seeing the bigger picture from the top of the mountain… The clouds are lifting on a new bright sunny morning… Down in the depths of the ocean there is stillness and quiet and time lasts forever… Be like that still feline waiting and ready to pounce… You throw a stone into the pond and the ripples spread out magically…

Metaphors can be conjured up by magic a thousand fold.

See for example, how many powerful metaphors can be conjured from a tree.

And how they can touch all of us?

You get the picture?

tree metaphors


“Stories are like dehydrated onions – a dried out experience” Idries Shah

“Stories get under our skin and creep into our unconscious minds unannounced” Hilary Farmer

“A fable is a story that shows you something, that has a bit of a point to it” Rob Parkinson

Over 50 Stories for you to enjoy

Two sources of emotional patterns – and how to clear them.

Becoming Adult

As a child we felt sad, scared, angry, and/or bewildered. Our needs were not met. Usually, these unmet needs were one or more of the following: attention, security, love, friendship, feeling valued. As an adult, we attempt to “make it better” for the child. The simple truth is that our child cannot get its needs met today, no matter how hard we try.

The adult strives endlessly for the ‘unattainable’ and in the process, feels out of control, because control is in the hands of a child. This leads to immature behaviour with self destructive thoughts and behaviours.

This is “Chasing Rainbows’ behaviour”. What we want is an attractive, hypnotic illusion, but which, like the elusive end of the rainbow is always unreachable.

There is of course a big difference between childish and childlike behaviour. The latter is desirable at times, the former is not – ever.

In a sentence, emotional immaturity can be attributed to a frightened child hijacking the adult’s behaviour in order to attempt to complete a deficient pattern from childhood.
Rita Leaman (Human Givens practitioner)

Molar Memories

For some, there are hidden and inexplicable impulses. These unhelpful habits are damaging, humiliating and destructive and necessarily are kept hidden. These impulses could though be molar memory – and if they are, then they can be cleared quickly.

So, what are Molar memories?

They reflect the probable existence that the obsessive behaviour has two memory roots: of pain and pleasure. The pleasure is hidden behind the pain of an original experience, which invariably comes from childhood. It is that hidden pleasure and the unconscious desire to replicate it that drives the apparently inexplicable compulsion.

And to clear these patterns?
Clearing them is about uncovering them and then living with the awareness that comes from that.


Read these Six Case studies and you will get what molar memories are all about.  Maybe there is a molar memory hidden in your past.

None of us will have the same life experience. But the source of most unhelpful habits and emotional patterns that need to be cleared can be identified.

Perhaps I can help you find yours.

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