by Paul Freedman, Jonathan Goldberg and Jaak Reichmann
In keeping with the new wave of context –focused treatment approaches such as
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), we discuss an innovative behavioral intervention referred to as the Act of Inward Looking. The theoretical underpinnings of this intervention are based on the assumption that the primary cause of human psychological suffering is a pervasive fear of life which is established at birth and thereafter operates as an unconscious psychological context or schema. Problematic symptoms, negative behavioral traits and reactions as well as our attempts to get rid of them are seen as effects of this lifelong pernicious context. The Act of Inward Looking primarily targets and modifies this context and is thought to subsequently lessen or extinguish many of the aforementioned effects. The Act of Inward Looking is described in detail and viewed, in part, through the lens of In Vivo Exposure Therapy, as well as contrasted with mindfulness-based practices. The use of a trans-personal intervention within a behavior therapy framework (exposure) represents a unique integration of historically divergent theoretical camps.