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Ask Me Anything!

Ask Me Anything!

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Throw me some questions related to psychology!

NB. I will do my best to answer your questions. I will answer in general terms as I do not go into too personal and sensitive details here. Remember that your question may help others as well.
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Answers So Far...

  • Someone asked:
    Hello! I am trying to practice detached mindfulness but I keep running into the same problem. Which is, whenever I notice a thought, I tell myself to leave it alone. But that becomes a new obsession on its own. Like thoughtception. Because I tell myself to leave a thought alone. And the telling myself to leave it alone makes that I am engaging with the thought. Which causes more anxiety. What do I do? Because it very much feels like I have to resist not engaging and I don't think that is how detached mindfulness works right? So what am I doing wrong here? Thanks!
    • Simon Moesgaard replied:
      Hi you, Thanks for that question. I have answered the same question as yours previously. You can find it at Ask Me Anything!. Leaving a thought alone is about disengaging from any further processing and passively observe the thought in your mind. When you passively observe something, it is still there, and that's okay, as you have flexible control over your attention.
  • Someone asked:
    Goodday! I do have a question about mct. How do you get out of the pattern of thinking? Like. I keep thinking about the so called pink elephant. How do I remove myself from that grip? Thanks a bunch
    • Simon Moesgaard replied:
      Hi there, I guess you mention the pink elephant just to make an example, right? MCT is all about changing the way you relate to a thought, so it's not about mentally pushing it away or trying to remove it in other ways. You can do the following experiment to get the idea: First, you try not to think about a pink elephant for 10 seconds and see what happens. Then, for the next 10 seconds, you just passively observe the pink elephant in your mind and see what happens. In what condition did you spend more energy? Was it possible to passively observe it as an image in your mind without interacting with it? You can replace the pink elephant with any other thought. The experiment illustrates that thought-supression backfires, and that observing (in the form of detached mindfulness) is a different way of relating to a thought, separating the self from the thought. You are the observer, not the thought. Do you notice the pink elephant and leave it alone, or do you notice it and keep monitoring? Best regards, Simon Moesgaard
  • Someone asked:
    Hi Simon. Thanks for sharing all these amazing posts. I have the following question! I notice I can get stuck on the thought: "Oh I am having a thought. I need to leave this alone". But I keep monitoring if it's gone. Therefore, it's always there and it confirms my belief that I can't leave thoughts alone. It causes me anxiety and a lot of rumination trying to get rid of the feeling and thoughts. How can I manage this?
    • Simon Moesgaard replied:
      Hi you, First of all, thanks for your interest and your question. I will do my best to answer your question, which is a question that I get asked a lot in therapy. In the process of leaving thoughts alone (i.e. practicing detached mindfulness to thoughts), it frequently makes a person monitor whether he or she is doing "the right thing", at least to some extent. However, monitoring itself is a part of the CAS. We are threat-monitoring when we are in the mindset of avoiding things, such as physical threats but also perceived internal threats, such as specific bodily sensations, feelings and thoughts. Remember, the goal of MCT is not to get rid of thoughts but instead give the mind some time to self-regulate. So, monitoring whether something in your mind is present or not is actually relating to it as if it's a threat to you. 1) Would it be necessary to monitor something that is a passing event in your mind, just like a train going by. 2) Is the monitoring something you can control or pay less attention to? - As soon as you notice that you are monitoring, you are actually out of it - and you may turn your attention to the external world, your task at hand, etc. I hope that you found this answer useful for your further practice. Best regards, Simon Moesgaard
  • Someone asked:
    Hi, I have a question about how detached mindfulness can be engaged in everyday situations, how does one gradually or habitually become non attached and non judgemental to thoughts/feelings/sensations etc? I've read part 7 of your blog post which is quite interesting, I'm guessing you'll be explaining more in part 8. I hope this question somebody else too. Thank you very much!
    • Simon Moesgaard replied:
      Thanks for that question! I am glad that you are the first one to ask me that question. I am going through how to practice detached mindfulness in part 8 (at least in a therapy session), which is going to be the last part of this series. I work on that part at the moment. The short answer is that you will gradually become more aware of the CAS process and you will identify it when you practice, a kind of meta-awareness. When you postpone further processing of thoughts, for example in the case of worry postponement, you just relate to your thoughts as events in your mind. When you judge a thought, you are already in 'the CAS mode', so you can also postpone the judgement process. I hope that it makes sense, and stay in tune for part 8. Best regards, Simon.