Recorded history is replete with the theme of people doing things and thinking things they do not wish to do or think, things that happen against their will. Whether it is a melody that frustratingly repeats, biting fingernails, or a compulsion to abuse alcohol, sometimes there are compelling influences that will not be consciously denied.
The theory and framework of Yagerian Therapy explains experiences such as those above. Actually, the theory both explains and offers a way to eliminate the undesired experience. This simple premise is developed in the paragraphs that follow.
The essential elements of Yagerian Therapy include the assumption that experiences during life can have long-lasting effects. In other words, we can be “conditioned” by an experience, just like Pavlov’s dogs were conditioned to salivate in response to a ringing bell. If a dog bites a child, the child will likely be conditioned (learn) to be afraid of dogs, and that conditioning can’t be changed later in life simply by conscious desire to not be afraid. We learn values, skills and limitations during life and those “learned” lessons can become engrained to the extent that no amount of opposing logic or reason can prevail against them. It’s as though a part of our mind was formed when the event happened, and that part continues to exert influence to maintain the original situation. And, it will continue to do so until / unless it is re-conditioned, which can only happen by the introduction of new information – by education of that initial part.
To further illustrate this principle, let’s assume that a child is terribly frightened in some situation, is desperate to speak (to call for help), but cannot do so because of blinding fear. In such a condition, the child – at a subconscious level – might learn to stutter, a condition that may continue later in life when the desire to speak is present. Similarly, a child frightened in a dark place might learn (be conditioned) to fear the dark, and that part of the child’s mind formed then might continue its influence into adulthood. There is no conscious awareness that such conditioning is taking place at the time it’s happening, yet it does.
Illogical? Yes, it is certainly illogical for an adult to stutter or to be phobic about darkness. However, it was very logical in the initial situation, and that the influence might be learned/conditioned at the time of the initial event!
This phenomenon seems to be at the core of all undesired behaviors. The subconscious domain of the mind seems to consist of a very large collection of such conditioned influences – represented by separate “parts” of our mind. These parts represent our beliefs, values, skills, and limitations as we learned them in the initial experience. These parts seem not to have continued to “learn” after their creation; they are stuck in the past. They know today only what they knew when they were created; they believe today what they believed then, and they exert their influence accordingly in spite of conscious, rational belief and knowledge opposing their influence.
Do such parts have power? Indeed they do! They can compel behavior that may risk death, not just irritating behaviors. They can cause obsessions and compulsions, as well as physical problems like migraine headaches and asthma.
If the foregoing is true, if we are in fact so governed by influences from the past, how can those influences be re-conditioned in favorable ways?
The answer to the question lies in the fact that the parts of our minds were created by means of “learning,” and therefore have the capacity to re-learn. The task of therapy becomes that of identifying the errant part(s), establishing communication with them, and finally re-conditioning them by education about current life conditions and needs. This is the process of Yagerian Therapy. This is the procedure through which you will be guided by the steps displayed on your computer screen.