Sapolsky’s (1998) imaginary lions come center stage in this strategy of reflection and engagement. We must help our armored client by challenging their assumptions about attacking lion. First, what is the nature of the attacking lions (whether they are real or imagined). Are the lions coming from outside us or from inside us. This inquiry helps us (and our client) identify a potential paranoid stance. The enemy from within becomes the enemy from outside.
We then ask: are there really lions? This helps us (and our client) identify a potential projective stance. The powerful forces operating inside us get projected outside. The “internal lion” is quite scary. It can be a source of internal power—as was the case with projections of internal power to the Wizard of Oz. Internal power is threatening whether it is available for the benefit of the person holding this power or for this person’s determinant. Internal power incurs responsibility and a need for vision and purpose. It requires that we don’t just stand there frozen in the forest. We must agree to embark on the journey to Oz.
We are now ready to engage in two helpful roles, based on this requirement that body and mind unite and that thought interplays with anxiety. One of these roles is asking questions; the other role is making suggestions.
Asking the Right Questions
While we are thankful for the many insights and recommendations offered by both Reich and Feldenkrais, we believe there are other perspectives to be taken—many of which bring together the ideas offered by these two men. We would suggest that the team consider approaching their armored/masked client by posing the following questions in a gentle and appreciative manner:
What is the purpose of the armor (persona)? How does it help people with whom you relate in your role:
Their ability to readily identify your role (particularly important under conditions of stress and the need for rapid response),
Their sense of safety in relating to you and asking for your assistance (recognizing your expertise or carefully defined role) and/or
Their assumption that you will act in a predictable manner (no room for surprise under conditions of stress and the need for rapid response).
When can you take off your armor (persona)?
In what setting?
With what people (your family, friends, peers in the same role)?
What are the “secondary gains” associated with this armor/persona
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