Making Changes MenuMind & Consciousness MenuTalk Therapy MenuEducation & Learning MenuHealthy Relationships MenuAutism Spectrum MenuAddictions, Risk, and Recovery MenuWeight & Fitness MenuHuman Personality MenuScientific Method Menu

Stepping Thru the P Curve Process

Framing the Wound


P-Curve 2 Worksheet Elements

The "Worksheet Elements"

Now, if you will focus on the "Worksheet Elements" diagram above, you will again see the two red lines previously discussed along with a number of other elements. Here, we will focus on these other elements, which are called, the "BLock Documenting" Elements.

First, notice the two boxes across the top of the page, the one on the left labeled "layer," and the one on the right, which says, "Issue Statement." Start with the one on the right.

The "Issue Statement"

What is an "issue statement?" An issue statement is simply an evolved and more focused version of what most people call an "issue." Thus, while issues refer to peoples' difficulties in very vague and impersonal ways, using generic phrases like "codependency" and "low self esteem," issue statements refer to peoples' difficulties more personally, using phrases like, "I never meet men who can hear me" or "I can't seen to keep my apartment clean."

Can you picture tell from an issue what a person is really like, for instance, can you tell just from a phrase like "low self esteem" alone? Of course not. This issue phrase is far too vague to be personal, in that it refers to a huge category of human behavior. Also, since the basic nature of all "P" Curves is picturing, we could never use a traditional issue to begin a "P" Curve. Why? Because the explorer would have no way to know where to begin picturing. Too many possibilities.

The point is, the vague and impersonal way traditional issues are phrased makes them next to useless in the healing process, and rarely do these vague phrases evoke anything more than an intellectual comfort when spoken. Strangely, they often get repeated like mantras, as if knowing these words in and of itself heals. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth.

What about issue statements then? Unlike issues, issue statements address this need more effectively in that they are designed to directly provoke a response in the explorers who hear them, by directly referring to these individuals' exact personal suffering or difficulty.

What do these responses look like? Either the person goes blank or the person feels pained. Seeing either reaction tells you, you have a good issue statement, one that is well focused, and one that is a good starting point from which to begin a "P" Curve.

The "Layer Number"

Now look again at the box on the top left, the one labeled "layer #." Here is where the guide notes the layer number, beginning from the first layer forward.

What is a "layer?" The word layer as used here refers to the idea that all human experience gets organized in what I call, "threads of similarity." What I mean by this is that all human beings are designed so that they first store their experiences as a single pictures. Groups of pictures then get grouped together and given a time reference, something like, "the graduation," or "the first time we met." Finally, each group of pictures is also given a caption or a group of captions, a short hand of sorts which very closely resembles the balloons captions in cartoon panels, things like, "my early childhood" or "the first year we were married."

None of these metaphors are new. What is new, however, is the idea that throughout peoples' lives, they, with no conscious knowledge, respond to their life events largely based on these threads of similarity, patterns which connect seemingly unrelated scenes to each other.

What do threads look like? Threads are usually seemingly innocuous things like the color "green" or "faces with a certain eyebrow shape when raised in a question." These ordinary life experiences somehow get connected to the pain or pleasure of our life experiences in such a powerful way as to be one of the main forces beneath what we have been calling, our "wills."

What prevents these threads of similarity from being more visible to us? To be honest, I'm not certain, and ultimately, it doesn't really matter anyway. What does matter is the fact that these threads are what create our characters. This means they cause both our experiences of love (unBLocked threads) and injury (BLocked threads) to repeatedly occur within us despite that we never actually experience a moment choice.

Even more important, though, is that fact that discovering the BLocked threads is how we heal. In other words, it is the BLocks in these "threads of similarity" which heal in those moments in which we become unBLocked.

Is there any way to make these BLocked threads visible? Absolutely. The easiest and best way to make these BLocked threads visible is to do a "P" curve.

Finally, what do layers have to do with these BLocked threads of similarity? All inner pictures have threads of similarity which connect them to other pictures, most times, to seemingly unrelated pictures, which is why we never notice their importance. On top of these threads, though, are what you could call, "grand" threads of similarity, threads which stem from so early on in childhood that they often come from times in which people have not yet learned to caption, meaning, before they have learned to talk; their "preverbal" life.

"Layers" are groups of pictures each connected by a grand thread of similarity, and they sometimes appear toward the end of a "P" Curve. Their significance is usually that the wound you have been exploring was grouped in and around a grand thread, a whole group of BLocked threads. So, when one BLocked thread heals, sometimes it allows the barest edge of another to become visible, a second starting point, if you will.

How can you know if a layer has appeared? Quite honestly, at this point, it would be better if we refocused back on the "P" Curve elements, as layers are in all likelihood a whole article in and of themselves. Know, however, that this topic will be addressed elsewhere.

The Four Quadrants

Now notice that if you divide the page using the horizontal mid line and the BLock red line, you end up with four quadrants. And if you look at the top of each quadrant, each one has a label. Starting with the upper left, the labels read, "the symptoms," "the wound," "the stage," and "the inner experience."

What do these labels mean?

Start with the upper left quadrant; "the symptoms." This label refers to the painful things the explorer can see, in other words, to the things most people refer to as the symptoms. Does listing these symptoms have value? Absolutely. By sorting the person's inner life into what is symptoms and what is BLocked, the BLock begins to be defined.

Next, look at the upper right quadrant, the one labeled "the wound." This quadrant refers to "the things the explorer can not see," and the guide writes things here like, "can't picture the hallway" or "can't see her father's eyes." These missing pieces of experience are the threads of what is BLocked. More over, by following the threads these missing pieces reveal, the BLock begins to be visible and in so doing, begins to heal.

Now look over at he bottom left quadrant, the one labeled, "the stage." What is "the stage?" The stage is where the guide sometimes asks the explorer to draw a floor plan of the site where the painful event took place. Does this always happen? No, not really, and many times, this quadrant is simply is used as an overflow for the upper left quadrant, the place where the guide records what the explorer can see.

There are times, however, wherein the stage seems so important that having the explorer write it down helps them to focus and to picture more clearly. And sometimes, the most important piece gets revealed only when they draw the stage, times such as when something scared them as a young child so badly, they can't access places in a room, like a closet or under a bed.

The last quadrant is the lower right quadrant, and here, the guide writes down what the explorer thinks and feels during each part of the visualization. Here, the guide should exercise care so as not to introduce the guide's own words into the process. Why? Because often, the time period of the original wounding can be surmised from the explorer's exact words, such as in the case where they use "yucky" rather than "horrible" or "bad boy" rather than "a terrible person.

The Scene Requests

At this point, we come to the actually scene requests, the times wherein the explorer tries to process actual life scenes. Please note that each scene is numbered with a number and a circle, and that each quadrant uses the same numbering so as to be later able to cross reference things like emotions to scenes or thoughts to an inability to picture.

What would also be good to do at this point would be for you to briefly note that scene requests fall into three categories; direct, indirect, and the intuitive variation.

"Direct" scene requests use the explorer's own words to directly restate the issue statement. An example would be, if the issue statement was, "I can't seem to cry even when I'm sad," the first scene request might be, "go to a time where you felt sad but couldn't cry," or "picture a time where you were sad but couldn't show it."

"InDirect" scene requests use the same scene and but remove the painful element. Thus, for the same issue statement, "I can't seem to cry even when I'm sad," an "InDirect" scene request might be, "try to see a time where someone who wasn't sad cried" or "go to a time you were happy and cried."

"Intuitive variations" for the same issue statement might be voiced something like, "go to a time when you see your mother crying" or "picture a time you were sitting in school and felt sad.

Lastly, the Emergence Markers

Lastly, we have the "emergence markers." What are emergence markers? An emergence marker is a yellow mark which precedes anything on the "P" Curve worksheet which emerged during the process. We use this mark because the single best way to identify an emergence is that the person always experiences a little pleasant surprise right before. Thus, even when a person says what emerged was something they always knew, the surprise implies a different sense, that this experience was something the person had previously not integrated consciously.

Let me say this another way. Suppose you had never driven a car but could see one in your driveway. And supposed you had read a lot of books about driving and had spoken to a lot of people who do drive. Would you know "how to drive" or "just know about driving?"

Obviously, you would just know about driving. And this distinction is what we are making here. Many people know all their lives about the painful event which broke their self worth. Still, knowing about it and knowing it are tow very different things. Knowing about it means you can caption it; in other words, you can refer to and describe it with words.

This experience is a far cry from actual healing, though, in that actual healing means integrating the experience in such a way as to leave the person able to easily access it. The real test? Can the person easily and without help picture the event?

The things marked with a yellow marker are the things the person integrates during the process, the things which actually emerge. These emergences are the healing process and the yellow markers allow the person to later go back and further explore these particular parts of the painful life events.

the P Curve "Red Lines" a Blank P Curve Worksheet