Do you want to solve a problem? Train your mind!

Thinking that we are incapable of facing a problem can block us and prevent us from finding the solution. On the contrary, the “imagined practice” proposes imagining that we solve a situation in a satisfactory way so that our mind learns how to deal with it.

Sara went to therapy to reinforce her low self-esteem. The young woman felt that, in various aspects of her life, her lack of self-confidence was seriously harming her. One of the situations in which Sara clearly perceived her low self-esteem was when it came to defending herself when someone sneaked into the supermarket checkout.

Before beginning one of his sessions, he confessed the following to me: “Ramón, I know this is silly, but I am unable to protest. Even though I know that it is an unfair situation and that the other person has sneaked in, I block myself, keep quiet and lower my head so as not to confront her ”.

Whenever she was in a similar situation, the following catastrophic thoughts began to crowd her mind: “They are taking advantage of me and I am doing nothing to defend myself”, “I am a coward, I am afraid to face people”, “no I am worth nothing, I am invisible ”. Sara”s negative thoughts blocked her and prevented her from reacting, so every time she had to face a similar situation, she ended up feeling useless and her harmful thoughts reconfirmed the false idea that she was unable to defend herself from abusers.


To break this circle, in consultation, we began to work with the “imagined practice”, a technique that is widely used in sports psychology and that consists, explained very briefly, in imagining that we satisfactorily solve the situation we want to work on.

In Sara”s case, we work imagining the moment of waiting in a queue where a person arrives with the intention of sneaking in. Over several sessions, we planned possible successful solutions, and Sara imagined carrying them out.

In various studies carried out with different cutting-edge techniques, it has been found that the same areas of the brain are illuminated (activated) both when perceiving something with our senses and when imagining it. It has also been found that when we imagine that we are performing a certain movement, the brain areas that are responsible for ordering the muscles that movement are activated. For this reason, this technique is frequently used in sports psychology to practice exercises and routines and to be able to continue training, mentally, when a physical injury occurs.


As we see, the power of the imagination is enormous. We can perceive it more clearly in negative situations such as, for example, when someone avoids taking a plane trip for fear of having an accident or looking for a home near a hospital so that they can be treated in the event of a heart attack.

In all these circumstances, the brain is anticipating and experiencing the situation in a catastrophic way. The person feels it as true and acts accordingly, avoiding certain eventualities. However, there is no real physical reason that causes the blockage, everything is the result of the imagination. Every time a person visualizes himself acting in a different and positive way in the face of situations that previously blocked him, he is really living and feeling it just as he would in physical reality. Your brain is working to heal you and is strengthening the neural networks that are involved in new behavior.


When Sara imagined acting and defending herself against abusers who wanted to sneak in, her brain was feeling it as real and she was noticing the same feelings that she would have had if the scene was actually happening in her usual supermarket.

The advantage, being in consultation, is that we could work on their blocks and their fears in a controlled situation, without having to expose ourselves to the real situation. In this way, Sara gradually gained confidence. Finally, the acid test came. One day someone tried to sneak Sara into the fish shop and she was able to defend herself against this attack, putting herself in her shoes and not allowing the other person to abuse her. “I was very happy. I hardly had to think about what to say, it came out automatic, thanks to the times I had practiced it here, in the consultation, ‘ara told me in the next session.

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