• Deric Hollings

Mind Tricks

Updated: 3 days ago


One of my favorite lines from lyricist Buckshot, of rap group Black Moon, relates to the 1993 song “How Many MC’s…,” which states, “The mind tricks the body, body thinks the mind is crazy.”

Generally, I don’t support use of the stigmatizing term “crazy.” I tend to agree with Dave Chappelle when he stated, “The worst thing to call somebody is crazy. It’s dismissive. ‘I don't understand this person, so they’re crazy.’ That’s bullshit.”

That stated; I don’t support language policing. While I understand attempts to reduce harm—such as Rosa’s Law, signed by former president Barak Obama—I disagree with infringements of free speech.

This includes so-called “hate speech.” As such, I take no issue with Buckshot being able to use the word “crazy.” Herein, I’ll simply refer to “crazy” as self-disturbance—understanding that use of the word varies.

The reason I appreciate Buckshot’s lyric is because it elucidates the relationship between thoughts (cognitions) and feelings (bodily sensations and emotions). Thinking may significantly impact one’s body and behavior.

While some people suggest thinking occurs within the body below the neck, it is widely understood that the cognitive process occurs within the brain. Still, the brain—part of the central nervous system—is part of the body.

I tend to concur with former president Obama when in 2013 he stated, “The brain is a body part too; we just know less about it.”

Not to oversimplify matters, I think it’s important to note that the mind is not the same thing as the brain. Whereas the brain is the hardware, the mind relates to software—with understanding that some people oppose this comparison.

Think of smartphone components (i.e., circuits, chips, cellular modem, etc.) representing the brain. As well, the physical structure—or phone casing—is akin to the body.

Imagine the function of an operating system (e.g., iOS) with various applications (apps) as how the mind works. One may have an iPhone with iOS and various apps running (mind)—all encased in a smartphone shell (body)—which are dependent on components (brain).

With this understanding, Buckshot’s line addresses how the software impacts the hardware. In turn, the body influences the mind. These systems are interdependent.

In my clinical practice, I highlight the notion of a relationship between the mind and body, as cognitive modification is used to alter behavior and behavioral changes may modify thought.

The interplay between the mind and body was addressed further in a separate blog post describing my approach to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), in which I stated, “REBT uses the ABC Model to highlight the Epictetian notion, ‘It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

I encourage clients I listen closely for rigid and extreme narratives from the mind that impact the body. These demands often manifest in the form of should, must, or ought statements.

Maladaptive cognitions are those with which I assist clients through active and persuasive challenge. It isn’t that the software is damaged, though I help clients write more helpful scripts for their metaphorical operating system and apps.

People often maintain that an action (A) leads to a consequence (C). Someone calling you “crazy” (A) is said to lead to anger (C). However, REBT maintains that rather than an A-C connection, we disturb ourselves with beliefs (B)—B-C connection.

In this case, someone calls you a name you detest (A), you think, “People must not call me that, and if they do, I should stop them,” (B) and as a result of this unhelpful belief, you disturb yourself into an angry disposition (C). This is an A-B-C connection that could use disputation (D), leading to an effective (E) new belief (B).

Rather than addressing the lengthy process of disputation herein, I simply want to emphasize how the mind and body function together. When we use maladaptive or unhelpful thinking, we can trick ourselves into a self-disturbed disposition.

If our bodies interpret an event as threatening, our resulting behavior may not serve us well. Per Buckshot, “The mind tricks the body, body thinks the mind is crazy.” This is where the ABC Model can be useful.

If interested in learning more about how you may be disturbing yourself, causing unhealthy or unhelpful reactions which don’t serve you well, I invite you to reach out for help. Unlike some other forms of counseling, REBT is less related to helping you feel better; because its aim is to help you get better.

As a psychotherapist, and hip hop head from the old school, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to serve clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve.

If my approach to REBT sounds like something in which you may be interested, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW

Photo credit, fair use


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