Even More on Using the S-V Matrix

To follow up with yesterday's post regarding the S-V Matrix I wanted to point out that the traditional matrix and the S-V matrix can be used in junction with each other. While the S-V matrix does track some of the same content that the traditional matrix does, the overlap between them is not 100%. In other words, not all of the content that you would see on the left or right hand side of the traditional matrix would translate over perfectly to the S-V matrix.

Up to this point all of the clients I have introduced the S-V matrix to have had a familiarity with the traditional matrix. So I have been using them within the same plan of treatment, though I've switched over to the S-V entirely. I'm hoping to begin introducing the S-V matrix solely, or first, to clients, in the coming weeks.

Another benefit I've noticed when introducing the S-V matrix is that tying in the capacity of human language to get and keep us stuck is very easy to do. One of the main reasons I took to the traditional ACT Matrix was how effortless it made the concepts of creative hopelessness and workability to the client. By the end of that first interaction with the matrix a client is often in a place where they have begun to assess the workability of their own actions, understand the effect their actions have, as well as understand "stuck loops" in their life and therefore, hopefully, how now might be a good time to experiment for the purposes of seeing what comes next. It's a one-two punch of workability and creative hopelessness.

The S-V matrix retains all of that power and benefit, with the added component of tying language into the picture right off the bat.

I have been doing this while setting up the S-V matrix's lower left hand quadrant. Clients have been quizzical at first about what I mean when I say "Survival mechanism/instinct". Once I give a few examples of very basic survival mechanisms, they get it, and are able to generate more spontaneously. These basic survival mechanisms and moves are often tied to the body, and their effects can be explored more with the client in terms of how they've been affecting their lives so far.

Once those are out of the way, I segue into the unique survival mechanisms that we have as human beings that most other animals do not have. This is when I bring in language, or our mind's ability to harness language in such a way that has kept us alive & at the top of the food chain, as well as how it gets and keeps us stuck.

For example, the ability to think ahead into the future, and the ability to think over the past are two very powerful skills which also act as survival mechanisms. If we couldn't think ahead or learn from the past through thought rather than re-experience, we wouldn't make it too far. Certain animals have varying degrees of ability to think ahead and into the past, but by far we as humans take the cake. 

Our mind's ablity to do this is 100% natural, bred over millions of years, has a wonderful function in certain contexts, and so on and so on.

That same ability, as we know, can trap us and put up road blocks.

When we add this layer onto the S-V matrix after having gone through some of the more basic survival mechanisms suddenly it allows the client an opportunity to notice this part of their experience & existence in a particular, perhaps more workable way. From here flows defusion and acceptance and everything else. 

The transition between workability, creative hopelessness, language, mindy-ness, etc., are all fluid and seem to be very natural to me and the clients in the room. Of course I've been doing this for a while so I have some practice with it all.

The main point of focus when engaging in all of this is to notice if the room is turning into a lesson rather than a therapeutic process. We want to avoid talking to, explaining, discussing concepts, and in some sense "simply conversing" about all this stuff with clients; when accessing the content experientially is always an option.

Always recall that it is more workable to "do" the therapy in vivo, rather than to explain or talk about the therapy. This allows the client's own experience to be the guide as opposed to your own experience. This also allows the client to practice and know what to look for and what skills to apply when they leave your room.

Jacob MartinezComment