The Color Technique
“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.” ~ Harper Lee
This psychotherapy group proved to be quite challenging, it was the last one on a Wednesday afternoon and the patients seemed particularly lethargic and speechless. Sensing the group’s mindset, I decided to use the color meditation technique and allow the group to process their innermost emotions through color; that is, retrieving hidden memories and experiences within their bodies which fabricate the overt behavior and cognitions.
I start the color meditation, which usually takes about ten to fifteen minutes to complete. Once completed, I pause and look around the room to see if all the participants are alert.
I then turn to Sam sitting at my left looking very calm and relaxed.
I ask Sam, “So, did you see any colors?”
In a calm demeanor Sam replies, “On my lower back dark yellow and also dark yellow in my head.”
I ask him, “What are the emotions connected with the lower back and head?”
Sam usually an animated fast talker, very calmly replies, “Well, I came with…isolation, I feel depressed because of lack of work, I feel less of a man.”
He solemnly proceeds to recount a time when financial security was abundant until alcohol, cocaine, and heroin demolished his savings and left him and his family destitute. Enthralled by Sam’s narrative, the group empathized with the forfeiture of his lifestyle. As the group related to Sam’s plight, each one spoke of their own difficulties and marginalization.
I then turn back to Sam and say,” Based on those colors, the dark yellow is your sense of self. Since it is in your lower back, it symbolizes your sense of insecurity as you stated the lack of funds and your addictions. The dark yellow in your crown are your thoughts, anxieties, depression based on your base insecurities. So, what are your goals.
Before he can answer, intuitively, I had to ask one more question, “Sam, where do you have more scars or discomfort, right or left side of your body?”(the left side of the body is the female and the right the male).
I can feel the group looking at me with puzzled expressions and then proceed to look at Sam. Perplexed, he answers, “On my left, why?”
I ask, “Do you have feet and knee problems, as well?”
Sam responds, “yes” and now looks at me oddly. Mentally and intuitively connecting the various bodily discomfort with the colors, I ask- “Did you have an abandonment from a female in the first fifteen years of your life?”
Sam exclaims, “Yes, by my mother!” Recounting his painful upbringing brought up repressed emotions which were processed with his peers. The substance dependency was to deal with the original abandonment from his fifteen year old mother and ensuing abuse from his family members. Sam was in tears. Most of the group members identified with his inherent pain and were able to support him through positive feedback and affirmations. As Sam finished his story, I ask him to verbalize his goals based on the newly accessed somatic information.
Sam states, “to get back into society and figure out what to do with my future!” Finally, Sam envisions his positive affirmation as, ” I can do it! I am capable!”
The group gives him positive feedback, support, and for some, processing their own identification with Sam’s plight. As Sam finishes the rest of the group members have their opportunity to delve into their colors, emotions, hidden memories, and experiences. The group as a whole is involved in the experience individually and collectively in sharing and processing their findings.
For the individual indoctrinated in the conventional disease model, this technique may seem as piecing together the patient’s information. However, the numerous times that I have used it, patients verbalize the opposite, that the information brought forth through the colors was never discussed with anyone in the program. Patients in the inpatient and outpatient units are usually awestruck when I use this technique. Due to the unorthodox nature of the groups, patients refer to me as: “the meditation lady” “mother earth” “the good witch” and other epithets, other than my birth name.
In order to fully comprehend how this technique works, one needs to shift from the current reductionist and mechanistic paradigm to an intuitive, empathic, and integrated holistic framework.
Old World Healing Meets Modern Biology
To understand the workings of the color technique one needs to move away from the medical model’s separateness of human comprehension to an inclusive multidimensional holistic paradigm where mind, body, thoughts, emotions, volition, and consciousness are intricately intertwined as one system. For this particular technique I use the chakra system, mindfulness, and an intuitive nonjudgmental presence to connect and understand the pained person and nonconformist’s colors and emotions.
According to the holistic approach, this model interconnects the mind, body, and soul of the individual, as well as his micro and macro communities (Moodley, Sutherland & Oulanova, 2008). In the 5th century B.C., the Greek physician Hippocrates
asserted on the environmental causes and treatment of illnesses, emphasizing on the impact and importance that emotional and nutritional factors have on health and on the inception of disease. Similarly, Chinese and Indian historical texts reveal the importance of ancient healing techniques and traditions have on achieving and sustaining balance between the individual, society, the natural world, self-care, self-regulation, and meditation (Gordon, 1988). What binds these historical texts is not the mastery of using diverse techniques and natural elements (herbs, tinctures, etc.) to heal, but, as Hippocrates and Dr. Usui state: the healer’s presence.
James S. Gordon (1996) a Harvard trained psychiatrist reminisces on his conversation with Dr. Singha from London who naturally healed his back problems, stating that:
The mind has to be used as a servant not worshipped as a master. One has to free oneself from the from the limitations of rational thought, as well as its endless doubts and pointless disputes, in order to use any technique or treatment appropriately. To become open to the limitless wisdom and inventiveness that is available to each of us, we have to abolish the mind’s incessant chatter and enter the silence from which it originates. The path to this silence is meditation (pp. 53).
Dr. Singha reminds us to be mindfully present with ourselves and with the pained person.
Through the silence comes forth the fleeting intuitive knowing and understanding of the world around us, and especially, of another person. The color technique opens and expands the patient’s consciousness to make a connection between the mind, unresolved issue, and present thought to be able to create a positive affirmation to deal with the experience. Intuition, gut feeling, sixth sense , synesthesia, cryptochromes, or/and an empathic presence allows me to sense and feel the pained other’s unresolved issue through an internal cognitive and emotional mapping of
the specific color on the body along with the emerging emotion and presenting overt behavior and physical illness. In order to map out the colors and residual unresolved issues, I always ask what side of the body has more scars or discomfort, cognizant that the left side is an unresolved issue with a female and right is with a male. Depending on the scars or discomfort and the color the patient describes, it will convey whether they have an unresolved issue with a male or female caretaker. Since the understanding of the pained other’s plight is ephemeral and momentary, I need to be still and sense within myself the incoming ethereal informational imprint from the other person. In other words, a compassionate and empathic quiet mind can receive and feel for a fleeting moment the pained other’s internal struggle without taking ownership for it. Therefore, stillness, self-knowledge, integration of the shadow self, self-healing, humility, and a state of satori with a hint of nonconformatism is necessary for the Color Technique to have its maximum effect for both the facilitator and recipient’s collective empowerment.
How to use the Color Technique in Group or Individually
The clinician must have a knowledge of the chakra colors, location on the body, and meaning on the mind and body. While utilizing the Color Technique music is optional, a soothing, relaxed voice is essential to calm the group or individual and for the technique to work well. In order to interpret the colors and to bring the hidden experiences to consciousness, the clinician’s state of presence, mindfulness, intuition, integration, and healing of the shadow self, and a belief of oneness with others are essential for the technique to be beneficial and healing to the recipient.
Please click on the link below to get the Color Technique Script
Dr. Mikao Usui–http://www.reiki.nu/history/usui/usui.html
Gordon, J. S. (1988). Holistic medicine. Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House
Gordon, J. S. (1996). Manifesto for a new medicine: your guide to healing partnerships and the wise use of alternative therapies. Menlo Park, California: Addison-Wesley.
Moodley, R., Sutherland, P., Oulanova, O. (2009) (n.d). Traditional healing, the body and mind in psychotherapy, Counseling Psychology Quarterly, 21, 153-165