Conscious Self-Integration (CSI) is a form of personal change and a therapeutic model developed and practiced by Bruce M. Small, Therapist.
It was originally inspired by the "life script" concept described by Eric Berne (Games People Play, 1964,
What Do You Say After You Say Hello? 1973) and Claude Steiner (Scripts People Live, 1974).
Much of our daily human behaviour seems automatic, as if it were under unconscious rather than conscious control. For example, most of us recognize that we seem to execute or perform quite naturally many physical and social skills (like brushing your teeth or hugging your parents) and social routines (like introducing yourself at a meeting, or like walking like a man or woman). We do not deliberately think how, why, when or whether to carry these actions out.
Some of us also seem to trigger on occasion into an other kind of automatic behaviour that is more compulsive, in the form of unbidden, recurrent rehearsals of gestures, speech inflections, spoken lines or even entire dramatic scenes as if we were following the script from a play. It is as if our earlier self or selves had originated (and periodically revised) some unwritten life plan in order to adapt to their earlier circumstances, and it is as if this life plan is still being carried out, not consciously bidden and perhaps even unbenownst to us, at opportune times throughout our daily lives. These replays might appear either positive (such as eagerness to help others) or negative (such as being highly critical or looking down upon others), and might be simple and fleeting (such as a dismissive shrug of the shoulders or a short sigh) or long and complex (such as years of alcoholism or depression).
Some people come to therapy or begin self-help when either their regular automated skill routines or their automated adaptive behaviours, that were all created at a younger age, become too maladaptive in their current circumstances. In other words, behaviours that helped them through life before are no longer working as well as they used to, or may even have become damaging to the individual or to his or her relationships. Also some people come to therapy because they feel as if some hidden part of them is messing up their lives, and that the rest of their self feels both distressed about it and somewhat powerless to stop it.
The goal of Conscious Self-Integration (CSI) is to become more conscious of one's younger selves who authored these automatic behaviours, to determine what those younger selves faced in life and how they responded to it, and to understand how the automated behaviours they created were designed to keep you safe. Whether undertaken by self-analysis, peer counselling, or in group or individual therapy, CSI helps by bringing automated behaviours from both normative skills and early adaptive life plans into consciousness, by enabling some form of communication with or understanding of the younger selves, by assisting them (or those aspects of the individual) in gaining support from their older selves and other human beings, and in establishing a useful role for these aspects of themselves in current time.The end result is that the individual retains all the skills he or she developed throughout life, but gains much more conscious control over exactly when, where, why and how those skills are exercised or performed. In addition, he or she is able to learn and develop new skills that are specifically appropriate to current circumstances, with the help of many aspects of his or her self.
Upon practising Conscious Self-Integration, a person may behave as a more integrated human being, in contrast to previous behaviour where hidden parts of the personality may appear to be adding, either regularly or sporadically, unbidden and maladaptive subterranean messages into our relationships, confusing those around us. Brilliant and creative parts or aspects of our selves that were previously ignored, buried, forgotten, disowned, dissociated or otherwise put away or put down, now become optional contributors to our current behaviours. People who consciously self-integrate may appear more youthful and lively and may act more creatively and spontaneously than they did before.
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