Jan 18, 2022 in Life Coaching

Dr. Philip Zimbardo's prison experiment & liberation psychology

Dr. Zimbardo, creator of the infamous prison experiment, espoused liberation psychology. Freedom psychology is the next step

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Liberation Psychology - Freedom Psychology

By Ingo Michehl, M.Ed. (C. Psych.)

Dr. Philipp Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, California, creator of the infamous prison experiment, which showed that students became the dark roles of prison guards they played (through role identification), presented the concept of liberation psychology in an article published by Stanford Press. Here he espouses a healthy dose of hedonism (taking care of self) coupled with a sense of responsibility and consideration for the freedom and well-being of the individual and the whole. 

I would second that approach and evolve it to the concept of freedom psychology - the holistic approach of a balanced individual and society, tempering freedom with responsibility as freedom without responsibility is license, the abuse of freedom. Freedom is only freedom as long as it does not infringe upon the freedom of others.

I hence propose the concept of Cognitive Balance as the predecessor to American psychologist Leon Festinger's concept of Cognitive Dissonance, which it precedes. Cognitive balance is the natural healthy state of a human being - the balance of our thoughts, feelings, and actions/behavior.

A peaceful paradigm of a kind and loving co-existence, co-operation for the sake of mutual and holistic well-being, prosperity, and thriving existence.

Imagine three Olympic rings overlapping, forming a congruent geometric area of overlap at the center - representing the personality that consists of the three aforementioned elements.

How can we achieve this once the equilibrium has been disturbed, as it clearly has? 

It starts with the individual - me and you.

“Peace begins within the heart of men when we realize our oneness”, Black Elk, a Native American medicine man said.

When I meditate - when I am in peace and quiet, listening to the silence, the space between the notes that creates the music, when I let go, my quiet center radiates outwards quantum waves of peace and tranquility.

I am at balance and peace.

I am in harmony with myself and the universe.

I ask myself: How am I when I am completely fine? How am I when I'm healthy and well, happy, and fulfilled?

I visualize what that would look like and feel like. And then I decide to work towards that.

What valuable service or gift of mine can I share to make my unique contribution to the whole?

It is not what I can get from the universe - but what I can give ... that counts and determines the value and joy of my existence. The more I can let go, give, love, and serve, the happier I am. Gratitude is the key to happiness. 

I am happy and grateful for the service I have been able to provide - rather than resentful for 'having had to perform it.' -

I am free. It is - and was always - my choice. And the consequences of my choices for which I take full responsibility. 

If I don't like what I see, I change what I think and believe, and how I act. By changing my beliefs and actions I change my outcomes. To change my beliefs I notice them and evaluate them, whether they serve me or not. If they do not, I replace them with beliefs that support and serve me, e.g. I am good. I am making a valuable contribution. I can do this.

There is no freedom without responsibility. Only license. 

Freedom is only freedom as long as it does not infringe upon the freedom of others. 

When my freedom to play loud drums interferes with your freedom to enjoy peace and quiet ... It becomes license, the abuse of freedom, the violation of another person.

The solution? Consideration. Let's be considerate to each other. The golden rule: Treat others as you wish to be treated - with love and respect.

How to solve conflict? Negotiation and compromise - I ask for your permission to play drums for a while (or go play somewhere else where it does not bother anyone) and then give you the peace and quiet you seek. -

As a considerate person, you would simply play your drums somewhere where the intrusive sound does not bother someone else, and you would simply cease to play if asked by a neighbor in need of silence, peace, and quiet. ~

I am the sum total of my choices. I can transcend my circumstances because I can choose my response to them and learn from them.

"Every day in every way I'm getting better and better."

This paradigm and self-affirmation were successfully employed for the healing by a French physician.

Or, as Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the Starship Enterprise, would put it when asked by an alien of another species about humanities violent past, (paraphrased) "Oh, yes, we finally grew out of it and solved the problems of poverty, violence, exploitation, and misdistribution of wealth on planet earth ... Which then freed us up to peacefully explore the universe and encounter new species."

Remember the Vulcans credo? Infinite diversity in infinite variations - a paradigm of tolerance and peaceful cooperation.

Peace and long life.

Live long and prosper. 

Treat others as you wish to be treated - with loving-kindness and respect.

No choice, No freedom.

Beware of those attempting to limit your choices.

Or to influence your choices with fear.

It is the path to domination and loss of personal freedom that cults and manipulators employ.

I am free. You are free.

Let's make the most of it.

What is your dream? 

How can you make it real?

Are you working on it?

Believe it. Do it. See it.

What you see is what you believe. 

What you believe is what you see.

If you don't like what you see ~

Change what you believe.


What to do with the negative?

Notice it - and allow it to pass, to convert from the negative to the positive. Mental tai chi.

What to do about stress?

Just relax. Take a deep breath.           Notice the pause.             Exhale.            Let go. 

Triage: Is it life-threatening? (Important and urgent) -> immediate action 

Important but not urgent? -> do it next

not important, not urgent? -> do it later

Quantum Healing

In a book by that title, Deepak Chopra espouses and contributes the survival of 3% of terminally ill patients to several success factors:

1. The belief and strong feeling of certainty to the point of "felt knowledge" or belief like "I will survive this!"

A positive mental attitude and belief system which crystalizes their thought - their mental energy which affects quantum level reality based on the principle of resonance: waves tend to synchronize and resonate

What we send out, we attract.

What we focus on, expands.

2. They came to a place of peace and equilibrium - balance, allowing their miraculous body to miraculously heal itself.

(Which it does when we just give it a chance. Don't have time? Then just... Take your time?

Or your body will make you.

What's cheaper and better - One week vacation or one month or year in hospital or worse?

What is more efficient in the long run?

If you are out of balance, unwell, or unhealthy, I recommend "The Journey" by Brandon Bays. A great book for the self-healing journey. She healed herself from a tumor in her belly and then traveled the globe to teach others the process. I attended one of her workshops in Australia and it helped me a lot on my own journey.

No one gives you time. You have to just take it.

Your choice. You are free.

An ancient self-healing practice:

Placing your hands on your stomach .. Breathe into your tummy,          Notice the pause    ...      and yawn it out, visualizing your life energy flowing from your right hand through your body to your left hand, gently healing anything that is not part of your perfect matrix.

You can also imagine a white light surrounding you, emanating from you.

How am I when I am completely and totally healed?

This is a question I ask myself when listening to what I call 'The Rain Meditation' - The dive holosynch technology alpha level brain wave audio tool developed by Harvard and MIT brain research in conjunction with http://centerpointe.com

For a sample listen to my meditation mix



Effective Living

Here are seven principles as cited by Steven Covey in 7 habits of highly effective people:

1. Begin with the end in mind.

2. Think win/win.

3. Seek first to understand.

4. Then to be understood.

5. Be proactive.

6. Sharpen the saw.

7. Take care of the goose that lays the Golden Eggs.

(Ebook for Kindle etc available on https://Amazon.com)

And a final question to contemplate: What will this world look like when it is peaceful and harmonious, enlightened and well?

Boring as many would claim? I don't think so. 

Rather than the dread of Hollywood promoted Robocop reality ... Why not instead imagine a positive, enlightened future for mankind?

Imagine all the people living life in peace. Free to solve the problems of misdistribution of wealth, inequality, war and hunger, environmental exploitation, and lack of education.

Perhaps John Lennon & The Beatles weren't so far off after all?

Imagine all the people, living life in peace.

Imagine the possibilities: Wherever you go, you are received with loving-kindness as a brother or sister of the human family.

Not so bad, is it?

Live long and prosper!

These thoughts are part of positive psychology, the aspect of cognitive psychology which states that we create our own reality with our thoughts, which determine our feelings and our actions - which create our outcomes. 

Change your thoughts to change your results, and thus your reality.

If this resonates and you would like some assistance, I am available for counseling (or counselling - though I don't agree with the spelling reform) and coaching at coachingo.net.

Kind regards

Ingo Michehl, M.Ed.

Counselling Psychologist, Coach

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