In our daily business, we are frequently asked a certain question: Is there a difference between Introvision and IntrovisionCoaching? Yes, there is: although both approaches are based on the same principles, IntrovisionCoaching® represents a different format of the same method.
The theoretical fundament of Introvision as it was developed by Professor Dr. Angelika Wagner in the course of a twenty-year research program at the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Hamburg, was the question of how acute conflicts and mental blocks may be resolved in a practical manner – and by the participants themselves. To that end, the method has been constructed in a way that the necessary inner attitude, which Professor Wagner calls “constative, attentive perception,” or CAP (German: konstatierende, aufmerksame Wahrnehmung, KAW), must be trained extensively and frequently. This state of CAP is a centerpiece within the method, without which the resolution of the imperatives that are the cause of internal conflicts cannot succeed.
We may also – as indeed we do – substitute the concept of CAP with “mindfulness” as it is used, for example, in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Mindfulness in this context is understood as an inner attitude that is generated by a state of broad perception that enables you to experience your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations in the here and now without judging or intervening in any way.
This inner attitude of a broad, non-judgmental and non-intrusive perception is crucial for practicing Introvision: to resolve an imperative, it is necessary to eliminate the respective linked alarm. The alarm is triggered by a very specific sentence, which is threatening the imperative in question and in turn generates an internal conflict. This inner conflict is perceived as mental, emotional and/or physical excitement, which might take the form of circular thoughts, fear, anger, sadness, increased heart rates, heavy breathing, abdominal cramping, to name but a view reactions. The key is to simply perceive this in order to clear the alarm.
If an individual, for example, harbors the imperative, “I must not fail under any circumstances,” the corresponding sentence might be, “It may happen that I fail in this situation.” This will cause an inner conflict and lead to an alarm reaction – because failure is quite literally strictly prohibited! Our “natural” reaction – i.e. without knowledge of imperatives, alarms and internal conflicts – in responding to a sentence which threatens an imperative is to “escape” in some way or the other. We try to escape from the impending inner conflict and the alarm by looking for a distraction, more or less frantic “positive thinking”, focusing on our breathing to dodge unpleasant thoughts or feelings, or any other form of conflict prevention strategies that we may have acquired in the paths of our lives. And while these strategies may be sophisticated and even efficient in their own way, they fail to resolve the actual problem – i.e. the imperative.
Another efficient way NOT to solve the problem is to be overwhelmed by the alarm and to get further entangled in the existing problems and fears.
Dr. Wagner has found an ingenious way to rid ourselves permanently from inhibiting imperatives: by facing our alarms in the CAP state. However, since the aim is to teach people how to use the method by and on themselves, her approach requires intensive initial training in the state of CAP over a relatively long period of time and with many different exercises. Because in this approach, everything depends on constative, attentive perception, this state must be thoroughly trained. Nevertheless, as Dr. Wagner tells it, participants are often only able to maintain the CAP state for a mere minute before they are overwhelmed by their alarms once again. The advantage of this method is that people learn to analyze their problems on their own and are able to formulate the necessary sentences to target their respective imperatives; in short, in time they are able to employ Introvision without exterior help.
In coaching, however, there is no time to let clients train CAP for weeks before starting the actual process. That is why we have developed IntrovisionCoaching®.
For us, the challenge was to develop a format that presents a pragmatic and applicable approach of this ingenious method, even if you only have limited time (e.g., a maximum of two sets of five hours coaching time) at hand. Furthermore, this limited time cannot exclusively be used to analyze and dissolve imperatives, but is also used, for example, to reflect the role and tasks of the client in a leading position, to investigate the system of their working environment, and to develop strategies to deal with any problems that may arise from this. Obviously, given these conditions, there is no time for extended preliminary training exercises.
In contrast to the original Introvision theory, IntrovisionCoaching® lets you start working with the client immediately. First, the coach will identify the imperative with the client and together, they find an effective imperative-threatening sentence. In the next step, we explain the state of broad perception; in most cases, clients are able to evoke this state after two short exercises. We then guide the client through the Introvision process with the help of individually adapted instructions. Throughout this process, we support the client in order for them to maintain the attitude of non-judgmental, non-intrusive, broad perception and, if necessary, to recur on their breathing, which helps to stabilize and thus enable them to uphold the necessary inner attitude. With the help of these instructions, the client is able to endure the active alarm for a period of up to fifteen minutes without losing their mindful state of perception, and without intervening or other methods of evasion.
As an effect, the strength of the alarm can be significantly reduced even in the course of one single coaching session.
Since the client should be able to work with IntrovisionCoaching® on their own at home and thus continue to eventually reduce the alarm down to zero, we record these instructions and send them an audio file via email immediately after the session. Their “homework” is to practice with these instructions for a few (max. 15) minutes until the alarm is cleared or until the next coaching sessions.
Clients who have undergone such a process once are then usually able to resolve other imperatives on their own.
In the course of the last two years since we have started working with IntrovisionCoaching®, we have experienced that this method is perfectly suited both for business coaching as well as for life coaching because of the fact that we are able to achieve fast and sustainable results within a few sessions, results which clients describe as “sensational,” “liberating,” a huge relief;” in other words, extremely helpful.
But even if the method as such sounds relatively basic and simple, it should be noted that IntrovisionCoaching® requires a lot of knowledge, skill and experience on behalf of the coach. The coach ensures that the client is able to cope with the alarm; in doing so, they must be able to consider and control a variety of different factors.