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  • Writer's pictureGwyneth Kerr Erwin, Ph.D., Psy.D

How to move from Suffering to Hope


What do you do if you’re suffering, and you can’t figure out how to turn things around?

Most of us, when we are in a trauma state of suffering don’t know where to begin.

In today’s email I’m going to show you a new pathway to healing.

Let’s begin with STATES. What are they? What can I do with them?

States comprise the vital inner landscape in which we live and out of which we behave. They begin forming in utero and continue to be shaped, clustered, bridged, or dissociated throughout our lives. Everything we experience is state dependent, meaning that whatever states we are in that have intensity, duration, and repetition impact everything that comes after.

States are not just a mood, a feeling, a belief, an action, or any one thing, but a unique blend of eight aspects of lived experience:

• Attachments patterns

• Memory

• Physiological Sensation

• Emotion

• Belief systems

• Perceptual Bias

• Voice and Language

• Behavior

The first step is learning to understand our own ‘state systems’. More importantly, we can learn how to beneficially regulate them, to transition on purpose from one to another. For instance, moving from a state of suffering to one of hope.

Today’s tip: Look to your sensory modalities — sight, taste, touch, hearing, smell — to unlock the mystery! What kinds of things soothe you? What kind of things enliven you?

Start by noticing! Write in a journal what you are noticing about each of those 8 elements you are experiencing at any given moment.

If you’d like to go deeper, order your copy of my new book, The Developmental Lens: A New Paradigm for Psychodynamic Diagnosis and Treatment today (amazon, kindle,

Begin with my Affective Questionnaire in The Developmental Lens and see how your inner and outer life will thank you!

P. S. Watch for the next blog post to see real life examples of State Shifts to make these tools work for you!

Thank you! Dr. Gwyn Erwin

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