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Powerlessness has been described as the feeling of lacking power, feeling helpless, ineffectual, unable to persuade or hold someone’s interest, or feeling voiceless. Often, it is a learned behavior from childhood. For example, a child who was not allowed to express himself freely in the house he grew up in now finds himself unable to speak up for himself at work. Even though, his parents no longer have control over him, the imprint in his mind of this life experience lives on and he continues to repeat his childhood experience in his adult life.

When we feel powerlessness, it is a very uncomfortable place to be. We feel out of control and helpless in some circumstance in our life. At those times, we can’t seem to find a solution to help regain our confidence or authority. We are rendered defenseless and unable to express our genuine capability. We become afraid to express our needs and we fear that our efforts will be thwarted. Whether we have ongoing paralyzing feelings of powerlessness from our childhood or, it only visits us from time to time, we all feel powerless at differing points and circumstances in our lives. When we can’t get our child to listen to us, or our marriage partner to see our point of view, or to handle difficult people at work, powerlessness takes hold of us.

The first step in overcoming a powerless situation we are in is to fully visualize it in our mind’s eye in order to see what is rendering us powerless. Then the solution can emerge through a simple imaging technique, which brings out our innate power and ability to handle the circumstance. Within our psyche’s is a storehouse of information of our natural abilities that overcomes any specific situations in which we feel powerless. Meg, a woman attending one of my workshops was facing just such a dilemma. Here is how she used imagery to overcome her fear at work:

I have started a new business, selling my financial services. I don’t know what to do about a feeling that overwhelms me. Each time I make a cold call, I get cold feet. I procrastinate doing it. I don’t know why. The gear of rejection bothers me. A feeling of anxiety wells up inside me; I get scared.

Meg shared her difficulties in the workplace in a group of business women attending my Eidetic Imagery workshop. She had come to find tools to move her through her fears. I asked Meg to see an image of making a cold call in her mind’s eye—the image that was already forming in her mind as she was telling the story. This is an eidetic image. These are special images stored in the brain, which can be retrieved in their entirety by employing special techniques. They were developed by the leading theoretician in the field of mental imagery, Dr. Akhter Ahsen.

Similar to watching a movie, eidetic images appear bright, lively and life-like. They remain consistent in detail when repeated. We can zoom into specific details of past events, which may have been missed when events unfolded.

Eidetic images differ from dreams and memory images; there’s no forgetting or distorting them. They are visual, and contain feelings, body sensations and meanings. However, strengths, potentials and genuine responses, unavailable at the time the event occurred, are stored in the brain alongside the image of the event. This hidden potential can be retrieved by working with images to reveal strengths and fresh perspectives in handling any life situation.

I asked Meg to relax, close her eyes and see an image of her making a cold call in her mind’s eye.

Meg: I’m at the phone about to make the call. I feel nervous, tense. I’m afraid of failing. I think no one will be interested in what I have to say. I’m in a general state of anxiety. I can feel the same feelings come over me as when I actually try to make the call. I see that I don’t have any positive expectations that people will be interested in what I have to offer.

You expect rejection?

Meg: Yes. I am insecure trying to convince them that what I have to offer is valuable.

You feel powerless in this situation?

Meg: I am afraid that I won’t say the right thing, that they won’t want to learn about my financial services. Then I get into the fear that I am letting down those who invested in my business.

Okay. Once more see the image that you are about to make that cold call. Now see that a wind comes down from the heavens and surrounds you. The wind is a gift from the gods.

What is this new you like?

Meg: Calming. I see a lot of light. It calms me down.

Now see another you jump out of you. You become this other you. The first one disappears. What is this new you like?

Meg: I see a stronger self jump out of the scared self. This is a confident me, not worried about anything.

See this new you make the cold call. Let the image unfold as if in a movie.

Meg: I see someone who has no problem making the call. I see what I offer is so positive, how could they not want it? How could they not? I feel energized to make the call. It is effortless. Just make that call and talk about my service. All fears are vanished.

This other you that lives inside you, is the real you, your genuine self. The scared you is just the one taught not to believe in yourself.

Meg: Yes, this is true. This other me is the me when I am most confident. You know, I started this business feeling passionate about it. I see this other me has all it needs to communicate the passion I feel… and now that communicating in my passion is the key to selling my financial success.

Emanation image for finding your unique power:
Deep inside of us is an image of the self that is unaffected by our history, or by the layer of criticism and doubt that our parents and society placed on us. The self that goes into the world is tainted by our negative history. The emanation technique allows us to reach into ourselves and bring forth our genuine, pure self, the one that contains all the genetic gifts placed in us at birth. A neurological change comes with an emanation because we are rewiring the brain to bring forth the new, real self from the old.

Eidetics differs from the popular techniques of positive thinking, affirmations, intending to create our desires, or those that impose an overlay of commands through conscious control. It taps into the essential nature of our beings. Thus, in contact with our genuine self, we can congruently move into the world with confidence. It is like tapping into a fountain of energy that keeps on pouring forth, precious jewels from the psyche.

Emanation Exercise:
Here is a step-by-step instruction for the Emanation of Self Exercise:

To begin, find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably and close your eyes. Some people find they can image better with their eyes open, so see which works best for you. Remember, information will come from the images, the body sensations and the feelings. Allow the image to unfold like a movie. Pay attention to the images you see, to your feelings, to your body sensations, and to their meanings.

  1. See an image of a situation where you feel stuck or powerless.
  2. See an image of this situation or person. What do you see?
  3. How do you feel as you see this image? Allow your feelings and body sensations to come into awareness.
  4. Now see a big wind come down from the heavens and surround you. It is a gift from the Gods for you. Feel the sensation of the wind all around you. How do you feel?
  5. See another you jump out of you. The old you disappears and you become this new you. What is it like?
  6. What does the new you do or say in the image?
  7. You have found new strength and ability to be yourself. How does this experience feel.
  8. If you still feel powerless, see another you jump out of the new you. Repeat steps 5-7, until you have found strength to deal with the situations.
  9. See that these strengths are part of your real self. Enjoy them.

Source: Akhter Ahsen. 1977. Psycheye: Self Analytic Consciousness New York: Brandon House, Inc., 89-90.

Jaqueline Lapa Sussman, MS, LPC

For more than 30 years, author Jaqueline Lapa Sussman has applied the techniques of Eidetic Imagery in her work as a counselor, speaker and teacher. One of the foremost Eidetic practitioners in the world, over the last two decades she has been the protégé and close associate of Dr. Akhter Ahsen, Ph.D., the founder and developer of modern Eidetics and pioneer in the field of mental imagery.