Yes, it can through a particular exercise.
Here are some examples:
A few years ago, when I went for a walk at the beach, my attention was drawn to a monarch butterfly flying gracefully from flower to flower. I tried to look at the sky, the ocean, the beach but my attention only wanted to focus on the beautiful butterfly. I then started the exercise, pretending I was the butterfly and giving it a voice:
“I am a brown and yellow, elegant monarch butterfly. I love flying from flower to flower. I don’t want to stay in one place. I want to travel, see the world”.
As I said “I want to travel, see the world”, tears came to my eyes. Those words touched me deeply. I was not talking as if I was a butterfly anymore. I was talking as myself. I had touched a secret unconscious part of myself that I had refused to see: I had lost my husband to cancer 2 years earlier and I was exhausted. I needed a break from work. I needed to travel, see the world, start a new life… which I ultimately did thanks to this new awareness.
Originally Published on Psychology Today
© Dr. Chris Gilbert, MD, PhD