School of System Socionics

“Practice is the proof of the truth”

Techniques for dealing with one-dimensional functions

Special thanks to Aleesha Lowry for proofreading of the article.
Faced with reaction of our one-dimensional functions, we usually want to get rid of this existential "inconvenience." Clearly, people would like to be fully developed persons, have no weaknesses, and so on.

What I do not recommend doing [in order to become a fully developed person] - is the so-called "overexercise" of the one-dimensional functions, intensively pumping them up with experience, overloading them with work or subjecting them to all sorts of training. A normal course of life provides the best training. It supplies information to the one-dimensional functions in volumes which makes it hard to cope with. Subjecting energy-consuming functions to extreme loads can result in the overloading of the psyche, accumulation of fatigue and potentially lead to disease. Sure, the experience of the function grows under the load, but the function itself does not become "stronger" in the sense that it does not begin to process information in the way a high dimensional function would do.

In the same way I consider useless the usual techniques: plan your day, take a break, divide a big project into smaller pieces, plan your route beforehand etc. A person with the one-dimensional T-function in the course of his life elaborates individual equivalents of these approaches. The one-dimensional function, however, never ceases to react painfully. These approaches may help to adapt [to the world], but not get rid of the pain.

The essence of the problem of one-dimensional functions is often missunderstood, although the symptoms of the problem are apparent - the person has anxiety (as for the above example) about time. And one would offer him advices intended to help him cope with time-related activities, that is, how to be on time, not be late, how fit ones activity to a time schedule. Mind, that this advice is aimed at solving the problem with efficiency of handling ones time. However, the LSE type ("Stirlitz" [who has the one dimensional T-function #4]), already copes with these tasks pretty well. As he constantly monitors his schedules, he is seldom late for appointments, he plans his actions in advance, makes provisions etc. Is his efficiency with time-related activities the point where the problem lies? No. The problem lies elsewhere, in the fact that all of these techniques, which deal with "propping" and "safety netting" the efficiency of person's function 4 are accompanied by a painful psychological reaction - by a fear or a neurotic condition. That highlights the main problem - how to take the stress off the function? It turns out that although a person has carefully "safety netted" himself in all that concerns his pain function, he does not feel any relief. Although he could be taking most relevant actions, whether being advised by socionics or not, he is still "harrassed" by the T element. The very action of "safety netting" is neurotic in itself! Every time when he arrives to an appointment well in advance the stress and anxiety is there. Planning and scheduling does not free the inner tension, every pause or delay increases the fear more and more because it cannot be silenced by actions, free time slots between the actions will be used for planning of next actions. It must be understood that the anxiety caused by the T element is present in the background of any activity, it is just [always] there. Of course, if everything is "thought of" and controlled, there is less tension (but the tension is still present), and if, by accident, arrises some sudden external factor, a factor which the LSE has not been able to foresee (again, because of the one-dimensionality of his T function), this tension increases manifold and provokes emotional boiling, which may result in an eruption. And the fact that it is impossible to foresee all that unexpectedness, is in itself another stressing factor for the psyche.

Thus, what is the use of the advice to "work up" ones one-dimensional function harder? Definitely it is useless. Although an average person uses all possible "safety nets" he could think of, some unpredictability drives him outside the safety net borders.

In fact, the one-dimensional function needs other kinds of help - there is a need to take the inner tension off the one dimensional function. That is a worthy topic for a meticulous research. And when you begin to study this issue seriously, trying different techniques, it turns out that obtaining a poised sate of a one dimensional function is far from being an easy task. And this makes sense. We are dealing with our control system. A person can not tamper that system easily, otherwise it would be a bad control system. While we are controlled by the buttons "pain" and "pleasure", is it possible to disable the action of these buttons? I always say to those who consider it possible to try to change their [emotional] reactions: try to stop psychological pain or craving at your will. At the moment when your one dimensional function is affected, and you are overwhelmed by rage or you are helplessly weeping, or you are suffocated by resentment or shame wishing you'd disappear on the spot, can you simply say: "all right, I don't feel this pain any more". Do you think it will help?

I'm not saying that we should not use all the "props" and "safety nets", I’m saying that the issue must be addressed on a fundamentally different level, bearing in mind that we are dealing with a control mechanism built in to our psyche.

Technique of immersion in our fear (abscess opening)

The article "On introspection," has mentioned the need to grow up your "inner observer", which can monitor your state of mind, your thoughts and be aware of all that.

For example: "I feel some uneasiness in my heart. Where did that anxiety come from ? When? - I am trying to remember. - Got it! When I finished reading that e-mail. What about it offended me? It reminded me of a situation where I was hurt by someone’s words. Why did I feel hurt? I was hurt by the fact that someone thought badly of me. And what was that bad thing they were thinking about me? They thought that I'm so and so (we call this quality by its name). This is what offended me the most. Which function gets it? Sure, my suggestive (pain) function. Could I accept myself, if what they think of me was true? No, I do not want them to think of me badly! Will the reaction of my one-dimensional function change because I worry? No, they won't. Why do I have to suffer because I have such-and-such one-dimensional function? Did I make myself this way? " and we continue this reasoning until the pain abscess opens and the energy is dissolved.

This is one of the techniques of immersion in your pain or fear. It should not be difficult to speak out your mind to yourself. The main emphasis is to be aware of your inner state of mind and try to find the words which would help break the association with painful emotions. Emotion is only an energy that has "overwhelmed" us at the certain point. You cannot always obtain the [positive] result immediately. Sometimes you need many tries of such immersion, but everyone can learn to do it.

There are important points to remember when dealing with the pain of one-dimensional functions:

· You have to tune in to the serious study of your inner state. You have to understand that you are working with [over] yourself.

· If you think you have a problem coming from the function 3 (or another multidimensional function), always look for a connection with a one-dimensional function. We need to find the true sore point although we might encounter a lot of mental resistance. Keep in mind, the problem sits only in you, but not in the outside world. Dismiss all the ideas that "it is their fault, they are bad and they act badly", otherwise there will be no result.

· Try to feel and track the location in the body where the negative energy is sitting. If you find it, concentrate your mental focus on it.

· Mentally immerse in the painful situation, examine it from all sides: what this [painful] state gives to you, does this condition remedy the situation that inflicts this mental pain on you (at this point it is important not to escape into blaming external causes), can you change yourself, if it makes part of your model of the psyche, which is intrinsic and natural etc. That is, turn the situation as you would a Rubik's cube, and try to immerse to the maximum into the state of psychological discomfort. Thoughts will seek escape, because immersion is painful. This is fine if you noticed such escaping, then simply go back. If in the process of such examination you managed to separate the emotion from yourself, or in other words, understand that it was not you, but a part of some reactional program, than you have achieved what you need. All the time keep track of your mental states in this process. When you notice that your reactions look like a sigh of relief (tears, laughter), some other changes, then you are on the right track. Be aware of the bodily sensations.

· Release could come as a deep sigh and letting go of unnesessary energy (if you managed to separate from it), either in the form of resignation, accepting of such a quality (if the separation did not occur, this is possible for a one-dimensional function). But in any case, there must be some relief.

· Check. Mentally return to the formerly painful area. The problem, which was provoking the negative condition - recalling of that problem should not provoke it any more. If you have not achieve that, then you did not come down to the root. [1]

· Try not to put aside dealing with the painful emotions for too long. Over time, the brightness of the short term memory fades, carrying away details, words that have been said, leaving only a vague memory that something unpleasant and heavy happened, something very unpleasant to recall. Begins the process of cutting off and hiding the sore point away. It is best to examine the energy right in the middle of a painful situation. If you didn't manage that, then shortly afterwards, while the emotions are still vivid, you can write down your thoughts, going through possible causes, watching your condition and estimating the intensity of your emotional response. From introspection experince of an expert:

"Interestingly, the first thing to come to mind almost always are the versions coming from multidimensional or normative functions, while the true cause [of pain] is not visible, not realized. Therefore, we must try not to dwell on the first available version, but look for other versions, examine all unpleasant things. If you find the sore point - you know it at once: the intensity of negative emotions instantly hits the ceiling, you can literally shake with anger, resentment, indignation, hate. By the way, sometimes, when approaching the true cause [of pain], the thought would spring up that "no, no, no, this definitely has nothing to do with it". And eventually it turns out that it "had a lot to do with it". I already know that I get hurt mostly about F, so if I remember the socionics it makes easier to find the right "trigger".

I mean, if you have some personal experience of introspection, you suddenly realize, how much suppression, substitution and falsification is going on in the psyche, so that even immediately after the situation has happened it is not always possible to understand the ways of masking the truth. And remembering it later makes the matter much more difficult, because the memories can be too much distorted. In addition, when the heated emotions have settled, the situation appears in a quite different light. When later you are reading your notes you might wonder what made you think so and ignore the obvious. You can not live though that state again. Sometimes you can not even remember what you were thinking at that moment, as if it was another person who was writing."

Technique of mental comparison to a multi-dimensional function

The technique I am going to describe below is born as a result of attempts to stop the pain of a one-dimensional function. This is what really worked. It has to be applied at the moment, when you find yourself in a painful state of one-dimensional reaction, when you realize that you can not see the situation in other way than you did during your previous experiences, but those experiences were unpleasant and you want to come off the beaten track now, but not quite sure how to do that. When you realize that the [painful] reaction - is the concequence of one-dimensionality of your certain function, which is not able to perceive the situation in a more open manner and any multidimensional function would work differenly in the same place.

At this point I perform a mental projection [of the situation] to my multi-dimensional function, and try to imagine how this function would have "thought" and reacted. I try to abstract away from the infornation element and think about how I would have behaved and how I would have felt if I had a problem related to my first function. I recall any experience of a problem I already have had, remember how I was looking for solutions - it usually looks like browsing and picking among different photo frames: you can do it like this or like that, or so. I make a mental snapshot of this way of thinking, this approach and mental state of seraching for various options, evoke the control emotion (CE), which is accompanying this search and then make an imaginary transfer of the emotion to the problematic situation I have with the one-dimensional function. And then I begin to look for the "frames-options" which I could browse further. Next usually follows the mental resistance: I cannot see any frames. Despair. Again I shift focus to the first function: there are rich options, it means that there must be options for any other function too. Other people have their options there, so I must have some too. I make a mental effort, convincing myself that the option must exist. I try to grasp the feeling how should a function work in order to find an option: I try to feel the function's confidence and optimal degree of effort (not too much, but not too relaxed), of its focus on the problem, of its concentration, absence of ideas about the impossibility of finding the solution - the whole complex of sensations which I try to reproduce with regard to the low-dimensional function. The difference of mental frame becomes immediately apparent: solving the problem using a multidimensional function, I am concentrated, and at the same time calm and confident; Looking for a solution using a one-dimensional function, I get nervous, I am thinking in a frantic manner, there is a feeling of some obstacle. Again I "jump" to the working mode of the multi-dimensional function, and back again to the one-dimensional one. Sometimes a new option starts to shimmer distantly, but the mind quickly gives up: no, I can't do it. At this point one should be able to notice it and to "break the ban," admit the possibility of a new option.

Often you keep in mind only negative options, and they are constantly spinning like a squirrel in the cage. And you desperately want to stop this spinning and see another option. Another option is easy to predict - it is the opposite of what you have. Even if you admit it, the pain makes your being resist and say that it is not true, it is a self-deception, etc. This resistance comes from the low-dimensional function, and the certainty that there is another possibility is inspired by the example of operation of the multi-dimensional function. It can be compared to a scales: the crusial this is which cup will get the upper hand? And if at this point you have the bright idea that the option of the one-demendional function means continuation of the pain, and the alternative option means its possible cessation, you can tip the scale balance to one side. This permission, which you grant to yourself - permission to allow the new possibility can be productive. The one-dimensional function yilds its grounds the click happens, and suddenly you get the new experience, the new option. All this takes fractions of a second to happen.

This technique is different from so called RIEC (responce of infrormation element change). In case of RIEC, we solve the problem by the means of the multidimensional function, but this does not relieve the emotional tension. To the contrary, the objecive of the described technique is to use the opposite charge (the opposite control emotion) for emotional discharge, i.e. the main goal is to release the energy of the one-dimesional function. The main indicator that you have succeded is when the pain is going away, resentment dissolves, you are able to remember the situation without feeling the pain i.e. you are coming back to your normal self.

The "chair" technique [2]

Our one-dimensional function opposes to accepting the very possibility of the outcome, which is perceived as unacceptable. And as long as we don't even consider another possibility, we don't try it.

Here is an example of applying a technique, which is based on allowing ourselves to see other possibilities.

"I use a similar method, and I call it a 'chair' technique. "

 I noticed that for my F function I can have inadequate responses in absolutely innocuous situations. I begin to feel lingering and indecisiveness. For example, I can hesitate about the amount of the tip I am about to give to the waiter, or whether it is appropriate to pay for someone in the cafe, or to yield my place to someone in the subway, etc. It seems obvious that one should be using his common sense, however something cripples you and your are affraid to look awkward. You feel like you should know the rule of conduct, but you are unable to follow it, not sure whether it would be relevant to this particular case. In one word, there is uncertainty about how to act and there is fear to make it the wrong way. Hesitation starts, which is hard to get rid of. You start to get nervous, you can not take a decision. At this very point you have to remember the "spell": "What's the difference, how to act? It makes no difference whether to move your chair 5 cm to the left or to the right. You can do it either way it is not as important as you think." You can repeat a few times to yourself. The aim is to feel that the situation can be looked upon as such where no only single one solution possible, where you can act this or a that way, some option is a little better, some is a little worse, but by and large both are acceptable . If you manage to adopt this frame of mind, your fears go away, and it allows you to quickly weigh up the best of the options. Actually you realise that the glitch was caused by low-dimensionality and a very narrow field of vision of the situation, then you remember how it tastes when a similar situation is dealt with by your multidimensional function and you recall that feeling with no inner tension present and you are able to see many options for your actions and stop looking for the only right one. It helps". (Author - LII).

Technique of "resignation"

This technique consists in stopping any thinking about what is happening to you. It boils down to simple constatation of what is happening to you now. That's all. Like a simple non-judgmental fact. You renounce resistance to what is happening, and what remains is just unbiased observation of yourself.

From introspection of a LII (functions E and R): 

"Now I have more or less trained myself to step back from the situation and observe it impartially, not thinking about how to get rid of something, not escaping, just being aware as fully as I can of all my feelings and thoughts. I told myself that it is necessary to appreciate these moments, because it is probably the best time for introspection and the chance to change something in the usual reactive patterns.

Once there was a situation where my thoughts were moving in circle, I could not stop thinking about one person (I guess it is my F to blame) So, one certain thought (quite agreeable, by the way) is spinning again and again hundreds of times and I can not think of anything else. Sheer loss of cotroll, as if you find yourself at the mercy of your own thoughts and can not break free. And then I managed to do this trick, out of despair. I decided that if I cannot help it, the only option is to "relax and have fun." In short, I resigned and started watching, at least, I thought, for the benefit of introspection. Later, when I come back to my normal self, I thought, it can be analyzed. Well, I am watching impartially my emotions, nothing changes for some time, the same thoughts are moving round in circle. And then suddenly - Click! And there comes another thought which brought relief, the "solution", if I may say so. The tension eased, leaving only severe fatigue, a feeling of complete exhaustion.

Since then, I began to use this method consistently. If possible, not to run away from the situation, but rather live through it fully, feelling and observing it. The most interesting thing is that at the beginning I was thinking that I am observing what is happening in order to draw conclusions afterwards, in order to avoid falling into similar dependencies. But in the end it turned out that such impartial introspection itself often relieves from the painful situation and helps to find some kind of answer inside youself. As if you step back a little from the situation, dissosiate or something, and then suddenly there comes the ability to think [clearly] ...

And yet speaking about the dropping down into such psychological pitfalls, into the state of "being carried away" by a one-dimensional function. It is surprising how trifling could be the pretext to knock you out of your composure. Later looking at what has stung you, you think: "And this little nothing has knocked me off for three days?". Sometimes you get a strong feeling that this pain has accumulated somewhere inside and is just looking for the slightest excuse to break out. And, actually, if you can live though a situation without resistance - it seems to me - this frees you up a bit. Otherwise, the painful feeling continues to accumulate . So for me it is the most effective technique so far. But other techniques are very interesting as well"

Stop and be attentive

Practice slowing down your reactions and being attentive towards an ongoing painful process.

From introspection of a EII (F function):

"An observation regarding the one-dimensional functions.

Recently I has been piqued about my F function, someone has only expressed his opinion and I was literally "knocked out", felt sick and the darkness sprung up in front of my eyes. I usually panic in such situations, the thoughts begin to spin very fast, and I can not think clearly, with only one thought stuck in my mind - that I am sick of it, and I do not want to hear anything on this subject and I just can not bear it. I have the desire to run away from it, to erase it as though I had never heard it.

And when this wave covers you, you are tormented by this until it leaves. You are unable to see things adequately at this moment (and not only things related to this subject, but any other), in general, as if you were in a daze. Then gradually it lets go, and you can be surprised by your reaction, but somewhere inside remains some kind of trail that hurts if touched.

And this time, it turned out differently. I literally forced myself to listen to this information, not turn away, even though the panic began, and I wanted to run away and cry. I asked the person to repeat it several times, and then silently repeated his words, not letting myself to distract from the words, without succumbing to the urge to run away and without yielding to the panic. I simply kept repeating the words being aware of the pain they cause, aware of how they fill me with loathing, but trying to focus just on the words. And after these repetitions I felt relief coming to me and felt my senses coming back. Gradually I was able not only to repeat the words but to think about them without the urge to withdraw and never hear about it. I was repeating the words until I could speak them out aloud and nothing inside me shuddered. As the result I finished with it faster than when I was escaping.”

 From introspection of a LSE (T function):

"I began to catch myself on trying to carry out some small tasks in a hurry. For example, while waiting my husband to come home from his work I have to cook dinner. And of course, I feel obliged to finish my cooking exactly by the moment when he arrives, so everything is hot and fresh. It was straining. And then suddenly I allowed myself an idea that nothing terrible will happen if he waits for his dinner 15-20 minutes. I made that resolution to myself. And moreover, I began to deliberately slow down my movements not allowing myself to haste. Over time, I began to see a clear difference in how I feel and notice the discomfort from urges to hurry up. At such moments I would stop myself. Then I began to catch myself accelerating my steps when going somewhere. And again I slowed down. First it felt unusual but later I got comfortable with it too. And such little things changed my reality somehow. And one day happened something really unexpected - I was definitely late and didn't begin to hurry. But the most remarkable thing of all was that I felt absolutely calm about it. What a delight to live like that! Quite unusual and pleasant feeling!" 

In each of the described above personal experiences of dealing with a one-dimensional function, the following key elements are present:

· Paying attention to the unpleasant state.

· Stopping the [mental] resistance.

· Allowing oneself to see another, often the opposite possibility.

· Slowing down, stopping hasty reactions (for any one-dimensional function).

· Disidentification with the control emotion (CE).

However we cannot get rid of the CE completely. Still it is possible to get rid of the secondary CE, as well as accumulation of the fear and "emotions about emotions".


[1] I describe here a technique called Sedona method, which I consider very effective.

[2] This is the Author's term and has nothing to do with consonant psychotherapeutic techniques