Decentering means to observe your thoughts as temporary and objective events in the mind rather than reflections of yourself that you believe to be true. In other words, decentering is the process of stepping back and observing your thoughts and experiences.
Decentering is considered crucial in mental health, particularly for those dealing with trauma and anxiety.
In many ways, decentering is the first step required to embark on a healing journey. Learning that you do not have to believe your thoughts helps you move forward with mindfulness practices or cognitive therapy.
Ultimately, decentering allows you to realize that it is not your thoughts that create issues, but how you deal with them. That realization can empower you to begin taking control of your stress and mental health struggles.
Some research indicates that a patient’s ability to decenter predicts their ability to externalize symptoms after cognitive behavioral therapy treatment.
Decentering and Psychedelic Therapy
Studies suggest that combining psychedelic therapy with mindfulness techniques (which begin with decentering) possibly increases the efficacy of such treatments.
Classical psychedelics, such as LSD and psilocybin, are known to disrupt a person’s perception of their identity. This disruption is also known as ego death, and it can help trigger processes that allow a person to change their relationship with themselves and their environment.