To review the THRU IT Sexual Content Response Plan see: Sexual Content Response Plan: Do You Have One?
Here are the steps:
- Tag it: Call it what it is.
- Halt the behavior: Turn it off. Turn away.
- Responsible for the thought: Watch the thought pass on by.
- YoU have a divine nature and destiny: Repeat affirmations.
- Inhale: Take three deep breaths.
- Talk: Talk with God.
HALT THE BEHAVIOR-TURN IT OFF, TURN AWAY
Halt the behavior that is giving access to the sexual message.
Not all, but most sexual messages are delivered by a device or triggered by some external cue.
- Examples of devices include: cell phone, TV, Ipod, computer, etc etc.
- Examples of cues include: bill boards, another person’s dress (or lack of dress), another person’s comments, another person’s touch, etc etc.
How long do you HALT a behavior?
Some behavior needs to be HALTED for a long long time. For example, you may HALT engaging: a website, a friend, an activity, a location, a TV show, a video game, etc etc, Other behavior can be HALTED just for a few minutes. For example, a cell phone, an ipad, etc etc may require only a reboot.
WHAT ABOUT PERSONAL THOUGHTS?
At times the distressing sexual message is “a personal thought” whether generated in your own mind or a residue of the sexual message caused by the messaged delivered by a device or external cue.
Stopping BEHAVIOR that gives access
to sexual messages DOES WORK
It’s critical to stop the device or access to the cue in order to protect yourself from absorbing more of the disturbing sexual message and the “Feeling Brain” from being further stimulated. Simply stated for devices – “turn it off” for cues – “turn away.” Once you have tagged an inappropriate sexual message you want to prevent your “Feeling Brain’s” continued access. HALT the behavior!
Stopping THOUGHTS DOES NOT WORK
Research has shown that “Thought Stopping” does not work! Thought-rebounding occurs because you cannot eliminate thoughts that are in your mind-you cannot erase your memory. By actively engaging in trying to stop a thought you must pay attention to the thought-you must actually look for the thought that you are trying to avoid! And, to make things even worse, you are saying to yourself that this thought that you are trying to halt may actually be a dangerous thought. Therefore, when you have the thought again, you really pay attention to it. Attempting to halt a thought, strengthens the thought.
MINDFULNESS AND THOUGHTS
In short, the THRU IT method does NOT encourage HALTING / STOPPING a thought! In fact, in order to get THRU IT – a sexual message – we encourage you to become aware of the thought and act responsibly. THRU IT encourages you to accept the distressing thought and allow it to move along its path until it passes on by. This is much more effective than trying fight a thought. THRU IT uses a combination of mindfulness and guided imagery to guide the thought to pass on by. We will teach you how to take responsiblity for your thought, accept it as such – just a thought, step back, and guide it to pass on by. For now, just remember STOP THE BEHAVIOR giving access to the sexual message. DO NOT STOP THE UPSETTING THOUGHT OR FEELING. We’ll deal with it on the next THRU IT step.
WHY HALT THE BEHAVIOR THAT IS GIVING ACCESS TO THE SEXUAL MESSAGE
HALT IT – by doing something physical immediately! When you do something physical like turn off the device, close your eyes; walk out; etc etc you can more easily interrupt the upsetting sexual message.
There are several reasons to HALT THE BEHAVIOR giving access to the sexual message. Here are a couple.
“Damage Control” is the action taken to limit the damaging effects of continued exposure to inappropriate sexual messaging. For example, research has suggested ongoing exposure to pornography damages physical and spiritual aspects of one’s life. Pornography changes the brain chemistry. The longer a person views pornography the more their brain changes.
Cut Off the Flow of Trash … First we must stop the flow into our minds of these unhealthy and unwholesome streams of experiences and thoughts… (Purify Your Thoughts, H. Burke Peterson, BYU Speeches Oct 1983)
Once you’ve tagged a disturbing sexual message. Halt your brain’s access to that sexual message! Sooner the better.
Get away from it. Turn it off. Put it down. Treat it like it’s poison for your brain—because that’s what it is. (Oh No! Now What? Ensign Oct 2015)
The sooner you avoid temptation the easier it is to resist temptation. Finally,
You do not have to yield to temptation! Discipline what you allow your eyes to see, your ears to hear, your mouth to speak, and your hands to touch. (Rulon Craven, Temptation Apr 1996)
STRENGTHENS THE LINK
When you consciously do something physical after tagging a sexual message, you strengthen the link from your “FEELING BRAIN ” to your “THINKING BRAIN.” That’s right, the link from the “Feeling Brain to the Thinking Brain” established when you TAGGED will be strengthened. The THRU IT goal is to move completely to the “THINKING BRAIN.”
Enter not into the path of the wicked. . . . Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. Proverbs 4:14–15
- Watch this video with your children “What Should I Do If I See Pornography“. It reminds us about the two brains – “Feeling Brain” and “Thinking Brain.” It also emphasizes the “Tag it” and “Halt it” steps.
- Continue playing “Tag it.” Set aside times and places to play Tag it with your family- include prizes!
- Begin “Halting the behavior.” After you’ve tagged inappropriate sexual content, immediately follow it by Turning it Off, Turning Away, or some other behavior halting your access to the disturbing sexual message. (Remember do not HALT the thought or feeling). Make a family HALTING game. For example, give a prize to the family member, who can be the fastest to turn the radio or TV off once a message has been tagged.
- Remember, if a personal thought, skip Halting. If the Tagged message is a personal thought with no triggering device or cue, just move on to the next THRU IT step “Responsible for the thought.”
It is important to understand that sexual sin isn’t the use of something inherently bad but the misuse of something inherently good and beautiful. (Avoid it!, Lynn G. Robbins. BYU Speeches Sept 2013)
For Younger children see “THT” 1)TAG IT; 2) HALT THE BEHAVIOR and 3) TALK method. Some children are not ready for THRU IT. I’ll review THT in the next blog.
WARNING: Once you challenge your children with the HALT step, watching TV or a movie together as a family will NEVER be the same again! YOU BETTER BE READY FOR THIS STAGE! As you encourage your children in Tagging and Halting during your favorite TV shows or while at the movies they will – turn it off, walk out, turn away etc etc. (Especially if there is a prize for the fastest HALT!) THRU IT changes family behavior! Some of which you will probably not appreciate. It can be very inconvenient and for some embarrassing to have another family member turn cable off during the football gave because of a Victoria Secret commercial. The younger the child, the more likely this will happen. (Please send your hate mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org)