The Associated or Dissociated filter is relevant for understanding our responses to emotional stimuli. Like the In Time or Through Time filter, this one is digital – we can either be Associated or Dissociated but there is no continuum.
Being Associated means experiencing what is going on around us, and within us, in real time. Someone who is in a Dissociated mode will be more like an observer, looking in on the world and their place in it. Both of these states of mind have advantages – in an Associated state we can fully enjoy all the pleasures of life and the Dissociated state will allow us to distance ourselves from the pain and stress of a difficult situation.
It is a sad fact that we sometimes manage to reverse this: by disassociating from pleasurable experiences but associating fully into bad ones.
We have discussed the benefits of Outcome Thinking elsewhere in this book. Although the tool works best when the evidence of achievement of the goal and the pathway to it is elicited in an Associated mode, it is important to recognise that for any future Desired State to be truly compelling, it needs to be put back into a Dissociated (future) position. If not, there is a high risk that the psychological and emotional rewards for its achievement will already be felt and this means that the motivation to do what’s necessary will not be there.