Previous Interview with Charles McInteer
by Chinyere Communications
|Charles Michael McInteer, M.D. works full-time at the University of Alabama, Birmingham hospital. He is an active member of both their Psychiatry and Family Practice departments. Dr. McInteer also holds two Ph.D.'s: one in Sociology, the other in Child Psychology. Visualization has been a main interest of his for over three decades. Here, he shares why he has pursued this interest and how we can use visualization to improve our private and professional lives.
CC: Dr. McInteer, would you please begin by providing your definition of visualization?
MM: Visualization is a technique whereby a person mentally takes their body through certain steps in order to practice or prepare for physically following through. For example, a dancer during a physical break, practices through visualization, and a person about to make a speech before an unfamiliar audience, prepares through visualization.
This technique has been used by U.S. Olympic athletes as well as by those of many other countries for years because it has been shown for some time now to substantially enhance performance. It is especially useful during times when the person may not otherwise be able to practice or prepare, for example, during times one is suffering from physical injury or other limitation, e.g. being on a long and cramped plane ride.
CC: How can people use this technique to improve their personal lives?
MM: Well, one way they can use it is to aid in patience. For example, they are under verbal attack by a loved one but instead of reacting without time and thought on their side, they could visualize how they want to proceed all the way through the desired outcome. This brings us to another advantage of visualization: time.
Using our minds we can go through motions much more quickly than if we were limited by the time it would take to engage in the corresponding physical movements. So while it may seem at first that there would not be sufficient time to use this technique in the midst of such a disagreement, the time is there in your mind where you can slow or speed projected activity as necessary.
CC: Is it equally advantageous to visualize a future step in high speed as in actual speed? Would anything be lost in the process?
MM: That depends on several factors. First, visualization is NOT as beneficial as physically going through the motions for practice. However, depending on what is being visualized, it has been shown to be up to 87% as good as physically going through a routine for practice. Ideally, one would have the opportunity to visualize in real time but in a rushed situation, like the disagreement before us, it is better to visualize than to proceed cold.
CC: What are the steps to effective visualization?
MM: It may sound like a paradox, but the first step is practice, of the visualization itself. Second, focus on the subject at hand, not being distracted by external noise, and quieting internal anxiety. Many people are helped by preceding their visualization with a relaxation exercise. Third, be diligent about following ALL of the steps that would have to be taken in actuality. Visualization can be thought of as a basic practice or preparation technique so as the saying goes, "PERFECT practice makes better".
Skipping necessary physical steps while you are visualizing an activity would only make you more likely to make similar mistakes following the improper visualization. Good visualization involves starting over, or at least going back to the point before the mistake, to do the problematic section again until it's perfected in the mind, AND THEN following through with physical practice when appropriate.
CC: Will you show us, step by step, how to prepare for a successful job interview? One of us here at Chinyere Communications could play the role of the person to be interviewed for a new job.
MM: Sure. When should we begin?
CC: How about next week?
MM: That's fine. See you all then.
Until next week, guys & gals.