The Seven Steps

CFS self-help therapy program according to Prof. Stark® method

People with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are often faced with difficulty when their doctors recognize their condition not as an actual disease. Every day in my practice, I repeatedly hear my patients’ complaints that their symptoms are not taken seriously in their professional environment or among their family and friends. However, there is emerging empirical data and research, resulting in a rethinking of ME/CFS. Accordingly, my patients have positive and encouraging treatment results substantiated by extant literature. I have developed this self-help program, especially for people who have been debilitated or experience difficulties physically attending in-person treatments. Ultimately, this program is about breaking through the feeling of being helplessly exposed to and at the mercy of the disease. Of course, this method is no substitute for medical treatment. Therefore, if you are already undergoing medical treatment, please talk to your doctor about best integrating this self-help program into your treatment plan.

The Seven Steps contains information about mental and cognitive methods and further information you can initiate to influence CFS Symptoms positively.

Read through these steps, perhaps one at a time and at your own pace. After an overall review of each step, you may refer back to one of the steps over the next six months. Please note that you will receive weekly follow-up-focused emails with suggestions on using and operationalizing each therapeutic task.

These weekly correspondence guidance communications are the foundation of the therapy program, as they are designed to guide you step-by-step in the process of being again the captain and creator of your life, as opposed to being a victim helplessly controlled by this chronic illness.

Feel free to share the Seven Steps information with your loved ones and attending physicians and therapists. I have developed my manual with my methodology for psychotherapists, which they can download anytime. I look forward to joining you step by step on this path.

Yours sincerely, 

Prof. Dr. Michael Stark

Chronic stress disrupts recovery and repair functions.

When we are chronically under stress, the recovery and repair curve shifts further into the direction of tension, diminishing the ability to proper recovery. Recovery and repair functions will be chronically insufficient. This undermines the long-term performance and resilience on an immunological level, which, as often observed, can suddenly completely collapse after an infection. I think these infections are the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Performance limit collapses to a low level.

The previous proficiency and performance level drops to 20-40% of the original level of performance. The brain has undoubtedly set the amygdala in alarm mode, which can no longer be raised to the previous level even with the highest motivational effort. In this state, the brain has set the amygdala on alarm mode. Thus, the amygdala blocks any further activity to prevent the complete breakdown of the system.

The vicious cycle of tension and performance pressure

Any attempt to rise above this lowered performance level stimulates and causes a marked rise in the sympathetic nervous system. This significant rise forces the tension further up, affecting the regulatory functions of the autonomic nervous system in return. Our special stress tests and measurements have indicated and documented this effect.

The only way to undermine this vicious circle is to acknowledge and respect the current performance level, to only test and reach the limit, but not beyond.

You do not have to work alone: Seek help.

Remember that of all the work that lies ahead; you are not alone! Ask your God / Creator to give you your guardian angels if you have a religious approach. If not, join in the standard healing energy of all those on this path; this togetherness will give you a feeling of security, making it much easier to motivate yourself repeatedly.

Your body is not the enemy.

Remember, your body is not your enemy but a marvel. It is always trying to help you. Admittedly, sometimes quite drastic and even clumsy, but the amygdala is not intelligent enough and not up to date, which means it can only provide you with its old reaction patterns – fight or flight. This differentiation is of the essence and very important to be fully understood.

Find a new benevolent self-Concept approach.

After decades of experience with ME/CFS patients, only those who developed a new and more benevolent self-image could successfully walk this path of recovery.

“I am no longer the same person, the old person; I had to reinvent myself,” they told me while saying their final goodbyes. For the most part, many never returned to their old jobs. They were able to free themselves from negative generational curses or philosophies which long influenced and shaped their life, like “no pain, no gain,” “You have to make sacrifices to succeed,” “You are not meant to be happy in life.”

They could say, “I can feel and enjoy the sun again, not just see it. “I realized it is not as black or white as choosing between identifying as a sheep or wolf.”
I hope you will always find the inner strength needed; these guidelines and pictures will help you stay on this path.

Yours sincerely,
Prof. Dr. Michael Stark

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