Course Glossary


A strong perception of being overlooked, not being seen and heard, not being taken into account, not having any impact in your environment, which is experienced as non-existing.

Black Hole

Metaphor for an intolerably terrifying emptiness or invisibility as experienced by a person with Lack of Sense of Self who doesn’t feel like (being considered) a “real” person and which, like a force of nature, sucks in potentially approved behavior and achievements to fill itself, which leads to anxiety to lose the resulting Substitute SoS.

Direct Motivation

Motivation that is ordinary, simple, and based in the present.

Direct Relationship with Self

A way of relating to your own being that includes body awareness, which means that you sense your Self without having to refer to achievements or other people’s opinion about you.

Distorted Mirror

The process by which the primary caregiver is unable to effectively acknowledge their child(ren) as a separate being(s), as the caregiver is too wrapped up in his/her own problems and emotional neediness. The child inevitably and naturally concludes that she IS the way she sees herself reflected by the caregiver, which is, in the light of the child’s mind, an understandable but incorrect conclusion that can have far fetching negative implications.

Early Childhood Survival Strategy (ECSS)

Conclusion to recur to gaining approval, drawn instinctively by infants/toddlers/children when their needs of feeling acknowledged as separate (unique) individuals by their caretakers are not met. This process becomes the foundation for an unhealthy way of experiencing the self.

Ego-References (EgoRef)

Subconsciously accepted requirement to feel and behave in a certain way, and achieve a certain result, in order to feel approved of, as a substitute for a healthy way of experiencing the self.


Indicates an unhealthy relationship between child and primary caretaker. The child’s identity remains under-or undeveloped and his/her motives stay geared towards getting the adult’s approval to the point that they often are merged with the adult’s, which leads to extreme dependence on approval.

Fear of Annihilation

Terror of being unheard by and invisible to others.

”Feel-good-about-self” (Fgas)

An emotional state (or thought) of relative well-being and safety based on the absence of feeling compelled to produce certain results at all cost, gained from succeeding to comply to the wishes of the caregiver, which leads to approval. It serves as a temporary and unhealthy substitute for a sincere sense of being alive (as a “real” person).

Focus Mode

Relaxed movements of the eyes, with the ability to stay fixed in the same place for extended periods of time, and which indicates a grounded mood or person who does not have a Substitute Sense of Self.

Healthy Sense of Self (HySoS)

The ability to experience and be present to your own person and to your own life and recognize both as uniquely owned by YOU. That includes the right to live and be as Your-Self and experience your innermost core as your ultimate home from where you live your life.

Hidden Agenda

A subconscious purpose that drives your actions or behavior, which is not the obvious, ordinary, expected purpose but the demonstration of the ability to perform what has become an Ego-Reference to perfection, as a path to feel safe and on your way to achieving your Hidden Goal.

Hidden Goal

Your subconscious ultimate objective of getting the approval of your caregiver as an unhealthy substitute for feeling valued and related to (acknowledged) as a “real” person.


Any obstacle on your path to gaining a Substitute SoS which frequently leads to anger or rage, which can be a gateway to violence or its counterpart, depression.

Indirect Motivation

The motive for doing or avoiding something is not what it appears to be; instead, the motive is to get to accomplish your Hidden Agenda and ultimately your Hidden Goal, which leads to a temporary emotional state that is the substitute for a lasting sense of being a “real” person.

Indirect Relationship with Self

Sensing yourself as a “self” through  achievements or the responses of others, which gives you a temporary good feeling instead of a healthy abiding sense of being who you are.

Inner Conflict

Two or more competing and incompatible inner mandates to work toward experiencing a Substitute Sense of Self. This leads to high anxiety because the competition causes a no-win outcome.

Internalized Parental Voice (IPV)

The often-repeated verbal and non-verbal messages that parents, knowingly or unknowingly transmit to their children becomes (almost?) hardwired in the child’s mind so that it is perceived as an unquestionable truth (about and) by the child.

Lack of (Natural) Sense of Self

Characteristic of people who never developed a natural, ongoing inner knowing that he or she is truly alive as a “real,” independent human being.

Magic Formula

A way of remembering the gist of the SoS Method:
Move away from the addiction to “Feeling-good-about-yourself.”
First cross out the judgmental word about—don’t be about your self–be yourself!
Next cross out the word good—no need to point that out: “good” is your default state.


The mutually subconscious verbal and non-verbal processes by which the primary caretaker conveys to his or her child basic feedback about whether they are being related to as independently existing individuals or as a means to fulfill the caretaker’s emotional needs or—this message functions as a mirror for the child during infancy and is accepted as the truth of who he or she is. The adequacy/inadequacy of the way this mirror functions is a decisive factor in the child’s development (or lack thereof) of a Sense of Self of their own.


What creates an incentive or urge to do or avoid something. Motivation is the drive that determines behavior.

Motivation Check

A crucial (verbal) tool which serves a) to detect your (Indirect) Motivation which serves to (a) (b) to record your Ego-References and Hidden Agendas, and to get insight what your Hidden Goal is.

Natural Sense of Self (NatSos)

The subconscious sense—developed normally in childhood—of being alive as a “real,” definite person, with the unconditional right to exist as who you are, regardless of what others think, feel, or say about you.

Quality-of-Life level (QoL level)

A healthy level of experiencing life’s events and responding to them with emotional reactions that are in sync with the degree of intensity of the actual effect of these events or behavior of others on your life. It is indicative of a Healthy Sense of Self and distinguished from a (usually unaware) dependency on a Substitute SoS where for the same type of events emotions are experienced that strike down to the level of your sense of existence-as-a-self.

Real Self/Authentic Self

The totality of one’s body, mind, and emotions and what comes with being a person is experienced in the healthiest, most integrated way as an independent and autonomous being; actions and awareness are based on living experience, not contaminated by pathological motives*. See Natural Sense of Self.

*Not so much meant in a spiritual sense but more of a reference to the whole person you really are.

Restored Sense of Self™ RestSoS

The end result of working with the SoS Method, which is being healed from the dependency on a SSoS and which consists of a steady awareness of being one’s very own person, who is free to live life based on one’s own essence, preferences, abilities and limitations. There is an inner knowing of being separate from any parent or caregiver and free from any dependency on achievements or approval. There is an abiding sense of being (unconditionally) alive and “real.”

Scanning Mode

A person’s eyes moving around restlessly searching for opportunities to “score” (see below) which would fill the need for approval and “Feeling-good-about-themselves.”  Scanning mode use of the eyes indicates activity aimed at achieving an unhealthy way to experience one’s self.

To score

Being successful in using a Vehicle to improve on an Ego-Reference; a success that feels like gaining points toward the Hidden Goal*, which results in a “Feel-good-about-self” as a placeholder for the real-self experience.

* The Hidden Goal does not necessarily always have to be parental approval. It also can be the undoing of early childhood’s traumatic experiences, such as being bullied, not accepted by peers etc.

Sense of Self (SoS)

A conscious and/or subconscious awareness of existing independently as a unique and potentially autonomous human being.

Substitute Sense of Self (SSoS)

A psycho-emotional structure that develops as the virtual backbone of the psyche of those children/adults whose caregivers relate to their children as an extension of themselves, and that leads for them to a compulsive drive for achievement-based approval.

Substitute Sense of Self–oriented Goal (SSoS-or. Goal)

A person’s subconscious, ultimate goal of convincing the parent to change his or her negative opinion about “me” into a positive one, which then gives “me” a feeling of being a “real,” normal person.

Substitute Sense of Self–oriented System (SSoS-or.Sys)

The entire subconscious complex of needs, behaviors, motives, habits, beliefs, goals, and fears­ that is geared towards gaining achievement-based approval, which functions as an unhealthy base for a sense of being.


An action, activity or behavior used to display the performance of specific skills or character traits rather than the obvious, ordinary goal. The performance is ultimately aimed at getting approval (Fgas).