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The 5Rs - The Cooper Sax Model of Experiential Processing

All the greatest and most important problems of life are fundamentally insoluble... They can never be solved, but only outgrown. This "outgrowing" proves, on further investigation, to require a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest appeared on the horizon and through this broadening of outlook the insoluble problem lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms but faded when confronted with a new and stronger life urge.

Carl Jung

“The 5Rs” – The Cooper Sax Model of Experiential Processing

Introduction and Context

If you have read any of my other articles, or my book, Sounding the Mind of God, you will no doubt be very familiar with the concepts within this article.  If you have never come across my work before, I am sure you will find a resonance with your own self-development methods as well as common threads with eastern and western philosophy, physics, psychology and, of course, sound within this article.

I have been working within the Complementary Medicine field for over 30 years, but when I first started working with sound some 20 years ago, it was a real wake up call for me.  My experience was that sound was a very powerful and effective medium for enabling us to see ourselves more clearly - more effective, in fact, than any of the other methods I had worked with up till that point.  I have written articles explaining more about why I think this is (see my article on consciousness) so I won’t cover it here. 

The methods we were working with had so much therapeutic potential that students coming on our courses would often experience profound shifts.  In the early years of training, the facilitator held the space and talked about projection and responsibility and hoped that people would find their own path through their process. 

Over the years the “5 R’s” model has emerged and represents 60 year’s (I wish I hadn’t added that up!!) accumulated knowledge of the way we process our experience.  It was developed by myself and Clifford Sax, my senior tutor and esteemed colleague at BAST.   Although this model underpins the BAST Method the principles contained within are universal and not confined to BAST by any means.  As you are reading this article, brushing your teeth, watching the TV and/or sitting in your local cafe these principles are also at work. 

“The 5 Rs” illustrates a process that we cannot separate from – we can only ignore. Whether our denial is conscious or unconscious, anyone wanting to be the best they can be cannot avoid the Pandora ’s Box of the self for too long.  If we truly want to transform we will find it too tempting – too deliciously irresistible not to take a peek inside.  But what happens if we bite into the apple of the self and as a result experience pain and separation?  This model can support, guide and reassure you that your painful experience is a gift of transformation – process it and you can be the very best you can be – you can flourish!

“The 5’Rs” – The Cooper Sax Model of Experiential Processing


Figure 1"The 5 Rs" - The Cooper Sax Model of Experiential Processing

This is not a linear model - each stage is interchangeable.  Exploring each principle in turn enables us to see a broader picture of the way the sound tools we use work within the system and why sound therapy is potentially so powerful.  As I explained in the introduction, this model exists in its own right and is relevant with or without sound.


Any response to our world involves resonance. Resonance can broadly be defined as a relationship (or interaction) between sound and one’s system. It is an interaction which may be evidenced by a thought, feeling or emotion.  Basically, if you are experiencing ‘something’ it is because there is a resonance occurring somewhere.

The word ‘resonance’ is defined as follows:

1.            Richness or significance, especially in evoking an association or strong emotion.

2.            The condition of a body or system when it is subjected to a periodic disturbance of the same frequency as the natural frequency of the body or system. At this frequency the system displays an enhanced oscillation or vibration.

3.            A relationship of mutual understanding or trust and agreement between people.

Oxford English Dictionary, Collins (2013)

Resonance begins at the subtle energetic level and occurs when like meets like. Due to the range of frequencies used in sound therapy we often encounter this form of resonance when a certain frequency from our therapeutic tools excites a similar frequency in the recipient. Resonance may be perceived as ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ in that the association or emotion might have positive or negative associations for them ( I will cover negative associations in the next section).

In the BAST method of sound therapy resonance is an indicator that something is occurring as a result of our interaction with sound.  Referring to the model we can see that resonance signifies that there is a relationship with something and as a result there is the opportunity for us to see ourselves.  Using a ‘sound’ example, one may hear the sound of a Himalayan bowl and experience a simultaneous expansion in the heart, which is interpreted by the recipient as love.  In this example we would say that the Himalayan bowl sound enabled the person to see the love in themselves through their relationship with the sound.  Using a ‘non sound’ example we could use two people meeting and really liking each other.  They ‘click’.  This is because there are aspects of the other that resonate with their own aspects of self. 


Resistance can be seen as a ‘pushing against’, a ‘denial of’, or a ‘holding back from’ the way that energy naturally wants to flow.

Try the exercise below…


•             Think of a time in your life when you felt invincible, all powerful – a highlight.  It may be the first time you fell in love or won an award or even a race at school.

•             Close your eyes and drink this feeling into your being.

•             Don’t attach to the story that goes with it just feel the feelings

•             Take a breath and multiply the feeling by 100 – allow it to fill your whole being.

•             Now cast your mind to something that you have seen on the news lately or read in a paper.  Something that shocked or disturbed you.

•             Close your eyes and notice how this feels in your system.

•             Now take another breath and go back to the first visualisation – allowing the feelings to flood back in to the body.

How did that feel?

It is likely that you have come up with words such as ‘light, bright, expanded, lifted and joyful’ to describe the first visualisation.  This unimpeded and natural flow of energy results in a system that is vital, energetic, and dynamic and is experienced as above.  You may have used words such as ‘dark, contracted, small, painful and sad’ to describe the second vicualisation.  Impeded energy flow – in the form of resistance – saps the energy system through a process known in quantum physics as ‘destructive interference’.  This destructive interference over a period of time may result in ‘dis-ease’.

Resistance signifies separation - it is where the ‘self’ is momentarily separated from the flow of all that is. Referring to the “5 Rs” model we can see that resistance has the potential for release.  In our work at BAST we do not judge resistance as being ‘bad’ or ‘negative’. Instead we welcome it - for it can show us, and the recipient(s), the path toward more functional ways of being and where one needs to place ones focus. 


…everything in your life is a projection from the shadow side of your own mind….Blame and excuses are easy. They let you avoid responsibility. But your life is all about total responsibility.  When you look around, all you notice is seen within your own mind. How it got there is from your own mental filters. To change anything, you must change the inside….When someone upsets you, they pushed a button within you.


Joe Vitale is right, we are the only ones responsible for our process.  No one can make us do feel or think anything.  With this in mind encouraging personal responsibility is key to facilitating profound transformation and ‘wholing’.  When we refer to the “5 Rs” model above we can see that taking responsibility signifies empowerment.  When we take full responsibility for our process we have the potential for profound transformation to take place.  Everything is a projection based on your own internal beliefs.  When we recognise that as a ‘truth’ and stop projecting our feelings onto other people, objects and situations we realise that we are fully in the driving seat of our process.


Reflecting upon our resistance is key to the transformational process – when we observe our process the energy around it has the potential to shift.  As professional sound facilitators we are enabling a process whereby a client is having their personal mirrors polished through their interaction with the sound that they are processing through the “5 Rs”.  At BAST we use a series of questions which guide the therapeutic process and focus the client in as non-directive a way as possible.

Referring to the “5 Rs” model, one can see that reflection signifies self-awareness and offers the potential for learning.  Embracing the reflective process enables one to learn so much about the different layers of an issue that could potentially be life-defeating.


Release, within the therapeutic space, is always an indicator that energy is moving, that resistance is being worked through, and that the sound is enabling a therapeutic process to take place. Release can manifest physically (e.g. the ‘healing crisis’), emotionally (often through tears or laughter), mentally (e.g. new insight or awareness), or spiritually (e.g. surrender and a renewed sense of connection). How the release manifests and on what level (be it physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual) can often help reframe ones experience in a very positive and wholing way.

Referring to the “5 Rs” model above, release signifies liberation – freedom from resistance.  If you have experienced release then this is an indication that there was a resistance on some level.  Release can by-pass the conscious level – we may not know where the release has come from and in many ways it does not matter.  If it is necessary to know where the release was rooted (which will be a resistance) then this can be done through the process of reflection.  Through release we are able to gain clarity into our process.


At the centre of the model is ‘human flourishing’.  Human flourishing is an Aristotelian concept that basically means being the best one can be.  In Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs (1956) it would be ‘self-actualisation’.  By embracing all aspects of the “5 Rs” one has the keys to enlightenment, that is, illuminating all of the resistances that we put in place that consciously or unconsciously keep us from flourishing. 


I hope you have enjoyed exploring this model with me and have found resonances with the “5 Rs”.  As I mentioned in my introduction, it may be that this includes concepts that are familiar to you, possibly delivered in a different way.  I invite you to be a compassionate witness to your process, viewing it through the lens of “The 5 Rs Model of Experiential Processing” and would love to hear how you get on.  Over the next few months I will be running a series of webinars which aim to drill deeper into this model, you are very welcome to join me – please email me at

The British Academy of Sound Therapy is currently enrolling for our courses starting next year.  If you want further information please email us on

To join Lyz Cooper for a free webinar to talk through the “5 Rs” please email us for your personal invitation

Bray, W, J (2011), Quantum Physics, Near Death Experiences, Eternal Consciousness, Religion and the Human Soul, CreateSpace

Oxford English Dictionary (2013), Collins

Vitale, Joe. Life’s Missing Instruction Manual: The Guidebook You Should Have Been Given At Birth, John Wiley & Sons Inc, Hoboken, New Jersey, 2006.

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