What’s Multifocal Intelligence?

November 7, 2019
The multifocal intelligence theory considers how thoughts are constructed, looking at different processes that take place in the mind. Its aim, fundamentally, is for us to learn to manage our thoughts and make them constructive.

Multifocal intelligence is a theory created by psychiatrist and psychotherapist Augusto Cury. It analyzes how we build thoughts and the effect this has on our emotional well-being. It’s an existential approach, and its goal is mainly to learn how to manage your mind constructively.

Your way of thinking, including the way you process the information you have access to, has a decisive influence on how you position yourself in the world. This is what decides how your attitudes and behavior develop.

Thus, if you use multifocal intelligence properly, you’ll manage to correctly manage your thought production. As a result, you’ll have more constructive attitudes and behaviors, focused on the most positive goals for yourself.

A pensive woman.

Multifocal intelligence

Multifocal intelligence is defined as the result of the interaction between the psychodynamic structures that exist in your mind. In simpler terms, your brain carries out many processes. The way they relate to each other gives rise to what we call multifocal intelligence.

Four processes take place in multifocal intelligence:

  • Thought construction.
  • Transformation of psychic energy.
  • Self-training.
  • Organization of memory, based on conscious and unconscious history.

Our very being is the entity that directs and manages all these processes. In other words, all of them can be directed consciously. The theory puts forward that we achieve this when we’re able to exercise a critical analysis. This allows you to see the facts from different angles and points of view. It also allows you to assign a meaning to everything negative that happens to you.

The basics of the theory

The theory of multifocal intelligence is based on philosophy and existential psychology, as well as archetypal psychoanalysis. It’s a perspective that seeks to make you think logically. By doing this, you can analyze how some thoughts are derived from others, as if in a chain reaction.

The positive aspect of this process is that you can intercept one of the “links” of the chain and stop it in its tracks, thus preventing the other potential negative thoughts from influencing you.

What this theory sets out to do is question, challenge, and analyze all the disturbing thoughts that come into our mind. These would be the result of your emotional history, both on the conscious and unconscious side. According to this theory, distressing thoughts and anticipatory sufferings only need five seconds to leave some sort of negative mark on our brain.

Opening up a window

We keep these records in the cerebral cortex and this opens a type of “window” with a destructive purpose. Here’s an example. Let’s imagine that you need to give a presentation in public and you think that it’s all going to go wrong. As a result, within just five seconds, this “window” will open up and we’ll begin to anticipate a whole series of negative situations, which, in turn, will create all sorts of destructive emotions.

If you oppose this scenario with rational thinking, then this theory states that you’ll be able to prevent the “window” from opening. It also states that, with time and practice, you’ll achieve enough skills to be able to prevent negative thinking from appearing in the first place. That’s precisely the point of multifocal intelligence.

A mind with some cogs.

The training of multifocal intelligence

Augusto Cury has proposed different activities with the aim of training multifocal intelligence. All of these have to do with pausing and becoming aware of the thoughts that motivate your actions. This is what is called “thought management”. The recommended actions are:

  • Relaxation for short periods. You need to take a few minutes to relax your mind, several times throughout the day. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply and think about the meaning and logic of what you’re doing or going to do.
  • Emphasize positive stimuli. This means training your attention so that you focus mainly on the positive things you receive every day.
  • Constructive and creative activities. Reading, writing, doing art in any of its forms, or performing noble activities, such as growing a plant or caring for the environment. All of these help your mind to become more flexible and constructive.
  • Rest properly. You should never cut down on your sleeping hours, under any circumstances. It’s also very important to distinguish between work time and rest time. The latter is sacred.

Controlling your thoughts

  • Control your anticipatory thinking. Be wary of ideas that anticipate imaginary things that you think could happen in the future. The only thing you should be concerned about regarding your future is setting goals or projects for yourself and not imagining possible future scenarios. When your imagination starts to run riot, then you should call time on it.
  • Be aware of the quality of your thoughts. Be attentive to disturbing thoughts that try to invade your mind and then analyze them critically.

All of this is a way of training our thoughts and, at the same time, of transforming destructive emotions. Over time, according to this theory, all of this should lead to a more intelligent, calm, peaceful, and constructive life.

Suárez, C. S., & Barrios, L. (2012). El cerebro triuno y la inteligencia ética: matriz fundamental de la inteligencia multifocal. Praxis, 8(1), 147-165.