Created  Dec. 27, 2011                   Updated     Aug. 27, 2012    (Mon.)

On Hypnosis -- Dr. Arthur Janov Ph.D.

and essential commentary by me, of course!


Sub-headings:
The Premise
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12
Part 13
Part 14
Part 15
Part 16
Part 17
Part 18
Part 19
Part 20
Part 21
Part 22
Part 23
Part 24
Part 25
Part 26
My Last Words
New Warning! Aug 27-012

Related Articles


The Premise
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In 2011, Dr. Arthur Janov Ph.D. published, in a 26 part series on his blog, from June to October, on Hypnosis. It is the most outstanding analysis on hypnosis I have ever come across and yet in many ways, a failure, too. Its implications are many, affecting not only Primal Therapy and Theory, but Psychology as well, and even suggests how vulnerable the world, in general, might be to hypnosis, suggestion, programming, and conditioning. It also seems to further refine and define what hypnosis really is and is not. To me, it suggests the need for a greater alertness, awareness, consciousness. This article should be useful and very valuable to Christians as well. For we know quite well about people being asleep and this series certainly suggests a state of near hypnosis for most of the population of the world. This subject is more important that ever.

I have retained the links that go directly to the original 26 posts on Arthur's blog. I have brought all the posts together as one work to be considered. I present it here in hopes more will read it and make it easier to view all the posts together, without jumping all around on his blog. It is a work that deserves special singular attention. But you may want to consider viewing the links to read the posts from viewers of the individual blogs as well. Not to mention, you might do well to read other posts of Arthur's while you are there. Primal Therapy is a subject that I believe is very relevant to Bible discussions and understanding.

I bold face the most important lives in Art's writing and address those primarily in my own brown/red latter words. So you can save much time and reading if you like though I really would recommend reading it all. Read it the short way first, and then you can do more if you like. The short style is better than no style, right? 

The world as a whole is not in a high state of alertness. Most allow themselves to be led around by those around them. This is well understood and taken full advantage of. It is an important aspect to be fully aware of. Independence and independent thinking are the polar opposite of the state of hypnosis.

It should be noted that Arthur speaks from the point of Primal Theory & Therapy as being the correct basis, which I agree with, with some disagreements reserved. I add my own commentary in brown red text where I feel implications should be noted. I ask and assume fair use permission of this series to make commentary on it. It would not seem appropriate to not display the original work so that it may fully be able to defend itself, while adding my comment to it.

All rights and copyrights reserved by/for Dr. Arthur Janov Ph.D. on his 26 part series.



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On Hypnosis (Part 1/26)     Monday, June 20, 2011
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Hypnosis currently enjoys widespread acceptance among the public and the scientific community. Hypnotherapy is generally believed to provide significant relief of both physical and psychological symptoms, and its use is on the rise. Of 1,000 psychotherapists surveyed in 1994, 97 percent considered hypnosis a worthwhile therapeutic tool.[1]

There is no question that hypnosis can be useful, particularly in the area of pain control. It is also widely used in treating the symptoms of neurosis including anxiety disorders, insomnia, and addictions, but with little permanent success. This might be explained because the state of hypnosis is similar to an extended but temporary case of neurosis. What I shall try to demonstrate in the following pages is that most of us who are neurotic are simply in a long-term hypnotic trance.

A permanent state of post-hypnotic suggestion can begin early in our lives when authority figures (parents) "suggest" certain behaviors based on the possibility or withdrawal of love. The suggestion is usually not consciously undertaken by the parent; it is simply the parent's unconscious needs translated into expectations and imposed on the child. The child, unaware of what’s happening, slips into the behavior without a scintilla of reflection. Part of him then is asleep or unconscious without his being aware of it.

In fact, you can use the concentrated and condensed neurotic state known as hypnosis to demonstrate the process of neurosis – that is, how neurosis comes into being. Hypnosis does not eliminate the sources of neurosis, nor does it integrate consciousness. Rather, it disintegrates consciousness, thereby achieving dissociation, in which two or three levels of consciousness act independently of one another. Hypnosis demonstrates the interactions of different levels of consciousness in both initiating and maintaining neurosis. Hypnosis and neurosis in fact utilize the same neuro-physiological mechanisms. Hypnotic suggestibility is itself contingent upon a pre-existent neurotic state. So when psychotherapies use some form of hypnosis, they misapply the principles of consciousness and, as a result, actually reinforce the neurosis.

>> I want to inject at this point. I want to rephrase some things, too. Art is suggesting that hypnosis is quite natural and common. I would agree. Art points out that a child will take on ideas or react to parental behavior, without being aware of it. I say this happens to most people throughout their lifetimes. I think Art suggests this later on, too. But hypnosis, which Art says demonstrates the process of neurosis as Art defines it, might also suggest that we have more access to primal pain than is recognized by Art. We will keep this in mind as we go on. It is too early to say too much yet.<<

The use of hypnosis dates back to man's earliest history. Until recently, it has been shrouded in mystery, magic, and the supernatural, associated with everything from Druidic healers and high priests in ancient Greece to shamans, gods, witches, devils, and quacks. As a therapeutic technique, it predates psychoanalysis by at least a century. Freud used hypnosis therapeutically before discarding it in favor of psychoanalysis. Over time it has gained popular and scientific acceptance, been assimilated into a wide range of therapies, and been applied to most types of medical and psychological problems.

Today hypnosis is used to treat psychosomatic symptoms such as ulcers, migraines, and colitis. It is used to manage pain and in rehabilitation cases where organic damage has occurred. It is used to alter physiological functioning, such as to reduce blood pressure, relieve asthmatic symptoms, and alleviate gastrointestinal distress. It is also used in dentistry and obstetrics. It is used to treat addictions such as overeating, alcoholism, smoking, and drug abuse; to treat phobias and sexual problems; to enhance memory and studying abilities; and even to make warts disappear. It is also used to deal with varying emotional and psychological problems.

While hypnotherapy is now considered a treatment category of its own, it is almost always incorporated into the particular therapeutic orientation of each therapist. Thus it may be used by therapists from such diverse areas as psychoanalysis, behaviorism, ego psychology, gestalt, and even holistic transpersonal groups.

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On Hypnosis (Part 2/26)     Tuesday, June 21, 2011
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What is the common factor that makes it possible for one approach to fit into such widely diversified therapies? It seems to be the idea that hypnosis somehow makes the inner person more accessible. When an individual relaxes into a "trance" state, memories, pains, and traumas as well as solutions and potentials supposedly become more available. Hypnosis is viewed as a direct route to the unconscious, where old demons can be exorcised with the least amount of discomfort to the patient. Traumas can be relived and resolved without any conscious participation; symptoms can be relieved without any knowledge of their source; compulsive behavior patterns can be broken without undue effort; defeatist self-images can be overhauled in a session or two.

In effect, hypnotism is based on the belief that the "unconscious" mind can swiftly heal the patient without the "conscious mind" ever being involved. Because of this apparent ease in effecting change, hypnosis has become one of the most popular forms of therapy. It is popular from the patient's point of view because it is like magic. Indeed, hypnotherapy expressly draws one away from the “why” – the reason for the neurotic symptoms in the first place. As a result, hypnotherapy draws patients away from a cure.

>> To clarify, Art is not sanctioning all the claims of hypnotherapy, but  instead, suggesting that hypnotherapy actually can prevent true healing. Hang in there. We have a long way to go.<<

History of Hypnosis

The first attempt to explain hypnosis in naturalistic terms came in the 1700s. An Austrian physician named Franz Anton Mesmer (1713-1815) proposed that healing could occur through the transference of "animal magnetism." His procedures became known as mesmerism. People still speak of being “mesmerized.” Mesmer intended to bring hypnosis into the realm of modern science, but his techniques only contributed to its aura of mystery, magic, and charlatanism. Dressed in flowing silk robes, Mesmer would appear before his patients, who were gathered around a tub filled with water and iron filings. These would purportedly help transfer to the patients "the marvelous animal magnetism exuding from [Mesmer]." At some point the animal magnetism would trigger convulsions in the patients, which would remove whatever symptoms had been present.[1] (I suspect the convulsions represented a release of accumulated primal energy, which might well yield temporary relief of the patient’s symptoms.)

In 1784, a committee of inquiry convened by the King of France discredited Mesmer's ideas. The committee found that in fact that no such magnetism existed, and the striking recoveries were due to "mere imagination." Hypnotism was again linked to mysticism and quackery.

>> I wonder if Mesmer was partially on to something, which the establishment of his time wanted covered up and avoided. That primal energy was possibly released might imply that many things, or not. But that they wanted to discredit him for having discovered anything at all, raises suspicion and doubt in my mind. I have seen this sort of thing many times before. Was there something more? We might never know.<<

Nevertheless, by the 1840s it had spread to various parts of the world. Two surgeons working independently of each other – John Elliotson in London and James Esdaile in Calcutta – discovered that the mesmeric trance could be used for pain control during major surgery. Another 19th-century English physician, James Braid, agreed that Mesmer's techniques could be useful. He dismissed the concept of animal magnetism, however, and introduced the term hypnotism (from the Greek hypnos, meaning "to sleep"). This referred to a "nervous sleep" brought about by a concentration of attention. Braid believed hypnosis was a sleep state, or at least a state of consciousness existing below the level of conscious-awareness. These views divorced hypnosis from mesmerism, and tempered the medical profession’s negative attitude toward the use of hypnosis.

>> Art says this "new" idea or label, really divorced hypnotism from animal magnetism. I say it might have been more word games than any real change. Perhaps it was better defined and understood.<<

In subsequent decades, two scientific viewpoints on the nature of hypnosis crystallized. In the mid-1880s, Hippolyte Bernheim, a professor of medicine at Strasbourg, saw hypnosis as a normal phenomenon, resulting from a psychological response to suggestion, and not involving any special physical forces or processes. By contrast, Jean Martin Charcot, professor of neurology at the Sorbonne, considered hypnosis a pathological phenomenon which occurred only in hysterical patients and which did involve the physical influence of magnets and metals.

>>Even today, there are continued suggestions that magnets and metals can have some effect and influence in healing, or perhaps other things, too. A strong magnetic filed can literally render you unconscious. Fact! Perhaps there were things Mesmer discovered that they did not want to spread. Who knows?! But Bernheim did not see any special aspects of hypnosis. To him it was normal function of a particular state common to us all, I gather.<<

Sigmund Freud stepped into the controversy in the 1890s. A former student of Charcot, he became interested in the use of hypnosis as a therapeutic tool for treating neurotic disorders. Freud found hypnosis useful in helping hysterical patients recall forgotten traumatic events. He also used it as a technique to alleviate physical and emotional symptoms. In an 1893 case study, for example, he described how he used hypnosis to help a woman who was not able to breast-feed her child. After inducing a hypnotic trance, Freud "made use of suggestion to contradict all her fears and the feelings on which all the fears were based: 'Do not be afraid. You will make an excellent nurse and the baby will thrive. Your stomach is perfectly quiet, your appetite is excellent, you are looking forward to your next meal...'" Freud went on to comment about his "remarkable achievement." Hypnotism successfully alleviated the woman's physical symptoms, restored her appetite, and allowed her to nurse her child for eight months.[2]

Later, however, while compiling his book Studies in Hysteria, Freud discontinued the use of hypnosis and instead concentrated on the newly-developed techniques of psychoanalysis and free association. Later, he employed dream analysis as "the royal road to the unconscious."

>> Recalling forgotten traumatic events is interesting but I'll leave it for now. That Freud ditched hypnosis in favor of other techniques is interesting. Did he dump it because his newer techniques were superior, or did hypnosis reveal a bit too much. Or, I could go completely off the deep end, and suggest that "superiors" might have seen more value in hypnosis than they wanted anyone to know. Many great discoveries that remain classified, were discovered over 100 years ago. They have simply been suppressed and never talked about.<<

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[1]Ernest R. Hilgard and Josephine R. Hilgard, Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain. Los Altos, CA: William Kaufmann, 1975, p. 2.

[2]Freud, S. (1893). A case of successful treatment of hypnotism. In J. Strachey (Ed. and Trans.), Sigmund Freud: Collected Papers (Vol. 5, pp. 33-46). New York: Basic Books, 1959, p. 36.

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On Hypnosis (Part 3/26)     Tuesday, June 28, 2011
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During World War I, hypnosis was used to treat victims of shell-shock. This once again brought it to the attention of the scientific community. The experimental psychologist Clark Hull finally established hypnosis as an object worthy of controlled and methodical laboratory studies. In 1933 Hull endorsed Bernheim's view that hypnosis might be the result of suggestion and suggestibility. Both World War II and the Korean War contributed to renewed interest in hypnosis. Societies for research and training in clinical and experimental hypnosis were founded. Hypnosis journals published research findings and case materials. Specialty boards licensed practitioners and disseminated information to the public.

The 1970s saw a curious development in the use of hypnosis. The spread of hypnotic "past-life regression" (which had been practiced since the 1860s, if not earlier, in Europe) sparked a new controversy in the field. Adherents of this practice (most of whom lack degrees in psychology or medicine) believe that events and problems in past lives can generate neurosis and other problems in this life. Thus, through hypnosis, one can gain access to past identities, relive past traumas, and eliminate their negative effects on one's present functioning. Although professional hypnosis organizations have condemned past-life regression, it has made its way into Ericksonian hypnotherapy, the school based on the work of Milton Erickson (1902-1980), the pre-eminent hypnotist in recent decades. Some hypnotists have even been able to induce "age progression," in which patients conjure up themselves in the future for ostensible therapeutic benefit.[1]

Today, hypnosis appears to be increasing in acceptability in the scientific community. Erickson's influence has extended beyond traditional hypnotherapy to family therapy and other clinical areas. Nonetheless, there remains no cohesive or compelling theory on the nature of hypnosis. Most agree that hypnotic phenomena are real: People are able to dissociate from pain in their bodies, regress to earlier events in their lives, relive traumatic events and forget them moments later, and experience significant alterations in perception. But what causes these changes? Is hypnosis an altered state of consciousness? Or does it merely activate and channel normal processes, skills, and response preferences? This is considered the state-nonstate controversy, and it leads us to the core problem of the nature of hypnosis.

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The Nature of Hypnosis

Hypnotic trance: a state in which perceptions are altered either spontaneously or as the result of suggestion and in which there is a detachment from the external world.[2]

The elements of a hypnotic trance are well-known. Ernest R. Hilgard (1904-2001), long-time experimental psychologist at Stanford University and a prominent researcher on hypnotic analgesia, developed a profile of a hypnotized individual with characteristics that he felt was "sufficiently consistent" to serve as a definition. Specifically, if instructed, a hypnotized person:

*waits passively for information as to how to behave;

*pays attention only to the hypnotist;

*accepts distortions as reality;

*is highly susceptible to the hypnotist's suggestions;

*will readily adopt a role of being someone else, and

*may forget the hypnotic experience.[3]

Let's assume that these are all aspects of a hypnotic trance. Is there really something special about this state, something that distinguishes it from everyday consciousness (while one is awake or asleep)? Various researchers have given conflicting answers to this question.

>>The implications of Art's questions are huge. More as we go on.<<

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[1] See, for example, Jonathan Venn, Hypnosis and the Reincarnation Hypothesis: A Critical Review and Intensive Case Study, The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research Vol. 80, October 1986, pp. 409-425; Robert A. Baker, The Effect of Suggestion on Past-Lives Regression, American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, Volume 25, Number 1, July 1982, pp. 71-76; Peter B. Bloom, Some General Comments About Ericksonian Hypnotherapy, American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, Volume 33, Number 4, April 1991, pp. 221-224.

[2] See Heap, Michael and Dryden, Windy, Eds., Hypnotherapy: A Handbook. Philadelphia: Open University Press, 1991.

[3] See Ernest R. Hilgard, Richard Atkinson, and Rita Atkinson, Introduction to Psychology (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1971, fifth edition), p. 173.

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On Hypnosis (4/20)     Tuesday, July 5, 2011
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Non-State Theories

Theodore Barber, a leading hypnosis researcher is a strong proponent of the non-state theory. For him hypnosis is nothing extraordinary; it is a normal, everyday behavior mistakenly given a special name. So-called hypnotic behavior, according to Barber, can be understood as being the result of interpersonal factors, such as the subject's desire to please the hypnotist by successfully carrying out what is requested of him, much like what often happens between client and therapist in any kind of psychotherapy.

>> Perhaps a child trying to please a parent, right? Or please a friend or peer.<<

Barber points out that all attempts to define hypnosis to date have involved a semantic merry-go-round: a person is said to behave a certain way because she is hypnotized. But how do we know she is hypnotized? Because she behaves a certain way. Or worse yet: A person is in a trance because she is hypnotized. How do we know she is hypnotized? Because she is in a trance! While the concepts of trance and hypnosis are used to define one another, they are also used interchangeably. According to Barber, proof that hypnosis is a special state of consciousness requires the discovery of behavior other than that used to describe it.

Furthermore, if hypnosis is a special state, shouldn't instruments clearly indicate its difference from a waking or a sleeping state? "For nearly one hundred years," writes Barber, "researchers have been trying to delineate an objective physiological index that differentiates the hypnotic state from non-hypnotic states...The attempt to find a physiological index of 'hypnotic trance per se' has not succeeded."[1] Specifically, physiological measures such as EEG, blood pressure, pulse rates, and body temperature do not demonstrate any variation between a "hypnotic" and "non-hypnotic" state.

Peter Brown, who has studied what underlies the phenomenon of hypnotic communication, modifies Barber's thesis as follows: "Though there are changes in brain functioning during hypnosis, they are not unique to hypnosis nor are they uniform across all subjects...The changes in brain function that occur in hypnosis are similar to the normal ultradian variations in activity and do not appear to differ from changes found in other types of absorbed concentration."[2] Brown adds that "It is easy to speak of an 'altered state of consciousness' or of 'dissociation,' as if we know precisely what these terms mean. The evidence suggests that the trance state involved substantial changes in cognition, emotion, perception, and physiologic regulation. But these changes do not exist in a vacuum. Intermingled with them will be the surrounding context for the individual: their previous history, current concerns, and the quality of the interaction and degree of rapport they experience with the hypnotherapist."[3]

>> I will intervene at this point. Different functions of the brain are not easily defined. People have been known to pick up cars that fell down of a jack, to allow someone to get out from under. A pilot is unaware of pain till his plane lands on the carrier deck, and then the pain signals are allowed to be felt. These are functions of the brain, but how easy are they to obtain, distinguish, or define? We just can not block pain at will. It takes a lot of practice and control or a good practitioner to guide us to that state. But extraordinary strength or the blocking of pain while in a crisis are no ordinary feats.

So as I would see it, most hypnotic states are common ones, but not all. There are those that go beyond average or usual. Barber could be over-simplifying. Perhaps he, too, is trying to hide something from us or just hasn't thought it through well. But I do believe more than the usual suspicion is merited when we are dealing with a topic like hypnosis, that has potential to have a big impact on the study and understanding of human nature and function. No decision should be hastily or easily made.

But when I raise the example of the fighter pilot who feels no pain, though he has sustained serious injury or someone who experiences super strength in a time of emergency, I do not propose anything specific but suggest that Brown might have something to consider. The brain, the deep inner instinctive brain we call the stem, always stands alert in case of emergencies, where normal "resting" states of consciousness are over-ridden, pain is bypassed, or abilities are super-charged to degrees we do not normally arise to, or maybe can arise to, under hypnosis, or maybe not.

But those states do exist and can not be ignored. But to verify a state that can not be brought about easily and reproduced so they can be measured, is not likely. But I ask this. What other states might be possible, or abilities that might be harnessed or even suppressed to great degrees? For instance, savants, who in most ways are seemingly retarded or impaired, excel far beyond the greatest of normal talents. They can play complicated music as soon as they hear it or remember incredible amounts of detail, or calculate at phenomenal depth and speed.

While I like Barber's basic idea for commonly displayed states of hypnosis, I do not think his theory addresses all situations. I feel there is something more lurking beneath us all. Ultimately, Brown seems to be more flexible and reasonable. He recognizes a variety of circumstances that in sum are difficult to measure or account for; or that we should at least be slow to dismiss.

What I ask in the context of Primal Theory and Therapy is: How much is truly conscious or within our control or access; and, What abilities or vulner-abilities might exist within the human mind. Are there higher abilities hidden from us, or is there potential for control and abuse of the human mind that those of sinister intent might be able to exploit? I believe these options are possible and worth exploring, even if not in this 26 part series.<<

According to the non-state theory, the vital functions and behavior of someone in a hypnotic trance are not dissimilar to those of someone who is not in a trance.

>> I will say, in most cases this is so. But not all. For most applications, we can accept the similarity.<<

People role-play, act, distort, conceal, fantasize, and imagine themselves as others while awake, and they also do these things while hypnotized. While either in a hypnotic trance or an everyday trance, they are able to consciously or unconsciously focus on a particular stimulus and tune out all others. Moreover, Barber and other non-state theorists say that what happens to people in hypnosis can be explained largely in terms of the relationship between the subject and the hypnotist, based on the subject's psychology, motivations, and drives. As children, they try to please their parents; as students, they seek approval from teachers; and as hypnotic subjects, they do the same.

>> I agree with the above, but with a reservation. Do these abilities suggest that we have far more control over our faculties that Arthur has admitted or discovered? If a hypnotist can lead us to reduce or eliminate pain, then can we, with training, do it without him/her? Can we retrieve at least partial feeling of deep hidden traumas, if we want? Just how far can we access our minds. Art suggests we can access nothing deep that is walled off, suppressed. I am not so sure.

But as well, if being hypnotized is fairly easy, as seems to be the case most often, then we have good reason for concern. It may be that we are often hypnotized and are not even aware of it. Maybe being "hypnotized" is just a strong word to suggest that we too often, just take things for granted and not question them and let them rule our lives, once accepted. Perhaps it is time to wake up from our "slumbers. Lots to consider about many aspects of this subject.

But Arthur does us a great service in bringing this to our attention for some re-consideration.<<

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[
1] Theodore X. Barber, Hypnosis: Scientific Approach (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1969), p. 7.
[2 Peter Brown, The Hypnotic Brain: Hypnotherapy and Social Communication. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1991), p. 175.
[3] Brown, The Hypnotic Brain, p. 241.

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On Hypnosis (5/26)     Tuesday, July 5, 2011
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Variations in Depth and Type of Trance

Both Hilgard and Erickson believe that there are definite, varying levels of hypnotic trance. For example, there is a stuporous trance – a state in which, according to Hilgard, spontaneous thinking stops and the self becomes "meaningless." In Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain, Hilgard maintains that the notion of depth in hypnosis cannot really be measured and can only be described by the person experiencing it. Still, he gives this description of a person in an hypnotic stupor:

Relaxation of the body increased for a time, but he [the subject] eventually no longer felt identified with his body. It was as though it was a "thing" left behind, so that it no longer made sense to ask him further about body relaxation. Relaxation of the body was succeeded by a peacefulness of the self, but beyond a certain depth this concept also became meaningless, because the self was no longer present. The environment also faded progressively, until finally a state was reached in which the only part of the environment that remained present was the hypnotist's voice. Time passed more and more slowly, finally reaching a point at which it ceased to be a meaningful concept. Spontaneous mental activity declined until it finally reached zero.[1]

>> This is exactly what I was alluding to in the previous section 4. Hilgard hits the nail on the head. A mind appears to have various levels of consciousness. As we near death, the mind may recede back further and more removed from outside sensory info. It is much the same with the body as it becomes numb with cold, for instance. It starts cutting back the number of functions supported till limbs are sacrificed and consciousness reduced or shut off, till finally the only thing left is to die. Even then, there may be a brief time of some brain activity called "near death experience" (NDE). Hilgard suggests what he does based on what he found during testing. It is hard to ignore and does not entirely fit in with the "non-state state."<<

Another kind of trance is a somnambulistic one, in which mental and physical capacities apparently remain normal. Erickson made frequent use of the somnambulistic trance both for demonstration and for therapeutic purposes. I’ll now describe an example where Erickson had called upon one individual to demonstrate the somnambulistic state. He then pretended to conclude the demonstration and dismiss the subject. But he continued, hoping to observe genuine "hypnotic behavior" rather than behavior designed to please the hypnotist.

Knowing about the subject's fondness for sweets, Erickson told her that as a reward for her performance she could choose from a platter of homemade candy. With the subject “still in the somnambulistic state," she was asked to name her favorite candy, and "expressed a marked preference for divinity fudge, and even as she spoke she was noted to salivate freely in anticipation." The hypnotist went into another room, called back with satisfaction that there was indeed some divinity fudge, and asked her whether she wanted to help herself to it at once or later. "So far as divinity fudge is concerned, immediately is scarcely soon enough," she reportedly replied. Erickson then returned to the room bringing napkins, pretending that he had a platter of candy in his hands, and saying that the platter contained a variety of candies in case those present had different preferences. Next he approached the subject and told her to go ahead and select the largest pieces of divinity fudge.

With the juvenile directness, earnestness, and simplicity so characteristic of behavior in the somnambulistic state, she replied she would. After scrutinizing the imaginary platter carefully, she made her choice of a piece and, upon urging, a second and a third, but she explained that she was taking only a small piece for the third.

The imaginary platter was passed among the group. Each person pretended to take a piece of candy and eat it. The subject then became restless, wandered around the room, and finally sat in a chair next to the table where the imaginary platter had been placed. Subsequently, "in the manner of a small child who wishes another helping of candy," she looked furtively back and forth between the imaginary platter and the hypnotist, until:

...with a slight gesture of resolution she learned forward, scrutinized the platter carefully, and proceeded to go through a performance of selecting carefully and eating several pieces of candy, now and then glancing in a hesitant manner.

The platter was passed around again. When it was her turn, the subject again selected and ate imaginary pieces of candy. Erickson notes that, throughout the performance, two "medically-trained members unobtrusively watched the subject" and independently observed her "increased salivation and swallowing," as well as her use of the napkin to wipe her fingers. Then Erickson concluded the demonstration and awakened the subject.[2]

Thus, we have stuporous trances in which the environment, the body, and the self become meaningless concepts, and we have somnambulistic trances in which hallucinatory fudge is merrily eaten with the context of normal group interaction. How can these states be possible? Are these reports mere fantasy or actual descriptions of altered neurological functioning? And if the latter is true, which brain structures mediate hypnotic trance states?

>> Art admits both types of trances. That is good. Erikson's example is fascinating for at least 2 reasons. First, she really seemed to believe she was experiencing the event and reacting as if was truly the reality before her. 1st, is it possible that we can create a false reality around us and really believe it and react to it as if it was absolutely true?

2nd, I note "the juvenile directness, earnestness, and simplicity so characteristic of behavior in the somnambulistic state." In this state, people seem to be more child like, direct, perhaps even open, honest, receptive, maybe even impulsive, as indeed, as children, we are. If this is a state that is useful, and I believe it is, in proper circumstances, such as kids learning from parents, then is it possible that we need to be in such a state to learn or at least consider or reconsider what we had formerly thought or believed? Is it possible that we lose the ability to get into that state as we get older? Or are we just turned off to certain sources?

On my last, of about 7 experiences with pot, (from 79-90), I found myself in such a juvenile state. My defense mechanisms revolving around humor were gone. I experienced things more directly. I was more "innocent" and unharmed, so it seemed. It was like I regressed to an earlier state in life. But yet my conscious mind/intellect was still there to see and remember everything, so that I could make sense of it later. To experience such a different state, one I even felt or recognized as me much younger, makes me believe that Art has not figured it all out yet. How was I able to go back to a different state, without experiencing trauma? I think we have much left to learn.

Now Art suggests that we go back to the state we were in when we relive a trauma we first had, and I do not doubt that. But can one go back without trauma? I would suggest that you can, at least if you react strong to pot. But I do not know if you could control what level you went back to. Can hypnosis do it? It might be possible but who knows? We are in uncharted territory here. I am guessing I was at about the equivalent of 3 or 4 at that time of maybe age 31.<<

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[1] Ernest R. Hilgard and Josephine R. Hilgard, Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain (Los Altos, CA: William Kaufmann, 1975), p. 21.

[2] Milton H. Erickson, "Experimentally Elicited Salivary and Related Responses to Hypnotic Visual Hallucinations Confirmed by Personality Reactions," Collected Papers of Milton H. Erickson on Hypnosis, Vol. 2, Edited by Ernest L. Rossi (New York: Irvington, 1980), pp. 176-177. Originally published in Psychosomatic Medicine, April, 1943,5, 185-187.

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On Hypnosis (6/26)     Tuesday, July 12, 2011
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The Neurology of Hypnosis

With the discovery of the brain's hemispheric laterality (See the work of Gazzanaga and Bogen as well as: Psychology Today, May 1985, p. 43), the terms right brain/left brain have become virtual household concepts. The brain is divided into two halves, with each half mediating qualitatively different processes: the right brain mediates non-rational functions and holistic perceptions, while the left brain mediates the rational and specific. The right is holistic while the left is analytic. The right is internally oriented, while the left is externally focused.

Another recent neurological discovery is that of the "triune brain," where the division is concentric rather than lateral. Less well known than the concept of hemispheric laterality, the discovery of the triune brain may be more significant.

Based on Paul Yakovlev's research, the triune brain model describes the brain as organized concentrically into three zones or "neuropils."[1] Each zone consists of an interrelated network of nerve cells with its own biochemical composition. Each zone has its own storehouse for consciousness and memory. The three zones or levels of the brain develop chronologically in the fetus and newborn just as they did in human evolution. At birth and in primitive animals only the first level is operative, mediating visceral and body activity. By the sixth month of life the second level of brain development emerges to mediate the limbic processes of feeling and emotion. There is some evidence that in evolution this began with the turtle, which shows some limbic structure. The third or cortical level, which mediates all cognitive functions, is the last to develop and in its full development is uniquely human.

How does this relate to hypnosis? The dissociation so critical to all hypnotic phenomena hinges upon a disengagement of the third level of consciousness. It is precisely this third level that predominates in relation to the outer world. This part of the brain perceives, reflects, reasons, rationalizes, and comprehends. Its task is to process and evaluate information, to know what is: what the temperature is, the conditions of the environment, if danger is near, whether the body needs food or sleep, and so on. For hypnosis to be effective, it must disengage the third level, so that the individual is no longer able to independently process information.

>> I note that the 3rd level, broadly speaking, the cortex, and more specifically, the intellect, must be taken out of the way, blocked off, in order for hypnosis to work.  That means another part of the brain will take over and listen, and react. It an also get lost when disconnected with the cortex. It needs the cortex to stay grounded and "in touch." I see a lot in this. 1st, if you wanted to reach your child, can you only instruct the cortex? To me, not if you want to reach deep and make a real lasting impression. You will need to "touch" or reach the stem and limbic. All 3 need to be connected and open.

Without love, the stem may very well end up disengaged or uninterested. You will have head knowledge but will feeling nothing for it. I would estimate that the limbic system, which I think is sort of a coordination and association processor, needs to make connections between the "head and heart," the cortex and stem.

Another aspect is that if a hypnotist were to try to mislead you, the cortex would have to be asleep or out of the way, so to speak. We might be tempted to call this brain washing. It can not be done as long as the cortex is alert and on duty. The cortex is a protection, a shield. This also allows the possibility that if hypnosis is a state we can normally be in, one of being detached from thinking and just being openly receptive to the TV or whatever, we might be swayed to accept ideas without even being aware of it, even as a child might accept what a parent says without question.

So is a passive accepting state having an effect on us? It might very well be! Are we asleep? The Bible, of all things, seems to suggest that this would be the common feature in the final days of mankind, near to 6,000 years of existence, starting about 4006 BC. But regardless, maybe we should be taking a 2nd look at how much (or not enough) we are using our intellect.<<

A trance state occurs when the person operates from the emotional (second) or physical (first) level of consciousness without the benefit of the critical intellect (third level). In this state, no cognition is employed to determine whether internal and external conditions coincide, whether how one feels and acts is reality based. This is why children are generally more responsive to hypnosis. They do not have the well-developed evaluative functions of the adult. Childish complaisance is the neurotic feature in the adult which enables the trance to occur and sustain itself.

>> OK, I did sort of jump the gun and repeat what Art said just above. But it would appear that Art suggests that internal and external conditions should be compared, to see if they match up or not and why they do so. Maturity is when we stop acting like unthinking kids and begin to critically examine what comes into our heads.

Ever look back at your teen or 20s years? Do you find yourself marveling at how dumb you were about so many things? I know I do :-) Why is that? Because we questioned few things and just accepted everything for granted. Never thought about anything. Unaware in a big way. but as we start to make sense of things, we see how unaware we were. That is why kids can be vulnerable because they have so little put together about the world. And since they do not get involved in adult affairs, they do not learn anything about  the adult world. In fact, adults often want to hide the world from kids. I say that is bad. The more we learn and the faster and earlier we learn it, the better off we are.<<

Notice two key phrases in Erickson's report of the woman in the somnambulistic trance: "with...juvenile directness, earnestness, and simplicity," and "in the manner of a small child." I believe his demonstration uncovered the woman's latent childish tendencies rather than inducing them. The subject's pre-existing complaisance allowed for even further dissociation (from what she ordinarily experienced) so that even external clues would not disrupt her trance.

>> Arthur nailed this one! Many adults are really just undeveloped kids, or only partially developed kids. They are ripe for deceit and abuse, much as kids or old people often are. Old people have an excuse. They are losing many of their mental functions. Young adults have far less excuse and vulnerable kids have their parents to blame for a time.<<

Erickson's demonstration points up another crucial aspect of the hypnotic state. Unencumbered by personal embarrassment and social restraints, the subject was free to act as childishly as she was. Under normal circumstances repression defends against the admission of neurosis. Under hypnosis, with the last remnant of rational perception suppressed, neurotic people can allow themselves to be as dependent, childish, and hurting as they really are. The hypnotic procedure reveals what the self-censorship of repression conceals: the essence of the neurotic self. It does so, however, by avoiding full conscious experience, for it is this experience that provokes feelings of Pain. Clearly, we cannot get well through unconsciousness because that is the definition of neurosis. It takes full conscious/awareness to become whole.

>> It is here that I might differ a little with Art. Self-censorship is very useful and important. The instantaneous instinctive reaction time of the stem is great in emergencies. But too often, it also over-reacts and acts far too quickly. Many times we have the luxury to be able to slow things down and give them a little more thought be fore reacting. Art calls this repression and assumes negative connotations. But it is a neutral ability. It can be highly beneficial or very harmful if taken too far.

Art assumes it is the intellect/cortex that represses. It might be but I suspect not. The speed of repression is, in my mind, too fast to be the work of the cortex. It looks and sounds much more like the stem. The stem decides whether pain will rise or not. It is the stem, says I, that controls the intellect at all times. It needs to learn to use the full benefits of the intellect and not repress the intellect so much. Why repression? Because of fear, most often. There may be gates in the cortex, but they are controlled by the stem, says I.

We can influence our core stem by what we take in. Maybe our parents suggest something, or we read something, or get it from somewhere that suggests courage and objectivity as good beneficial things to pursue. If the stem can be convinced (not easy, I grant) that it might be wise to let the intellect proceed unhindered, then it might agree to relent and stay inactive while the cortex takes in more and evaluates.

How do we get pain to come up and out? It has to believe that it is safe and right to now let the pain come up. How do we convince the stem it is safe and proper to now allow connection and transfer of pain to the cortex? Well, Art is still working on that. He seems to still be missing a few pieces of the puzzle, as I see it.<<

Thus, the attraction of hypnosis is the apparent opportunity to have it both ways: you can show who you are without feeling the concomitant Pain. And this, as I shall explain later, is exactly why hypnotherapy cannot in the end be therapeutic.

>> I agree that hypnotherapy can not be "therapeutic" in the way that Art defines that. On the other hand, if it can indeed, show us who we are, at various points in our life, what I earlier suggested happened to me, twice, with the other account in my "Holistic Psychology" article on this site referring to the time I experienced being an infant in vision and language, then there might be some value. Perhaps it is possible to go back to previous states in earlier years through hypnosis. It could have some interesting possibilities. It would not bring up or out primal pain, however.

Art tends to dismiss any therapy or knowledge that does not result in primal pain being felt. But I say the building of the intellect and understanding ourselves is still vital, even if our pain is still buried. The more our intellect is strengthened, in my theory, the more it can handle pain being release and rising up. It might be a key to inviting the stem to release pain. Problem is, patients do not come to Art with well developed intellects. So he has not found this, yet.

We often fear the unknown and uncertain. But if we know our destiny, then we might not be scared of that destiny. We might welcome the pain now, knowing what it would lead to. When we feel the urge to throw up when sick, it is often a dread. But if one has experienced great relief a few times after throwing up, one might start to look at it differently. Puking is involuntary and we lost control when we puke. This can be a scary experience. But when completed, we can learn that it is actually a good thing and not to be feared or resisted. Knowledge (the intellect) is always a good thing. Art says it only gets in the way? That sounds a bit like a hypnotist, to me ;-) Think about it!<<

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On Hypnosis (7/26)     Tuesday, July 12, 2011
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Inducing Unconsciousness

It is indeed remarkable that a few words traveling through the air, penetrating the ear as sounds, even monotonous gibberish, can cause a person to effectively lose consciousness and fall into a trance. These sounds apparently pick up a meaning in the brain which radically reduces the highest (cortical) functions of the nervous system. Once these sounds acquire meaning, they begin to exert a biochemical and neuroelectric force to shut down transmission among many nerve cells. Consciousness is severely restricted and the person pays attention to a very narrow range of stimuli. This is no different from what happens to a young child who is being admonished by a parent and told to behave differently. Those words can cause the child to alter her feelings about herself and to change how she behaves, all unconsciously.

In other words, ideas can shut off, distort, and alter aspects of consciousness. This happens, however, only if the person giving the ideas has authority in the eyes of the person accepting them and is the dealer of love and the remover of possible Pain. It is what occurs when a charismatic individual convinces someone to believe in outlandish ideas. Thus, there may be little difference between a cult leader talking to a disciple, a parent talking to a four-year-old child, and a hypnotist talking to her subject. In each of these situations it is possible to render the person unconscious in a selective way. One sure way is to manipulate need—unfulfilled need—for love, safety, protection, direction and guidance, warmth and against whatever the future may hold. Someone who has imprinted terror needs to find someone who will stave off the “demons” whoever they may be. Someone who will pave the way and make our journey in life safe.

>> Oh, this is perfect. Art ties a noose around his neck and contradicts himself. We have learned that the intellect can interfere with hypnosis and that we need to get the intellect and cortex out of the way to successfully hypnotize, brain wash, or whatever. Now Art turns around and says that the intellect, the producer of ideas, can shut off or alter aspects of consciousness. The intellect? Are you sure? Isn't it the protector? Of course it is. Art is all confused. That is why I am here writing to you. If I want to program you, I need the intellect out of the way. FACT!

Art says things like sounds can disable the intellect/consciousness and we fall into a trance. I agree. When warm sounds resonate with our hunger for warmth and affection, then we turn on, tune in, and drop out of consciousness. The sounds feel so good and resonate so soundly. We could listen all day. Neuro-linguisitc-programming (NLP) actually makes use of this. The way you speak and the words you use with a precise sound and emphasis, can have a very strong effect on how you respond to the "message." Often, it is not what you say but how you say it. If you speak with force and conviction, many will be inclined to accept message or info.

The stem, says I, ceases to use the intellect and accepts what it considers the same wavelength it longs for. It shuts the cortex down and lets the message come through uncritically and often totally accepting. Art contradicts everything about hypnosis when he suddenly blames the intellect, the very thing that saves us from hypnosis. What is up with that, Art? Any answers? Well, I got one!

Art does not like where many trains of thought and logic lead to. So he wants to find fault with the very process of intellectual function, says I. In this way, he can reject where this process ends up or leads to. He has shown us how the intellect/cortex is taken out by hypnotism and yet now rejects the cortex, as if he was trying to hypnotize. Are you going to fall for that? God, I hope not. Art needs to get his facts straight and fast. He is looking more like a fool by contradicting himself. It leaves his looking a bit silly and un-intellectual.

But what he does point our correctly is that those who seek to deceive, attempt to lull the cortex into a sleep or paralysis and then make direct access to the stem, unhindered by critical thinking or competition from the intellect. If we trust an authority figure, we might be tempted to listen to and accept whatever they say, since they are experts and authorities on what they speak of, supposedly. Why, even Art might be seen by some as an authority. And that is the danger. Art has done some good research and made some good discoveries. But he has not finished the job and he still should be required to prove each thing and answer when asked to answer for himself.

We are vulnerable because often, what we want is comfort and security, not knowledge or understanding. We don't see the connection between the 2 opposing objectives. We just want to feel good, even if it is only for a short time. But the intellect knows that short term good feelings can be very harmful and misleading. Art has learned that and yet contradicted it, too. He needs to make an adjustment and stop running from something that he fears and only he can identify, if he dares.<<

The Neurology of Unconsciousness

Key structures in the limbic-emotional system, or the second-line consciousness, mediate in what occurs in both hypnosis and in the neurotic trance. The amygdala and the hippocampus are involved in making feelings conscious and in making feelings repressed and unconscious – dissociating feelings from acknowledgment. The hippocampus can retrieve emotions and with the help of the thalamus, can keep them out of consciousness. It is what accomplishes entrance into the hypnotic state; Peter Brown notes that the limbic hippocampus is heavily responsible for the disconnection from conscious awareness. The amygdala can activate emotions and can keep current input from triggering off those emotions. The thalamus and basal ganglia, Brown writes, help by refusing to relay certain information from below to higher levels. In that way, too, we remain dissociated.

>> My theory of the limbic being a control center is validated here. Awesome, dewd!<<

There is yet another system that keeps us alert and consciously vigilant, and that is the reticular activating system of the brain stem. If that system is blocked we are less alert and critical. Some sleeping pills work directly here. In the lulled, parasympathetic state of a beginning trance, it is that alerting system that goes off service.

>>Art just admitted that stem can turn on or shut off. Oh, I thought it was the cortex, Art? Could you please make up your mind? I already made up mine. Its the stem.<<

But it is primarily the limbic system, where the emotional level of consciousness is organized, that "decides" whether to make a feeling fully conscious. It is here that dissociation can take place. It is here that the rhythms of the brain can be slowed down into the theta (slow) rhythms indicating the predominance of a lower or second line level of consciousness at work. Here is where the input from the hypnotist enters and is accepted unquestioningly. As the brain rhythms slow even more into the delta range, down to 2 or 3 cycles per second, the person can enter a deep trance where even suggestion no longer enters. She is "out," no longer in this world; she is rigid and unyielding. She is operating on the first-line only, where survival functions dominate. The left hemisphere of the brain, with its severely diminished activity, is now practically useless. There is no critical capacity whatsoever. Attention is narrowed only to the voice of the hypnotist and what he is suggesting, and even that is at a minimal level.

>> Notice that what Art describes is essentially what happens when we sleep. The left cortex is shut down for the night and the stem comes alive and plays out a dream or nightmare for us to ponder after. Can a hypnotist really go this deep into our psyche and "suggest" or even control what we do or believe or how we act? That does seem to be what is implied. It leaves great potential for verification of top secret mind programming techniques that have been alleged.

But it also seems to allow a great influence on us if we can be lulled into accepting something when in a very passive receptive state. Can trust be one of those states? I think so. Art said so. Are we enamored of authority, expertise, or celebrity? Would those induce us to trust and accept without question. It happens all the time. We also need to be aware that some very sophisticated advertisers and political propagandists also know our weaknesses and vulnerabilities. To be forwarned is to be forearmed and prepared.

And again, the intellect needs to be out of the way, for that is where critical analysis and thought come from. Deceivers hate truth for they have no weapon against it. And Reason is Truth. Authority is not!<<

All of this is no different from discussing the various levels of consciousness operating in neurosis, and how imprints of trauma can occur on the two lower levels of consciousness which for a lifetime thereafter drive our behavior and symptoms. No hypnotist in the world can overcome or erase a first-line or second-line imprint because early trauma is impressed into the neurophysiologic system as a permanent memory. Those imprints which alter our brains and our physiology must be addressed in any psychotherapy. Therefore, there is no hypnotist who can "cure" any neurosis. A hypnotist can, perhaps, attenuate symptoms, by combating the imprint with suggestion after suggestion day after day. That can have some effect, but it is not permanent. Manipulating the first or second-line is not the same as imprinting an event. Hypnosis can have short-term effects which endure because of other factors such as reward, external motivation, punishment, etc. Nonetheless, one cannot imprint suggestion. It takes a very high valence or force of an event, something that threatens our life or our integrity to be imprinted. Imprints occur during the critical period when need must be fulfilled. When we are not loved or held in the first months of our life on earth that will be imprinted, together with the changes in certain hormones of love such as oxytocin and vasopressin. There will be alterations in the hormones of stress and they will remain as permanent souvenirs until we go back and redo and undo the imprint that caused so many deviations in various of our systems.

>> No hypnotist tries to overcome or erase the brain. He knows better. he works with what is already there. He seeks out certain types who want what he can offer, and then he offers it and they lick it right up. A con-man does not change minds. He only sells what you already want. He is not going to try and reinvent the wheel. He will sell it to you as is.

Art does describe the imprinting process as well here as he ever has in any place. He makes it clear that hypnotists can not eliminate imprints. But they do not try to do that, anyway. They are there to exploit common tendencies caused by imprints. What is not addressed is whether new imprints can be created to make further manipulation even easier. If we torture someone enough, they will find themselves barely able to function. Some much mental energy will be wasted on pain that little will be left for the intellect. Knowledge of making more pain and imprints opens up vast new potential for exploitation. That is ignored entirely. Just saying ;-) <<

All of this is not meant as any exhaustive discussion of the neurology of hypnosis, which is well beyond my purview. It is only to show that the same mechanisms involved in neurosis are the mechanisms involved in hypnosis. Hypnosis, in short, is a condensed and circumscribed, temporary neurosis. It involves dissociation as a sine qua non. It involves disconnection and blind obedience. It involves uncritical behavior as if one were on automatic. And in neurosis one is on automatic, automatically running off the program laid down by one's caretakers in childhood. If we were never close during the formative months of infancy it will be imprinted so that later we will be unable to form permanent emotional attachments to others.

>> Disconnection? Blind obedience? Uncritical thinking and behavior? Auto-pilot? All those things suggest that the intellect is uninvolved and no where to be found. So how do we protect ourselves from disconnecttion, blind obedience, and the others mentioned? Its easy! Use your head, your intellect. Use it a lot and develop it really well so it can recognize and dismantle any bullshit thrown its way. It is not the enemy as Art sometimes suggests, but is our protector and savior. Use it well and always!<<

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On Hypnosis (Part 8/26)     Tuesday, July 19, 2011
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The Psychological Climate of Hypnosis

What psychological elements are involved in hypnosis? First of all, one could say that we have already been partially hypnotized through our preconceptions and expectations before we visit the hypnotist. We anticipate going through a process which the reputation of hypnosis has already preordained. When the hypnotist obliges us, these elements are immediately reinforced. Even more important than these anticipations is the desire to be hypnotized. What motivates this desire to surrender one's critical mind? To understand this motivation, I believe, is to understand how hypnosis works.

A person's desires are not only motivated by healthy drives but also by neurotic processes that result from unmet childhood needs. Barber says that a subject goes into a trance because of his desire to please the hypnotist, to make the hypnotist look good, to be thought special and be complimented, and so on. Barber might as well have described the everyday motivations of the common neurotic. The profound implication of Barber’s viewpoint is that hypnotic success is dependent upon pre-existing neurotic motivations. This is further support for the proposition that hypnosis and neurosis involve the same mechanisms.

>> Arthur clearly favors Barber's point of view. I'm more if a Hilgard kind of guy. But I do agree that it is natural for us to want to please people in general, especially those who can have a big impact on our lives. We would like to have a favorable view from them, of us. We want to be accepted by peers and even more by nurturers of various types, beginning with parents, then teachers, and others. This nature is often used against us. Hypnosis works because of this nature of ours. It is a nature that does not need hypnosis to be exploited.

But I also maintain that there is a dimension in hypnosis that goes far beyond these more ordinary natures of ours. Art seems to move away from this direction. I have my suspicions as to why.<<

To many people, hypnosis appears inexplicable or magical. In reality, what is called dissociation in hypnosis is really the everyday state of the neurotic. All the classic hypnotic phenomena – amnesia, time distortion, age regression, hallucinations, anesthesia, and catalepsy – depend on dissociations in consciousness. What trances of different depths have in common is a certain amount of dissociation, or disconnection within the self, such as when we repress traumatic emotional pain for years, or temporarily stop feeling a sore throat or headache.

>> There is some truth to what Arthur says. "Dissociation" is the key word here. It is a concept and aspect of us. Trauma and torture can cause dissociation. If one becomes extremely dissociated, one can become psychotic or have a hard time distinguishing reality or understanding it much. Hypnotism seems to allow some temporary dissociation. But if one were to mix torture or trauma in, then you would have a permanently caused wall of dissociation, a split in consciousness if you will, or at least lost contact with other parts of your personality or knowledge and memory. I believe this is an area Art would like to avoid or maybe even deny. Not because he wants to, but maybe because someone far more powerful that he is, does not want him to tell.

So I propose, much like I sense Hilgard does, that there are 2 types of hypnosis. The natural instinct and tendency we have to please and accept what is handed down to us by those we trust automatically, and  .  .  . the one where our brain is crippled by severe psychological pain, what we might call a psychological injury or injury of the mind, thought, and memory. Usually we have no control over whether we experience such injuries or not. We do not anticipate our lives being threatened, tortured, raped, rejected, or whatever. and when we are injured this way, we can not control how the mind reacts. A wall or division can take place in the mind so that our brains do not function as a united whole anymore.

This is the problem that many patients of Dr. Janov, if not all of them, have experienced. So it is hard, it not impossible for their minds to function well. They have road blocks and obstacles in their minds. If you are hurt enough life, you mind might be filled with many such blocks or walls. Our minds become compartmentalized. Thoughts and ideas to not readily travel from one section to another. So a collective intelligence can not form. If one were to be captured by a group who wanted to hurt you many times over in the head, they might, in theory, split your mind up into many disjointed alienated pieces. then if they can find a way to move into specific pieces and place knowledge or instructions there, or create a unique personality there, then they can hide those in those places and recall  them with some trigger they plant there.

Such things have been alleged. Do they have such abilities anywhere? You'll have to decide for yourself. I have my opinions, of course. But the idea of separation of knowledge and communication is not limited to brains. Much of our world is organized this way so that knowledge does not readily or easily flow or get transferred. It is often locked away with special guardians keeping certain knowledge secret, which only those properly authorized have the right to access.

So Art is correct that what causes primal pain creates a "dissociation" in the mind. He does not, however, explore or reveal how far reaching the implications of that are. He may be keeping that from us, not because he intends harm to us or deceive us, though those could happen, anyway, but because he fears for himself and us. But if we allow fear to rule us, there will be many other things we will end up running from and hiding from. Fear is one of the deadliest epidemics that run rampant in human beings. Fear is what we need most to overcome if we are to be free and heal. The Bible says fear causes a restraint, which indeed, it sure does. But, it says, love casts fear outside into the darkness.

Scary things are most easily overcome if we have someone to love us and comfort us so that the fear is diminished to the point where it has little to no power left in it to make us run or hide. Love can give us courage to face fear and the darkness. Part of what lies behind fear is that we are not loved. Nothing is more fearful to many than that. If we are loved, and our stem knows and believes that, then there is little left to scare us at all. Fascinating that love is that important but it is. The Bible also says that God is love! It would appear that Primal Theory have more in common than Arthur and his fans want to admit. They hate God and the Bible that much. It must be horrible to have to carry around that much hate, fear, and prejudice.

To clarify, there are 2 types of hypnosis. I will call the ordinary one the regular state, what we might call the Barber state; and the other, the super state, what we might name, the Hilgard state; The first is hypnosis and 2nd is super hypnosis. In hypnosis, no real damage in is done that can not be undone or it eventually fades. Super hypnosis leaves permanent damage and does not just fade. It leaves real scars and healing takes extraordinary measures such as primal therapy.

Arthur tends to blur the lines of distinction between these to types of hypnosis, as if there were no distinction. I suspect this could be done deliberately.<<

I maintain that hypnosis is not an altered state in relation to the common neurotic condition, but it is altered in relation to what is healthy. The isolated consciousness of hypnosis is only a circumscribed demonstration of how neurosis works. The difference is that neurosis is set down during the critical period when the brain is forming and hormones are achieving their set points. It is then a permanent state. Hypnosis is a temporary one by redirecting one’s behavior through the manipulation of conscious/awareness. It is an unconscious input that attempts to stem the primal tide; to block the effects of the imprint. It does not change the imprint, ever. One can stop smoking with hypnosis but the need to do so never changes. The price we pay for lying to ourselves is a premature breakdown of the system sooner or later. Psychotherapy addresses the left frontal brain while the hypnotist bypasses it and seems to input the right frontal brain, the emotional, inwardly focused brain.

Neurosis as a Hypnotic or Post-Hypnotic State

I have maintained that hypnosis can be understood by looking at neurosis. In fact, neurosis is the sine qua non for hypnosis. Now let's see if we can just as easily understand neurosis by looking at hypnosis. Is there any fundamental difference between the two? Hypnosis is an intentional procedure, voluntarily submitted to for a distinct purpose. Neurosis is a global state, involuntary developed as an adaptive response to emotional trauma very early in life. It can be argued that neurosis is a post-hypnotic state, maintained by constant reinforcement of repression and dissociation. Hypnotic procedures can easily tap into that state to produce definite and recognizable post-hypnotic episodes.

>> I really need to step in here. Art says hypnosis is intentional and voluntary. Yes, and not harmful ordinarily as well. But  .  .  . great harm could be done intentionally and not voluntarily. This harm could cause psychological injuries, what Art calls trauma and resulting neurosis. In other words, hypnosis could become torture if we wanted. Art does not acknowledge this. Maybe he does not recognize it. Trauma can happen unintentionally or deliberately. It matter not which one it is caused by, the injury is the same. Once the harm is done, the mind remains injured unless a special cure Art calls primal therapy is applied.

Regular hypnosis is temporary and ordinarily, nor harmful. But regular hypnosis does suggest some possibilities as to short term, temporary control of primal pain, where such control is valuable in such crisis situations. My earlier wounded pilot example would be one of those.<<

What do I mean when I say that neurosis is a hypnotic or post-hypnotic state? It is apparent that in order to feel, the human brain requires the full use of its consciousness. Yet, as we have seen, the brain possesses the capacity to shut down part of itself to defend against the full conscious experience of Pain. The left brain can be disconnected from the right so that one side doesn’t know what the other is doing or feeling. This ability is brought into play when the naďve and vulnerable system of the developing child is faced with more Pain that it can handle – when for example the child is rejected, abused, or abandoned. The child's mind represses the Pain by functionally detaching much of conscious awareness from the lower brain functions (such as emotion and sensation) where the Pain is stored. We call this state a split, dissociation, or disconnection. The behaviors which arise to maintain it we call neurosis.

>> Art describes what I did earlier, right? Compartmentalization, separation, a split, yes, dissociation, a wall or road block. Do not enter!<<

The dissociated person is left with a host of unresolved primal needs which, from their obscured position of repression, exert a continuous but unconscious force. This force directs a person into symbolic attempts to fulfill primal need. The person becomes an intellectual because that is what the parents' expected: a smart student who got good grades and whose main interest was books. Being an intellectual can be a symbolic route to feeling loved and to having one's other needs met. Yet this neurotic diversion plagues him with all manner of symptoms such as migraines and compels him to act in ways which maintain the disconnection, living in his head totally detached from his feelings. Only thoughts guide him. He therefore makes the wrong choices of partners in life because he is out of touch with himself and his real needs. An adult grows up around the unfulfilled child whose urgent needs remain the dominant preoccupation. He continuously seeks fulfillment while attempting to avoid experiencing the reality of deprivation.  

>> Oh, I could not ask for better evidence of want I want to show. Now a total complete split does not allow any flow or transfer of thought or feeling. I suggest that feeling is still present in some diminished degree, if an act out is present. They are trying to fulfill the old need of the past by some means in the present. But it does not work. The old need must be released into the cortex for integration, eliminating the wall or partial wall, a leaking wall or gate.

Art correctly describes what is sometimes the case with certain intellectuals. They attempt to think but do poorly at it because of road block in the mind. But Art does not make any distinctions in intellectualism. All intellectuals are damaged and covered by the same blanket Art throws over it all. Why, its just plain bad to be intellectual, to have a brain and be able to think good. Most if his followers have this same opinion. Like daddy, like kids. The truth is, thoughts do not guide a fractured mind. The thoughts are not allows to travel far.

But in a mind with minimal damage that is not too severe, thoughts travel relatively unimpeded and progress in thinking and reasoning grow, if not thrive. Art will never admit this is ever possible. FACT!  He dismisses any intellectual criticism with this very argument we are addressing here. Pain detaches your thoughts from feelings. You can not possibly think right. Primal pain will not let you. In some, this is, in fact, the case. But not all cases! How does Art make a distinction? He does not!

So I'll make it for him. One would need to determine how much pain is present and how many road blocks exist in the mind or where those road blocks are. Many blocks might still allow quite a bit of insight. That is why many fans of Arthur recognize the value and truthfulness of Primal Theory. Would the fact that someone smoking pot and hallucinating or regressing in state of mind to earlier times be evidence of minimal pain and disturbance? I would suggest it is! But Arthur would prefer to deny it is even possible. Why is that, Art?

Arthur despises the intellect, especially when it challenges or contradicts his ideas. Gee, what a novel reaction. Yes, I am being very sarcastic. That Arthur does not want to admit an intellect could function reasonably without Art's primal therapy is very disturbing to him. Throughout the 90s and onward, he has set out to attack the intellect, religion, and God. And many of his fans have tuned into that frequency as well.

Another mistake made in that paragraph of Art's above, is that one can not think and feel at the same time . . . unless one has primal therapy. Well, if I wanted to keep people seeking my exclusive type of therapy, for which there is no competition allowed for, or other competent practitioners recognized, I would say that, too.

Basically, to suggest that every mind is crippled and incapable with out the help of Arthur and his Primal Center, is downright arrogant and elitist, at the very least. Its not very intellectual, either. It is insulting, pretentious, and a bit of an Ad Hominem attack on anyone who dares to find any fault at all in Art's ideas. Do you want to follow a man like that? Trust him without question? Pick your gods carefully! <<

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On Hypnosis (Part 9/26)     Tuesday, July 19, 2011
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In a piece published a few years ago in the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis,[1] Edwin describes an experience of his own which reflects the way unmet childhood need affects adult functioning and generates its own ongoing repression:

I came home from an exhausting day and asked my first wife to fix me a cup of coffee (or a drink).  She had had a bad day too, and retorted something like "fix it yourself." I experienced an unbridled rage that was so out of proportion to the provocation, and so unlike me that I felt I had to analyze it.

>> This demonstrated the beauty of an intellect, which can watch the rest of the mind and reflect on it, and even ponder it. He recognized his reaction did not make sense compared to what seemed to set it off? Why did I react that way, he asked? We ask questions, and we can get answers. It happens all the time. In his case, he got answer most of us would not get, because he used hypnosis. This would suggest interesting possibilities for hypnosis rather than its dismissal.<<

He then used self-hypnosis to "home in on" a distant, repressed memory, a memory which "came in as clearly as if I were there."  On the 12th day of his life, the day he was taken off breast feeding, he "was in a similar childlike rage at being denied what I felt entitled to." From this revisiting of his past, Edwin had an insight:  "The allegory of the woman in my life denying me liquid refreshment is obvious."  He later consulted medical records in order to confirm the memory; his mother had had to stop breastfeeding him due to a breast abscess.

>> He was able to be shown or recall a very early event, without primalling. I find that amazing. Art says your primal memories are out of reach and inaccessible except by going through a primal. This paragraph completely refutes Art's assertions. Let me repeat that another way. Our very earliest memories, especially the traumatic ones, are very accessible, it would seem.

So now I ask further, if we can get at them without primalling, due to hypnosis, then do we have limited access of some sort to them for at least either verification of questions or denial of those. That is, suppose I ask my inner self, ultimately the stem, questions about my behavior, can it respond back in some way, perhaps saying through a feelings, either yes or no? I ask, because I do it all the time and have done so since maybe 17 or 18. I would feel a yes or no impulse.

Now Art would quickly point out that knowing this event is not the same as feeling it. I have no dispute with that. I understand the pain will still be locked up and still cause  problems in the psyche and body. But it can still be found and used by the intellect, though missing its emotional feeling content or at least the full, powerful content.

Truly, there is something extraordinary if what Edwin relates, is true. That we can go get some answers or memories within, that is no small thing. But I do know that a hypnotherapist must be careful in how they perform their probe. They can lead patients and cause false memories, so it is alleged in other things I have read. It at least calls for caution.<<

Edwin uses this case report as evidence of the accuracy of memories retrieved under hypnosis, even memories of events going all the way back to birth.  He adds that, through connecting his "out of proportion" rage in a current circumstance to a repressed childhood deprivation, he was able to change his behavior in similar situations. Rather than flying off the handle, he might say, "Oh, you had a bad day too?  Let's talk about it."

>> I have made many changes myself in regards to behavior, reigning in certain types and delaying reactions to give thought or save for later examination. I make a decision to no react immediately to some types of situations. Yes, we have some control over our behavior, without primal therapy. It must break Arthur's heart that the word is out. and if we can control it for our own benefit and that of others, too, it is very profound. We do not need to keep repeating harmful cycles and reactions, at least as much as we used to. Every little bit helps.

Part of what we need to learn in life is to temper our primitive powerful and usually automatic responses. Those automatic instinctive impulsive reactions can often be wrong and harmful. This is bring our impulses, void of thought or contemplation, under control and to be examined so we can determine why we reacted and if there is a better way or better response in such situations. That is learning some discipline and control over every aspect of our consciousness. Not the definition of consciousness that Art offers, but a more general and common consciousness or awareness of ourselves and the world around us.<<

In subsequent chapters I will discuss whether hypnotherapy really can lift repression and eliminate neurosis.  Suffice it to say for now that clearly remembering a forgotten event in the distant past is not the same as truly reliving it; nor will remembering it cure decades of neurosis.  Neurosis is a way of life. By virtue of dissociation from prepotent inner realities, all neurotics are to some degree in a trance. This is why so many people seem to be "out of it," "not all there," or "spaced out." 

>> See, Art raced to clarify that we still got the pain inside us, with its accompanying disruptions in mind and body. No argument from me there. And we may all have some degree of a trance state, though without clarifying that, it remains as a bit of an insult, an elitist trick. We have times when we fall into a trance or are not totally aware. Maybe we hand money to a clerk without counting the change back. Maybe we almost walk away without getting the change or the receipt or whatever. I would sometimes get in my car and start off in a direction, without actually thinking about where I was going. I would start our in the common route when the place I wanted was in a route not typically taken, in another direction. I'd have to turn around at some point.

But this is not necessarily a big problem. A nuisance, for sure. But it need not be debilitating, which I think is what Art is suggesting too often. So a "trance state" is only a danger when we walk around full time, without questioning anything in our lives and never having done so. This is a major problem. But notice carefully that Art never tried to define or distinguish between various levels of "trance" like states! He wants to give the impression that without primal therapy, we are all doomed and hopeless and only the primal messiah can save us from ourselves and our pain. I'm not buying it, though. Choose your messiahs carefully!<<

The neurotic's brain seldom works optimally on matters at hand because so much of her mind is preoccupied.  She does not react or respond  spontaneously to what is around her, or else she does so in a manner "out of proportion to the provocation." Neurosis divorces one from proper perception and narrows it to a more and more reduced field. Here is the confluence of hypnosis and neurosis.  The pre-hypnotic neurotic is already in a hypnotic state.  She doesn't have far to go.

>> I highlighted the 1st sentence above. To some degree, we probably all suffer from this. But seldom working optimally does not mean not working at all. We might do quite well, despite often finding ourselves preoccupied. Life is never easy. We are challenged all the time by the world we live in. But we can still get on top of it all, despite our flaws. Art would disagree. We are hopeless by his accounting, unless we get primal therapy. He describes the most severe form of "seldom working properly." Art implies, says I, that we are all in a hypnotic state already. I say, many, even most, are in a hypnotic state, but not all. This is where Art and I differ.

What is more, I find most of his primal patients are not much brighter than what they were before beginning treatment. Art forgot about that problem. What he turns out for results can and does reflect on him. As well, what he typically attracts for followers who have not had treatment, also reflects on him. Oops, there it is!

If the hypnotic trance is only a specialized demonstration of the neurotic state, then its depth corresponds to the degree of neurosis.  Rather than descending into a trance, as the word "depth" implies, hypnosis makes plain just how far down the levels of consciousness neurosis exists.

The illusion is that the trance is "achieved" by hypnosis, when in fact it is only illustrated by it. We will see this more clearly as we examine the nature of suggestion and suggestibility, on which hypnosis inevitably depends, and which utilize the neurotic split in consciousness rather than dialectically integrate it. Here again, there is no dialectic process, as it must be whenever a symptom is take for THE problem instead of a manifestation of a problem. There is of course here no mention of pain or motivation for the addiction of smoking. It is simply a given to be stamped out. It is purely a mechanical approach.

>> Here is where I will dispute Art yet again. Art suggests or will, that hypnosis is no unusual state. I have already shown, I believe, that some of the states some are taken to through hypnosis or experience without hypnosis are not ordinary states. Life a car for me or ignore a limb blown to pieces immediately, without time for a hypnotic session or without an emergency situation present, and then I will concede to Arthur that he is right. That a man could go back to his 12th day after birth is no small feat in my book, if he did that. No illusion at all. Hypnosis is not fully answered or explained by Art and his narrow definitions.

As well, Art never addresses hypnosis by itself. It always has to be clarified that the pain is still there and causing problems. So let me address that after the next paragraph by Art.<<

I explore hypnosis in some detail because it has a lot to do with our understanding of the nature of reality. For if a hypnotist puts a cold coin on your hand and suggests that it is hot, and you then develop a blister, where is reality? In your head, your hand, or in the mind of the hypnotist? Is reality what we think? Can you change reality by what we think? Can we therefore think our way to health. Is sickness all in our head? (as my friend says, “Where else would it be?”)

-------------------------
[1] Edwin, Many Memories Retrieved with Hypnosis are Accurate, American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 36:3, January 1994, pp. 174-176.

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>> Art says that as long as the pain resides in us, nothing has been accomplished. Wow! that is saying a lot. Please allow me to demolish that stupid idea once and for all. If through an intellectual examination of my life and behavior, I make changes that keep my out of prison when I might have ended up in it, or made me a far better parent or husband, or kept me from killing someone or engaging in crime that would have led to my death, can we say my changes were of no impact???

If it saves my life or that of others, no impact? Makes life much better for others and myself, no impact? Lessens the harm I inflict on the world, no impact? What Art totally fails to admit is that a change in thought and direction can have as great an impact on our lives and those of others, as anything Art will ever accomplish in treating someone with his therapy. A change of a thought or belief in the mind can make a world of difference. Art is oblivious to this FACT! If we do not eliminate the deep traumatic pain within, which I do not dispute the existence of, nor the benefit of getting rid of, then Art says we have failed, totally.

I assume you can see how amazingly stupid that is. A change in thought may not "feel" like much, but it does sometimes produce astounding results. Ideas matte! Beliefs matter. Beliefs can literally kill you. Just ask those who died at the hands of Jim Jones, if you can. I am sure they would have something to say about it all, to Art.

To Art, the cortex, more specifically the intellect, by the way he dismisses it, cause it does not eliminate primal pain; to Art, it means absolutely nothing. That is why so many of his fans despise the intellect. Even some of his patients despise it. Maybe many do. I know of no survey on the matter, but I'd sure love to see one. Art only presents a very limited narrow view, which only allows good to be admitted if primal pail was released. Well, since he is making the rules, he figures he can do as he pleases. But I do not agree. If he also would like some credibility, he needs to admit the great potential and great results that have often been obtained by people, with or without conventional therapies and hypnosis.

I say, you do not need a therapist, but I say that from my standpoint. Mine might be unique so I can not speak for others. But if they need help, and that does seem to often be the case, then let them seek it out. If they are sincere, nearly any help or search will produce some benefit. Primal Pain would be nice to get rid of but the costs, not just in money but time and so many other factors, is far out of the reach of most and what is more, I question if Art is really the man to do it. I have high expectations of the type of person a therapist should be and Art does not meet my expectations. Yours may differ. Alice Miller seemed weary of him, too. That, to me, is no small rejection.<<


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On Hypnosis (Part 10/26)     Monday, July 25, 2011
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Not everyone can go into a hypnotic trance, salivate at the "sight" of imaginary fudge, or be hypnotically transported into the past. For those who can go into a hypnotic trance, there is great variation in the depth and type of trance manifested. What produces a trance in the first place? What accounts for what occurs during the trance and for variations in it? Furthermore, how to explain age regression and so-called past-lives regression in hypnosis subjects? It seems to be a matter of the giving of suggestion and the degree of responsiveness to suggestion, also known as suggestibility.

>> I want to reemphasize how anyone can become resistant to hypnosis with a good strong intellect. In fact, in between those who resist and those very susceptible, are the various grades of susceptibility or not. Art is going to get into false memories now.<<

In hypnosis, suggestion refers to statements made by the hypnotist intended to influence the hypnotic subject. The most obvious of these are the suggestions used to induce the hypnotic trance itself. Suggestion is also the basis of a hypnosis subject's belief that hypnotism can help him in some way. Suggestibility is defined by Yapko, a leading hypnotherapist, as "an openness to accepting new ideas, new information."[1] It refers to a person's capacity to be influenced by another person, that person's words, or by hypnotic techniques employed. In the ongoing controversy within the psychotherapeutic community over the retrieval of repressed memories of childhood abuse, suggestibility is central to the question of how to distinguish between a real memory and a "pseudo-memory" which may have been elicited, "implanted," or suggested by a psychotherapist.

In a 1982 study, Robert A. Baker showed how easily most "normal human subjects" can be hypnotized as well as "persuaded" to "remember" their prior incarnations. Sixty undergraduates were hypnotized with the intent of age-regressing them to previous lifetimes. They were divided into three groups of 20 each. Prior to being hypnotized, members of each group had been told they were participating in a study of relaxation and had listened to taped suggestions either supportive of or condemning the idea of past-lives therapy. Of the group exposed to supportive comments, 17 of 20 later reported returning to "another life" while under hypnosis. Of the group members exposed to a taped message which ridiculed past-lives therapy, only two did so. In discussing this study, Baker came to a number of conclusions:

* If subjects expected to have a past-life experience, they did, and if they did not expect to have one, they did not;

* The idea of having lived before seems both appealing and powerful;

* Most hypnosis subjects are highly suggestible and easily influenced by the hypnotist's tone of voice, manner, and attitudes; and

* Rather than evidencing the reality of reincarnation, past-lives regression is "the result of suggestions made by the hypnotist, expectations held by the subjects, and the demand characteristics of the hypnoidal relationship."[2]

Suggestion is the hypnotherapist's principal tool. Suggestibility on the part of the subject makes him "open" to the hypnotist's suggestive ideas. In the absence of suggestibility, a hypnotist cannot induce a trance, much less utilize the trance state for specific ends.

Using Suggestion to Induce a Hypnotic Trance

While the neurological and psychological mechanisms responsible for a successful response to suggestion are not yet established scientifically (though we may surmise what they are, as discussed below), the external effects of suggestion can be validly described:

The hypnotized individual appears to heed only the communications of the hypnotist. He seems to respond in an uncritical, automatic fashion, ignoring all aspects of the environment other than those made relevant by the hypnotist. Apparently with no will of his own, he sees, feels, smells, and tastes in accordance with the suggestions in apparent contradiction to the stimuli that impinge upon him. Even memory and awareness of self may be altered by suggestion, and the effects of the suggestions may be extended (post-hypnotically) into subsequent waking activity.[3]

Hypnosis is supposedly "induced" by the giving of suggestion. Because of this, much ado has been made in the last several decades over discovering and developing efficient hypnotic induction techniques. Of the leading hypnosis researchers, only Barber believes hypnotic induction procedures are irrelevant. The more common belief is that the techniques play an important role in establishing rapport with the subject,[4] which in turn affects how responsive the subject is to the hypnotist's later suggestions.

>> 1st, note the words uncritical and automatic highlighted just above. Those hypnotized do not seem to have a will of their own or are willing to suspend it. So if you wanted to resist, I am sure you could. But I would say there is some technique involved. The tone of the hypnotist, a calm relaxing tone, seems to induce relaxation, trust, cooperation. I would say the core/stem is being reached directly, with the cortex being bypassed.

It would appear that people easily hypnotized are also easily led in their everyday consciousness. It is indicative of a certain common type of personality. Those particularly eager to please or cooperate, will also be the ones most likely vulnerable to nearly anything suggested. I see parallels in day to day life. There are those of strong mind who think independently and then there are those who are mild, easy going, cooperative, with little will of their own. And then there are the various gradients in between those 2 extremes.

It is only right for a person to have a will of their own and it would need to be strong in order to avoid being easily overcome by another person's will. No doubt that those who want to control the masses would prefer we have little to no will of our own. Schools help to condition and develop such an attitude.

It is evident that those without a strong will of their own could be easily hypnotized and convinced to obey without question. I think it safe to say that social manipulators and controllers have gone out of their way to engineer the masses to be more vulnerable to "influence" and "suggestion" ; and without a very strong will. Keeping people uneducated and unused to thinking would also be very helpful. those in the habit of thinking would be much more problematic, wouldn't you think?

So if you were going to control others, what would you do? Maybe you can see what social engineers might attempt, in order to lessen our resistance to suggestion and make us more cooperative.<<

Ordinary hypnotic inductions begin with simple suggestions for relaxation that are easily accepted and acted upon by the subject. "You are falling into a deep sleep" is the suggestion which most readily comes to mind, with the subject's eyes focused on a shiny object dangling from a string and swinging back and forth. In the study on past-life regression mentioned above, the induction procedure began with the subject being told to fix his gaze on a spot above a ceiling lamp, while it was suggested that a "warm light globe" in the center of his head was moving slowly and systematically through his body, "warming and relaxing the muscles and melting the tension as it moved."[5] Once relaxation is evident, the hypnotist attempts to "deepen" the hypnotic trance, such as by suggesting increasing distortions in perception and memory. For example, an earlier suggestion to the subject that "Your eyelids are becoming heavier and heavier until they finally close," may now become a "challenge" suggestion than "Your eyelids are shutting tight... tighter... tighter. You cannot open them even if you try."

The next step is "utilization," or using suggestion to make the subject do certain things or be transported in a certain direction, such as to regress him into his own past. Perhaps the hypnotist says, "I want you to go back in your mind, back to a time long ago, when you first rode a bicycle, keep going back and back and back..." and so on. In one approach to inducing age regression, known as the "television technique," the subject is told to imagine a TV screen in his mind on which he will soon see a recording of an event in his life long ago. He will also be able to stop the picture if he wants, reverse or fast forward the event, and zoom in on particular details.[6]

In order to prolong a desired hypnotic effect, the hypnotist may give post-hypnotic suggestions for the subject to respond to at a later time. Post-hypnotic suggestion usually combines amnesia with the suggestion so that when the person later responds to the suggestion he has no conscious understanding of why he is doing so. For example, the subject may have been instructed to re-enter a trance state whenever he sees the hypnotist scratch his chin, wherever and whenever that may occur. Erickson reported many a subject or patient lapsing into a trance state upon encountering him at a later date – sometimes involving several years – in some unexpected social situation such as a conference or a cocktail party.

>> Hypnosis almost seems like a conditioning. Can conditioning be accomplished without hypnosis? I am sure it can and it done. Repetition, peer pressure, intimidation, and threat are just a few of the techniques that would work on many. Athletes often condition themselves to react certain ways to certain situations so that their reaction to a given situation will be automatic and fast, since they will not have time to think about it when they encounter it.

This gives us reason to ponder what we are like in normal circumstances. What I can say is that a strong, well developed, observant mind and thinking would make one quite resistant to "programming, conditioning, or herding."

Now I also find it more than interesting that Art does not like strong minds or strong intellects. Why, he seems to prefer what most controllers and manipulators prefer. And that would be an absence of intellect or a weak intellect seldom used. Ouch! That is bad company to be in! Is Arthur practicing a subtle but deliberate form of mind control? I wonder. It is said that the fruit does not fall far from the tree. It does leave me to wonder.<<

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[1] _Yapko, M.D., Trancework: An Introduction to the Practice of Clinical Hypnosis. (New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1990), p. 88.
[2] Baker, Robert A., "The Effect of Suggestion on Past-Lives Regression." American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 25(1), July 1982, 71-76.
[3] Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th Edition, 1981.
[4] "The process of discovering what your client wants and how to best reach him is the process of acquiring rapport," writes Yapko, "arising when your client feels you have an understanding of his experience." Trancework, p. 102.
[5] Baker, op cit., p. 73-74.
[6] Council on Scientific Affairs, "Scientific Status of Refreshing Recollection by the Use of Hypnosis." Journal of the American Medical Association, 253(13), April 5, 1985, pp. 1918-1923.

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On Hypnosis (Part 11/26)     Tuesday, July 26, 2011
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Views of Suggestion

While suggestion is necessary for trance, it also occurs outside of hypnosis. Most of us respond consciously and unconsciously to suggestions on a daily basis and throughout our lives. For instance, we buy certain products and choose certain brands for reasons we are not aware of, having been influenced by hypnotic suggestion used in advertising. Most children's personalities are shaped out of direct and indirect parental suggestion. The parent tells the child to "be good" or "keep quiet," or throws her a look to the same effect. The child obeys "if she knows what's good for her." Trying to please her parent or to avoid punishment, she cooperates. She is no longer spontaneous; instead her behavior adheres to the parent's instructions. Many of us grow up "not ourselves," more intent on "not making waves" and catering to other people's desires than on expressing our own individuality.

Barber contends that the fact that suggestion operates in everyday life is precisely the point which invalidates the concept of a special hypnotic state. Yapko agrees: "The trance state is a state differing from everyday mental experience only by degrees and not kind...there are no clear demarcations from the usual state to the trance state."[1] "Trance logic," or the hypnosis subject's unquestioning acceptance of suggested reality, no matter how illogical it may be, also occurs outside of hypnosis. It happens when a person lacks the critical thinking ability to objectively analyze whether something is "real" or not, such as when someone fervently believes in Heaven or in his guru's prophecy that Armageddon is coming.

According to Barber's research, trance is not necessary to elicit hypnotic-type responses – but suggestion and credibility are:

"When hypnotic induction procedures are helpful, it is not because the subject is in a "trance" or "hypnotized" in the popular sense of these terms. Instead the evidence indicates that they are helpful when they reduce the subjects' critical attitudes toward the suggestions and thus help them accept the suggestions as believable and harmonious with their own ongoing cognitions. Although hypnotic induction procedures are effective in reducing critical attitudes in some subjects, more ordinary procedures are often equally effective. Non-hypnotic procedures that have been shown to produce a high level of responsiveness to suggestions, presumably by reducing critical attitudes, include (a) exhorting subjects to try their best to imagine those things that are suggested ("task motivational instructions") and (b) urging subjects to put aside their critical attitudes and to let themselves "think with" the suggested themes."[2]

For Barber the essence of suggestion as a behavior-shaping force is credibility, and credibility requires a reduction in critical and evaluative abilities. Thus, any technique which achieves this – be it exhortations, urgings, or mild advice – could be called a hypnotic induction technique. Charismatic politicians, among others, can induce a sort of waking trance in some people, making them feel hopeful when a sober analysis of reality might lead to very different emotions. Barber additionally reports that suggestion has been shown to successfully block the skin reactions normally produced by poison ivy-like plants; to give rise to localized skin inflammation that had the specific pattern of a previously experienced burn; and to cure warts and stimulate breast development in adult women. He hypothesized that "'believed-in suggestions,' which are incorporated into ongoing cognitions, affect blood supply in the localized areas" to produce the above phenomena. Here the key term is "believed-in suggestions." I shall discuss the role of ideas in altering behavior in subsequent chapters.

>> This Part 11 of 26 is vital info. It shows possible vulnerability to "suggestion" and "manipulation." Note above that reduction or elimination of critical and evaluative abilities are what enable some to suggest or manipulate. Many effective "influencers" will bypass reason in favor of taping into feelings, core feelings. Advertisers are great for this. Advertisers often aid politicians. Advertisers want to tap into warm positive feelings or other times, make you avoid something by tapping into fears. They seek to set off your feelings since this is the best way to manipulate you.

I suspect that effective hypnotists also try to tap into feelings so they can get more control. Again, bypassing the intellect is the goal. Getting to feelings is the goal. Feelings often go right to our core/stem. Music has been effectively used to arouse feelings. People are often more motivated by feelings than thinking. What controllers, influencers, and manipulators can (unintentionally, of course) teach us is where our vulnerabilities are.

This is why I stress that feelings must be brought under control and disciplined. If we "condition" our feelings, our stem, to restrain itself, then we can be less vulnerable and more resistant to being manipulated and taken advantage of by politicians and advertisers, not to mention, clever psychologists ;-) We need to get very used to and conditioned to 2nd guessing and questioning our feelings and desires. for manipulators of all types continually aim at our deep core feelings. they know this is the weak spot in human nature.

For Christians, I offer this additional warning. God's adversary and ours, too, the devil, knows our vulnerabilities, too, and he knows them far better than our best human manipulators. Satan may even be guiding some of these humans in this direction. So we want to be on guard, guarding our "hearts" as the Bible puts it. Our feelings are our weakness.

I am not saying feelings are bad, but they must be brought under control, even as we try to bring all our abilities under control, such as our motor control of muscles, and all aspects of mind and body. We take inventory of our selves and take control of it all. Imagine trying to run a company and not know anything about the company, good or bad. How effective will we be doing that? Not very! We must become aware and then develop control so that we can effectively direct the company, or ourselves, too.<<

For Erickson, suggestion was an important element in inducing trance. He agreed with Barber that suggestions had to be believed in and incorporated in order to be effective.
But he focuses not so much on getting the subject to believe as on evoking and utilizing the subject's own innate potentials.
In contrast to Barber, Erickson viewed hypnotic suggestion as something qualitatively different from non-hypnotic suggestion – a means of communicating new, therapeutic ideas that would block or alter old, non-therapeutic ideas:

"Ordinary, everyday, non-hypnotic suggestions are acted upon because we have evaluated them with our usual conscious attitudes and found them to be an acceptable guide for our behavior, and we carry them out in a voluntary manner. Hypnotic suggestion, by contrast, is different in that the patient is surprised to find that experience and behavior are altered in a seemingly autonomous manner; experience seems to be outside one's usual sense of control and self-direction."[3]

For Erickson, trance is a special state that facilitates the acceptance of suggestion. For Barber, trance is a fallacious term for procedures that reduce critical faculties and thereby facilitate the acceptance of suggestion. However, both view the acceptance of suggestion as a process involving the reduction of conscious mental processes in one way or another. Suggestion, therefore, is a matter of the mind, of suspending the subject's critical thinking. The trick is to carefully word something and present suggestions in such a way that they are accepted by the mind and then acted upon by both mind and body – so that the hypnosis subject will begin salivating as she gets ready to take imaginary pieces of divinity fudge from an imaginary tray.

>> I find the contrast between Barber and Erickson interesting. Both agree on the need to reduce conscious mental processes. Need I say more? Get that damn brain out of the way so we can do what we want with this patient! But within this discussion, I see something else. We carry many beliefs in our heads about what works or does not. If we believe something is impossible, we will not try to do the impossible. Problem is, what if it is not impossible and it was only our thinking that said it was.

An example! In 1900, the prevailing opinion published everywhere was that heavier than air flight of man was impossible. FACT! Never mind that geese and turkeys were certainly heavier than air and still flew. But the Wright Brothers did not "believe" that was true. They probably recognized what geese and turkeys did. They believed that if one used the right approach, they should be able to solve the problem and fly. That, they did!

So our expectations and belief systems have a very powerful effect on us. Tony Robbins deals with this aspect quite a bit in his seminars and "crusades." So how do you get someone to reconsider or even change their beliefs about something? This is the struggle that Barber and Erickson address. How do you suggest something new or different to a patient. Both try to tap the patient's innate potentials. But Erickson saw hypnosis as more than Barber did. Erickson saw a difference between hypnotic and non-hypnotic suggestion and I agree with him.

Erickson sought to enable a trance that might let him get around what people thought or believed about something. How do you get someone to re-consider something? This kind of suggestibility is another matter. But I believe Erickson was not fully understanding the problem. bypassing the intellect, which holds false ideas is part of the goal, perhaps. But as well, to enable the patient to see something differently.

Many times a therapist will lull a patient into a state where the patient will finally consider other possibilities from what he or she has previously experienced. If you were raised without love or worse, learned that everyone was only seeking their own selfish gain and no one would be nice or fair to you, then you might not trust anyone ever. I have known people who suspected the worst of everyone else, always. they did not believe anyone could do otherwise. They were wrong, but you would never be able to convince them and get them to let their guard down and trust.

But not all people seek or attempt to hurt or misuse. One has to be able to consider both possibilities in each person individually. Hypnotists do not reason, they just get the guard down and suggest, being in direct communication, so to speak, with the stem, the "heart." But some psychologists have put patients at ease and gotten them to consider other possibilities. The therapist made the patient "feel" that they could trust, let their guard down, and reconsider what they "believed." Again, Tony Robbins tries to do this, too.

Perhaps one of the better examples or explanations is demonstrated by NatGeo's Dog Whisperer, Caesar Milan. Caesar is great for emphasizing that a dog must be in the right frame of mind before he can be controlled or instructed. Caesar tells people that they must be in a calm confident assertive state to get a dog in a calm submissive state. The owner must have the right attitude and poise. And dogs much more easily recognize our states, as well.

Humans are much the same. We need to be in a receptive state to learn or listen. But we also need to evaluate it after, to see if it holds up. But there are times when we need to let our guard down some. We need to dare to take a chance or trust. The demeanor of the "teacher" or therapist must be one that induces us to let our guard down enough to be reasoned with. A hypnotist with their voice and instruction, often bypasses the obstacles so as to be able to give suggestions and effect changes, if only for the temporary.

But one can also do this without hypnosis. That is why Tony Robbins does. He uses conditioning. He tires to get a person to do something they previously thought impossible. If he can get them to do this, it will often be a life changing experience. For once they find out that some of their beliefs are wrong, they begin to re-evaluate all their beliefs. That is what we all want to do. We have been on auto-pilot and not questioned life and so we need to begin that process at some point in our lives. Many will go their their graves, having never done this.

Erickson uses a certain state of trance to do it. Some use reason. Some can put others at ease so that the mind can be reasoned with. What works on some will not work on others. Each person must be reached on their own terms. But most can be reached with emotions. That is what manipulators count on. So Erickson sees a trance as the way. Robbins sees it another way. A psychologist develops a rapport with the patient. Rapport is an interesting word, originating in Old French, which comes from Latin, meaning "to bring back."

But getting a person to change their mind is not easy. That we can probably agree with. Hypnosis can accomplish temporary fixes. Maybe once in a while bring about a permanent change. But the best way to change a mind, is to do so consciously, with reason, and maybe with a little rapport as well. A teacher needs to be a decent compassionate person, really. There is no better way. Hypnosis makes people feel they can "trust" the instructor, the hypnotist. But without reaching the intellect, it may only work for a short time. Or relieving and releasing primal pain, as is Arthur's difficult, but preferred way.

Or put another way, there is more than one way around the barn. Different strokes for different folks.<<

-------------------------
[1] Trancework, p. 140.
[2] T.X. Barber, "Hypnosis, Suggestions, and Psychosomatic Phenomena: A New Look from the Standpoint of Recent Experimental Studies," American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 1979, pp. 13-25.
[3] Erickson, et al., Hypnotic Realities, p. 20.

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On Hypnosis (Part 12/26)     Monday, August 1, 2011
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Views of Suggestibility

The degree to which a person responds to suggestions is variously termed suggestibility, hypnotizability, hypnotic responsiveness, and hypnotic susceptibility. Research in this area has gone in two particular directions: attempts to develop scales that reliably "measure" hypnotizability, and attempts to correlate degree of hypnotizability with specific personality traits and characteristics (such as intelligence, mental status, and imagination). Interestingly enough, there has been some success in developing reliable measurement scales but almost no success in correlating personality characteristics with hypnotizability.

Measurements on the scales that have been developed to measure “hypnotizability” – The Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale, and the Barber Suggestibility Scale – seem to indicate that most people are susceptible to minor hypnotic phenomena, while about 1 out of every 4 persons is capable of a profound hypnotic response. Gender makes no difference in responsiveness, but age does. Apparently we are most hypnotizable when children, so surely characteristics particular to childhood (such as an active fantasy life and a willingness to follow directions) must play a role in hypnotizability. According to Hilgard, this is true. Although the evidence is sketchy and contradictory, it seems that the factor of imagination can be correlated with hypnotizability: people who were highly imaginative as children are more easily hypnotized as adults.[1] Hilgard explains:

The hypnotizable person is one who has rich subjective experiences in which he can become deeply involved...He is interested in the life of the mind...He is willing to accept impulses from within and is not afraid to relinquish reality testing for a time. He does not appear to be a weak or dependent person; evidence indicates that more troubled, withdrawn, or neurotic individuals do not generally make as good subjects as normal outgoing individuals.

...Interviews with hundreds of subjects, before and after induction of hypnosis, have pointed to the importance of early childhood experiences. Experiences of a particular kind appear to either generate or maintain the abilities that enter into hypnotizability. A capacity to become deeply involved in imaginative experiences derives from parents who are themselves deeply involved in such areas as reading, music, religion, or the aesthetic appreciation of nature.[2]  

>> I will try to interpret this just above. It sounds like bold individuals who are outgoing and also willing to accept and act on suggestions, at least for a time, and rich in imagination and fantasy make for good hypnotic subjects. Is there an element of escapism in that? Boldness to reconsider social norms? Child like is important. Children accept direction much more readily. That is how God (or evolution, if you prefer) intended it. Then later, we re-evaluate, to see what holds up and what fails the test of reason. Children, if they have not been harmed, are more innocent and trusting.

But I wonder about troubled individuals. Are they less hypnotizable or simply require a hypnotist who works harder to gain trust and rapport before trying to make moves? Maybe it is the skill of thee hypnotist that matters more than the patient. Just suggesting ;-) <<

But that's not all. Hilgard goes on to mention (and "mention" is all) that adults who were abused as children are also more hypnotizable:

A history of punishment may produce hypnotizability in either (or both) of two ways: first, through instilling a habit of automatic and unquestioned obedience; second, through a tendency to escape the harassment by moving off into a realm of imagination, thus practicing the dissociations that are later to be used in hypnosis.[3] [Italics added]  

>> Ah, I was right. Escapism is part of it. Conditioning of automatic and unquestioned obedience is also part of it. Indeed, conditioning is much like hypnosis except that it is probably more lasting and permanent than hypnosis. My sense is that Arthur likes automatic and unquestioned responses and gets mad and insults if you dare question him. Again, this arouses my suspicion, not confidence, in him. He has not understood this or does not care. That, too, is of concern to me.<<

Hilgard's point of view here provides a very interesting polarity regarding hypnotizability. On one hand there is the very healthy individual who "has rich subjective experiences in which he can become deeply involved." On the other hand is the severely abused individual who allows hypnosis out of the habit of "unquestioned obedience" and dissociative responses still lingering from childhood.

>> I think it may be that in the "healthy" individual, the escapist tendencies of imagination may actually result from unrecognized abuse. In either case, dissociation aids hypnotists and manipulators. Many kids in school are continually subjected to intensely negative and harsh peer environments, which create dissociative tendencies and many be damn near Post-Traumatic-Stress-disorder level in the intensity of their experience. In other words, schools are excellent in creating kids who will be easier to manipulate and control due to extreme abuse from peers that schools make no effort to control, almost as if by design. Imagine that!<<

Barber's views on hypnotizability are quite different from Hilgard's. He points out that of the 60 or more studies that have investigated personality characteristics in relation to hypnotizability, the results are either negative (no relationship between personality and hypnotizability) or conflicting (one study finds a relationship, another does not). For example, one study found a positive correlation between "neuroticism" and hypnotizability (i.e., the more neurotic, the more hypnotizable), while another study found a negative correlation (i.e., the more neurotic, the less hypnotizable). Several other studies found no relationship whatsoever (i.e., neurosis does not affect hypnotizability in either direction).[4] Moreover, Barber does not agree with Hilgard that imagination or any other personality characteristic contributes to hypnotizability. For Barber, the research indicates only that (1) two people with very different personalities may be equally hypnotizable, and (2) two people with very similar personalities may vary drastically in their susceptibility to hypnosis. To explain this dilemma Barber suggests that either we don't yet have the tools to tap the aspects of personality related to hypnosis, or personality plays only a very minor role in it. Perhaps, he suggests, it is the situation rather than the personality that ultimately determines degree of hypnotic responsiveness.

>> My own opinion on this dispute is that researchers are not very good at distinguishing common elements in what appear to be contradicting findings. I believe this is where sensitive feelings of intuition may help guide an intellect toward a proper finding. And most academics are not very good at this. Myself, I find Hilgard much more convincing than Barber. I find Barber to be more of a "turd in the punch bowl." He is just there to cause confusion and doubt.

It seems that Hilgard and Barber are presenting opposite viewpoints. Hilgard's view of hypnotizability is an intradynamic, static one: the person's internal imaginative capacities largely determine a degree of hypnotic responsiveness that remains fairly constant over time. Barber's view, on the other hand, is an interdynamic, fluctuational one: the hypnotic situation, together with what the person wants, feels, and expects in that situation, determines a responsiveness that varies from one situation and time to the next.

Erickson's view of hypnotizability combined some of both. Although he stated that "anyone who can be socialized can be hypnotized," he also believed that external factors such as the skill of the hypnotist and the amount of time taken for hypnotic "training" were important considerations. More important, however, was the subject's own willingness to experience hypnosis. This willingness constituted the single most important factor in the acceptance of suggestion. In fact, willingness was more important than trance in the matter of suggestibility. "Trance," wrote Erickson, "does not ensure the acceptance of suggestion"[5] – but willingness does.

>> Erickson seems to suggest what I have. There is more than one way around the barn. And the person most willing to obey is the easiest one to command, of course. If you are a commander of an army unit, do you want rebellious soldiers? No, you want those who show a willingness to obey, especially if you want them to run into a hail of bullets. It just makes sense, right?<<

Yapko discusses a related factor: the relationship between self-esteem and hypnotizability. In his view, a person with low self-esteem is more likely than someone with high self-esteem to give another person power to influence him, such as through the use of suggestion. Lacking a strong sense of self, this individual's high suggestibility makes it easy for him to be strongly influenced by someone else's values or dictates.[6] Yapko also mentions the "need for acceptance," which may be particularly strong among those with low self-esteem and which may predispose them to be good (suggestible) hypnosis subjects. The subject has sought the hypnotist's help and implicitly believes that hypnosis can be helpful. Since he views the hypnotist as an authoritative individual who can offer perspective, advice, and possibly solutions for what ails him or her, he is predisposed to accept the hypnotist's suggestions.

>> What Yapko is suggesting is that confidence and independence make hypnotism difficult. The opposite of confidence and independence is low self-esteem and need for acceptance. What this is better known as, is LEVERAGE. When trying to control someone, you need leverage over them. In the political world, they often use blackmail, intimidation, cutting off funding, threatening bad press, offering bribes and perks; all to effect some leverage over the candidate or office holder. Leverage is what is the common denominator that all manipulators and controllers use. You want something and they can give it to you for a price, if you are willing to pay that price. Leverage! Remember it well!<<

Also to be taken into account is the hypnotist's reputation, which can contribute to suggestibility. People would come from all over the world to be hypnotized by Milton Erickson, for instance. According to Yapko, "Many of them came thousands of miles to be put in a trance by him, and into a trance they went!" Furthermore, there is an emotional component to an individual's expectations regarding hypnosis. "The more emotional investment the person has in that expectation," writes Yapko, "the less likely he is to experience anything that contradicts it...When people invest money, hope, and time in something, they desperately want it to work, even if 'only a little.'"[7]

>> Now art should know a little bit about "reputation." On his blog, he enjoys a reputation as the sole professor of his discovery for which he claims no one else is good enough to practice or even know. I call reputation, "celebrity." If you have celebrity or reputation, you can often get by on that alone, and not have to supply solid reason with it. Your reputation and celebrity do the work for you. This is actually a form of "Authority." Authority is used as the reason for trust or obedience. No reason or logic is given. Only Authority is claimed and you should accept that authority because it is authority. But I say, authority is not a reason or is bad reason.

Art relies on authority and celebrity/reputation on his blog. Anyone who disagrees is blocked/censored/silenced; or attacked as neurotic and incapable of ability to question or know. Authority is definitely a factor in hypnosis or any attempt to gain obedience of, and control over people. But it must be said that solid results do give solid support for reputation. In other words, reputations are often legitimately obtained and maintained. They get results because there is skill and knowledge there to begin with. And it can stand up to being disputed or questioned. Silence and censorship are not needed.

What is most difficult for anyone with a new idea is to get people to consider your idea, based on solid reason and supporting evidence. Most do not like to "risk" using their brains and making their own evaluations and judgment. They depend upon the establishment of authority and reputation. But smart people know reputations can be fabricated and faked. A newspaper or TV can say anything. It does not make it so. But for many, seeing it on TV or in the paper is enough to believe it is true. they are enamored of authority. TV is an authority in their eyes because it is a celebirty seen and beheld by all.

So what it boils down to is that we need to make sure that our intellects are sharp and capable of thinking, evaluating, and judging, so that we do not need to rely on authority and celebrity. Otherwise, you are screwed, big time.<<

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[1] Lynn and Nash (Jan. 1994) maintain that "increased fantasy and decreased objectivity" underlie suggestibility. ("Truth in memory: ramifications for psychotherapy and hypnotherapy." American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 36(3), 194-208.) In a study by Segal and Lynn (1992-93), it was asserted that a link exists between imagination, fantasy, and dissociation. ("Predicting dissociative experiences: imagination, hypnotizability, psychopathology, and alcohol use." Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 12, 287-300.) According to Lynn and Rhue (1988), the majority of fantasy-prone persons are highly hypnotizable." ("Fantasy proneness: hypnosis, developmental antecedents, and psychopathology." American Psychologist, 43, 35-44.
[2] Hilgard, et al., Introduction to Psychology, pp. 175-176.
[3] Ibid., p. 176.
[4] Barber, Hypnosis, p. 93.
[5] Erickson, et al., Hypnotic Realities, p. 228.
[6] In some instances, responding to suggestions (while hypnotized or awake), people have even confessed to crimes they did not commit. "When persons are uncertain about what they did or did not do and come to distrust their memories," write Lynn and Nash, "they are particularly vulnerable to suggestive and coercive influences." ("Truth in memory: ramifications for psychotherapy and hypnotherapy." American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 36(3), Jan. 1994, 194-208. Edwin adds: "It is well known that people are suggestible in the waking state and more so in hypnosis, and alert or in trance they can produce a "memory" that is called for or suggested by an authority figure. This is suggestion, not therapy." ("Many memories retrieved with hypnosis are accurate." American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 36(3), Jan. 1994, 174-176.)
[7] Trancework, pp. 127-128, pp. 91-98.

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On Hypnosis (Part 13/26)     Tuesday, August 2, 2011
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My Interpretation of Suggestion and Suggestibility

Statements such as, "You feel drowsy," "Your eyes are getting heavy," and "You are going into a deep sleep" have no inherent power to cause or induce drowsiness. So why do they have this power in the hypnotic setting? It seems that a number of conditions have to be operating for this to occur.

First, the subject has to trust the person offering the suggestions.
Second, the subject has to want it to work (Erickson's willingness factor, Yapko's "investment" of time, money, and hope).
And third, he has to believe that the hypnotist's pronouncement of the words will produce the expected result. It appears that hypnotic suggestions are accepted only when there is a predisposition to accept them.

But why would a person wish to put himself at the disposal of another's suggestion? Most neurotics are simply bone weary. The chance to relax in the safety of another's care is just too enticing to bypass. Indeed it might take more effort not to succumb to hypnotic suggestion than to do so. When presented with an authority figure whose very demeanor speaks to unmet need (it is simple, soothing, reassuring, direct and directing), the critical brain may have a very hard time staying out "in front" or "on top." Having someone else do the thinking and the suggesting are pleasures for which most neurotics have waited a lifetime.

>> These are very good points. But I suggest one more. Our entire society sanctions psychotherapy as authentic and genuine. With such overwhelming support, we dare not doubt. But maybe we ought to start doubting. But clearly, what can be sometimes achieved by hypnosis can not just be written off or ignored. In the right person, there is power in this technique and there is still the fact that we are vulnerable to suggestion, whether through hypnosis or otherwise.<<

Moreover, accepting suggestion may be all that many people have ever done. Hypnosis simply provides another situation in which to re-enact and perpetuate their suggestibility (which is really their dependency). Surrendering to a parental figure who you feel has some quasi-magical ability to do things for you without your having to think for yourself may represent the chance to finally have something which was denied when it was more appropriately needed – as a child. In fact, the actions and suggestions of the hypnotist conjure up in my mind the picture of an attentive, caring, loving parent sitting on the child's bed at the end of a day and encouraging him to "Go to sleep...sleep well...sweet dreams."

>> My "suggestion" (aren't I a funny guy?) is that wanting "love" is really not a bad thing. We just have to be careful we do not sell our souls to get it. Remember that leverage thing? Art almost seems to ridicule it. The human being deserves some compassion and understanding. The Bible commands love. I guess most Bible haters can't stand that concept but if one must always speak of healing, I don't see any way around love. But love is not love unless it is without any selfish interests when it is given. But for Christians, maybe you can see why God commands you to love, unselfishly and most importantly.

To be fair, in this paragraph of his just above, Art is not really saying anything bad. In other places in books or whatever, he sometimes seems callous.<<

As a child is the key because the hypnotized person is childlike. As Erickson noted earlier, the hypnotic subject is naive, pliant, open to direction, literal-minded, non-analytic, and uncritical. The crucial question is, does hypnotic suggestion actually create childlike behavior, or does it simply elicit the child still inherent in the adult neurotic? I take the latter position because, as I have argued, you have to be psychologically still a child to be hypnotizable in the first place.

Still being a child means still being run by the needs of childhood which were neglected, denied, or abused. It doesn't matter how seemingly adult the person may be in everyday life. Indeed, seemingly adult behavior may only be a way of defending against the pressing childish need. Even though two people react differently to deprivation in childhood and have radically different personalities, they may both be susceptible to hypnosis because of the deprivation.

>> Arthur makes one of the most important points that could ever be made in life. Many many people are really still children deep inside. Because they did not receive the right love at the right time, and, may I add, which Art leaves out; the guidance, instruction, teaching, training, and preparation which a child needs to grow into adulthood and maturity. Yes, we need to love the intellect of the child and feed it, nourish it. Knowledge must be accompanied by love as well. You can not have one without the other. But that also means that if you do not teach, though you still love, you leave them vulnerable to not knowing. They are born wanting to know and expecting to know and your duty is to teach them to know.

How ironic that most leaders among mankind, manipulators, controllers, false shepherds, blind guides, wolves in sheep's clothing, do not want any of us to be able to think and reason. They like us dumb and immature, naive, vulnerable. The world is truly against us. If you love your kids, you will teach them all this and much more. If you do not know it yourself, you will have to learn fast.<<

The neurotic is "not all there" in his everyday life. To be fully present would mean feeling his repressed Pain. To avoid this he becomes heavily engaged in living out the post-hypnotic (post-dissociation) suggestions of his childhood. These suggestions were usually given indirectly, sometimes as much by what was not said as by what was. They stick in the mind, prodding away at us from the inside: "You're worthless, " "You'll never be good enough," "Lie because if you tell the truth you'll be punished," "Take care of Mommy," "Touching is for sissies," "Big boys don't cry," and on and on. These "post-neurotic" suggestions run our lives; they continue to guide us long after they were uttered or otherwise communicated to us. Susceptibility to suggestion is based on a lifetime of experiences with the subsequent dissociation needed to defend against Pain. I do not believe it is possible to hypnotize a person who is in full possession of himself, who enjoys a state of inner connection, whose thoughts are not dissociated from his feelings, and who is not engaged in battling Primal Pain and need with repression. Such a person is not in the neurotic's trance and cannot therefore be susceptible to hypnotic suggestions.

>> This is Arthur at his finest. If he stuck with this all the time instead of wasting time with claims of elitism and protectionism of his trade, he might have gotten a bit further. "Suggestions" are what I call programming and conditioning. Often, we are conditioned without a word. Note the highlighted sentence above. Yes, if a person had minimally adequate love (not optimal, though, but recommended) and a good deal of instruction and teaching, he could not be hypnotized or conditioned, either. He would be psychologically immunized. How cool, eh? But the world would not like that too much. Notice that Art leaves out the intellect and learning in that sentence. He only mentions feelings. Are you getting the picture, my friends?<<

Levels of Consciousness and Hypnosis

The third level of consciousness is the most "plastic" area of the brain. Because of this plasticity, it can be easily "deceived." It can accept as true an idea from the outside – that "Mommy loves you," or that "God is watching over you" – even when that idea is false. The first level of consciousness is not so plastic or malleable; it deals with survival functions and therefore is not as susceptible to change imposed by fluctuations in external circumstances. For example, if it were possible (which it is not) to program someone to have a continuing pulse rate of 250 through hypnotic suggestion, that person would soon die. This imperviousness of the first level is clearly a survival mechanism. As one moves up the levels of consciousness, however, the functions become more alterable, more susceptible to outer influences, and more adaptable. This, too, is in the service of survival.

>> Art says the 3rd level where the intellect resides is easily deceived. Well, if it is undeveloped and controlled from below, yes, it is easily deceived. Art does not admit any control from the 1st level of consciousness from the stem over the 3rd level. He has a grudge against the intellect, says I. But the 3rd level is very flexible and plastic. It can adapt to any sort of problem presented to it and figure it out. But my claim has always been that control of the intellect, that there even is control from elsewhere, comes from the stem, the 1st level. The intellect does not fear. The stem does! The intellect does not feel at all. It thinks and reasons. All emotions come from below. Art misses this, totally.

Now Art also suggests that the stem is does not fluctuate with changing external circumstances in any substantial ways, no doubt speaking of more permanent changes. But Art treats the 1st level stem as if it functioned alone and its impact was only in the stem. My theory is that the stem controls the intellect and can direct it and even shut it down. The activation for the conscious brain is in the stem. When the intellect ponders something that the stem fears, the intellect is well aware of those fear signals and moves away. This is the stem's command to back off and look (think) away. The intellect obeys. The stem can even demand that the intellect conjure up a line of reason to justify what the stem wants. The intellect complies.

The intellect is to blame for every rotten thing there is, by Arthur Janov's accounting. Little wonder about that. The intellect might be the biggest obstacle to Art performing his magic therapy. I will place a link to my Holistic Psychology article at the end of this article, for more on a critique of Janov's teachings. But we have seen the discussion here on hypnosis, that the intellect is the obstacle to any hypnotism, conditioning, programming, or hoodwinking, either. That Arthur so fanatically blames the intellect and thinking leaves me very suspicious of his whole practice and theory which is why I have devoted so much time to exploring his ideas more on my site.

Another reason for doing so is that my position is that the intellect is the most important thing we need to develop, for practical reasons and for religious reasons. It is God's gift to us. An attack on the intellect, is an attack on me and my beliefs, on God, and on people in general. An attack on the intellect is an attack on human nature and the welfare of all humanity. So I become a nasty adversary to this attack. Game on!!!

But when the stem is confronted with external stimuli, which all comes through the cortex with added thought input, the stem can react. The implication there is that the stem associates the input, including the thinking, with its own basic primitive powerful emotions. The 2nd level limbic system no doubt helps with this association and encoding. So the powerful feelings of the stem do not change, but what they are associated with can very much change. Our goal is to make sure we have the right associations made between our feelings and thoughts.

Implied and verified openly by me, is that we do have control or influence over how we react to our knowledge and sensory experience. We can change what we connect together internally. If our stem of feelings reacts negatively to a thought, maybe a scary thought, we can, over time, reduce, amplify, make, or eliminate any association or connection we want. The whole entire brain is plastic. Therein is the making of my Holistic Psychology, also known as the Grand Unified Theory of Psychology.

Art has denied the participation of the whole brain and blamed the intellect exclusively. I present an alternative view to that. If his argument is good, it will stand up to my challenge. If it is not, he may find people beginning to doubt him. Surely he would not object to open competition, right? ;-) <<

It is the function of third-level processes to provide us with external orientation. This means that the third level must be able to perceive as well as adapt to new conditions, events, and ideas. This adaptability can work against us as easily as it works for us, depending on what we must adapt to. The neurotic has been forced to adapt to an unreal world, a world at odds with his deepest needs and feelings. He has had to adopt false concepts about himself and the world in order to survive. For instance, for a child who does not feel loved by his mother, due to the way she treats him, it may be necessary to believe her when she says she loves him, because the full realization that his mother does not love him would be emotionally shattering. Many of us appear to have adapted well to false ideas and sick values, but there are always telltale signs that this is not really true: symptoms and illnesses, nervous habits and compulsions, depressions, anxieties, and unhappiness. Indeed we can adapt, we can continue to function – but at what price?

>> Indeed, the whole brain adapts to being denied its needs. We are all victims of ignorance and many also make excuses for not being more than they should have been. But the intellect does offer some improvement potential, if we attempt to figure out what the world is really like, and what opportunity is offered by life in general, if we dare. It will have some unpleasant things to reveal, for sure. Some decide that ignorance in bliss. I do not subscribe to that idea.<<

The second or feeling level of consciousness ideally acts as a safeguard against the plasticity of the intellect. Through our feeling responses we can evaluate and discriminate which ideas, values, courses of action, etc., we want to accept and which we want to reject. But the second level doesn't "know" in the same way that the third level knows. The second level is intuitive rather than cognitive; it is global rather than specific; and it is immediate rather than mediated. When we allow the second level its proper function, our feelings occur first and then our minds come along afterwards to articulate the feelings. In many ways, the third level of consciousness is meant to serve the second, for it is the second level that provides us with a personal sense of self. For example, it provides us with a kind of global "gut response" to such questions as, "Is this person right for me?"; "Do I want to follow this career?"; "Do I agree with this idea and want to act on it?"; "Do I want to live the way I've been living?", and so on. The third level can then articulate the gut response via specific ideas and concepts.

>> Oh, so the 2nd level protects us from the intellect. Why, isn't that nice of it! See, Art says we need protection from that mean old deceiving intellect in the 3rd level. Art says it is our feeling responses that evaluate and discriminate between ideas, action, etc. What? Are you kidding me? That is clearly a function of the intellect. Art speaks as if he had had a few drinks too many. So much does he seem to hate the intellect tat he even assigns all its good functions to feelings of the 2nd level. Unbelievable! There is clearly something wrong in his thinking. Why can't he see straight?

Now Art does speak of a gut level response from the 2nd, not 1st level, that answers the intellect. But he says the 2nd level makes the decisions, seemingly without consulting the 3rd level, the intellect, and that the intellect only defines it for the 2nd level, apparently having no say of its own for the 2nd level to consider with feelings. I say the intellect can act independently, if the 1st and 2nd level will allow it. but if they say no, then the intellect will cease following the given line of thought. At has screwed this whole thing up bad. What must be going on in his head? The thing is, those gut level responses of the 2nd level can be very wrong. He has not addressed that at all. What might feel good or offer hope, may not end up being so. The intellect might be able to discern that, if the feelings will allow it to function objectively. but if the feelings cling to hope and desire, then they will not let the intellect discourage this chance.

Feelings can be very irrational and deceiving. Our hopes, needs, and desires can lead us down all sorts of wrong paths. That is why we have an intellect. Art blames every problem of the world in the intellect. Clearly, to me, Art has major primal fears about where the intellect can lead to. So for him, the intellect is the big bad boogie man. But he rants like a madman with his irrational analysis of brain functions, getting most of it almost completely backwards. Be afraid, be very afraid.<<

When we are cut off from our gut responses – when there is a split between second and third levels – we no longer have an inner, personal source of evaluation. We are at the mercy of ideas (suggestions) with little or no way to screen them. This is why the intellect can believe it is well-adapted even when it is not, and it can believe its owner's needs are fulfilled even when they are not. This pattern of deceptive adaptation is usually well established in childhood. As children we are fed ideas that we are happy when we are not; that the family is ideal when it clearly is not; that Daddy loves us even though he is never home; that Mommy wants us even though she doesn't act like it. Out of necessity we accept these ideas, which are really commands, and we continue to function despite great Pain. Eventually we may come to believe our parents' ideas about our reality rather than believing our own experience of it. This happens because it is simply too threatening for the child to challenge the parents' views (on these matters most parents are usually quite defensive); and then it becomes too conflicting for the child to suspend himself between his own felt reality and the false reality "suggested" by his parents. At this point he gives up personal feeling for so-called parental love. He responds not to gut feelings, which have been repressed, but to what his parents tell him he should think and feel and do.

>> Art seems to think feelings are very rational and logical. What planet is he on? Better yet, what drug is that he is taking? I want some! Feelings evaluate!!! That is what he said. I thought feelings just reacted or went off. Silly me! I thought the intellect evaluated. Art says I am all wrong. I am just trying to figure out how the hell he ever came up with that. It would seem like only damned powerful hallucinogens could do that. They make LSD look tame by comparison. But ya know, the most powerful hallucinogens on earth are to be found right inside the brain. Its true! and they are hard at work in Art, I would say. If only you could market them, huh? I'd never be short of big cash!

Now I spoke of how advertisers go to our core feelings to get around the protective intellect. Art says it is our intellect that we need protection from. This absolutely contradicts the entire field and theory of hypnosis. Art does not see it. He is a world of contradiction. Hopelessly lost. What drives irrational behavior, aside from Art's explanations? Fear! Mind numbing fear! Intellects do not have feelings. They only think. That is why a scientist can make hideous weapons. He only sees it as a feat of engineering, without any accompanying feelings.

Now what happens when we are told we are loved, when we are really not? the feelings are too much to bear. So they tell the intellect, find a way to deny the pain and fear. We don't want to believe we are not loved. So the feelings tell the brain to suspend critical analysis and just accept what is told to us, though it is very  hard to believe.

Lets look at the last highlighted section above. The child experiences leverage against his own feelings. He sacrifices his own internal feelings in order to prevent angering his parents or alienating them, or getting punished by them. He is basically threatened or sees potential implied threats and so backs off. He decides that he can not survive without their care so he is trapped. Does he choose this consciously? No! The feelings move him around and dictate. The intellect was long ago eliminated from this process. It is gut feeings that made this whole decision. Art says gut feelings had nothing to do with it.

You know, it is like Arthur is not even talking about hypnosis anymore at this point or any lessons learned about hypnosis. He has entered an alternate universe in his own mind. It is nearly a psychotic reaction or complete dissociation with reality. I think he needs a therapist, myself. But one that deals with ideas, not irrational impulses that seem to be pushing Art all over the place. What ever he is running and hiding from, it is one massive internal struggle that scrambles his brain completely. It as as I write this now that I come to believe that he no longer has any serious credibility as a scientist or logician. It  is very disturbing. And this man says he is the only one on earth that can help you with his specialized psychotherapy he calls Primal Therapy. I borrow this phrase: Physician, heal thyself! I note that this is numbered Part 13. Hey, I'm not superstitious, but that is coincidently disturbing ;-)

At this point, I would not advise treatment with Arthur or his supervising the Primal Center staff. Until he can actually correct some of his warped logic, I would say there might be more danger than I had ever before discerned. A sound mind is something that should be obtained by anyone who claims to be fairly healed. I can not discern a sound mind or sound reason. Of course, it could be that I am the mad one. Any things is possible, I suppose. You be the judge and do not take my word for anything. You can do it. You have what every human being has, an intellect capable of anything that you want to do with it.<<

Without a solidified third level – that is, without the reality concepts adults have – children are easily able to accept someone else's version of reality. That is precisely why fairy tales are so effective for children: they love entering fantasized worlds in which reality changes with each word. Whether it is harmless fantasy or harmful parental attitudes, the child is wide open to believing it. The fact that children are more hypnotizable than adults also suggests that for the adult, hypnosis depends upon third-level disengagement.

>> Art is right that children are susceptible and vulnerable to nearly anything fed to their minds. They are in a trusting receptive mode, and they usually only trust their parents and that puts them at the mercy of the parents if the parents screw up. It is a serious responsibility to be a parent. The lives and fates of our children rest in our hands.

Note that last highlighted piece. It is and is not true. Adults have gained enough knowledge that hypnosis should be impossible without disengagement. But then again, Art says most adults are still somewhat child like. They should be smarter but they are not. Our world has kept them dumbed down. So in reality, they are not very qualified to be parents, but that does not prevent breeding from taking place. But I would say that adults still depend on 3rd level, cortex/intellectual disengagement in order for hypnosis to work well.

On the other hand, if what I have experienced in my own life is interpreted by me correctly, then we might wonder about what is possible, even without hypnosis.<<

In the adult, a false reality can be imposed over actual reality via the same mechanism that allows parents to impose false family realities on their children: third level disengagement.[1] Indeed, the adult becomes more childlike when hypnotized precisely because the hypnotist is addressing the intact child-brain without the interference of the reality-oriented adult brain. What this really means is that the hypnotic relationship re-enacts the neurotic paradigm: the hypnotist speaks to the subject and asks him to follow his instructions and suggestions, just as the neurotic parents did when the person was a child.

>> Note that Arthur says the 3rd level is disengaged in order for delusions or illusions to take place, or for an adult to be hypnotized. So deception involves eliminating the intellect. Am I not right? But did we not just read a couple paragraphs back that it was the 3rd level that was doing the deceiving? Am I wrong? I am right, am I not? Arthur can not write 3 straight paragraphs without brutally contradicting himself. Is he sane? I got my doubts. He certainly can not reason in a consistent manner, that I can see. Maybe you readers could enlighten me, for I am only a mad man, by Art's accounting, I suspect. And to think this is presented as well thought out, years in the research and making science, by the highly esteemed Dr. Janov. What the hell is going on?

But honestly, Art's early work was far better than his latter work. Something snapped in the 90s and now we have this from him. it is quite sad, really. I see now what Alice Miller ran like hell.<<

This is similar to what occurs in any dominant-subordinate, leader-follower relationship in which the authority figure is able to appeal to the follower's unfulfilled childhood need. With his critical thinking abilities suspended, driven by the need to be accepted and loved and felt worthy, the follower parrots the leader's ideas, no matter how bizarre, and becomes an instrument of the leader's will. In extreme cases – Jonestown, Waco, the Taliban, and so on – followers have been known to enact their leader's hypnotic suggestions, to the point of giving away their spouses and even killing at the leader's behest. Thus the Taliban are willing to behead a poor, helpless woman who may have unwittingly shown too much ankle or leg. In one sense, the military in reproducing monotonous behavior, marching back and forth, turning on a dime together, shouting out certain phrases over and over, are hypnotizing soldiers to behave and not ask why. It is a good parallel to hypnosis. “Yours is to do and not ask why.”

>> Again, we see here, the authority figure appeals to childhood needs. Really? And not the intellect, that misleads us, supposedly? That is what he said! Those childhood needs are needs of the stem and the injuries are sustained by the stem in unfulfilled needs continuing to ache and reverberate. It is the stem as I have always consistently maintained. I am not the flip flopper here, like some campaigning politician. Art is the flip floper if ever there was one. I'd be so embarrassed had I screwed up this bad. I'd never write another thing as long as I lived.

Critical abilities suspended! I only dare ask, what is in charge of those critical abilities, the intellect or the 2nd and 1st levels? Hypnotists say intellect. Art says intellect sometimes and 2nd level feelings at other times. He does not really know. He can't decide. He is in perpetual contradiction. Art says a follower follows the leader's ideas. Recall that I said a hypnotist, advertiser, politician, or a con-man, bypasses the intellect and ideas and goes for the feelings in the stem, our core feelings. Art seems to suggest some 2nd level feelings as well. I still say its more the stem. The lower you go, the more powerful the feelings or drives.

I did appreciate Art pointing out the military indoctrination and conditioning. It is indeed, a good parallel to hypnosis. But it is done through conditioning, not through the intellect or ideas directly. The intellect is taken out of the way so that feelings, often irrational, can be touched off and used by manipulators.<<

There is one point to clarify. Although our childhood brain is contained within our later-developing adult brain, it is not this fact alone which makes us hypnotizable. It is the fact that, through neurosis, the child brain retains the functional quality of childishness. Hypnosis addresses the child brain of a person who in many ways is still a child – which is precisely what makes it possible to link up with or uncover the child brain in the first place. In an adult whose history was one of healthy integration, addressing the child brain would have little or no effect. A fully-integrated self could not be delineated along the lines of child self and adult self. Every aspect of the developing selfhood would have been incorporated to form a seamless, whole self which functioned as such. Thus although the child brain would retain its neurological identity, it would not manifest as separate or differentiated at the psychological and behavioral levels.

>> There is just 1 footnote at the end of  this section just below. It is an important one. Children have undeveloped 3rd levels. That more particularly includes a well developed critically-oriented intellect. Most adults also lack a well developed intellect. Though a bit more capable than a child, adults are still not really prepared for the mass deception they will encounter in their world. So what the parent or adult lacks is not integration of mind and feelings as Art would suggest, but lack of any real serious development of the intellect. FACT! Art just refuses to admit that. He is a spin doctor, but not an effective one.

Now Art claims that if you were integrated and  your feelings were incorporated into a seamless whole, you would be brilliant and could not be swayed. Lets look at that claim. Art says he is integrated and that a good number of his former patients are, too. OK, does Art, after reading this far, strike you are good at reasoning? Consistent? Confidence inspiring brilliance? Credibility? I won't answer that. You answer that. That I write ought to say something. You decide what that is.<<

What is suggested by the hypnotist to the child-psyche of a neurotic person will have an unconscious effect later on precisely because the neurotic paradigm of imposing a false reality over the truth is so well established. This explains why post-hypnotic suggestions can work: the new parent-authority (the hypnotist) has put information into the second level or child-brain, which it obediently receives and later acts upon out of habit.

>> Now lets try some linear reasoning here. A hypnotist is said to have an unconscious effect later on, in the patient. And hypnotism has been compared to non-hypnotic states of suggestibility. And certainly therapists should be considered persons with suggestions and treatment, too. They are seen as authorities, aren't they, in psychotherapy? Then does it not follow that a therapist, even a primal therapist, will have unconscious effects on patients later on, after therapy has ceased? and if so, what sort of effects? Give what seems to me as the mad ravings of Arthur, what might end up in you that you will not even be aware of? Might an anti-intellect belief be part of that residual effect later on? Evidence seems to bare that out. Do you want to entrust your psychological well being to someone who can not reason their way out of a wet paper bag? Only you can answer that!<<

Because the hypnotic subject is unaware of what is going on outside of him, we have the notion of a magically altered state of consciousness. From the Primal viewpoint, however, it is neither magical, special, nor altered; it is simply different. The hypnotized person is operating from a lower (different) level of consciousness than is usual in the waking state. The same situation occurs in the dream state. While we are dreaming we are unaware of what is happening in the room we are in; we are unaware of the whirring of a fan or the noises emanating from the television. We are also unaware of what is happening in our own body; we do not feel the headache we had when we went to bed. Within a few minutes upon awakening, however, we again perceive the room, we again feel the pain. This is because the third level is disengaged during sleep in order to block out external, waking realities. When it re-engages upon awakening, it immediately resumes its job of attending, perceiving, sorting, and responding to waking realities – and hence, we experience a renewal of sensory inputs and pain. To go to sleep is to become unconscious which is the same in hypnosis. As I said, we cannot get well unconsciously.

>> Again, first highlighted sentence says a hypnotized person is operating from a lower level of consciousness. I agree. But did not Art once say that the intellect, the highest level of consciousness, is the deceiver and controller. You know he did. You read it with your own two eyes and I emphatically pointed it out. And Art says the 3rd level is disengaged in sleep, rather than misleading and deceiving as once stated earlier by him. And when we wake, now it is the 3rd level that sorts and responds to waking realities, rather than a dream world. Scary, is it not, that a man of such celebrity and authority can talk out of both sides of his mouth and change his tune every other section or so. Oddly, I really doubt he is even aware of what he is doing. He seems to be still unconscious, as if he had never had primal therapy. You figure it out!<<

In neurosis, the innate adaptability of the third level is taken advantage of as a means of repressing and dissociating from pain. Third-level disconnection helps to keep the pain from being felt because, as I have pointed out, one needs all levels of consciousness for true feeling. Instead of mediating adult realities, as it should be, the neurotic adult brain is still heavily involved in mediating a child' s reality. A third level working for a child will be drawn to external situations which serve a child's needs, such as psychotherapies or religions which are reassuring and quell a child's Pain. False ideas – such as that you can relive and resolve a past trauma in hypnosis, or that God will save and protect you – will be accepted because they suit these defensive purposes, and because falsification is already firmly established.

Hypnotic suggestion, then, takes advantage of an innate third-level plasticity and an established state of disconnection which it both reveals and amplifies.

>> He did not even go 2 paragraphs to contradict himself again. Once more, he says the 3rd level disconnect is what causes neurosis and keeps pain from being felt. I thought the 3rd level as disconnected by hypnotists and manipulators so they could manipulate the feelings or at least stimulate the feelings that make one feel good and accept something from the hypnotist. Arthur jumped from dealing with hypnotism to feeling feelings residing in the stem and 2nd level. He says it is not feeling that hurts you. I discern that it is feelings that screw us up and mislead us. those feelings are tapped into, by manipulators. Art is so obsessed with primal pain being felt and integrated, he can not even follow his own article's findings. How sad and tragic that it can be so obvious to others, maybe, and not to him, too.<<

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[1] In very young children it would be more accurate to say that the third level is undeveloped rather than disengaged.

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On Hypnosis (Part 14/26)     Monday, August 8, 2011
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Resistance to Suggestion

We have given attention to the question of susceptibility to suggestion but we have not addressed the issue of resistance to it. Some people simply do not possess the willingness to "go under" which is so necessary for the induction of a trance state. Interestingly, the very factors which make for hypnotizability in some people evoke resistance in others. To some people, the surrender of reality to another's care could not be more welcome, while others cling to their possession of reality with an iron grip. Submission, passivity, passive acceptance of suggestion, and dependency serve the defensive purposes of one sort of neurosis, whereas to another they are threatening. Some people do not want to lose control by placing themselves in someone else's hands; it makes for too great a vulnerability. They may be afraid of revealing things (as they feel it) involuntarily. Guardedness to the point of paranoia may be at work.

So, just as neurosis makes some people highly susceptible to hypnotic procedures, it makes others highly resistant.

There is another class of people who, though not susceptible to hypnosis, cannot be characterized as resistant. Resistance denotes an active defensiveness. A simple lack of susceptibility, however, may nullify attempts to hypnotize some people. When there is nothing for hypnosis to key into – when there is no pre-existing dissociation – then it is a case of the proverbial water off a duck's back. The suggestions have nothing on which to hook themselves. To an integrated self – one which is free of unresolved Pain and repression – hypnotic suggestion makes no sense.

>> Art does acknowledge 2 possibilities for those resistant to suggestion or hypnosis. Is it vulnerability one might fear, or is it a matter of trust. I don't suppose the attitude of therapist might have anything to do with it, eh? Art also mentions "no pre-existing dissociation," or in other words, no extreme psychological damage. Recall that an intellect is a protection from controllers and manipulators. One does not develop a strong effective intellect just so they can cast it aside and let someone tamper within. That would make no sense whatsoever. For those badly damaged, primal therapy is about the only option they have. They, otherwise, will not be able to make sense of anything, really.

But for those who have deduced the world quite well, fixing some internal rumblings is no big deal at all. After all, knowing how the movie ends sort of removes the suspense and puts one at ease. That is, knowing the outcome does kill a lot of pain and create a lot of comfort. That might be why Art can not understand it or accept it. He is still loaded with turmoil if I read him right. Never shall the twain meet, right? I have heard this before: If it ain't broke, don't fix it! Leave well enough alone.

If one has a mission in life, one can not just drop it and run to California to spend 5-10 years primalling. Art is not very realistic. This is the problem with his therapy. It can do a lot of good but who has the circumstances that enable it to begin with? Not many at all. That is why this therapy is still relatively obscure and will remain so.<<

It is only the unreal self which allows a person to be fooled about reality because that is precisely why the unreal self exists: it was created by a falsification of the child's real world. This is what happens when our needs go unmet when we're little. For instance, a small child cannot understand and certainly cannot accept the fact that his mother does not love him. Repression rushes in to keep the Pain of rejection from consciousness. Perhaps the child remains docile and agreeable, but deep inside a whole other reality churns.

Hypnosis is non-dialectic; it does not address this sub-surface reality, which is the source of the patient's neurosis, and often the generator of somatic symptoms as well. Instead, it utilizes the neurotic split in consciousness. In short, as I pointed out, it targets symptoms of neurosis rather than the neurosis itself, which makes it ultimately non-curative.

>> I disagree with the above. Hypnosis seems to target the behavior, the symptom. But to do so, that is, to hypnotize, it must "connect" with the core emotions, the stem and limbic system. It must also bypass the intellect. The problem is not so much in treating the symptoms as it is not getting the pain released and integrated with the rest of the brain, especially the intellect, where such "knowledge" can be integrated into the rest of the body of knowledge.

What Art does not acknowledge is how hypnosis possibly has the potential to gain access to states normally off limits to us. Might we make better use of those? How many states and what states might be in reach? Further, if these can be reached at all, then can they be reached without hypnosis, even as some suggest that hypnosis is not a special state but one we are normally in or open to. That is, could it be that Arthur is wrong when he says we have no access at all to pain or any awareness of pain that is locked away, seemingly? Art does not impress me as one who wants to explore very far beyond his set borders. Why? What is he afraid of? Where is the bold spirit of exploration and desire for knowledge? I can't find it! But it should be there in a real explorer.<<

Restructuring Reality with Hypnotic Pain Control

The potential to reduce pain to a manageable level is a genuine tribute to the capabilities of the human mind, and constitutes one of the most meaningful applications of therapeutic hypnosis.[1]  

>> Exactly!<<

Introduction

Hypnotic pain control has always been viewed as a dramatic testimony to hypnosis as a special, altered state. My intent is to show the opposite. The use of hypnosis for pain control illustrates my thesis that hypnosis works because the "trance state" of neurosis is already established. Hypnotic pain control actually involves a conscious and circumscribed activation of an imprinted neurotic process which is composed of physical, chemical, and neurological alterations in functioning. It thus: (1) arises out of the pre-established mechanisms of defense which are integral to neurosis; (2) is special only to the degree that pathology is special (i.e., different, divergent); and (3) is altered only to the degree that the pathology of neurosis has already altered one's entire physiology. 

>> Well, you read Art's narrow interpretation. Now allow me! Yes, pain control is accomplished in a trance. But not always! My example of the WWII pilot who suffered great injury and did not even know it while fighting, is an example of how pain is part of a system of priorities which can change. Pain normally received top priority. But in extreme danger, pain can be forced to take a back seat till the danger has passed.

But now consider this. We have primal pain within, that can cause depression, aggression, anger and all sorts of things. Could it be that even this type of pain has orders of priority? If we are engaged in a perceived crisis, might the pain be locked away till there is a proper time to deal with it? Could it be that pain is tough to get up and get out precisely because the stem has decided the time and circumstance are not right?

Do we have any conscious control over various types of pain, perhaps to diminish it or put it on hold, or amplify it? Can our thinking affect it? Art says yes, thoughts can be pain killers. Exactly! Hope is an interesting concept. Without hope, we often give up. Does the mind create hope to protect it and keep us going? Could primal graduates be still limping on false hope?

There is so much that Arthur gladly overlooks since it does not support his practice, the only one of its kind, according to him; and available nowhere else by qualified practitioners, says he. But I think he is missing a chance to broaden our understanding of the human mind and its potential.<<

The ways in which hypnosis is used to control or alter physical pain may soon show us more about the physiological processes underlying the control (read repression) of emotional Pain. It is much simpler to investigate what goes on when a hypnotized subject sticks his hand in ice water than it is to investigate what goes on when a small child is rebuffed by his mother.

Investigating ongoing human processes in a controlled and scientific manner is nearly impossible; investigating contrived situations that appear to utilize the same or similar mechanisms is not. So while hypnosis is not a special or altered state, it may end up providing us with valuable information about what must be mankind's most altered state: neurosis. Hypnotic pain control measures are of interest at this point precisely because they demonstrate the degree to which the human brain can restructure reality. According to Yapko, "The person in pain is capable of using her mind to change her perception of the pain...and this ability is amplified with hypnosis."[2] Whether one is transforming severe abdominal cancer pain into an annoying but bearable itch on the foot, not registering the discomfort of one's hand immersed in ice water, or repressing the Pain of being left alone in an orphanage, the neurophysiological mechanisms involved in the restructuring of painful realities into endurable ones remain the same.  

>> A lot said above. I agree that controlled scientific investigation may not be possible. How do you re-created a danger that can change the priority signals or give a person the strength to lift a car, and still remain ethical, too? But I note that Art states unequivocally and dogmatically, that hypnosis is never a special or altered state. I guess that depends on what you believe some hypnotists have accomplished. But if you enable something that a person is not otherwise capable of doing, it is an altered state. If you can change their minds or courses of direction, you are altering their state in ways that had been, up to that point, not possible. Art just plains dismisses it and ignores it. Shameful! Odd that he hates the narrow dogmatic thinking and behavior of "religious" people or leaders and yet behaves just like them. Go figure!

The only value Art sees or admits in hypnosis, is how it shows us how Art's "neurosis" works. And it does do that, I grant. but it does more than that, too. ARt just prefers to ignore it, like a good religious leader might ignore evidence that invalidates a doctrine.<<

Experiments in hypnotic pain control demonstrate that one can become unconscious to some extent of physical pain, and also indicate how this occurs. These experiments have lead to conclusions about the capacity of consciousness to dissociate itself from the experience of physical pain – a mechanism similar to the dissociation from the emotional pain that results in neurosis. The similarity supports the theory that, in the end, the brain does not distinguish between physical and emotional pain. Hypnosis experiments therefore provide excellent models for illustrating the mechanisms through which neurosis is induced and maintained. Conversely, understanding how neurosis works will provide clues as to how hypnotic pain control is possible.

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[1]_Yapko, Trancework, p. 274.
[2]Yapko, Trancework, p. 274.

Posted by Arthur Janov at 11:48 AM


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On Hypnosis (Part 15/26)     Tuesday, August 9, 2011
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Views of Hypnotic Pain Control

In his book on pain and hypnosis, Ernest Hilgard outlines hypnotic methods and techniques now commonly used to abolish or alter the personal experience of pain.[1] Among them are the clinical pain control techniques Erickson spent over forty years developing.[2] More recently, Yapko describes a variety of hypnotic strategies which can facilitate analgesia. Each technique either redefines the pain or "shifts the person's awareness away from the bodily sensation(s) under consideration."[3] 

For example, in the use of "direct suggestion of analgesia" for a client experiencing stomach pain, the hypnotist may offer suggestions for a lack of sensation in the relevant body area, as follows:

As you feel your arms and legs getting heavier...you can see the muscles in your abdomen loosening...relaxing...as if they were guitar strings you were unwinding...and as you see those muscles in your abdomen relax, you can feel a pleasant tingle...the tingle of comfort...and whenever you have had a part of you become numb, like an arm or leg that fell asleep...you could feel the same tingle ...like the pleasing tingle in your abdomen now...tingling more...and isn't it both interesting and soothing to discover the sensation of no sensation there? That's right...the sensation of no sensation...a tingling, pleasing comfortable feeling of numbness there...[4]

Isn't that what parents do to children? "You're not sad. Stop with that depressive act and smile!" The child hurts his knee and the parent says, "Stop whining. It doesn't really hurt. You're making too much of it!" "Stop acting like a baby!" All phrases that change the hurt into something else. Or when a child begins to cry after falling down, the parents will do everything to distract him. "Look at this!" The child can no longer feel what he feels.  

>> Indeed, neuro-linguistic-programming emphasizes using the right words and spoken of in the right way. I guess NLP is right, huh? Advertisers have long known these tricks. Politicians and religious leaders have often used confident forceful speech spoken with conviction to impress and win people over. Parents can both heal and harm with their speech and particular tone of voice. Such techniques can be knowingly used or might come natural without even being aware of it. We can do harm or inspire and help. A therapist can work wonders with the right demeanor and words.

Our body language, too, can communicate much, both good and bad. A gentle touch or caress might win a woman's heart over. A slap might cause anger. Our clothes and colors can influence. The type of car we choose to drive might give certain impressions. We can even lie and deceive with those things mentioned. All Hilgard points out is that our choice of words and tone make a difference. Art only sees the bad in this. But if we wanted to, we could choose to love and heal with our words and other expressions. Isn't that a good thing?

Art and Barber are both right when they say that often, a hypnotic state is no different from our normal state. In most cases, that is right. What do I take from this? use your ability for good, 1st. 2nd, be aware that others can use various expressive techniques to influence you or lull you into going along with them, in sex, in politics, in religion, in advertising, in school, everywhere and at all times. We need to be more aware of how we are effected and  . . . how we affect others.

The best solution for protection and to do good, is to develop a perceptive powerful intellect that can discern anything and quickly recognize various techniques; and, what is more, recognizes various ideas, divorced of their "influences" such as tone of voice, force of conviction, or sweet insincere flattery. And to become aware of our weaknesses so that tricks like flattery will not work. We need to stop wishing for what is not possible.

What I notice about many people who are used and taken advantage of, is that they have a wish that they are desperate to believe in and believe is possible. Many a guy has been taken advantage of, because he wanted to believe that a gorgeous young woman would like a fat, poor, ugly, and boring guy. Or that a good looking charming guy would like a woman past her years and beauty and want her over something younger and more appealing, more the equivalent of the guy pursuing.

We need to examine our beliefs about life and fix the ones that mislead us and tirck us in to doing stupid things like giving all our money to someone who tells us sweet lies about us or a preacher who makes us feel better, while taking our money and not being honest, or voting for a politician who is lying 24/7. A strong, honest, realistic, un-deluded mind is hard to lie to or deceive.

It might be years before we can pursue Primal Therapy, if ever. But liars are all around us from the minute we are born. A powerful intellect is always our best salvation. Isn't that what Arthur pointed out in the beginning of Part 14? A powerful intellect is like an impenetrable shield or suit of armor. It is amazing protection.<<

In another technique known as "glove anesthesia," the patient is given suggestions which lead her to experience anesthesia or numbness in one hand or both hands. Further suggestions then enable the patient to transfer this numbness to any other part of the body simply by touching that site with the hypnotically anesthetized hand.

If you put all of the techniques for hypnotic pain control together, you come up with a rather hefty list of methods. Pain can be numbed, transferred, suggested away, shifted, displaced, substituted for, reinterpreted, reframed, diminished, altered, relocated, converted, or substituted; the experience of it can be partially or entirely forgotten, or condensed into a few seconds duration; one's attention can be directed away from the pain via hallucination and/or age regression; or one can induce a straightforward anesthesia or analgesia.

Each particular pain control technique requires a different set of suggestions and taps into different physiological processes. For example, numbing the pain in one's chest involves different physiological processes from relocating it from the chest to the right thumb. Yet whatever the technique, it can and often does successfully provide at least some alleviation of discomfort. The various techniques share a common point of convergence: The hypnotist uses ideas in order to transform the subject's experience of pain, to dissociate it from conscious awareness.

>> Now let me point this out! We can use these various techniques and they might work for a while or a brief period of time. But if you change their thinking, knowledge, and mind, the change will likely be permanent and maybe unshakable, unchangeable. So really, fixing our heads, our thoughts and ideas, is the best solution, always. Were it not so far out of reach for most, primal therapy would also be quite useful. But given that a therapist might transmit more than just a helping hand to relieve pain, there is possible danger there, as well. Art would never dream of letting you have a religious experience or conversion. I suspect he would try hard to convince you that pain was convincing you to believe. Learn to trust yourself, 1st.<<

Hilgard points out that all hypnotic pain control methods "make use of the dissociative possibilities within hypnosis."[5] [Italics added] This could be restated such that the "dissociative possibilities of hypnosis" are really alterations in neurological functions that make use of the dissociative process, period. We are all capable of separating levels of consciousness from one another, that is, dissociation. We can all revert to different brains within our skulls. This compartmentalization was an evolutionary mechanism to keep the Pain at bay and allow us to function. So even though childhood pain churns a tempest below the third-line, we go to work and carry out our duties. We are in a sort of coma but no one notices, not even us. We are compartmentalized; a whole world of experience is going on below decks but we are focused on the mast. But however it is stated, dissociation seems to be the primary ingredient in hypnotic pain control.

>> Hey, Art is using my word now! Cool! Let me point out this, though. Hypnosis does not attempt to correct the thoughts or ideas of the mind or align life or reality with the thoughts and ideas of our mind. Doing this would be a readjustment, an alignment, attempting to correct defects. Instead, hypnosis tries to bypass the mind and logic, and just get you to do it. Don't let thoughts get in the way!

I recall a humorous Buggs Bunny cartoon where he tries to get the wolf, in the story of the 3 little pigs retold, to blow the brick house down. the wolf refuses it because he says you can't blow a house of bricks down. He then pulls out the book of the tale of the 3 little pigs and opens it to the section about the brick house and says, "look, it says right here I can't blow the house of bricks down!" Ah, he might have been right except for one thing. Buggs had rigged some dynamite around the house so that it could be blown down, even if it was made of bricks. The wolf did not know this. But the belief or idea the wolf had, told him not to bother. Of course, had Buggs told him about the "adjustment" he had made, the wolf would likely have changes his mind. The wolf reluctantly agreed to give it a try, believing it would not work. All were surprised that it did, except Buggs, of course.

My point? Our thinking can need fixed or updated to reflect new knowledge. But hypnosis avoids knowledge or fixing knowledge. It simply lulls you into doing what the therapist asks, even as an innocent young woman might fall for a smooth slick polished guy who tells her how amazing she is, even though he just met her. Get it? Art says hypnosis does not really fix things. True, he is right. He neglects to mention what might every well fix it. Correct accurate knowledge and intellectual ability! Art neglects that and tries to sell you a solution that might never be within your grasp, due to its rarity, expense, and time. I ask, why not sell both? Let the buyer "buy" the one he can most easily afford! Is that so hard?<<

Hilgard uses an excellent example:

Directing attention away from pain can be achieved in more than one way. One method is to deny the existence of the painful bodily member. We have utilized this method successfully in the laboratory following reports of its clinical use. Before his arm is stimulated by lowering it into circulating ice water the subject is told, "Think that you have no left arm. Look down and see that there is no left arm there, only an empty sleeve. An arm that does not exist does not feel anything. Your arm is gone only temporarily; you will find it amusing, not alarming, that for a while you have no left arm." The arm is then stimulated by icy water, and the subject commonly reports that he feels nothing.[6]

Whether or not such a subject's report is genuine again raises the question of a special or altered state of consciousness. Does the subject experience no pain in the arm – indeed no arm at all – because of an altered hypnotic state? Predictably, Hilgard and Erickson thought so. Barber, by contrast, explained the phenomenon in terms of normal (non-special) psychodynamics, contending that the motivation for denying pain is present in the relationship between the doctor and the patient.

>> I suspect the truth is somewhere between the 2 opposing ideas. I say the pain is felt but bypassed/ignored by the brain control center. But that something unusual is taking place hardly seems deniable.<<

If Barber were correct, it would mean that achieving dramatic hypnotic effects would be contingent upon two simultaneous and interrelated factors: the outward presence of a hypnotist or hypnotherapist, and the subject's inward desire to please him. It would also mean that this "complaisancy motivation" involved neuro-psychophysiological mechanisms capable of mediating remarkable alterations in perception and function. If Hilgard and Erickson were correct, on the other hand, it would mean that dramatic hypnotic effects were fundamentally independent of outer factors (such as the presence of the hypnotist). Instead, a state of consciousness intrinsic to the subject would be responsible. It would also suggest a strong motivational factor which, however, would be self- rather than outer-directed.  

>> I ask here, how do we prove whether the subject feels no pain because he wants to please so much, or because there is an unusual state achieved? Neither side has any claim till it can be proven, one way or the other. Till then, it is a matter of opinion. but if a guy can pick up a car or a pilot ignore very serious injury, I do think we have enough to suggest unusual states when the proper circumstances are present.<<

It seems likely that Barber's viewpoint of pleasing the hypnotist could be true in laboratory-experimental situations. It is easy to imagine a subject not having anything better to do than achieve what is being asked of him. But there also appear to be far more complex factors involved when real-life situations are considered. When the stakes are high enough, it doesn't matter who is or is not present. Erickson worked with many terminally ill patients who, bedridden and racked with pain, were clearly too weak to care about helping him succeed as a hypnotherapist. In most cases such patients desperately desire the success of hypnotic relief for the purely personal reason of wanting to die in peace.

Erickson treated a 35-year-old woman five weeks prior to her death from lung cancer. She had spent the previous month "almost continuously in a narcotic stupor to counteract unbearable pain." She then requested the use of hypnosis and readied herself for it by voluntarily going without medication on the day Erickson saw her:

She was seen at 6:00 p.m., bathed in perspiration, suffering acutely from constant pain and greatly exhausted...Approximately four hours of continuous effort were required before a light trance could be induced. This light stage of hypnosis was immediately utilized to induce her to permit three things to be accomplished, all of which she had consistently refused to allow in the very intensity of her desire to be hypnotized. The first of these was the hypodermic administration of 1/8 grain of morphine sulfate, a most inadequate dosage for her physical needs, but one considered adequate for the immediate situation. The next was the serving to her of a pint of rich soup, and the third was the successful insistence upon an hour's restful physiological sleep. By 6:00 a.m. the patient, who finally proved to be an excellent somnambulistic subject, had been taught successfully everything considered to be essential to meet the needs of her situation.

Erickson describes the various hypnotic techniques the patient learned, such as positive and negative hallucinations in the modalities of vision, hearing, taste, smell, touch, deep sensation, and kinesthesia; glove and stocking anesthesias to be used over her entire body; partial analgesias for superficial and deep sensations; and body disorientation and body dissociation. After this single all-night session, Erickson did not see the patient again, although he did receive daily reports about her condition from her husband. Five weeks after the session, the woman died, "in the midst of a happy social conversation with a neighbor and a relative." Erickson writes:

During that five-week period she had been instructed to feel free to accept whatever medication she needed. Now and then she would suffer pain, but this was almost always controlled by aspirin. Sometimes a second dose of aspirin with codeine was needed, and on half a dozen occasions 1/8 grain of morphine was needed. Otherwise, except for her gradual progressive physical deterioration, the patient continued decidedly comfortable and cheerfully adjusted to the end.

Erickson's own account of the efficacy of his own work is part of an extensive literature on the success of hypnotic pain control. If we accept it as accurate, the next question to ask is this: If the patient is able to successfully dissociate from previously "unbearable pain," where does the pain go? I believe it goes where it has always been: shunted away from the structures that could relay it to third-level consciousness, and back down to the physical system. It is processed as it has always been processed, with one exception: the conscious appreciation of it.

>> I do agree with Art on this last paragraph. This is the nature of pain and primal pain. It still registers. It simply does not register in the cortex and conscious awareness.<<

One can sometimes change the blood pressure with hypnosis, biofeedback, and other procedures, but we must never imagine that one can erase a pain that is imprinted into every cell of the body. The pain may be focused here and there, and with various techniques refocused elsewhere, but the pain remains and remains and remains.  

>> Learning to relax for a little while, while not changing the cause of stress deep in the stem, does give the body some temporary relief and lessens the danger of heart attacks and strokes. So it has some benefit. More would be had if one could get rid of that deep stem pain/injury.<<

-------------------------
[1]Ernest R. Hilgard and Josephine R. Hilgard, Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain (Los Altos, Calif.: William Kaufmann, 1975, pp. 63-82.
[2]See Milton H. Erickson and Ernest L. Rossi, Hypnotherapy: An Exploratory Casebook (New York: Irvington, 1979, pp. 94-142.
[3]Yapko, Trancework, pp. 276-281.
[4]Yapko, p. 277.
[5]Hilgard, Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain, p. 66.
[6]Hilgard, Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain, p. 66.

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On Hypnosis (Part 16/26)     Monday, August 15, 2011
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Research: The “Hidden Observer” Discovery

Erickson often pointed out the naturalistic basis of hypnotic pain control. In everyday life, pain can be temporarily abolished simply by the intervention of more compelling concerns. The young mother suffering a severe burn pain will instantly become oblivious to it when her baby falls out of the crib and screams in pain. Football players can finish a ballgame with broken limbs while barely noticing the pain. Watching a suspenseful movie can make us temporarily forget that we have the flu, a sprained back, or an ulcer. Whatever the particular circumstances, consciousness is diverted from registering pain.

Research indicates that while one's apperception of pain may be altered by hypnosis, its physical reality in the body is not. This is no different from neurosis where one feels wonderful but has migraines and high blood pressure and considers them aberrations from this wonderful mental state.

A number of experiments have shown that hypnosis does not block the actual sensory messages of pain on their way into the brain along the peripheral nervous system. This finding suggests that hypnotic pain control takes place at the cortical or cognitive level of the central nervous system – that is, at the third level of consciousness. Other research in the field indicates that although felt pain may be reduced, involuntary physiologic indicators of it continue to register: blood pressure, pulse rate, and temperature are all up. This suggests that oblivion to pain is only "in the head" (literally, in the cortical area of the brain) while the body continues to be affected. More interestingly, it turns out that this cortical oblivion is even incomplete. That is, conscious awareness of pain is not totally eradicated in hypnosis, contrary to what was traditionally assumed. The discovery of this came as quite a surprise to researcher Ernest Hilgard while he was conducting a classroom demonstration, in response to a serendipitous question on hypnotic deafness. He recounts the incident as follows:

The subject of the demonstration was a blind student, experienced in hypnosis, who had volunteered to serve; his blindness was not related to the demonstration, except that any visual cues were eliminated. After induction of hypnosis, he was given the suggestion that, at the count of three, he would become completely deaf to all sounds. His hearing would be restored to normal when the instructor's hand was placed on his right shoulder. To be both blind and deaf would have been a frightening experience for the subject, had he not known that his deafness was quite temporary. 

Loud sounds were then made close to the subject's head by banging together some large wooden blocks. There was no sign of reaction whatsoever; none was expected, because the subject had, in a previous demonstration, shown lack of responsiveness to the shots of a starter's pistol. He was completely indifferent to any questions asked of him while hypnotically deaf.

One student in the class questioned whether "some part" of the subject might be aware of what was going on. After all, there was nothing wrong with his ears. The instructor agreed to test this by a method rebated to interrogation practices used by clinical hypnotists. He addressed the hypnotically deaf subject in a quiet voice.

"As you know, there are parts of our nervous system that carry on activities that occur out of awareness, of which control of the circulation of the blood, or the digestive processes, are the most familiar. However, there may be intellectual processes also of which we are unaware, such as those that find expression in night dreams. Although you are hypnotically deaf, perhaps there is some part of you that is hearing my voice and processing the information. If there is, I should like the index finger of your right hand to rise as a sign that this is the case."

To the surprise of the instructor, as well as the class, the finger rose! The subject immediately said, "Please restore my hearing so you can tell me what you did. I felt my finger rise in a way that was not a spontaneous twitch, so you must have done something to make it rise, and I want to know what you did."[1]

Hilgard then began experiments to see if the "hidden observer" phenomenon also occurred in hypnotic pain control. He used "automatic writing" (also "automatic talking") as a tool to "split" the subject's awareness. The subject was told that one arm would be put in ice water while the other would be put "out of awareness." She was then asked to report verbally on how much pain she was feeling in the icy hand, while simultaneously writing a response with the hand that was "out of awareness." It turned out that as she verbally reported no pain in the icy hand, the out-of-awareness hand reported increasing degrees of pain. Another subject, who had his hypnotically-dissociated arm pricked several times with a hypodermic needle, reportedly wrote "Ouch, damn it, you're hurting me." Meanwhile, this subject himself remained oblivious to what was happening, asking when the experiment would begin a few minutes after it had already ended. In other words, the "hidden observer" in each subject reported feeling normal pain while the hypnotized part felt little or no pain. According to Hilgard, such experiments indicate that:

A hypnotized subject who is out of contact with a source of stimulation...may nevertheless register information regarding what is occurring. Further, he may be understanding it so that, under appropriate circumstances, what was unknown to the hypnotized part of him can be uncovered and talked about...It should be noted that the "hidden observer" is a metaphor for something occurring at an intellectual level but not available to the consciousness of the hypnotized person. It does not mean that there is some sort of secondary personality with a life of its own – a kind of homunculus lurking in the shadows of the conscious person.[2] [Italics added]

Following are statements by some of Hilgard's subjects describing their experience of the hidden observer experiments:

It's as though two things were happening simultaneously. I have two separate memories as if two things could have happened to two different people.

Both parts (of me) were concentrating on what you said – not to feel pain. The water bothered the hidden part a little because it felt a little but the hypnotized part was not thinking of my arm at all.

The hidden part knew that my hand was in the water and it hurt just as much as it did the other day (in the waking control session). The hypnotized part would vaguely be aware of feeling pain – that's why I would have to concentrate really hard.

The hidden part knows the pain is there but I'm not sure it feels it. The hypnotized part doesn't feel it but I'm not sure that the hypnotized part may have known it was there but didn't say it. The hypnotized part really makes an effort.[3] [Original Italics]

Here we see the split clearly described in the subjects' own words. We see the knowing about pain dissociated from the feeling of it. Hilgard points out that even though there was a high level of sensory pain in these hypnotic subjects, there was no distress or suffering accompanying it. When the hypnotic state was lifted, the subjects could remember feeling pain but they did not feel the suffering. In other words, they remembered the feeling but they did not feel it.  

>> Are you as fascinated by this as I am ? Now I have previously suggested, that I could get answers from deep inside, by asking questions and getting a feeling response indicating a yes or no. In Hilgard's experiments, the conscious part hypnotized felt nothing. Yet another part that could write or maybe speak, was feeling it and communicating that. What part was in control that had not lost the awareness of pain and could control the communicating mind, which we would assume is in the cortex? Was the stem controlling a channel of communication? Or maybe it was the limbic system. But something was communicating through the cortex. The main cortex seemed out of it, bypassed. But yet a communication or awareness was still there and being voiced.

I do believe I hit the nail on the head. I have always been able to probe my deep, often dark side, to see what is really going on. I relied on courage to make sure that I got the honest truth about what was really inside. So something came out and came clean and let me know what was going on. I  knew it. I believe this hidden observer still have a line of communication open, if the conscious cortex, really and truly wants the info. If it does, that deep hidden observer reveals what we ask. We always have some access to what lurks deep below. Art says it was not possible but this Part 16 says it is possible.

This just might be the most important Part of the 26 parts. The mind is very mysterious and complex. Art is often just too simplistic and unfamiliar with opposing evidence or simply did not believe the opposing evidence, which I believe Arthur is capable of doing, that is, dismissing the evidence arbitrarily. I believe anyone would do well to give this section/part very careful consideration and even come back to it many times. There is something going on here.

Think of it this way. Whether you accept evolution or design by God, how fair would it be to keep something completely hidden and not ever let it be known, accept by an unusual therapy like primal therapy. In fact, how would we even discern the truth of primal therapy and believe it unless we had some sort of limited access to these deep hidden pains. The hidden observer indicates we still have a channel of communication open, if we really want to hear from it. The choice is ours. Courage and sincerity are essential to obtain access to this kind of classified information from deep within ourselves.

Personal courage might be nothing more than a willingness to face or accept the negative things in us. Personal courage could let us face real true hopelessness and then examine life factually to see if there might be another avenue of hope, that is not unrealistic or that can not be denied to us.

Art found, early in his career, a frustration, I suspect, with not being able to reach people and make any serious changes in them most of the time. It certainly seems true to me that most people who have therapy do not gain much from it. Only a few. So he discovers a method, pretty much by accident and described in the 1st pages of his 1st book, The Primal Scream. He jumps to the conclusion that this is really the only true way to changing people, since the other way or ways seem to not work most of the time, whereas the success rate of this new therapy was 50% or maybe even much more than that.

Well, it would not be hard to see why someone might come to this conclusion. But that does not make it right. There may still be other options, far less explored and harder to prove clinically as well. But this Part 16 may well be part of the clinical proof that there is room for change without primal therapy, if one can not avail themselves to it or they are not comfortable with the therapist practicing it. I have always thought Art was ignoring some things. I believe that more now, than ever before.<<

Let's take an example of how the countless ways this split occurs outside of experimental situations. A scientist who is a rigid procedurist, never wavering from correct methods, believes in the Moonies and is a devotee (a case I know of). Here the intellect is split in a seamless unity where one part of the intellect sees reality in her science, and the other part is attending to the Pain below by developing belief systems. The Pain seeps into a part of the intellect and forces it to deal with it while keeping the person unconscious of her motivation. Another part has all of its critical faculties intact. It is easy to split the intellect. That is why one can be a crazy paranoid with weird ideas and still work and talk intelligently and rationally. So long as one doesn't touch the Pain, one can deal with the person.

>> I got another explanation, of course ;-) No matter how much we primal and relieve pain, we are never completely free of self deception. I believe Art is one of the best examples of that. He gets all confused and screws ideas up, from my way of seeing it. Needs do not disappear just because we get rid of birth pains or traumas. We still can have fear. We still might fear death, rape, torture, natural disaster, unemployment and bankruptcy. We are never immune to fear and deception. I wish there were not so, but it is so.

We always have to be 2nd guessing ourselves and cross-examining ourselves, just as we continually take baths or showers to cleanse our outer bodies. They still get dirty, even though we clean them often. and we might clean our stem and 1st level, and our 2nd level, too, but they can still get "dirty," so to speak and need some more cleaning. So Art still has fears that seem very evident to me. And this woman who believes in the Moonies, despite being a scientist and rigid procedurist, may well be "compromised" in some way. Maybe she likes the seeming love, acceptance, and sense of community and belonging she gets from Moonies. It is not the worst thing to ever happen. So her need for that "love" keeps her from seeing any negative aspects. Nor does my disapproval of her belief make it wrong for her.

I have seen far worse choices made by people. She is not a criminal, I assume, nor a drug addict or hoarder. It could be far worse. But in the mind of Art, nearly nothing is as bad as the idea of God or religion. That is my subjective opinion on the matter. When one becomes a therapist, one must be able to separate many of their own judgments and preferences - from those they impart to patients or to the subject of their profession. This is easier said than done, I grant. We must allow the patient to think or believe what they will, however baffling it might be to us. I think Art is a bit too intolerant to my liking. Alice Miller might have come to that conclusion, for all we know. All I know is that she elected to seek another type of therapy rather than Art's. Yet her focus seemed much like his. Interesting!<<

How to explain hypnotic pain control? How to explain the overt and covert levels of reporting in the hidden observer phenomenon? Hilgard proposes a concept of "divided cognitive control systems" which we can shift in and out of via hypnosis. According to Yapko, dissociation from pain "involves the capacity to divide one's attentional and behavioral abilities" and "causes the subjective experience of feeling separated from all or part of one's body, and thus the pain."[4]

In the normal waking state, we have an open communication channel between cognition and response mechanisms so that the sensation of pain is communicated voluntarily through face and body expressions, and involuntarily through vital sign indicators.  

>> I think my explanation is better, but I am biased ;-) <<

-------------------------
[1]Hilgard, Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain, pp. 166-167.
[2]Hilgard, Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain, pp. 168-69.
[3]Ibid., p. 173.
[4]Yapko, Trancework, p. 279.

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On Hypnosis (Part 17/26)         Tuesday, August 16, 2011
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Hypnosis and suggestion can then be used, in Hilgard's terms, to restructure communication between cognition and response. He's not sure how, but in some way hypnosis results in the erection of two separate communication barriers. One barrier (running vertically in the diagram) splits cognition into two disconnected compartments and similarly splits voluntary and involuntary responses to pain.

Now what we have – at least diagrammatically – is a brain split in half. On the left side all channels of communication in the overt hypnotic reality of no pain are open and consistent; the subject registers no felt pain consciously, expresses no felt pain bodily, and communicates no felt pain verbally. On the right side we have an additional barrier (running horizontally) between cognition and communication so that the felt pain is not communicated unless a technique such as automatic writing or talking is introduced into the hypnotic situation. So in the covert hypnotic reality of felt pain, the subject registers pain unconsciously and expresses it involuntarily through vital sign indicators, but cannot or does not communicate it. Hilgard believes this model explains how a person can feel neither pain nor suffering at the conscious level within hypnosis, yet still register the physiological signs of pain unconsciously.  

>> Isn't it amazing that we can push pain out of the way. Whether evolution or God, clearly there was some understanding that the "head," the intellect, would need to function without interference. So the ability to block the pain, the psychological injury or trauma, out of the thinking mind was enabled. The pain is still vital for learning but now or was it designed for a future time and circumstance. Yes, I am suggesting plans from God. This world is not a very good time or place to heal anyone. The entire world would need fixed. No one down here has anywhere near enough power and control to do that. It would take something super-extraordinary and god-like.<<

Pain and Awareness

As yet, there is no scientific definition of pain. It can be described and its components listed, but investigators have been "unable to come up with a definition that (catches) the single 'essence' of pain, beyond the common sense notion that we are dealing with what hurts."[2] It seems we have made little progress since Aristotle's day, when he himself omitted the sense of pain from his list of man's five senses. It was not until the nineteenth century that the sensory component of pain was recognized as a physiological and psychological reality. Before that, pain was linked to its maiden-opposite of pleasure, and both were viewed as "passions of the soul" rather than as provinces of science.

The "hidden observer" has enormous implications for psychology. It means that while we have the capacity for concealing, repressing, denying, and dissociating from pain, we are not actually getting rid of it. We may be able to remove it from awareness, but it still exists in the lower levels of consciousness. This is the crux of neurosis: while we may split off from Primal Pain, it remains within us, exerting a real force and producing all manner of symptoms. Now we have corroboration that out of mind is not out of body. Hypnotic pain control techniques can temporarily relieve us of physical pain, just as our absorption in a certain task or spectacle may allow us to forget about physical pain for a time, but sooner or later we again become aware of it. Similarly, to repress emotional pain does not eliminate it nor alleviate the symptoms it produces.  

>> Art completely misses the real impact of the "hidden observer." The hidden observer can communicate through the cortex, but the cortex has been put out of the way. The hidden observer stays awake at all times and is always in control. Why, that sounds like my theory, that the stem controls the intellect. Imagine that! Art does not want to see this. It suggests he does not really understand his own subject all that well and that a guy much younger, relatively speaking (52), and with no clinical experience, beats Arthur at his own game. Oh, my!

But if Art admitted my theory, then he would not be able to blame and condemn the intellect, and there is something he started to detect with his intellect, that seems to me, to really bother him to big degrees. Something snapped in the 90s. I wish it could snap back and Art get his brain back. He was so good when he as not running and scared.<<

Today it is recognized that pain contains both a sensory component and a suffering component. The presence of one does not necessarily mean the presence of the other. We can be in physical pain without feeling badly emotionally, and we can feel badly emotionally without being in any sensory pain. For most of us, however, the two go hand-in-hand: being physically ill is emotionally upsetting and being emotionally upset is physically painful.

The distinction between the sensory and suffering components of pain has many significant medical and psychotherapeutic ramifications. This was demonstrated several years ago, when an experimental operation was performed on a group of patients who were suffering from intractable pain. The operation involved a pre-frontal lobotomy, which means that a group of connecting fibers between lower and higher (cortical) brain centers were severed. After the operation the patients reported that they could still feel the sensation of pain but that it did not bother them. In other words, the suffering component of the pain was alleviated surgically while the sensory component remained.[3]

This is also the situation in neurosis.–– A neurotic may feel neither pain nor suffering, depending upon the degree of defense, or "gating" of pain between levels of consciousness. The neurotic's face may show a good deal of misery while he remains unaware of feeling miserable; his body may be stiff with tension, yet he doesn't know why. He can talk about his deprived childhood with complete detachment. No feeling of suffering or distress reaches his awareness.

Thus, in all three conditions – neurosis, hypnosis, and lobotomy – awareness and recall on the cognitive level are effectively disconnected from the emotional components of what is remembered.

There is obvious value in using hypnosis to remove the suffering component from organic pain when it cannot be alleviated in any other way. No one benefits from unbearable pain related to terminal cancer, constant back pain caused by a genetic spinal problem, or from constant residual pain after a serious car accident.

The numerous techniques for removing the awareness of pain and the everyday distractions that achieve the same thing show us the dramatic abilities of consciousness to alter its own perceptions. And we certainly need hypnosis to achieve this. In everyday life, we are very adept at keeping ourselves distracted from what is going on inside. A busy, even hectic lifestyle is probably the main defense today. Phone calls, letters, business deals, discussions, movies, television, are all part of the hypnotic process. It seems that half the people watching TV are indeed mesmerized – as if half the population is in a coma after six p.m. One lets in the message, particularly the commercial message, without any critical capacity, whatsoever. One is simply the passive recipient. The next day, as if in a posthypnotic suggestive state, one goes to the store and buys Crest and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, just as one has been programmed to do.  

>> I would say that the hectic life style is not so much a defense as an orchestrated, engineered assault on us to keep us distracted when we would prefer otherwise. Some do like to stay busy and avoid things inside. but what Art also seems to miss is that we are actually intellectually deprived and robbed of any intellectual stimulation, that might bring us to life and excite us and give us reason to ponder more. So we must doe it our our own with difficulty.<<

Hypnotic pain techniques demonstrate how far cognition can go in structuring a false reality. But how is this possible? By what physiological mechanism is it achieved?

The Endorphin System

I have already discussed the plasticity of the third level of consciousness and its role in susceptibility to hypnosis. There are additional, more specific neurological factors which help make dissociation possible. One is the left brain-right brain dichotomy referred to by Hilgard to illustrate his "hidden observer" discovery. Another is the system of "gating" which exists between levels of consciousness to inhibit or facilitate the flow of information.[4] Still another is the body's capacity to produce morphine-like substances called endorphins. And the neuroinhibitor, serotonin. These chemicals block the message of pain from crossing the cleft between nerve cells, the synapse, in effect gating the message from reaching higher brain centers.  

>> I am continually fascinated by how Art can not seen to really grasp his subject. The 3rd level consciousness is not susceptible to hypnosis. It is not hypnotized. Hypnosis goes to the "sub-conscious," the 1st level brain stem. It bypasses and eliminates 3rd level intellectual activity. It is the stem that really makes many of our choices and can interfered with the intellect. it can even talk and communicate without the 3rd level even being involved as shown in the "hidden observer." Let me illustrate.

When we are sexually aroused, is this a intellectual reaction or a strong impulsive instinctive reaction? Clearly, it is animal instinct and desire at work. In fact, the "brain," the intellect, is often not involved at all in any manner. Now what I mean? ;-) <<

The neuroinhibitors function as the biochemicals of repression and its twin, dissociation. They are produced to quell both physical and emotional pain. Although the body does not differentiate between the two types of pain in qualitative terms, it does respond differentially in quantitative terms. As I pointed out in Prisoners of Pain:

The Swedish pharmacologist Lars Terenius has discovered that patients suffering from emotional Pain produce more endorphins than those suffering from physical pain. Emotional Pain is real and often physically more intense than "physical pain." Those with emotional or psychological Pain in Terenius' studies had less tolerance to physical pain. Their bodies were hyperactive, producing more Pain suppressants.[5]

When the amount of pain assaulting the system can no longer be integrated, endorphins are mobilized to repress the experience and the memory of the event. These endorphins can be many hundreds of times more powerful than commercially produced morphine. They keep events out of full consciousness by interfering in the connection between feeling and the realization of feeling, between injury and reaction to it, between sensation and cognition. Nonetheless, the trauma remains in the system, full and intact.

Through the production of endorphins, the person may be able to dissociate from the pain of his hand submerged in icy water, but the icy water nonetheless causes his vasomotor system to contract in pain. Similarly a child may be able to dissociate from the Pain of losing his mother, but that Pain is still causing his system to siphon off its impact in some way – be it through acting-out behavior, compulsive eating, chronic depression, or whatever. The child may simply "numb-out." He is no longer emotionally reactive. He's inert, immobile, and emotionally "dead". He no longer suffers the horrendous pain of losing his mother. He goes on with life in a very "dead" fashion. Nonetheless, there is always some physical manifestation of the presence of pain in the system, regardless of what one is consciously experiencing.  

>> What my theory points out is that we need not be totally out of touch with what is buried deep inside us. We can have some knowledge of it, to some degree, though most of the valance is kept sealed off, till a time when we are fully ready for it. We decide if we want to know anything or not. We are in the driver's seat, if we want to be, if we have courage and curiosity and not overcome or overwhelmed by fear, like some.<<

-------------------------
[1]See Hilgard, p. 48, Figure 15, right diagram.
[2]Hilgard, Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain, p. 29

[3]The same effects can be achieved with marijuana, morphine, and other drugs that suppress the suffering aspect of pain more than the actual sensation of pain. Aspirin, on the other hand, does just the opposite: it reduces localized sensory pain but does not reduce anxiety or suffering. Localized sensory pain has a specific physical location in the body; anxiety, by contrast, is a non-specific and diffused state of being.

[4]For a brief discussion of "gating," see "The Gated Mind" in my book Prisoners of Pain (New York: Doubleday, 1980) pp. 111-114. For a more technical discussion see "The Gating of Pain" in Primal Man (New York: Thomas Crowell Co., 1975 ), pp. 126-134.
[5]Arthur Janov, Prisoners of Pain, p. 85.

Posted by Arthur Janov at 5:12 AM


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On Hypnosis (Part 18/26)     Monday, August 22, 2011
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Where is Reality?

It is certain that the serotonin/endorphin system will not turn out to be the sole mechanism by which hypnotic dissociation occurs. There is a key central brain inhibitor known as glutamate. But we do know that hypnotic suggestion can catalyze inhibitory or repressive chemical production. The suggestion (or idea) given by the hypnotist is transformed into electrochemical activity that somehow blocks pain. More specifically, the suggestion takes on a meaning on the third or cognitive level of consciousness and is then transformed into electrochemical processes which inhibit perception of physical experience. Think of it! A bit of air in the form of certain sounds (words) breathed out to another produces biochemical changes in her which alter her perceptions and block pain.

The subject in Hilgard's ice water experiment was no longer responding to the reality of the ice water. Instead, she was responding to ideas about it, even when those ideas were in complete contradiction to events actually taking place. This transformation of meaning that occurs in hypnosis is not unlike the transformation of meaning that makes neurosis possible. In both, the perception or meaning of the event is altered on one level of consciousness while its intrinsic meaning is registered accurately on the other levels. This leads to the sixty-four dollar question: WHERE IS REALITY?

If I say to a hypnotic subject, "I'm going to put a hot piece of metal on the back of your hand," and then put a cold quarter on it, and the hand then blisters as if a hot metal were placed there (an effect that has been demonstrated in hypnosis), what is real? The metal, the response, the idea, the suggestion? Is there no objective reality? Objective reality dictates that the psychophysiology responds to a cold quarter. Yet the idea in the mind is that it is a hot one and the physiology follows that idea. Clearly, reality is in the perception; that is, intellectual reality. That reality dictates bodily reactions. This is the true meaning of “psychosomatic.” Here the mind innervates and alters bodily reactions; so if we wonder how it is that a child who obeys his parents absolutely has allergies or asthma we see it encapsulated in the hypnosis experiments. The parental dictates change the immune system of the child, for example.

If I perceive an elevator to be terrifying, even though it clearly isn't, and I'm dizzy, fainting, etc., in plain terror, it is my perception that is real for me. But that perception is based on a history. The newly-perceived reality has an historical basis. There are levels of reality that lay on different levels of consciousness. The hypnotist who pricks you states that you will not hurt, and there is no perception of hurt; yet the blood pressure and heart rate mount. The lower level knows reality on its level. That is why when you are in touch with the lower levels of consciousness you are not so easily fooled, lulled or hypnotized. The physiological processes inform the cortex of what is reality.

What Hitler did in Germany was an effective job of hypnosis. He suggested with emotional force, "You are superior to all other races! You need liebensraum!" (more space and freedom). For those who felt inferior and downtrodden, it was a perfect message. And Hitler got the German people to do almost anything, including killing millions of "inferior" individuals. Even those who realistically did not need any more living space responded to his message. What was inserted into their minds supplanted reality. And they acted exactly as if they had been hypnotized. They could kill without feeling anything because any appreciation of the meaning of their acts had been wiped away. Meanwhile, those who wanted and needed peace, an obvious choice, were known as "defeatists" and were punished. Hitler's control became absolute; the "mesmerized" (dissociated) populace went on fighting and dying for a dying cause that had nothing to do with their everyday lives. Not so different today in Iraq where any talk of a peaceful solution is considered by the administration as defeatist and sending the wrong message to our troops. Jingoism then becomes the only topic admissible.

How did Hitler do it? He tapped into the people's basic needs and into their split consciousness. He capitalized on their already existing dissociation and on the ideas that duty was all, and that how you felt was unimportant. He used their feeling of being a defeated nation to suggest that they were conquerors. He turned reality upside down. In short, he suppressed their Pain just as a hypnotist does, and he infused and inculcated another reality – his. Hitler was so skilled (and his subjects so prepared) that he could do it on a mass level.  

>> Many people claim to know what Hitler did to take over a nation. Ah, but yours truly has the real explanation. Hitler sweet talked their egos and made it all sound so easy and so good. But more importantly, boys and girls, Hitler had a mass audience who did not have a philosophy of their own to defend or protect them. They did not have a code of conduct or beliefs. Philosophy and reasoning were never their strong points and Hitler filled all of Germany with propaganda, and the he filled it law enforcement, surveillance, and martial law. At that point, no one dared disagree.

The USA is now on the very same track. You are already under surveillance. Soon you will not be allowed to speak up and disagree. This is what you call cult control or police state control. They are both pretty much the same thing. Hitler took everyone hostage and made them go to war. It will happen in the USA, too. Count on it! You heard it hear. Hitler appealed to authority and elitism. He knew better than anyone in Germany. Just do what he says and you'll see. Germany will finally be great.

Oh, yeah, it always sounds so good and so easy. Then there are the gun shots, bombs, burning, screaming, and dying. All because no one had developed any sound reasoning or philosophy while they had the chance. What good are those, anyway, they would say. Famous last words. Nearly every woman in East Germany was raped by incoming Russian armies. Many German POWs were starved to death in prison. They were hungry for several years till the USA got scared they might run into Russia's arms. Many West German women were raped by occupying American forces. 68,000 children resulted from those rapes and the few consensual encounters as well. Wasn't so easy, after all, I guess.<<

This whole notion of the nature of reality is critical to an understanding of psychotherapy, for if we assume that reality is what the patient tells us it us (“I feel wonderful. Therapy has been a great success”) we will be led astray. We have neglected an important internal reality, something that can only be achieved by “talking” to the body; that is, measuring it to see what secrets it holds. It may tell a very different story. So then were is reality? Is it what the patients says it is. In short, the nature of reality splits the field of psychotherapy into those who think it is cognitive and those who think it is cognitive-somatic.  

>> Art does ask a good question. Psychology has always been a joke because they never really addressed the fact that people often lied to themselves and the therapist. But Art has his little spin games, too. Yes, reality is in the stem, the 1st level. But it can be in the intellect as well. If the intellect asks sincerely and with courage, it can get an answer from below. The hidden observer will tell you. For the stem and the hidden observer are one and the same. Art missed that. I didn't!<<

When there is dissociation, either in neurosis or hypnosis, the information takes a detour and the person is unconscious of certain facts or states. One of the structures to help in this detour is the thalamus.

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On Hypnosis (Part 19/26)     Tuesday, August 23, 2011
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More and more evidence indicates that the thalamus plays a key role in human awareness.[1] The thalamus has a relay function to the cortex, but it also serves as a switching station which handles most sensory input and delivers it to the cortex. When it is overwhelmed it cannot do that; the message gets blocked and rerouted. Those in a coma often have damage to the thalamus; what happens is that messages never arrive to consciousness. It would seem that in hypnosis, as in coma, there is a functional "lobotomy" between cortex and thalamus, so that the higher level (cortex), doesn't know what the lower level (thalamus) does or feels.

I often call a Primal a "conscious coma" because the patient is (re)living on a lower level of consciousness during the session but "knows" what is going on as well. That is, the patient has retrieved a memory stored on a lower level and is feeling it on that level while bringing it to consciousness. Whereas hypnosis depends on the split and guards it, in Primal Therapy we mend it. That is why you cannot get cured with hypnosis. The split is the source of the problem, not the solution.  

>> I think Art makes mistakes when he tries to pin down specific locations or areas to certain functions. He might be right about the thalamus, but in general, it does not matter when goes on inside exactly. Courage, ego, intellect, empathy, and related attributes are broad functions of the whole brain. I say the stem is are the base of control over the cortex/intellect. The thalamus is likely involved, too, but I doubt it is the hidden observer. The hidden one is in control at all times. I say the stem does that.<<

Pain Control and the Neurotic Split in Consciousness

Let's take another look at the statements made by Hilgard's subjects (HS) in the hidden observer experiments, followed by rephrasing of what the subject is describing from a Primal viewpoint (PV):

HS: It's as though two things were happening simultaneously. I have two separate memories as if two things could have happened to two different people.

PV: In neurosis the adult recalls the Pain of the child as if he and that child were two separate people. He can talk about it in a detached way, dissociated from its suffering component. This is precisely the neurotic split in consciousness: the Pain is merely repressed and concealed, not eliminated.

HS: Both parts (of me) were concentrating on what you said – not to feel pain. The water bothered the hidden part a little because it felt a little but the hypnotized part was not thinking of my arm at all.

PV: In neurosis the child is told "not to feel pain" in some direct and many indirect ways. "Why such a sad face today?" "What have you got to feel bad about?" "Stop whining and sniveling or I'll give you something to cry about." "It can't hurt that much." etc. As a consequence, he grows into an adult who is well able to not think of the Pain he is in. It may "bother the hidden part a little," but the "hypnotized part" – the part that is neurotically split off – does not think of the Pain at all. It thinks of telephone calls, things to do, places to go, projects....all to keep from feeling the emptiness and solitude inside.  

>> Notice how the intellect is taken out of the way for the child. what part of the brain takes the intellect out or has the power to take the intellect out? Only something that controls instinct, autopilot and the strongest forces in our brain. I say that can only be the stem. He is the decision maker at all times. He can keep the mind (intellect) in the dark, asleep.<<

HS: The hidden part knew that my hand was in the water and it hurt just as much as it did the other day (in the waking control session). The hypnotized part would vaguely be aware of feeling pain – that's why I would have to concentrate really hard. 

PV: The hidden part of the neurotic feels how much Pain he is in so that he also has "to concentrate really hard" to ignore it: "I can take it like a man."

HS: The hidden part knows the pain is there but can't feel it. The hypnotized part doesn't feel it but may know it's there.

PV: It is possible to observe this process of dissociation taking place in the hypnotic subject. If we could photograph a neurotic with time-lapse photography over years, we could probably see a similar (neurotic) process taking place. The main difference is that neurosis is a long-term, lifetime event. The important similarity in hypnosis and neurosis is that while a false reality is imposed upon the system via ideas and suggestions, the ideas and suggestions cannot remove the pain actually experienced in childhood.  

>> Dissociation could also be called disconnection or the intellect sleeping. When the stem wants to do what it wants, it tells the intellect to shut up and stay out of it. The intellect obeys, as it is supposed to. In a crisis or emergency, the speed and urgency come directly and fast from the stem. The intellect, especially in youth, must be bypassed while the emergency is handled.

But as we progress to adulthood and maturity, we analyze, after something took place, and see if  the instinct handled it right or best. With thought, we might conclude that there actually is a better way than what the autopilot did. So we make appeal to the autopilot, the hidden one, to hold back next time and let the intellect try its hand, if time can be allowed to it.

It can work the other way, too. In sports, we might need the stem to take over in certain situations, because it has the speed and reaction time that the intellect does not have. So the athlete trains over and over for certain situations. The repetition is a form of conditioning so that the stem can get a feel for it and take over when the situation happens, such as a particular type of tennis shot and response. Just as the hidden one, the stem, can talk or write, that is, harness the intellect and cortex, it can do so in athletic situations, too.

Army training is often conditioning that helps save lives, but also to get you to march into bullets without thought or question. the stem can be a bit grabby and greedy. It wants all the control it can get. It is obsessive, compulsive, possessive. So getting it to back down also takes conditioning. It has to learn restraint and discipline. That is why I caution not to put too much into brain parts but just understand that we can consciously decide to condition both the intellect and/or the stem. Choice and preparation are the keys. The brain is very plastic and flexible.

That means that both the stem and intellect can learn new tricks, if we want to teach them. Art misses this, too. He blames the intellect for everything on earth and heaven. Consider that when parts of the brain are injured, as in a stroke, circuits and parts can be rewired. The brain can adapt and flex. It is a marvelous piece of engineering. You can do a lot with it if you want to try. You gotta have faith in it. Arthur is a doubting Thomas.<<

In both hypnotic pain control and childhood trauma, the lower levels of consciousness continue to register the pain. Recall the hypnotic subject's description that "the hypnotized part really makes an effort." Why does it have to make such an effort? Because the truth of reality is just beneath the surface. In hypnosis the hypnotist simply repeats the suggestions whenever the person starts to feel pain – when the "effort" of the hypnotized part begins to lag. In neurosis the lower levels of consciousness produce manic activity, for example, a constant effort to distract oneself from the Pain. In either case, we see the reality of pain pushing toward the surface, necessitating efforts to push it back down. One can either take a cigarette (in neurosis) or take a suggestion (in hypnosis) to push it down.  

>> Notice just above that in this case, Arthur says the lower levels cause the manic activity. I agree. But in other places, he will blame the intellect. I always blame the stem. I understand it better; that's why! And I am very modest, too ;-) <<

Pain of any kind is an affront to the system and, as one of Hilgard's experiments suggests, denial of that pain may constitute a kind of double-barrelled assault. Attempting to differentiate between pain and anxiety in hypnotic analgesia, Hilgard found that hypnotic pain reduction techniques may actually increase the amount of anxiety felt by the person while he is in the process of supposedly reducing his pain. Hilgard wrote:

Maintaining hypnotic analgesia requires some effort by the subject, even though he knows he is going to be successful in reducing pain. This effort is accompanied by physiological signs of anticipatory excitement when the subject knows he must soon fight off painful stimulation. These signs may be interpreted as a form of anxiety, perhaps deriving from a latent fear that this time control may be lacking. In any case...both heart rate and blood pressure increase more when pain is to be reduced by hypnotic analgesia than when it is to be felt normally at full value.[2] [Italics added]  

>> I see resistance to pain as a great waste of energy. Pain, often in the form of fear, causes more harm than good. If you can get the stem to buy that, then the stem might decide that courage would actually produce better results and with less effort in the long run. Fear is never a good buy. Again, these are lessons we can learn, only if we give thought to matters when we are not in a current crisis or danger. The stem likes time to "think" and feel. It does not like to be hurried at all.

And the intellect does not like interference or agitation, either. So both have to learn to co-exist and give each other the time and style each requires.<<

In neurosis, of course, it is typical to see both blood pressure and high heart rate chronically high. Hilgard's description illustrates the conflict between Pain and repression continually waged in every neurotic, a conflict which often results in anxiety. Anxiety is the global symptom which arises when Primal Pain threatens to overwhelm inhibition and make itself fully conscious. Every pre-Primal state, where patients are about to enter into an old feeling, can be considered an anxiety state.  

>> It is said, the body knows best. The body is controlled by the stem. The stem knows when the time and situation are right to release pain into the cortex. Till then, the stem will fight with everything at its disposal, to stop pain, otherwise.<<

There is no anxiety without repression; anxiety is a sign of faltering repression. Without repression, one simply gets terror in context. When my patients feel their terror in the ancient context there is no more anxiety. Thus it is both a symptom and a signal.

Anxiety indicates that the defenses are under maximum strain and signals for the extra production of repressive chemistry. The system revs up to quell the Pain before control is completely lost. Anxiety is taxing enough but its suppression even more so, and the anxious person usually uses self-hypnotic techniques in order to control himself (though he may never identify them as such): "It'll be alright," "Don't worry, it'll turn out fine," "Take it easy," "Calm down," "Think positive." These are all hypnotic style suggestions. Very often they have to be repeated over and over to produce any effect, which gives us some idea of the energy needed to suppress and contain the anxiety.

Hilgard's discovery regarding the link between pain and anxiety parallels what we have learned about the effort involved in maintaining dissociation: feeling the Pain in its entirety is "easier" on the system than going through the labor of dissociating from it. In fact, it is not Pain alone that produces symptoms, but Pain together with its counteracting repression. Repression is responsible for the pressure the system is under leading to symptoms. It takes great physiological effort to keep Pain out of awareness, an ongoing internal struggle which is measurable through one's vital signs. Indeed, heart rate and blood pressure tend to decrease permanently after a period of releasing Primal Pain.  

>> In above highlighted, he says feeling the pain is easier. Really? You mean I do not need a therapist or help? Or maybe it is not as easy as Art suggests. I suspect if the world around you were much safer and people much more loving, it might very well be easy. But the stem is well aware that the world is a nasty dangerous place without love and that now is not the time to feel anything. The stem knows; the body knows. Our automatic system knows!<<

The fact that emotional pain registers as a physical entity, one which is imprinted throughout the system (indicated by the physiologic changes which occur as a result of its removal), is vital to our understanding of neurosis and hypnosis. This knowledge wrests neurosis from the abstract and even metaphysical realm created for it by its definition as a mental illness, from the realm of mechanics created for it by the behaviorist viewpoint, and at last, places it where it belongs in the very real and physical organismic processes.

Pain is not often thought of as anything other than the localized sensations caused by physical injury. When it is viewed on another level it is seen as an idea: as something that can be thought away, forgotten, or in some way mentally altered by psychological gymnastics (hypnosis, biofeedback, directive daydreaming). More recently we have coined the term "problem" to describe the affliction of neurosis. It then becomes a matter of unbalanced equations, malfunctioning machinery, and unsorted puzzles. Mental solutions are sought for mental problems and behavioral solutions are sought for behavioral problems.

Pain creates problems for those who suffer from it, but to become caught up in the treatment of each problem is to lose sight of the central issue: that only by dealing with the physical reality of repressed Pain does the nature and depth of the organismic disease known as neurosis become fully treatable.  

>> Each problem does deserve some thought and resolution. But Art is right that there is more to deal with, beyond the problem bothering us, or that seemed to cause our discomfort, which psychology ignores.

As mentioned earlier, psychological mechanisms by which hypnotic states are induced are based on the innate defensive capabilities of the brain. Even more importantly, they are based on a pre-existing pattern of behavior that has been in constant and active use throughout the subject's life. Neurosis is the ongoing post-hypnotic state which is already operating when the hypnotist goes to work. The neurotic lives in a state of permanent dissociation from his pain. Hypnotic techniques take advantage of this situation without it being recognized. The already existing defense of dissociation gets an added boost from hypnosis. When translated back into neurological terms, this means that extra endorphins pour into the system. In other words, hypnosis helps the system function even more neurotically than usual.

"Pain," writes hypnotherapist Yapko, "is a warning sign that something is wrong." The various hypnotic approaches are essentially 'band-aids,' for while they may assist the client in being more comfortable, their healing abilities remain uncertain."[3]  

>> Indeed, pain is an indication that something is wrong. With all the money and studies done in mainstream psychology, all the solutions should have been found by now. That only 1 man or a small number have found more, also indicates something is still wrong. That none have recognized the essential need of a well developed intellect applied to all things in life? Well, that is just very disturbing. It may also be an indication of something more sinister at work in our world. There is so much we ignore in life.

Art says neurosis is an ongoing state that hypnosis continues. Yes and no. I see our natural state as children. We spend most of our time with our parents, ideally, and learn continually through them. We are in a receptive mode naturally. At some point, as we grow older and expand our circle of influence to friends and other contacts, we should begin to open up our thinking more, particularly if we encounter something that varies with our parents' instructions.

In a world of vast and conflicting and varying ideas, it should be natural to question and ponder what is right or wrong and resolve the conflicts. But perhaps we fear rejection of our original cult, I mean family circle, or our church or community or classmates. But whatever, we run and hide from conflict and controversy. It is peer pressure and leverage that keep us from seeking and resolving.

To me, it is all evidence that our very fearful stem seeks to keep us imprisoned and we dare not inquire from within us, addressing our inner hidden observer and getting to know him and find out what he is doing to us. We are guided by him, in fact. and he tells us not to ask questions or go poking aorun dinside and making him account for himself. Though he is us, he is much like a brutal cult leader who does not want to be questioned at all. We are to shut up and take orders.

So when a classic manipulator comes along, he finds a very ready and willing helper in the hidden one inside of each of us. The hidden one is much like the manipulator. They both have much in common and establish an immediate rapport with each other. This is why a hypnotist can just moved right into the core, the stem, the 1st level, and go right to work.

The agenda of the manipulator and the stem is much the same. The stem does not like inquiry. The manipulator comes from a long line of manipulators who designed our world not to allow or encourage questions. So both have the same goal in common. Don't rock the boat or question what you have been told. Just go with flow and you will be accepted or tolerated. You don't want to be rejected, do you? Then do as you are told.

So most go along with life, not daring to ask any questions or make anything harmonize and be good for us. Just obey. The conspiracy is within us AND outside us, too. It takes a lot of guts and courage to overthrow the bastard inside us, and then challenge the ones outside us. Often, it is our own parents, families, friends, schoolmates, teachers, and on, that become our sudden enemies if we challenge anything. Get the picture?

This is just human nature at work. Hypnotists are exceptionally good at getting to the stem and working with it. Its just that they usually do nothing dramatic. Manipulators use conditioning more than hypnosis. What is the solution to it all? Great amounts of courage, bravery, and the strength to risk a lot of alienation and hostility while we dare to question everything in life. It is a tall order. Not many will ever dare to question much. Maybe a few little things, so as not to inspire too much anger an rejection, but not enough to really get anywhere, intellectually.

And in it all is Art, also condemning us for having an intellect or daring to question him, the great Oz behind the curtain, who dismisses conspiracies and hides deep within an orthodoxy of science lies such as evolution, etc. I say to you that the risks of questioning are great but so are the rewards. I dare you to try just a little. See if you can find any rewards. If you can and if you do, you might not be able to stop. I haven't been able to. It is addictive!<<

-------------------------
[1]See Science News, July 2, 1994, pp. 10-11.
[2]Hilgard, Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain, p. 78.
[3]Yapko, Trancework, p. 276.

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On Hypnosis (Part 20/26)     Monday, August 29, 2011
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>> Arthur pretty much repeats the last half of Part 19 here in Part 20. I'll mark it with my brown comments when it ends.<<

Anxiety indicates that the defenses are under maximum strain and signals for the extra production of repressive chemistry. The system revs up to quell the Pain before control is completely lost. Anxiety is taxing enough but its suppression even more so, and the anxious person usually uses self-hypnotic techniques in order to control himself (though he may never identify them as such): "It'll be alright," "Don't worry, it'll turn out fine," "Take it easy," "Calm down," "Think positive." These are all hypnotic style suggestions. Very often they have to be repeated over and over to produce any effect, which gives us some idea of the energy needed to suppress and contain the anxiety.

Hilgard's discovery regarding the link between pain and anxiety parallels what we have learned about the effort involved in maintaining dissociation: feeling the Pain in its entirety is "easier" on the system than going through the labor of dissociating from it. In fact, it is not Pain alone that produces symptoms, but Pain together with its counteracting repression. Repression is responsible for the pressure the system is under leading to symptoms. It takes great physiological effort to keep Pain out of awareness, an ongoing internal struggle which is measurable through one's vital signs. Indeed, heart rate and blood pressure tend to decrease permanently after a period of releasing Primal Pain.

The fact that emotional pain registers as a physical entity, one which is imprinted throughout the system (indicated by the physiologic changes which occur as a result of its removal), is vital to our understanding of neurosis and hypnosis. This knowledge wrests neurosis from the abstract and even metaphysical realm created for it by its definition as a mental illness, from the realm of mechanics created for it by the behaviorist viewpoint, and at last, places it where it belongs in the very real and physical organismic processes.

Pain is not often thought of as anything other than the localized sensations caused by physical injury. When it is viewed on another level it is seen as an idea: as something that can be thought away, forgotten, or in some way mentally altered by psychological gymnastics (hypnosis, biofeedback, directive daydreaming). More recently we have coined the term "problem" to describe the affliction of neurosis. It then becomes a matter of unbalanced equations, malfunctioning machinery, and unsorted puzzles. Mental solutions are sought for mental problems and behavioral solutions are sought for behavioral problems.

Pain creates problems for those who suffer from it, but to become caught up in the treatment of each problem is to lose sight of the central issue: that only by dealing with the physical reality of repressed Pain does the nature and depth of the organismic disease known as neurosis become fully treatable.

As mentioned earlier, psychological mechanisms by which hypnotic states are induced are based on the innate defensive capabilities of the brain. Even more importantly, they are based on a pre-existing pattern of behavior that has been in constant and active use throughout the subject's life. Neurosis is the ongoing post-hypnotic state which is already operating when the hypnotist goes to work. The neurotic lives in a state of permanent dissociation from his pain. Hypnotic techniques take advantage of this situation without it being recognized. The already existing defense of dissociation gets an added boost from hypnosis. When translated back into neurological terms, this means that extra endorphins pour into the system. In other words, hypnosis helps the system function even more neurotically than usual.

"Pain," writes hypnotherapist Yapko, "is a warning sign that something is wrong. The various hypnotic approaches are essentially 'band-aids,' for while they may assist the client in being more comfortable, their healing abilities remain uncertain."[1]  

>> Part 19 ended with the above. So Part 20 really begins now!<<

As we shall see in the following chapters, the same can be said of the use of hypnotherapy as a psychotherapeutic tool. Hypnotherapy is anti-dialectic. It fails to take into account the complex interplay between imprinted Pain and repression in the development of problems such as smoking and drinking. Be it physical pain or psychological "problems," it takes the symptom as a viable force to be treated ex machina. It usually takes only one side of the dialectic process, working on the surface pain to the neglect of all else, manipulating it, changing its location, attenuating it by suggestion, but never...never... asking where it came from...and never...never...eliminating it.

Reinforcing Neurosis with Hypnotherapy

As far back as 1958, the American Medical Association recognized the use of hypnosis by physicians and psychologists as a valid therapeutic modality.[2] Since then, hypnosis has become one of the most oft-used forms of therapy in pain management and psychotherapy .[3]

Given the established nature of hypnosis as a form of controlled dissociation, questions remain : Are changes in permanent or temporary? And if it is possible to effect permanent change in symptoms with hypnotherapy, is it desirable to do so, given the physiologic stress that results from maintaining the dissociation.

Whenever we consider hypnosis we must understand that however sophisticated the explanation, it is still repression that is at its core; a matter of narrowed perception; a constricted perceptual field. Just as it is possible to make a person unaware of physical pain, it is possible to dissociate him from feelings of anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression. Someone can think his emotional problems have vanished when they have not. A person can believe that his feelings of inferiority have been resolved even while he admonishes his children to be the best in everything. While the hypnotic reality constructs one world -- "I feel relaxed," "I am not compulsive anymore," "I feel worthwhile," "I want the best for my kids" -- the actual physiologically engraved reality (necessarily) constructs another world of referred tensions, substituted symptoms, and projected emotions. The first logical extension of this fact is that applying hypnosis in psychotherapy means utilizing the same dissociative conditions of consciousness that characterize neurosis. The second logical extension is that hypnotherapy reinforces rather than resolves neurosis

Utilizing key neurotic mechanisms to treat neurosis is at the very least contradictory. But before examining this hypotheses, let us take a look at how two prominent hypnotherapists apply their views of hypnotherapy to their patients.

Different Views of Hypnotherapy: The Ericksonian Approach

Despite his death in 1980, Milton H. Erickson's approaches to hypnosis have swept the field. "Ericksonian Hypnotherapy" is a recognized area of specialization for therapists, and Ericksonian training centers and foundations exist across the country. Psychotherapists from other specialties -- psychoanalysis, behaviorism, gestalt, etc. -- also draw from Ericksonian methods.

Erickson led the field in developing a vast array of techniques that were often highly innovative, and sometimes shocking and incomprehensible. Several of his colleagues spent much time and effort studying and observing his techniques, trying to find out what he did and how he did it. Foremost among them was psychologist Ernest Rossi. Rossi was with Erickson during much of the last decade of his life and wrote several books (with Erickson as co-author) that attempted to systematize and conceptualize Erickson's hypnotic approaches. The only relatively simple part of Erickson's work was his theory of the "conscious and unconscious minds," but how he applied that theory clinically with patients remained highly unusual and virtually non-reproducible. The crux of Erickson's viewpoint is the belief that the "unconscious mind" can heal the patient without the "conscious mind" ever being involved. According to Erickson, the conscious mind is often a barrier to healing, In his view, the unconscious mind and its reception of repressive suggestions can do, as h e demonstrated, is aid in the job of repression, so that symptoms are brought under control. "You will forget. You will not feel pain. You won't have migraines anymore .,"  

>> Yes, Erickson was wrong about the programmed unconscious mind healing anything. The unconscious mind must relieve it self of the pain into the cortex in order to relieve and heal the entire mind and eliminate the electrical storm that continually raged while the pain was hidden/suppressed.<<

In the hypnotic trance state, the conscious mind can be bypassed and the unconscious mind given free rein. According to Erickson, the conscious mind contains the "learned limitations" and "negative life experiences" that prevent us from enjoying ourselves and using our given potentials. The unconscious mind, on the other hand, contains the answers and untapped potentials for us. In Erickson's view, by bypassing or "de-potentiating" consciousness, the unconscious is allowed to solve and heal. This does not mean that consciousness is kept out entirely, for it may be brought in at the end in a very secondary position:

The patient doesn't consciously know what the problems are, no matter how good a story he tells you, because that's a conscious story. What are the unconscious factors? You want to deal with the unconscious mind, bring about therapy at that level, and then translate it to the conscious mind...One tries to do hypnotherapy at an unconscious level, but to give the patient an opportunity to transfer that understanding and insight to the conscious mind as far as it is needed.[4]

In other words, consciousness may be included in therapy, but it need not be. It certainly is not to be trusted, since "the patient doesn't consciously know what the problems are, no matter how good a story he tells you..." Hypnotherapy is effective when it occurs on an unconscious level, and may then be brought into consciousness, but only "as far as it is needed."

>> Really, neither Janov or Erickson really understands what is going on inside the whole brain, because both see the intellect as a problem rather than a partner to a solution. The intellect can have imaginary limits that are not real. But they may be more due to the stem holding on to those beliefs as well. To allow a change in the cortex, one may need to reach the stem since it may have been the stem that was programmed in the 1st place. Conditioning may be needed.<<

-------------------------
[1]Yapko, Trancework, p. 276.

[2]_American Medical Association: Medical use of hypnosis. Journal of the Medical Association 1958, 168: 186-189.

[3]54% of 1,000 respondents to a recent survey agreed that "hypnosis can be used to recover memories of actual events as far back as birth." 97% felt hypnosis is a worthwhile tool for psychotherapy. (Yapko, M., Suggestibility and Repressed Memory of Abuse: A Survey of Psychotherapists' Belief. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 36 (3), 1/94, 163-171.

[4]Milton H. Erickson, "Hypnotic Approaches to Therapy." In The Collected Papers of Milton H. Erickson on Hypnosis, Vol. IV, pp. 76-95. Edited by Ernest L. Rossi (NY: Irvington), 1980. Originally published in The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 1977, 20, 20-35.

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On Hypnosis (Part 21/26)     Tuesday, August 30, 2011
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We view hypnotherapy as a process whereby we help people utilize their own mental associations, memories, and life potentials to achieve their own therapeutic goals. Hypnotic suggestions can facilitate the utilization of abilities and potentials that already exist within a person but that remain unused or underdeveloped because of a lack of training or understanding.[1]

In Erickson's terms, trance is a time during which "the limitations of one's usual frames of references and beliefs are temporarily altered so one can be receptive to other patterns of association and modes of mental functioning that are conducive to problem-solving."[2] Hypnotherapy, then, is a "learning process for the patient, a procedure for re-education.[3] [Emphasis added] Erickson's approach deals with the casualties of neurosis (the "learned limitations"). He believed that it was his role to actively change patients -- to use hypnosis and post-hypnotic amnesia to help them restructure their thinking. He viewed hypnotherapy as process for/of restructuring thinking.  

>> Erickson might restructure thinking. It can be done. But why not do it by use of reason and taught experience, that is, conditioning, whereby the mind remains conscious and knows what is changing and why. Tony Robbins tries to do this. The problem is that Robbins often uses heightened emotional states to get people pumped up but he does not actually change their thinking. In fact, he bypasses thinking just like a hypnotist. I have known Robbins fans who have gone to his seminars. They do not understand the intellectual concepts. They only know that they "got high" and felt great! Robbins provided "a fix" for them.

To change the mind, you must work with ideas and keep the emotions out. One an understanding is achieved, then you can let the emotions do whatever they want. An intellect needs to be undisturbed, rational, and objective. Then knowledge has to be applied till changes are truly realized, and then a permanent change will have been made. When you see and feel a technique work, which often does not work overnight or even fast, then you will believe in it and use it forever after. You will have faith in that technique or belief. You will trust it to work always. Conditioning needs to see results so it can feel them, too.

When felt, the stem and limbic system also become believers and will be induced to trust the intellect more and give it more prerogative thereafter. Conditioning works. It does not get rid of pain deep inside but if and when the pain comes out, the intellect stands more ready to receive it and continue on with much less to change since it made changes already, in anticipation of future pain release.<<

Prominent psychotherapist and researcher Jay Haley studied Erickson extensively. The titles of two of his books on Erickson -- Uncommon Therapy: The Psychiatric Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. (1973), and Ordeal Therapy (1984) -- suggest the idiosyncratic nature of Erickson's techniques. For example, Erickson had a propensity to employ sexist language, verbal assaults, and other bullying approaches when treating women.[4] He was also an authoritarian therapist, as seen in the terms he dictated to a "plump," unhappy, unkempt, and unloved 35-year-old woman who had come to him for treatment :

These terms are absolute, full, and complete obedience in relation to every instruction I give you regardless of what I order or demand...You will be told what to do, and you will do it. That's it. If I tell you to resign your position, you will resign. If I tell you to eat fresh garlic cloves for breakfast, you will eat them...I want action and response -- not words, ideas, theories, concepts...Once you come, you are committed to therapy, and your bank account belongs to me as does the registration certificate for your car...I will tell you what to do and how to do it, and you are to be a most obedient patient.[5]  

>> Herein, we can see the problems when we do not have the right therapist. It can be quite abusive. I note the word therapist hyphenated as follows: the-rapist. Indeed, they can be damn near rapists of the mind. It should make one wonder about Erickson, really. If he had this little control over his own faculties, then he is not likely fit for all patients or maybe even not fit for any. As well, his "feelings" maybe contaminating his theories and ideas as well. Contradictions can indicate many concerns we should not overlook. Needless to say, the right therapist can make all the difference in the world and the wrong one can do much damage. There is risk in every decision we make. Make them as carefully as you can.<<

To "re-educate" this patient, from whom he had demanded complete obedience, Erickson induced a trance and then said to her:

"You are five feet three inches tall, and you weigh about 130 pounds; you have trim ankles, an excellent figure, a beautiful mouth and beautiful eyes..." Then, in a tone of voice of utter intensity, in the manner of conveying a vitally important message, she was asked the following question: "Ann, did you know that you have a pretty patch of fur between your legs?" For some minutes Ann stood staring at the author, blushing deeply and continuously, apparently too cataleptic to close her eyes or to move in any way. "You really have, Ann, and it is definitely darker than the hair on your head. Now at least an hour before bedtime, let us say at nine o'clock tonight, after you take your shower, stand in the nude before the full length mirror in your bedroom. Carefully, systematically, thoroughly examine your body from the waist down...Try to realize how much you would like to have the right man caress your pretty pubic hair and your softly rounded belly. Think of how you would like to have him caress your thighs and hips..."[6] Erickson's idiosyncracies - example {tt203}  

>> OK, he wanted her to be unafraid of what should be normal healthy desires. and some are very afraid of those and feel tremendous guilt about them. But surely we can see the possible inappropriate behavior and lack of supervision in such therapy of a sensitive nature. How much better it might be to reason with them consciously so they know what went on and whether they want to continue in that discussion or direction.

What I find is that a person should have the right to agree to or disagree to whatever topic they want. It may be that they should confront it but refuse. But it may also be that it is not a good direction, at least not without a female associate therapist. As well, what I find about most intellectual reasoning, is that very few are any good at it. Little wonder we do not employ it as teaching or therapy since hardly any can even attempt it.

My own articles on sexuality, often boldly go where none have gone before. One, to eliminate guilt. But also because most Christians have never been able to properly defend God's regulations on sexuality. so they do not bother. So their kids do not have a good reason to resist sex unless the circumstances are fit for it. Reason needs to be developed widely, broadly, collectively, in order to wipe out superstition, fear, guilt, shame, or whatever else plagues us. It should be able to take place openly. If it were done all the time, no would would likely think poorly of it. But since topics like sex are never talked about or discussed, they carry all sorts of shame and guilt about them and that should not exist.

Many people are harmed with shame and guilt about sex. so they can not function or feel sex in a proper way. If one wants to recommend certain circumstances in order for sex to take place, such as marriage, or whatever, they should not need to rely on guilt to prevent sex without marriage. One should be able to impart knowledge about sex without also imparting guilt or shame.

If you really love your child, do you want to cripple their future ability to feel sex in a good healthy enjoyable way? God, I hope not. Only monsters would want to cripple their kids in any way. So give them good reasons about why sex should wait, without guilt or fear and then they can enjoy sex when they feel it is right to have it. All things can be reasoned out. but we have not developed a body of reasoning for most situations so we are walking around and stumbling in the dark, following ancient scripts handed down long ago without thinking or reasoning. As Socrates put it, "the unexamined life is not worth living."

Erickson's theories and techniques notwithstanding, a person's self-image does not remain poor, nor do her abilities remain undeveloped, because of limited "frames of reference" or "a lack of training or understanding." Adult neurosis is not the result of cognitive distortions; it is the product of correct cognition which is out of context. Childhood trauma alters one's perceptions to accommodate the Pain. When one's perception is altered, one sees hurt as an adult where none exists. "Can I help you?" becomes, "You think I'm helpless, don't you?" Furthermore, spontaneity and free feeling are not something we "learn"; children simply are spontaneous and free feeling until deprivation and injury intervene. A child whose father is too busy to notice him does not have "learned limitations"; he has the raw feeling of neglect. The child who is physically or sexually abused does not have "learned limitations"; she has the brutal pain of assault and violation. Her underlying fear and therefore distorted perceptions later on reflect an original situation that engendered lifelong fear. To be afraid of airplanes is to have fear from the past placed out of context in the present. ( adult neurosis is the product of correct cognition which is out of context {tt204} )  

>> Art makes a serious mistake in his comment: Adult neurosis is not the result of cognitive distortions. It is often not the result of cognitive distortions, but sometimes is the result of those. Said another more plain way, errors in thinking can end up as a neurosis, but they are often easier to fix if that is the case. But if the stem is fond of the "mistake," then it will take conditioning along with the change of thought. This is the process that I suspect is part of what is called the "conscience."

Our conscience goes off when there is a conflict between 2 different ways of knowing, or a conflict between knowing and feeling. When they are in conflict, they should be fixed for harmony, consistency, and integrity's sake. We do not want to allow conflicts or contradictions to remain as such in us. This is how neurosis can come about. We start to suppress one thought or feeling over another and develop a wall or split.

Note Arthur's distortion of explanation. He says a father's neglect of his son is not a learned limitation! Its not? If the son feels neglected, might he get the feeling that he is not lovable? Is that not a learned limit, learned by the stem, perhaps, but learned all the same. The stem learns different than the intellect. If the stem is expecting attention and affection from dad and does not get it, then it suffers and begins to long for that anticipated desire to be filled. It is a form of knowledge that is felt in longing, a hunger if you will, and expressed in feelings and longings. You feel bad that dad did not notice you. You feel pain. To change that stem knowledge, you must release that hunger feeling into the cortex and then it will be freed.

I kind of look at it this way. When I get the flu, I feel lousy for a day, or maybe several days. I hate the feeling. If it is strong, I can not do much while I ache and suffer. But after a day or so, its gone, fixed, resolved. I see psychological pain somewhat the same way. AN injury of the stem, a need not met, released into the cortex, will often be felt almost like the flu. We will feel rotten for a while, perhaps some gloom and depression or anger and frustration. Maybe we will have many bouts before it will all be gone but eventually, it would be all gone.

A very severe pain, such as say, a severe physical injury, might be felt in great intensity, but only short periods of time till it is all finally gone. Each mood or session is like a case of the flu. We wallow in it and feel lousy till its gone and over with finally. Once the stem has been relieved, the thought process will be free to do as it pleases, without hindrance from the stem. But if the stem has residual pain, the mind can still change, but there will be conflict. If we have a good reason for the conflict to continue, knowing that pain in the stem is the cause, then we do not have to worry so much about the conflict.

Conditioning can often overcome resistance from the stem. It will still have the pain, but it will (it can) consent to the change in intellectual reason. Half a loaf of bread is better than none at all, says I. <<

Learned limitations are the last outcrops of the neurotic process. They represent what Freud called the Superego. They are the acquired inhibitions impressed into the child's brain by parents when at last she has sufficient intellect to register and code inhibition. A stern look by a parent every time the child cries is an example. She "learns" not to cry on an emotional level without any words being spoken. The implicit factor here is fear of loss of love of the parents. If there is no real contact between parent and child, there will be little learned inhibition. Love has already been lost.

To assume that changing one's beliefs about oneself involves reeducation, training, or problem-solving is to assume incorrectly that beliefs, particularly about oneself, are rooted solely in cognition. Beliefs are the product of our experiences, and the source of "limiting beliefs" is a childhood with inculcated prohibitions about everything from how one eats to how one holds one's jaw.  

>> Another error from Art. He says: "Beliefs are the product of our experiences." Corrected by me: "Sometimes beliefs are the product of our experiences. Sometimes they are not!" Sometimes it is just ideas that need fixed. They are not rooted too deeply, if at all, in the stem as an injury. An example, I once perceived that I was not bright and was not capable of good grades. I made the honor role by accident and it changed my whole outlook. Only 2 things could explain this. Either the belief was not deeply rooted in the stem, and so could be changed easy, or it was not in the stem at all so that a minor experience was all it took to make a change.

Art often struggles with what I call gradients. Most things are either all one way or the other, black and white with no grays at all. Cut and dried. But life is far more than just black and white. Oddly, this mentality is one often found in religious people, too, and Art does not like religion much, either. See the contradiction? Ideas can be stubbornly rooted or just waiting for a good reason to be thrown out. If deeply rooted, conditioning may change it, but not the pain suppressed with it. As long as you get the change, that is half the battle. Art does not like half battles. Its got to be all or nothing! So uncompromising ;-) <<

A great deal of Erickson's hypnotherapy centered around the development of indirect suggestions that would "bypass" the conscious mind and lodge squarely and educationally in the unconscious mind. Since intellectual language is the province of the cortical mind, using language to bypass it requires some very clever wording. Erickson's skill at devising these clever linguistic loopholes, termed indirect suggestions, was unparalleled. Moreover, his use of indirect suggestions to bypass consciousness has become a model for much of the hypnotherapeutic community. This is the cognitive approach taken to its limit: there are suggestions called "double dissociation double binds" and those termed "conscious-unconscious double binds" -- not to mention compound, contingent, and associational suggestions. All in all, Rossi organized Erickson's indirect forms of suggestion into some 30 different categories, which he arrived at by simply analyzing the linguistic structure of the suggestion.

Erickson fully believed that suggestions which could not be understood by the conscious mind would be understood and acted upon by the benevolent unconscious mind. Indeed his trust in the unconscious was almost childlike:

You don't have to listen to me because your unconscious is here and can hear what it needs to, to respond in just the right way. And it really doesn't matter what your conscious mind does, because you don't have to listen to me because your unconscious is here and can hear what it needs to, to respond in just the right way. And it really doesn't matter what your conscious mind does, because your unconscious can find the right means of coping with that pain.[7]

>> What Art describes of Erickson, namely, clever linguistic loopholes, is interesting in the extreme. I am going to make a big deal about it. Erickson is ever so gentle and tactful with subconscious. He knows, just for starters, how touchy (very sensitive as a young child would be, hint, hint) the stem is. He is also trying to reason with the stem. And though the stem is feeling, it can communicate and understand thoughts of the intellect, and of the therapist as well. In fact, the stem controls the intellect all the time unless it chooses to release control voluntarily.

Erickson expresses confidence in the stem, that it can and will respond in the right way. This caters to the ego of the stem, who is ever so touchy, like an over-blown ego, no? The ego of the stem is so flattered that he can hardly resist what the doctor says to do at that point. the doctor really seemed to understand the nature of the "subconscious." We are born expecting very gentle treatment for we are born very sensitive. I suspect the stem actually stays this way. But it uses the rest of the brain to build defenses and reactions to fight off the cold cruel world.

That is why a calm, warm, kind, gentle, caring, sympathetic therapist can reach right down the core in seconds and make great progress. The therapist knows the language of love, which is the language of that seemingly temperamental stem. Art seems to have such a rough exterior, that one has to wonder about how much he really "knows" the subject he has made his life work. Just asking, Art. But Erickson was smooth and seemed to know what he was dealing with and could find what it took to make it happen. For all his faults, he really seemed to have something on the ball.<<

Somehow the unconscious would then understand the message of a follow-up suggestion such as, "You can as a person awaken, but you do not need awaken as a body"[8] -- even as the conscious mind puzzled and fretted over its cryptic meaning. For Erickson, indirect suggestion was a cognitive means of bypassing cognition en route to a more beneficent unconscious which could hear, comprehend, decipher, solve, and heal all that consciousness could not. The problem with this viewpoint is that it is contradictory.

On one hand, Erickson believed that consciousness could be bypassed by using intricate linguistic devices (ambiguities, metaphors, paradoxes, etc.) in the form of indirect suggestions which the conscious mind could not decipher. On the other hand, he assumed that the unconscious mind would be able to magically sift out the hidden meaning that had so eluded consciousness. The first contradiction is that he attempted to reach the non-verbal levels of the unconscious by using complex verbal techniques. The second contradiction is that in bypassing conscious-awareness, he was bypassing the one level of consciousness that contains the cognitive skills to actually comprehend his suggestions. And in bypassing consciousness he was bypassing exactly the element needed to stimulate the processes of healing and repair.

>> Oh, oh, oh, that is so good. I need a cigarette now. Did you just see those last 2 paragraphs??? Huh? Well, let me point it out for ya! I don't mind at all ;-) Art missed it, of course. Erickson believed that the stem could control the brain and use it. In other words, the stem can talk through the brain and understand what does on in the brain, even as it is happening.

How is it that we fear an idea, almost even before we recognize what it is or implicates? And then we get directed away from it, to avoid that fear. The stem knows what the implications are before we have even finished interpretation. It is that fast. It has to be, because instinct needs to be fast in order to protect and preserve. Art calls the stem non-verbal but it is not non-verbal. It can talk if it wanted and it can surely write. That might shock us, who had thought the stem was only feeling. The brain is not divided in the same way we think it is. It is a continually connected whole that works in parallel fashion at all times. Art has never believed that the stem controlled the intellect. But I have been preaching this since the day I arrived at Art's blog site.

Those "complex" verbal techniques were just what the doctor ordered. They soothed the very delicate stem and seduced it into total compliance. Worked like a charm. You can not argue with their results. It all makes sense, too, from my theories. I will allow one other possibility besides my own. It may be that this hidden observer is like the main train of consciousness that controls all. It may not reside fully in any particular region. It exists in all regions, but it holds the reigns of control and has top priority since it is charged with the instinct to protect and preserve.

But clearly, the hidden observer, which I call the hidden one, can write on paper and respond without the knowledge of the cortex but with the ability, it would seem, of the cortex. How do we explain it? Ignore it? That would be Arthur's choice in many things. And he is not alone in that, either. but whether my explanation is the answer, of the stream of consciousness is the answer, the hidden one can make itself known in communication and controls the intellect, says I. Erickson was sure of this and he was right.

Arthur wants to put the cart before the horse and call his theory infallible and then try to make everything fit into it, whether it does or not. He does not follow the evidence, he makes the evidence follow him. That is not the scientific way of doing things. The evidence leads, we follow. At this point, it would be hard to conclude that the stem did not have some sort of communication ability and is not exclusively feeling, even if it is primarily feeling. Erickson was on to this, even if just by accident. Many discoveries are made by accident. We take them where we can find them and however we find them.<<

None of this matters much to a person in Pain, and Erickson's viewpoint certainly spoke to the pained child in any adult. However simplistic or contradictory it might have seemed, upon close intellectual scrutiny, his notion of the unconscious was comforting and promising. Indeed, it was made even more comforting (and believable) by virtue of Erickson's own personality and history.

In the last three decades of his life, Erickson was a living picture of the wise and comforting grandfather -- white-haired, penetrating, jocular, kindly, and crippled. Of far greater impact was the fact that he had lived out in a very poignant way the archetype of the wounded physician who learns to heal others by first learning to heal himself. At the age of 17, Erickson had almost died from an attack of polio that left his entire body paralyzed. As a teenage farm boy with nothing more than a rural education behind him, who was now still able to speak and see but unable to move any part of his body, he managed to find ways to use his mind to rejuvenate his muscular and motor abilities. Within a year-and-a-half of his attack he was able to walk unaided. Soon thereafter, he entered medical school. Then at the age of 52 he experienced the rare medical tragedy of a second attack of polio, which robbed him of his upper-body strength and left him permanently confined to a wheelchair. He lived in constant pain and discomfort in the last decade of his life, but he continued to create ways to deal hypnotically with his disability and the physical pain it caused him. Patients knew this, and few remained untouched or uninfluenced by it.  

>> These facts just above make Erickson all the more fascinating. Indeed, he clearly has an extraordinary connection of, and use of, his mind. all the more why we might give his findings a little more consideration than most. <<

The great poignancy in Erickson's history and physical presence must be taken into consideration in evaluating both his viewpoints and his impact. It would indeed be unfortunate if the course of psychotherapy as a field veered off into hypnotic realms in the hope of duplicating the often unprecedented results Erickson achieved professionally after coping with his own personal afflictions. His simplistic view of the unconscious has tended to be accepted uncritically, for example, by virtue of the results he achieved (by his own accounts) in applying it clinically. The question remains as to whether patients were responding to an intrinsic principle of consciousness rightly perceived and utilized by Erickson, or were they responding to the influence of an inspiring and seminal personality.

>> Arthur has trouble or reluctance to accept Erickson. It seems too incredible and it does tend to conflict with Art's interpretations, too. Art calls Erickson's view of the unconscious simplistic. I am not sure why, but I like the simplistic view, if that is what it is. Regardless, Erickson has, in my opinion, improved on Janov considerably in many aspects.<<

Part of the trouble with Erickson's approach to therapy lies in his assuming the role of an omniscient, infallible figure. Jay Haley describes Erickson as "the first major clinician to concentrate on how to change people...influencing people with hypnosis, persuasion, or directives, Erickson...seems to have been the first major therapist to expect clinicians to innovate ways to solve a wide range of problems and to say that the responsibility for therapeutic change lies with the therapist, rather than with the patient."[9] Should a psychotherapist really be so concerned with "influencing" and "changing" his patients? When you combine this attitude with the needs of a patient, you have a formula for continued repression.  

>> Art finds fault with Erickson assuming the role of an omniscient, infallible figure. Really? What? Has not Art done the very same? It kind of surprises me that one can see this problem in others and not make the connection with himself. For after all, he is all primalled out and can do what we supposedly can not do and is, by his accounting, infallible due to being all primalled out. But I never bought into all that crap, anyway. Being an arrogant, cocky, bold Scotsman, who is independent as hell, I don't believe anyone or anything till I can prove it myself or not.

Erickson stands out for 2 reasons to me. One, he discerned how delicate and sensitive the feelings of the "subconscious," the stem, were. And he showed us that there was an alternate observer, hidden from us, but discovered by Erickson for us to ponder. Two, he says that the therapist is much more responsible for the therapeutic change than the patient is. I agree and disagree in gradients. So let me explain.

Our world is a mess of pain. The stem feels constantly threatened and why not! so if most people (who are deeply wounded) are to be reached and helped to make changes, they will need a therapist who has exceptional abilities that gain trust and acceptance. I recommend in my Holistic Psychology article, self therapy. But when I say that, I know that type of therapy is beyond most. 2nd best option is to find a damn good therapist. There are a few scattered around.

But I do maintain that pat of the responsibility should remain with the patient. if the patient is not sincere and courageous, he/she will fail more than likely. A great therapist might salvage them against all odds. I do not deny that. but how many therapists are that extraordinary? Not many. And what are your chances of finding the two or 3 who are? If you want to get well, it must be you that makes the effort to do so, at any cost and with no reservations at all. If the commitment is not total, then the result will probably be failure. I have seen it too many times. Maybe only a rare exception or two at most.

Art does not like to trust therapists. That is not a bad stance, really. And primal therapy takes most, but not all, responsibility away from the therapist and gives it to the patient. that is fine up to a point. But of the many failures one might have, not all may necessarily be the fault of the patient, even though I place the primary responsibility with the patient. In my book, the parents own the primary responsibility for the child. If they screw up, it is the child that suffers.

Like it or not, the therapist is the replacement parent who must accept the assignment as the parent and responsibility for it, too. They need to be as pure and capable as possible. If they have serious flaws they have not bothered to fix, then they are going to have failures for which they are to blame, like it or not. They might not suffer by law, but a patient might not heal or worse, might be further hurt. I would never want to let someone down because I was too damn slack with myself. My rule for me? No God-damned excuses, period!<<

-------------------------
[1]Milton H. Erickson and Ernest L. Rossi, Hypnotherapy: An Exploratory Casebook (New York: Irvington), 1979, p. 1.
[2]Ibid., p. 3.
[3]Ibid., p. 9.
[4]See Masson, J., Against Therapy: Emotional Tyranny and the Myth of Psychological Healing. New York: Atheneum, 1988, 224-234.

[5]Innovative Hypnotherapy: The Collected Papers of Milton H. Erickson on Hypnosis, vol. 4, ed. by Ernest L. Rossi (New York: Irvington, 1980), 482-90.

[6]Innovative Hypnotherapy, 482-490.
[7]Erickson and Rossi, Hypnotherapy..., p. 45.
[8]Ibid., p. 47.
[9]Jay Haley, ed. Conversations with Milton H. Erickson, M.D., vol. 1, Changing Individuals (New York: Triangle Press, 1985), vii.


Arthur Janov11:50 AM
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http://cigognenews.blogspot.com/2011/09/on-hypnosis-part-2226.html

On Hypnosis (Part 22/26)     Monday, September 5, 2011
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Herbert Spiegel

Another well-known hypnotherapist is psychiatrist Herbert Spiegel. In the forefront of hypnosis research for decades, Spiegel taught a graduate course on the medical and therapeutic uses of hypnosis at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. Originally trained as a psychoanalyst, Spiegel had become frustrated by the lengthy psychoanalytic process. He found that hypnosis could effect much speedier results.  

>> I think many therapists get frustrated with therapy, quite often. In regular therapy, many patients do not really want to find the truth anyway. Going in circles can wear patience down. Many therapists really want to do a good job but since mainstream therapy does not allow for deception as a whole, on the part of the patient, many have to go along with the lie. Its never fun.<<

According to Spiegel, hypnosis is a special state which we naturally slip into and out of throughout the day, and which the hypnotist merely utilizes:

All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. All that any "hypnosis" does is tap the natural capacity of an individual for focusing, for concentrating, for imagining, for visualizing, for blocking out distractions, for increasing awareness, for achieving greater control over the body's involuntary functions, for entering a different order of consciousness. The individual, in short, is not given anything new; he is simply helped to engage the means he already possesses in order to alter attention and perception and to influence his emotional and biological reactions.[1]   

>> Yes, but as Art would point out, the "changes" caused by hypnosis are still short lived in most cases. Mainly, because they do not change the conscious thoughts. Changing conscious thoughts is a hard job. But it can be done and done quite easily, if people knew how to argue and reason good and effectively. No one has developed the art to a significant degree that can be tested or proven. And those in power do not want it proven. They know it works and works well. That is why they control education so as to prevent it from ever happening. Dumb us down and keep us down!<<

The primary significant point of departure between Erickson and Spiegel is in the area of trance induction. Whereas Erickson was noted for his indirect techniques, Spiegel prefers a straightforward approach. This difference, though, is really not significant in terms of a fundamental view of hypnosis: both leading hypnotherapists agree that hypnosis is an "ability" or "talent" or "capacity" of the human mind to alter reality in ways that are beneficial and healing. Spiegel frequently talks about "self-mastery" and how "trance as an art form" can best aid us in this struggle.

The core of Spiegel's approach is well captured in a chapter from a book detailing his work entitled, "Mastering Symptoms."[2] Although both Erickson and Spiegel use a cognitive approach, there is an interesting difference in the type of cognitive process employed. Where Erickson would typically use a complex double binding statement to confuse or startle the patient, Spiegel will present a simple, comprehensible, linear line of thought. With overweight patients, for example, Spiegel carefully explains that

(1) overeating is poison for the body;
(2) they need their body to live;
therefore
(3) they should protect and respect their body by eating less.[3]

The overweight patient is then given the friendly advice "to reacquaint himself with his body so that when he meets it at his ideal weight, it will be like a reunion with an old friend."[4]  

>> This type of problem is one of the hardest to fix because primal pain is the cause. Worse, many people who otherwise enjoy nothing, will often still find food their one pleasure to live for. So it is a hard "demon" to overcome. But offering my opinion only, I think Erickson's approach far superior as he knew far better how to deal with the very, delicate, defensive, sensitive, ego-prone stem-1st level.<<

In contrast to Spiegel's rational approach, Erickson treated a 270-pound woman for her obesity by suggesting to her in trance: "Bearing in mind that you now weigh 270 pounds, I want you to overeat throughout the week enough to support 260 pounds."[5] The next week the patient was told to overeat sufficiently to support 255 pounds, and so forth. These suggestions are typical example of Erickson's use of the double bind whereby the patient was bound to overeat and bound to lose weight. Although Erickson was often indirect, he was not without a direct approach. To another overweight patient he suggested:

I really don't think you know how unpleasant your fatness is to you...so tonight when you go to bed, first get in the nude and stand in front of a full-length mirror and really see how much you dislike all that fat you have. And if you think hard enough and look through that layer of blubber that you've got wrapped around you, you will see a very pretty feminine figure, but it is buried rather deeply. And what do you think you ought to do to get that figure excavated?[6]  

>> Here again, Erickson is so good at tapping into the real fears the stem has. The stem honestly does hate the fat condition. But it loves the pleasure of food. So Erickson made the stem directly face the dread of taking a serious look in the mirror and really giving it thought. What he was really doing is getting the stem to think and reason, but also to think how nice it would be to be a pretty feminine figure. How do you get the mind to think right and the stem to listen? In this case? Hypnosis! Even if you have keep applying treatments, eventually it may take hold, through conditioning and beginning to see great results and feel better. Nothing changes actual minds like a new exciting result.<<

Superficial differences between Spiegel and Erickson in style of suggestion are typical of the types of differences that exist among all hypnotherapists. The main categories include direct versus indirect suggestion, and an overall approach that is authoritarian versus permissive-naturalistic. Most well-trained hypnotherapists would probably use all four factors, depending upon the patient. Some patients respond better to suggestions given in an authoritarian manner; others are more receptive to suggestions that hook into their ongoing, natural behaviors, and so on.

Types of suggestion and styles of approach are incidental to the underlying agreement that hypnosis is beneficial. Types of suggestion may vary be varied according to superficial personality characteristics, but the underlying intent remains the same: all hypnotherapists attempt to engage and utilize a condition of dissociation.  

>> Not always dissociation! In the food example, part of the problem is getting the patient to stay at the diet thing long enough to see and feel real results. Changes in life style also need to be incorporated. But the old maxim holds ever true. You can lead a horse to water, but you can not make him drink. How bad does the patient want it! they have to really want it. As Art would remind us, primal pain is driving this problem in the first place. Fighting our own internal saboteur is not easy task. If you can obtain primal therapy, by all means do so. If not, then you have to have a heart to heart talk with your inner self. Try the Erickson approach when  you do ;-) To be honest, I have always used the tough approach on myself. I do not take any crap from within. But that might not work for everyone. Different strokes for different folks, right?<<

Amnesia

Hypnosis knocks out memory and and the meaning of experience. You have amnesia, an experience without recall. In many cases, a partial or complete amnesia is suggested for any traumatic material that arises. Amnesia is considered useful because supposedly a person can undergo a traumatic but curative emotional experience on an unconscious level and not have to cope with it consciously. Trauma can be siphoned off while consciousness rests in its disconnected state of trance reverie. This goes hand-in-hand with the view that reliving or recalling a traumatic experience can be disintegrating, so amnesia is used as a kind of protective shield.

The integration of pain, however, absolutely requires full cortical consciousness. The reason experience is not integrated is because the message relay centers toward the cortex were blocked from transmitting the message to consciousness; instead shunting the message to other non-healing brain structures. The reason is that the message was too much to handle without totally disrupting cortical functioning.

In a way, amnesia is a form of double-barrelled hypnosis: the person is partially unconscious to begin with by virtue of being in a trance, after which a total unconsciousness for events is suggested by the hypnotherapist.  

>> Obviously, I would not disagree with Arthur here. We need access of some sort to the original traumatic event, even if we are unable to let it rise to be felt. We can still probe according to my theory, but not Arthur's. The pain is retained for a reason, whether you subscribe to "God created us" or evolution did. So don't have a hypnotist block it our or away. It will still be there anyway. The "hidden one" will not let it go till it decides the time and place is right.<<

In hypnotherapy, amnesia is induced as a supposedly desirable way of getting the patient to unconsciously rid himself of trauma and, therefore, of his neurosis. The diabolic aspect of all this is that the reason one cannot get rid of the Pain is because it is unconscious. So long as it remains unconscious it will stay forever. The hypnotherapist believes that the patient can go through all sorts of experiences in the hypnotic session, have no memory of them whatsoever, and then leave transformed. But in fact when you induce amnesia what actually happens is that the patient leaves therapy not only not transformed but more repressed. Hypnotherapy and Primal Therapy are particularly antithetical on the matter of amnesia {tt220}

In introducing a particular case report, Erickson clearly describes the hypnotherapeutic ideal: a distinctive split between intellect and emotion, mind and body, carefully controlled by the hypnotherapist.[7]   

>> I marvel at prevailing ideas in spychotherapy.  A split, compart-mental-ization, road blocks; What? They see the brain as just pieces that do not or should not know each other. they ccan not see why a brain should be whole, cooperative, communicating, open, even as our family or society should be. Makes you wonder if they are not working for someone else if  you get my drift. I think it quite likely.<<

You point out to a patient that it is perfectly possible to remember the intellectual facts of something but not the emotional content, and vice versa. You point out that once, when you felt down-hearted and blue, you couldn't for the life of you figure out why, but there must have been a reason in the back of your mind. You experienced the emotions but you didn't have intellectual content. In recovering a traumatic memory you can uncover deep emotions and not intellectual content. If you want to, you can remember the actual intellectual content; you need not remember whether you felt sad, mad, or glad. It will be just a memory, as if it happened to somebody else.

One of Erickson's students was in danger of flunking out of medical school because he "absolutely and irrationally" refused to attend dermatology class. Erickson tells the student, Bob, that there has to be some explanation for this, some past event he has forgotten. He asks him if he can use him as a hypnosis demonstration subject in class, and tells him to spend the next week trying to remember what he had forgotten. A week later, Bob says: "How on earth do you go about remembering something you forgot a long time ago? You don't even know where to look!...It's gone!"

After putting Bob in a trance in order to find such a memory, Erickson describes to him how a memory is like a jigsaw puzzle, which you can put together piece by piece; how you can put the puzzle together right side up or upside down; and how the picture side of the puzzle represents the "intellectual content" of the memory while the blank side represents the "emotional foundation." He then leaves Bob with the choice of how to assemble the puzzle of a repressed memory (which had some role in producing his inability to attend dermatology lectures) in a meaningful way. When Bob, in a trance, does not know how to do this on his own, Erickson says to him:

"Suppose you haul out from your unconscious just a few little pieces of that unpleasant memory." Bob thought a minute and then perspiration began to form on his forehead. I asked, "What is it Bob?" He said, "I'm feeling sick in a funny sort of way. I don't know what kind of a way." I said, "That's fine, so you're feeling sick in a funny sort of way; you don't know in what kind of a way. All right forget about it." With that Bob developed an amnesia for the material that was making him feel funny. I then continued, "Suppose you reach down into your repressions and bring up a few pieces of the picture." Bob did essentially that and said, "Well, there is water and there is something green. I suppose that is grass, but that green isn't grass." I said, "That is fine, now you shove that down. Now bring up some more pieces of emotion." Bob brought up some more emotion and then said, "I'm scared, I'm scared. I want to run," and he was really perspiring and trembling. I said, "Shove it down again. Let's bring up a few other picture pieces.  

>> I really think Erickson knew far more than he ever fully revealed. He knew there were buried memories inside. What fascinates me most is how he can bring them up in patients. Remarkable. We may never know just how brilliant Erickson might have been. He was amazing. What his work also shows is that we could, with hypnosis, actually find out quite a bit about the primal pains in us, even if we can not get them to come up for feeling integration and release. Knowing is half the battle, isn't it. It takes away some or much of the mystery in us.<<

We see how Erickson uses the technique of dissociating intellect and emotion. As more associations rise to consciousness, Erickson helps Bob repress them "when the emotion became too threatening." Meanwhile, while briefly feeling these emotions, Bob sweats profusely. Erickson periodically brings him out of the trance, lets him rest, and hypnotizes him again. At one point he tells Bob to "put all the blank sides together again," which he does. Erickson writes:

You should have seen him trembling and perspiring. He was actually shivering, so periodically I gave him a suggestion to blank it out and rest: "Take another deep breath and look at that blank reverse side of the jigsaw puzzle with the amnesic traumatic experience." He said, "Whatever is on the other side of that is something awful--it's just awful." I then told him to forget the entire emotional side. We'd turn the jigsaw puzzle over and see it intellectually only, without emotions. He described, "Two little boys, about eight or nine years old, they looked like cousins -they're playing in a barn, they are wrestling. Oh! Oh! One is getting mad with the other. Now they are hitting at each other. Now they grabbed some forks, they start stabbing at each other. Oh! Oh! One of them stabbed the other in the leg. That one is running into the house to tell. The one that stabbed him is a little bit afraid. He runs along, too. The boy's father isn't mad; the mother isn't mad; they are calling the doctor. The boy's father makes him sit on a chair to wait. There is the doctor driving in. The doctor is going to stick something in the boy. Oh, my goodness, what a funny thing. Look at that boy's face. He is lying there.

His face is swelling up, his eyes are swelling shut, his skin is turning a funny color, his tongue is so thick, and the doctor is scared. He is getting something else. He's got -- it looks like a needle or a pump of some kind, and he is pumping something into the boy, and now that swelling in the boy's face is getting less, his tongue is getting smaller, he is opening his eyes, and everybody is breathing deeply. The father grabs the other boy and takes him down to the horse trough. The father sits on the horse trough, hauls the boy over his lap, and starts spanking him, and he is really spanking him hard. The boy is looking down in the horse trough and he sees that green slime on the water and he is crying. There is something awful bad about this, and I don't know what it is. There is something awful bad." 

I said, "Well let one corner of the back of it soak through, and then another corner, let the back of it soak through, soak trough, soak through." You should have seen poor Bob as he began uniting the ideational content with the affect. Shuddering, trembling, crying out, horrified, he said "I can't stand it."

I again told him to develop a complete amnesia. "Take a rest Bob. You have a little more work to do. Maybe if you rest five minutes, we'll have enough strength to do a little more of the work." 

Erickson flipflops the patient back and forth between feeling and not feeling; between recalling a repressed childhood trauma with intellectual detachment and feeling the emotions associated with it in bits and pieces. Erickson contends that the amnesic behavior is really under the patient's control because he is responding to suggestion. But according to Erickson's description, the experience sounds like a finely orchestrated one-man play for which he provides the controlling "strings" of suggestion. Now the patient recalls a few memories; now represses them. A bit more here, and then "shove it down again."

...I asked him to continue. He dropped the amnesia until he couldn't stand it any longer, and then another amnesia, a rest, and then again another recovery until finally he said, "That little boy that stabbed the other one is me. That's my cousin and that was the fork we used for cleaning out the barn, and the doctor comes and gives him an anti-tetanus shot. He gets an anaphylactic reaction with all that edema, and everybody expects him to die including me. Then the doctor gave him adrenalin and he recovered, and then my father took me down to the horse trough and spanked me. I couldn't even stand the way my cousin looked, and there was my father spanking me and that nasty green slime on the water in the trough -- that horrible green slime and that horrible color of my cousin's face. No wonder I couldn't study my dermatology." That was the end of that. No wonder he didn't like dermatology.

In the final outcome Bob has retrieved the entire traumatic memory but has no recall of it -- or of the six-hour session he has experienced in front of an entire classroom of people. In other words, whatever traumatic emotions were recovered in the trance state were then re-covered by the amnesia. Yet, if we are to believe Erickson's account, through hypnosis Bob's traumatic memory had been shorn of its power to affect him. The next day, he showed up for dermatology. "It was almost a week before Bob recalled that he was attending dermatology. He just simply took it so matter-of-factly that he didn't realize he had missed previous lectures and clinics."

In analyzing this case, Erickson asserts that it's a mistake to try to recover an entire traumatic experience all at once. He goes on to say that therapists can utilize the way people often have, in everyday life, an "intellectual appreciation of their position but an emotional indifference." This "detachment" is what helps the subject develop amnesia, which, according to Erickson, is "just as effective as a repression," in that it permits the traumatic material to be "available for examination...in small portions in relation to emotional healing and the ideational content."  

>> If you are not familiar with Primal Theory and Therapy, you can not appreciate how fascinating this account is. Art says that hypnosis can not be used to bring pain up. I am not so sure. I will have to accept that Art's experience knows better. I am not comfortable doing that, but this is an instance where you would need all that clinical experience that Arthur has. He has an edge I can not compete with here, for now.

But I will ponder. Could one go in and tell a person to primal at their next session? It would seem possible from what I read in Erickson's account. But that direct access with speech, hearing and all, can be accomplished with hypnosis and the stem, blows my mind. and it comes up so readily on command. So I will go out on a limb here and say that what hypnosis shows is that the stem is more accessible than Art has ever realized or admitted and as I have asserted in the past on his blog.

As well, it would seem to me that it could or might be possible to program careful steps of recall to be carried out in a special place or time, pre-arranged. If only you had an Erickson to help, right? Possibly, we could guide ourselves. At the very least, I suspect that self healing might not be that far out of reach. Look how Erickson can just go in there and get it. I go in and get some, but not anywhere near what Erickson gets.

But if indeed, hypnosis is a state that we are often in, anyway, then it should be possible to self induce primals. Perhaps the only thing lacking is that the stem might still feel the outside world is very threatening and dangerous. But if that were so, how does Erickson do it? Erickson was very talented, no doubt. Art may also be protecting his "practice" and monopoly, too, for all we know.

But yet, this is not a field or place where we want to be experimenting and cause ourselves or others harm. But then again, Arthur took this risk once upon a time. But I favor caution when dealing with primal forces, which are by no means things to trifle with or take lightly. But it seems clear to me that there is incredible potential here in the power of a hypnotist to get to feelings and even touch them off and if a hypnotist can do it, can we also do it ourselves. I see nothing to stop us, really.

It leaves a lot to be answered yet great possibility if it is answered. Suddenly primal therapy can be had by all, anywhere, rather cheaply. Oh my! Can I trust Art's response? I personally can't. He has failed on too many counts. Yet, I can not afford to ignore him, either. But the horizon is clear in the distance.<<

Of course, it is not an examination of one's history that is needed, but feeling and integrating the feeling into the body’s system versus repressing it. The emotional aspect of suffering must be released from the limbic storehouse and raised into consciousness. That can only be done bits at a time. But it is the amount of Pain one can feel that is the limiting factor, not the cognitive aspect.  

>> Since the stem and limbic are all knowing, so to speak, one could easily instruct the stem and limbic, the core as I call them, to only feel as much as it believes is proper and that it be judge as it should be. It could be done, no?<<

The active inducement of amnesia by hypnotherapists suggests to me a distrust of consciousness. It implies that there is something about the patient's experience which consciousness cannot handle. The assumption seems to be that either the emotions are too threatening, or cognition is not equipped to give them accurate meaning. In the above case, Erickson actively worked to dissociate intellect from emotion. But dissociating feeling from intellect is what gives neurosis its start in the first place: the meaning of the child's trauma, "I can never be loved for who I am," is lost. Because the real meaning is lost, a symbolic one is substituted. With Erickson's patient, the fear is projected onto the field of dermatology -- a far cry indeed from the original trauma of stabbing his cousin in the leg.  

>> Maybe Erickson did not trust the situation and did not have Arthur's knowledge and experience. With those, Erickson could have done differently. Hindsight is a great thing to have if available.<<

Recovering the meaning of a trauma is an inextricable part of removing repression because it is eventually the meaning "They hate me and don't want me around" that sums up years of childhood experience with the parent. Repression of a trauma cannot be removed by simultaneously suggesting a repression of the memory of that recovery! To do so only ensures the continuance of repression and neurosis.

At best, amnesia is a safety valve for the patient. It is a kind of self-protective mechanism that inhibits the onslaught of too much Pain at one time. The point is that amnesia is the patient's defense rather than the therapist's tool. It is part of the problem, not part of the solution. It is something to be respected when it occurs spontaneously within a patient, but it is not something to be encouraged or suggested. Suggestions for amnesia are really suggestions for continued neurosis which ultimately deepen rather than integrate the existing fissures in consciousness.  

>> Art says we should respect when feeling comes up spontaneously in a patient, touched off by a current experience in life, but not encouraged or suggested. I will say this. If the person, his stem, actually, believes it is ready to release pain, then what is wrong with going in search of pain? We do not control what experiences we have in life that may or may not touch off pain release. But things inside that a person maybe be feeling, would seem to me a place to start looking.

Now Art says that the mind starts by emptying out the light traumas and pain first. OK, then tell the stem to bring out the small little pains first, at the discretion of the stem, who knows better than anyone else, as to how long or what. I do think the stem will know what to do. It can be asked if there is anything that concerns it about letting feelings up and out. It can talk! Remember?

I am sorry, but I can see nothing but possibilities in all this. What ever Arthur has for concerns, those can be asked. In fact, I am going to blow this wide open. Suppose an Erickson sits down and asks the hidden one, that I often call the stem, which may not be exactly or entirely right; ask that hidden one what concerns he has, or how he decides what enough is or what comes first or what is important, etc. He can tell you anything you want him. No mysteries at all. The whole science comes out for the asking. Its all there. Just ask. Ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find! Duh! How simple can it get?

Art does not see it. No one is seeing it, or at least, no one is saying anything. But there are no more reasons or obstacles to hold back this mystery from being solved in its entirety and detail. It is a brand new day!<<

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1phe6Pe3djY    Artist: Johnny Nash       Song: I Can See Clearly Now
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HagzTRmUBIE&feature=fvwrel
The 2nd one sounds more like the original I knew but the 1st has the lyrics, too.

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

I think I can make it now, the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is the rainbow I've been prayin for
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

Look all around, there's nothin but blue skies
Look straight ahead, there's nothin but blue ski-i-i-i-i-i-i-ies

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

That song is pure inspirational genius. Just saying. Music can be so incredible!

-------------------------
[1]Donald S. Connery, The Inner Source: Exploring Hypnosis with Dr. Herbert Spiegel (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston), 1982.
[2]Ibid.
[3]_Ibid., p. 225.
[4]Ibid., p. 225.
[5]The Lectures, Seminars, and Workshops of Milton H. Erickson (Vol. I), edited by E. Rossi, M. Ryan, & F. Sharp. New York: Irvington, 1983, p. ??
[6]Ibid., Vol. II, p. ??
[7]Milton H. Erickson and Ernest L. Rossi, Hypnotherapy: An Exploratory Casebook. (New York: Irvington, 1979), 348-352.


Arthur Janov11:56 AM
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On Hypnosis (Part 23/26)     Tuesday, September 6, 2011
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Hypnotherapy: Painwashing, Brainwashing?

The therapist-client relationship is generally not, perhaps never is, one of equals...The client is in a position of revealing his problems, inadequacies, and fears to a person who seems to be going through life successfully and carefree...The relationship is characterized by the therapist being the expert, the authority, and a client's uncertainty or inability to detect personal choices can easily induce obedience to authority...The need for acceptance and the need to belong are also factors present in the hypnotic relationship. 

Avoiding confrontations with the authority, doing things to please her (ranging from generating therapeutic results to knitting her a sweater), conforming to her language style, values, and theoretical ideas are all ways this need can be discovered...  

>> That's a mouth full. Usually, a patient is clearly at a disadvantage compared to nearly anyone. That they are seeking help suggests that they are having trouble getting by. They are vulnerable, which is exactly what rulers and controllers like. Therapists like it, too.<<

In order to be truly influential, discovering where (not whether) a person is open to suggestion (and everybody is at some level) is the task of the clinician.

Yapko, Trancework[1]

Long-range effectiveness in hypnotherapy depends upon the success of posthypnotic suggestion. Suggestions implanted in the mind of the patient during the session must continue to exert an influence long after the session has ended. The suggestion that an obese woman will eat less during the next week as she learns to dislike fattening foods must stick in her mind if it is to work. In order for suggestions to accomplish this they must somehow alter the patient's ideas and attitudes about the problem being treated. Recall that Erickson repeatedly described hypnosis as a process of presenting new ideas. Indeed, the phenomenon of suggestion makes it possible to replace a negative state of mind with a more beneficial one suggested by the therapist. What must be understood, however, is that a new state of mind is at once the achievement and the limitation of suggestion. For it is at best ephemeral -- never able to eradicate years of childhood experiences that summated into a feeling of worthlessness, for example. Only the belief in magic could imagine otherwise.

If one understands that early traumatic experience is imprinted, impressed into the neurophysiologic system permanently then one quickly sees that a suggestion in the present, no matter how powerful, is at best palliative; the business of repressing Pain and distorting reality goes on as usual throughout the body. In short, suggestion is never a match for an imprint.  

>> Arthur has made this point many times. So I will make mine many times, too. A change in mind and ideas can have a profound effect on a patient's life and those around him as well. It can be life saving or life changing. So while knowledge does not eliminate stored pain, it still can make a huge difference. Why do you think rulers, leaders, controllers, and manipulators fear knowledge, ideas and alternate propaganda so much? Art has yet to acknowledge this.<<

Let's review what characterizes the hypnotic trance experience. As described in the previous chapter, someone who is in a trance:

(suspension of the "planning function");

In other words, the hypnosis subject, guided by the hypnotist's cues, tunes out some external and internal stimuli while tuning in on others. While in a trance, his experience is narrow, with a separation ("dissociation") existing between his conscious and unconscious minds. In such a condition he is highly susceptible to the hypnotist's suggestions, such as new ideas ostensibly designed to change his state of mind: to dissociate from pain, replace depressive thoughts with positive ideation, see one's body in more attractive light, learn better self-esteem, and so on.  

>> A Big Big Lesson!

Time for another big lesson based on the above! A patient, and I will add, most people in general, are herded followers who listen and obey many levels of authority. Parental authority, religious, school teacher, bosses at work, government clerks and administrators, businessmen and the wealthy, sources of media such as newspapers, books, radio, TV, and big government leaders at or near the top.

We have been conditioned from birth to listen to and obey any and all authority. We have never needed to think for ourselves and we are discourage from doing so. We are told we are not capable, we are not smart, we should not try. And they condition us to fear peers, not stand out, and not trust our own thinking and instinct. Little wonder we are slaves and have no confidence.

But maturity and achievement, what some call excellence or greatness, only come from daring to trust ourselves, believe in ourselves, have confidence, learn on our own, recheck the work and ideas of others, question others, dare to disagree with others, usually authorities of some sort, little or big. Daring to put our minds to use as God or evolution had intended.

Open your ears wide now! Set your hearts on this! We are talking about 2 polar opposites here. The independent, self-motivated, bold, daring, thinker; and the timid intimidated follower of everyone and everything. A perfect obedient slave! Lets give them both a name. The 1st, we will call a/the Maverick. I will shorten it to mav, a word not too different from the next. The 2nd, the slave. So we have the mav and the slave.

To some degree, what many self-help guides and books attempt, is to make us more like mavs and less like slaves. That a potential mav might be reading a book about improvement shows they are actively searching to find out how to be a mav and not a slave. Most mavs prefer to read. Slave prefer lessons and someone guiding them every step of the way. That is how they have been conditioned.

Mavs encounter enough ideas along the way to make them dare to rethink all they know or a lot of what they know. Some are mild mavs and others are hard core major fanatical mavs. Rebels in the eyes of slave masters. Many mavs have received some love so that they dare to trust themselves and their own thinking to some degree. They are better fortified to take on confrontations and attacks, which surely will come when you go against the grain and step out of line like a mav usually does.

So in short, in essence, the best way to avoid being a slave, or victim of bad therapy or falling prey to manipulators and controllers is to be a mav and not a slave. Slaves are easily led. Mavs, not at all. The world has been one big battle since the beginning of time, between mavs, slave masters, and salves. So how do you heal from psychological wounds or at least become more valuable to yourself and your own spirit and your own benefit and advantage? Become a mav. Mavs often feel good about themselves. Slaves are miserable and can not figure out why. It is because they are slaves and denied what is best for them and their "spirit," which you can call mental health, if you prefer.

There! See how easy that was? But it is not likely you will hear that platform coming from Arthur. Oddly, do you know where you will most likely hear what I have suggested. Probably from conspiracy theorists, so called. Maybe that is why they are ostracized and criticized because they go against the grain and step out of line and stop being slaves who do as they are told. Just "suggesting" some possibilities ;-)

One must dare to break free from the oppressive orthodoxy and establishment status quo. Art has avoided this. In many ways, he is one of "them." Therapy is really part of the problem. The therapist leads, you follow. That is the formula that so often fails. After what I have said in these last few paragraphs, look how meaningless the words of Arthur become now. That is why I recommend books by Thomas Szasz. He is the ultimate rebel of psychology.

Now to avoid being a fanatic, no man is an island. For many so deprived of love, a little bit of love is needed. Problem is, many will exploit that need. they know you need it and they might pretend to give it to you, but as a very high cost; one involving deception and more subtle slavery, while telling you, you are now free. Though very hard, the best course is to put the need for love aside as much as you can. If you believe in God and His purpose, then love will happen eventually, when all things have been proven in a "court" of law. Till then, most love is a lie and deception. Or it may come at a very high price. Your the one who has to pay that price so it is your decision. I chose freedom over love. I have never regretted it! <<

The attraction of suggestion therapy is that it offers an apparently speedy and effective means of bringing about change without having to deal with the troublesome contents of the unconscious in their own terms. But precisely because this approach keeps aloof from the generating experiences behind the problematic mental states, suggestion therapy can never be resolving. It can only paper over the cracks, rearrange defenses and symptoms, further dissociation and disconnection and, in effect, streamline the neurosis. 

Because neurosis is the post-hypnotic state in which we carry out the "suggestions" of childhood, we may see hypnotherapy as offering counter-suggestions. This might be well and good were not the original suggestions of neurosis bound to physiological imprints laid down in the course of development. Suggestion therapy is really only the offer of a better looking and more hopeful defense. How different is all this from a psychoanalyst who "suggests" that his patient is suffering from this or that, and perhaps she ought to leave her husband, go back to school, try harder to be nice? Are these not suggestions? That is why the best therapy involves no suggestions whatsoever.

Once the patient is the center of all therapeutic power, suggestions are superfluous. It is then she who suggests to the therapist what is the possible motivation behind certain behavior; it is the patient who thinks perhaps she ought to try this or that. Her feelings will dictate, not the words, however reassuring and mellifluous, of a therapist. Power to the patient! 

Within the experience of each Pain is a unique and complex spectrum of responses -- responses which, as I have said, are mediated by ongoing neurophysiological processes. An early trauma may diminish the effectiveness of part of the immune system, such as the natural killer cells. The trauma may change the thyroid output (our hypothyroids often are able to normalize with reliving of Pain). The entire body and brain is thus involved in each Pain response, and it is the entire body and brain which must be involved in each undoing. Otherwise we are fighting against the Primal tide, and that tide is not easily overcome.

Look at it another way. Suppose someone steals and is caught. He is beaten every day for a year. Chances are this will encourage him not to steal. But the tendencies are not beaten away. You can't beat a childhood away, nor can you encourage it away, any more than you can encourage the physiology to change permanently. To think otherwise is again to believe in magic. Never forget the "why" in therapy. If you do forget it, then the therapy is bound to fail. Why does she do this? Why does she have migraines? Why does he steal? Can suggestion erase twenty years of ghetto life? Not likely.  

>> Let me say, that exorcising pain, without becoming a mav, is pretty useless and in vain. To steal a line, "Man does not live by Bread alone." He does not live by love and acceptance alone. He needs as much knowledge as he can possibly obtain in his short time here on earth alive. I admit, life without love is not a bowl of cherries. But life without real accurate knowledge is certain doom. Put another way by the dear Socrates, "the unexamined life is not worth living." Be a mav! Its the greatest! <<

Hypnotherapy: Reality or Delusion?

Most hypnotherapists today contend that hypnosis does not involve control and manipulation, as was originally believed. They contend that the patient is not merely a passive recipient; he is instead an active participant, accepting suggestions that suit him and rejecting those that do not. To me this oversimplifies and makes the situation a matter of semantic. It ignores two important factors: the vulnerability inherent in being a patient, and the passivity inherent in the act of receiving suggestions.

Being vulnerable means "capable of being wounded; assailable; open to attack or damage." A patient is vulnerable because he is in the hands of someone else. Vulnerability detracts from one's judgment and common sense, which is why accepting or rejecting suggestions as a patient is no simple matter. If a patient were so clearly able to determine what did or did not suit him, he wouldn't be a patient in the first place. He would be a healthy, feeling person. How can a patient even know what kind of suggestions will help her problems if she doesn't really know what her problems are? Disconnection characterizes neurosis.  

>> Art makes great points here. Only problem is, it implicates him as well as hypnotists. Whether you choose him or a hypnotist, you are being a led slave and not a mav. That is the problem. I do not fully condemn either choice above. But you really need to be a mav before seeking either one.<<

Vulnerability is precisely what makes hypnotherapy so appealing. A beneficial reality can be superimposed over Pain and problems by a kindly father figure. Beneficial suggestions are seen as the perfect antidote to the vulnerability of tension and anxiety. But how truly beneficial are these suggestions? How beneficial is it to be told you are feeling comfortable and relaxed when you are really feeling otherwise? Doesn't this also replay the parent-child paradigm where the child is admonished into smiling when she doesn't want to, into acting happy when he really feels sad.  

>> OK, I am going to ask here, if a therapist condemns all religion and beliefs in God (even if he says he does not), how beneficial will his suggestions be, if some of those ideas of God, the Bible or religion are based on being a mav? Won't his suggestions conflict with the mav stuff. If he is otherwise conventional himself and not much like a mav, then how good or effective can he be? I simply say, beware of conventional slaves acting as slave masters. Be a mav!<<

Hypnotic suggestions for comfort, relaxation, stress-reduction, and the like really require the same compromise the neurotic has made all his life. This is what can and does happen not only in hypnotic past-life regression; vulnerable to the hypnotist's suggestions and expectations, the patient produces a fantasy disguised as a traumatic memory, and believes that re-experiencing it makes the current symptoms that it supposedly generate disappear. Such is also the case in hypnotic age regression in which the patient does not fully relive and integrate the early trauma but instead shoves it back down.  

>> Art makes a good point for why hypnosis or any other therapy can be dangerous. Lots of silly ideas be be implanted in non-critical minds. Be a mav!<<

To say that the patient has control over the hypnotic situation, as modern hypnotherapists contend, is a double contradiction in terms. First of all, the neurotic is never in control; that is part of the problem. The neurotic's history controls him; it is the unconscious reference point around which his life revolves. Perhaps he overeats, for example, and why? Because he has no control over the arcane forces at work. The neurotic who has reached the point of seeking therapy does so because he has at least a dim realization that his Pain is controlling him.   

>> What Art basically says here is that a neurotic behaves and has always behaved, as a slave. That is the problem. He needs to be a mav. We all do.<<

We can have no control over our Pain as long as it remains unconscious; and that is the most that hypnotherapy can do -- make us unconscious. This brings us to the second part of the contradiction: the patient cannot be in control of something of which he is unconscious. As long as Pain remains unconscious, as it must in the hypnotic situation, it wields the force. To say that the neurotic has control in the hypnotic situation is to contradict the meaning of both hypnosis and neurosis.

I believe that passivity is inherent in the hypnotic relationship. No matter how much the patient supposedly "participates," it is still in response to the hypnotherapist. The hypnotherapist is really the active agent, the one who defines the situation, however broadly.   

>> A patient can be in control if he is conscious as in knowledge conscious and not Arthur's version of "conscious," which is definitely not a standard or common definition of conscious. Jehovah's Witnesses were great for taking words and giving them new meaning so that you thought different things from what others on the outside might think if they heard those words without knowing how you were defining them. See the trick? Changing word meanings is a very common tactic of cults and deceivers. But it is inherently dishonest and misleads, which  usually is the intention. Art condemns passivity and as well, he should. I do, too.

But a primal patient is also led and if you go in a "wrong" direction, in view of the therapist, they will try to "help" you and "correct" you. That is their version and definition of "help" and "correct." So you need to be active and seeking, not passive and being led. Go out and get the truth and do not wait for it to come to you or be led to it. Stay in control and in the driver's seat. Let someone else be a passenger. Be a mav!<<

Erickson believes that hypnosis is an active process for the patient because hypnotherapists base their suggestions on the patient's "repertory of life experiences and learnings." Carefully worded suggestions, "utilizing the patient's own frame of reference," can then stimulate the patient to re-associate and reorganize his associative processes." But basing suggestions on the patient's life experience does not make them any more valid therapeutically. For one thing, fitting suggestions to the patient is not a clear matter of incorporating life experiences. The hypnotherapist can only incorporate the patient's life experiences as he (the hypnotherapist) understands them; as he relates to them. The suggestions can never be a pure product of the patient's past but only a subjective interpretation and rephrasing of that past by the hypnotherapist. Compounding this problem is the interesting fact that neurotic patients do not really know their past in the first place because it is so repressed. Until they relive it their reports of past experiences can only be fractionally accurate.  

>> Let me show you why hypnotherapy is not automatically bad, even as primal therapy is not automatically bad. Suppose an Erickson wants to go into your subconscious and connect with the hidden one inside. You could have a witness with you who stays uninvolved. You can have the session videotaped. That way, you know everything that went on. Now suppose the Erickson wants to ask your hidden one what he fears or wants to do? Is that wrong? I think not! The hypnotist is not suggesting anything. He is asking and inquiring. Maybe you have some suggestions you want made to your hidden one. Then you can tell your hypnotist what you want him or her to do while you are under.

In these above, you are not passive, you are in control. You decide what will be done. Listen, you turn over your body when a surgeon operates on you under anesthesia. You know before hand what he is going to do to you or  for you. Nothing wrong with that, right? The problem we all have is that we struggle to make connections with our own hidden observer's. If a hypnotist can get in there and make a difference where you can not, why not get his help? He can maybe get info out of your hidden one that you can not.

Art suggesting that hypnosis is always bad or wrong is just plain wrong. I think what Erickson has shown us opens up incredible possibilities that perhaps we can not afford to ignore, if we take precautions. That Art faults hypnosis is also reason to fault him, too. And in ruling out hypnosis, he suggests that his therapy alone, only at his center of treatment, is the only safe and appropriate source and therapy. Indeed, no therapy should be so narrow and exclusive, even elitist. This has always been a glaring black spot on primal therapy in general.<<

-------------------------
[1]_pp. 91-102.

Posted by Arthur Janov at 11:03 AM


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On Hypnosis (Part 24/26)     Monday, September 12, 2011
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Guarding Against Suggestion in Primal Therapy

It has been argued that suggestibility operates in Primal Therapy; that patients come with certain expectations which they self-fulfill. Because a patient thinks he will get well he does; he feels Pain because he expects to feel Pain; he has a Primal because he thinks he will, and so forth. Certainly the potential for suggestibility exists. But if the therapist does not offer suggestions, that possibility is no longer possible. Wherever there is primal need you inevitably encounter suggestibility; because it is ultimately need that you are manipulating. There is no power greater than need to move and motivate human beings. A neurotic is always in search of a suggestion. "Do you think this dress suits me?" "What shall we order for dinner?" "Do you think we should go to the Jones house?" Suggestibility, whatever its form, must hook on to basic unfulfilled need to gather its sources for power. 

We are well aware that people come to us full of hopes and needs, both real and unreal. It is up to us to recognize which are which. We can do this best by first having sorted out our own needs before listening to someone else's. Then we may better trust that our judgment, perception, intuition, and instinct are not being distorted by our own Pain and need

In Primal Therapy we recognize the possibilities for suggestion but we take measures to counteract them. For example, we might slow down the defensive maneuverings of the rational-analytical mind so that feelings have a better chance, but we do not attempt to dislocate or hide this level of consciousness. We aim instead to see that feelings pass through it. We want the patient to be fully aware of what he is doing, saying and feeling. He is engaged in a profoundly important experience, so it makes no sense for part of him to be off somewhere else.

The patient-therapist interaction is also an important tool of therapy. The trust of the therapist and a willingness to follow his suggestions in the therapy in order to get to feelings do contribute to success, but there must be a crucial balance. We do not want the therapist to be a pied piper while the patient, in trance, follows passively along to another's tune. It is the patient's life, it is the patient's sickness, and above all, it is the patient's therapy. He is not simply a passive recipient of "suggestions" or insights from a therapist. His unconscious "knows" what happened to him, even if his conscious mind does not. He has the answers. We don't. It is only arrogance that would lead us to believe that we know better what is inside someone's head than he does. His reality sets the scene and determines the course. The patient, then, must lead the way.  

>> It would be unfair to suggest any substantial leading in primal therapy. any therapy is bound to require suggestions. Any attempt to reason or teach someone will require suggestions. Part of learning is asking and listening. Teaching will involve asking, suggesting, and inviting criticism. As well, I believe transference is unavoidable. I find no real fault with primal therapy in any big way. But while they may or may not "suggest," I am sure there are ways you can go that they will believe are wrong and will try to tell you its pain making you think that way and that you are wrong. I have heard patients insist that Art was wrong. I have seen Art make silly assertions in his writing. His is not infallible and has some incorrect ideas but I still rate any danger low. I just say to ignore his claims of Elitism, which are many.

Remember that many that come to Arthur are badly damaged and don't even know which way is up. A patient will need to be led some at times. I can not see how this would be otherwise. So I have no real fault to find here. As well, Art takes on people who might actually be trying to resist Art's therapy. That is tough for any therapist of any school of practice.<<

Sometimes the neurosis tries to take the lead because it resists the move towards Pain. At this point the therapist intervenes in the role of the agent supporting the expression of Pain. The therapist may see ahead of time where the patient is headed, but, unless a helping hand is clearly needed, he lets the patient arrive there in his own time. Although the "lead" keeps changing hands, the direction is determined by the patient's history and physiologically-imprinted experiences. Healing is not a question of the therapist trying to influence or "change" the patient. Healing does not emanate from outside. It develops from the inside, like all healing processes, from a cut to a burn.

The argument that Primal Therapy operates by virtue of suggestibility is invalidated on several points. One factor is that a person without Pain would not invest the time, money, and inconvenience to come to a therapy, particularly one that offers pain, not pleasure as its immediate goal. Inevitably, the pleasure will follow the Pain. But Pain is primordial and there is no fully enjoying pleasure until Pain and its handmaiden, repression, are removed. Physiology does not permit us to skip steps. We have no need to act out Pain or to expect it unless it is there. At least I have yet to meet a truly healthy person who would choose to spend his time and money acting out a painful childhood and then act as if he had recovered from it. By virtue of such behavior a person would reveal himself to be staging some sort of neurotic scenario.

Secondly, the notion that one can suggest oneself into being well is to seriously mistake the meaning of the word "well" and the state which it describes. Suggested health is shallow and unreal because it is global; it is simply superimposed. This kind of mask of health does not look, sound, or feel right to those who enjoy a more interconnected consciousness, but it can fool others. We never automatically accept a patient's professions of himself as well because to do so would be to take a superficial view of health and human reality. For it would ignore the deeper physiologic processes of brain and body and the disease which permeates them. Someone can think "well," look "well," behave "well," but still not be well. This is why Erickson's claims that one hypnosis session can forever banish violent lifelong somatic headaches or make the adult affects of childhood trauma totally vanish do not ring true to me. 

In Primal Therapy we know that we can use (and have used) objective indices of change to guard against suggested cures as a result of patients reading my books and acting out preconceptions. These objective indices are based on the knowledge that Pain has physiological correlates. Patients who do not truly feel Primal Pain will not register significant short-term (after a single Primal) or long-term (over a period of therapy) changes in their vital sign readings. Even if the patient expects to get better and believes that he is better, we do not consider this valid unless his vital signs so indicate. (This form of assessment is not always necessary because an experienced and sensitive therapist can reliably match the conclusions drawn from vital signs readings by intuitive judgement.) The point is that we, like other therapies, would be as vulnerable to the argument of cure based on suggestion if we were to accept the subjective, third-level reports of patients alone. 

The third important reason for the lessened possibility of suggestibility in Primal Therapy is that generally one suggests someone away from Pain not into it. The classic experiments in hypnosis nearly always involve not feeling pain. It is far more seductive to be offered something that will counteract suffering, that would allow one to conquer it, to surmount it, to rise above it, but never to feel it. People are attracted to hypnotherapy precisely because they want the easy way out; they are already seduced by the notion of a magical therapy where everything happens unconsciously. They already are ready to flee Pain.

As the intellect becomes increasingly overtaken by the rising feeling of need and of Pain, one sees how easy it would be to inject the patient with one's own interpretations and suggestions -- to brainwash. One witnesses the susceptibility and gullibility fostered by years of unmet need. There is the need to trust and believe in someone, the need to follow and be taken care of, the need to be told what to do, the need for explanation and comfort, and so on -- all of the urgent needs that in some cases make a person believe it will be beneficial for her to be seduced by her therapist, as in Erickson's case study.  

>> Just above are the needs of a child. A child is totally at the mercy of his/her parents. The kids have nothing and need everything. The "needs" create a dependent relationship that over time, will or should, change so that with age and maturity, the person will think and act with more independence, depending upon how well adjusted the family and community are or are not. If the community is sound and healthy, there would not be too much to disagree with or resist. But if the community is dysfunctional, a greater need for independent thought would hopefully develop.

So when we are young, we are also vulnerable to abuse. If needs are unmet, we remain as vulnerable children, even into old age and death in many cases. For an independent person, needs may not be that great. For one who has suffered great neglect, they will be exceptionally vulnerable. That can not be helped. In such cases, finding the right therapist may be more luck than skill.

The biggest lie and myth is that there is no transference, or leading, or suggesting. With emotionally crippled people, that is impossible to avoid. So lets just dump that one in the toilet right now. There will always be some transference, leading, and suggesting. It should be minimal and if a person is not badly damaged, it won't be much, anyway, except in really bad therapies or therapists.<<

From a psychotherapeutic standpoint, when one sees all this, one has a choice. Either you suppress the need and Pain with mollification, "education," substitution of ideas, and counter-suggestion, or hand back the need and Pain so that it may be experienced through to its roots and finally resolved. Any therapy which does not deal with Primal Pain as its primary goal can never resolve neurosis or its symptoms. It is ineluctably non-dialectical and reactionary. The same can be said of any political system, as well. Either you fulfill need -- personal or social -- or you suppress it.  

>> Here Art takes his narrow stance as usual. All or nothing, no in between. This is the attitude that makes trouble for him. Primal Pain is a real nuisance for all of us. But fixing the intellect and knowledge is not some pointless useless goal. Fixing how people think and what they know or believe can enable major changes and results that are life lasting and can have a huge impact. Don't ever expect Art to admit that. The only line you will get from him is the one highlighted just above, of his. He is a broken record but he does not see it. He will censor you and say you are a broken record. Well, as long as he promotes his silliness, I will promote mine as well. One skipping record deserves another, doesn't it?<<

The pervasiveness of need explains why someone who can elicit Painful scenes in hypnosis stops short of allowing the patient to experience these traumas consciously. The nerve ends of the therapist's own deepest hurt are too exposed for comfort. When the discoveries of the patient put him disquietingly close to his own unconscious Pain, he may take repressive measures by encouraging the patient to "shove it back down," or by diverting him with suggestions which counter the painful reality. This is what we might call Painwashing .  

>> This is a typical Art response. The therapist is to blame for stopping primal pain in hypnosis. Whenever you do as Art displeases, you are wrong. Now as I see it, most see panic and fear as bad things and want to calm and reassure people in a panic. That seems like a reasonable compassionate instinctive reaction. I won't fault it that much. But when we understand the mechanisms of pain as Arthur has helped us to do, then the counter-intuitive reaction, which is the correct one, would be to let the patient feel the scary memory to its full. But this is provided that it is the right setting before doing so; and that we know and understand why the pain is taking place. Hypnotists likely did not understand what they were dealing with. They at least deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Most criticisms of Primal Therapy are probably not just. Primal theory is a real threat to the status quo. This is the real reason it takes some heat. Well, that, and some of Art's silly claims of exclusive ability, ownership of the practice and its name or such implied, or the claims of elitism. I also fault his great disdain for the intellect, which I consider a major key to healing. Its not just about pain, its about fixing our heads to think and work right.<<

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On Hypnosis (Part 25/26)     Tuesday, September 13, 2011
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Comparing Hypnotic Age Regression and Primal Reliving

How does hypnotic age regression differ from a Primal reliving experience? One crucial difference is that the person in a Primal remains conscious: he experiences the intense emotion simultaneously with its cognitive and contextual connections. There is no dissociation of emotion from intellect. The person re-experiencing a traumatic event feels the original emotions intensely, and at the same time "knows" what he is feeling. He is "all there." He surrenders knowingly to himself rather than to another. Furthermore, he is able to connect his past experiences with his present feelings and so make sense out of both.   

>> I am going to correct Arthur here ;-) Yes, I am quite the arrogant man. After all, I am a mav! What do you expect, right? Art says: "He surrenders knowingly to himself." I say that the stem actually takes control away from the patient and releases the painful feeling to the rest of the brain in an automatic process, very similar to vomiting, also an instinctive automatic response. Art sees the resistance as being in the cortex/intellect. It might seem that way. But I suspect that resistance is one side of the stem fighting the other side, opposing forces of the same level.

The hidden observer shows how the 1st level as Art calls it, can still work through the cortex and use it. The hidden observer is almost like a parallel circuit of consciousness and control, operating simultaneously with our intellectual consciousness. But when it is time to vomit, or fight or flee, or any other automatic reaction, the hidden observer has priority status and control. Even as our conscious mind and intellect sleep, the hidden observer keeps right on going.

Art wants to find fault with the intellect and so does. He does not follow the evidence. He tries to force the idea into the evidence, even if it does not fit. That is my assertion and I make it with absolute conviction of belief. Art's explanations to not fit at all with the facts, as far as I have been able to see. I think the hidden observer phenomenon really trashes his ideas. Justly so.<<

In hypnotic age regression, the full benefit of reliving cannot be gained because consciousness has been reduced by virtue of the hypnotic state. It is a case of trying to have it both ways: of reliving without conscious impact, of releasing Pain without feeling it. Our research has shown that without participation of all levels of consciousness, there is little therapeutic value in going back to one's past. Indeed, we need full consciousness for profound change. Full consciousness means the conscious regression to a lower state of brain organization. It means being conscious on a heretofore unconscious level.  

>> The 1st comment highlighted, is correct. The 2nd highlight is not. going back to the past, remembering the past, is not of little value or consequence at all. It can be huge. 1st, we need to learn from the past, even if we do not feel it. We can even learn from the experience of others, even though we do not feel their past, either. Feeling would be even better but the stem might not believe it is right or OK at that time and waits for the right circumstances. So we can evaluate and decide to do differently next time. We can change our course of direction. We may make a big difference in our future. Art can't seem to see any of this. Why? Tunnel vision can be an indication of some serious problems in the head. Tunnel vision is usually trying to avoid something outside of that tunnel.<<

The third level of consciousness is the level that is knocked out in hypnosis and that was knocked out in neurosis when the Primal event originally occurred. What this means is that hypnotic age regression utilizes the same disengagements of consciousness that were involved in the repression of the trauma in the first place.  

>> This statement really reinforces what I say and promote. The intellect experiences a loss of feeling and awareness of a painful trauma. This is a fact, but why does it happen? Its obvious! Let me illustrate. A general or commander of an army and battlefield is often far removed from the font lines of battle. It might seem at first as if he is hiding from the danger. and he may very well be doing so or relieved that it is so. But the real purpose is so that he can think calmly, rationally, carefully, with other skilled men at his sides as counsel, so that he can make the best decision possible, removed from the chaos of the front line. Absolute calm is absolutely essential. Panic will kill.

Likewise, when psychological pain is experienced, and it is major and overwhelming and threatens to disrupt good sound thinking operations, then the stem decides that it will block off and repress the new feeling injury till a future time when it will be safe to bring it up and out. It assumes or hopes that there will be a future time when it can be done. But life being what it is, it may never come. So it is for the protection and function of the intellect, that the stem keeps the pain in seclusion for an indefinite time till hopefully, a proper time and circumstance will allow the pain to be shared and resolved.

What would be a good circumstance? Maybe when an intellect has made good sense of things and will not feel too threatened by the pain it will feel. An example: Not being loved would be devastating to a young child. But as an adult, who has far more control over their circumstances, no longer dependent upon a parent, may now be able to handle that horrible feeling, since the current situation is not threatened by the realization of this feeling coming up. But other serious worries might leave the stem concluding, maybe falsely, that it is still not the time or place. Maybe it is right and the intellect is still vitally needed for the dangers sensed, perhaps much better, by the stem.

It is hard to say whether the stem is over-reacting or we are simply not using our intellect to the degree that we should be. Maybe the stem feels that we should have long ago resolved certain things that we have put on hold. Maybe the stem itself has been unduly hindering the intellect, which I suspect. What we have to recognize, is that any psychological/emotional injury is as threatening and dangerous to our mind as any physical injury. Once injured, we don't work as well, emotionally, intellectually, or any other wise, either.

The optimal situation, were it possible, would be to avoid an injury all together. No substantial injury is inconsequential. I believe this may be what the Bible refers to as sin. A psychological injury causes malfunctions in thinking and behavior. Best not to get injured. I notice the word "injury." "In-jury" could be taken as an internal jury that judges adversely. Indeed, we are adversely affected when we suffer an internal adverse judgment, an in-jury, something deep in the mind and not outside of us. Who knows. I do not know enough language history (etymology) to say. But it still has some pertinence.<<

The second important difference between hypnotic age regression and Primal reliving has to do with intense emotional response. As soon as the hypnotic patient gets into an intense emotional state (which we call the pre-Primal phase), the hypnotherapist usually intervenes with one technique or another to control, reduce, or circumscribe it. The assumption is that the patient might become dangerously anxious and hysterical. Erickson's admonition to his trembling and perspiring subject to "shove it down again" is an excellent example. In hypnotherapy, a feeling is seldom experienced in its entirety, and therefore cannot be entirely resolved. For the hypnotic subject to feel all the agony of a childhood means to be having a Primal, and for that you need full consciousness or a consciousness fully connected to lower levels. To get well unconsciously is an oxymoron. Unconsciousness is the problem.  

>> Again, this seems to be innocently done by hypnotherapists, because they do not know or understand about primal pain. Now if it can be shown that they do know about primal theory quite well and reject it, then maybe it is not innocent any longer. I do not know that this is the case. It could be for some.<<

One of the key differences between my approach and hypnotherapy is that Primal therapy is a natural, evolutionary one, in which the unconscious arises almost in linear, stratified form from the most recent and most benign of Pains to the most remote and the most dolorous of Pains. It is the nature of Pain to make itself conscious, to achieve homeostasis. The system is self-regulating and permits into consciousness that which can be integrated and accepted by consciousness. This is not the case with hypnosis, where it is the hypnotist who decides where and how to probe and how deep to go. This, I believe, among other problems, is a basic distrust of the human body and its miracles. It is an authoritarian approach, a manipulative one in which the patient is maneuvered hither and thither almost beyond his will, within the whims or preconceptions of the hypnotist. There is a basic lack of respect, a lack of understanding of the necessity for self- determination. Rather, the hypnotist, like the parents beforehand, manipulates the child again (the child need inside the patient), who is already manipulated and maneuvered away from his real self.  

>> Art here says the body knows, and that this is all automatic. I agree. But then why does he blame the intellect? Why not blame the stem when it does not work? The intellect is not instinctive; the stem is! Art also explains how primal pain works. But I have read many accounts of his that contradict this explanation above. Most recent pains 1st! Really? Smaller pains 1st! You sure? Then the bigger and older ones come up and out. It sounds reasonable and logical. But I have seen it contradicted and I wonder if it is carved in stone or whether there are also other agenda considered by the stem, which can change up the order. Had there not been any out of order sequence, I might have accepted this. Now, I will always have doubts. Too many times, Arthur's assertions have come up empty. The credibility is not there for me.<<

For some reason therapists think they have to do something to a patient. Perhaps it is a reflection of a technological society, in which individuals are considered as units which have to be repaired, adjusted or fixed in some way.  

>> Well, if they want to make money, they need to justify it so they have to claim they do something for you that you can not do for your self. Hey, that almost sounds like Art, too. Hmmmm. Thomas Szasz is good at exposing this stuff.<<

Conclusions

Before summarizing my conclusions about the nature of hypnosis and the value of hypnotherapy, let us look back at the positions of some of the early students of hypnosis. It seems to me that we have arrived at conclusions which these pioneers either reached or were reaching almost one hundred years ago. 

Charcot saw a similarity between hypnosis and hysteria, as each seems to demonstrate the characteristics of the other. He spoke of "pathological suggestibility" as the necessary ingredient in hypnosis as opposed to the "normal suggestibility" of the waking state. Bernheim believed hypnotizability to be independent of neuropathology and hysteria, describing suggestibility as a trait shared by all human beings, with hypnosis being almost entirely ideogenic. (ideology)

Freud at one time or another shared the views of his various contemporaries and used hypnosis and hypnotic suggestion to treat hysteria and other afflictions. However, he ultimately favored a psycho-physiological explanation of hypnotic phenomena because --and this may be his most important legacy of this period -- he felt that psychological and physiological processes ran parallel to each other in a "dependent concomitant" relationship. In other words, Freud supported a mind-body duality and initially aimed towards a psychotherapy which allowed for it. For instance, he felt that Bernheim's ideogenic account of hypnosis veered too much toward "a psychology without physiology." In the end he saw suggestion and auto-suggestion as taking advantage of the physiological capacity linking conscious mental states with purely physiological processes.

I can find something in the arguments of almost all these theorists and practitioners to draw into a synthesis with the Primal understanding of hypnosis. In perceiving similarities between hypnosis and hysteria, Charcot and Freud were, I feel, beginning to recognize the interdependency of hypnosis and neurosis. Charcot certainly appreciated that there was something abnormal about the suggestibility needed to succumb to hypnosis. What I am not sure of is whether he understood that so-called pathological suggestibility differs from "normal" suggestibility only in the matter of degree. As we saw in the case of modern theorists like Barber, Hilgard and Erickson, neurotic suggestibility is so prevalent that it generally escapes distinction as being neurotic. This, I think, may well account for Bernheim's position of an inherent suggestibility in all human beings, rather than just in neurotics.

Freud's contributions lay as much in his reasons for rejecting hypnosis as in his initial espousal of it. Although results were often quite dramatic, they were induced for a short time only and depended mainly upon the personal relationship between doctor and patient. In a footnote to a discussion on sexual aberration, Freud states that "the blind obedience evinced by the hypnotized subject to the hypnotist causes me to think that the nature of hypnosis is to be found in the unconscious fixation of the libido on the person of the hypnotizer..." If we substitute "primal need" for libido, I couldn't agree more. Freud also came to realize that unconscious material could be arrived at without resorting to hypnosis; that if you confronted the resistances of the patient, the conscious mind could discover for itself the contents of the unconscious.  

>> Freud also came to realize that . . . the conscious mind could discover for itself the contents of the unconscious. Without the feelings attached, of course. I rest my case!<<

Posted by Arthur Janov at 11:10 AM Description: http://www.blogger.com/img/icon18_email.gif


http://cigognenews.blogspot.com/2011/09/on-hypnosis-part-2626-end.html

On Hypnosis (Part 26/26 ... The End)     Monday, September 19, 2011
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Uses and Ethics of Hypnotherapy

Does hypnosis have any uses? I think so, in two ways. As the forefathers of psychology discovered, hypnosis is experimentally useful as a medium for demonstrating aspects of consciousness and therefore the distortions of consciousness which we have termed neurosis. It seems to pull off its own mask and in so doing uncovers the dynamic of neurosis: the dissociation from Pain. It provides confirmation of the crucial physiological component of memory, the imprinting of trauma, and the physiological effort needed to keep it unconscious. It explains the basis for suggestibility. Through its evident failings, we may better appreciate the meaning of experience. To effect lasting change, so that someone has complete rather than neurotic experience, consciousness must work as a whole. 

Having said that, it should be noted that all of the above can be arrived at without once applying hypnosis. These matters are continually demonstrated in Primal Therapy, which is an entirely conscious process.

Perhaps the only occasions when hypnosis is unquestionably valid is in cases of chronic and terminal illness, to ameliorate painful physical conditions, and in surgery. Dissociation as part of the repertoire of the human psyche has long proven an adaptive response to excessive pain. That, after all, is the basis of neurosis. Someone in great physical pain or suffering the nightmares of debilitating disease might as well make good use of this capability. By all means, reach for the internal morphine.

As a foundation for psychotherapeutic treatment, however, I cannot support hypnosis. It runs counter to the very principles and processes of consciousness upon which health stands. In fact, hypnosis itself demonstrates why it is invalid because it reveals itself to be an active agent of neurosis. I cannot see how treating the disease with more of the disease can be helpful in any way. Hypnotherapy relies upon a diminution rather than a replenishing of consciousness. It models and amplifies the dissociation inherent in neurosis. It tends to take a single-cause view of symptomatology, thus bolstering the illusion of short cures. There is a reliance upon external authority as opposed to a trust of inner processes. There is an imposition of foreign ideas and assessments of reality that foster the very kinds of neurotic dependency and susceptibility which therapy should be aiming to resolve.  

>> Art makes some errors here. He says that hypnosis causes more dissociation, in essence. It can and does, but does not have to. It could be used to explore what is inside, using the hidden observer to reveal what is going on. No one has done this. Why not? Were they trying to hide that? I wonder. It remains to be done. Meanwhile, the intellect remains bypassed by hypnosis and Art, too.<<

No matter what the apparent outcome, to render someone still more unconscious of his Pain means to take from him his only chance at real health. Worse still, it means to widen the internal split and deepen the disease.

In hypnotherapy or in hypnosis you can be told you are cold when you are really hot, you can be told you feel good when you feel bad, that you are comfortable when you are really in Pain. You can be told that your hands are numb and that you can numb the pain in other parts of your body simply by touching those spots with your hands. You can be told that you are eating divinity fudge when you are not, that you can recall and repress pieces of a forgotten memory at will and this will put an end to your suffering, or that you are going to return to a traumatic event in one of your past lives in order resolve your problems in this life.

As I discussed before, one can be suggested in a hypnotic state that one is undergoing a burn by a match and actually produce blisters. Thus meaningful sounds emanating from someone else's mouth enter the patient's brain and change his physiology and cellular activity enough to produce a burn blister. This phenomenon raises important philosophic and psychological questions as to the nature of reality. For if you produce a burn blister and you are not burned, what is real? If you are hypnotized to feel comfortable, when in fact you are very uncomfortable, what is real? In these hypnotic experiments, the primacy of psychological events over external stimuli is clearly evident. That is to say that reality is really first of all a matter of perception. What is really happening is that through someone else's ideation, a memory is evoked which takes primacy over current reality. This again is the Primal position -- that the past is prepotent over the present. Clearly there would be no burn mark if one had not already had the experience of the previous burn. And secondly, the concept of burn must also have been in the mind beforehand, otherwise there could be no manipulation. 

>> There is no doubt that the mind is very powerful and can create its own reality, if it wants. Psychosis is at once understandable. The mind can block out all reality and make its own. All you need are some psychological injuries/pain. Dissociation and disconnection are real. That we can ignore reality ought to be good warning to seek out reality with all our power. Use our intellect to confirm reality. Bypassing the intellect, which is what the hypnotist does, is very dangerous. The intellect is a protection and we need it to keep us solidly routed in reality. Art says the intellect is dangerous and our enemy, while decrying hypnosis for separating us from reality. Quite the contrast, wouldn't you say? Ouch!<<

What is actually being manipulated, in fact, in one's history and the power of that history is manifest in the fact that a burn blister can be reproduced from a past memory with no current reality involved at all. Thus, the hypnotist says you are being burned, the brain scans it's memory for previous burns, and that memory innervates the cells to produce cellular change. In this way, someone else's reality can change your basic brain functioning and immune processes. This is the essence of neurosis: we first respond to our history, and then our current reality.

So it is clear that we have two realities, a subjective and an objective one. It is when we are disengaged from the subjective reality that ideas from the outside will have primacy. When we are no longer anchored in ourselves, external forces become our key reality and subjective realities become secondary. Nowhere is this more clear than with the masses who are manipulated by politicians by the use of abstractions and ideologies that only symbolically fill the void of real need.  

>> Art is not even addressing the same subject now. We agree there is a subjective reality and an objective one. Which is which? How can we tell? I say subjective is internal. Objective is external. Art says a hypnotist is external. Really? Does not the hypnotist go internal to the subconscious AND bypass the cortex and intellect. Doesn't the intellect feed input from the outside world?

So how do we classify ideologies and abstractions used by political leaders? Do they not appeal to the inner mind, the stem? See how quickly Art got off track. These answers were given way back but now Art wants to rearrange it all so he can blame the intellect and outside world. To be bluntly honest, I think Art thur is seriously disturbed and can not keep his facts straight. Most unbecoming for a doctor and researcher. Objectivity is clearly missing. the external world seen by our intellects, is our best bet of holding on to reality.

If we let our subconscious stem take over the reigns and hinder the intellect, we are ripe for suggestion and subjective reality. Since Art left us stranded here, I just had to take over. Art needs to retire, in my mind. He once again, needs some serious therapy, only he is all primaled out. Guess he'll have to go try some of that cognitive therapy he so detests. It is both ironic and funny. I recommend philosophy and logic/reason, instead.<<

In both hypnosis and neurosis you "buy somebody else's program." If you are solidly rooted in yourself no one can convince you that when you are cold you are hot, and certainly nobody could tell you are not in Pain when you are. Our genetic legacy allows us to be unaware and unconscious at times, When this goes on for an extended period of time, it becomes neurosis.  

>> What Arthur meant to say was, that we need a strong powerful intellect to reacquaint us with the outside reality and a strong sense of reason and logic. When we travel, it helps if we can orient ourselves with something immovable or constant, perhaps the north/south magnetic field, a star above one of the poles. A prominent object in the distance. The shoreline if traveling along the shore. Reasoning can expose the bullshit of politicians any time. They use lies and hocus pocus. Art must not know that.<<

The practice of Primal Therapy shows that it is possible for the conscious, cortical mind to dissolve into the all-important contents of the subconscious without surrendering an awareness of what is happening while it is happening.  

>> Art just said the cortex dissolves or descends down into the subconscious. See the problem? The subconscious releases pain up into the cortex. Arthur does not know up from down. All he cares about is attacking the cortex, whether it deserves it or not. It does not. Arthur is to blame. His head needs some serious fixing in my mind, which I have firmly attached to logic and reason, which can never be assailed.<<

Awareness must be allowed in because it has an important role to play in the process of healing. That role is attaching meaning to the Pain, mediating and communicating insight, and integrating and applying the experiences of the lower levels to present life. It is vital for a person descending into unconscious realities to know how he got there and how he got back. It is too important a journey to make with his "eyes closed."  

>> What does Art mean by awareness? He means awareness of deep feelings, not conscious awareness of the outside world, where Arthur has not been for some time, I gather. He is too busy descending into that unconscious abyss where you can get easily lost like he does, it would seem. You do not have to think about feeling. When it arrives, it knows what to do. You need to concentrate on reason, analysis, and logic, so you can refute bullshit wherever you may find it and if you have been paying attention, Arthur has been dishing out plenty of bullshit, to my way of thinking.

If you must choose a god or messiah, chose one that uses their intellect, with logic and reason. Feelings can never make reasoning obsolete. That is impossible! Trust the method and process of logic and accept wherever it leads to. That is real science. Everything else is bullshit!<<

* * * *
Posted by Arthur Janov at 11:13 AM

End of 26 part Series


My Last Words
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I, the author of this site, return to black regular text. Arthur's article is over. I believe I have shown that pretty convincingly that Arthur has not been able to follow a consistent, evidence based line of reason in his assertions and ideas. He gets all confused, too often. You might want to consider his age and mental state. He is 86. He was fine in the 70s. But he is lost now, as best as I can tell. Primal Therapy and Theory was a great discovery in 1970 and onward. It should have spread and grown and it has not.

Erickson also showed us the hidden observer that is in us all. The implications of such a stream of constant consciousness lurking below that of the cortex and its consciousness, has profound implications. have the answers been available all along, if we had bothered to ask? I think it is possible. Regardless, what remains is that it is in our utmost benefit to pursue strong powers of reason and logic. Study everything, ignore nothing and ponder it all till you understand it all, which may never stop.

Neither psychology, psychiatry, nor primal therapy have ever recommended a strong intellect. Schools and universities dumb us down and keep us down and dumb. the media keep us deprived of valuable information and sensory input. They seek out our subconscious to manipulate. They want the intellect out of the way. The world see us as potential enemies and our intellects as potential enemies.

If they see us that way, what does that say about them? They must be our enemies, too. Can you follow the logic. If you mean them no harm, but they see you as dangerous and possibly harmful, then they must be up to no good of yours and you should be concerned. and that they fear your brain power should make it clear to you how important that brain power is. You life hangs in the balance.

What I say, I do not say lightly. You need to learn as much as you can, everything you can, as fast as you can! And only accept what you can understand and verify for yourself.

Conspiracy or Not!

There is a psychological war going on out there. The stakes are real and so are the casualties. I have a few suggestions on where and how to search and learn about the world you live in. You have the mainstream media available all the time and they all seem to say and promote pretty much the same thing. A consistent united message. The media present the messages of those who lead. Those who lead are responsible for the wars, crime, inequality, corruption, abuse, lies, deceit, greed and nearly any other vile manifestations.

And they have very bad things to say about critics of them, most especially those various conspiracy theorists and their heinous accusations. The great thing about politics is that the lies are often obvious and easy to see through at some level. And info and propaganda is to be found everywhere. Well, almost.

Conspiracy theorists are often hard to find. No one likes them. They are accused of such nasty things. But those accusing are certainly guilty of nasty things. So, who do you believe? Those that you can prove are up to no good? Or those who are said to be bad but for whom you have no evidence and can't even find any substantial info on them?

Go to YouTube and search for various interesting topics of conspiracy and see what you come up with. If you watch enough, you are apt to find out that many of the accusations do not fit those accused. Nor is their evidence so far fetched, either. So the mainstream hurls insults galore so as to scare you into not listening to those supposed kooks. People who expose bad things are not appreciated by bad people. Bad people do not hesitate to lie about good people.

When you conduct your own trial on something, seek out opposing sides. It is only in opposing views that you will get a good wide coverage of matters. Those who lie and cover up, will always leave lots of info out. Those who have nothing to hide, tend to be the ones who also have lots to reveal in a negative way. Very quickly, it becomes obvious who is lying and who is not. It becomes very obvious why some are called names that do not fit, while with others, they fit like a glove.

But so widespread is malicious intent, that even in mainstream media, it is hard to hide all the nasty corruption. There is just too much of it. Then when you consult the other side, you are apt to find much more reasonable presentations that you might have been prepared for. It has been put this way, "In a multitude of counselors, there is wisdom and salvation." We call it brain storming now.

What you are apt to find in your own investigations, is that there is a lot more corruption than you had ever formerly realized. That is because the world is controlled by people who are not nice and abuse masses of people for their own selfish benefit. The end result is massive abuse on a world wide scale. You are on your way to wisdom and real awareness.

No matter what it is you investigate, I predict you will find lots of corruption. So how do you escape it all? What do you do about it? Should you do anything about it? I will tell you what I do. Many other suggestions can be found, as well. We are outnumbered. hundreds to 1 at the least. there is no stopping it in my opinion. In the words of the Borg from Star Trek spin offs, "resistance is futile." But silence is complicity, isn't it? I think so. So learn everything you can as fast as you can. then say something, anything. Let people know if they want to know, but don't shove it down their throats. Just offer it and see if they bite or not.

Trick or Treat?

Now another reason why wading through conspiracies is so good for the intellectual mind is that orthodox mainstream establishment, status-quo forces love to fill the conspiracy world with lies, distortions, half truths, and yet, always revealing some truth as well, so as to, one, attempt to gain your trust with some bait, while, two, muddying up the waters an adding confusion since much of what they say will be contradictory to many other sources.

So you ask, why is this a good thing? First, you quickly learn not to trust anyone. Your whole life has been spent trusting almost everyone you hear and all the "promoted" and widely available sources. And since they are also corrupting the conspiracy field, which is really an investigative field, like reporting or history are supposed to be but are not, it is dangerous to trust anyone at all. But there will be pieces of the puzzle that you will find hard to refute or ignore.

I want to share an example. At least 100 eye witnesses saw the limo with JFK in it, stop in front of the grassy knoll. But the Zapruder film, kept from the public for 11 years, does not show the limo ever stop. Figures in the background appear bigger than those in the foreground, the opposite of what it should be. Could the film be tampered with as some conspiracy theorists have suggested. Isn't that pretty far fetched? It could be, yet it is quite possible to do with common Hollywood editing and some time.

How do we solve this? Easy, actually! In a court of law, eye witness testimony is solid evidence, if two or more, and especially 100, all testify to the same thing. Scientists and politicians love to discredit eye witness testimony, since those often destroy their attempts to fool people and hide things. So if we assume the 100 witnesses were right, then we must assume the film has, indeed, been tempered with during the 11 years it was withheld. But is there something that can help possibly verify this more. Funny you should ask that!

Kennedy as a Lesson

A guy named Bill Cooper, in my opinion, a very respectable conspiracy detective who many attempt to discredit, only because what he says is usually too incriminating. He was killed right in front of his home. He points our the limo driver turning around toward the back and the president and it looks as if there is something shiny in hi hand and with his arm fully extended, the president's head is blown off. Cooper says the driver shot the president and that the shiny thing is a gun. I disagree but that is not what is important here.

The shine is an allusion from other things in the car. But the driver is turned around and his eyes are turned back, too and his hands not on the steering wheel. He can not be driving and the president is shot right in front of the grassy knoll. The Mary Moorman picture also shows the limo just sitting there. Moorman ever saw and heard what was being said in the limo. She was right behind the car.

The limo drive then turns back, grabs the wheel and starts up again and accelerates. Try YouTube with limo and Cooper or limo drive and gun. But to the left of the driver, where a side view mirror would typically be on most cars, there was something green, like flowers or a wreath, that suddenly bends back as they take off and then swings forward again. Looks very much like the car had been sitting still and then suddenly starts up again fast. But they background above limo view gives us a different perception since the "editors" made the background look as if it was continually going by. Why?

They did not want you to believe 100 witnesses who said it stopped few a few seconds. Why not believe them? Because if you did believe them, it would almost surely verify, one, that it was a conspiracy which was aided by the limo driver and allows for far more likelihood that  more than one shooter was there that day and stopping the limo made damn sure that someone somewhere made sure the president was dead. No screws ups could possibly be allowed.

There are many other interesting facts revealed if you looked into the subject thoroughly and YouTube is a great source for the excellent British series, "The Men Who Killed Kennedy." Notice they use Men in plural form, suggesting that there was, in fact, a conspiracy.

But just one little piece of evidence revealed this conspiracy almost as soon as it happened. It was just that the Warren Commission ignored it. It was those 100 witnesses.

Common Tricks

A favorite tactic of conspirators and those who help them cover up is to ignore key evidence and hope you do not listen to those who do not ignore that key evidence. In fact, there are many common things phony investigators do. They appear to be irrational or blind. They might even pretend great stupidity. But they are not stupid. The  just act that way for who can find fault with someone who  is just plain stupid. This is called plausible denial. Politicians often pretend stupidity or ignorance, even though it is their job, many than anyone else's, to know and have solutions.

You will see the same patterns appear over and over again. You will even get tired of it and not accept "it" as a reasonable excuse anymore. One someone says "no comment," that is usually an indication of guilt or something serious to hide since innocent people rarely have any thing to hide or run from. Classic example? The parents  of 7 year old Jon-Benet Ramsey, John and Patty Ramsey. Their daughter is found dead in their own house and they had no idea. But neighbors actually heard a scream in their own homes coming from the Ramsey house and yet investigators did not find that convincingly suspicious. Imagine that! Remarkable, indeed, and they were never without a lawyer and never had much to say. Little wonder.

But the thing with conspiracies is that you do get used to patterns, especially those of liars, deceivers, and those who cover up. You learn to suspect all sources and only accept pieces of evidence very carefully, assembling a few pieces together and a few more until you have enough pieces of the puzzle to form enough of a picture to render a result.

Another trick in courts and science, is to demand levels or evidence and reason so high that it is not likely that anyone could ever prove anything but such severe requirements of evidence. People forget that evidence beyond a shadow of doubt is not the same as evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. A mother not reporting her young girl missing for a month is not reasonable. I would never hesitate to find a mother guilty of murder, having waited so long to report a missing child.

But you have to pay attention to details and never trust anyone, especially the status-quo media. And it helps to seek out other "amateur" conspiracy "investigators" like yourself, for in a crowd of independent non-mainstream investigators, there is bound to be lots to thin about and eventually, some consensus begins to emerge among them. That is why the infiltrators and their lies come along to try to discredit good findings that are very convincing.

Credibility Attacks

The goal of establishment types is to discredit conspiracy "theorists" who dare to challenge the media promoted explanation for something suspicious. They might accuse prominent challengers of being immoral, or having done something wrong in the past. They might attack the qualifications and "authority' of the person or persons. They attack some evidence of little importance while ignoring the evidence that makes a big impact on the matter. But there is another tactic as well.

Phony Paid crusaders will publish a conspiracy theory but they will appear as wackos, fringe freaks, crazy ideas, out to lunch. That is who they have been pain to appear. Totally insane or very close to it. But as well, these types will often reveal some truth. There are 2 different goals in this strategy. First goal is to discredit, not only the person posing as a wacko, but also to discredit the entire movement of various theorists. They are all crazy, which is usually never the case.

2nd, is to revel some truth mixed in with outlandish ideas or evidence, so that the less intelligent among conspiracy believers might fall for the false direction and be led away from the direction leading to the real truth. Spread lots of lies and you will also spread lots of doubt and confusion. Some get scared or frustrated with the apparent confusion and uncertainty and will give up trying to figure it our or even go back the the mainstream since trust was always easier for them and they do not know how to handle uncertainty. They do not want to put in the effort to get past the lies and uncertainty. They are easy prey.

So taking it upon yourself to solve unsolved mysteries is the best way to become familiar with all the tricks and tactics as well as how to get past all those to the truth. Be patient. You do not have to make a decision immediately. You can wait as long as you want, or make a tentative decision which you can always alter later if new evidence should give you reason to do so.

Yet Another Conspiracy

I suggest that there is a propaganda war going on in another form of existence, invisible to ordinary human senses, though not invisible in the forces and things that take place in the visible realm we live in. Some fear looking behind or through apparent events or circumstances. Unseen forces, they call them. The motivating forces are, indeed, unseen but what they do is not unseen but often unperceived. I speak of God, spirits, and opposing spirits who have brought God and His purpose and motives into question.

Of course, I believe that there is sound evidence for believing there is a God with a plan and it is something  you should consider looking into, because of what it promises as well as what it threatens and warns of. But it does offer hope. Not blind hope, which is no hope at all. Arthur will offer you that hope. But if you would rather ignore that, you may. I offer it because I care and it makes sense.

Life often seems to make no sense to people and that perception is not incorrect but does have an explanation, all the same. But never for one second, imagine that ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is deadly. You could become an innocent victim real easy.

Awareness is a start, but you want to keep going, too. Have fun because primal pain is growing ever larger in the world and will soon swallow it up unless there is a God. You better hope there is or otherwise, dig a hole, jump in, and pull the dirt over yourself, because it is not going to be pretty and a quick death is a painless merciful one. Those will be the lucky ones. The ones who do not die first and fast, will die slowly and painfully. There are mad men right now who are planning the worst you could possibly imagine. Of 7 billion today, they plan to eliminate to the point of less than 1 billion. That is 6 billion dead and that beats the hell out of Mao's mere 100 million dead. Just thought I would let you know and prepare. Human pain has reached its zenith and can go no further. Its about to implode and then explode.

But God has a better plan in mind if you want to check it out, right here on this awesome site, the best one on the internet, for sure ;-) Not another like it!

Below are my linked articles on some relevant topics in the realm of psychology. But if you want to understand God or Prophecy and predictions forecasted, try this:
God's Plan and Purpose from beginning to end



New Warning!        Aug 27-012
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I have been in the process at this date, studying MIND CONTROL. Commonly known in conspiracy circles by the CIA project, MKULTRA. I got my first big dose from Fritz Springmeier. I have gone on to others, since. I read Marvin Minsky's "The Society of Mind." I have read some of Brice Taylor's book, "Thanks for the Memories." Half way through Kathleen Sullivan's book, "Unshackled."

After reading Minsky, I decided I needed to study even more of Mind Control as a subject, since it was bound to reveal detail that I had come to believe Dr. Janov was avoiding and leaving out. I was my hunch that learning more of Mind Control would lead to huge leaps of understanding more about the brain and what some have come to know as Primal Therapy and Primal Theory. I was not disappointed.

I will write about the mind's abilities and its implications for Primal Theory, too. It has interesting political implications as well, but those will have to be left to someone else. My only purpose is to understand the human mind ever better. The mind has amazing abilities that we have yet to use adequately. But perhaps many of those abilities were never meant to be needed if everything were perfect in life. Maybe they are there for when things go wrong. Or it could be that we need to be free of pain and a bad (sinful or contaminated) environment. But for whatever the reason, at this point I can only say we have far more than we use.

But my biggest concern at this very moment, concerns hypnosis. So while my writing will have to wait till I have more time in my life, God willing, I speak of the dangers of hypnosis and some brief updates of it here.

Erickson is an amazing hypnotist and well known. But he may have been involved in secret Mind Control (MK from here on in) or at least passed on info to those who were. Worse, MK's agents have infiltrated so many practices of medical and psychiatric/psychological facilities, as well as other areas of society to help cover over their activities carried on all over the nation and world. Because of this saturation and permeation of our society, one has to be very certain of who they trust and I seriously question how much you should trust anyone.

Hypnosis is very powerful, if fully used. Anyone hypnotized, can have instructions planted in their minds and hidden from the conscious person. Once they instruct you to do something and forget, they can have you go anywhere or do anything. And once torture is added in a private place, there is nothing they will not be able to do to anyone. Therefore, hypnosis should not be submitted to, unless you have a witness you trust there and video taped as well, without interruption of recording. Most might not like that, but it is essential.

While a conscious state can be a nearly hypnotic state and Janov suggests there is a thin line between our conscious state that many are in and hypnosis, I am going to state categorically and emphatically, if not fanatically, that there is a big difference between the two. When combined with torture, where dissociation (a primal split) occurs, hypnosis can become very powerful, insidious, dangerous (morally speaking), and all without your knowledge that part of you is being used to carry out what you do not know about. It will usually be of a bad nature.

Janov does not address this at all, either because he does not know about it, or does not want to know about it, or knows and keeps silent. For sure, he is missing a lot of expanded knowledge by avoiding it. One of the sins of the whole "scientific method" is that you are not to be selective about the data used, or ignore or destroy data collected on the matter. All data must be used and addressed, like it or not. Willful ignorance is not excusable nor becoming, either.

The prevailing problem in our world today is the ignoring of too many facts, another word for data. Submitting to hypnosis, is to hand over your mind to another. If you want them to do certain things while having this open access to your mind, that is fine, provided they will only do what you want them to. But if they want to do more, you will never know if they do. Indeed, handing over our minds and hearts belongs only to God. To trust another, seems precarious at best, to me.

I believe that you can accomplish any sort of healing with out hypnosis. That belief comes from my study of MK up to this point. I also emphatically state that the greatest protection you can have in the world today (other than God, who is the greatest protection), is to have a good strong ability to think, reason, analyze, and trust in your self. Against such things, there is no way to overcome them. The devil knows this. Truth has no weakness. If is all powerful, which is why God always uses it.

One day, I hope to write more on the mind and psychology. But for now, this warning stands. The study of Hypnosis reveals many things. But the use of it is not advisable as far as I am concerned. I wanted that to be clear since I was very impressed with Erickson and still am. There is much to say about the "Hidden Observer" in each one of us. Much of it is further revealed in MK studies. It is a fascinating subject. It has great potential but we can access the hidden observer without hypnosis. Of much interest to me is the practice of "Journaling," in particular, doing so with each hand taking a turn. Different parts of us come out from the different sides of the brain. I will write more in a future article.

Eventually, I'll add a little more to this hypnosis article, too. But I wanted to warn you and give you a peak at what is to come, and what already is, so that my warning has some credibility to it. The rest will have to wait. Needless to say, the study of the human mind is absolutely fascinating. The brilliance and foresight of God are a marvel to behold. It is shame so few "religious" people have no interest or desire in it. For God, Himself, is the ultimate Psychologist, if you will. He designed human nature and He expects us to learn it as best as we can. Though man might misuse psychology, we do not have to misuse it. We can use it in behalf of God and those we love and care about.

It is always my concern that what I write could have impact and even harm as well as help. So I try to quickly warn, when I have some concerns that possibly change what I previously understood and wrote. Unlike God, I am not infallible. So I have to be ready to amend, whenever amending is called for. It was called for here. After all, James says that teachers will have a heavier judgment before God. I am not at all unaware of that serious implication. I keep it ever in mind.


Related Articles

Holistic Psychology
On Hypnosis
Janov Reconsidered
Janov in Action
Educate Your Children
Teaching and Learning
Motivation Speakers
The Psychology Factor
Christian Behavior & Practice
Christian Community
Sexuality Topics Page


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