GRAND DELUSIONS

Psychotherapies Without Feeling

by Dr. Arthur Janov
Posted June 2005 on primaltherapy.com Grand Delusions: Psychotherapies Without Feeling by Dr. Arthur Janov has been a "work in progress" for about 20 years. It was intended as a critique of psychotherapies that do not promote - or actively avoid - the feeling of repressed pain. Dr. Janov recently wrote a separate book called Primal Healing, which to some extent evolved out of Grand Delusions. Primal Healing focuses on cognitive therapy and other contemporary therapies that avoid feeling. This latter book was published in November 2006.. Dr. Janov is not seeking to publish the older Grand Delusions material in paper form. However, we think the Grand Delusions material is still valuable and a worthwhile read, and may be particular interest to students of the history of psychology and psychotherapy. Thus, we are posting Grand Delusions online, making it available to anyone who may be interested. Please note that some of the material remains in relatively rough, unedited form. Also, note that Dr. Janov has inserted one brand-new chapter on a contemporary therapy, namely Eye Movement Desensitization/Reprocessing or EMDR.

Introduction: The Dialectics of Consciousness
We in clinical psychology today are in a strange position. We see people, both in and outside of our practices, suffering from some insidious condition that cannot be seen, tasted, touched, or pinpointed in any single location. The condition is often called mental illness or neurosis. A few question whether the suffering is real, describing the experience as a "trip" to be savored, and terming mental illness a "myth." Others see mental illness as merely a function of distorted thinking, something that will disappear with new thoughts. Among schools of psychotherapy that do admit the existence of mental illness, each one has very different ideas about neurosis and its genesis. Indeed, in no other area of medicine is there such disagreement about the nature of a disease, what its symptoms are, and how it manifests itself, not to mention its causes. In short, the field of psychotherapy today is nothing less than chaotic. Why? First, I believe, events that may cause mental illness or neurosis begin so very, very early, and remain so barricaded in unconsciousness, that the notion that early trauma affects how we act at the age of, say, 45, is beyond ordinary imagination. Second, we react with incredible diversity to early trauma, and we may imagine that phobias, migraines, compulsions, obsessions, depression, addictions, etc. must all have different functions. Third, psychologists themselves have blind spots of a function of their own neuroses - they cannot see, cannot bear to see, their patients' deepest pain - and find themselves gladly distracted by symptoms and by ideologies that do not directly address pain. As a result, the field of psychotherapy may be characterized by a remarkable absence of cohesion, and patients' pain is addressed diffusely at best. Some psychotherapists will consistently prescribe anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs for varying neuroses, in essence trying to kill patients' pain, but not identifying the pain or where it comes from. Others may manage symptoms through various techniques associated with different schools of psychotherapy: They may have the patient "dissociate from" a symptom in hypnotherapy; cognitively "analyze" it into oblivion; "act out" the symptom symbologically in gestalt-type therapy; beat it back with mild shock as in conditioning therapy; chalk it up to "faulty beliefs" which simply need to be willfully changed, as in rational-emotive therapy; "control" it in biofeedback therapy; or reroute it in directive daydreaming and imagery therapy. The myriad approaches in psychotherapy are treatments rather than cures. They all focus on the symptoms of neurosis instead of probing for its cause. It is possible that they all help somewhat; they do not cure, however. The only hope for cohesion, and lasting help for patients, is to address the generating sources of neurosis or mental illness. What and where are these sources? I believe that the conflict between the imprinted Pain of early trauma and its repression is the central contradiction that generates neurotic reactions both internally (physiologically) and externally in the form of behavior. Repression, or the loss of access to feelings and sensations, is an evolved function that allows us to survive unmitigated pain early in life. The pain, however, stays in the body, unavoidably - as unavoidable as the experiences that originally caused the pain. And the pain will perpetually fuel a dislocation of mental and physical functioning to keep itself unfelt, for as long as it remains unfelt. Therapies that do not address this original, central conflict at the root of neurosis may succeed in reconfiguring a symptom pattern, but cannot eliminate the fundamental illness. In this book I will explain why I believe that nearly all available psychotherapies - including EMDR, OR hypnotherapy, Freudian psychoanalysis, gestalt therapy, behavior modification, rationalemotive therapy, body therapies, and drug therapy - are doomed to fail. To understand why this is so, it is necessary to first understand one of the fundamental properties of all natural phenomena: the dialectical process of change.

A Brief History of the Dialectic Concept
The concept of dialectic has been around in various forms for centuries. Socrates used it to describe his method of argument involving question and answer. Plato used it to describe a kind of supreme knowledge. Aristotle used it to denote a specific method of reasoning. Hegel used it to describe the process of movement underlying the nature of thought, and Marx used it to describe the process of movement underlying the nature of human, social, and historical development. Hegel's writings on the dialectical principle as it is manifested in thought and in nature constitute one of the most farreaching systems of philosophy ever conceived by one man. Indeed, Hegel's philosophy was an attempt to comprehend the

entire universe as a systematic whole. He saw this "whole" arising out of patterns of contradiction and reconciliation which ebbed and flowed with cosmic regularity. The dialectical process led man through multitudinous stages of development mental, moral, aesthetic, religious, and philosophical - to the point where man at last knows himself as one with God, possessing Absolute Truth. Dialectics, for Hegel, was the means by which God created "nature and finite spirit"; it was also the means by which "nature and finite spirit," now made manifest, would be reunited with the God that created it. Living in the same period, Karl Marx was deeply influenced by Hegel's method of dialectical thinking, although he strongly rejected Hegel's ontological assumptions regarding the nature of the universe. Put simply, Hegel saw mind (thought, spirit) as primary, with matter being created out of mind. Marx saw matter as primary, with mind emerging as the latest evolutionary development of matter. Despite such opposing views regarding the ultimate nature of reality, Marx found Hegel's formulation of several dialectical laws of nature to be of much value in understanding the nature of social evolution.

The Laws
According to Hegel's concept, the universe exhibits certain patterns of growth and change which constitute basic laws of nature. Four of these laws are particularly applicable to this discussion: (1) (2) (3) (4) The Law of Contradiction or The Law of the Interpenetration of Opposites. The Law of Emergent Phenomena The Law of the Negation of the Negation The Law of the Universality of the Particular, and the Particularity of the Universe. The essence of these laws may be summarized as follows: (1) (2) (3) Change results when two opposing tendencies interact quantitatively. This change will reach a critical point where a qualitative transformation occurs. Reversal of the circumstances that caused the original contradiction will undo or reverse the transformed state. Also, (4) the nature of any phenomenon can be discovered either through the particular (specific) or through the universal (general). Universal laws are contained within particular elements, and the particularity of elements can be discovered through examining the universal law. What does all this have to do with psychology? Since its early beginnings psychology has floated in a stepchild position from one affiliation to another. From religion to philosophy to the social sciences, its history doesn't seem to belong anywhere. Only recently has its basis in the natural sciences been established, thanks to the advancements in technological capabilities (e.g., psychometrics, psychophysiology). Yet many still view psychology more as a province of the soul - of an ethereal, nonphysical mind - than as a tangible, quantifiable science. Ultimately, it must be recognized that the test of efficacy for any therapeutic system or psychological theory requires reference to our nature - a nature mediated by, or made possible by, a complex but knowable system of biological processes. Understanding the biological processes that compose our human, psychological nature is to understand the building blocks of health and illness. Understanding the dialectical principle that directs the movement and evolution of those processes is to understand the means by which that health or illness came into being. The following sections cover the laws behind that process, and their connection to neurosis, in detail.

Law 1: The Law of Contradiction or Interpenetration of Opposites
This law explains that change and movement in all phenomena are brought about through the underlying principle of contradiction. As the sine qua non of change in the universe, contradiction is the cornerstone or starting point of the dialectical process. Without the interacting forces of contradiction, there would be no dynamic alterations - no movement, change, or growth within or among phenomena - only a kind of static, mechanistic rearrangement of them. The dialectical concept of contradiction originally developed in opposition to the mechanistic view which had arisen during the 18th century. The mechanistic view was, naturally enough, a product of mechanics, which was then the most developed of the natural sciences. Since mechanics consists of the basic step-by-step procedure of turning Knob 1 to release Hammer 2 to strike Bolt 3, it was also natural that a mechanistic viewpoint of the world would see all phenomena as results of this mechanical paradigm. Thus it was believed that even the most complex phenomena of nature, including human life and mind, were reducible to a kind of linear, non-dynamic arrangement and rearrangement of parts. In mechanical mixtures, component A and component B remain side by side. This contrasts with the dynamic interaction that occurs in chemical combinations, whereby the two components merge to form something entirely new. With the advent of chemistry and physics during the nineteenth century, mechanism as a scientific viewpoint was no longer tenable. It remained, however, as a philosophical and phenomenological framework - a kind of world-view or orientation - which has not only persisted into the present, but as we shall see, characterizes most contemporary psychological theories and therapies. Prior to Hegel's recognition of the basic process of contradiction inherent in all natural phenomena, the notion of contradiction was viewed as a purely logical relationship between two elements of thought. It was not yet understood as a primary directive principle operating within and between all things, processes, and events in the natural world.

The phenomenon of contradiction exists at the most fundamental level of particle physics. A particle, having certain mass and lifetime, is counteracted by its "anti-particle." The antiparticle has "symmetrical characteristics" equal but opposite to its brother-particle. Its mass and lifetime are identical to the mass and lifetime of the particle, but its charge and magnetic moment are exactly reversed in sign. That this relationship between particle and antiparticle is dynamic rather than mechanical in nature is evidenced by the "annihilation process" resulting from their clash. The energy released by the clash of the particle with its antiparticle results in the annihilation of their mass and its conversion into raw energy. To apply the dialectical law of contradiction to the study of neurosis is to finally understand the elemental building blocks of the neurotic process: Pain, and its counterforce, repression. Pain brings repression into being. You cannot have repression without first having something painful to repress. That the intrusion of Pain ( I sometimes use the capital "P" to denote primal pain; something too overwhelming to be integrated) into the human system generates its own counterforce is now established as a biological fact: Pain triggers the production of pain-killing neurotransmitters known as endomorphines, or endorphins. Moreover, Pain and its repression produce biological changes that can be life threatening. Animal experiments have revealed that when endomorphines are released in high enough quantities, catastrophic disease such as cancer may result. Researchers have suggested that cancer is the ultimate new quality resulting from the release of the high levels of endomorphines - levels commensurate with the amount of Pain being experienced by the animals. In another set of experiments, stressed rats developed tumors in the areas of the brain where both stress and repression were organized. Experimenting with one-celled animals, Joan Smith-Sonneborn exposed paramecia to ultraviolet radiation, damaging their DNA. The damage was then removed with the use of short-wavelength visible light. She next discovered that the original intrusion of radiation had stimulated the release of repair enzymes. She concluded from her work that "ultraviolet damage induces DNA repair processes. In other words, the damage had activated the reverse process of healing. The point is that Pain alone does not account for some diseasse. It is the interplay of Pain with its counterforce, repression, that ultimately alters the organism .

Law 2: The Law of Emergent Phenomena
This law is closely connected with the principle of contradiction. It says that new phenomena result from the quantitative build-up of contradictory interactions which, at a certain critical point, are then transformed into something qualitatively new. The transition to the new quality is not gradually observable; rather, it emerges suddenly. It is not reducible to its parent-qualities; it is greater than the sum of its parts. There are countless examples of this transformation in nature. The simplest example can be found in the kitchen. Water boils and freezes only when it has reached certain critical temperatures. The steam and ice which result are qualitatively different from the parent-quality of water from which each emerged. A fundamental change occurs in the water at the critical point at which thequantitative accumulation of heat or cold is sufficient to render the qualitative transformation. This phenomenon of critical transformation levels dominates both chemistry and physics. In the course of chemical combination, one chemical substance suddenly transforms into another. There are critical melting points for metals, the transformation of mechanical motion into heat, and so on. In humans what this amounts to is that the deprivation of need in early childhood (e.g., the lack of affection, love, or acceptance; physical trauma; oxygen deprivation at birth) causes an accumulation of Pains. These Pains are coded and stored until some critical point when they can no longer be smoothly integrated. In compensating for the input of Pain, the system of repression reaches a critical level, at which point the organism makes a qualitative leap to a new kind of organization, producing a cascade of changes found everywhere. When this qualitative leap is made, you have a new system, a new biology, neurology, and biochemistry--neurosis. The Pain is an alien force not allowing us to be natural, not allowing us to be ourselves. Stress hormone levels, for example, are permanently heightened in neurosis. When repression falters, such as in the reliving of Pain in Primal Therapy, the person runs a fever. His system is attempting to thwart the alien presence known as Pain. Feelings here become a danger, something to be fought by all systems of our body. The application of this principle to psychology and the study of neurosis is particularly valuable, for it indicates that neurosis involves a total, systemic alteration - that it is, in fact, a qualitatively new state of being. Pain brings repression into being and the dynamic interplay of the two continues quantitatively until there is a qualitative leap to the new quality known as neurosis. We may soon be able to measure the critical point at which the normal human system is transmogrified into a neurotic one. We know that in autopsies of psychotics some the nerve cells (neurons) in the limbic system of the feeling brain were either out of place or inverted completely. Is there any scientific evidence as yet to indicate that neurosis is a systemic disease, a new state of being? Yes. Research in neurology indicates that the structure of the brain is itself altered in response to Pain. Neurophysiologists Morpugo and Spinelli found in their animal experiments that painful events "spread" and take up more space in the brain than neutral events. Furthermore, imprints of Pain result in perceptual alterations such that neutral stimuli are perceived as painful. "New circuits become engraved by the ongoing painful experience," write Morpugo and Spinelli, "so that more and more of the neuromachinery is prepared to recognize as painful stimuli that would go completely unnoticed in a normal subject." In other words, the environment (trauma) constructs a new brain system, which in turn produces a new internal environment. Cells affected by Pain are altered and become part of the neuromachinery processing Pain. The alteration down to the cellular level changes one's perception and alters the way one sees and reacts to one's environment. A new environment is constructed in accord with one's internal state, such that neutral events become painful and are reacted to accordingly. "Can I help you?" becomes, "Do you think I'm helpless or stupid?" "I disagree with you" is interpreted as "I think you're a loser," which provokes an anomalous reaction. This is because, in this state, any neutral event can trigger off the old imprint. We know from the work of Martin Teicher that the connecting "cable" between right and left hemispheres of the brain is weakened or thinned due to very early trauma.

unfortunately still remains more common. they are all really a single neurosis. which in turn freed their physiological processes to proceed "as planned. The vasoconstriction is an automatic physiological attempt to block or contain the Pain. Repression can prevent or delay the proper synthesis of organ systems by rearranging brain neurotransmitters such that the normal genetic program is altered. The Pain/repression contradiction may lead to the qualitative new state of neurosis (Law 2). and as the foundation for the neurotic state disappears. ad infinitum. where a phobia is a phobia. Another biological example is a type of cancer which has abnormal surface antigens on it called "tumor associated antigens. In traditional medical treatment. by definition. A migraine headache is the synthesis of these two opposing tendencies of vasoconstriction and vasodilation. there is a negation of the negation within the child's body whereby growth processes are resumed and the body veers back toward health. In other words. and symptoms are symptoms. there is a building or a bureau for each separate neurotic problem . an obsession is an obsession. the more we understand all its aspects. Against this homogeneity emerges a new heterogeneity . the Pain/repression contradiction is no more. described earlier. Another example of the negation process in stunted physiology is the blocking of the evolution of the genetic code through repression. Unfortunately. rejection. systemic alteration has only recently been recognized by a few researchers and clinicians in the field. to protect the system against feeling too much Pain. Law 3: The Law of the Negation of the Negation The Law of the Negation of the Negation indicates that the reversal of the circumstances that caused a contradiction will both resolve the contradiction and undo any qualitative transformation that resulted from the contradiction. Achieving health for the neurotic means negating the past as an energy source so that one does not have to work against one's history continuously." Antibodies form against these antigens. We have seen men in their thirties develop chest and facial hair for the first time. That is not a cure.which he or she could not possibly have done at the time it happened . Originally. One could say that the treatment . betraying a mechanical approach. Then the vasoconstriction has a counteracting tendency towards an overproduction of vasodilating elements in the bloodstream. The "bits and pieces" framework. Law 4: The Law of the Universality of the Particular. Interestingly enough. as the individuals progressed in Primal Therapy. The general is always found in the specific. In order to break the sequence. The symptom-synthesis is reversed by negating the negation of vasodilation: Pain levels are reduced via feeling so as to permit the blood system to operate normally. the more universal laws we discover about the psyche. First we see the negation of Pain through vasoconstriction. Taking Pain as a given. repression was activated in order to protect the organism. they occupy receptor sites on the tumor-associated antigen. creating a contradiction between Pain and repression (Law 1). To understand a single brain is to understand all brains. the more their bodies move toward a biological mean of health.. sex deviation. humiliation. at the National Institute of Mental Health.g.as in primal therapy. If the story stopped there. The condition called "deprivation dwarfism" provides an excellent example of the "negation of the negation" process. vasoconstricting drugs are given to block the symptom temporarily. the standard psychiatric diagnostic manual (the DSM-IV) laboriously distinguishes multiple neuroses from each other. and women's breasts increase in size." The migraine headache provides an apt. drug abuse. migraine. unloving surroundings prevents some children from growing physically. there is no known organic cause.The fact that neurosis involves a qualitative. though different neuroses may manifest in different ways. To understand one neurosis is to understand the dynamics of all neuroses. thus hiding the cancer from those portions of the immune system which could actually destroy it. because repression is no more. we have observed this genetic blocking reverse itself.the natural diversity that results when people are free to become themselves. you need a negation of the negation: You need a chemical to block the blocking antibody.alcohol. thus exposing the cancer to the destructive antibodies which can produce the cure. as patients progress in Primal Therapy. But if the input is changed to a loving and safe environment. The more our patients feel their traumas. Reversing the blocking of their genetic unfolding (negating the negation) was apparently achieved through their experiences of the central contradictions involved in their neurosis. the laws of the universe are contained in the most minute of particles. Instead. and within the workings of every particle one can begin to understand the universe. repression is required for the organism to survive. however. Universality and particularity are inseparable aspects of the dialectic. repression is reversed by feeling Pain. As a result. repression may be reversed by bringing a patient to fully feel the original Pain . whatever they may be (e. criticism. these antibodies are most often "blocking antibodies" which are not tissue-destructive. The negation is itself negated by the ascendance of the original feelings into consciousness .. abandonment. And in the absence of a Pain/repression contradiction the neurotic states crumble. There is a biochemical suppression (negation) of growth hormones which is activated psychogenically. Our Primal research shows that diverse emotional traumas produce the same internal changes. and the Particularity of the Universe According to this principle. The deeper we delve into a single individual. The more we understand Pain and repression in one person. Feeling formed the negation of the negation. To understand all the differing neuroses is to understand the commonality of a single neurosis. biological paradigm for understanding the law of negation. The Law of the Negation of the Negation indeed holds the key to the end of neurosis: The opposite of the experiences that set up the Pain/repression contradiction will resolve the contradiction. Similarly.that is. and end the neurotic state the contradiction caused. By contrast. so does the neurotic state. which produces the throbbing symptom called migraine. In early trauma. Injurious input in the form of harsh. the immune system would normally cure the cancer through the formation of these antibodies.

It can ignore the compelling evidence pointing to the dialectical basis of neurosis until science has fully verified it. Neurosis. the relationship of the general to the particular and of the part to the whole. That is why it does not help to focus on the nature of each and every outer sign that something is wrong. biology from psychology. Psychosis.can render only fragmentary revisions. and their feelings. for it neglects the interactive unity that exists between body and mind. Leaving the dialectic behind means one no longer recognizes internal contradictions and their expression as the resolving factor. the relationship of personality to cell. "Ego adjustment problems" are "resolved" via the application of a psychoanalyst's or psychotherapist's insights. working with the body through massage or bioenergetics. If repression falters we get overt symptoms or drug addiction and alcoholism. of equilibriums. is but one disease generating a myriad of manifestations. of balances. In these cells we see the unity of body and mind.of neurosis reflects neurosis itself: both are characterized by dysfunctional fragmentation. Dealing with fragments of human behavior . If we want to understand the direction of change and control it." it works on the surface .working on the "mind" through psychoanalysis. The patient's beliefs and attitudes are dealt with as if they were a separate universe of abstraction and discourse which can only be revealed to the intellect or by the intellect independent of the material world inside. Relatedly.while the biologic system continues to manifest the systemic dislocations of neurosis. The central point of my argument is that contradiction is the driving force of change. Many therapies which appear to be "holistic" and which claim to reflect a unified approach actually are not and do not. their concepts. and techniques from the patient . Patients can only be helped on the field of their own phenomenologies. We need instead to refer those particular symptoms back to the central processing mechanisms involved in all neurotic disorders. We will soon have measurable critical points of transformation whereby both the onset and the dissipation of neurosis will be pinpointed. Emotional and physical Pain are processed in pretty much the same way. Its cure. If the pain level is exceptionally high we may find psychosis. The entire body is a mass of contradictions. Phobias are "conditioned" out of a person by use of a pre-established program called desensitization. a kiss or a caress here. The Limitations of Non-Dialectic Therapies What all non-dialectical therapies have in common is a one-sided focus on half of the problem. Yet neurosis is not laid down intellectually. There are two aspects to any phenomenon: its appearance (the phenotype) and its essence (the genotype). I believe it is only a matter of time before the scientific relevance of dialectics is considered in the field of psychology. Thus a sex problem becomes a matter of technique.from her experience and from her psychobiology. Psychotherapy and Dialectics Today What most psychotherapies are about today is the manipulation of people. When neurosis is viewed in a dialectical framework. We will be able to predict precisely how much therapy (feeling) will be required by how much Pain is registered throughout the person's vital signs. by its very nature. Non-dialectical therapies deal with appearances rather than with essences. It is to experience that we must address ourselves. These are matters of the quantity of pain. we must first understand the original contradiction. a machine (biofeedback). The dialectic shows us that it is not possible to separate symptom from source. but rather should derive its theory. Those factors form a historical-psychological-neurobiological constellation of forces continually interacting in accordance with the laws of dialectical evolution. Thus the patient will need insights from someone else on how to lead her life or find out about what's going on in her own body. This approach will not help the patient. non-dialectical. We will have neurobiological data detailing the specific negation process. When such a therapy "works. cause from effect. Nowhere is this more clear than in the immune system. The key is that body does not differentiate among Pains inflicted upon it. therefore. Today the field of psychology has an important choice to make. A trulyholistic approach to therapy means dealing with all the factors originally involved in the creation of the state of neurosis. As part of natural law. Applying the laws of dialectics allows us at last to legitimize our psychotherapeutic work by providing guidelines for a truly curative approach to neurosis. it is often forgotten. as an idea. . concepts. More and more evidence indicates that individual cells in the immune system are related to psychological Pain and indeed secrete a form of neurotransmitter that deals with Pain. where mind exists as a separate state apart from the body. the apparent diversity of neurotic symptomatology suddenly shows an underlying cohesion and unity. of their ideas. I think we need but two buildings: neurosis. but as an experience. dialectics is a system of ordering phenomena which can provide a framework for psychotherapeutic work.on one side of the contradiction . Treatment is applied to the patient from the vantage point of a preordained and pre-packaged framework. back to the original contradictions that generated them. Or it can take its own qualitative leap of vision by allowing the dialectical framework to provide the field with the first unified approach to the problem of mental illness in its history. This underlying cohesion and unity then throws a glaring light of insufficiency on the diverse treatment modalities now seen as legitimate approaches to cure. working on the skin or blood pressure through biofeedback . Dialectics is not a system to be superimposed onto nature but is derived from observation of it. or words (hypnosis). should involve only one approach. All are inextricably and dynamically interconnected. Any psychotherapy is. a psychosomatic symptom becomes a matter of a needle (acupuncture). Nature and natural forces thus become the ultimate test of dialectics. a therapeutic system must not superimpose itself on the biologic nature of the patient. To favor the particularity of neurotic symptoms over the universality of the mechanisms mediating them is to take a unidimensional approach toward an ever-elaborated nomenclature and an ever-insufficient understanding. Much of the field of psychology is still bifurcated by the mind-body duality. This means one must intend to call forth outside forces to explain what's going on inside a human being. a few words there. The important thing about contradiction is that there are literally thousands of contradictions on all levels of human functioning. unencumbered by therapists' preconceptions.

a client is asked to identify a painful memory. I call it a faulty serotonin pump. During installation. The belief she has now internalized is “I am a strong. the client is asked to focus on a combination of the positive cognition and the memory. while bilateral stimulation is used to enhance positive sensations. a very attractive proposition. rational cognition that may be used to replace the negative cognition. Shapiro and Forrest claim that as the memory was processed the person could live in peace. cognitive therapy. Thousands of therapists have been trained in EMDR world wide. The claim is that individuals can come to terms with great trauma without being re-traumatized. who first discovered an ameliorative effect of bilateral stimulation in 1987. It was my fault. Shapiro and Forrest state: “EMDR goes beyond quieting the pain…there are reports of success of EMDR in clinical work with alcoholics and drug abusers. guided imagery. Norton. 2001).Chapter 1: EMDR A hot new therapy for a wide variety of afflictions is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).” Within five minutes her shame and resentment evaporated. or dissipate negative ones (Steven M. 2) The patient learns from negative experiences in the past.” What Shapiro believes is that the negative beliefs we carry around (e. It is subscribed to by many therapists and a good number of specialists in neurology and psychoneurology. a “strange new world unfolds. EMDR is a set of techniques that borrows elements from hypnosis. New York: Harmony Books. There is just so much repression the system can produce. “Trauma Therapy’s New Focus. non-distressing form. healthy. 2002. The central feature of EMDR is its use of "bilateral stimulation. Emotional Healing at Warp Speed: The Power of EMDR. or a deficit in inhibition. or so it seems. while again being subject to bilateral stimulation. It can rapidly pinpoint and reprocess the underlying causes of the distress” (p. 2002). and insight therapy.” The authors cite the case of a woman of sixty two who suffered all of her life with panic and fear as a result of sexual abuse by her father. the negative cognition. installation. Bilateral stimulation is then administered in three phases: desensitization. Neurologist and trauma researcher Bessel van der Kolk describes the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sufferer as someone who cannot integrate memories of earlier trauma and instead gets mired in “a continuous reliving of the past” (1994). allowing the person to function in the present. and body scan. the client scans her body for sensations. She was instructed to think about the episode while watching the therapist’s hands as he waved them back and forth “like a metronome. depression.”) EMDR treatment involves a precise protocol.. early trauma is imprinted into the neurophysiologic system and produces repetitive or “neurotic” behavior. 177). Light in the Heart of Darkness: EMDR and the Treatment of War and Terrorism Survivors. A rough description of the main steps in EMDR is as follows: Early in the treatment. anxiety and stage fright. the client is asked to focus on the memory. a negative. In another book by Shapiro.” (p. “I did very well…I managed to stay alive. irritability and hyper-excitability. Drugs help ." The bilateral stimulation typically involves enjoining a client to watch and track a finger or a wand moving back and forth in front of her eyes. While eye movements gave EMDR its name. 2). EMDR is claimed to have success with phobias. For desensitization. while being subject to the bilateral stimulation. and the physical sensation. New York: W. and incorporates "templates for appropriate future action that allow the client to excel individually and within her interpersonal system" (p. and Margo Silk Forrest (1997). or sounds in alternating ears. “What events do you remember that made you feel worthless and useless?” (p. and – like primal therapy – requires careful training and supervision for its legitimate practice. W. EMDR was created by Francine Shapiro. are considered effective substitutes (David Grand. There is often a decreased serotonin response and therefore faulty inhibition. van der Kolk suggests that drugs that inhibit serotonin uptake.” According to Shapiro. One study funded by Kaiser Health Group found that after three sessions of EMDR patients felt better than those who were in standard therapy. This is not entirely true. help keep the past in the past.” “The therapist then told her to think about how she would like her mental picture to change….” The rationale here is that negative beliefs become less valid and become linked with more appropriate information: “The patient learns what is necessary and useful from the disturbing past experience and the event is restored into memory in an adaptive. This translates into an inability to modulate general arousal. the patient now has a positive change in her thoughts and beliefs and will no longer have intrusive thoughts of rape. such taps on alternating hands. EMDR (2001. “That is all the information the therapist needs to identify and target the event with EMDR. Shapiro states: “The rape victim may begin by feeling intense fear and shame.g. resilient woman. According to van der Kolk. In her book. And now she is free of it. which keep higher levels of serotonin in the brain. a physical sensation associated with the painful memory. Part of this reaction is decreased serotonin levels. irrational cognition associated with the memory. and a positive.All of a sudden the professor’s head got as big as a balloon and then it popped into pieces and he wasn’t there anymore. EMDR therapists claim good results with such shattering events as incest. the authors discuss trauma and pain: “Entering the world of trauma is like looking into a fractured looking glass” (p. Silver and Susan Rogers. 2). The patient is then directed to positive attitudes. The imprinted trauma “uses up” serotonin supplies and produces lifelong deficiencies. 49).’ After the clinician has worked with her using EMDR procedures to focus on specific internal responses. other modes of bilateral stimulation. hence impulsivity. New York: Guilford Press). March 25. One case described in the Los Angeles Times article concerns a social worker who remembered an event from years back that was still painful: A professor had interrupted her during a practice interview. In the body scan phase. In a short time period 77% of the EMDR group no longer met the criteria for post traumatic stress syndrome. Shapiro's clients use coping skills to learn how to handle stress without drugs or alcohol. This then empowers the patient who can say. while only 50% of those in conventional therapy met those criteria (Los Angeles Times. the rape victim may be able to recall the rape without feelings of fear and shame” (p. I feel sad) are often the inappropriate residue of trauma. 51). He states that those PTSD individuals suffer from persistent activation of the biological stress response. The therapist asked the patient. behavior therapy. It has been adopted by some insurance companies and HMOs because it is quick and theoretically efficient. is desensitized to present triggers. The authors then say. She may have constant images of the rape intruding on her present life and may experience negative thoughts such as ‘I am dirty. They say that there was rapid response with EMDR. Conclusion: EMDR is more effective. there.

Success in EMDR occurs when the patient says she feels better and reports that her memory/feelings are dimmed and no longer troublesome. trauma in our history can color our perceptions and actions in similar circumstances in the present. these lethal levels were the reason for the repression. what happens in the blood platelets would be mirrored in the brain. runs a fever. just as they may through certain drugs. that what disappears in EMDR is conscious-awareness. Our rationale for the imipramine study is that we can consider it an analogue of serotonin. Why." Among other effects. despite strong suggestions of possible abuse from the referring therapists. do we allow these dangerous levels to exist in therapy? The patient. at last. changing attitudes and ideas and thereby strengthening repression. Sustained blood pressure in hypertensive regions would have killed the newborn. That is.. Post session vital signs indicate some degree of integration and resolution. The reliving that occurs in primal therapy may be hard to imagine by those who have not seen it. to me. Milton Keynes. but the physical posture reflects what happened in the original event. and finally be relieved of their neurotogenic energy. The sexual dysfunction will not be cured until that original trauma with the whole panoply of physiologic responses is reawakened in context. Now as an adult the individual is stronger. high blood pressure. They are part of the memory. temporarily. But suppose we could raise serotonin levels by purely natural means. He is right. thus leaving the energy intact. We have seen cortisol levels normalize after one year of primal therapy. A crucial quote from Shapiro: "When an event has been sufficiently processed. not only are the vital signs exceptionally high. Parnell inTransforming Trauma: EMDR® (1997) states. (See research on imipramine platelet binding. I believe that EMDR. in contrast to the time of the original trauma. and her body. Unlike EMDR. Also: “There is a major belief embedded in our culture that once you have experienced a trauma. but the imprint of trauma in the lower parts of brain still seethes below. the imprint of trauma. above all. done in conjunction with Open University. hypnosis. that is. and fully relive it. not controlled by them" (p. A full. van der Kolk (1994. The result is that people will indeed feel relief – they will feel better in a way and for a time. of the need to repress in the first place.normalize the system artificially and. 180). primal therapy avoids distracting or interrupting the patient in this process. guided imagery. Again. What EMDR seems to do is take the beginnings of a reliving of trauma and give the patient a very effective distraction. In addition to imipramine binding. I believe. the next session. for example.g. and allow the patient. distancingseems to be the linchpin of EMDR. a key function of repression. it sets off the prototypic reaction of survival and hijacks the sexual act. What the neuroinhibitors such as serotonin/endorphin do is keep reactivity within survival bounds and thereby save one’s life. more of the feeling is relived. She says that in many cases the trauma disappeared in one session. She relives to a certain point and stops for the day. One hundred three degrees is not unusual. Unfortunately. you are damaged for life. for example. if only in small titrated doses. she knows when she has had enough. These are the sequelae of the early trauma. Many of these clients have indeed been abused and the trauma surfaces in our work. we have also studied salivary cortisol (stress hormones). etc. We are informed by our memories. They are still there. We seek to draw attention to sensations and feelings. when any situation. patients report that “they are able to distance themselves from the traumatic experience. conscious reliving – finally relieves the person. cognitive therapy. However. I posit that EMDR is basically a cognitive approach. In reliving incest. cited in The Biology of Love by the author). on the lip of feeling a great trauma. the wrists bound together behind the back. to go into the pain. Further. Primal therapy seeks to carefully remove repression (or defenses). We have done a double blind imipramine binding study on our patients and have found that levels normalize after one year of our therapy. in many cases no imagery or memories of sexual abuse have emerged” (p. No one tells her to stop the session. EMDR proponents note that experiences that are too painful (traumatic) have never been sufficiently "processed. religious therapy) may have long-term problems as a side effect: The energy of the trauma is kept from consciousness. in the first place. It seems. not any level of arousal but the same as inherent in the original trauma (and we must remember that one of the greatest traumas of all is not being held enough during infancy). They are just covered up better. including sex. often into lethal levels. I found it interesting that in using EMDR. when the sex act reaches a certain level of stimulation there may be again a shut down and inability to achieve an orgasm. Would not that be preferable? We do just that in primal therapy. phobias. ironically. Primal therapy involves a careful procedure – paced by the patient – toward bringing sensations and feelings from trauma in one's history safely into conscious experience. and it is potentially dangerous to suppose otherwise. allowing pain to be relived and. Parnell claims. So instead of making it safe to consciously relive a trauma – which is not necessarily going to be a speedy process – EMDR seems to cause the brain to push trauma further away from consciousness. remains untouched by EMDR. This time. the patient can finally experience the feelings. Who decides the dose for an episode of reliving? The neuro-physiologic system of the patient. I believe it is physiologically impossible for the techniques of EMDR to erase the effects of early trauma. through the use of bilateral stimulation. We don’t desire it except that without it there is no healing. hence migraines. if at a certain level during the birth trauma there was a total shut down due to a lack of oxygen. The trauma and its associated physiology go nowhere. but the imprint is implacable and immutable. felt fully. bolstering defenses. In fact. reaches the arousal level of the original trauma. And there is a risk that this imprint is going to continue to wreak havoc on the victim's body. what is different with EMDR is that the feeling of being permanently damaged disappears” (p. information from the sensation and feeling parts of the brain has been prevented – for a time – from impinging upon the parts of the brain that comprise consciousness. when he and his body is ready. Secondly. and thus keeping the person vulnerable to physical and psychological distress. 95) Erroneous beliefs cease. conscious reliving – and I believe only a full. or religion. England. 3) We in primal therapy agree with this except that our concept of "processing" is very different from the concept of "processing" in EMDR. one would question. However. for a while. 2002) believes that we need a high level of arousal to heal a patient. A waving wand may distract one's neocortex.” Indeed. The apex of this procedure is total reliving of a traumatic experience. and does intrude into everyday life. Thus. They usually drop below . and other forms of distancing from feelings (e. we remember it but do not experience the old emotions and sensations in the present. The Los Angeles Times stated that after several instances of bilateral stimulation. “Many adult clients have been referred to me by other therapists because they believed the clients had been sexually abused as children. and may begin to relive the trauma.

Traumatic memories are often stored in the limbic system. Symptoms are anchored in those roots. or a deficit in inhibition. not recognizing that the solution lies in the imprint itself. The therapy selected by the individual is often a reflection of the problem. Experience is organized on all three levels of consciousness. Dr. arousal. allowing the person to function in the present. That is why integration takes place over months or years as the neocortex allows more and more pain to connect to conscious-awareness. Dr. EMDR theorists believe that after moving the wand or hands the patient needs a different solution to the trauma. help keep the past in the past. a cortical operation that remains in the area of thought. The therapist then needs to help the child use language (a left brain function) to provide a meaningful scheme for the traumatic memories so that mastery can be gained over the memories. If the reader could see the amount of pain this engenders he would understand right away how impossible this is. The proferred solution can only be imaginary. That is why. van der Kolk also noted that for therapy to work there must be a high level of arousal for the client (since the traumatic memories were stored in conditions of high arousal. He thinks that any physical activity a person does while recalling trauma will work just as well. EMDR is useful for resolving many traumatic memories. resolving them can only be accomplished when high arousal is present).” He stated that. It is that portion of pain that must be relived. The patient reports feeling more hopeful. hence impulsivity. One way we at the Primal Center verify this is that the vital signs move from very low to normal after a reliving – the physiologic sign of the resolution of hopelessness. that is voodoo. addressed on a timetable set by the patient’s physical system and her tolerance for pain and feeling. Part of this reaction is decreased serotonin levels. It is magical thinking to believe that being abused by an alcoholic mother for ten years of one’s childhood can be eradicated by waving a few fingers in front of the eyes of the patient. Discussion the past trauma is. One must select a therapy where the power and wisdom reside in the patient. We seem to think that nymphomania is some kind of sick symptom. Reliving yields insights and cognitive changes automatically. This is never curative. solution. Imagining the solution still makes you part of the problem. the focus of therapy then needs to shift to triggering the left side of the brain. in primal therapy. Reliving never being touched as a child makes immediately clear the reason for one’s nymphomania. This translates into an inability to modulate general arousal. Traditional therapy does not even begin to approach the limbic system to resolve the trauma. while traumatic memories are stored in the right side of the brain.” (page 3) He states that those PTSD individuals suffer from persistant activation of the biological stress response. by and large. It puts the need for touch in the past so that it is no longer acted-out in the present. and therefore a symbolic. To help someone become a conscious/feeling person we need to engage those levels. traditional therapy focuses on talking about or playing out conflicts. Where what to feel and how much is determined not by the therapist but by the one who has to undergo the feelings. rather than seeing it as a survival mechanism. although it is not at all clear why it works. that simply discussing the past trauma will not get the job done. And that is what constitutes the unconscious. The patient does not need to be told how to appreciate the trauma. If they move either up or down sporadically we are dealing with abreaction—the discharge of the energy of a trauma without proper connection. Where what is real inside is addressed primarily. as it has the ability to help children resolve trauma. and attachment. or the forceps marks from the birth procedure. because it never happened. Waving a wand in front of the eyes is most certainly never going to help a girl get over being raped by one’s father over and over again for four years starting at the age of ten. In addition.” Dr. not science. He emphasized that conventional therapy for PTSD is not effective. When I say a “total reliving” it can mean the reappearance of the original bruises from an early beating. because it was originally. Traditional therapies usually focus on reducing arousal. . while being stuck in the right brain only results in staying stuck in the trauma. Once the right side of the brain has been triggered to produce traumatic memories. “If you are stuck in old memories. The whole system must be involved in reliving. Instead of having a patient relive totally an event as it happened. “a continuously reliving of the past. it is being recognized more and more. van der Kolk describes the PTSD sufferer as someone who cannot integrate memories of earlier trauma and instead get mired in. irritability and hyperexcitability. not a different ending. In my mind. so they don't help at all to change the results of the trauma. trying to be touched to make up for a terrible early lack. the neurologic system does that all on its own. while the passives who want magic go to hypnosis. The lower level stamped-in feelings move to frontal cortex for connection and integration when that feeling is not such as to inundate the neocortex. provided it is a full reliving. everything is understood within the feeling. He suggests that serotonin uptake inhibitors which keep higher levels of serotonin in the brain. The head trippers choose insight therapy. When we liberate pain we liberate a whole system of consciousness and thus produce feeling/aware human beings. a false one. Nebraska and again at UCLA (March 2002). no one has to help a patient integrate. so a therapy that accesses body memories (like attachment therapy does) is much more effective. If the traumatic memories and experiences are to be resolved. van der Kolk suspects that it works because doing the eye movements distracts the person from the traumatic memories and allows the brain to be changed. the Black Panther: you are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem.baseline after the session. at the same time. We have treated thousands of patients over the decades and have seen beneficial outcomes through the five year follow-up studies we undertook (see Primal Man by the author). The old saying by Eldridge Cleaver. In contrast to EMDR. The problem is that the past is imprinted in our neurologic systems and is not subject to any desire or will to be “here. Almost every symptom may be considered a compensatory mechanism that should not be altered without regard to roots. We have photographed these marks. Only changing the outcome of past events can result in new behavior in the future because the purpose of memory is to prepare you to deal with future events. van der Kolk gave a lecture on a conference about attachment at Omaha. you can't have new behavior. the therapist must engage in activities that access the right side of the brain. It is the inordinate pain portion that is stored in the brain's limbic system and held away from conscious-awareness. they provide a different. which accesses the left side of the brain. but are usually stored as somatic (body sensations) memories. which is responsible for attention. that our goal should be to help people be here and not always “there” (in the past).

In my mind. also known as anxiety. Would not that be preferable? We do. i. The patient does not need to be told how to appreciate the trauma. These are the sequelae of the early trauma. van der Kolk believes that we need a high level of arousal to heal a patient. That is why. I call it a faulty serotonin pump. This is the “freeze” reaction that Kolk describes. help keep the past in the past. Only changing the outcome of past events can result in new behavior in the future because the purpose of memory is to prepare you to deal with future events. They believe that after moving the wand or hands the patient needs a different solution to the trauma. everything is understood within the feeling. but the imprint is implacable and immutable. and does intrude into everyday life. and that means pre-birth and birth. hence migraines. He emphasizes that traditional therapy focuses on reducing arousal either through the use of tranquilizers or in attempting the calm the patient’s arousal level. inter alia. because it was originally. Further. I submit that the assessment is inherent in the trauma itself. Milton Keynes. The imprinted trauma “uses up” serotonin supplies and produces lifelong deficiencies. I have outlined the basic tenets of EMDR therapy. We control every session in terms of vital signs.e. what happens in the blood platelets would be mirrored in the brain.” (page 3) He states that those PTSD individuals suffer from persistant activation of the biological stress response. What he says is true. not a different ending. by and large. One way we verify this is that the vital signs move from very low to normal after a reliving— . he states rightly that for trauma to be resolved there has to be a high level of arousal since the trauma was stored under conditions of high levels of arousal. It is the inordinate pain portion that is limbically stored and held away from conscious-awareness. you can't have new behavior. This translates into an inability to modulate general arousal. not science. total shut off or repression in response to being strangled on the cord. There are a few problems with this: it is basically non-dialectic. he states that we must relive with the same intensity as originally. allowing the person to function in the present. England. There is often a decreased serotonin response and therefore faulty inhibition. phobias. For example. Drugs help normalize the system artificially and. provided it is a full reliving. as well. This is not entirely true. The rationale for the imipramine study is that what happens to it mirrors the serotonin processes. The whole system must be involved in reliving. it is being recognized more and more. rather than seeing it as a survival mechanism. yet using EMDR tends to block a full reaction. When I say a “total reliving” it can mean the reappearance of the original bruises from an early beating or the forceps marks from the birth procedure. when any situation including sex. above all. no one has to help a patient integrate. (See research on imipramine platelet binding. which is not in the parlance of EMDR therapists. What I think he is onto is many of the basic tenets of primal therapy but in a less organized fashion. that simply discussing the past trauma will not get the job done. changes in the power distribution between left and right. It is magical thinking to believe that being abused by an alcoholic mother for ten years of one’s childhood can be eradicated by waving a few fingers in front of the eyes of the patient. and the frigidity (the freeze response) will not be cured until that original trauma with the whole panoply of physiologic reactions be reawakened in context. They are part of the memory. etc. But van der Kolk has a conflicting message. Instead of having a patient relive totally an event as it happened. not recognizing that the solution lies in the imprint itself. because it never happened. Waving a wand in front of the eyes is most certainly never going to help a girl get over being raped by one’s father over and over again for four years at the age of ten. There is just so much repression the system can produce. Another point by van der Kolk: As I pointed out. not any level of arousal but the same as inherent in the original trauma. It puts the need for touch in the past so that it is no longer acted-out in the present. During a reliving of the early trauma. We have done salivary cortisol studies (stress hormone) on before and after therapy with reduction in levels after one year of therapy. We seem to think that nymphomania is some kind of sick symptom. “a continuous reliving of the past. That is. The lower level stamped-in feelings move to the right and then left frontal cortex for connection and integration. That is why integration takes place over months or years as the neocortex allows more and more pain to connect to conscious-awareness. There is a point where all of the EMDR theorists merge. plus four separate brainwave studies where we found. But suppose we could raise serotonin levels by purely natural means. high blood pressure. Almost every symptom may be considered a compensatory mechanism that should not be altered without regard to roots. It is an ending the mind and imagination of the therapist. It is that portion of pain that must be relived. or a deficit in inhibition. van der Kolk stated that. hence impulsivity. And that is what constitutes the unconscious. hences cut off the healing process. it sets off the prototypic reaction of survival. that can take place. irritability and hyperexcitability. “If you are stuck in old memories. We have done a double blind imipramine binding (an analogue of serotonin) study on our patients and have found that levels normalize after one year of our therapy. cited in Biology of Love by the author).I believe that. He is right. I don’t think so. done in conjunction with Open University. Cortisol levels normalize after one year of therapy. For example. grosso modo. they provide a different solution. a cortical operation that remains in the area of thought. temporarily. systolic blood pressure over 200 and heart rate exceptionally high.. The deeper one feels one’s very early hopelessness (someone who did not have a nourishing mother right after birth) the more real hope there is. The question is can his therapy produce the same arousal? Bereft of reliving the trauma. the neurologic system does that all on is own. which when we think about it. we see body temperatures climb several degrees (F) in minutes. a false ending. The early trauma is obviously imprinted into the neurophysiologic system and produces repetitive or “neurotic” behavior. I will begin with van der Kolk’s work first. If the reader could see the amount of pain this engenders he would understand right away how impossible this is. Symptoms are anchored in those roots. It is not only imipramine binding that we have studied but also salivary cortisol (stress hormones). Again. He suggests that serotonin uptake inhibitors which keep higher levels of serotonin in the brain. and we must remember that one of the greatest traumas of all is not being held enough during infancy. The person is then free to deal in the present. Reliving never being touched as a child makes immediately clear the reason for one’s nymphomania. reaches the arousal level of the original trauma. can only be imaginary. he describes the PTSD sufferer as someone who cannot integrate memories of earlier trauma and instead gets mired in. that is voodoo. trying to be touched to make up for a terrible early lack. Part of this reaction is decreased serotonin levels. which is what Kolk wants to achieve. van der Kolk says that the child never made the proper psychologic assessment of the trauma and therefore never prepared for the future. The deeper one plunges into the agony of the imprint the less pain there is to deal repress. When a therapy is done methodically and not too much pain is released all at once. It continues on into sex. We have photographed these marks.

and she will not die in the reliving. We [at the Primal Center] do not teach people how to live or how to manage in the future. He found that early maltreated individuals were notably more developed in the right cortex rather than the left. The patient needs to relive the early traumas bit by bit over many. due to their valence of pain cannot rise to the frontal cortex for connection and integration. When our patients are deep into reliving early trauma the limbic system is fully activated. she did not die originally. migraines and high blood pressure. from colitis to heart problems such as frequent palpitations. I believe that until one sees it or feels it there is no concept of the depth of that pain. many months or years until the ideas driven by them evaporate. The pain is ineffable.” That is something that I have been writing about for thirty years. In our brain research there is a shift of power from right to left hemisphere. Again. for results) The symptoms do seem to remain resolved. Feeling the terror in the birth canal reduces and eventually eliminates phobias of elevators. directive daydreaming can do it by offering other images instead of the real one. Vol. further that early trauma impairs the functioning of the corpus collosum so that information later on is not easily transferred to the left side. so-called neurotic behavior are attempts at survival. Holden. say being abandoned in infancy. Janov. or living in an institution for the first year of life. a. 8. “Hemispheric Quatitative EEG Changes Following Emotional Reactions in Neurotic Patients. an electronic thermometer. Why is this necessary? Because the trauma and the ensemble of physiologic reactions form a template for survival—a prototype which guides future behavior. Page 68-75) He points out. We know that the very earliest memories impact the right hemisphere more than the left because it is developed earlier. And in children who were abused or neglected there were areas of the corpus collosum that were noticeably smaller. van der Kolk suspects that EMDR works because doing the eye movements distracts the person from the traumatic memories and allows the brain to be changed. directing diverse behavior and diverse symptoms. not the patients’.. They are inhibited by various neurotransmitters and kept below the level of conscious-awareness. something that can elevate brainwave amplitude by hundreds of percent. smoothly orchestrated progression of brain development. Dr. Martin Teicher has written about this recently. and needs to complete it. To reiterate van der Kolk: ”If the traumatic memories and experiences are to be resolved. but new behavior is not something one superimposes onto a patient. (enclosed places) for example. The patient is beginning a dying sequence. Long-term Effects of Psychotherapy on the EEG of Neurotic Patients. One of her techniques is to have the patient hold a memory of a painful event and then watch the hands of the therapist move in front of her. In fact the more painful the more repressed and the less likely it can be retrieved. True. Dr. which is exactly why the person feels better. and then told to change his ideas or her behavior. When I say agony.” Scientific American. Acta Psych. eye movement is a distraction that aids in the process of repression. Psychiat. L. Generally. Out of the original trauma evolve numerous ramifications. Eric. To change the prototype one must descend to its origins. certainly not in someone else’s brain. This is disintegration. Why would we want to change that survival mechanism. 1981 pages 153-164) Reliving anoxia or hypoxia at birth.the physiologic sign of the resolution of hopelessness. and then to think of a different solution to the event. (“The Neurobiology of Child Abuse. inserted rectally we see the temperature drop by many degrees as the patient approaches “ground zero”. as have many other investigators. the higher levels do not know what is going on in the various lower levels even while they are being driven by it. not always. Let us discuss what integration means. but often. “Hoffman. taking the symptom and making “it” well instead of the person. that it is some time before the corpus collosum is mature enough to translate memories from right to left. The seeds of cure lie in the problem. But with a thermister. and this is where pre-birth. And they do. and no one begins to resolve and integrate it before many. He does not need to feel a bit of it. (see Primal Man. at the same time.` birth and post-birth traumas reside. Let us now turn to the other authors: Of course. Vol 63. We have treated thousands of patients over the decades and have seen beneficial outcomes through the five year follow-up studies we undertook. Reality lies in the truth of the memory and only there. which it was and is. The person is not aware of the deep-level imprint but is driven to develop strange ideas by it. in short.” (page 75) Retrieval of early memory activates the right hemisphere more than the left. No one has to take the hand of the patient and help her enter an elevator. Reality lies in the reality. Paranoid ideation can help be quelled by tranquilizers that work on deeper brain levels. and is something we do. A number of researchers in the field agree: “early stress is a toxic agent that interferes with normal. Once free of their past they can figure it out themselves. The deeper one feels and integrates the terror the less there is to deal with. He is right. March 2002. which would inter alia. Scand. “om” can do. The patient reports feeling more hopeful. Part of the solution for Shapiro and her cohorts is to help the patient imagine other solutions. Comm. Psychol. My patients may take many months of reliving before they can even approach incest. for real traumas it is rare that a patient can easily remember them. for example. M. etc. the patient turns red and struggles for breath as if it were a life-and-death matter. Behavior. it then cannot be integrated. 1983 pages 171-185. Feelings stored on lower brain level. If eye movement therapy distracts the person from memory it defeats the ability to fully access that memory. We can only heal where we are wounded. Res. the deeper in the body the symptom the earlier the trauma. Until the prototype is relived the best we can do is treat deep problems symptomatically. Prayer can do it. See also. something more desireable. thinking other thoughts can do it. as dramatic as that may sound. New behavior emerges dialectically out of the reliving of the past. that early stress reconfigures the molecular organization of areas of the limbic system. therefore not real. But assuming they can remember it. abort the memory and stop the healing process. Goldstein. indicating the provenance of the higher level ideas. the therapist must engage in activities that access the right side of the brain. (Hoffman. The fastest way is a good dose of Paxil. Shapiro is key since she is the inventor of this method. First. First let us see what disintegration means. to produce . Therein lies the rub: first. as banal as that may seem. There is a basic contradiction here. E. Solutions provided by a therapist are his solutions. many months of reliving. An imaginary ending would be to feed the patient oxygen at a critical moment. for one simple reason: the agony portion of the past imprint has not yet been lived. That is Behavior Therapy and makes the mistake of taking the ostensible problem as the real one. van der Kolk states that If you are stuck in old memories you can't have new behavior. and we believe the information is then transferred to the left hemisphere for final integration. It was and is the right hemisphere that was activated when recalling early painful memories. It has led an underground life manufacturing ulcers. we must see and address it for what it is.

She doesn’t resolve the imprint which can take a very long time. are found on autopsy of psychotics to often be reversed or upside down. The left frontal cortex.” If that were true then those who were anxious or depressed could “will” their way out of the problem. We see this in our therapy when patients in mock primal therapy (the practice by untrained individuals) come to us from past lives therapy (an oxymoron. the prefrontal cortex is the obedient servant of the body or the imprints deeper in the brain. liberal thoughts. I believe it works in the sense that 12 step programs for alcoholism works—so many months off the booze is considered a “cure. We have treated many imaginative artists who have no real access to their feelings other than what they paint. so that the frontal cortex. “making it possible for the inner self to be heard and therefore to be healed. We must keep that in mind because it will remain imaginary. I cite Ellen Curran’s work: (Guided Imagery. thus cannot be a real. is an expert at this game. It too uses the imagination. Take hopelessness. If you are tense due to a lifetime of neglect. as we have demonstrated in our research. such as being abandoned just after birth by a sick mother. the mind. Dreams are full of imagination but they happen when thoughts have been put to bed for a while. not a real one. . is only cortex deep. That is. a cortical function. it must be temporary. The vital signs are always highest with birth. It is as true in hypnosis and in EMDR. That is why some of the neural cells in the limbic system. it operates in terms of evolution. Beyond Words Publishing. healthy. why drugs that work as low down as on the brainstem can prevent torturing thoughts from obsessing us. focused imaging can bring you to a deeper level of mind-body interaction. the hippocampus. quite the opposite. You need to get real for that. Hillsboro. Imagination in the present cannot and does not lower a body temperature of 103. including Behavior Therapy. and many others. It is fooling itself. with its unlimited ability at self-deception. They cannot. Access works from the bottom up. Even a neurologist such as van der Kolk is not sure how EMDR works. We have measured reliving of childhood events and reliving of birth trauma and crying about the present. a cortical function. she can tell (fool) herself by repeating that she is really strong and not powerless but feelings are always stronger than ideas. If a woman feels weak and powerless as a result of rape by one’s father. the birth trauma. but lack a bit in the science department. change your behavior to change your ideas. Now this whole idea of changing images and/or thoughts runs through a wide gamut of therapies.” (page 2) Their belief is that the patient learns from negative experiences in the past and adopts new templates for appropriate future action. We have developed the techniques over thirty years to accomplish that. can offer access to feelings. We call them thought disorders but they are not. if there ever were one) and trip off into wildly imaginative ideas. but more than that. They remain imagined which is why hypnosis rarely has long term effects. Or you can imagine floating in a pool while thinking of a troubling event.” These are wonderful. “you are tired and are floating on a lake where there are no cigarettes. is playing mind games on the rest of the brain and body. you go into an elevator where you are phobic and imagine very relaxing images—you are floating on a cloud. The body does not listen to the mind. it does not liberate the pain registered on these levels. they are disorders of the limbic system and brainstem which result in distorted and ruminating. vice versa. and like all quick fixes. …The practice of conscious. for example. and every time you see a cigarette you get nauseous.” But then they say you are never cured. But is that cure or healing? It is repression and anti-healing.imaginary resolutions. permanent solution. That is why we proceed slowly in small pieces of the feeling at a time.” (introduction) She claims it makes one more open to the unconscious mind. The left frontal cortex rushes to the rescue as the person is inundated with heavy imprints. not the reverse. deeply depressed. Thus. The patient learns a new template to take the place of the old “negative” one. Curran goes on about directive imaging: “Our bodies react to the sensory images of the mind. Thought is thought. on the contrary. and then skip over it and fall into fantasyland. Ore. Imagery does use lower levels of consciousness but always in isolation. We allow that present context with its load of feeling to occur and then take the patient back slowly to the next level down where a deeper part of the same feeling resides. a memory that is impressed into the central nervous system. If we imagine a solution we get symbolic resolution. Imagination does not permanently lower body temperature by one degree or drop the heart rate by an average of ten beats per minute. often limbic. and we do not get radical changes in vital signs that we do with real resolution. I repeat. . What it cannot do is change history. linger and require one to smoke. Curran states that imagery is thought. Imagining can produce all kinds of temporary changes by reinforcing unreality. but rather papers it over with different “positive” ideas called a new template. can inhibit phobias and other fears and stop us obsessing.” The problem is that one smokes often because there was no love in one’s childhood. Why drugs such as clonidine that work on the locus ceruleus (brainstem). non-distressing form. which in turn can produce wellness. the person who is terrified of women because he lived with a mother who was a monster. which we have researched and measured. It is a biologic law for a very good reason. There is a hierarchy of valences.5 back to 98 degrees after a session. We begin in the present with feelings that can be integrated and then ride the key feeling down to the past in ordered fashion until months later we arrive at the key underlying sensation/feelings. Using their imagination doesn’t given them access to deep inner feelings because no act of will. which. Rational-Emotive Therapy.” (introduction) That is a tall order—to imagine you are well and then get well. Here they come close to a real event. You can imagine being relaxed but the imprinted memory is anything but. Traumas regarding birth are most often life-and-death matters and as such galvanize the system toward survival. at best. One is tense and needs relaxation because the memories. an obsession that keeps us from sleeping. It means to descend down below the cortical control mechanism to enter into a different brain. No hand wave is going to erase that The essence of directed imagination is that the “body listens to the mind. less high with feelings from childhood and far less higher when thinking about the present. Ego Psychology. obsessive thoughts. that is the meaning of access. The person has lost her job and feels hopeless. It is a sign to us of lack of access and of a disturbed personality. The opposite: it forces the attention away from real memories and toward imagined solutions. unfortunately. When you stop imagining who are you? The same old fearful human being. We don’t want to rip away something that soothes someone without regard to one’s history. It hearkens back to the technique of directed imagination therapy or directed daydreaming. does imagining that you are floating on a cloud change that? It is another quick fix. You can imagine telling off someone at work who is bothering you. In every case the valence of pain is so high as to make the real experience impossible. It does not offer access to feelings. or. 2001) “Healing imagery is a way to use one’s imagination in a focused way to help the mind and body to self-heal. Imagery is subcortical. They believe that you must change your ideas to change your behavior. Here again it is taking the apparent problem and thinking it is the only one. Let us look again at the key assumption of EMDR: The theoretical rationale here is that negative beliefs become less valid and become linked with more appropriate information: “The patient learns what is necessary and useful from the disturbing past experience and the event is restored into memory in an adaptive.

There is an internecine battle going on with no winners. Amnesia of this kind protected me from the pain and trauma but it also made life a dead and depressing reality. for example." (introduction). I had a convenient amnesia about them. we have treated patients where it led to anorexia. it is a false one. A new spin that is optimistic and esteem boosting. Having seen thousands of patients in our clinics. For example. we have normalized natural killer cells of the immune system after one year of primal therapy. The company doesn’t have to pay out for months. The patient not only acts normal. The way to empower a rape victim is to allow her to fully feel powerless. Seductive behavior was over. one waves a magic wand. as is the case in one of our patients. She can react normally because her system has normalized as attested to by the radical change in blood pressure at the end of the session. We are always surprised where the pain leads. can stave off sexual aggression by a boyfriend by immediately performing fellatio. Now the memory remains bereft of the feelings attached to it. the evil is so-called negative thoughts. You can get deceptively well. She doesn’t need to be taught new skills with men. It is therefore not an extracted. Parnell discusses all this as if it were a matter of erroneous belief. If the experience was painful then the beliefs follow suit. These emotions underlie my neurosis and psychosomatic problems and. Beliefs are neither negative or positive. an event that cannot be faked. others to sexual exhibitionism. Why? Because the feeling is in the past. and tries to beat it back without regard to the other aspect of the dialectic. life is becoming richer and more fulfilling. claims it is false to think that an early trauma can damage you for life. it is a real physiological state with changes in all manner of brainwave function. is hard to beat. having been traumatized myself. That defense was in the past and no longer necessary. No wand waving can do that. isolated mental event. the symptom. we are stricken down by our own reality. which came from my true self. 1998) it is posited that EMDR offers a new meaning for the past experience of the patient. W. whether of depression or drug taking. If one takes only one aspect. When she fully experienced her early rape and learned about her prototypic behavior--becoming seductive as a survival mechanism. the cries are that of a newborn or of an infant that emanat e from the brain active at the time of the trauma. It was terrible and she should feel terrible. In yet another work by Philip Manfield (Extending EMDR. That is the real meaning of reliving the past. as Shapiro claims. then that will be her defense. The patient thinks he is well. We can decide about what a positive belief is and inculcate it into the patient but it’s a “look on the bright side of things. above. The patient who has been incested isn’t plagued by negative thoughts. Getting well without pain. I am not sure people want to be deceptively well. to feel those terrible aspects deeply enough until the pain is extirpated and the result is now positive. No one can rapidly pinpoint the focus of drug addiction. but the whole system is accord with that behavior. which is screaming silently from its agony. She will know that it is no longer necessary to seduce men in order to disarm them sexually. She can get on with her life because she has fully felt the past and left it there. Putting an optimistic face on it isn’t a positive step. she could change. The pain is not a matter of belief. particularly when even the patient has no idea and may not know for many months of therapy. the deeper she feels the less she feels powerless. Much depends on the original context and other familial factors as the child is growing up. effortlessly and quickly.” polyanna style. and only he will deliver it through slow. It is akin to driving away the evil spirits through exorcism. and it accompanies those infantile cries. Eventually.” That is. as I am able to experience them. all of which we have measured often in double-blind studies. The reason was that I ignored and denied the importance of my early feelings I had as a child. It usually means not looking at reality. Only the patient knows that. It is believed that the patient has to be taught skills that will help her function in the future. she is plagued by reality. no matter how seductive that is. it is not. If you convince a patient otherwise there will always be the danger of falling back into the old behavior. For example. During a reliving one is in the grip of an old brain. Here beliefs are medicine for feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. once she normalizes. N. They are what they are and follow logically from experience. small accretions of reliving over a good deal of time. Instead of sticking pins in a doll to drive the evil away. In the case above she will learn from her own experience and not someone else’s.That is true because they do not consider deep history and need. From a patient: “It was not until the past year that I was able to have access to my deeper feelings and come nearer to being able to tell the whole truth of my childhood. No therapist would dare make the discoveries for the patient because the therapist cannot do that. etc.W. something she learned originally when constantly attacked sexually by her mother’s boyfriend. The wider the gap the more serious the illness. one is bound to fail. He cannot know what is in the unconscious of the patient.” “I wanted only to try to live in accord with the promptings. with positive beliefs but when one’s basic level of stress hormones remains high those beliefs are simple deception. the therapist believes he has done something successfully and everyone is happy except the subconscious of the patient. “By means of carefully orchestrated therapeutic instructions he or she spontaneously acquired new self-concepts and patterns of behavior. Parnell. All the patient’s adaptive skills are already inside. they are real and often necessary. For some reason therapists believe that they have to give patients new slants on events. . together with its symptoms. neurochemistry and vital functions. If the adolescent. incest has a multitude of idiosyncratic meanings. Until that is done the past remains in the present no matter what we think or imagine. The dialectic must be adhered to: the clash (contradiction) between need/pain and repression produces a new state— neurosis. No patient in the past thirty five years of primal therapy has ever been able to duplicate those cries once the session is over. That is truly negative. The power is in the pain.Y. Why was that so very difficult ?” From Demian by Hermann Hesse. I can attest to its lingering for life. and the pain is the result of unfulfilled need. The subconscious suffers while the awareness level rejoices. because that feeling is attached to a memory which is now laid to rest. So long as childhood need remains unfulfilled and unfelt the danger of recidivism is always there. Norton. as if those spirits really exist. Another control: having one’s body temperature drop two to three degrees during a session in the case of feeling deep hopelessness can also not be faked. the neocortex imagines it has won but it is a pyrrhic victory. The gap between the two accounts for later illness. The insurance companies are overjoyed. The way to be positive is to have a “negation of the negation. They are not negative.

people report a distancing of the memory describing it as feeling less intense. as if he had no resources. we have a large hunk of brain below that which must be attended to. No one has to supply insights. feelings were disconnected automatically from conscious/awareness so as to diminish reactivity. Why not let the feeling deepen without all the rigamarole? What each session accomplishes is more and more distraction. Once they have done this I ask them to follow my fingers with their eyes through 20 eye movements (passing my hand back and forth across their field of vision).” (page 7) Some memories are easily identified . Bartholomew’s Hospital. He had a desire to give up…. How do we know? When we disengage the defense system during a session the reactivity is enormous again until the feeling is felt and integrated. only in the grips of a memory has a body temperature of 104 degrees (F). To repeat what Manfield states: EMDR treatment is well suited for PTSD (severe trauma cases) because “traumatic memories are easily identified and vivid.’” (page 4) Although they believe that it reflects a connecting up of the isolated painful memory to the larger informational system of the mind. He says that these patients lack the emotional resources necessary to address painful memories and “reach an adaptive resolution. Consistently. they are the cortical aspect of a feeling that arrive all on their own as a companion to feeling. She feels her desperation and deprivation.he felt downcast and dismayed. repressing left prefrontal cortex for a short time is not to conclude that any radical physiological change has been made. Patients remember what they can remember. If you are recounting a terrible lack of love during your childhood. I use the voodoo metaphor.’ ” (clicking lights by therapist. Treating drug addiction and imagine that one has made a profound change. I want to tell him. are not.” (page 26) The client now can adjust to his pain “without making a big deal out of it. then all vital functions return to normal. Did anyone have to teach those cells to act normally? Adaptation takes place naturally. As reported in The Biology of Love. more remote. “In the next session the client began by talking about his divorce. His sensations were targeted with EMDR. It is always possible to condition one aspect of human life. it seems to me that the last thing you would want is someone waving blinking lights in front of your eyes. as simplistic as that sounds. the opposite of what should happen if we want someone to become a full human being. They are less effective. “almost as if it happened to someone else. Here is how Manfield explains his approach to skeptics: “I ask them to think of a mildly disturbing memory. part of EMDR therapy) The client feels great compassion for that little boy. Therapist: “I concluded that the installation of positive cognition would be a beneficial way of ending the session. Attention is refocused elsewhere. one should feel helpless.” He looks and forgets the crying. no magic wand is going to erase that. Thus. There is the hypothesis that the waving hands enhances the efficacy of the connecting rod between hemispheres. In the interest of survival the feeling was made decorticate. Reactivity is again happening.” In the next session he was still sad but comfortable with it. The reason that it is fragmented is that originally the valence of the pain was such that only a small part of the experience could be felt. what had been bothering him most of the week. and do not remember what they don’t remember. Take a physiologic example. engraved down lower in the brain. Let us think neurobiologically. the client spontaneously offers the child the nurturing adult perspective that was not available to him at the time the events took place. A fall-back is always in the offing. One has only changed behavior. less vivid. She made that connection. The memory is not incomplete. 1984. ‘I’m so sorry that had to happen to you…I think it’s been the source of every sad experience you’ve ever had. Then I ask them to recall the memory again to check if anything has changed. PM: “Again. Manfield discusses one of his cases: PM: What do you want to say to that little boy? Client: I feel that it is such a shame that this great misfortune had to happen and leave marks that would last a lifetime. “I feel helpless” is theoretically one of those “negative” feelings. EMDR therapists think that the waves seem to add to left hemisphere power.” (page 24) The client comes in for more sessions. They learn adaptation by adapting. A patient reliving the total lack of touch and caresses early in life runs a fever just as though a virus were attacking the system. What has happened with the magic wand/hands is to distract and repress the memory. The person was locked in an incubator for weeks after birth. With primal therapy those cells normalize. and unfortunately. and it might indeed happen temporarily. Two different brain systems. It is also true in the psychological realm. the great majority. it has nothing to do with connection. PM. and comes out of it with the insight about her sexual promiscuity as a way of being held.” Here we have again this idea that patients have to be taught adaptive strategies. But if one was indeed helpless in a household with a drunken father who abused the children constantly. So a whole lifetime of trauma is sequestered in the brain that no one knows about. a patient lying still. As low level feelings lock into the frontal cortex there are immediate insights from inside. week after week. because that is what it is. The claim is that EMDR stimulates the processing of incompletely processed memories. not I. it is intact. Does a therapist have to teach a patient how not to be afraid of elevators? I just treated such a phobia. Manfield states that many of his clients have no memory of being loved. Again. Neurosis isn’t cured by insights and isn’t built by their lack. But because the feelings have moved into better control by the thinking. Is he better? We can dress up the blinking lights in theoretical attire but it is still plain distraction. To know about one’s feelings is not the same as feeling them. explosive father is not to be waved into wellness.. And then she adapted very well to elevators all on her own.) This is critical when they are supposed to be on the lookout for newly developing cancer cells.” .” He now has a good distance from his feelings. We are naturally adaptive beings when pain isn’t strangling us. Sometimes that is important but it is not a cure. a reactivity that would threaten the life of the organism. It is cortex deep. This is critical because it does nothing of the kind. “Oh look at the birdie. The person who grew up terrified of an abusive. No wand is going to transform the locus ceruleus with its load of terror into normality. Just the absolute illogic of it is beyond me. like the mother who says to her crying child. everything a patient is going to learn lies inside of her. the rest was put in storage for later exploration and feeling. (St. Common phrases are ‘now it feels like it is just something that happened. Pain causes a disruption or dislocation of function of natural killer cells. weighted down by the shackles of repression. That is. Or controlling high blood pressure with pills. the corpus callosum. according to our research. When that happens to my patients they are in deep agony for an hour or more.Manfield believes that insights are the cornerstone of EMDR treatment.

Harper Collins. EMDR is basically behavior/cognitive therapy with a bit of feeling thrown in. “I don’t feel so sad now. The person feels more comfortable. but the strongest force are the sensations. In EMDR there is no trusting the feeling. I did psychoanalytic therapy for 17 years and patients swore they did very well. even though some feelings are involved. feel more comfortable (for a short time) and believe they have made progress. Obviously. If you and I are having coffee and you say to me I feel sad. no real experience. etc. It comprises a belief in formal logic and in the utility of symbolic techniques for clarifying philosophical issues and psychological problems. This approach is more convenient. The eclectic approach signifies the lack of a methodical attack on neuroses. N. and EMDR is one of the more effective repressive tools extant. and then I start waving my hands in front of your eyes some 20 times. both in phylogeny (the history of mankind) and ontogeny (the history of individual man). “Just listen to me. looking for the meaning of meaning. a reductio ad absurdum. reinforcing its isolation. whether mind or experience would dominate. intellectual and philosophical analysis that includes psychoanalysis. a bit of Picasso. who do not wish to spend months and years feeling pain. Logical Positivism evolved and was later embraced by Bertrand Russell and the contemporary philosopher. and reifying the disconnection. nor should we. hence insights and serious discussion with the patient. I would very much like to see serious neurophysiologic long term measurements of this therapy. They have no illusions about it and it helps like any therapy without a “why’ from hypnosis to acupuncture. All three form a complete feeling. twice removed. It is only after months of this that they understand that they are not making progress and come for proper therapy. Treating an isolated left prefrontal cortex. a touch of Renoir. a little Miro.” Of course not. It was only when I brought those same patients back and tried feeling therapy with them did we both realize how much pain we left unresolved in them. either it is based on science or it is New Age fantasy. Page 37) “You feel the way you think. We don’t want to leave the body behind when we are treating human beings. cry and pound walls at the urging of the therapist with no context and no focus.Y. after three years he has built up a giant rationale for his behavior that makes him feel comfortable. Implicitly. I just want a little human compassion. There are many ways to narcotize not excluding tranquilizers. Adding a plethora of approaches to how we treat patients doesn’t make the therapy any more valid. It appeals to those who voyage on the surface of life. The disturbance level fell to zero and he felt relaxed. Either a technique follows scientific methodology and a proper theory or it doesn’t. It implies that there is no science of therapy. This discussion of EMDR and the different approaches to mental problems harkens back to the days of Ludwig A. Ludwig Wittgenstein. I have robbed you of your feelings. if we follow evolution that sensations evolved and were elaborated into feelings which then became articulated into thoughts. Often that rationale persists and one could never convince the person that his therapy was a failure. When we take the intellectual approach to its logical end we get something like what appears in David Burns book (Ten Days to Self Esteem. This is what we see in those who come to us from mock primal therapy where they scream. We are not in the priesthood. Everything can be solved by logical analysis. It is also clear.” It is a belief in the primacy of language. etc. I would now add that there is a place for it in cases of “quick fix. On the other side are a panoply of therapies and techniques with almost no intellectual discussion. Prozac. and includes hypnosis and rationale-emotive therapy—stop using old rationales and adopt new ones. Cigarettes narcotize. An example is dream analysis. a triumph of the frontal cortex over the limbic system. There are many who feel comfortable with St John’s Wort. page 33) The client then reported feeling more alive and expansive. is that therapy? Or is it inhuman? Yet. Having critiqued EMDR some might think “unmercifully”. Burns states: “You will discover that negative feelings like depression. the primacy of mind over matter or vice versa. The bodily system was in place long before the thinking apparatus. All you have to do is change your thoughts. A quick fix remains that. Today we would call it a “head trip. then anything that keeps it locked away is going to make us feel better.” (page 37) It is a solipsistic offshoot of Rational-Emotive Therapy where your bad feelings come from illogical thoughts. the result is usually the same. this is what we are doing with a whole host of therapies. are primary over feelings and bodily sensations. but the fact remains that the person is starting to feel and I am waving blinking lights in her field of vision at the same time. An intellectual pursuit. If you have an insight therapy and you explain to the patient why he does such and such. What the therapist does with the feeling is distract. Thoughts. He got help. If the person understands that and doesn’t care. so be it. It contains directive imagination or daydreaming. he says. repression and diminished access to feelings. He was effectively repressed.” That says it all. when combined they still remain invalid. how sensations predated feelings. advise and reorient. We do not need a stew of ingredients each of which might be a bit true. looking for jobs and moving out of skid row. as in the bioenergetic/body-armor schools of body therapy. (Previously known as the Vienna Circle. it just means the use of a potpourri of many invalid approaches. A sort of endless intellectual labyrinth. unless we ask them to leave their bodies at the door when they enter the session. Now called the Cambridge Movement) This philosphical approach is favored by those who believe strongly in formal. and anger do not actually result from the bad things that happen to you but from the way you think about them. circa 1920. It helps someone feel more comfortable. If the patient doesn’t care.(blinking lights. But there are those who prefer to do so. face speaking in public. feels better and that’s all that counts. you say. safe therapeutic environment. it has primacy. The nineteenth century philosophers mentioned above formed the underpinnings of the various psychotherapy schools—the rationalists versus the body therapies and the empiricists. then feelings and finally thought. anxiety. less troublesome and easily learned by therapists. If it were only so easy…a kind of “think your way to health. . Mixing them all together doesn’t make them any the more true. none of which is necessary. One can take any number of therapies and find patients swearing they are better. only how you think about experience. My guess you would want to swat that little apparatus away from your eyes and say.” There is thus. how feelings predated thought. 1993. And they are comfortable because the system is normalized biochemically for a time. That is a recipe for disaster sooner or later. We must not neglect evolution in this regard. If old pain is continually bursting through. concentrate. The client reported that his mood had improved noticeably. We can revet this process in a soft.” I am told that those on skid row are receiving it and it helps them get up and get going.” About follow-up. You don’t have to do all that mumbo jumbo. Feuerbach and his Logical Positivism versus Karl Marx and his dialectic. Thoughts are no match for imprinted memories. another is EMDR. talk psychologese. just an art form that can take many different approaches as in painting. Self-deception endures for a time. Smoking a cigarette is a quick fix. Anything that contains a melange of things is not science to me. They release tension.

hypnotizing him. being left abandoned soon after birth. It is an important leap to understand that in psychology and psychotherapy we are always dealing with pain. even when that feeling/sensation has no scenes and no words.” Most mental health professionals deal with pain every day but it is like the emporer’s clothes. or is it just how we saw and see it? Mind over matter? Or does real imprinted memory count. So the research finds it more effective. etc. pure terror. is an exercise in mental lucubration. before we had a working cortex to make sense of them. We always want to know on what level our patients are operating. for example. using needles to control it. There is a cortical aspect to feeling that must be locked in. disconnected thoughts but the body remains true to itself. But history is always the victor. transient change. Shapiro use a wand on a patient. Then. It is no longer mystical forces such as the id. It is implacable and unrelenting. it is never mentioned or treated as such.” They seek out an elderly wise man or guru who will give them the secret to life. When we cut our finger. focus and sleep? We can tell by the nature of the symptom. No different when we are hurt psycholgically. by and large. And the diagnosis should be able to make a simultaneous statement about the psychological state and the neurologic one. Those who choose magic too often want magical solutions to real everyday problems. U. The problem is that healing is aborted by repression that stops the reactivity necessary for healing. weltschmertz. From the early days of neurology when Paul Maclean wrote about the Triune Brain there has been a recognition of the different levels of consciousness. now select a therapy where they are “done to. So is prayer. It has the force of basic early need and survival. ineffable sadness. Again. no matter what the research results. lymphocytes are moved into action in preparation for the attack.” that I see so often in psychiatric reports. That immune system becomes depleted in this battle until the reliving. Here again. and I thought it was truly an appeal to magic. one has unidimensional approaches that extract the brain from the process and act as though psychology was in some esoteric domain removed from the brain. Doesn’t being raped by one’s father count. And anxiety is above all a visceral reaction—butterflies in t he stomach. When we are hurt early on it is as though a virus has attacked the system. so is acupuncture. It means neglecting the dialectic which is a key law of motion of life. Are they basically first-liners (operating on primitive levels of consciousness) with massive amounts of brainstem imprints surging forth to disrupt concentration. we do not attempt to eradicate them without an understanding of their roots. what we call first-line intrusion. as well as some limbic areas. it helps us to avoid the one thing that can be curative. and that the pain is lodged in the system. sensation. there is no healing without pain. are largely first-line birth imprints. That then turns into its opposite—lower vital signs. For example. as well. dark. the choice is made to reinforce one’s neurosis rather than to get over it. insights and altered ideas. There it drives behavior and symptoms no matter how strong the will power or the frontal cortex machinations with verbiage. can we change ourselves really with simply a change in thought? Can we change the hippocampus? The amygdala? Or levels of salivary cortisol? You cannot fool memory or deceive history. It becomes depleted in long term depression. Of course. The hippocampus shrinks in response to these kinds of trauma. It has built-in all of the adaptive mechanisms that have accumulated over the millennia. in the short run patients will feel better with EMDR than with conventional therapy because the latter is not designed for quick action. neither encouraging the patient to imagine other solutions. healing processes are immediately set in motion. We feel bad because bad things have happened to us. All of these are imprints that occurred even before we had the scenes attached to them. The cycle of connection must be brought about. To think that those events do not matter and that only how we interpret it matters. the serotonin system fails to measure up against the load of constant imprinted pain. shadow forces. They direct us to the pain. The problem is that it doesn’t exist. You can twist the mind to think different. yet it has been ignored in our mental health work. Each psychiatric diagnosis must eventually square with neurologic processes. that memory becomes part of the neurophysiology. Otherwise. It is the same for the neuroinhibitor serotonin. where the origins lie: migraine and colitis. distracting the patient. etc. The problem is that even the choice of a specific therapy can constitute a symptom. I’ve seen Dr. Does it shrink because we have the wrong attitude. whose lives were totally controlled by parents. life-and-death imprints. We know where the patient has to go for complete resolution. San Diego).C. No outsider is wiser than our own system. It helps to know that brainstem structures are activated during anxiety states. We cannot conquer our physiology nor our history. the natural killer cells are again normalized. and the like. To neglect history is to imagine that we spring de novo into this life. and is by no means a mental operation alone. It begins when the highest level of brain function was that which controlled the viscera. and so on. Without recognizing the fact that there are discreet levels of consciousness it is almost impossible to construct a viable theory and therapy. The pain is embedded in the physiologic system and there it lies until resolved. an inexorable biologic truth. And if you ask the saliva if the individual has made progress in psychotherapy it will tell you unequivocally. darkness. That nothing else can change that pain. Those who choose hypnosis want to get better unconsiously with no real effort involved. Those who were “done to” as children.particularly. the terror. and so is any ahistoric therapy that is applied to historic human beings. it contains the wisdom of the ages in its genetic makeup. that the deeper the pain is relived the more it is gone from the system. not just “anxiety with depressive features. the pain that heretofore could not be made aware due to its enormous valence of pain. means to relive all of the original physiologic processes. They do not see the dialectic. for example. It must be relived as it was laid down. Why the symptom? Why the anguish and depression? No therapy without a “why” can be curative because it means the avoidance of history. It is always possible through mental trickery to produce temporary. The feeling itself must be connected to conscious-awareness. To reexperience means to experience for the first time on all three brain levels. a lie of the mind is a hurt of the body. stress hormones. pressure on the chest. . That is connection. or because a terrible crime against our humanity has taken place? Finally. Symptoms for us are signposts. anxiety. brainwaves and hormone output. (see Murray Stein’s work. There are neurologists who offer brilliant theories of pain based on animal research but there is a lack of a theory about “people in pain. feeling and ideas about them. To feel the original wound. The neurologic pain theorists. same vital signs. Pain and healing are a dialectic unity. again indicating that depression is heavy repression. The body does not distinguish between the alien virus and the alien feelings that cannot be integrated. Does anyone really believe that imagining a professor’s head popping into pieces can resolve a real emotional problem between two people? After all is said and done there ought to be a diagnosis of the patient that includes her history. emanates largely from very early brainstem imprints. and no healing except where we were wounded. not reliving it. aloneness and alienation. are after controlling pain. cannot catch one’s breath. self-deception is recommended over reality and it is then called therapy. after all. nor should we want to. It means to bring the hidden pain up to conscious-awareness.

no longer the dislocation of function. after all. addressed on a timetable set by the patient’s physical system and her tolerance for pain and feeling. We don’t want them to lead our lives. of the relationship of pain to repression. There is a new synthesis. It must all be in the mix and then addressed dialectically. EMDR provides new ideation to enhance the disconnection. Each brain system has its own particular memory bank. The patient feels every day for many. Once the central contradiction is addressed we would expect changes again toward the normal in all of those dislocations occasioned. pressure on the chest. from pre-birth to birth and after must be taken into consideration where trying to understand adult behavior. losing breath. They also have enough deprivation in their lives to make them violent—an indifferent mother. is imprinted exactly as it happened and will be brought to conscious/awareness as that experience. It cannot be made conscious by an act of will. not individually but as a function of each other. Nothing works or does any good. They may endure because of the reorganization of the ideational structure but that has to be illusionary. Imagining the solution still makes you part of the problem. but we expect it due to very early trauma that depletes serotonin levels for a lifetime. Their feelings are all the smarts they need. if there is end-organ damage then it is too late to make those changes. The more one feels it the less there is. is that there are low levels of serotonin and in brain scans there is less prefrontal cortical activity than normals. an addicted. Illusion is the inversion of reality. There is no alternative. We are. and that is relive being strangled. Thus. We don’t. The reason that pain dictates consciousness is that it is not just another experience. We need an all encompassing theory. historical beings. etc. and evolution must be considered when developing a therapy of change. There is no conscious awareness in EMDR. a little of the pain at a time until there is a radical shift and the cortisol levels now normalize as does the vital signs such as blood pressure. Adrian Raine. Where what to feel and how much is determined not by the therapist but by the one who has to undergo the feelings. to study history alone leaves out the present. It follows the law of transformation of quantity into quality. The head trippers choose insight therapy. full and deep pain. One must select a therapy where the power and wisdom reside in the patient. No insights or discussion is necessary. that is the crucial difference. The implication of this is that from the central contradiction of pain/repression there is a radiation of it throughout the system causing dislocations of function in vulnerable areas. The therapy selected by the individual is often a reflection of the problem. But failing that we should see changes throughout the brain and body. something we would expect. We also need access to the brainstem where very remote experiences are registered. Therapists still are locked into the idea that we have to be omniscient. Once placed and felt in past context there is no more intrusion nor depression. The way we learn to avoid pain early on even in the womb becomes a prototype that guides future learning. Of course. The development of man from the amoeba onward has included the capacity to shut out pain. gagging. not the case with EMDR and other ahistorical therapies.” These are past feelings erupting in the present. holding back the pain with cortical effort. It is the key to survival. no better ending we can concoct. Change is evolutionary. When we liberate pain we liberate a whole system of consciousness and thus produce feeling/aware human beings. That is why we are successful with deep and suicidal depression. nor can psychological science. There is only one way to remember being strangled on the cord. a well-known neuroscientist has been studying violence. neuronal and psycholgical. Consciousness is the ultimate healing factor. “What’s the use. There is a host of research (see Allan Schore and his research) that indicates how the frontal cortical areas suffer and do not develop properly when there is very early trauma and/or lack of love. We have negated the negation. This is what we have found. whereas connection is the motor for healing. hypothyroid. It is literally a holding action. Thus there are ephemeral changes.” Page S1) What has been found in all of the impulse neurosis. The more we feel the past the more we are in the present. Let me offer an example of ignoring these basic facts. The system is righted. immune system deficiencies. abusive father. and what must be found if radical change is achieved. we want them to lead their own lives. gagging and suffocating. Chapter 2: The Nature of Hypnosis Introduction . wholeness and normalcy. The more we focus on the present the more the past intrudes. Feelings are subcortical. That new quality represents the shift from neurosis to normal. but they clearly cannot last in a profound way.--wellness. or our conception of how life should be lived. cellular. Will is cortical. (as reported in the Los Angeles Times. The key is that the laws of the development of neurosis has to do with the internal contradictions in each of us. Where what is real inside is addressed primarily. Once it is fully felt all behavior based on it will become obvious and eventually disappear. There’s no point in trying. coughing. while the passives who want magic go to hypnosis. History is always the victor. 2002. The more one feels the less the repression. many months. undone repression and allowed the system to normalize on every level. etc. violent individuals are low in the neurchemicals of inhibition. We need to study pain and consciousness. suicide. in the first place. all of these factors. But the implication is that these afflictions are caused by low serotonin. only isolated and disconnected awareness. Deep brainstem events are remembered in terms of physical sensations. Trust the patient. To study the brain alone is still ahistoric. serotonin lack.The more one descends into the pain the more one ascends out of it. illusionary changes that can occur with EMDR. All real change must be related to that history. April 29. “Roots of Violence May Lie in Damaged Brain Cells. The depressed person feels. hormonal. Those bereft of the experience of pain do not last long. To repeat the words of Eldridge Cleaver: You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem. To understand and bring out real change that contradiction must always be addressed. In science it is called the avoidance of noxious stimuli. choking and sensations of suffocation. and so on. That is an oxymoron. It was what it was. One cannot ignore the brainstem and limbic systems and the early pre-birth imprints lodged in those systems if we hope to produce real change. To feel a bit of hopelessness with the adult brain and then adopt new ideation in the name of “adaptation” is to leave behind the very thing that heals. memorized in a way that is idiosyncratic to itself.. Brain science alone cannot do it. violence.

Hypnosis does not eliminate the sources of neurosis. The suggestion is usually not consciously undertaken by the parent. Because of this apparent ease in effecting change. and colitis. Mesmer would appear before his patients. how neurosis comes into being. memories. hypnotism is based on the belief that the "unconscious" mind can swiftly heal the patient without the "conscious mind" ever being involved. ego psychology.[1] There is no question that hypnosis can be useful. it is simply the parent's unconscious needs translated into expectations and imposed on the child. devils. and the striking recoveries were due to "mere imagination. and introduced the term hypnotism (from the Greek hypnos. Hypnosis is viewed as a direct route to the unconscious. James Braid. Part of him then is asleep or unconscious without his being aware of it. Thus it may be used by therapists from such diverse areas as psychoanalysis." At some point the animal magnetism would trigger convulsions in the patients. It is used to treat addictions such as overeating. 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. which might well yield temporary relief of the patient’s symptoms. alcoholism. but with little permanent success. as a result. Hypnotic suggestibility is itself contingent upon a pre-existent neurotic state. relieve asthmatic symptoms. magic. in which two or three levels of consciousness act independently of one another. but his techniques only contributed to its aura of mystery. and quacks. and even holistic transpersonal groups.000 psychotherapists surveyed in 1994. thereby achieving dissociation. symptoms can be relieved without any knowledge of their source. Hypnosis demonstrates the interactions of different levels of consciousness in both initiating and maintaining neurosis. Hypnosis and neurosis in fact utilize the same neurophysiological mechanisms. defeatist self-images can be overhauled in a session or two. however. 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. Until recently. gestalt. 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. a committee of inquiry convened by the King of France discredited Mesmer's ideas. unaware of what’s happening. and drug abuse. and alleviate gastrointestinal distress. and traumas as well as solutions and potentials supposedly become more available. such as to reduce blood pressure. When an individual relaxes into a "trance" state. compulsive behavior patterns can be broken without undue effort. and charlatanism. The committee found that in fact that no such magnetism existed. meaning "to sleep"). it is almost always incorporated into the particular therapeutic orientation of each therapist. migraines. Traumas can be relived and resolved without any conscious participation. hypnotherapy draws patients away from a cure. associated with everything from Druidic healers and high priests in ancient Greece to shamans. Freud used hypnosis therapeutically before discarding it in favor of psychoanalysis. 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. It is used to manage pain and in rehabilitation cases where organic damage has occurred. to treat phobias and sexual problems. In effect. It is also used to deal with varying emotional and psychological problems.Hypnosis currently enjoys widespread acceptance among the public and the scientific community. insomnia. Today hypnosis is used to treat psychosomatic symptoms such as ulcers. nor does it integrate consciousness. In fact. behaviorism." Hypnotism was again linked to mysticism and quackery. So when psychotherapies use some form of hypnosis. It is popular from the patient's point of view because it is like magic. Hypnotherapy is generally believed to provide significant relief of both physical and psychological symptoms. 97 percent considered hypnosis a worthwhile therapeutic tool. which would remove whatever symptoms had been present. History of Hypnosis The first attempt to explain hypnosis in naturalistic terms came in the 1700s. it disintegrates consciousness. Another 19th-century English physician. This referred to a "nervous sleep" brought about by a concentration of attention. Over time it has gained popular and scientific acceptance. particularly in the area of pain control. While hypnotherapy is now considered a treatment category of its own. The use of hypnosis dates back to man's earliest history. where old demons can be exorcised with the least amount of discomfort to the patient. Indeed. and addictions. It is used to alter physiological functioning. The child. Of 1. and its use is on the rise. hypnosis has become one of the most popular forms of therapy. and been applied to most types of medical and psychological problems. been assimilated into a wide range of therapies. It is also widely used in treating the symptoms of neurosis including anxiety disorders. People still speak of being “mesmerized. This might be explained because the state of hypnosis is similar to an extended but temporary case of neurosis. you can use the concentrated and condensed neurotic state known as hypnosis to demonstrate the process of neurosis – that is. it predates psychoanalysis by at least a century. pains. 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. magic. Nevertheless. It is also used in dentistry and obstetrics. who were gathered around a tub filled with water and iron filings. He dismissed the concept of animal magnetism. to enhance memory and studying abilities. As a result. they misapply the principles of consciousness and. and the supernatural. gods. Rather. actually reinforce the neurosis. Dressed in flowing silk robes. slips into the behavior without a scintilla of reflection. witches. These would purportedly help transfer to the patients "the marvelous animal magnetism exuding from [Mesmer]. smoking. As a therapeutic technique.” Mesmer intended to bring hypnosis into the realm of modern science. hypnotherapy expressly draws one away from the “why” – the reason for the neurotic symptoms in the first place. agreed that Mesmer's techniques could be useful. by the 1840s it had spread to various parts of the world.[2] (I suspect the convulsions represented a release of accumulated primal energy. and even to make warts disappear. Braid believed hypnosis was a sleep . it has been shrouded in mystery.) In 1784.

" Hypnotism successfully alleviated the woman's physical symptoms. there remains no cohesive or compelling theory on the nature of hypnosis. Although professional hypnosis organizations have condemned past-life regression. Ernest R. Freud "made use of suggestion to contradict all her fears and the feelings on which all the fears were based: 'Do not be afraid. Both World War II and the Korean War contributed to renewed interest in hypnosis. This once again brought it to the attention of the scientific community. *accepts distortions as reality. according to . everyday behavior mistakenly given a special name. and not involving any special physical forces or processes. or at least a state of consciousness existing below the level of conscious-awareness. In an 1893 case study.[5] The elements of a hypnotic trance are well-known. the pre-eminent hypnotist in recent decades. and it leads us to the core problem of the nature of hypnosis. The experimental psychologist Clark Hull finally established hypnosis as an object worthy of controlled and methodical laboratory studies. however. professor of neurology at the Sorbonne.state. and response preferences? This is considered the considered the state-nonstate controversy. and experience significant alterations in perception. and allowed her to nurse her child for eight months. a leading hypnosis researcher is a strong proponent of the non-state theory. *pays attention only to the hypnotist. By contrast. for example. and tempered the medical profession’s negative attitude toward the use of hypnosis. if instructed. if not earlier. Specifically. In 1933 Hull endorsed Bernheim's view that hypnosis might be the result of suggestion and suggestibility. Hilgard (1904-2001). Freud found hypnosis useful in helping hysterical patients recall forgotten traumatic events. in Europe) sparked a new controversy in the field. skills. 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.. regress to earlier events in their lives. After inducing a hypnotic trance. In the mid-1880s." During World War I. So-called hypnotic behavior. Freud discontinued the use of hypnosis and instead concentrated on the newly-developed techniques of psychoanalysis and free association. Specialty boards licensed practitioners and disseminated information to the public. one can gain access to past identities. hypnosis appears to be increasing in acceptability in the scientific community. something that distinguishes it from everyday consciousness (while one is awake or asleep)? Various researchers have given conflicting answers to this question. resulting from a psychological response to suggestion. two scientific viewpoints on the nature of hypnosis crystallized. Non-State Theories Theodore Barber. But what causes these changes? Is hypnosis an altered state of consciousness? Or does it merely active and channel normal processes. Sigmund Freud stepped into the controversy in the 1890s. *is highly susceptible to the hypnotist's suggestions. Jean Martin Charcot. Is there really something special about this state. Nonetheless. restored her appetite. he became interested in the use of hypnosis as a therapeutic tool for treating neurotic disorders. These views divorced hypnosis from mesmerism.'" Freud went on to comment about his "remarkable achievement. A former student of Charcot. considered hypnosis a pathological phenomenon which occurred only in hysterical patients and which did involve the physical influence of magnets and metals. relive traumatic events and forget them moments later." in which patients conjure up themselves in the future for ostensible therapeutic benefit. and *may forget the hypnotic experience. and eliminate their negative effects on one's present functioning. The spread of hypnotic "past-life regression" (which had been practiced since the 1860s. developed a profile of a hypnotized individual with characteristics that he felt was "sufficiently consistent" to serve as a definition. saw hypnosis as a normalphenomenon. he described how he used hypnosis to help a woman who was not able to breast-feed her child. Hippolyte Bernheim. Thus. he employed dream analysis as "the royal road to the unconscious. Later. long-time experimental psychologist at Stanford University and a prominent researcher on hypnotic analgesia.. For him hypnosis is nothing extraordinary. a hypnotized person: *waits passively for information as to how to behave. a professor of medicine at Strasbourg. He also used it as a technique to alleviate physical and emotional symptoms. through hypnosis. The 1970s saw a curious development in the use of hypnosis. Hypnosis journals published research findings and case materials. relive past traumas. you are looking forward to your next meal. hypnosis was used to treat victims of shell-shock.[6] Let's assume that these are all aspects of a hypnotic trance. Some hypnotists have even been able to induce "age progression. the school based on the work of Milton Erickson (1902-1980). Most agree that hypnotic phenomena are real: People are able to dissociate from pain in their bodies. Erickson's influence has extended beyond traditional hypnotherapy to family therapy and other clinical areas.[3] Later.[4] Today. it has made its way into Ericksonian hypnotherapy. In subsequent decades. 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. Your stomach is perfectly quiet. Societies for research and training in clinical and experimental hypnosis were founded. while compiling his book Studies in Hysteria. your appetite is excellent. *will readily adopt a role of being someone else. it is a normal. You will make an excellent nurse and the baby will thrive.

While either in a hypnotic trance or an everyday trance. rather than initiating any activity on their own. perception. During this state. "The hypnotic trance."[10] This explanation is in marked contrast to Barber's view that hypnosis arises as a result of interpersonal dynamics. the subject forgets events that happened during the hypnotic experience. "researchers have been trying to delineate an objective physiological index that differentiates the hypnotic state from non-hypnotic states.[11] . such as the subject's desire to please the hypnotist by successfully carrying out what is requested of him.' as if we know precisely what these terms mean." Erickson wrote. This is an example of what Erickson called a common everyday trance. "Redistributing attention" – the second characteristic – is when subjects select only what they are instructed to notice. and imagine themselves as others while awake. emotion. or bend his elbow in a certain way in order to make the person remember what he has temporarily forgotten. "belongs only to the subject. Peter Brown. and drives. 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. Intermingled with them will be the surrounding context for the individual: their previous history. Or worse yet: A person is in a trance because she is hypnotized. people on stage may become oblivious to the audience while they hear and see only the hypnotist. dissociation." Upon instruction. if hypnosis is a special state. based on the subject's psychology. In his view. subjects wait for instructions from the hypnotist. modifies Barber's thesis as follows: "Though there are changes in brain functioning during hypnosis. who has studied what underlies the phenomenon of hypnotic communication. shouldn't instruments clearly indicate its difference from a waking or a sleeping state? "For nearly one hundred years. and as hypnotic subjects. Barber and other nonstate theorists say that what happens to people in hypnosis can be explained largely in terms of the relationship between the subject and the hypnotist. As children.. such as being someone else. But how do we know she is hypnotized? Because she behaves a certain way. the conscious mind could be "shifted. The Hypnotic Trance The first characteristic of a hypnotic trance is what Hilgard called a loss of the “planning function. Although Erickson viewed hypnosis as a special state of consciousness."[7] Specifically. they try to please their parents.The attempt to find a physiological index of 'hypnotic trance per se' has not succeeded.Barber." writes Barber. Erickson was the most prominent proponent of this view. a troublesome toothache is temporarily forgotten during a particularly suspenseful movie. as students." making unconscious memories more accessible than during a normal waking state.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. Hilgard explains: "When told to adopt a role. hypnosis is beneficial in that it provides a way to intentionally activate these ordinary processes and use them to direct the hypnosis subject toward a specific goal. distort. amnesia. they are also used interchangeably. These memories can then be retrieved by a "release signal.. and the quality of the interaction and degree of rapport they experience with the hypnotherapist. they do the same. though currently no research supports their theory. Fourth. He contended instead that it used the same abilities and processes we experience ordinarily. pulse rates. the vital functions and behavior of someone in a hypnotic trance are not dissimilar to those of someone who is not in a trance. a person will more easily enact unusual roles. time distortion – have common everyday correlates. Thus. Most hypnotic phenomena – age regression. meaning that a person will more readily act according to what the hypnotist suggests. light a cigarette. proof that hypnosis is a special state of consciousness requires the discovery of behavior other than that used to describe it." The hypnotist may scratch his nose. the operator can do no more than learn how to proffer stimuli and suggestions to evoke responsive behavior based upon the subject's own experiential past. can be understood as being the result of interpersonal factors. the hypnotized subject will commonly do so and will carry out complex activities related to that role. Moreover. hypnotic anesthesia. even though the hypnotic response was facilitated by the hypnotist. current concerns. Fifth. Erickson believed that hypnosis was a special state of highly-focused attention. "reality testing" is reduced while "reality distortion" becomes acceptable. For example. "suggestibility" is increased. blood pressure. Third. conceal. The evidence suggests that the trance state involved substantial changes in cognition. much like what often happens between client and therapist in any kind of psychotherapy. and body temperature do not demonstrate any variation between a "hypnotic" and "non-hypnotic" state. he did not believe it involved extraordinary powers. But these changes do not exist in a vacuum. transformed. Furthermore. they are able to consciously or unconsciously focus on a particular stimulus and tune out all others."[9] According to the non-state theory.. it arose out of the subject's own inner dynamics. act. According to Barber.” This means that. and physiologic regulation. "posthypnotic amnesia often occurs. fantasize. In his way of thinking. motivations. and they also do these things while hypnotized. 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. they are not unique to hypnosis nor are they uniform across all subjects. they seek approval from teachers." Finally.. Erickson's belief that hypnosis was mainly an inward process set him from apart from many traditional hypnotists. or bypassed with relative ease. physiological measures such as EEG."[8] Brown adds that "It is easy to speak of an 'altered state of consciousness' or of 'dissociation. State Theories Other researchers see hypnosis as a special or altered state. People role-play.

and proceeded to go through a performance of selecting carefully and eating several pieces of candy. Another recent neurological discovery is that of the "triune brain. in which mental and physical capacities apparently remain normal. hoping to observe genuine "hypnotic behavior" rather than behavior designed to please the hypnotist. The three zones or levels of the brain develop chronologically in the fetus and newborn just as they did in human evolution. the body. Still. Erickson told her that as a reward for her performance she could choose from a platter of homemade candy. p. The environment also faded progressively. called back with satisfaction that there was indeed some divinity fudge. At birth and in primitive animals only the first level is operative. she replied she would. the subject again selected and ate imaginary pieces of candy." she reportedly replied. with each half mediating qualitatively different processes: the right brain mediates non-rational functions and holistic perceptions. scrutinized the platter carefully. Erickson then returned to the room bringing napkins. The right is holistic while the left is analytic."[14] Each zone consists of an interrelated network of nerve cells with its own biochemical composition. but he [the subject] eventually no longer felt identified with his body. How can these states be possible? Are these reports mere fantasy or actual descriptions of altered neurological functioning? And if the latter is true. he gives this description of a person in an hypnotic stupor: Relaxation of the body increased for a time. Subsequently. and saying that the platter contained a variety of candies in case those present had different preferences. 43). we have stuporous trances in which the environment. Based on Paul Yakovlev's research. By the sixth month of life the second level of brain development emerges to mediate the limbic processes of feeling and emotion. Spontaneous mental activity declined until it finally reached zero. and so on – exclusive to the hypnotic state? I do not believe they are. and we have somnambulistic trances in which hallucinatory fudge is merrily eaten with the context of normal group interaction. Each person pretended to take a piece of candy and eat it. Then Erickson concluded the demonstration and awakened the subject. there is a stuporous trance – a state in which. susceptibility to suggestions. Later I shall show how these very same characteristics serve also as the defining qualities of neurosis. and finally sat in a chair next to the table where the imaginary platter had been placed." where the division is concentric rather than lateral." as well as her use of the napkin to wipe her fingers. May 1985.[12] Another kind of trance is a somnambulistic one.[13] Thus. There is some evidence that in evolution this began with the turtle. so that it no longer made sense to ask him further about body relaxation. until: . while the left brain mediates the rational and specific. He then pretended to conclude the demonstration and dismiss the subject. throughout the performance. but beyond a certain depth this concept also became meaningless. Less well known than the concept of hemispheric laterality. and even as she spoke she was noted to salivate freely in anticipation. wandered around the room. Time passed more and more slowly. With the juvenile directness. and asked her whether she wanted to help herself to it at once or later. Erickson notes that. because the self was no longer present. pretending that he had a platter of candy in his hands. The right is internally oriented. After scrutinizing the imaginary platter carefully. The subject then became restless. I’ll now describe an example where Erickson had called upon one individual to demonstrate the somnambulistic state. With the subject “still in the somnambulistic state. The imaginary platter was passed among the group. Hilgard maintains that the notion of depth in hypnosis cannot really be measured and can only be described by the person experiencing it. she made her choice of a piece and." she was asked to name her favorite candy.with a slight gesture of resolution she learned forward." The hypnotist went into another room. upon urging. two "medically-trained members unobtrusively watched the subject" and independently observed her "increased salivation and swallowing.If these characteristics – passive waiting for instructions. spontaneous thinking stops and the self becomes "meaningless. The platter was passed around again. while the left is externally focused. finally reaching a point at which it ceased to be a meaningful concept. Variations in Depth and Type of Trance Both Hilgard and Erickson believe that there are definite. role playing. For example.. now and then glancing in a hesitant manner. the terms right brain/left brain have become virtual household concepts. which shows some . but she explained that she was taking only a small piece for the third. according to Hilgard. Relaxation of the body was succeeded by a peacefulness of the self. varying levels of hypnotic trance. and simplicity so characteristic of behavior in the somnambulistic state. a second and a third. "in the manner of a small child who wishes another helping of candy." In Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain. Knowing about the subject's fondness for sweets. until finally a state was reached in which the only part of the environment that remained present was the hypnotist's voice. earnestness. Erickson made frequent use of the somnambulistic trance both for demonstration and for therapeutic purposes. and the self become meaningless concepts. It was as though it was a "thing" left behind. The brain is divided into two halves." she looked furtively back and forth between the imaginary platter and the hypnotist. the triune brain model describes the brain as organized concentrically into three zones or "neuropils. Each zone has its own storehouse for consciousness and memory. When it was her turn. the discovery of the triune brain may be more significant.. Next he approached the subject and told her to go ahead and select the largest pieces of divinity fudge. But he continued. mediating visceral and body activity. and "expressed a marked preference for divinity fudge. immediately is scarcely soon enough. "So far as divinity fudge is concerned. which brain structures mediate hypnotic trance states? 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.

. In the lulled. there may be little difference between a cult leader talking to a disciple. by avoiding full conscious experience. penetrating the ear as sounds. If that system is blocked we are less alert and critical. safety. One sure way is to manipulate need—unfulfilled need—for love. Someone who has imprinted terror needs to find someone who will stave off the “demons” whoever they may be. warmth and against whatever the future may hold. and a hypnotist talking to her subject. And this. Childish complaisance is the neurotic feature in the adult which enables the trance to occur and sustain itself. Consciousness is severely restricted and the person pays attention to a very narrow range of stimuli. Erickson's demonstration points up another crucial aspect of the hypnotic state. however. protection. the person can enter a deep trance where even suggestion no longer enters.. distort. can cause a person to effectively lose consciousness and fall into a trance. with the last remnant of rational perception suppressed. even monotonous gibberish." I believe his demonstration uncovered the woman's latent childish tendencies rather than inducing them.limbic structure. she is rigid and unyielding. Unencumbered by personal embarrassment and social restraints. and comprehends. childish. help by refusing to relay certain information from below to higher levels. is now practically useless. mediate in what occurs in both hypnosis and in the neurotic trance. the subject was free to act as childishly as shewas. a parent talking to a four-year-old child. it must disengage the third level. For hypnosis to be effective. Notice two key phrases in Erickson's report of the woman in the somnambulistic trance: "with. This happens. The hypnotic procedure reveals what the selfcensorship of repression conceals: the essence of the neurotic self. down to 2 or 3 cycles per second. Thus. It takes full conscious/awareness to become whole. Inducing Unconsciousness It is indeed remarkable that a few words traveling through the air. Brown writes. we remain dissociated. with its severely diminished activity. She is operating on the first-line only. reasons. is the last to develop and in its full development is uniquely human. 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. all unconsciously. direction and guidance. whether the body needs food or sleep. and that is the reticular activating system of the brain stem. How does this relate to hypnosis? The dissociation so critical to all hypnotic phenomena hinges upon a disengagement of the third level of consciousness. Clearly. earnestness. reflects. that "decides" whether to make a feeling fully conscious. neurotic people can allow themselves to be as dependent. can keep them out of consciousness. Those words can cause the child to alter her feelings about herself and to change how she behaves. Here is where the input from the hypnotist enters and is accepted unquestioningly. and simplicity. As the brain rhythms slow even more into the delta range. the attraction of hypnosis is the apparent opportunity to have it both ways: you can show who you are without feeling the concomitant Pain. It is precisely this third level that predominates in relation to the outer world. In this state." no longer in this world. In that way. The left hemisphere of the brain. Thus. Peter Brown notes that the limbic hippocampus is heavily responsible for the disconnection from conscious awareness. The third or cortical level. The hippocampus can retrieve emotions and with the help of the thalamus. Under normal circumstances repression defends against the admission of neurosis. as I shall explain later. it is that alerting system that goes off service. and hurting as they really are. It is what accomplishes entrance into the hypnotic state. The amygdala and the hippocampus are involved in making feelings conscious and in making feelings repressed and unconscious – dissociating feelings from acknowledgment. It is what occurs when a charismatic individual convinces someone to believe in outlandish ideas. There is no critical . and alter aspects of consciousness. They do not have the well-developed evaluative functions of the adult. for it is this experience that provokes feelings of Pain. the conditions of the environment. or the second-line consciousness. Someone who will pave the way and make our journey in life safe. and so on. These sounds apparently pick up a meaning in the brain which radically reduces the highest (cortical) functions of the nervous system." and "in the manner of a small child.juvenile directness. they begin to exert a biochemical and neuroelectric force to shut down transmission among many nerve cells. The thalamus and basal ganglia. In each of these situations it is possible to render the person unconscious in a selective way. rationalizes. we cannot get well through unconsciousness because that is the definition of neurosis. This is why children are generally more responsive to hypnosis. if danger is near. The amygdala can activate emotions and can keep current input from triggering off those emotions. This part of the brain perceives. no cognition is employed to determine whether internal and external conditions coincide. It is here that dissociation can take place. The Neurology of Unconsciousness Key structures in the limbic-emotional system. She is "out. 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. Its task is to process and evaluate information. so that the individual is no longer able to independently process information. There is yet another system that keeps us alert and consciously vigilant. parasympathetic state of a beginning trance. too. Under hypnosis. 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. But it is primarily the limbic system. where survival functions dominate. where the emotional level of consciousness is organized. which mediates all cognitive functions. ideas can shut off. to know what is: what the temperature is. whether how one feels and acts is reality based. Some sleeping pills work directly here. This is no different from what happens to a young child who is being admonished by a parent and told to behave differently. is exactly why hypnotherapy cannot in the end be therapeutic. 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 other words. Once these sounds acquire meaning. It does so.

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. in short. to make the hypnotist look good. exert a continuous but unconscious force. 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. All the classic hypnotic phenomena – amnesia. by combatting the imprint with suggestion after suggestion day after day. and even that is at a minimal level. In fact. That can have some effect. such as when we repress traumatic emotional pain for years. 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. punishment. hypnosis appears inexplicable or magical. Is there any fundamental difference between the two? Hypnosis is an intentional procedure. temporary neurosis. to be thought special and be complimented. what is called dissociation in hypnosis is really the everyday state of the neurotic. or disconnection. One can stop smoking with hypnosis but the need to do so never changes. It takes a very high valence or force of an event. or temporarily stop feeling a sore throat or headache. The profound implication of Barber’s viewpoint is that hypnotic success is dependent upon pre-existing neurotic motivations. to block the effects of the imprint. external motivation. Neurosis is a global state. Yet. It can be argued that neurosis is a posthypnotic state. And in neurosis one is on automatic. hallucinations. the human brain requires the full use of its consciousness. neurosis is the sine qua non for hypnosis. This is further support for the proposition that hypnosis and neurosis involve the same mechanisms. one could say that we have already been partially hypnotized through our preconceptions and expectations before we visit the hypnotist. The left brain can be disconnect ed from the right so that one side doesn’t know what the other is doing or feeling. but it is not permanent. Therefore. together with the changes in certain hormones of love such as oxytocin and vasopressin. and so on.one cannot imprint suggestion. Hypnosis can have short-term effects which endure because of other factors such as reward. It is then a permanent state. The price we pay for lying to ourselves is a premature breakdown of the system sooner or later. perhaps. The isolated consciousness of hypnosis is only a circumscribed demonstration of how neurosis works. Hypnotic procedures can easily tap into that state to produce definite and recognizable post-hypnotic episodes. Nonetheless. 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. We anticipate going through a process which the reputation of hypnosis has already preordained. Attention is narrowed only to the voice of the hypnotist and what he is suggesting. In reality. All of this is no different from discussing the various levels of consciousness operating in neurosis. and catalepsy – depend on dissociations in consciousness. It involves uncritical behavior as if one were on automatic. etc. something that threatens our life or our integrity to be imprinted. The Psychological Climate of Hypnosis What psychological elements are involved in hypnosis? First of all. To many people. maintained by constant reinforcement of repression and dissociation. Hypnosis. as we have seen. It is only to show that the same mechanisms involved in neurosis are the mechanisms involved in hypnosis. It does not change the imprint. Manipulating the first or second-line is not the same as imprinting an event. The behaviors which arise to maintain it we call neurosis. age regression. The difference is that neurosis is set down during the critical period when the brain is forming and hormones are achieving their set points. involuntary developed as an adaptive response to emotional trauma very early in life. When we are not loved or held in the first months of our life on earth that will be imprinted. It involves dissociation as a sine qua non. is to understand how hypnosis works. Neurosis as a Hypnotic or Post-Hypnotic State I have maintained that hypnosis can be understood by looking at neurosis. or disconnection within the self. The person . What motivates this desire to surrender one's critical mind? To understand this motivation. from their obscured position of repression. This ability is brought into play when the naïve and vulnerable system of the developing child is faced with more Pain that it can handle – when for example the child is rejected. I believe. A hypnotist can. inwardly focused brain. abused. Those imprints which alter our brains and our physiology must be addressed in any psychotherapy. attenuate symptoms. but it is altered in relation to what is healthy. All of this is not meant as any exhaustive discussion of the neurology of hypnosis. and how imprints of trauma can occur on the two lower levels of consciousness which for a lifetime thereafter drive our behavior and symptoms. There will alerations in the hormones of stress and they will reman as permanent souvenirs until we go back and redo and undo the imprint that caused so many deviations in various of our systems.capacity whatsoever. or abandoned. dissociation. ever. Barber might as well have described the everyday motivations of the common neurotic. Barber says that a subject goes into a trance because of his desire to please the hypnotist. these elements are immediately reinforced. When the hypnotist obliges us. Psychotherapy addresses the left frontal brain while the hypnotist bypasses it and seems to input the right frontal brain. Now let's see if we can just as easily understand neurosis by looking at hypnosis. voluntarily submitted to for a distinct purpose. This force directs a person into symbolic attempts to fulfill primal need. I maintain that hypnosis is not an altered state in relation to the common neurotic condition. A person's desires are not only motivated by healthy drives but also by neurotic processes that result from unmet childhood needs. The dissociated person is left with a host of unresolved primal needs which. Imprints occur during the critical period when need must be fulfilled. We call this state a split. there is no hypnotist who can "cure" any neurosis. automatically running off the program laid down by one's caretakers in childhood. is a condensed and circumscribed. the brain possesses the capacity to shut down part of itself to defend against the full conscious experience of Pain. the emotional. time distortion. It involves disconnection and blind obedience. which is well beyond my purview. anesthesia. Even more important than these anticipations is the desire to be hypnotized. What do I mean when I say that neurosis is a hypnotic or post-hypnotic state? It is apparent that in order to feel. What trances of different depths have in common is a certain amount of dissociation.

as the word "depth" implies.becomes an intellectual because that is what the parents' expected: a smart student who got good grades and whose main interest was books. p. Hypnosis and the Reincarnation Hypothesis: A Critical Review and Intensive Case Study. fifth edition). Rather than flying off the handle. [4]See. 163-171. pp. the day he was taken off breast feeding. Only thoughts guide him. [3]Freud. No. pp. [8]Peter Brown. 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. Hilgard and Josephine R. 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. 409-425. Being an intellectual can be a symbolic route to feeling loved and to having one's other needs met. [2]Ernest R. The illusion is that the trance is "achieved" by hypnosis. "Oh. 1959. [5]See Heap. on which hypnosis inevitably depends. and you then develop a blister. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis . Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain. Windy. he might say. and Rita Atkinson. [9]Brown. She does not react or respond spontaneously to what is around her. p. There is of course here no mention of pain or motivation for the addiction of smoking. 5." The neurotic's brain seldom works optimally on matters at hand because so much of her mind is preoccupied. for example. January 1994. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press. She had had a bad day too. 3. Here again. An adult grows up around the unfulfilled child whose urgent needs remain the dominant preoccupation. through connecting his "out of proportion" rage in a current circumstance to a repressed childhood deprivation. or else she does so in a manner "out of proportion to the provocation. nor will remembering it cure decades of neurosis. p. Yapko. A case of successful treatment of hypnotism. p. Number 4. and Trans. This is why so many people seem to be "out of it. a memory which "came in as clearly as if I were there. He adds that. p. The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research Vol. Barber. It is purely a mechanical approach. October 1986. The pre-hypnotic neurotic is already in a hypnotic state." or "spaced out. Number 1. In a piece published a few years ago in the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. For if a hypnotist puts a cold coin on your hand and suggests that it is hot. [7]Theodore X. pp. I explore hypnosis in some detail because it has a lot to do with our understanding of the nature of reality. Is sickness all in our head? (as my friend says. 7. Volume 33. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. and which utilize the neurotic split in consciousness rather than dialectically integrate it. 33-46). He therefore makes the wrong choices of partners in life because he is out of touch with himself and his real needs. 1991. The Hypnotic Brain: Hypnotherapy and Social Communication. Suggestibility and Repressed Memory of Abuse: A Survey of Psychotherapist's Belief. he "was in a similar childlike rage at being denied what I felt entitled to. 7176. Richard Atkinson. CA: William Kaufmann. April 1991. Los Altos. p. Eds." I experienced an unbridled rage that was so out of proportion to the provocation. New York: Basic Books. Suffice it to say for now that clearly remembering a forgotten event in the distant past is not the same as truly reliving it. July 1982. [6]See Ernest R. 1991). Baker. when in fact it is only illustrated by it. 1971. We will see this more clearly as we examine the nature of suggestion and suggestibility. Here is the confluence of hypnosis and neurosis. Hypnosis: Scientific Approach (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold." On the 12th day of his life. all neurotics are to some degree in a trance. your hand. Bloom. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis.. Strachey (Ed. Hilgard. Michael and Dryden." From this revisiting of his past. He then used self-hypnosis to "home in on" a distant. (1893). Volume 25." Neurosis divorces one from proper perception and narrows it to a more and more reduced field." "not all there. 175. Hypnotherapy: A Handbook. then its depth corresponds to the degree of neurosis. Edwin had an insight: "The allegory of the woman in my life denying me liquid refreshment is obvious. Peter B. By virtue of dissociation from prepotent inner realities. he was able to change his behavior in similar situations. 221-224.). 1969). pp. pp. The Hypnotic Brain. . Philadelphia: Open University Press. Vol. repressed memory." In subsequent chapters I will discuss whether hypnotherapy really can lift repression and eliminate neurosis. Hilgard. Robert A. 173. 2. even memories of events going all the way back to birth. It is simply a given to be stamped out. Some General Comments About Ericksonian Hypnotherapy. where is reality? In your head. living in his head totally detached from his feelings. and retorted something like "fix it yourself. 1975. She doesn't have far to go. as it must be whenever a symptom is take for THE problem instead of a manifestation of a problem. 80. 36. 241. 36. He continuously seeks fulfillment while attempting to avoid experiencing the reality of deprivation." He later consulted medical records in order to confirm the memory. S. “Where else would it be?”) Back to Table of Contents | Next chapter >> [1]_Michael D. If the hypnotic trance is only a specialized demonstration of the neurotic state. there is no dialectic process. and so unlike me that I felt I had to analyze it. In J.[15] 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). hypnosis makes plain just how far down the levels of consciousness neurosis exists. his mother had had to stop breastfeeding him due to a breast abscess. Rather than descending into a trance. Neurosis is a way of life. The Effect of Suggestion on Past-Lives Regression. Jonathan Venn. you had a bad day too? Let's talk about it. Sigmund Freud: Collected Papers (Vol. Edwin uses this case report as evidence of the accuracy of memories retrieved under hypnosis. Introduction to Psychology (New York: Harcourt Brace.

1980). Because of this. Suggestibility is defined by Yapko. and the demand characteristics of the hypnoidal relationship. Erickson on Hypnosis. They were divided into three groups of 20 each. 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. and tastes in accordance with the suggestions in apparent contradiction to the stimuli that impinge upon him. He seems to respond in an uncritical.5. p. suggestion refers to statements made by the hypnotist intended to influence the hypnotic subject. 1975). Vol. Introduction to Psychology (New York: Harcourt Brace. [11]Ernest R. that person's words. Current Research in Neurosciences. automatic fashion. pp. suggestibility is central to the question of how to distinguish between a real memory and a "pseudo-memory" which may have been elicited. feels. there is great variation in the depth and type of trance manifested. Originally published by The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. The most obvious of these are the suggestions used to induce the hypnotic trance itself. Of the group exposed to supportive comments. new information. 18-82. Many Memories Retrieved with Hypnosis are Accurate. Even memory and awareness of self may be altered by suggestion. Of the leading hypnosis researchers. as discussed below). 1. 1970). 185-187. only Barber believes hypnotic induction procedures are irrelevant. Suggestion is also the basis of a hypnosis subject's belief that hypnotism can help him in some way. What produces a trance in the first place? What accounts for what occurs during the trance and for variations in it? Furthermore. Baker showed how easily most "normal human subjects" can be hypnotized as well as "persuaded" to "remember" their prior incarnations." Collected Papers of Milton H. they did. January 1994. much ado has been made in the last several decades over discovering and developing efficient hypnotic induction techniques. Edited by H. [14]P . October. manner. Richard Atkinson. Vol. 17 of 20 later reported returning to "another life" while under hypnosis. Brain. April. Erickson. and if they did not expect to have one. Yakovlev. Hilgard and Josephine R. 36:3. [15]Edwin. expectations held by the subjects. 174-176. fifth edition)." or suggested by a psychotherapist. CA: William Kaufmann. In hypnosis. In the absence of suggestibility. * Most hypnosis subjects are highly suggestible and easily influenced by the hypnotist's tone of voice. In a 1982 study. Rossi (New York: Irvington. "implanted."[2] Suggestion is the hypnotherapist's principal tool. a leading hypnotherapist. 1971.[4] which in turn affects how responsive the subject is to the hypnotist's later suggestions. Basel. Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain (Los Altos. Edited by Ernest L. Erickson on Hypnosis. * The idea of having lived before seems both appealing and powerful. only two did so. The more common belief is that the techniques play an important role in establishing rapport with the subject. Suggestibility on the part of the subject makes him "open" to the hypnotist's suggestive ideas. ignoring all aspects of the environment other than those made relevant by the hypnotist. Baker came to a number of conclusions: * If subjects expected to have a past-life experience. or by hypnotic techniques employed. 87-135. Erickson. and Behavior. they did not. smells. 21. [13]Milton H. and the effects of the suggestions may be extended (post-hypnotically) into subsequent waking activity. Edited by Ernest L. pp. pp. Apparently with no will of his own. 1980). 1967. Robert A. or be hypnotically transported into the past. Originally published in Psychosomatic Medicine. In the ongoing controversy within the psychotherapeutic community over the retrieval of repressed memories of childhood abuse." Collected Papers of Milton H. and * Rather than evidencing the reality of reincarnation. he sees. 176-177. The Structure and Functional 'Trinity' of the Body. as "an openness to accepting new ideas. In discussing this study.T. salivate at the "sight" of imaginary fudge. Prior to being hypnotized. much less utilize the trance state for specific ends. "Further Experimental Investigations of Hypnosis: Hypnotic and Nonhypnotic Realities. past-lives regression is "the result of suggestions made by the hypnotist. Chapter 3: The Nature of Hypnotic Suggestion Not everyone can go into a hypnotic trance. Hilgard. 10. the external effects of suggestion can be validly described: The hypnotized individual appears to heed only the communications of the hypnotist. and Rita Atkinson. 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. "Experimentally Elicited Salivary and Related Responses to Hypnotic Visual Hallucinations Confirmed by Personality Reactions. 1943. and attitudes. Wycis (New York: Karger. Hilgard. Sixty undergraduates were hypnotized with the intent of age-regressing them to previous lifetimes. Of the group members exposed to a taped message which ridiculed past-lives therapy. 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. 2.[10]Milton H. Rossi (New York: Irvington. For those who can go into a hypnotic trance. [12]Ernest R.[3] Hypnosis is supposedly "induced" by the giving of suggestion. also known as suggestibility. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. ."[1] It refers to a person's capacity to be influenced by another person. a hypnotist cannot induce a trance.

Views of Suggestion While suggestion is necessary for trance. Perhaps the hypnotist says.. and credibility requires a reduction in critical and evaluative abilities. For example." I shall discuss the role of ideas in altering behavior in subsequent chapters. He will also be able to stop the picture if he wants."[5] Once relaxation is evident. But he focuses not so much on getting the subject to believe as on evoking and utilizing the subject's own innate potentials." Trying to please her parent or to avoid punishment.. Barber contends that the fact that suggestion operates in everyday life is precisely the point which invalidates the concept of a special hypnotic state. For Erickson. Non-hypnotic procedures that have been shown to produce a high level of responsiveness to suggestions. reverse or fast forward the event. She is no longer spontaneous.' which are incorporated into ongoing cognitions. Charismatic politicians. and zoom in on particular details. having been influenced by hypnotic suggestion used in advertising."[8] For Barber the essence of suggestion as a behavior-shaping force is credibility. Although hypnotic induction procedures are effective in reducing critical attitudes in some subjects. 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. Thus.." may now become a "challenge" suggestion than "Your eyelids are shutting tight. urgings. Most children's personalities are shaped out of direct and indirect parental suggestion. In contrast to Barber.. You cannot open them even if you try. no matter how illogical it may be. the induction procedure began with the subject being told to fix his gaze on a spot above a ceiling lamp. are: According to Barber's research. she cooperates. experience seems to be outside one's usual sense of control and self-direction.Ordinary hypnotic inductions begin with simple suggestions for relaxation that are easily accepted and acted upon by the subject." more intent on "not making waves" and catering to other people's desires than on expressing our own individuality. keep going back and back and back. "You are falling into a deep sleep" is the suggestion which most readily comes to mind. by contrast.. 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. the subject may have been instructed to re-enter a trance state whenever he sees the hypnotist scratch his chin. 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. The child obeys "if she knows what's good for her. 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. suggestion was an important element in inducing trance. presumably by reducing critical attitudes. the hypnotist attempts to "deepen" the hypnotic trance. In one approach to inducing age regression. it is not because the subject is in a "trance" or "hypnotized" in the popular sense of these terms.. it also occurs outside of hypnosis. For example. therapeutic ideas that would block or alter old. while it was suggested that a "warm light globe" in the center of his head was moving slowly and systematically through his body. or mild advice – could be called a hypnotic induction technique.. to give rise to localized skin inflammation that had the specific pattern of a previously experienced burn..[9] . such as by suggesting increasing distortions in perception and memory. tighter. we buy certain products and choose certain brands for reasons we are not aware of.there are no clear demarcations from the usual state to the trance state. and to cure warts and stimulate breast development in adult women." or throws her a look to the same effect." 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. among others." The next step is "utilization. It happens when a person lacks the critical thinking ability to objectively analyze whether something is "real" or not.[6] In order to prolong a desired hypnotic effect. For instance. can induce a sort of waking trance in some people."[7] "Trance logic. an earlier suggestion to the subject that "Your eyelids are becoming heavier and heavier until they finally close. Erickson viewed hypnotic suggestion as something qualitatively different from non-hypnotic suggestion – a means of communicating new. back to a time long ago. non-therapeutic ideas: Ordinary. The parent tells the child to "be good" or "keep quiet. trance is not necessary to elicit hypnotic-type responses – but suggestion and credibility When hypnotic induction procedures are helpful. 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. any technique which achieves this – be it exhortations. "I want you to go back in your mind." or the hypnosis subject's unquestioning acceptance of suggested reality. and we carry them out in a voluntary manner. "warming and relaxing the muscles and melting the tension as it moved." or using suggestion to make the subject do certain things or be transported in a certain direction. everyday. also occurs outside of hypnosis. He hypothesized that "'believed-in suggestions. tighter. instead her behavior adheres to the parent's instructions. 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. such as when someone fervently believes in Heaven or in his guru's prophecy that Armageddon is coming. known as the "television technique. Yapko agrees: "The trance state is a state differing from everyday mental experience only by degrees and not kind. affect blood supply in the localized areas" to produce the above phenomena. Many of us grow up "not ourselves. such as to regress him into his own past. when you first rode a bicycle. Hypnotic suggestion. more ordinary procedures are often equally effective. In the study on past-life regression mentioned above. the hypnotist may give post-hypnotic suggestions for the subject to respond to at a later time. with the subject's eyes focused on a shiny object dangling from a string and swinging back and forth. wherever and whenever that may occur. Here the key term is "believed-in suggestions. Most of us respond consciously and unconsciously to suggestions on a daily basis and throughout our lives." and so on. is different in that the patient is surprised to find that experience and behavior are altered in a seemingly autonomous manner. He agreed with Barber that suggestions had to be believed in and incorporated in order to be effective.

trance is a special state that facilitates the acceptance of suggestion.. and expects in that situation. before and after induction of hypnosis. neurosis does not affect hypnotizability in either direction).e. For Barber. and imagination). Barber's view. It seems that Hilgard and Barber are presenting opposite viewpoints. He points out that of the 60 or more studies that have investigated personality characteristics in relation to hypnotizability. so surely characteristics particular to childhood (such as an active fantasy life and a willingness to follow directions) must play a role in hypnotizability.. fluctuational one: the hypnotic situation. Gender makes no difference in responsiveness.He is interested in the life of the mind. second. hypnotizability. the results are either negative (no relationship between personality and hypnotizability) or conflicting (one study finds a relationship. but age does.For Erickson. withdrawn. "Trance. and the Barber Suggestibility Scale – seem to indicate that most people are susceptible to minor hypnotic phenomena.[10] Hilgard explains: The hypnotizable person is one who has rich subjective experiences in which he can become deeply involved. More important. on the other hand. or neurotic individuals do not generally make as good subjects as normal outgoing individuals.[11] But that's not all. have pointed to the importance of early childhood experiences.[13] Moreover. together with what the person wants. Interestingly enough. or personality plays only a very minor role in it. This willingness constituted the single most important factor in the acceptance of suggestion. both view the acceptance of suggestion as a process involving the reduction of conscious mental processes in one way or another. the more hypnotizable). According to Hilgard. Experiences of a particular kind appear to either generate or maintain the abilities that enter into hypnotizability. To explain this dilemma Barber suggests that either we don't yet have the tools to tap the aspects of personality related to hypnosis. of suspending the subject's critical thinking. Erickson's view of hypnotizability combined some of both. or the aesthetic appreciation of nature. the lesshypnotizable). . is a matter of the mind. Hilgard's view of hypnotizability is an intradynamic. mental status. the research indicates only that (1) two people with very different personalities may be equally hypnotizable. Yapko discusses a related factor: the relationship between self-esteem and hypnotizability. while about 1 out of every 4 persons is capable of a profound hypnotic response. the more neurotic. through instilling a habit of automatic and unquestioned obedience.e.[12] [Italics added] Hilgard's point of view here provides a very interesting polarity regarding hypnotizability. The trick is to word 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. "does not ensure the acceptance of suggestion"[14] – but willingness does. 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." wrote Erickson.He is willing to accept impulses from within and is not afraid to relinquish reality testing for a time. Suggestion. thus practicing the dissociations that are later to be used in hypnosis.[15] Yapko also mentions the "need for acceptance.. therefore. hypnotic responsiveness. Several other studies found no relationship whatsoever (i. this individual's high suggestibility makes it easy for him to be strongly influenced by someone else's values or dictates. through a tendency to escape the harassment by moving off into a realm of imagination. static one: the person's internal imaginative capacities largely determine a degree of hypnotic responsiveness that remains fairly constant over time. Although the evidence is sketchy and contradictory. and attempts to correlate degree of hypnotizability with specific personality traits and characteristics (such as intelligence.Interviews with hundreds of subjects. Measurements on the scales that have been developed to measure “hypnotizability” – The Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale. 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. Lacking a strong sense of self. Views of Suggestibility The degree to which a person responds to suggestions is variously termed suggestibility. was the subject's own willingness to experience hypnosis. music. and hypnotic susceptibility. Perhaps. trance is a fallacious term for procedures that reduce critical faculties and thereby facilitate the acceptance of suggestion. such as through the use of suggestion. while another study found a negative correlation (i.. and (2) two people with very similar personalities may vary drastically in their susceptibility to hypnosis. Although he stated that "anyone who can be socialized can be hypnotized. determines a responsiveness that varies from one situation and time to the next..." which may be particularly . Apparently we are most hypnotizable when children. willingness was more important than trance in the matter of suggestibility. feels. he suggests.. religion.. the more neurotic. A capacity to become deeply involved in imaginative experiences derives from parents who are themselves deeply involved in such areas as reading. For Barber. evidence indicates that more troubled." 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. On one hand there is the very healthy individual who "has rich subjective experiences in which he can become deeply involved. However. 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. is an interdynamic. one study found a positivecorrelation between "neuroticism" and hypnotizability (i. Barber's views on hypnotizability are quite different from Hilgard's.e. there has been some success in developing reliable measurement scales but almost no success in correlating personality characteristics with hypnotizability. Research in this area has gone in two particular directions: attempts to develop scales that reliably "measure" hypnotizability. another does not). Barber does not agree with Hilgard that imagination or any other personality characteristic contributes to hypnotizability. it is the situation rather than the personality that ultimately determines degree of hypnotic responsiveness." 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. however. He does not appear to be a weak or dependent person. this is true. In fact. For example..

hope. is in the service of survival. money. too. or does it simply elicit the child still inherent in the adult neurotic? I take the latter position because. These suggestions were usually given indirectly. These "post-neurotic" suggestions run our lives. they continue to guide us long after they were uttered or otherwise communicated to us. People would come from all over the world to be hypnotized by Milton Erickson. denied.." "Touching is for sissies. more susceptible to outer influences. The crucial question is. the subject has to trust the person offering the suggestions." or that "God is watching over you" – even when that idea is false. and uncritical. The first level of consciousness is not so plastic or malleable. Levels of Consciousness and Hypnosis The third level of consciousness is the most "plastic" area of the brain. a world at odds with his deepest needs and feelings. the hypnotic subject is naive.. It is the function of third-level processes to provide us with external orientation. soothing. It doesn't matter how seemingly adult the person may be in everyday life. prodding away at us from the inside: "You're worthless. This imperviousness of the first level is clearly a survival mechanism. 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. whose thoughts are not dissociated from his feelings. there is an emotional component to an individual's expectations regarding hypnosis.'"[16] My Interpretation of Suggestion and Suggestibility Statements such as. This. Hypnosis simply provides another situation in which to re-enact and perpetuate their suggestibility (which is really their dependency). you have to be psychologically still a child to be hypnotizable in the first place. Susceptibility to suggestion is based on a lifetime of experiences with the subsequent dissociation needed to defend against Pain. the subject has to want it to work (Erickson's willingness factor. According to Yapko. For example. however.. for instance.." and on and on. does hypnotic suggestion actually create childlike behavior. Since he views the hypnotist as an authoritative individual who can offer perspective. the critical brain may have a very hard time staying out "in front" or "on top. " "You'll never be good enough. "the less likely he is to experience anything that contradicts it. and who is not engaged in battling Primal Pain and need with repression. as I have argued. When presented with an authority figure whose very demeanor speaks to unmet need (it is simple. it deals with survival functions and therefore is not as susceptible to change imposed by fluctuations in external circumstances.sleep well.. First. 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. and possibly solutions for what ails him or her. To avoid this he becomes heavily engaged in living out the post-hypnotic (post-dissociation) suggestions of his childhood. Still being a child means still being run by the needs of childhood which were neglected. and time in something. The chance to relax in the safety of another's care is just too enticing to bypass. accepting suggestion may be all that many people have ever done. The subject has sought the hypnotist's help and implicitly believes that hypnosis can be helpful. even if 'only a little. it can be easily "deceived. seemingly adult behavior may only be a way of defending against the pressing childish need. who enjoys a state of inner connection. I do not believe it is possible to hypnotize a person who is in full possession of himself." "Big boys don't cry. pliant. And third. and hope)." "Take care of Mommy." "Your eyes are getting heavy. As Erickson noted earlier. Indeed.When people invest money." writes Yapko. But why would a person wish to put himself at the disposal of another's suggestion? Most neurotics are simply bone weary. Yapko's "investment" of time. non-analytic. which can contribute to suggestibility. Moreover. direct and directing)." It can accept as true an idea from the outside – that "Mommy loves you. "You feel drowsy." "Lie because if you tell the truth you'll be punished. open to direction. depending on what we must adapt to. The neurotic is "not all there" in his everyday life. In fact the actions and suggestions of the hypnotist conjure up in my mind the picture of an attentive. that person would soon die. literal-minded. if it were possible (which it is not) to program someone to have a continuing pulse rate of 250 through hypnotic suggestion." Having someone else do the thinking and the suggesting are pleasures for which most neurotics have waited a lifetime. To be fully present would mean feeling his repressed Pain. As one moves up the levels of consciousness. "Many of them came thousands of miles to be put in a trance by him. and into a trance they went!" Furthermore." and "You are going into a deep sleep" have no inherent power to cause or induce drowsiness. sometimes as much by what was not said as by what was. he is predisposed to accept the hypnotist's suggestions. loving parent sitting on the child's bed at the end of a day and encouraging him to "Go to sleep. events. caring. Also to be taken into account is the hypnotist's reputation. He has had to adopt false concepts about himself and the world in order to survive. they may both be susceptible to hypnosis because of the deprivation.strong among those with low self-esteem and which may predispose them to be good (suggestible) hypnosis subjects. or abused. Even though two people react differently to deprivation in childhood and have radically different personalities. and more adaptable. It appears that hypnotic suggestions are accepted only when there is a predisposition to accept them.sweet dreams. they desperately want it to work. For . he has to believe that the hypnotist's pronouncement of the words will produce the expected result. advice. the functions become more alterable." As a child is the key because the hypnotized person is childlike. They stick in the mind. This adaptability can work against us as easily as it works for us. Because of this plasticity. Such a person is not in the neurotic's trance and cannot therefore be susceptible to hypnotic suggestions. Indeed it might take more effort not to succumb to hypnotic suggestion than to do so. "The more emotional investment the person has in that expectation. This means that the third level must be able to perceive as well as adapt to new conditions.. Second. The neurotic has been forced to adapt to an unreal world. reassuring. and ideas.

Within a few minutes upon awakening. When we allow the second level its proper function. it is simply different.instance. Many of us appear to have adapted well to false ideas and sick values. are hypnotizing soldiers to behave and not ask why. however. Without a solidified third level – that is. it is global rather than specific. Eventually we may come to believe our parents' ideas about our reality rather than believing our own experience of it. and unhappiness. shouting out certain phrases over and over. "Do I agree with this idea and want to act on it?". This is why the intellect can believe it is well-adapted even when it is not. courses of action. Thus although the child brain would retain its neurological identity. The second level is intuitive rather than cognitive. This explains why posthypnotic suggestions can work: the new parent-authority (the hypnotist) has put information into the second level or childbrain. While we are dreaming we are unaware of what is happening in the room we are in. 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. it may be necessary to believe her when she says she loves him. perceiving. and so on. We are also unaware of what is happening in our own body. 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 it can believe its owner's needs are fulfilled even when they are not. and we continue to function despite great Pain. Out of necessity we accept these ideas. it is not this fact alone which makes us hypnotizable. without the reality concepts adults have – children are easily able to accept someone else's version of reality. and it is immediate rather than mediated. 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. that Daddy loves us even though he is never home. 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. our feelings occur first and then our minds come along afterwards to articulate the feelings. The same situation occurs in the dream state. and so on – followers have been known to enact their leader's hypnotic suggestions. Instead of mediating adult realities. addressing the child brain would have little or no effect. that Mommy wants us even though she doesn't act like it. waking realities. just as the neurotic parents did when the person was a child. Although our childhood brain is contained within our later-developing adult brain. we cannot get well unconsciously. it provides us with a kind of global "gut response" to such questions as. That is precisely why fairy tales are so effective for children: they love entering fantasized worlds in which reality changes with each word. “Yours is to do and not ask why. The hypnotized person is operating from a lower (different) level of consciousness than is usual in the waking state. leader-follower relationship in which the authority figure is able to appeal to the follower's unfulfilled childhood need. 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. 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. we want to accept and which we want to reject. Waco. no matter how bizarre. turning on a dime together. "Do I want to live the way I've been living?". due to the way she treats him. we are unaware of the whirring of a fan or the noises emanating from the television. This is similar to what occurs in any dominant-subordinate. Thus the Taliban are willing to behead a poor. we experience a renewal of sensory inputs and pain. because the full realization that his mother does not love him would be emotionally shattering. In extreme cases – Jonestown. as I have pointed out.. we again perceive the room. as it should be. which it obediently receives and later acts upon out of habit. In neurosis. and becomes an instrument of the leader's will. the innate adaptability of the third level is taken advantage of as a means of repressing and dissociating from pain. which are really commands. it is neither magical. the child is wide open to believing it. however. With his critical thinking abilities suspended. It is a good parallel to hypnosis. From the Primal viewpoint. "Is this person right for me?". depressions. The third level can then articulate the gut response via specific ideas and concepts. marching back and forth. In many ways. As I said. personal source of evaluation. for a child who does not feel loved by his mother. but to what his parents tell him he should think and feel and do. A fully-integrated self could not be delineated along the lines of child self and adult self. one needs all levels of consciousness for true feeling. which have been repressed. the third level of consciousness is meant to serve the second. the military in reproducing monotonous behavior. "Do I want to follow this career?". but there are always telltale signs that this is not really true: symptoms and illnesses. we have the notion of a magically altered state of consciousness. that the family is ideal when it clearly is not. Whether it is harmless fantasy or harmful parental attitudes. the follower parrots the leader's ideas. driven by the need to be accepted and loved and felt worthy. As children we are fed ideas that we are happy when we are not. through neurosis. Indeed we can adapt. whole self which functioned as such. This is because the third level is disengaged during sleep in order to block out external. anxieties. He responds not to gut feelings. sorting. We are at the mercy of ideas (suggestions) with little or no way to screen them.” There is one point to clarify. Every aspect of the developing selfhood would have been incorporated to form a seamless. The fact that children are more hypnotizable than adults also suggests that for the adult hypnosis depends upon third-level disengagement. In one sense. for it is the second level that provides us with a personal sense of self. 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. Because the hypnotic subject is unaware of what is going on outside of him. it would not manifest as separate or differentiated at the psychological and behavioral levels. But the second level doesn't "know" in the same way that the third level knows. we again feel the pain. nervous habits and compulsions. This pattern of deceptive adaptation is usually well established in childhood. and responding to waking realities – and hence. To go to sleep is to become unconscious which is the same in hypnosis. to the point of giving away their spouses and even killing at the leader's behest. we can continue to function – but at what price? The second or feeling level of consciousness ideally acts as a safeguard against the plasticity of the intellect. we do not feel the headache we had when we went to bed. It is the fact that. helpless woman who may have unwittingly shown too much ankle or leg. Third-level disconnection helps to keep the pain from being felt because. etc. nor altered. the child brain retains the functional quality of childishness.[17]Indeed. When it re-engages upon awakening. At this point he gives up personal feeling for so-called parental love. For example. values. Through our feeling responses we can evaluate and discriminate which ideas. it immediately resumes its job of attending. In an adult whose history was one of healthy integration. special. the neurotic adult brain is still heavily . 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.

Hypnosis.D. A third level working for a child will be drawn to external situations which serve a child's needs. pp." American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. ("Predicting dissociative experiences: imagination. a small child cannot understand and certainly cannot accept the fact that his mother does not love him. Interestingly. Hypnotic Realities. 93. the majority of fantasy-prone persons are highly hypnotizable. There is another class of people who. which makes it ultimately non-curative. Hypnosis is non-dialectic. [7]Trancework. Guardedness to the point of paranoia may be at work." Trancework. Barber. July 1982. and psychopathology. The suggestions have nothing on which to hook themselves. while others cling to their possession of reality with an iron grip.X. passivity. op cit. 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. p." writes Yapko. cannot be characterized as resistant. [2]Baker. 253(13)." American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. the surrender of reality to another's care could not be more welcome. p. it makes for too great a vulnerability. pp. [9]Erickson. Suggestions. p. [10]Lynn and Nash (Jan. and because falsification is already firmly established. and Personality. 228. or that God will save and protect you – will be accepted because they suit these defensive purposes. M. 43. Hypnotic Realities. April 5. which is the source of the patient's neurosis. [5]Baker. the very factors which make for hypnotizability in some people evoke resistance in others. To an integrated self – one which is free of unresolved Pain and repression – hypnotic suggestion makes no sense. Robert A.involved in mediating a child' s reality.. 1994) maintain that "increased fantasy and decreased objectivity" underlie suggestibility." Imagination. "The Effect of Suggestion on Past-Lives Regression. 13-25. and alcohol use. Some people simply do not possess the willingness to "go under" which is so necessary for the induction of a trance state. as I pointed out. and dependency serve the defensive purposes of one sort of neurosis." American Psychologist. 20. et al.) According to Lynn and Rhue (1988). Hypnotic suggestion. it utilizes the neurotic split in consciousness."American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. "Hypnosis. . 12. They may be afraid of revealing things (as they feel it) involuntarily. psychopathology. whereas to another they are threatening.. "arising when your client feels you have an understanding of his experience. 176. 35-44. ("Truth in memory: ramifications for psychotherapy and hypnotherapy. [12]Ibid. [6]Council on Scientific Affairs. passive acceptance of suggestion. For instance.. 25(1). then. Repression rushes in to keep the Pain of rejection from consciousness. 175-176. takes advantage of an innate third-level plasticity and an established state of disconnection which it both reveals and amplifies. 71-76. [4]"The process of discovering what your client wants and how to best reach him is the process of acquiring rapport. [13]Barber. 88. it does not address this sub-surface reality. Perhaps the child remains docile and agreeable.. In short. p. p. [3]Encyclopedia Britannica. [8]T. 1985." ("Fantasy proneness: hypnosis. (New York: Brunner/Mazel. Some people do not want to lose control by placing themselves in someone else's hands. fantasy. but deep inside a whole other reality churns.. it was asserted that a link exists between imagination. 36(3). Introduction to Psychology." Journal of the American Medical Association.. et al. and Psychosomatic Phenomena: A New Look from the Standpoint of Recent Experimental Studies. Instead. 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. et al. hypnotizability. [11]Hilgard. though not susceptible to hypnosis. 15th Edition. pp. may nullify attempts to hypnotize some people. it makes others highly resistant. 287-300. A simple lack of susceptibility. it targets symptoms of neurosis rather than the neurosis itself. 73-74. Back to Table of Contents | Next chapter >> [1]_Yapko. _____. 140. just as neurosis makes some people highly susceptible to hypnotic procedures. 102. p. such as psychotherapies or religions which are reassuring and quell a child's Pain. This is what happens when our needs go unmet when we're little. To some people. Trancework: An Introduction to the Practice of Clinical Hypnosis. Resistance denotes an active defensiveness. "Scientific Status of Refreshing Recollection by the Use of Hypnosis.. and dissociation. developmental antecedents. 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.) In a study by Segal and Lynn (1992-93). and often the generator of somatic symptoms as well. Submission. 1918-1923. So. 194-208. Cognition. 1979. p. 1990). [14]Erickson. however. p. 1981. False ideas – such as that you can relive and resolve a past trauma in hypnosis.

it may end up providing us with valuable information about what must be mankind's most altered state: neurosis... pp.the sensation of no sensation.....tingling more. It thus: (1) arises out of the pre-established mechanisms of defense which are integral to neurosis. in the end.. responding to suggestions (while hypnotized or awake). Jan. divergent).[15]In some instances. Jan. Hypnosis experiments therefore provide excellent models for illustrating the mechanisms through which neurosis is induced and maintained.." ("Many memories retrieved with hypnosis are accurate. This is suggestion." ("Truth in memory: ramifications for psychotherapy and hypnotherapy. and alert or in trance they can produce a "memory" that is called for or suggested by an authority figure. "The person in pain is capable of using her mind to change her perception of the pain. Ernest Hilgard outlines hypnotic methods and techniques now commonly used to abolish or alter the personal experience of pain.a tingling..as if they were guitar strings you were unwinding.and isn't it both interesting and soothing to discover the sensation of no sensation there? That's right."[5] For example.. 127-128. different.and this ability is amplified with hypnosis. pleasing comfortable feeling of numbness there...and whenever you have had a part of you become numb. [17]In very young children it would be more accurate to say that the third level is undeveloped rather than disengaged. people have even confessed to crimes they did not commit. understanding how neurosis works will provide clues as to how hypnotic pain control is possible. You're making too much of it!" "Stop acting like a baby!" All phrases . as follows: As you feel your arms and legs getting heavier. It doesn't really hurt. 36(3). Each technique either redefines the pain or "shifts the person's awareness away from the bodily sensation(s) under consideration. the hypnotist may offer suggestions for a lack of sensation in the relevant body area. The use of hypnosis for pain control illustrates my thesis that hypnosis works because the "trance state" of neurosis is already established. Edwin adds: "It is well known that people are suggestible in the waking state and more so in hypnosis. The similarity supports the theory that.and as you see those muscles in your abdomen relax.."[2] Whether one is transforming severe abdominal cancer pain into an annoying but bearable itch on the foot. Experiments in hypnotic pain control demonstrate that one can become unconscious to some extent of physical pain.) [16]Trancework... Hypnotic pain control measures are of interest at this point precisely because they demonstrate the degree to which the human brain can restructure reality." American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis.. 174-176. Investigating ongoing human processes in a controlled and scientific manner is nearly impossible. in the use of "direct suggestion of analgesia" for a client experiencing stomach pain.. Chapter 4: 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. Hypnotic pain control actually involves a conscious and circumscribed activation of an imprinted neurotic process which is composed of physical. 194-208. 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. chemical. 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. the brain does not distinguish between physical and emotional pain.. 91-98.e. pp... altered state.. According to Yapko..relaxing. and also indicate how this occurs... and constitutes one of the most meaningful applications of therapeutic hypnosis. (2) isspecial only to the degree that pathology is special (i.. not therapy.[4] More recently. Yapko describes a variety of hypnotic strategies which can facilitate analgesia. "When persons are uncertain about what they did or did not do and come to distrust their memories. and neurological alterations in functioning.[3] Among them are the clinical pain control techniques Erickson spent over forty years developing.. the neurophysiological mechanisms involved in the restructuring of painful realities into endurable ones remain the same. "Stop whining.. So while hypnosis is not a special or altered state. 36(3).the tingle of comfort. Conversely. and (3) is altered only to the degree that the pathology of neurosis has already altered one's entire physiology." write Lynn and Nash. investigating contrived situations that appear to utilize the same or similar mechanisms is not.you can see the muscles in your abdomen loosening. not registering the discomfort of one's hand immersed in ice water.[6] Isn't that what parents do to children? "You're not sad.. Views of Hypnotic Pain Control In his book on pain and hypnosis. Stop with that depressive act and smile!" The child hurts his knee and the parent says. 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. like an arm or leg that fell asleep. you can feel a pleasant tingle.[1] Introduction Hypnotic pain control has always been viewed as a dramatic testimony to hypnosis as a special. or repressing the Pain of being left alone in an orphanage. My intent is to show the opposite.like the pleasing tingle in your abdomen now." American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. 1994. 1994.you could feel the same tingle . "they are particularly vulnerable to suggestive and coercive influences.

contending that the motivation for denying pain is present in the relationship between the doctor and the patient. bathed in perspiration. the patient. who finally proved to be an excellent somnambulistic subject. The next was the serving to her of a pint of rich soup. When the stakes are high enough. It is easy to imagine a subject not having anything better to do than achieve what is being asked of him. not even us. We are in a sort of coma but no one notices. but this was almost always controlled by aspirin. Instead. dissociation. a most inadequate dosage for her physical needs. that for a while you have no left arm. shifted. converted. Yet whatever the technique. you come up with a rather hefty list of methods. Each particular pain control technique requires a different set of suggestions and taps into different physiological processes. Or when a child begins to cry after falling down. One method is to deny the existence of the painful bodily member. Hilgard and Erickson thought so. one's attention can be directed away from the pain via hallucination and/or age regression. For example. 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. although he did receive daily reports about her condition from her husband. such as positive and negative hallucinations in the modalities of vision.. a state of consciousness intrinsic to the subject would be responsible. reframed. altered. If you put all of the techniques for hypnotic pain control together. 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. and the subject commonly reports that he feels nothing. Erickson describes the various hypnotic techniques the patient learned. It would also suggest a strong motivational factor which. "Look at this!" The child can no longer feel what he feels. After this single all-night session. We have utilized this method successfully in the laboratory following reports of its clinical use. If Barber were correct. It seems likely that Barber's viewpoint of pleasing the hypnotist could be true in laboratory-experimental situations. This compartmentalization was an evolutionary mechanism to keep the Pain at bay and allow us to function. smell. on the other hand. Sometimes a second dose of aspirin with codeine .[8] Whether or not such a subject's report is genuine again raises the question of a special or altered state of consciousness. Erickson treated a 35-year-old woman five weeks prior to her death from lung cancer[9]. touch. Barber. and the third was the successful insistence upon an hour's restful physiological sleep. the woman died. relocated. transferred. or condensed into a few seconds duration. By 6:00 a. suggested away. Your arm is gone only temporarily. Hilgard points out that all hypnotic pain control methods "make use of the dissociative possibilities within hypnosis. explained the phenomenon in terms of normal (non-special) psychodynamics. glove and stocking anesthesias to be used over her entire body. She had spent the previous month "almost continuously in a narcotic stupor to counteract unbearable pain. and kinesthesia. by contrast. Now and then she would suffer pain. the experience of it can be partially or entirely forgotten. were clearly too weak to care about helping him succeed as a hypnotherapist. In another technique known as "glove anesthesia. "Think that you have no left arm. Before his arm is stimulated by lowering it into circulating ice water the subject is told. Erickson worked with many terminally ill patients who. partial analgesias for superficial and deep sensations. a whole world of experience is going on below decks but we are focused on the mast."[7] [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. dissociation seems to be the primary ingredient in hypnotic pain control.rather than outer-directed.m. Five weeks after the session. numbing the pain in one's chest involves different physiological processes from relocating it from the chest to the right thumb. substituted for. Hilgard uses an excellent example: Directing attention away from pain can be achieved in more than one way. In most cases such patients desperately desire the success of hypnotic relief for the purely personal reason of wanting to die in peace.that change the hurt into something else. you will find it amusing. hearing. displaced. An arm that does not exist does not feel anything. it would mean that dramatic hypnotic effects were fundamentally independent of outer factors (such as the presence of the hypnotist). Does the subject experience no pain in the arm – indeed no arm at all – because of an altered hypnotic state? Predictably. we go to work and carry out our duties. "in the midst of a happy social conversation with a neighbor and a relative. This light stage of hypnosis was immediately utilized to induce her to permit three things to be accomplished. only an empty sleeve. however.m. We can all revert to different brains within our skulls. would be self. period. But there also appear to be far more complex factors involved when real-life situations are considered. We are compartmentalized. But however it is stated. or substituted." The arm is then stimulated by icy water." Erickson writes: During that five-week period she had been instructed to feel free to accept whatever medication she needed." 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. We are all capable of separating levels of consciousness from one another. If Hilgard and Erickson were correct. and the subject's inward desire to please him. not alarming. taste. had been taught successfully everything considered to be essential to meet the needs of her situation. bedridden and racked with pain. Pain can be numbed. Erickson did not see the patient again. to dissociate it from conscious awareness. or one can induce a straightforward anesthesia or analgesia. but one considered adequate for the immediate situation." the patient is given suggestions which lead her to experience anesthesia or numbness in one hand or both hands. suffering acutely from constant pain and greatly exhausted. reinterpreted. Look down and see that there is no left arm there. deep sensation.Approximately four hours of continuous effort were required before a light trance could be induced. the parents will do everything to distract him. it doesn't matter who is or is not present. diminished. all of which she had consistently refused to allow in the very intensity of her desire to be hypnotized. It would also mean that this "complaisancy motivation" involved neuro-psychophysiological mechanisms capable of mediating remarkable alterations in perception and function.. and body disorientation and body dissociation.. The first of these was the hypodermic administration of 1/8 grain of morphine sulfate. The various techniques share a common point of convergence: The hypnotist uses ideas in order to transform the subject's experience of pain. that is. it can and often does successfully provide at least some alleviation of discomfort. So even though childhood pain churns a tempest below the third-line.

perhaps there is some part of you that is hearing my voice and processing the information. in a previous demonstration. The subject was told that one arm would be put in ice water while the other would be put "out of awareness. conscious awareness of pain is not totally eradicated in hypnosis. According to Hilgard. If we accept it as accurate.. and back down to the physical system. pain can be temporarily abolished simply by the intervention of more compelling concerns. The instructor agreed to test this by a method rebated to interrogation practices used by clinical hypnotists. he would become completely deaf to all sounds. He was completely indifferent to any questions asked of him while hypnotically deaf. In other words. reportedly wrote "Ouch. involuntary physiologic indicators of it continue to register: blood pressure. damn it. One can sometimes change the blood pressure with hypnosis. who had his hypnotically-dissociated arm pricked several times with a hypodermic needle. but the pain remains and remains and remains. he was given the suggestion that. Otherwise. Although you are hypnotically deaf. he may be understanding it so that. I felt my finger rise in a way that was not a spontaneous twitch. Other research in the field indicates that although felt pain may be reduced. and other procedures. shown lack of responsiveness to the shots of a starter's pistol.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. Loud sounds were then made close to the subject's head by banging together some large wooden blocks. In everyday life." It turned out that as she verbally reported no pain in the icy hand. a sprained back. 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. Whatever the particular circumstances. If there is. To be both blind and deaf would have been a frightening experience for the subject. at the third level of consciousness. contrary to what was traditionally assumed. such as those that find expression in night dreams. none was expected. at the count of three. its physical reality in the body is not. with one exception: the conscious appreciation of it. except that any visual cues were eliminated. so you must have done something to make it rise." She was then asked to report verbally on how much pain she was feeling in the icy hand. are the most familiar. He recounts the incident as follows: The subject of the demonstration was a blind student. "As you know. He used "automatic writing" (also "automatic talking") as a tool to "split" the subject's awareness. in response to a serendipitous question on hypnotic deafness. except for her gradual progressive physical deterioration. "Please restore my hearing so you can tell me what you did. there are parts of our nervous system that carry on activities that occur out of awareness. experienced in hypnosis." Meanwhile. the "hidden observer" in each subject reported feeling normal pain while the hypnotized part felt little or not pain. This finding suggests that hypnotic pain control takes place at the cortical or cognitive level of the central nervous system – that is. and temperature are all up. and with various techniques refocused elsewhere. under appropriate circumstances."[10] Hilgard then began experiments to see if the "hidden observer" phenomenon also occurred in hypnotic pain control. Research: The “Hidden Observer” Discovery Erickson often pointed out the naturalistic basis of hypnotic pain control. This suggests that oblivion to pain is only "in the head" (literally. Further.. There was no sign of reaction whatsoever. this subject himself remained oblivious to what was happening. That is. consciousness is diverted from registering pain. Football players can finish a ballgame with broken limbs while barely noticing the pain. 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. After induction of hypnosis.was needed. the next question to ask is this: If the patient is able to successfully dissociate from previously "unbearable pain. such experiments indicate that: A hypnotized subject who is out of contact with a source of stimulation. there may be intellectual processes also of which we are unaware.. but we must never imagine that one can erase a pain that is imprinted into every cell of the body. of which control of the circulation of the blood. Watching a suspenseful movie can make us temporarily forget that we have the flu. More interestingly.[11] [Italics added] .. After all. The discovery of this came as quite a surprise to researcher Ernest Hilgard while he was conducting a classroom demonstration. had he not known that his deafness was quite temporary. The pain may be focused here and there." 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." To the surprise of the instructor. or the digestive processes. there was nothing wrong with his ears. asking when the experiment would begin a few minutes after it had already ended. 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. pulse rate. biofeedback. what was unknown to the hypnotized part of him can be uncovered and talked about. Research indicates that while one's apperception of pain may be altered by hypnosis. his blindness was not related to the demonstration. 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. you're hurting me. I should like the index finger of your right hand to rise as a sign that this is the case. in the cortical area of the brain) while the body continues to be affected. and I want to know what you did. 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. it turns out that this cortical oblivion is even incomplete. and on half a dozen occasions 1/8 grain of morphine was needed. while simultaneously writing a response with the hand that was "out of awareness. the finger rose! The subject immediately said. or an ulcer. His hearing would be restored to normal when the instructor's hand was placed on his right shoulder. One student in the class questioned whether "some part" of the subject might be aware of what was going on. However.may nevertheless register information regarding what is occurring. who had volunteered to serve. It is processed as it has always been processed. He addressed the hypnotically deaf subject in a quiet voice. as well as the class. the out-of-awareness hand reported increasing degrees of pain. because the subject had. Another subject.

but investigators have been "unable to come up with a definition that (catches) the single 'essence' of pain. expresses no felt pain bodily. Here the intellect is split in a seamless unity where one part of the intellect sees reality in her science. This is the crux of neurosis: while we may split off from Primal Pain. Another part has all of its critical faculties intact. Both parts (of me) were concentrating on what you said – not to feel pain. In other words. One barrier (running vertically in the diagram) splits cognition into two disconnected compartments and similarly splits voluntary and involuntary responses to pain. Figure 2[15] [Figures omitted in web version] Now what we have – at least diagrammatically – is a brain split in half. never wavering from correct methods. The "hidden observer" has enormous implications for psychology. Hilgard believes this model explains how a person can feel neither pain nor suffering at the conscious level within hypnosis. and communicates no felt pain verbally. He's not sure how. It can be described and its components listed. 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. The hypnotized part really makes an effort. when he himself omitted the sense of pain from his list of man's five senses. 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). Let's take an example of how the countless ways this split occurs outside of experimental situations. The hidden part knows the pain is there but I'm not sure it feels it. I have two separate memories as if two things could have happened to two different people. to restructure communication between cognition and response. they remembered the feeling but they did not feel it. and dissociating from pain. there was no distress or suffering accompanying it. That is why one can be a crazy paranoid with weird ideas and still work and talk intelligently and rationally. exerting a real force and producing all manner of symptoms. . pain was linked to its maiden-opposite of pleasure. So long as one doesn't touch the Pain. On the left side all channels of communication in the overt hypnotic reality of no pain are open and consistent. as shown in Figure 2. It is easy to split the intellect. beyond the common sense notion that we are dealing with what hurts. in the normal waking state. [12] [Original italics] Here we see the split clearly described in the subjects' own words. denying. and thus the pain. but sooner or later we again become aware of it. but it still exists in the lower levels of consciousness. there is no scientific definition of pain. So in the covert hypnotic reality of felt pain. but cannot or does not communicate it. Now we have corroboration that out of mind is not out of body. 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. It means that while we have the capacity for concealing. Pain and Awareness As yet. in Hilgard's terms. but in some way hypnosis results in the erection of two separate communication barriers."[13] As illustrated in Figure 1 below. When the hypnotic state was lifted. the subject registers pain unconsciously and expresses it involuntarily through vital sign indicators. The hypnotized part would vaguely be aware of feeling pain – that's why I would have to concentrate really hard. Hilgard points out that even though there was a high level of sensory pain in these hypnotic subjects. It was not until the nineteenth century that the sensory component of pain was recognized as a physiological and psychological reality."[16] It seems we have made little progress since Aristotle's day. A scientist who is a rigid procedurist. and both were viewed as "passions of the soul" rather than as provinces of science. Before that. According to Yapko. the subjects could remember feeling pain but they did not feel the suffering. believes in the Moonies and is a devotee (a case I know of). it remains within us. the subject registers no felt pain consciously. 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. 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. repressing. 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. yet still register the physiological signs of pain unconsciously. and involuntarily through vital sign indicators. We may be able to remove it from awareness. just as our absorption in a certain task or spectacle may allow us to forget about physical pain for a time. one can deal with the person. to repress emotional pain does not eliminate it nor alleviate the symptoms it produces. and the other part is attending to the Pain below by developing belief systems.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. Hypnotic pain control techniques can temporarily relieve us of physical pain. Similarly. 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. Figure 1[14] [Figures omitted in web version] Hypnosis and suggestion can then be used. The Pain seeps into a part of the intellect and forces it to deal with it while keeping the person unconscious of her motivation. We see the knowing about pain dissociated from the feeling of it. we are not actually getting rid of it.

" Those with emotional or psychological Pain in Terenius' studies had less tolerance to physical pain. his body may be stiff with tension. Through the production of endorphins. He no longer suffers the horrendous pain of losing his mother. The presence of one does not necessarily mean the presence of the other. just as one has been programmed to do. producing more Pain suppressants. Hypnotic pain techniques demonstrate how far cognition can go in structuring a false reality. letters. serotonin. We can be in physical pain without feeling badly emotionally. the suffering component of the pain was alleviated surgically while the sensory component remained. The neuroinhibitors function as the biochemicals of repression and its twin. depending upon the degree of defense. constant back pain caused by a genetic spinal problem. one goes to the store and buys Crest and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. But we do know that hypnotic suggestion can catalyze inhibitory or repressive chemical production. in effect gating the message from reaching higher brain centers. There is obvious value in using hypnosis to remove the suffering component from organic pain when it cannot be alleviated in any other way. regardless of what one is consciously experiencing. hypnosis. After the operation the patients reported that they could still feel the sensation of pain but that it did not bother them. One is the left brain-right brain dichotomy referred to by Hilgard to illustrate his "hidden observer" discovery. Their bodies were hyperactive. It seems that half the people watching TV are indeed mesmerized – as if half the population is in a coma after six p. and lobotomy – awareness and recall on the cognitive level are effectively disconnected from the emotional components of what is remembered. the two go hand-in-hand: being physically ill is emotionally upsetting and being emotionally upset is physically painful. which means that a group of connecting fibers between lower and higher (cortical) brain centers were severed. are all part of the hypnotic process. Nonetheless the trauma remains in the system. endorphins are mobilized to repress the experience and the memory of the event. without any critical capacity. immobile. Emotional Pain is real and often physically more intense than "physical pain. discussions. whatsoever. 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. and we can feel badly emotionally without being in any sensory pain. in all three conditions – neurosis. No feeling of suffering or distress reaches his awareness. More specifically." He is no longer emotionally reactive. but that Pain is still causing his system to siphon off its impact in some way – be it through acting-out behavior. One lets in the message. between injury and reaction to it. 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. dissociation. it does respond differentially in quantitative terms. These endorphins can be many hundreds of times more powerful than commercially produced morphine. They are produced to quell both physical and emotional pain. or from constant residual pain after a serious car accident. The next day. 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. They keep events out of full consciousness by interfering in the connection between feeling and the realization of feeling. He can talk about his deprived childhood with complete detachment. No one benefits from unbearable pain related to terminal cancer. the person may be able to dissociate from the pain of his hand submerged in icy water. or whatever. even hectic lifestyle is probably the main defense today.[19] When the amount of pain assaulting the system can no longer be integrated. In other words. Phone calls. between sensation and cognition. full and intact. This was demonstrated several years ago. as if in a posthypnotic suggestive state. the suggestion takes on a meaning on the third or .m. In everyday life.–– A neurotic may feel neither pain nor suffering. more specific neurological factors which help make dissociation possible. 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. The operation involved a pre-frontal lobotomy. particularly the commercial message. television. when an experimental operation was performed on a group of patients who were suffering from intractable pain. The child may simply "numb-out. chronic depression. but the icy water nonetheless causes his vasomotor system to contract in pain. compulsive eating. Although the body does not differentiate between the two types of pain in qualitative terms. He's inert. The neurotic's face may show a good deal of misery while he remains unaware of feeling miserable. there is always some physical manifestation of the presence of pain in the system.[18] Still another is the body's capacity to produce morphinelike substances called endorphins. These chemicals block the message of pain from crossing the cleft between nerve cells. The distinction between the sensory and suffering components of pain has many significant medical and psychotherapeutic ramifications. yet he doesn't know why. movies. the synapse. Thus. Nonetheless. and emotionally "dead". business deals. One is simply the passive recipient. The suggestion (or idea) given by the hypnotist is transformed into electrochemical activity that somehow blocks pain. Another is the system of "gating" which exists between levels of consciousness to inhibit or facilitate the flow of information. There are additional. A busy. For most of us. however. or "gating" of pain between levels of consciousness. And the neuroinhibitor. And we certainly need hypnosis to achieve this.Today it is recognized that pain contains both a sensory component and a suffering component. Similarly a child may be able to dissociate from the Pain of losing his mother. There is a key central brain inhibitor known as glutamate.[17] This is also the situation in neurosis. He goes on with life in a very "dead" fashion. we are very adept at keeping ourselves distracted from what is going on inside.

the information takes a detour and the person is unconscious of certain facts or states. an obvious choice. he suppressed their Pain just as a hypnotist does. and that how you felt was unimportant. the patient has retrieved a memory stored on a lower level and is feeling it on that level while bringing it to consciousness. The subject in Hilgard's ice water experiment was no longer responding to the reality of the ice water. etc. For those who felt inferior and downtrodden. He capitalized on their already existing dissociation and on the ideas that duty was all. it is my perception that is real for me. If I perceive an elevator to be terrifying. When there is dissociation. for example. The parental dictates change the immune system of the child. What Hitler did in Germany was an effective job of hypnosis. The newly-perceived reality has an historical basis. Those in a coma often have damage to the thalamus. Instead. in Primal Therapy we mend it. In short. 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. "You are superior to all other races! You need liebensraum!" (more space and freedom). This is the true meaning of “psychosomatic. He turned reality upside down. intellectual reality. the nature of reality splits the field of psychotherapy into those who think it is cognitive and those who think it is cognitive-somatic. and he infused and inculcated another reality – his. either in neurosis or hypnosis. measuring it to see what secrets it holds. so that the higher level (cortex). she was responding to ideas about it. not the solution. and I'm dizzy. Hitler was so skilled (and his subjects so prepared) that he could do it on a mass level. in plain terror. He used their feeling of being a defeated nation to suggest that they were conquerors. were known as "defeatists" and were punished. what happens is that messages never arrive to consciousness. what is real? The metal. That is why you cannot get cured with hypnosis. Not so different today in Iraq where any talk of a peaceful solution is considered by the administration as defeatest and sending the wrong message to our troops. Jingoism then becomes the only topic admissible. something that can only be achieved by “talking” to the body. reality is in the perception.cognitive level of consciousness and is then transformed into electrochemical processes which inhibit perception of physical experience. But that perception is based on a history. even though it clearly isn't. the idea. It would seem that in hypnosis. the suggestion? Is there no objective reality? Objective reality dictates that the psychophysiology responds to a cold quarter. doesn't know what the lower level (thalamus) does or feels. That reality dictates bodily reactions. as in coma. that is.. What was inserted into their minds supplanted reality. How did Hitler do it? He tapped into the people's basic needs and into their split consciousness. even when those ideas were in complete contradiction to events actually taking place. Whereas hypnosis depends on the split and guards it.” Here the mind innervates and alters bodily reactions. In both. And they acted exactly as if they had been hypnotized. there is a functional "lobotomy" between cortex and thalamus. The hypnotist who pricks you states that you will not hurt. and the hand then blisters as if a hot metal were placed there (an effect that has been demonstrated in hypnosis). This transformation of meaning that occurs in hypnosis is not unlike the transformation of meaning that makes neurosis possible. They could kill without feeling anything because any appreciation of the meaning of their acts had been wiped away. 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. It may tell a very different story. for if we assume that reality is what the patient tells us it us (“I feel wonderful. that is. "I'm going to put a hot piece of metal on the back of your hand. fainting. Therapy has been a great success”)we will be led astray. When it is overwhelmed it cannot do that. lulled or hypnotized. One of the structures to help in this detour is the thalamus. followed by rephrasing of what the subject is describing from a Primal viewpoint (PV): . And Hitler got the German people to do almost anything. Clearly. That is why when you are in touch with the lower levels of consciousness you are not so easily fooled. That is. including killing millions of "inferior" individuals. 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." and then put a cold quarter on it. and there is no perception of hurt. The physiological processes inform the cortex of what is reality. yet the blood pressure and heart rate mount. the message gets blocked and rerouted. the response. Yet the idea in the mind is that it is a hot one and the physiology follows that idea.[20] The thalamus has a relay function to the cortex. Hitler's control became absolute. This leads to the sixty-four dollar question: WHERE IS REALITY? If I say to a hypnotic subject. Figure 3 [Figures omitted in web version] More and more evidence indicates that the thalamus plays a key role in human awareness. the "mesmerized" (dissociated) populace went on fighting and dying for a dying cause that had nothing to do with their everyday lives. He suggested with emotional force. 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. This whole notion of the nature of reality is critical to an understanding of psychotherapy. 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. So then were is reality? Is it what the patients says it is. We have neglected an important internal reality. those who wanted and needed peace. The lower level knows reality on its level. In short. but it also serves as a switching station which handles most sensory input and delivers it to the cortex. The split is the source of the problem. Even those who realistically did not need any more living space responded to his message. it was a perfect message. There are levels of reality that lay on different levels of consciousness. Meanwhile.

"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. we see the reality of pain pushing toward the surface. Attempting to differentiate between pain and anxiety in hypnotic analgesia. In any case.. but Pain together with its counteracting repression. This knowledge wrests neurosis from the abstract and even metaphysical realm created for it by its definition as a mental illness. things to do. 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. for example. denial of that pain may constitute a kind of double-barrelled assault.. the ideas and suggestions cannot remove the pain actually experienced in childhood. Hilgard's description illustrates the conflict between Pain and repression continually waged in every neurotic. PV: In neurosis the adult recalls the Pain of the child as if he and that child were two separate people. In both hypnotic pain control and childhood trauma. 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. If we could photograph a neurotic with time-lapse photography over years. . The system revs up to quell the Pain before control is completely lost." "Think positive. it is not Pain alone that produces symptoms. which gives us some idea of the energy needed to suppress and contain the anxiety. PV: It is possible to observe this process of dissociation taking place in the hypnotic subject. PV: In neurosis the child is told "not to feel pain" in some direct and many indirect ways. Anxiety is the global symptom which arises when Primal Pain threatens to overwhelm inhibition and make itself fully conscious. and at last. Indeed. Pain of any kind is an affront to the system and. places to go.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. of course. perhaps deriving from a latent fear that this time control may be lacking. 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." HS: The hidden part knows the pain is there but can't feel it. This is precisely the neurotic split in consciousness: the Pain is merely repressed and concealed. 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)." Why does it have to make such an effort? Because the truth of reality is just beneath the surface. The hypnotized part would vaguely be aware of feeling pain – that's why I would have to concentrate really hard. not eliminated. is vital to our understanding of neurosis and hypnosis. One can either take a cigarette (in neurosis) or take a suggestion (in hypnosis) to push it down. HS: Both parts (of me) were concentrating on what you said – not to feel pain." "Don't worry.[21] [Italics added] In neurosis. an ongoing internal struggle which is measurable through one's vital signs. 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. It takes great physiological effort to keep Pain out of awareness. Without repression. He can talk about it in a detached way. In fact. As a consequence. Anxiety indicates that the defenses are under maximum strain and signals for the extra production of repressive chemistry." etc. It may "bother the hidden part a little. one simply gets terror in context. Recall the hypnotic subject's description that "the hypnotized part really makes an effort. This effort is accompanied by physiological signs of anticipatory excitement when the subject knows he must soon fight off painful stimulation... it is typical to see both blood pressure and high heart rate chronically high." "Calm down. heart rate and blood pressure tend to decrease permanently after a period of releasing Primal Pain. Repression is responsible for the pressure the system is under leading to symptoms. places it where it belongs in the very real and physical organismic processes. The main difference is that neurosis is a long-term.all to keep from feeling the emptiness and solitude inside. even though he knows he is going to be successful in reducing pain. a constant effort to distract oneself from the Pain. the lower levels of consciousness continue to register the pain. as one of Hilgard's experiments suggests. anxiety is a sign of faltering repression." "It can't hurt that much. 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. Every pre-Primal state.HS: It's as though two things were happening simultaneously. where patients are about to enter into an old feeling. can be considered an anxiety state." These are all hypnotic style suggestions. The fact that emotional pain registers as a physical entity. I have two separate memories as if two things could have happened to two different people. from the realm of mechanics created for it by the behaviorist viewpoint. These signs may be interpreted as a form of anxiety. The hypnotized part doesn't feel it but may know it's there. Very often they have to be repeated over and over to produce any effect. it'll turn out fine. he grows into an adult who is well able to not think of the Pain he is in. Thus it is both a symptom and a signal. When my patients feel their terror in the ancient context there is no more anxiety. one which is imprinted throughout the system (indicated by the physiologic changes which occur as a result of its removal). necessitating efforts to push it back down. projects. Anxiety is taxing enough but its suppression even more so. lifetime event. dissociated from its suffering component. Hilgard wrote: Maintaining hypnotic analgesia requires some effort by the subject. The important similarity in hypnosis and neurosis is that while a false reality is imposed upon the system via ideas and suggestions. 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. we could probably see a similar (neurotic) process taking place." but the "hypnotized part" – the part that is neurotically split off – does not think of the Pain at all.. It thinks of telephone calls. In neurosis the lower levels of consciousness produce manic activity." "Take it easy. a conflict which often results in anxiety. In either case. There is no anxiety without repression.

Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain. p.eliminating it. pp. p. right diagram. asking where it came from. When it is viewed on another level it is seen as an idea: as something that can be thought away. p. the same can be said of the use of hypnotherapy as a psychotherapeutic tool. Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain. Trancework. manipulating it. pp.. July 2. 276-281. 1980) pp. For a more technical discussion see "The Gating of Pain" in Primal Man (New York: Thomas Crowell Co. It usually takes only one side of the dialectic process. [4]See Milton H. Be it physical pain or psychological "problems. p. 111-114. their healing abilities remain uncertain. p.: William Kaufmann. biofeedback. 277. 1994. Trancework. It then becomes a matter of unbalanced equations.. Figure 15.and never. [13]Yapko.. 66. "Pain. 166-167. Hilgard. attenuating it by suggestion. malfunctioning machinery. 1975. anxiety... [3]Ernest R. Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain. Hypnotic techniques take advantage of this situation without it being recognized. is a non-specific and diffused state of being.. 279.. [8]Hilgard. 63-82. 94142. Figure 15. Prisoners of Pain. Even more importantly... Neurosis is the ongoing post-hypnotic state which is already operating when the hypnotist goes to work. .."[22] As we shall see in the following chapters. Back to Table of Contents | Next chapter >> [1]Yapko. Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain. [7]Hilgard. The neurotic lives in a state of permanent dissociation from his pain. It fails to take into account the complex interplay between imprinted Pain and repression in the development of problems such as smoking and drinking. p.. Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain. Calif. [16]Hilgard. Hypnotherapy is anti-dialectic. 48. [6]Yapko. 85. 48. and other drugs that suppress the suffering aspect of pain more than the actual sensation of pain. [18]For a brief discussion of "gating. Aspirin. [2]Yapko.. [22]Yapko." see "The Gated Mind" in my book Prisoners of Pain (New York: Doubleday. [21]Hilgard.never. [14]See Hilgard. 173. pp. forgotten. 276. The already existing defense of dissociation gets an added boost from hypnosis. [20]See Science News. this means that extra endorphins pour into the system. 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. p. Erickson and Ernest L. Hilgard and Josephine R.' for while they may assist the client in being more comfortable. [11]Hilgard. [12]Ibid. 168-69. pp. 66.." writes hypnotherapist Yapko. morphine. or in some way mentally altered by psychological gymnastics (hypnosis. Hypnotherapy: An Exploratory Casebook (New York: Irvington. 78. directive daydreaming). Trancework. When translated back into neurological terms. on the other hand. 274. p. Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain (Los Altos. [19]Arthur Janov. they are based on a pre-existing pattern of behavior that has been in constant and active use throughout the subject's life. changing its location.. pp. p. As mentioned earlier. left diagram. Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain. p. and unsorted puzzles. [5]Yapko. Pain creates problems for those who suffer from it. [15]See Hilgard. 1979. 29 [17]The same effects can be achieved with marijuana. pp. In other words. More recently we have coined the term "problem" to describe the affliction of neurosis. does just the opposite: it reduces localized sensory pain but does not reduce anxiety or suffering. Mental solutions are sought for mental problems and behavioral solutions are sought for behavioral problems. The various hypnotic approaches are essentially 'band-aids. Trancework. Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain. 126-134. working on the surface pain to the neglect of all else.Pain is not often thought of as anything other than the localized sensations caused by physical injury. 10-11. psychological mechanisms by which hypnotic states are induced are based on the innate defensive capabilities of the brain. pp. [9] Erickson.never. 274. 1975 )." it takes the symptom as a viable force to be treated ex machina. p. "is a warning sign that something is wrong. by contrast. but never. p. Trancework . Localized sensory pain has a specific physical location in the body. p. [10]Hilgard. Rossi. hypnosis helps the system function even more neurotically than usual.

gestalt. Erickson led the field in developing a vast array of techniques that were often highly innovative." "I want the best for my kids" -.Chapter 5: Reinforcing Neurosis with Hypnotherapy As far back as 1958. a constricted perceptual field. for it may be brought in at the end in a very secondary position: The patient doesn't consciously know what the problems are. the conscious mind is often a barrier to healing.[7] He was also an authoritarian therapist. given the physiologic stress that results from maintaining the dissociation? Whenever we consider hypnosis we must understand that however sophisticated the explanation.Uncommon Therapy: The Psychiatric Techniques of Milton H. is it desirable to do so.the actual physiologically engraved reality (necessarily) constructs another world of referred tensions. the American Medical Association recognized the use of hypnosis by physicians and psychologists as a valid therapeutic modality. let us take a look at how two prominent hypnotherapists apply their views of hypnotherapy to their patients. In Erickson's view.. since "the patient doesn't consciously know what the problems are.[1] Since then.. a procedure for re-education. as he demonstrated. If I tell you to resign your position. and complete obedience in relation to every instruction I give you regardless of what I order or demand. Prominent psychotherapist and researcher Jay Haley studied Erickson extensively. the unconscious is allowed to solve and heal.to use hypnosis and post-hypnotic amnesia to help them restructure their thinking. contains the answers and untapped potentials for us. as seen in the terms he dictated to a "plump. The crux of Erickson's viewpoint is the belief that the "unconscious mind" can heal the patient without the "conscious mind" ever being involved. If I tell . Different Views of Hypnotherapy: The Ericksonian Approach Despite his death in 1980. [6] [Emphasis added] Erickson's approach deals with the casualties of neurosis (the "learned limitations"). Just as it is possible to make a person unaware of physical pain. That's it. unkempt. no matter how good a story he tells you. you will resign. Foremost among them was psychologist Ernest Rossi. and Ericksonian training centers and foundations exist across the country. bring about therapy at that level. Someone can think his emotional problems have vanished when they have not. on the other hand. Psychotherapists from other specialties -. behaviorism." "I am not compulsive anymore. by bypassing or "depotentiating" consciousness.One tries to do hypnotherapy at an unconscious level. but it need not be.. so that symptoms are brought under control. and unloved 35-year-old woman who had come to him for treatment: These terms are absolute. 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. and life potentials to achieve their own therapeutic goals. Milton H. full." but how he applied that theory clinically with patients remained highly unusual and virtually nonreproducible. the conscious mind contains the "learned limitations" and "negative life experiences" that prevent us from enjoying ourselves and using our given potentials.psychoanalysis. and Ordeal Therapy (1984) -. The first logical extension of this fact is that applying hypnosis in psychotherapy means utilizing the same dissociative conditions of consciousness that characterize neurosis. trying to find out what he did and how he did it. then.[2] Are the changes effected by hypnosis permanent? And if it is possible to effect permanent change in symptoms with hypnotherapy. no matter how good a story he tells you.suggest the idiosyncratic nature of Erickson's techniques. In his view. and then translate it to the conscious mind. it is still repression that is at its core. This does not mean that consciousness is kept out entirely. is aid in the job of repression. For example."[5] Hypnotherapy. Several of his colleagues spent much time and effort studying and observing his techniques. because that's a conscious story. and depression. While the hypnotic reality constructs one world -"I feel relaxed. The unconscious mind. You won't have migraines anymore. memories. Erickson's approaches to hypnosis have swept the field. -. verbal assaults. and you will do it. is a "learning process for the patient. the conscious mind can be bypassed and the unconscious mind given free rein. A person can believe that his feelings of inferiority have been resolved even while he admonishes his children to be the best in everything." Erickson's approach to hypnotherapy was a distinctly cognitive one: We view hypnotherapy as a process whereby we help people utilize their own mental associations. etc. 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.. it is possible to dissociate him from feelings of anxiety. The titles of two of his books on Erickson -. and may then be brought into consciousness. The only relatively simple part of Erickson's work was his theory of the "conscious and unconscious minds." In the hypnotic trance state. "Ericksonian Hypnotherapy" is a recognized area of specialization for therapists. low self-esteem. the unconscious mind and its reception of repressive suggestions can do. He believed that it was his role to actively change patients -. (1973). consciousness may be included in therapy. 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 associationand modes of mental functioning that are conducive to problem-solving. What are the unconscious factors? You want to deal with the unconscious mind. but to give the patient an opportunity to transfer that understanding and insight to the conscious mind as far as it is needed.[3] In other words." "I feel worthwhile.You will be told what to do. You will not feel pain. According to Erickson..also draw from Ericksonian methods. According to Erickson." Hypnotherapy is effective when it occurs on an unconscious level. and other bullying approaches when treating women.[4] In Erickson's terms.D. hypnosis has become one of the most oft-used forms of therapy in pain management and psychotherapy. and projected emotions. It certainly is not to be trusted. But before examining these hypotheses. 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. and sometimes shocking and incomprehensible. but only "as far as it is needed. Erickson. a matter of narrowed perception.. "You will forget. substituted symptoms. Erickson had a propensity to employ sexist language. M." unhappy.

Now at least an hour before bedtime. because you don't have to listen to me because your unconscious is here and can hear what it needs to. They represent what Freud called the Superego. and you are to be a most obedient patient. he has the raw feeling of neglect. termed indirect suggestions. you will eat them.. Since intellectual language is the province of the cortical mind. Erickson had almost died from an attack of polio that left his entire body paralyzed. "You think I'm helpless. systematically. he assumed that the unconscious mind would be able to magically sift out the hidden meaning that had so eluded consciousness. 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. spontaneity and free feeling are not something we "learn". And it really doesn't matter what your conscious mind does. there will be little learned inhibition. his use of indirect suggestions to bypass consciousness has become a model for much of the hypnotherapeutic community. penetrating. and heal all that consciousness could not. The child who is physically or sexually abused does not have "learned limitations". For Erickson.. paradoxes. was unparalleled. to respond in just the right way. kindly. a person's self-image does not remain poor.. 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. Moreover. nor do her abilities remain undeveloped. However simplistic or contradictory it might have seemed upon close intellectual scrutiny. training. one sees hurt as an adult where none exists. in a tone of voice of utter intensity. concepts. after you take your shower..white-haired. As a teenage farm boy with nothing more than a rural .not words. it is the product of correct cognition which is out of context. decipher. 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. Erickson believed that consciousness could be bypassed by using intricate linguistic devices (ambiguities. Ann. Carefully. Think of how you would like to have him caress your thighs and hips. Rossi organized Erickson's indirect forms of suggestion into some 30 different categories.. children simply are spontaneous and free feeling until deprivation and injury intervene.you to eat fresh garlic cloves for breakfast.I want action and response -. apparently too cataleptic to close her eyes or to move in any way. "You really have. from whom he had demanded complete obedience.. metaphors. 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.Once you come. she was asked the following question: "Ann. On the other hand. And in bypassing consciousness he was bypassing exactly the element needed to stimulate the processes of healing and repair None of this matters much to a person in Pain. This is the cognitive approach taken to its limit: there are suggestions called "double dissociation double binds" and those termed "conscious-unconscious double binds" -.[10] Somehow the unconscious would then understand the message of a follow-up suggestion such as. The problem with this viewpoint is that it is contradictory. Her underlying fear and therefore distorted perceptions later on reflect an original situation that engendered lifelong fear. you have trim ankles. and you weigh about 130 pounds. solve. jocular. you are committed to therapy. Love has already been lost. a beautiful mouth and beautiful eyes.. and associational suggestions. etc. A stern look by a parent every time the child cries is an example. but you do not need awaken as a body"[11] -. Erickson was a living picture of the wise and comforting grandfather -.not to mention compound.Try to realize how much you would like to have the right man caress your pretty pubic hair and your softly rounded belly. In the last three decades of his life. "Can I help you?" becomes.) in the form of indirect suggestions which the conscious mind could not decipher. When one's perception is altered. Erickson induced a trance and then said to "You are five feet three inches tall. And it really doesn't matter what your conscious mind does. particularly about oneself. thoroughly examine your body from the waist down. Indeed.[8] her: To "re-educate" this patient. and crippled. If there is no real contact between parent and child. She "learns" not to cry on an emotional level without any words being spoken."[9] Erickson's theories and techniques notwithstanding. indirect suggestion was a cognitive means of bypassing cognition en route to a more beneficent unconscious which could hear. "You can as a person awaken. contingent. A child whose father is too busy to notice him does not have "learned limitations". blushing deeply and continuously. and your bank account belongs to me as does the registration certificate for your car. because of limited "frames of reference" or "a lack of training or understanding. it was made even more comforting (and believable) by virtue of Erickson's own personality and history. an excellent figure. in the manner of conveying a vitally important message.. which he arrived at by simply analyzing the linguistic structure of the suggestion. 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. to respond in just the right way. using language to bypass it requires some very clever wording. All in all. he was bypassing the one level of consciousness that contains the cognitive skills to actually comprehend his suggestions. or problem-solving is to assume incorrectly that beliefs. The implicit factor here is fear of loss of love of the parents. The second contradiction is that in bypassing conscious-awareness. ideas. and Erickson's viewpoint certainly spoke to the pained child in any adult. his notion of the unconscious was comforting and promising. Learned limitations are the last outcrops of the neurotic process. did you know that you have a pretty patch of fur between your legs?" For some minutes Ann stood staring at the author. At the age of 17. let us say at nine o'clock tonight.even as the conscious mind puzzled and fretted over its cryptic meaning." Adult neurosis is not the result of cognitive distortions." Then.. To be afraid of airplanes is to have fear from the past placed out of context in the present. The first contradiction is that he attempted to reach the non-verballevels of the unconscious by using complex verbal techniques.. stand in the nude before the full length mirror in your bedroom.. To assume that changing one's beliefs about oneself involves reeducation. On one hand. theories.I will tell you what to do and how to do it. are rooted solely in cognition. don't you?" Furthermore. because your unconscious can find the right means of coping with that pain. Erickson's skill at devising these clever linguistic loopholes. 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. Beliefs are the product of our experiences. Childhood trauma alters one's perceptions to accommodate the Pain. and it is definitely darker than the hair on your head. comprehend.. she has the brutal pain of assault and violation.

influencing people with hypnosis. . Then at the age of 52 he experienced the rare medical tragedy of a second attack of polio. The main categories include direct versusindirect suggestion. He lived in constant pain and discomfort in the last decade of his life. Spiegel carefully explains that (1) overeating is poison for the body. Soon thereafter he entered medical school. Patients knew this. I want you to overeat throughout the week enough to support 260 pounds. but he continued to create ways to deal hypnotically with his disability and the physical pain it caused him. "Mastering Symptoms. but it is buried rather deeply. which robbed him of his upper-body strength and left him permanently confined to a wheelchair. it will be like a reunion with an old friend.. And if you think hard enough and look through that layer of blubber that you've got wrapped around you.. Erickson. 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. Spiegel will present a simple. though. you will see a very pretty feminine figure. for imagining. for concentrating. The core of Spiegel's approach is well captured in a chapter from a book detailing his work entitled. The question remains as to whether patients were responding to an intrinsic principle of consciousness rightly perceived and utilized by Erickson. Spiegel taught a graduate course on the medical and therapeutic uses of hypnosis at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. for entering a different order of consciousness. and which the hypnotist merely utilizes: All hypnosis is self-hypnosis.. there is an interesting difference in the type of cognitive process employed. he was not without a direct approach. 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. The individual. Although Erickson was often indirect. This difference.[15] 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. His simplistic view of the unconscious has tended to be accepted uncritically. linear line of thought. Where Erickson would typically use a complex double binding statement to confuse or startle the patient. And what do you think you ought to do to get that figure excavated?[18] Superficial differences between Spiegel and Erickson in style of suggestion are typical of the types of differences that exist among hypnotherapists. by virtue of the results he achieved (by his own accounts) in applying it clinically. 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. Spiegel prefers a straightforward approach. Spiegel frequently talks about "self-mastery" and how "trance as an art form" can best aid us in this struggle.[13] The primary significant point of departure between Erickson and Spiegel is in the area of trance induction. and an overall approach that is authoritarian versus permissive-naturalistic."[12] Should a psychotherapist really be so concerned with "influencing" and "changing" his patients? When you combine this attitude with the needs of a patient. With overweight patients. he managed to find ways to use his mind to rejuvenate his muscular and motor abilities. or were they responding to the influence of an inspiring and seminal personality Part of the trouble with Erickson's approach to therapy lies in his assuming the role of an omniscient. infallible figure. and few remained untouched or uninfluenced by it. therefore (3) they should protect and respect their body by eating less. or directives. Herbert Spiegel Another well-known hypnotherapist is psychiatrist Herbert Spiegel. for increasing awareness."[14] Although both Erickson and Spiegel use a cognitive approach. in short.so tonight when you go to bed. comprehensible. for example. In the forefront of hypnosis research for decades. Whereas Erickson was noted for his indirect techniques. All that any "hypnosis" does is tap the natural capacity of an individual for focusing. According to Spiegel. 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. for achieving greater control over the body's involuntary functions. Most well-trained hypnotherapists would probably use all four factors. Erickson treated a 270-pound woman for her obesity by suggesting to her in trance: "Bearing in mind that you now weigh 270 pounds. Jay Haley describes Erickson as "the first major clinician to concentrate on how to change people.education behind him. Originally trained as a psychoanalyst. (2) they need their body to live. persuasion. rather than with the patient. you have a formula for continued repression. To another overweight patient he suggested: I really don't think you know how unpleasant your fatness is to you. Spiegel had become frustrated by the lengthy psychoanalytic process. for blocking out distractions.. He found that hypnosis could effect much speedier results. and so forth."[17] The next week the patient was told to overeat sufficiently to support 255 pounds.. is not given anything new."[16] In contrast to Spiegel's rational approach. hypnosis is a special state which we naturally slip into and out of throughout the day. The great poignancy in Erickson's history and physical presence must be taken into consideration in evaluating both his viewpoints and his impact.. for example. who was now still able to speak and see but unable to move any part of his body. 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. for visualizing.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. Within a year-and-a-half of his attack he was able to walk unaided.

that there has to be some explanation for this. natural behaviors. You have amnesia. Oh! Oh! One is getting mad with the other. when you felt down-hearted and blue. "Whatever is on the other side of that is something awful--it's just awful. I don't know what kind of a way. they are calling the . "Suppose you reach down into your repressions and bring up a few pieces of the picture. He was actually shivering. That one is running into the house to tell. Erickson writes: You should have seen him trembling and perspiring. The integration of pain. Bob. We'd turn the jigsaw puzzle over and see it intellectually only." I said. they start stabbing at each other. I want to run. you couldn't for the life of you figure out why. Bob sweats profusely. I'm scared. as if it happened to somebody else. so amnesia is used as a kind of protective shield. Trauma can be siphoned off while consciousness rests in its disconnected state of trance reverie. In many cases. some past event he has forgotten. Types of suggestion and styles of approach are incidental to the underlying agreement that hypnosis is beneficial.It's gone!" After putting Bob in a trance in order to find such a memory. carefully controlled by the hypnotherapist. an experience without recall. and tells him to spend the next week trying to remember what he had forgotten. amnesia is induced as a supposedly desirable way of getting the patient to unconsciously rid himself of trauma and therefore of his neurosis. I said. or glad." Meanwhile. The reason experience is not integrated is because the message relay centers toward the cortex were blocked from transmitting the message to consciousness. about eight or nine years old. "What is it Bob?" He said. Erickson tells the student. a partial or complete amnesia is suggested for any traumatic material that arises. All right forget about it. "Shove it down again. in a trance. others are more receptive to suggestions that hook into their ongoing. instead shunting the message to other non-healing brain structures. after which a total unconsciousness for events is suggested by the hypnotherapist. but there must have been a reason in the back of your mind. He runs along. there is water and there is something green. absolutely requires full cortical consciousness. You experienced the emotions but you didn't have intellectual content. "Two little boys. how you can put the puzzle together right side up or upside down. The boy's father isn't mad. Oh! Oh! One of them stabbed the other in the leg. In hypnotherapy. they are wrestling. In introducing a particular case report. If you want to. This goes hand-in-hand with the view that reliving or recalling a traumatic experience can be disintegrating. Amnesia Hypnosis knocks out memory and the meaning of experience. In recovering a traumatic memory you can uncover deep emotions and not intellectual content. too. It will be just a memory. A week later. "I'm scared. I suppose that is grass. lets him rest. Erickson clearly describes the hypnotherapeutic ideal: a distinctive split between intellect and emotion. Let's bring up a few other picture pieces. you can remember the actual intellectual content. Erickson periodically brings him out of the trance." Bob did essentially that and said." I said. "Well. The hypnotherapist believes that the patient can go through all sorts of experiences in the hypnotic session. the mother isn't mad. "That is fine. Erickson describes to him how a memory is like a jigsaw puzzle. You point out that once. When Bob. In a way. you need not remember whether you felt sad." which he does. But in fact when you induce amnesia what actually happens is that the patient leaves therapy not only not transformed but more repressed. and vice versa." Bob brought up some more emotion and then said.. I then continued. Now they grabbed some forks. but the underlying intent remains the same: all hypnotherapists attempt to engage and utilize a condition of dissociation. Erickson helps Bob repress them "when the emotion became too threatening. "I'm feeling sick in a funny sort of way." He said. We see how Erickson uses the technique of dissociating intellect and emotion. you don't know in what kind of a way. 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. they looked like cousins -they're playing in a barn. now you shove that down. So long as it remains unconscious it will stay forever. which you can put together piece by piece. The diabolic aspect of all this is that the reason one cannot get rid of the Pain is because it is unconscious. but that green isn't grass." With that Bob developed an amnesia for the material that was making him feel funny. Now they are hitting at each other. "That's fine.depending upon the patient. As more associations rise to consciousness. and so on. I asked." I then told him to forget the entire emotional side.[19] You point out to a patient that it is perfectly possible to remember the intellectual facts of something but not the emotional content." 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. and how the picture side of the puzzle represents the "intellectual content" of the memory while the blank side represents the "emotional foundation. while briefly feeling these emotions." and he was really perspiring and trembling. so you're feeling sick in a funny sort of way. One of Erickson's students was in danger of flunking out of medical school because he "absolutely and irrationally" refused to attend dermatology class.. Now bring up some more pieces of emotion. mind and body. mad. Some patients respond better to suggestions given in an authoritarian manner. 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!. and then leave transformed. does not know how to do this on his own. amnesia is a form of double-barrelled hypnosis: the person is partially unconscious to begin with by virtue of being in a trance. At one point he tells Bob to "put all the blank sides together again. The one that stabbed him is a little bit afraid. 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 asks him if he can use him as a hypnosis demonstration subject in class." Bob thought a minute and then perspiration began to form on his forehead. He described. The reason is that the message was too much to handle without totally disrupting cortical functioning. however. without emotions. have no memory of them whatsoever. and hypnotizes him again. Erickson says to him: "Suppose you haul out from your unconscious just a few little pieces of that unpleasant memory. Types of suggestion may vary according to superficial personality characteristics.

my goodness. through hypnosis Bob's traumatic memory had been shorn of its power to affect him.in small portions in relation to emotional healing and the ideational content. and he is really spanking him hard. Maybe if you rest five minutes." That was the end of that. The point is that amnesia is the patient's defense rather than the therapist's tool. and the doctor is scared.it looks like a needle or a pump of some kind. he said "I can't stand it.that horrible green slime and that horrible color of my cousin's face.a far cry indeed from the original trauma of stabbing his cousin in the leg. a symbolic one is substituted. It implies that there is something about the patient's experience which consciousness cannot handle. In the above case. Erickson contends that the amnesic behavior is really under the patient's control because he is responding to suggestion. A bit more here. At best. or cognition is not equipped to give them accurate meaning." In analyzing this case. trembling. and now that swelling in the boy's face is getting less. and then again another recovery until finally he said." You should have seen poor Bob as he began uniting the ideational content with the affect. we'll have enough strength to do a little more of the work. 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.". He's got -. Shuddering. between recalling a repressed childhood trauma with intellectual detachment and feeling the emotions associated with it in bits and pieces. He is getting something else. He just simply took it so matter-offactly that he didn't realize he had missed previous lectures and clinics. the fear is projected onto the field of dermatology -. his eyes are swelling shut. He goes on to say that therapists can utilize the way people often have. and the doctor comes and gives him an anti-tetanus shot. It is something to be respected when it occurs spontaneously within a patient. "It was almost a week before Bob recalled that he was attending dermatology." Erickson flipflops the patient back and forth between feeling and not feeling. and everybody is breathing deeply..or of the six-hour session he has experienced in front of an entire classroom of people. With Erickson's patient. and everybody expects him to die including me. in everyday life. but feeling and integrating the feeling into the body’s system versus repressing it. But according to Erickson's description. soak trough. let the back of it soak through. amnesia is a safety valve for the patient. but it is not something to be encouraged or suggested. not the cognitive aspect. according to Erickson. Then the doctor gave him adrenalin and he recovered. Erickson actively worked to dissociate intellect from emotion. and starts spanking him. Back to Table of Contents | Next chapter >> [1]American Medical Association: Medical use of hypnosis. his tongue is so thick. I couldn't even stand the way my cousin looked. and then my father took me down to the horse trough and spanked me. He is lying there. and then another amnesia. is lost." in that it permits the traumatic material to be "available for examination. The active inducement of amnesia by hypnotherapists suggests to me a distrust of consciousness.doctor." Of course.I asked him to continue. It is part of the problem. an "intellectual appreciation of their position but an emotional indifference. "Well let one corner of the back of it soak through." I said. horrified. There is the doctor driving in. The next day. "Take a rest Bob. and there was my father spanking me and that nasty green slime on the water in the trough -. Yet. "I can never be loved for who I am. In other words. it is not an examination of one's history that is needed. The doctor is going to stick something in the boy. The father grabs the other boy and takes him down to the horse trough.. not part of the solution. and I don't know what it is. 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. The emotional aspect of suffering must be released from the limbic storehouse and raised into consciousness. But dissociating feeling from intellect is what gives neurosis its start in the first place: the meaning of the child's trauma. the experience sounds like a finely orchestrated one-man play for which he provides the controlling "strings" of suggestion. There is something awful bad. which. hauls the boy over his lap. if we are to believe Erickson's account. his skin is turning a funny color. . That can only be done bits at a time. Because the real meaning is lost. now represses them." I again told him to develop a complete amnesia. his tongue is getting smaller. You have a little more work to do. what a funny thing. Suggestions for amnesia are really suggestions for continued neurosis which ultimately deepen rather than integrate the existing fissures in consciousness. No wonder he didn't like dermatology. Journal of the Medical Association 1958." This "detachment" is what helps the subject develop amnesia. he is opening his eyes. But it is the amount of Pain one can feel that is the limiting factor. No wonder I couldn't study my dermatology. He gets an anaphylactic reaction with all that edema. He dropped the amnesia until he couldn't stand it any longer." . It is a kind of self-protective mechanism that inhibits the onslaught of too much Pain at one time. Now the patient recalls a few memories.. and then another corner. crying out. 168: 186-189. There is something awful bad about this. Look at that boy's face. Erickson asserts that it's a mistake to try to recover an entire traumatic experience all at once. "That little boy that stabbed the other one is me. soak through. whatever traumatic emotions were recovered in the trance state were then re-covered by the amnesia. That's my cousin and that was the fork we used for cleaning out the barn. In the final outcome Bob has retrieved the entire traumatic memory but has no recall of it -. His face is swelling up. a rest. The boy is looking down in the horse trough and he sees that green slime on the water and he is crying. is "just as effective as a repression. Oh. he showed up for dermatology. The father sits on the horse trough. The boy's father makes him sit on a chair to wait. The assumption seems to be that either the emotions are too threatening. and then "shove it down again. and he is pumping something into the boy..

1985).. suggestion is never a match for an imprint. 1980). Indeed.. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis.. Suggestibility and Repressed Memory of Abuse: A Survey of Psychotherapists' Belief. Rossi. 47. (Yapko. New York: Irvington. 1979. [14]Ibid. As described in the previous chapter. Erickson (Vol. [7]See Masson. p. [15]Ibid. p. 1. 1980. I). The Inner Source: Exploring Hypnosis with Dr. [6]Ibid. ed. p. [13]Donald S. 4.. Connery. ed. and theoretical ideas are all ways this need can be discovered. & F. however. Sharp. Rossi (NY: Irvington). Hypnotherapy. 225. p. ?? [18]Ibid. someone who is in a trance: *waits passively for information as to how to behave . "Hypnotic Approaches to Therapy. Hypnotherapy: An Exploratory Casebook (New York: Irvington). and a client's uncertainty or inability to detect personal choices can easily induce obedience to authority. 20. [4]Milton H. 1982.000 respondents to a recent survey agreed that "hypnosis can be used to recover memories of actual events as far back as birth. Ryan. 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. edited by E. Let's review what characterizes the hypnotic trance experience. Erickson and Ernest L. [9]Innovative Hypnotherapy. pp.The need for acceptance and the need to belong are also factors present in the hypnotic relationship. the phenomenon of suggestion makes it possible to replace a negative state of mind with a more beneficial one suggested by the therapist. Edited by Ernest L. M. Erickson on Hypnosis. 224-234. New York: Atheneum. 76-95. vol. Herbert Spiegel (New York: Holt. 1979). Against Therapy: Emotional Tyranny and the Myth of Psychological Healing. [17]The Lectures. 163-171. Erickson on Hypnosis. 482-490. Rossi. Rossi. (New York: Irvington. p.[2]54% of 1. p. the authority. is that a new state of mind is at once the achievement and the limitation of suggestion.. Rossi (New York: Irvington. Originally published in The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. Hypnotherapy: An Exploratory Casebook. Trancework[1] Long-range effectiveness in hypnotherapy depends upon the success of posthypnotic suggestion.The relationship is characterized by the therapist being the expert.. the business of repressing Pain and distorting reality goes on as usual throughout the body.The client is in a position of revealing his problems. [3]Milton H. 1983. If one understands that early traumatic experience is imprinted. What must be understood. [10]Erickson and Rossi. p. 9. and Workshops of Milton H. Suggestions implanted in the mind of the patient during the session must continue to exert an influence long after the session has ended... Vol. 45. In order for suggestions to accomplish this they must somehow alter the patient's ideas and attitudes about the problem being treated. 3. 1/94.never able to eradicate years of childhood experiences that summated into a feeling of worthlessness. and fears to a person who seems to be going through life successfully and carefree. [16]Ibid.. Vol. Avoiding confrontations with the authority. M. Erickson." 97% felt hypnosis is a worthwhile tool for psychotherapy. conforming to her language style.. Recall that Erickson repeatedly described hypnosis as a process of presenting new ideas. [12]Jay Haley.. vol. [5]Ibid. 1977. Seminars.. is at best palliative. 36 (3). Chapter 6: Hypnotherapy: Painwashing. for example.. M. Brainwashing? The therapist-client relationship is generally not. Erickson and Ernest L. one of equals.D. – Yapko.. 1988. In short. 348-352. by Ernest L. impressed into the neurophysiologic system permanently then one quickly sees that a suggestion in the present. Conversations with Milton H.. [11]Ibid. Changing Individuals (New York: Triangle Press. ?? [19]Milton H.." In The Collected Papers of Milton H.. For it is at best ephemeral -. Rinehart & Winston).. Erickson. In order to be truly influential.. 482-90. discovering where (not whether) a person is open to suggestion (and everybody is at some level) is the task of the clinician. IV. [8]Innovative Hypnotherapy: The Collected Papers of Milton H. II. 20-35. doing things to please her (ranging from generating therapeutic results to knitting her a sweater). no matter how powerful.. p. inadequacies. J. perhaps never is. p. 1. 225. values. vii. Only the belief in magic could imagine otherwise.

Perhaps he overeats. his experience is narrow. he is instead an active participant. Otherwise we are fighting against the Primal tide." A patient is vulnerable because he is in the hands of someone else. further dissociation and disconnection and. *accepts distortions as reality (reduction of "reality testing"). accepting suggestions that suit him and rejecting those that do not. It can only paper over the cracks. guided by the hypnotist's cues. assailable. *pays attention only to the hypnotist and follows hypnotist's directions ("selective attention" and "redistribution of attention"). and so on. for example. They contend that the patient is not merely a passive recipient. The neurotic's history controls him. He is beaten every day for a year. such as new ideas ostensibly designed to change his state of mind: to dissociate from pain. of a therapist. 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. He would be a healthy. Why does she do this? Why does she have migraines? Why does he steal? Can suggestion erase twenty years of ghetto life? Not likely. relaxation. Never forget the "why" in therapy. are mediated by ongoing neurophysiological processes. not the words. vulnerable to the hypnotist's suggestions and expectations. any more than you can encourage the physiology to change permanently. stress-reduction. Look at it another way. it is the patient who thinks perhaps she ought to try this or that. and the like really require the same compromise the neurotic has made all his life. Hypnotherapy: Reality or Delusion? Most hypnotherapists today contend that hypnosis does not involve control and manipulation. Vulnerability detracts from one's judgment and common sense. Her feelings will dictate. In such a condition he is highly susceptible to the hypnotist's suggestions. that is part of the problem. If you do forget it. suggestions are superfluous. however reassuring and mellifluous. *is highly susceptible to the hypnotist's suggestions (heightened "suggestibility"). the neurotic is never in control. and believes that reexperiencing it makes the current symptoms that it supposedly generate disappear. Being vulnerable means "capable of being wounded. 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. *will readily adopt a role of being someone else ("role enactment"). This might be well and good were not the original suggestions of neurosis bound to physiological imprints laid down in the course of development. such as the natural killer cells. the hypnosis subject. is a double contradiction in terms. To think otherwise is again to believe in magic. Vulnerability is precisely what makes hypnotherapy so appealing. Hypnotic suggestions for comfort. 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. as was originally believed. A beneficial reality can be superimposed over Pain and problems by a kindly father figure. we may see hypnotherapy as offering counter-suggestions. Beneficial suggestions are seen as the perfect antidote to the vulnerability of tension and anxiety. First of all. The entire body and brain is thus involved in each Pain response. the patient produces a fantasy disguised as a traumatic memory. and that tide is not easily overcome. But precisely because this approach keeps aloof from the generating experiences behind the problematic mental states. and perhaps she ought to leave her husband. rearrange defenses and symptoms. An early trauma may diminish the effectiveness of part of the immune system. replace depressive thoughts with positive ideation. streamline the neurosis. and the passivity inherent in the act of receiving suggestions.responses which. It is then she who suggests to the therapist what is the possible motivation behind certain behavior. This is what can and does happen not only in hypnotic past-life regression. open to attack or damage. it is the unconscious reference point around which his life revolves. 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. Power to the patient! Within the experience of each Pain is a unique and complex spectrum of responses -. and it is the entire body and brain which must be involved in each undoing. go back to school. then the therapy is bound to fail. with a separation ("dissociation") existing between his conscious and unconscious minds. into acting happy when he really feels sad. learn better self-esteem. in effect. If a patient were so clearly able to determine what did or did not suit him. and why? Because . How different is all this from a psychoanalyst who "suggests" that his patient is suffering from this or that. as I have said. as modern hypnotherapists contend. Chances are this will encourage him not to steal. To say that the patient has control over the hypnotic situation. feeling person. 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. The trauma may change the thyroid output (our hypothyroids often are able to normalize with reliving of Pain). which is why accepting or rejecting suggestions as a patient is no simple matter. and *may forget and recall the hypnotic experience ("post-hypnotic amnesia") In other words. tunes out some external and internal stimuli while tuning in on others. While in a trance. nor can you encourage it away. Suppose someone steals and is caught. he wouldn't be a patient in the first place. You can't beat a childhood away. suggestion therapy can never be resolving. It ignores two important factors: the vulnerability inherent in being a patient. To me this oversimplifies and makes the situation a matter of semantic. But the tendencies are not beaten away.(suspension of the "planning function"). Because neurosis is the post-hypnotic state in which we carry out the "suggestions" of childhood. see one's body in more attractive light. Suggestion therapy is really only the offer of a better looking and more hopeful defense.

Guarding Against Suggestion in Primal Therapy It has been argued that suggestibility operates in Primal Therapy. We do not want the therapist to be a pied piper while the patient. money." but still not be well. His unconscious "knows" what happened to him. he feels Pain because he expects to feel Pain. Until they relive it their reports of past experiences can only be fractionally accurate. or feel right to those who enjoy a more interconnected consciousness. then. To say that the neurotic has control in the hypnotic situation is to contradict the meaning of both hypnosis and neurosis. we might slow down the defensive maneuverings of the rational-analytical mind so that feelings have a better chance. are removed." it is still in response to the hypnotherapist. 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. but. 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. repression. but there must be a crucial balance." can then stimulate the patient to reassociate and reorganize his associative processes. he has a Primal because he thinks he will. particularly one that offers pain. in trance. unless a helping hand is clearly needed. the one who defines the situation. he lets the patient arrive there in his own time. In Primal Therapy we recognize the possibilities for suggestion but we take measures to counteract them. The argument that Primal Therapy operates by virtue of suggestibility is invalidated on several points. and that is the most that hypnotherapy can do -make us unconscious." behave "well. This kind of mask of health does not look. Although the "lead" keeps changing hands. that patients come with certain expectations which they self-fulfill. Healing is not a question of the therapist trying to influence or "change" the patient. There is no power greater than need to move and motivate human beings. it is the patient's therapy. Someone can think "well. I believe that passivity is inherent in the hypnotic relationship. . "utilizing the patient's own frame of reference. This brings us to the second part of the contradiction: the patient cannot be in control of something of which he is unconscious. By virtue of such behavior a person would reveal himself to be staging some sort of neurotic scenario. A neurotic is always in search of a suggestion. that possibility is no longer possible. He is not simply a passive recipient of "suggestions" or insights from a therapist. like all healing processes. For example. Wherever there is primal need you inevitably encounter suggestibility. it is simply superimposed. intuition. Suggested health is shallow and unreal because it is global.he has no control over the arcane forces at work. No matter how much the patient supposedly "participates. but it can fool others. Secondly. follows passively along to another's tune. it wields the force. It is only arrogance that would lead us to believe that we know better what is inside someone's head than he does." But basing suggestions on the patient's life experience does not make them any more valid therapeutically. For it would ignore the deeper physiologic processes of brain and body and the disease which permeates them. 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. Then we may better trust that our judgment. 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. "Do you think this dress suits me?" "What shall we order for dinner?" "Do you think we should go to the Jones house?" Suggestibility. Healing does not emanate from outside. We want the patient to be fully aware of what he is doing. The hypnotherapist can only incorporate the patient's life experiences as he (the hypnotherapist) understands them. 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. One factor is that a person without Pain would not invest the time. The therapist may see ahead of time where the patient is headed. the direction is determined by the patient's history and physiologically-imprinted experiences. The patient. For one thing. But if the therapist does not offer suggestions. it is the patient's sickness. He is engaged in a profoundly important experience. As long as Pain remains unconscious. We don't. whatever its form. The hypnotherapist is really the active agent. must lead the way. because it is ultimately need that you are manipulating. as it must in the hypnotic situation. however broadly. But Pain is primordial and there is no fully enjoying pleasure until Pain and its handmaiden. It is up to us to recognize which are which. and inconvenience to come to a therapy. His reality sets the scene and determines the course. both real and unreal. We can have no control over our Pain as long as it remains unconscious. so it makes no sense for part of him to be off somewhere else. Because a patient thinks he will get well he does. At this point the therapist intervenes in the role of the agent supporting the expression of Pain. 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. It is the patient's life. but we do not attempt to dislocate or hide this level of consciousness. as he relates to them. the pleasure will follow the Pain. from a cut to a burn. Sometimes the neurosis tries to take the lead because it resists the move towards Pain. We aim instead to see that feelings pass through it. Certainly the potential for suggestibility exists. and above all. We can do this best by first having sorted out our own needs before listening to someone else's. We have no need to act out Pain or to expect it unless it is there. not pleasure as its immediate goal. sound. The patient-therapist interaction is also an important tool of therapy." look "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. Physiology does not permit us to skip steps. It develops from the inside. and so forth. even if his conscious mind does not. must hook on to basic unfulfilled need to gather its sources for power. 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. We are well aware that people come to us full of hopes and needs. Inevitably. fitting suggestions to the patient is not a clear matter of incorporating life experiences." Carefully worded suggestions. He has the answers. perception. 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. saying and feeling. and instinct are not being distorted by our own Pain and need.

I believe. (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. would be as vulnerable to the argument of cure based on suggestion if we were to accept the subjective.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. Perhaps it is a reflection of a technological society." substitution of ideas. Indeed we need full consciousness for profound change. to achieve homeostasis. Rather. Any therapy which does not deal with Primal Pain as its primary goal can never resolve neurosis or its symptoms. Either you suppress the need and Pain with mollification. . It means being conscious on a heretofore unconscious level. One of the key differences between my approach and hypnotherapy is that Primal therapy is a natural. the hypnotherapist usually intervenes with one technique or another to control. They already are ready to flee Pain. The second important difference between hypnotic age regression and Primal reliving has to do with intense emotional response. There is the need to trust and believe in someone. 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. The nerve ends of the therapist's own deepest hurt are too exposed for comfort. or circumscribe it. In hypnotherapy. he is able to connect his past experiences with his present feelings and so make sense out of both. the hypnotist. where it is the hypnotist who decides where and how to probe and how deep to go. the full benefit of reliving cannot be gained because consciousness has been reduced by virtue of the hypnotic state. of releasing Pain without feeling it. as in Erickson's case study. Erickson's admonition to his trembling and perspiring subject to "shove it down again" is an excellent example. For some reason therapists think they have to do something to a patient. among other problems. 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. These objective indices are based on the knowledge that Pain has physiological correlates. in which the unconscious arises almost in linear. and counter-suggestion. but never to feel it. to rise above it. For the hypnotic subject to feel all the agony of a childhood means to be having a Primal. It is a case of trying to have it both ways: of reliving without conscious impact. we do not consider this valid unless his vital signs so indicate. There is no dissociation of emotion from intellect. and at the same time "knows" what he is feeling. Even if the patient expects to get better and believes that he is better. to surmount it. People are attracted to hypnotherapy precisely because they want the easy way out. It is ineluctably non-dialectical and reactionary. Our research has shown that without participation of all levels of consciousness. This. like the parents beforehand. The classic experiments in hypnosis nearly always involve not feeling pain. manipulates the child again (the child need inside the patient).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. From a psychotherapeutic standpoint. It is the nature of Pain to make itself conscious. one sees how easy it would be to inject the patient with one's own interpretations and suggestions -. in which individuals are considered as units which have to be repaired. a manipulative one in which the patient is maneuvered hither and thither almost beyond his will. There is a basic lack of respect. Full consciousness means the conscious regression to a lower state of brain organization. As the intellect becomes increasingly overtaken by the rising feeling of need and of Pain. Either you fulfill need -. Furthermore. third-level reports of patients alone. adjusted or fixed in some way. the need to follow and be taken care of. 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. and therefore cannot be entirely resolved. The same can be said of any political system. He is "all there. evolutionary one. The system is self-regulating and permits into consciousness that which can be integrated and accepted by consciousness. As soon as the hypnotic patient gets into an intense emotional state (which we call the pre-Primal phase). Unconsciousness is the problem." or by diverting him with suggestions which counter the painful reality.personal or social -.) The point is that we. and so on -. within the whims or preconceptions of the hypnotist.to brainwash. reduce. there is little therapeutic value in going back to one's past. a feeling is seldom experienced in its entirety. In hypnotic age regression. The person re-experiencing a traumatic event feels the original emotions intensely. the need for explanation and comfort. 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. as well. or hand back the need and Pain so that it may be experienced through to its roots and finally resolved. they are already seduced by the notion of a magical therapy where everything happens unconsciously. stratified form from the most recent and most benign of Pains to the most remote and the most dolorous of Pains. When the discoveries of the patient put him disquietingly close to his own unconscious Pain. It is far more seductive to be offered something that will counteract suffering. 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. like other therapies. and for that you need full consciousness or a consciousness fully connected to lower levels. It is an authoritarian approach. The assumption is that the patient might become dangerously anxious and hysterical. "education.or you suppress it. one has a choice. he may take repressive measures by encouraging the patient to "shove it back down." He surrenders knowingly to himself rather than to another. who is already manipulated and maneuvered away from his real self. One witnesses the susceptibility and gullibility fostered by years of unmet need.determination. 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. that would allow one to conquer it. This is not the case with hypnosis. when one sees all this. the need to be told what to do. is a basic distrust of the human body and its miracles. To get well unconsciously is an oxymoron. a lack of understanding of the necessity for self. This is what we might call Painwashing.

hypnosis itself demonstrates why it is invalid because it reveals itself to be an active agent of neurosis. consciousness must work as a whole. It models and amplifies the dissociation inherent in neurosis. to render someone still more unconscious of his Pain means to take from him his only chance at real health. neurotic suggestibility is so prevalent that it generally escapes distinction as being neurotic. Bernheim believed hypnotizability to be independent of neuropathology and hysteria.he felt that psychological and physiological processes ran parallel to each other in a "dependent concomitant" relationship. In hypnotherapy or in hypnosis you can be told you are cold when you are really hot. 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. As a foundation for psychotherapeutic treatment. that you can recall and repress pieces of a forgotten memory at will and this will put an end to your suffering. Worse still. one can be suggested in a hypnotic state that one is undergoing a burn by a match and actually produce blisters. beginning to recognize the interdependency of hypnosis and neurosis. may well account for Bernheim's position of an inherent suggestibility in all human beings. and in surgery. To effect lasting change. Uses and Ethics of Hypnotherapy Does hypnosis have any uses? I think so.. it means to widen the internal split and deepen the disease. It explains the basis for suggestibility. That. In perceiving similarities between hypnosis and hysteria. I cannot see how treating the disease with more of the disease can be helpful in any way. 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. he felt that Bernheim's ideogenic account of hypnosis veered too much toward "a psychology without physiology. In fact. thus bolstering the illusion of short cures. Having said that. Someone in great physical pain or suffering the nightmares of debilitating disease might as well make good use of this capability. No matter what the apparent outcome. Freud supported a mind-body duality and initially aimed towards a psychotherapy which allowed for it. the imprinting of trauma. 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." If we substitute "primal need" for libido. however. Thus meaningful sounds emanating from someone else's mouth enter the patient's brain and change his . It tends to take a single-cause view of symptomatology. you can be told you feel good when you feel bad. to ameliorate painful physical conditions. You can be told that you are eating divinity fudge when you are not. It seems to me that we have arrived at conclusions which these pioneers either reached or were reaching almost one hundred years ago. 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. There is a reliance upon external authority as opposed to a trust of inner processes. which is an entirely conscious process. with hypnosis being almost entirely ideogenic. Through its evident failings. Hypnotherapy relies upon a diminution rather than a replenishing of consciousness. I feel. As I discussed before. In a footnote to a discussion on sexual aberration. Dissociation as part of the repertoire of the human psyche has long proven an adaptive response to excessive pain. rather than just in neurotics. I cannot support hypnosis. and the physiological effort needed to keep it unconscious. For instance. the conscious mind could discover for itself the contents of the unconscious. Charcot and Freud were. In other words. It seems to pull off its own mask and in so doing uncovers the dynamic of neurosis: the dissociation from Pain. 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. Freud's contributions lay as much in his reasons for rejecting hypnosis as in his initial espousal of it. Freud also came to realize that unconscious material could be arrived at without resorting to hypnosis. hypnosis is experimentally useful as a medium for demonstrating aspects of consciousness and therefore the distortions of consciousness which we have termed neurosis. I think. It runs counter to the very principles and processes of consciousness upon which health stands." In the end he saw suggestion and auto-suggestion as taking advantage of the physiological capacity linking conscious mental states with purely physiological processes. These matters are continually demonstrated in Primal Therapy. he ultimately favored a psycho-physiological explanation of hypnotic phenomena because --and this may be his most important legacy of this period -. As we saw in the case of modern theorists like Barber.. we may better appreciate the meaning of experience. is the basis of neurosis. This. they were induced for a short time only and depended mainly upon the personal relationship between doctor and patient. I couldn't agree more. as each seems to demonstrate the characteristics of the other. that if you confronted the resistances of the patient. so that someone has complete rather than neurotic experience. It provides confirmation of the crucial physiological component of memory. that you are comfortable when you are really in Pain. after all. However. in two ways. it should be noted that all of the above can be arrived at without once applying hypnosis. describing suggestibility as a trait shared by all human beings. let us look back at the positions of some of the early students of hypnosis. Although results were often quite dramatic. Hilgard and Erickson. By all means. He spoke of "pathological suggestibility" as the necessary ingredient in hypnosis as opposed to the "normal suggestibility" of the waking state. Charcot saw a similarity between hypnosis and hysteria. 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. reach for the internal morphine. As the forefathers of psychology discovered. What I am not sure of is whether he understood that socalled pathological suggestibility differs from "normal" suggestibility only in the matter of degree.Charcot and Freud Before summarizing my conclusions about the nature of hypnosis and the value of hypnotherapy. Charcot certainly appreciated that there was something abnormal about the suggestibility needed to succumb to hypnosis. Perhaps the only occasions when hypnosis is unquestionably valid is in cases of chronic and terminal illness.

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. 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. 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. 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. 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." Back to Table of Contents | Next chapter >>

[1]_pp. 91-102.

Introduction to Chapters on Psychoanalysis
Because Freudian and Primal theories appear to have a number of formulations in common, some believe that Primal Therapy was developed directly out of Freudian theory. From a historical perspective, Primal theory is clearly the logical extension of Freud's position on many issues. However, Primal theory did not grow out of a theoretical scrutiny of Freudian literature, nor is Primal Therapy a psycho-emotive rendition of psychoanalysis. Primal Therapy grew out of a discovery which at first appeared to be one person's private experience, but which then turned out to be a primary (primal) experience potentially available to most people. This is not to say that Freudian thought had no influence apperceptively. On the contrary, the development and scientific validation of Primal Therapy is in many ways a tribute to Freud's pioneering concepts on the biological basis of defense, repression, and neurosis. These concepts show that Freud was "on the trail" of a psychobiology of feeling more than eighty years ago -- a trail that was cut short by a lack of scientific proof, the primitive state of neurology and neurochemistry, and professional pressure. In effect, Freud was ahead of the science of his time. It is not unreasonable to speculate that, had he had the science and technology available to him then that we have had in this era, he would have arrived at the key concept of Primal theory and therapy: the permanent, neurobiological imprinting of Pain and its release through feeling.

Chapter 7: The Evolution of Freud’s Theory: Attributing Neurosis to Non-Existent Causes
The Early Years
Freud's first inkling of the nature of mental processes came about as a result of his work with Viennese physician Joseph Breuer. By the time Freud joined Breuer in 1882, Breuer had already discovered that hysterical patients could recall experiences under hypnosis which they could not recall in the waking state. The famous case of Anna 0. fascinated Freud, and he discussed it "over and over again" with Breuer. Anna had developed a disturbing array of hysterical symptoms after the death of her father. Her speech, sight, and limbs were all seriously affected. Under hypnosis, Anna recalled the traumatic scene with her father in which she had sat on his bedside as he lay dying. It turned out that there were unexpected correlations between the details of that scene and the exact location and nature of her hysterical symptoms. To Breuer's surprise, Anna's symptoms gradually diminished with the repetition of Anna's recollection of traumatic events while under hypnosis, which Anna herself nicknamed "the talking cure."

The theoretical outcome of this work with Anna 0. (and with other hysterical patients) was the formulation of a "traumatic theory of hysteria" which described the role of the unconscious in the formation of neurotic symptoms. Co-authored by Freud and Breuer, the publication of Studies in Hysteria in 1895 marked the historical beginning of psychoanalysis. In it, Freud and Breuer observed several important factors: (1) an experience could be barred from conscious recall if it were sufficiently painful; (2) it could then be recalled under hypnosis; and (3) the hysterical symptom matched or mirrored some detail of the original traumatic experience. They concluded that a traumatic experience could exert a lasting influence, producing symptoms years later, even though the memory of it remained completely unconscious. Finally, they stated that only when the memory was retrieved under hypnosis, and "was accompanied by an intense reproduction of the original emotion, often with a hallucinatory reproduction of the trauma...the symptom disappeared." [1] They termed this process emotional catharsis. Here we see the seeds of several important principles of mental and physical functioning -- some of which have endured the test of time and some of which lapsed, later to be rediscovered. * Pain and trauma produce repression. * Repression results in symptomatology. * There is a meaningful correspondence between psychological events and physiological symptoms. * Repressed material exerts a lasting influence until it is released through recall and emotional catharsis. Indeed, Freud's early work with Breuer broke ground which we all stand upon today, for in addition to laying the groundwork for psychoanalysis as one particular "school" of psychology, he was also laying a groundwork for psychology as a field and a science with its own rigor. While hypnosis continued to play a central role in Breuer's work, Freud abandoned use of it by the time Studies in Hysteria was actually published. He was dissatisfied with hypnosis for several reasons. One was that he found that not all patients could be hypnotized.; another that the hypnotic "cure" of symptoms was usually only temporary; and still another was that it could not influence many types of unconscious contents. Only those which were "seeking expression," Freud found, could be brought forth under hypnosis. During his work with Breuer, Freud discovered that, if the physician listened sympathetically, patients could recall longburied memories and motives without the aid of hypnosis. He then developed an approach that is as obvious to us today as it was thoroughly novel in Freud's time: he made the patient the focus of study by asking questions, listening, and then seeking to organize and interpret what was revealed. This new approach became known as the "free association" technique, and Freud was convinced that it accomplished what hypnosis could not: it tapped into unconscious contents, eliciting the "deeper, more primitive and imaginative components of the mind" while the patient was in the waking state. Freud became convinced that the same (or better) information could be retrieved retrieved without all the folderol of hypnotic procedures.

Freud's Biological Roots: The "Project for a Scientific Psychology"
Immediately after completing Studies in Hysteria with Breuer in 1895, Freud undertook one of his most ambitious projects: the formulation of a "Psychology for Neurologists." Comprising three notebooks (two of which contained over 100 manuscript pages), Freud's Project for a Scientific Psychology was probably the clearest statement of his desire to establish a neurobiological model of the mind. In explaining the purposes of the Project in the opening chapter, Freud wrote: The intention is to furnish a psychology that shall be a natural science: that is, to represent psychical processes as quantitatively determinate states of specifiable material particles, thus making those processes perspicuous and free from contradiction.[2] [Emphasis added] The content of the Project was ambitious: Freud proposed three separate systems of neuronal activity to account for the varying functions of perception, memory, and consciousness. He also proposed neurophysiological models for the "ego functions" (such as cognition, judgment, recall, etc.), sleep and dream states, and hallucinatory and hysterical states. Despite these rather formidable accomplishments Freud failed in the one area in which he was most interested: the discovery of a biological model of repression. He had wanted to achieve nothing short of "a comprehensive physiological explanation of...the precise neurological and chemical details of repression."[3] Since he viewed the problems of defense and repression as the "core of the riddle," his inability to solve the riddle constituted a major professional loss. In writing to his friend Fleiss about the first two notebooks of the Project, Freud lamented that the third one, which dealt with the longed-for "mechanical explanation of neurosis," was not "hanging together." By 1896 Freud had abandoned the Project altogether. This failure triggered a decisive turning point in his career in which he ruefully abandoned the unattainable biological laws for more accessible and less disputable psychological concepts. He wrote: From this point onwards, I shall venture to leave unanswered the question of finding a mechanical representation of biological rules such as this.... Perhaps in the end I may have to content myself with the clinical explanation of neurosis.[4] This is precisely what Freud proceeded to do.

Freud's First Model of the Mind: A Bipartite System

What Freud had originally described in the neuroanatomical language of the Project in 1895, he now re-described in psychological concepts in his historical The Interpretation of Dreams in 1900. Here he presented what was assumed to be his first formulation of the structure of the minda psychological description of the "psychical apparatus." The unexpected discovery of the Project in the 1950s threw shadows of controversy over The Interpretation of Dreams, which had been always regarded as Freud's first masterpiece. In light of theProject, some historians believed that Freud's psychological re-formulation in The Interpretation of Dreams amounted to nothing more than a "convenient fiction [that] had the paradoxical effect ofpreserving these [biological] assumptions by hiding their original nature, and by transferring the operations of the apparatus into a conceptual realm where they were insulated from correction by progress in neurophysiology and brain anatomy."[5] In effect, a kind of conceptual whitewash job. Sulloway evaluates: Did Freud...simply retain old-fashioned neurological terms (e.g., "cathexis") while giving them a new and independent psychoanalytic meaning in The Interpretation of Dreamsand subsequent works? Or, are the outmoded nineteenth-century neurological constructs so evident in the Project still holding up the creaking scaffolding of present-day psychoanalysis, as Robert Holt insists, and has their cryptic nature insulated psychoanalysis from a much_needed rejuvenation within the fertile field of neurophysiology where itoriginated?[6] We have no way of knowing if, as Holt suggests, Freud consciously or unconsciously intended to insulate and protect his theories by means of a psychological reformulation. It seems likely that his new terminology might have been a legitimate attempt to sustain psychoanalytic theory despite lack of scientific corroboration, and to propose concepts that might be clinically useful in understanding the human mind. What is noteworthy in this controversy, as Sulloway indicates, is not so much what Freud failed to do, but what his successors have chosen not to do. That is, rejuvenate modern-day psychoanalytic theory "within the fertile field of neurophysiology where it originated."

Freud's First Model of Mental Functioning
Freud initially divided the mind into the unconscious system and the preconscious system. Contents in the preconscious system, he theorized, could enter consciousness fairly easily. One need only give sufficient attention and energy (cathexis) to them and they would pass into conscious thought (the "transference phenomena"). A rarely purchased grocery item, an unimportant phone call, the title of a book, and so forth, might slip forgotten into the preconscious for a period of time, but could be remembered. Unconscious contents, however, never had direct access to consciousness. They had to first pass through the preconscious system, which modified them into a form suitable for conscious perception. Thus: We were only able to explain the formation of dreams by venturing upon the hypothesis of there being two physical agencies, one of which submitted the activity of the other to a criticism which involved its exclusion from consciousness. The critical agency, we concluded, stands in a closer relation to consciousness than the agency criticized: it stands like a screen between the latter and consciousness.[7] Here we see Freud's free use of metaphor ("it stands like a screen") to depict processes he had formerly described in Project in terms of cell permeability and impermeability, the "inertial pattern of neuronal discharge," and the phi, psi, and omega system of neurones. One might even say this new reformulation anthropomorphizes, with its "critical agency and its "agency criticized" submitting and excluding information between both sets of ideas. This is not to devalue the reformulation, only to point out the degree to which Freud had turned in a different direction.[8] In essence, Freud suggests that we cannot receive anything directly from the unconscious. All unconscious wishes, impulses, and motivations first had to be censored and altered by a "passage" through the "screen" of the preconscious. This screening process was most clearly observable in dream activity. One could deduce the original unconscious content -- say, a desire to murder the mother -- and see how it was redressed by its passage through the preconscious: in the manifest dream, the dreamer makes several unsuccessful attempts to kill a pesky mosquito. And so forth. What is interesting to note here is that even at this early point Freud saw the mechanisms of censorship and repression as non-pathological. They could become pathological through the neurotic process, but they were first and foremost a critical part of maintaining normal mental health -- so critical, in fact, that psychosis would result if they failed

Freud's Second Model of the Mind: A Tripartite System
By 1914, Freud had reformulated his view of repression. He had originally conceived of the process as occurring in a simple and straightforward manner: the ego was the agent of repression, and the unconscious was the receiver of the repressed material. Now he contended that "a special psychical agency" was responsible for repression, which he called ego ideal, so named because it contained the ego's ideals, and had as its tasks repression, morality, conscience, censorship, etc. By 1923 Freud had changed the name of his new agency to superego, thus establishing his famous tripartite model of the mind. In a nutshell, this model classified mental activity in terms of its degree of accessibility to consciousness (whether it was unconscious, preconscious, or conscious), and in terms of its function: whether it was a part of the duties of id, ego, or superego. The ego and superego could operate on both conscious and unconscious levels, but the id remained wholly unconscious. Both ego and superego emerged out of the id, which was the prime material of the mind, and contained "the core of the unconscious, the source of all passions, and the biologically innate in man."[9] Freud's last discussion of his model of the mind occurred in An Outline of Psychoanalysis (1938). Herein he maintained the germinative position of the id, and reaffirmed the same general topographic divisions and qualities of mental functioning described above. Freud's three mental divisions often describe the interactions of the three levels of consciousness at a psychological level. The Freudian model does not correspond to the real neurological structures and functions which science is finding today.

he contended that they did represent a kind of "pseudo-memory" which was a significant and meaningful fact in its own right. One of Freud's biographers. and so various neurotic defense mechanisms were developed. He further understood that repressed fantasies and wishes (which arose as the pseudo-memory of trauma) could exert the same lasting effect on personality as the actual experience.[12] {Italics added} By September of 1897 Freud had completed his fundamental writing to his friend Fleiss about "the great secret which has been slowly dawning on me in recent months. Freud could not "see" the full unconscious. there are aspects of the Freudian model which cannot be discarded altogether. Just because he could not see the connection does not mean that he ceased to believe it existed. Freud now moved on to solve his theoretical dilemma by proposing just such a principle: reports of childhood seduction traumas actually represented infantile seduction wishes. what he set out to discover when he embarked upon his Project. and fantasies --in short. Freud first concluded that these experiences were the cause of adult neurosis: the memories of the trauma had to be repressed.} Freud himself wrote: The result (of the repression and resurgence process) is all these distortions of memory and phantasies. he would have had little hesitation in renouncing (or drastically redefining) the id-ego-superego model in favor of a formulation which could be used interchangeably by both psychology and neurology. Freud's Mechanisms of Pathology Three more concepts in Freud's theory of infantile sexuality bear discussion. however." which were the vehicles of adult neuroses: fixation. First. . what Freud had originally viewed a result of personal traumatic experience."[11] {Emphasis added. by minimizing the role of trauma in neurosis. he decided that it was "unknowable. These biological impulses give rise to mental wishes which must be repressed because of societal sanctions. simply not true. What is the significance of Freud's theoretical shift? It seems twofold. Although the memories of seduction traumas were not true in terms of external events. The psychological components of id." The great secret was a realization that the reports of early seductions from his patients were. and the repression of these phantasies and impulses. however. underlying principle of human behavior.Nevertheless. sexual impulses toward their parents. he now saw as a result of universal and innate impulses. To be fair. Freud reasoned that the commonality of the reports was in itself significant." The irony here is that although instinct is a legitimate scientific concept. Freud's successors have not brought Freudian instincts any closer to scientific (neurobiological) validation than they were in Freud's day. concrete experience and placed it on impersonal.[10] Thus..were recognized as having a directive impact on us equally as potent as the impact of the visible. Since patient after patient had reported infantile and childhood seduction traumas. the invisible inner worlds of man -. This innovative viewpoint really constituted a new view of reality..but impulses deriving from the primal scenes. Intangible wishes. The wish then surfaces in adulthood as a report of trauma. reinterpreting them in a psychological context. In other words. and superego are seen as common to all of us. and the reasons why they are stronger than real memories. Freud proposed three "fundamental mechanisms of pathological development. Freud moved the focus of psychoanalysis away from personal. This was no easy admission for Freud to make. either about the past or future. Freud "turned psychoanalysis into a psychology of the instincts. Freud was formulating his sexual theory of neurosis. infants and children have innate. In other words. We feel certain that if Freud had had the same experience and knowledge that is available to us now. so he called it "blind. ego. These wishes were secondary manifestations (derivatives) of underlying (primary) instinctual impulses. the physiological side of the bodymind duality which Freud initially set his sights upon establishing and then abandoned must nonetheless have remained as a background to his thinking." A Sexual Etiology of Neurosis: The Road from Trauma to Instinct In addition to his work on The Interpretation of Dreams in the late 1890s. external world. after all. The second significant aspect in this shift is the validity and meaningfulness Freud attributed to internal psychological processes. imperceptible instincts and impulses. the Freudian formulation does broadly imply (if it never specifies) some correspondence with underlying neurological structures. By May of 1897. and therefore must rest upon those physiological attributes which as members of a species we have in common. After 1900. and the pertinacity of early impressions. in most instances. regression. After some inner turmoil. and that surely it was reflective of some common.. emotions. because that is the only acceptable way to express it. with this revision.." Because he did not realize that it could be known directly through feeling. Ernst Kris.gives rise to new motives for clinging to the illness. and have thus learned new things about the characteristics of processes in the unconscious. That is. I am learning the rules which govern the formation of these structures. He drew all three concepts from the biological sciences. and by July he was "viewing the psychoneuroses in terms of a vicious and dynamic circle of perverse libidinal impulses undergoing continual repression and resurgence. he had shifted this view to what he termed "a big advance in insight" in which he now saw impulses rather than memories as the cause of the problem: The psychical structures which in hysteria are subjected to repression are not properly speaking memories. Side by side with these structures perverse impulses arise. as it brought into serious question the validity of psychoanalysis as a method of psychological investigation. By June of 1897 he had conceptualized the Oedipal Complex (hatred of the same-sexed parent by the child). contended that.

it served to further minimize the role of trauma and experience in the creation of adult neurosis by reducing it to "relatively small disturbances A Theoretical Compromise: Trauma Plus Instinct So far.[17] Sulloway points out that this period of Freud's work also reflected his renewed effort to bring together the two fields of science which he believed would finally result in a unified theory of human behavior: Of all of Freud's works.. now establishing heredity (rather than the actual sexual experience) as the critical factor which determined the outcome of the fixation: He (Freud) recognized libidinal fixations as having three possible consequences -. Freud initially emphasized the impact of sexual experience producing fixation. and in the second. Freud proclaimed "the pertinacity of early impressions" as another critical factor in his childhood etiology of neurosis.(Freud) subsequently extended the role of childhood traumas to include a regular series of developmental disturbances. Freud blended his first two stages of thought into a recognition that both factors -.[14] Although the relevance of personal life experience was again minimized in this formulation. Basically. or perversion -. Sulloway points out that in this second stage. was indeed "a land of unlimited possibilities. The psychological corollary was that the earlier a trauma occurred. a "pathological fixation of the libido" would probably occur." Regression In Freud's concept of regression." This factor was itself a convergence of three different layers of experience -. One is struck by the bold and frankly speculative vein of both works as well as by their common guiding principle --attempt to unite psychology with biology in resolving his most fundamental questions about human behavior. and that relatively minor experiences could result in adult neurosis. he again moved his thinking away from actual experience in favor of hypothesized forces. operating independently of repressed perversions. normality. If the consequences were painful or punitive. A simple example of this would be the adult who is plagued by compulsive overeating: in psychoanalytic terms he would be described as fixated at the oral stage of development. Freud somewhat reinstates its value with his third concept. ancestral. his thinking had shifted to a new direction. loss of penis.which were either innate or inherited. were given increasing recognition as major sources of neurotic symptoms. as he reaffirmed in the later work." The main (if not only) variable in the issue of infantile sexuality thus became heredity.neurosis.. The question was not whether or not one had had some kind of early sexual experience.." he offered a biological analogy from embryological experiments to justify his position: sticking a needle into an embryonic cell mass results in much more serious damage when it is done during the early stages of growth. "neurosis was interpreted as the repressed 'negative' of a stage of perversion." to libido: birth. drafted a quarter of a century earlier. loss of the mother as nurturing object. however. Freud by this time strongly believed in infantile sexuality. loss of the mother's love. a person with the right genes could undergo a sexual trauma in infancy or childhood and come through it "normally. and species-related -. but what the consequences of those experiences had been."[16] Freud did not leave it at that.familial. putting the child squarely on the road to adult neurosis. instinctual drives were emphasized (the libido theory). we have Freud's etiological theory of neurosis through two stages.that is. the more serious and enduring its impact.childhood trauma and repressed instincts -.. fixations were bound to occur. but neurosis would result only if there were an unfortunate "organic disposition toward repressing the fixation. By 1905. Recognizing the principle as a "provisional psychological concept. Freud believed that early experiences were important to the degree that they affected libidinal development. to whether there is an organic disposition toward repressing the fixation."[18] .Fixation As we know.with the particular outcome being attributed largely toheredity -. Biology. and loss of superego's love.[13] Theoretically. which had been dominant at an earlier stage of development. Sulloway explains that Freud's "belief in the primacy of early experience.functioned as instruments of neurosis: Henceforth traumas. however. Sexual experiences were bound to occur. or "threats. Freud saw fixation in the psychological sense as the persistence of an unconscious wish. In the first."[15] Thusinstinct (libidinal development) remained the centerpoint for even this principle. Pertinacity of Early Impressions In the third formulation of this time period. The publication of Beyond the Pleasure Principle in 1920 established the third and final stage of Freud's theory where he renewed his emphasis on childhood trauma as a cause of neurosis. childhood sexual trauma was emphasized (the seduction theory).allowed Freud to attribute the neuroses of adults to relatively small disturbances in childhood libidinal development. According to Freud the regression that occurs in the "severely neurotic" is governed by the "hereditary constitutional factor. Beyond the Pleasure Principle offers perhaps the closest conceptual ties to the unpublished Project for a Scientific Psychology.

It is dangerous because it implies that the victim --the child -. real memories." which ultimately becomes. All children will desire to have sex with their parents. the desire will always be strongly forbidden. a romance first cultivated some twenty-five years earlier in the wake of his problematic Project for a Scientific Psychology. It is certainly difficult to understand how we are going to recover from those real experiences by trying to view them in the light of hypothetical universal principles With the libido theory. through the evolutionary odyssey of primal man. Those who manage this task will be well. Not only were his patients not traumatized by the parental sexual abuse they had reported. it is not the sex the child wants. In Beyond the Pleasure Principle. That is no reason.There are. This may lead the child to conclude unconsciously: "If I want Daddy to love me. subordinating the known realities of individual experience to them. Of course. sexualization can only come from the one with sexuality. support. The child's need might appear sexual because that is often the only way parents (and other adults) can look at sensual need. Of course. In spite of appearances. It is historicism. I have to give Daddy what he wants. however. When these two factors combine. the child would prefer the natural form of attention. however. The culprit again becomes an amorphous. It is when sensuality is mistaken for sexuality that it is subjected to the taboos appropriate to sexuality and incest. and it is admission (experience) of the real self which makes sublimation irrelevant. The neurotic adult is left with nothing more than his own childish incestuous desires to explain his agony and his debility.or at least appear to -. No doubt there are some powerfully influential forces from the occult world of phylogeny which are unknown to us. as Freud would have us believe. But children are not sexual.which is then completely misconstrued as a sexual desire. for with all of its innately perverse impulses our only recourse is to work on control and sublimation. the concept is itself seductive. and finally to the conflict-ridden problems of present-day psychological man. for "biogenetic romances" and "evolutionary odysseys" over present. the parent is likely to act out his primal needs through sexual contact with his child. it is actually control (repression) of the real self which has lead to perversity. The implication is that this conflict is inevitable. the sex came from the parent.with compromise the only solution. neurotic parents invariably want from their children all the things they were denied in their own childhoods -. impersonal. Infantile sexuality becomes a dangerous concept when it is applied clinically and heralded as a cause for adult neurosis and adult Pain." This idea then gets shortened to: "I want what Daddy wants. the person under consideration still remained over-shadowed by rather monumental laws of phylogeny. . Certainly a child does not need sexual union. but a desperate child will take what is offered. If it occurs at all. Even with his eventual redemption of trauma to a position of importance in the etiology of neurosis. Worse. each person truly has a life of his own. etc. In addition. It teaches us to fear the real self as threatening. In other words. Freud disavowed the reported personal experiences upon which his seduction theory was based in order to espouse the exact opposite. The natural desire for contact came from the child. How did this erroneous view of childhood sexuality take hold? If children are sexual. This longing took the form of an unconscious wish which was itself a derivative of some primary biological impulse for sexual union with the parent. preferring ontological ruminations over the once-treasured biological mechanisms. however. Sulloway evaluates: In many ways Beyond the Pleasure Principle is the culmination of Freud's remarkable biogenetic romance about human psychosexuality. Psychoanalysis teaches us the inevitability of this compromise and helps us to support it. important conceptual differences between Freud's Project and his Beyond the Pleasure Principle – differences which might partly account for the non-biological direction ultimately taken by psychoanalysis as a theory and a therapy. it is because the child somehow senses that sex is the only way she may have the contact and love she truly needs. After all. then indeed they would have to inhibit their instincts because of the harmful possibilities of incest. that enabled Freud to extend his biogenetic romance from the very origins of life itself. In these formulations we see Freud opt for hypothesis over reality.is his own assailant. then no parent need wonder at his or her role. and if it is the cultural taboo on incest that is responsible for such hysterical fear. It is an adult concept that falsely exonerates the adults who hold it. It is just conceivable that a child might wish for sexual union with a parent -.but it is not an inborn instinctive impulse.[19] A Primal Evaluation Sulloway points out that it is historicism rather than psychophysiological mechanisms which characterizes Freud's later formulations. that pervades the innovative logic of Beyond the Pleasure Principle. phylogeny is part of the dynamic backdrop to individual experience. Freud shifted his vantage point to one of "ultimate-causal reductionism" where historical and evolutionary factors moved into the forefront. Sexualization of childhood need comes not from the child but from the parent. then we know we enter a losing cause -. they are sensual. Freud became more of a philosopher than an empirical researcher. stimulation. and real feelings than to universal mysteries of which we are but a minute part. The neurotic gets many of his primal needs "satisfied" through sex because sex offers the gratification of all the senses. those who don't will be neurotic. even though beneath that desire lies parents' own neglected primal needs. personal human experience. Too often. not mechanism. Concepts in the Project were based upon "proximate-causal reductionism" whereby the mechanisms of psychophysics and neurophysiology were used to explain human behavior. worse: Freud now contended that they actually had longed for it as children. It is also historicism. Individual experience took a back seat to the playing out of mysteries inherent in the species. and immutable force: the taboos of society. If it is the child's sexual desires that ultimately sicken him.affection. Therefore it has great symbolic possibilities for ameliorating the past neglect of those senses. It is clear that Freud viewed the issue of childhood sexuality from a backward position. But. paradoxically. We can relate much more easily to our real experiences. but the contact. to make those found the center of attention. Nevertheless. "I want Daddy" -. the necessity to inhibitsexuality between family members is co-opted to help repress sensuality as well. with an evolution specific to it. not mechanisms or psychophysics. parents want sexual contact with their children. so all children must learn to deal with their desire in the face of the taboo in the best way possible. attention. If the dictates of phylogeny are what we must battle. It perverts the neurotic child's reality by ignoring the deprivation inherent in the very creation of neurosis.

now aggressive impulses. not of the child. As Masson points out. The Assault on Truth: Freud's Suppression of the Seduction Theory (1984)." The child feels violated. it is not . Masson is led to condemn psychoanalysis because "the silence demanded of the child by the person who violated her is perpetuated and enforced by the very person to whom has come for help. Not surprisingly. Anna Freud wrote: Keeping up the seduction theory would mean to abandon the Oedipus complex. If Emma Eckstein's problems (her bleeding) had nothing to do with the real world (Fleiss's operation). In Freud's seduction theory. Emma Eckstein. he will never be able to face the past of any of his patients. Freud had forsaken the important truth "that sexual. ignored. behaving in whatever ways appeased and satisfied the parent. and if it is further true that such events form the core of every severe neurosis. In an article in The Atlantic Monthly of February 1984 that excerpted his book. and with it the whole importance of phantasy life. If the childhood seductions did not occur on a physical level (which they do. overlooked. It is conceivable that this concept could be expanded to include not the analyst’s fear of his science as much as his past. once Freud had decided that Eckstein's hemorrhages were hysterical symptoms and the result of sexual fantasies. The operation had been undertaken because of Fleiss' dubious and bizarre theory that sexual problems could be cured through nasal surgery." Success in the terms of such a treatment is measured in the ability of the patient to suppress her memories and knowledge of the past and to believe that the emotions which overwhelm her are displaced.Here Freud is far removed from the grim realities of the neurotic child's life. he was free to give up his original seduction theory. says Masson. a theory whereby the external traumas suffered by the patient never happened. which spells the end of the patient's independence. or devalued. He was repeatedly seduced into acting. I think there would have been no psychoanalysis afterwards. too. Today it is acknowledged in many schools of psychotherapy that though sexual assault happens frequently and exerts a devastating influence. The child has no choice but to feel that all of his fears are without cause -. To cure someone of neurosis. this is a crucial point because most therapies "are based openly or implicitly. Jeffrey Masson's reinstatement of the seduction theory met with resistance from the psychoanalytic community. he fears not having any power to decide how he spends his day. of repeatedly manipulating their children to be what they never were and to do what they never did. The significance and ramifications of Freud's move away from the real-life trauma of the seduction theory to the hypothesized wishes of the libido theory. raped." Masson does not think that Freud made a conscious cold-blooded decision to ignore his earlier experiences. what he feels. never to reclaim importance in his writings. rather than freely being himself. Fleiss had bungled an operation on one of Freud's patients. In fact. controlled. if seductions had actually occurred. He fears not being taken seriously. what he eats. Most parents are guilty of imposing their own wills and needs. the child develops neurotic fears and problems "for no apparent reason. with whom he apparently had a number of disagreements over his disclosures. a deed by a fantasy. Masson writes: Freud had the option to recognize (his and Fleiss's mistake). This kind of covert seduction might be even more harmful than "real" seduction because it is so insidious. to efface the external trauma of the operation. Eckstein suffered from profuse bleeding as a result of the operation. he fears being violated by his parents in concrete ways. Masson traces Freud's struggle with the issue of real versus fantasized trauma and notes that in 1897 Freud was beginning to recognize that children have aggressive impulses towards their parents. it would prove necessary to construct a theory based on hysterical fantasies. humiliated. speaking. It was not only the aggressive acts of the parent that were attributed to the fantasy life of a child. Apparently. then it will be impossible to achieve a successful cure of a neurosis if these central events are ignored. then these impulses were natural and righteous reactions to unbearable injury. walking. Nevertheless. But once Freud became convinced that the seductions were only fantasies -. it may be the analyst’s need to deny his own pain. This new " reality" came to be so important for Freud that the impulses of parents against their children were forgotten. Masson’s book. during which she nearly died.because the cause is unadmitted. Masson argues convincingly that Freud abandoned the seduction theory out of a misguided desire to protect both himself and his friend Fleiss. and were inventions. Masson further says that any analyst who turns memories into fantasies "does violence to the inner life of his patient and is in covert collusion with what made her ill in the first place. Under the guise of parental authority and obedience." If this etiological formulation is true. The child does not fear some abstract taboo. pressured. then her earlier accounts of seduction could well have been fantasies. which keeps him from admitting the trauma-filled pasts of his patients." Masson writes: Free and honest retrieval of painful memories cannot occur in the face of skepticism and fear of the truth. He feels fear each time his needs are rebuffed. but he is told that this is what it means to be a good boy. and face the consequences. A fascinating and controversial insight into the possible hidden motivations for Freud's theoretical shift has been provided by Jeffrey M. belonged to the child. confront Fleiss with the truth. As Masson points out. conscious or unconscious phantasy. If Freud's concept of unconscious wishes does indeed enter the picture. In fact. But in order to do this. neglected. thinking. since her health is tied to the analyst's view of her.It is the parent's own unconscious wishes that are picked up by the child and later contribute to the development of his neurosis. Of course. As a child he was repeatedly seduced into fulfilling the needs and expectations of the parent. it enters it on the side of the parent. Or he could protect Fleiss by excusing what had happened. then they occurred on an emotional level. If the analyst is frightened of the real history of his own science. An act was replaced by an impulse. The adult with memories of childhood seduction wasseduced. sexual assault is always the central event in the etiology of neurosis. in doing so. a patient's inner reality has to be accepted as true on some level. manipulated. physical and emotional violence is a real and tragic part of the lives of many children. how he talks. confess it to Emma Eckstein. He quotes a letter from Anna Freud.that the parents were innocent --then impulses took over from seduction in Freud's theories. He fears being abused. he believes that. all too frequently). on Freudian theory. not the adult. This means a denial of self and a denial of reality.

p. 113. 409-410. [18]Sulloway. cit.. op. [4]In Sulloway. When subsequent theorists rejected its focus and method. turning their backs on not only the past of their science. p.on a course which led away from a dialectical approach to neurosis. Back to Table of Contents | Next chapter >> [1]Ives Hendrick. Any serious deprivation. 12. p.. Nevertheless the results of Freud’s misguided theory has resonated in psychology for years.are to combine against the enemies. 409. op.. it attributed it to causes that do not exist.which he still hoped someday to discover. [5]In Sulloway. [6]Sulloway. cit. 374. Facts and Theories of Psychoanalysis (New York): Knopf). pp. 415. Later. and the moral demands of the superego. cit..) [13]Sulloway. op. Chapter 8: Freud’s Theory as Therapy: The Talking Cure That Doesn’t Heal The Aim of Psychoanalysis In Outline Of Psychoanalysis[1]. is at the root of the present-day sterility of psychoanalysis and psychiatry throughout the world. This was a mistake which helped set psychotherapy on a misguided course -. op. p. cit.. [9]Sulloway.” an approach that focuses on the present day adjustments of the patient. op. p. p. Freud asks.. Freud began a trend away from the real world which. the instinctual demands of the id. [17]Sulloway. p. they shut the door. [15]Sulloway.. [2]citation? Sulloway? [3]In Sulloway. or abuse of basic needs during childhood is a trauma which leads to neurosis in adulthood. op. Freud ensured the failure of his treatment by handing his critics a justification for rejecting psychoanalysis.cit. he made lt quite clear that he viewed psychological processes as derivatives or secondary manifestations of the underlying and primary biophysiological processes -. 389. [12]In Sulloway. 212. In fact. p..the sole cause of debilitating neurosis. [14]See Sulloway. [19]Ibid. it seems to me. op. Today modern Freudians have shifted toward the present by adopting “ego psychology. Masson's work confirms our belief that psychoanalysis failed because it attributed neurosis to the wrong causes. As Masson writes in The Atlantic Monthly: By shifting the emphasis from an actual world of sadness.. p. 206. p. 206. [10]Sulloway. 289-309. 120 (quoting Robert Holt). cit. 415. cit. 120. pp. Instead of returning to identify where psychoanalysis veered off track. but the past of their patients as well. op.. p. misery. neglect.of getting the illness to submit. he uses the metaphor of war to describe the alliance of the patient and analyst against the illness: The analytical physician and the weakened ego of the patient. cit. cit. here and now theories and methods which discounted the unconscious and steered away from addressing the generating sources of neurosis. 204. "Is it too bold to hope that it must be possible to submit the dreaded spontaneous illnesses of the mind to our control and bring about their cure?" Freud conceived the task of therapy to be one of control -. and cruelty to an internal stage on which actors perform invented dramas for an invisible audience of their own creation. [7]citation? [8]It is important to realize that although Freud had opted to draw this "first crude map" of the mind in the hypothetical (and often metaphorical) language of psychology. they buried Freud’s important notions. [11]Sulloway.. 126.. . (Original source: Origins. 212. op. beginning a steady march into non-dynamic. [16]Ibid. p. p.. 1967 p. By abandoning the seduction theory. p. for a detailed discussion of this factor.

No matter how knowledgeable and wise the analyst. perhaps -. critic.. in the thinking brain of the analyst.especially not in the currency of "our [the analyst's] knowledge. And: (We are) in a position to conjecture the nature of his repressed unconscious material and to extend.. agony and discovery is not addressed. This was supposedly a breakthrough of unconscious material. both the patient's and the analyst's: life. "the lost provinces" is what has made him unwell in the first place. The atmosphere is absorbed by a child who lives inside it with no particular awareness. Free Association As Freud wrote in his History of the Psychoanalytic Movement. having the patient ramble on and on until something significant (to the therapist) was said. Her presence should not intrude upon the patient nor obscure the patient's own light. Psychoanalysis thus became confined to the level of ideation -. This recognition formed the basis for the psychoanalytic technique of free association.. It is no different for a child with his parents. "proper" analyst exudes and circumscribes the kind of atmosphere in which the patient behaves." Add to these interpreter. the patient talked and the analyst talked because it was assumed that language was the only means by which we could have access to consciousness. The cognitive focus of psychoanalysis is made plain in the Outline. The analyst's attitude is built into the theory.and more often than not. Humility is built into that relationship when the ultimate power and knowledge reside in the so-called "sick" one." Neurosis is an illness of feeling. It became the "talking cure.. warm and feeling. It was the job of the analyst to discover the connection between traumatic memory and the associations provided in this way. the child automatically becomes feeling without one word said about liberty and freedom. Further. Since the patient is suffering from a disease of feeling. So is the canonization of the analyst as a beneficent provider of health-giving wisdom. and condescending. permeated the psyche in a total way. Furthermore.starts with the technical innovation of the rejection of hypnosis. And what is more. The only way to know it was through its derivative ideas. shrouded in the veil of his own fund of esoteric knowledge. A patient must never lose his curiosity or the thrill of self-discovery. "The history of psychoanalysis proper. it can correct blunders for which his parental education was to blame. Certainly Freud's followers took their cues from this vantage point.cold warfare. So. Brill. restorer. neurosis is not an illness of ignorance. for the analytic process assumes the omniscient. sage. We also get an idea of how Freud saw his own role in therapy: "We serve the patient in various functions as an authority and a substitute for his parents. No amount of his acquired learning is as valuable to the patient as the patient's own history and feelings."[2] Sulloway points out that intrusion might be a better translation of the original German than association. though repressed. never betraying . by the information we give him. his wisdom is not curative.. and the business of therapy is not compensation -. A. starched-shirt milieu is not conducive to feeling. That the unconscious (the instincts) could not be directly experienced. than a "cure" will remain elusive. the Freudian therapist is too presumptuous." The chief armament is the intellect..[3] Freud viewed free association as a process whereby ideas intruded upon waking consciousness. including the realization that patients could not recall repressed." Derivative ideas were made conscious by using free association techniques. detective." Hypnosis was discarded for a number of reasons. historian. Free association now replaced hypnosis as the central probing device of the mind. as a teacher and educator. the analyst said very little. In the words of A. knowledge which was itself intellectually obtained like a catechism. and we have quite a formidable figure. And later: The method by which we strengthen the pa-tient's ego has as its starting point an increase in the ego's self knowledge.to concept and language. Only the patient's own natural processes can bring him health. leaving no train of thought unrelated or unimplicated. If they are free. his ego's knowledge of his unconscious. persuader and superego. after which the analyst would help the patient gain insight into the connections between the associations and the original trauma. From all this we learn that analysis works from the premise that the problems and solutions to neurosis lie in the thinking brain -. The principal task is to provide an environment in which a patient can stop intellectualizing and start feeling. Our knowledge shall compensate for his ignorance and shall give his ego more mastery over the lost provinces of his mental Unfortunately. For many. ally. follow their spontaneous mental occurrences and impart everything to him. The power of the process must be shifted from therapist back to patient. and the patient has his own knowledge to discover through his feelings. all-powerful authority figure therapist. No amount of received information will make up for what he can recover from his own unconscious. in the classical Freudian approach.and that the analyst must join the battle as an ally to help the ego in its task of "keeping down the instinctual claims of the id. corrector. If the dialectical process of Pain and liberation. Freud persuaded his patients "to give up conscious reflection and abandon themselves to calm concentration.Freud is saying that patients must exist in a state of permanent warfare -. Freud wrote in the Outline: The new superego (analyst as substitute father) now has an opportunity for a sort of after-education of the neurotic. A restrained. it is erroneous for the analyst is treat him with intellectual medicine. it became clear to Freud that trauma. The same is true in the therapist patient relationship. unconscious material when fully awake. intellectual. A stiff-tie. Therapy must be a voyage of discovery. Thus the first part of the help we have to offer is intellectual work.

resistance is what "opposes and blocks the analytic work by causing failures in memory. although Freud challenged many of the entrenched beliefs of his day. A child doesn't suffer from intellectual conflict with her parents. but that is by no means the whole picture.his own feelings to the patient. Analysis and interpretation of the information provided by the process of free association is where the psychoanalytic method truly fails. Freud was inevitably led to the conclusion that the knowable unconscious was linguistic in nature. the patient doesn't go there and the analyst assumes that the patient cannot be trusted. there are hundreds of millions of years of evolution between the sensate-feeling brain and the human rational one. Ultimately. and a model of rectitude for the patient. Remember. that language could do a detective job on itself. he would have delved into the unconscious. The unfortunate legacy of this assumption is a psychotherapy in which self-knowledge is attainable only through intellectual activity. which are the "raw material" of the unconscious process." as it was termed. This would be fine if experience were mediated purely by intellect. Resistance Freud recognized that in allowing free association he was also inviting freedom of defense. What's more. Freud stated this position plainly: There is no hope of our being able to reach (the real state of things) since everything new that we deduce must nevertheless be translated back into the language of our perceptions from which it is impossible for us to set ourselves free.the true source of elucidation. and is blind to the fact that traumatic memories and neglected needs are straining to become conscious. as follows: The associations which people wish to suppress in this way proves without exception to be the most important. Resistances invariably confront us when we try to penetrate to the hidden unconscious thought from the substitute offered by the dream element. puts too much faith in mental understanding. But in restricting himself to the medium of words. It assumes that the answers to personal experience lie in someone else's head. and what is knowable is only what can be ascertained through intellect and language. It was certainly important to realize that the unconscious could be probed directly via language. It is intricate work to have to apply principles from the fund of psychoanalytic theory to individual experience. pinpointing traces from the unconscious. That the patient cannot be trusted to arrive at his own answers seems to be a self-fulfilled prophecy in the sense that he is prevented from feeling his long-repressed feelings -. language cannot alone fully express the unconscious. or "resistance. According to Freud and the Freudians. Abandoning yourself to thought is a contradiction in terms. The great paradox of psychoanalysis is that we can know ourselves in such a way as to preclude true knowledge of ourselves: Reality will always remain "unknowable. As it was. If knowledge is viewed as the exclusive property of the intellect. Defense against feeling is precisely what makes neurosis a matter of mystery and confusion. If they are unable to abandon their unreal defensive selves to find the real pained self. The non-verbal elements lying behind the gates of Pain in the unconscious are knowable in their own ways -. he pursues offtrack approaches rather than going directly to the source. then they must indeed rely upon another's interpretation of their experience. there are some things that you just can't put into words. Patients need to abandon themselves to feeling. This is because the unconscious is primarily comprised of non-verbal elements. As the colloquialism goes." What scientific work elicits from our primary sense perceptions will consist in insight into connections and interdependencies in the external world. It is no wonder that he gave such kudos to the intellect (and language) in developing psychoanalytic therapy."[5] . We only know what is knowable. There is a tautology inherent in the Freudian concept of consciousness.through their own "language" -. to be decisive for the discovery of the unconscious thought. Primarily.[4] What the above explains is how insight and knowledge of oneself can be used as defenses. he thought such probing to be deleterious to mental health. particularly Pain. the unconscious is not knowable directly. he implicitly accepted the intellectual boundary to knowledge. It distrusts the intelligence of feeling. And because of this the linguistic approach achieves the opposite of its intent: it buries feelings deeper and deeper. any further discovery of knowledge is limited to the use of these conceptual tools. knowledge limited to one level of consciousness reinforces the mind-body split which is itself the essence of neurosis. Freud's discoveries were mediated through the brilliance of his intellect. In his Outline to Psychoanalysis. Freud believed that analyzing this resistance provided even more insight than the original associations. the donor of insights. which can somehow or other reliably be produced or reflected in the internal world of our thoughts. then anything beyond the scope of ideas and language cannot be known. for the principal role of the unconscious is to code and store suffering and other emotions. To some extent it is. That is why when one is cut-off from one's feelings one can discuss the most incredible events with no emotional content to the language. She suffers because her emotions had to be buried in order to get along at home Although unconscious content permeates language. His role was to be the silent observer." although it also included the patient's criticism of his own associations. yet quite clearly it is not. The analyst makes the whole business more complicated than it need be.through the feelings and sensations. If Freud hadn't perpetuated the demonology of the 19th century. This resistance had to be dissolved by the analyst's interpretations. It is interesting to note that. Since he thinks the unconscious will always be a mystery. And since the therapist doesn't trust the patient to go where he must. By awarding the proprietorship of self-knowledge to the uppermost parts of consciousness. And therein lies the rub. the knowledge gained becomes more and more detached from the reality it supposedly explains.

Pain makes the thought intolerable. In the dream. Ernest Jones writes that the conclusions Freud made public in his Interpretation of Dreams "have experienced only a minimum of modification or addition in the half century since the book was published."[8] Jones viewed the lack of change as an indication of Freud's accuracy and thoroughness whereas others see it as an indication of his successors' rigidity and compliance. The thought is only a cognitive abstraction. analyzing the resistance is itself resistance. Importantly. the same feeling that arises just before a patient slips into a devastating pre-verbal primal.e. Freud believed that analyzing the resistance would eventually lead to the unconscious origin of the neurosis when in fact. particularly recurrent dreams. . Freud's theory of dreams centered on one main concept: wish fulfillment.have remained unexplored. dream analysis is unfortunately another intellectual exercise that negates feeling. What is helpful when using dreams in therapy is asking a patient to relive the dream in order to get to the feelings and imprints that gave rise to them. and only Pain can lead to feelings. no matter what the story.My patients were pledged to communicate to me every idea or thought that occurred to them in connection with some particular subject. The system automatically resists more Pain than it can integrate.. Resistance doesn't evaporate until the Pain does.. Since one is asleep (i. Just recognizing that dreams were meaningful was a major breakthrough for psychology. Thus. Analyzing resistance is still a major part of the psychoanalytic method used today. If. and fear comes from threat. self-observant manner while producing associations to each part of the dream. I put the dream before him cut up into pieces. however. unconscious) while dreaming. Until real causes are released from below the gates of consciousness/awareness. published in 1899. he described how he came upon the similarity between dreams and neurotic symptoms: If a pathological idea of this sort can he traced back to the elements in the patient's mental life from which it originated. Resistance is normal and a survival function. Resistance is just one more mechanism of survival. and unexpanded by his successors. Only feelings can bridge the gap. when properly interpreted. the patient once again reclines on the couch in a relaxed. and catastrophes all depict the condition of the dreamer'sfeelings rather than the fulfillment of the dreamer's wishes. It mobilizes the cortex in the service of repression. "You are resisting this or that" can make him feel guilty for acting normally." In his Interpretation of Dreams. There is nothing to analyze about resisting Pain. In fact for Freud. Ultimately. and it is the Pain that must be dealt with. resistance is fear. but the threat of overwhelming Pain. It is merely a substitution of thoughts. It is feeling that is the royal road to the unconscious. In fact. Freud believed it essential for the analyst to structure the dream for the patient: If I say to a patient who is still a novice: "What occurs to you in connection with this dream?" as a rule his mental horizon becomes a blank.. It was then only a short step to treating the dream itself as a symptom and to applying to dreams the method of interpretation that had been worked out for symptoms. not thought. unchanged. To understand an image and its theoretical underpinnings has nothing to do with cure. neutral in itself." unravelling their meaning via free association would also unravel the neurosis. amongst other things they told me their dreams and so taught me that a dream can be inserted into the psychical chain that has to be traced backwards in the memory from a pathological idea. What Freud did not perceive was that getting the patient to intellectually accept the analyst's interpretation of his resistance did not in fact remove the resistance. It is not an unconscious thought that the patient resists. The problem is that his views -. In precipitating real change. Dream Analysis In addition to free association. it merely changed its form. Freud used dream analysis to treat neurosis. there is often a feeling of impending doom. Then there is nothing to resist against. Wish Fulfillment Contrary to Freud’s theories. locking up the unconscious contents even tighter. it simultaneously crumbles away and the patient is freed from it. images.. he will give me a series of associations to each piece. are attempt to deal with imprinted pain.[7] These associations. intense dreams represent early non-verbal imprints remote from the dream itself. until it is connected to the Pain that forged it.which were again a beginning -. feelings are what is unconscious. there is little censorship from the ego so that the dream provides the purest possible presentation of the unconscious. would reveal the infantile wishes that actually motivated the dream material in the first place. The symbols. and no matter how accurate the newly supplied ones may be. chaos. Based on Freud’s theory. disconnection is actually maintained. Monsters.[6] Freud applied his free association to interpreting dreams. and stories often reflect imprinted memory. the interpretation of dreams was "the via regia [royal road] to the unconscious. he came to realize that dreams were often the best material for analysis. Freud broke important ground with his work on dreams. Of very few important scientific works can this be said. Since "dreams contain the psychology of the neuroses in a nutshell. Analyzing the resistance keeps the person detached from the very feelings that could liberate him. mind games are not helpful.Freud needed to take this observation one step further. for dreams were generally regarded as nonsense by his contemporaries.. neurotic dreams. Dreams appear to contain images of something more profound. dream analsysis remains intellectual guesswork. Too often. a biological shutdown in the face of overwhelming danger. He believed that unconscious wishes from infancy and childhood animated all adult dreams. The patient's resistance is worked on as a problem in itself. To say to the patient.

no theory is necessary at all. It would have been best left to her to tell us what it means. No theory need intervene. without any difficulty. A lady related that as a child she very often dreamt that God had a pointed paper cap on his head. by the way. The theory is a preconceived set of ideas laid onto the dream in order to make sense of it. Let's take one of the examples Freud used to show how the application of his technique explained the dream. While dreams are still symbols for the feeling.which might be one of terror or blind panic -. Only the dreamer. The analyst cannot possibly know more about the patient's unconscious than the patient himself. Structuring the Dream Freud's dream work model requires that the analyst structure the dream for the patient. Dream material is woven out of the concrete events of waking realities. intellectual tracing seems quite limited because the neurologic system allows us to go only so far before barring the gates. and the further Pain of her parents' reaction to it. Dreams utilize the first and second levels of consciousness -. words. pictures. it rarefies the unnecessary Pain of deprivation into an inevitable conflict of infantile desires.While some dreams may contain wish fulfillment. it likewise will be the prime mover of dream activity. She must re-experience the rejection and the lack of love. When one succumbs to the feeling of the dream.thinking about meaning. then one is directly experiencing the unconscious. This action in itself modifies the dream. The patient as a little girl was made to wear the cap. with it. experiencing its feeling is. deny.she saw the plates of food "even when they tried to prevent me. never "simple. and a Jungian slant in Jungian analysis.interpreting dreams -. How are you going to understand that without the help of the dreamer? It sounds quite nonsensical. they are closer than third-level ideas to the inner reality. a neurotic idea would "crumble" and the patient would be "freed from it." Unfortunately.and are another type of language. However." While the intellect can view the connections as a well-fitted package. because the memory-imprint is all that is needed to make sense. even when they tried to prevent me. The dinner food was only a symbol for the love she wasn't getting. but the absurdity disappears when the lady says that as a little girl she used to have a cap like that put on her head at table. for the analyst can only superimpose his own view and theory. feeling the Pain of that little girl as a little girl at the dinner table. Method Freudians use language. and repress feelings. Feelings don't "crumble." And Freud believed that arriving at an "accurate" understanding or interpretation in this way was sufficient to undo the trauma. and one less reality to feel. Beneath her insistent need to see if her brothers and sisters had been given more could be the Pain of rejection and neglect. If Pain is the chronic ingredient of that reality. and finally. it is definitely not the essence of dream material. but they cannot crumble them. Freud felt that "this example is perhaps too simple" because the meaning was so easily discerned. distort.' This example is perhaps too simple. she must feel the Pain that drove her compulsive glances. The interpretation of this element and. the dream could only mean that I knew and saw everything as God did. without exception. his insight communicated to the patient will not alter the problemwithin the patient. sounds." for example -. just results in more symbols to cover the feeling Analyzing dreams is the same as analyzing an idea and finding flaws in its logic.all day long and not change it one bit. And with that resolution goes the ideas which were used to defend against them." They are felt and resolved. scents. and ideas as the main tools of unravelling. Ideas can alter. and images to portray feeling. so in her childhood dreams she puts the same cap on God -. They use scenes. Wish fulfillment is a seductive concept that again veils Pain behind a dangerous illusion of insight. but he won't know until Pain opens the gates and diminishes repression. agony. That means giving into the feeling -. Making associations -. Evidently the cap was meant to serve the purpose of blinkers.and riding the feeling to wherever it leads in the unconscious. In fact. It will only give him one more idea to think about. We have found that no matter how simple and transparent the meaning of the dream is. fear. She must feel the even deeper hurt inflicted by her parents. Not only did they not recognize her desperate need. The dream will have a Freudian slant in psychoanalysis.[9] For Freud it was "easy enough" to see the historical parallels between the dream symbols and the dreamer's past. of the whole short dream becomes easy enough with the help of a further association of the dreamer's: 'As I had been told that God knew everything and saw everything. There is a certain intellectual satisfaction in arriving at such a neat and clear parallel. this piece of historical information was given. Worse. knows for sure what a dream means. What matters in this dream is the Pain that drove this little girl to her compulsive behavior. The dream when felt will lead precisely to the time and place of the trauma."people are laughing behind my back. the body experiences the connections only through confusion. not the analyst. which she could have done had she been encouraged to sink into the feelings in the dream. Freud believed that when traced back to its origin. because she wouldn't give up looking at the plates of her brothers and sisters to see whether any of them had been given more than she. And even if his guess is correct. You can analyze a paranoid idea -. they punished and humiliated her for it The Talking Cure that Doesn't Cure .primarily the second -.

His body is still sick.but he is not conscious of them.rather than an interconnected reality -. A leader is aware that people are being killed and maimed by the bombs he ordered dropped. Freud's treatment of neurosis through free association and understanding may have increased his patients' awareness. even if arrived at by the patient. that repressed Pain is accessible to the adult mind. A great number of decades. p."the dream could only mean" -. For the neurotic. it is theentire state of the organism. Frederick K. they are among the countless ways of defending against Pain. 11/29/93. [5]Outline of Psychoanalysis. millions of words. p. p. [10]Time. and that to allow the ascendance of Pain is curative. 106. the patient ostensibly gets well "in his head. Norton). the National Institute of Mental Health director during the Clinton years. [2]Citation?? [3]Citation?? [4]Freud. According to Dr. where with new ideas to explain one's every move the patient could feel better. the healthier the person. [7]Citation?? [8]Life and Work of Sigmund Freud. We see that defenses are by and large neurotic. . because pain/repression blocks the route. Becoming Conscious In Therapy: A Matter of Degree Freud knew that the process of becoming conscious was a total event. Goodwin. and he can't imagine why." Where awareness is a moment-by-moment process. but he is not conscious of the horror he is inflicting. The woman with the "pointed cap" dream mentioned above became aware that "the dream could only mean that I knew and saw everything as God did. pp.The reader will recall that Freud discarded his seduction theory in favor of one which focused not on real trauma but on heredity and instinct and sexual impulses. consciousness is an ongoing state of being. [6]Interpretation of Dreams. Rather it was a third line "cortical" treatment. Awareness is a cognitive process. Freud's agenda included a fixed. The better the defense. a further advance in the mental organization. What he did not fully appreciate is that recall and insight. Remove the Pain and the defenses are no longer needed. The excavations of psychoanalysis may bring past events into awareness. Back to Table of Contents | Next chapter >> [1]Translated by James Strachay (New York: W. A rearrangement of cortical ideas. Nor did he see that inherent in this very disconnection is the means to effect re-connection. over 200 talking cures today compete for the 10-15 million Americans trying to talk their way to psychological healing. After all. Outline. the experience is a limited one no matter how vivid the scenes recaptured. He did not know that the traumas are disconnected from their source and neurophysiologically imprinted throughout the entire organism. The great loss that psychology suffered as a result of Freud's abandonment of the seduction theory lay in the fact that it robbed patients of vital dialectical truths: that neurosis is the product (synthesis) of buried Pain generated by actual trauma (thesis) and its repression (antithesis)."the dream was."[11] Yet Freud limited the "hyper-cathexis" to mentation. that the patient had to experience this link up for himself for it to really mean anything. and tremendous resources have been spent tracking neurosis to false origins. He wrote that "becoming conscious is no mere act of perception. 124. and thus was no cure at all. the mind's perception cut off from the body's reaction.he may be well able to recall them -."[10] The theories and techniques of Freud's talking cure have cast a long shadow over psychotherapy and have served to reinforce rather than cure neurosis. But if therapy remains at the level of recall. Consciousness is a multi-level process. based on ideas and insights. psychoanalysis has helped him "understand" his problems. It remained a cognitive speculation -. With this talking cure." But he later develops migraines or ulcers. the method of free association appreciates this possibility. p. our objectified view of what happened. Instead. Be it in five-day-a-week psychoanalysis for a number of years or a much shorter treatment course in another psychotherapy. We can become aware of an experience as a defense against being fully conscious of it. only Pain can offer that service. but it did not increase their consciousness. 1949. are not the same as reliving. immutable unconscious pouring out demons until it was stopped by various defensive means. "There is no real evidence that it [classical psychoanalysis] works. This is why he believed it was enough to connect mentally to past traumas. for what is truly in the unconscious is the agony component of recall and memory. 229. [9]Outline of Psychoanalysis. 122." but she did not become conscious of it on the deeper feeling levels. Freud's talking cure is the predominant model of what happens in psychotherapy today. 132-133. To merely talk about a distressing scene and pinpoint its relevance to current problems offers an enticing yet false immunity to the strong feelings bound up with it.W. Freud made an important step in recognizing that it was useless for the analyst to supply the connection. but is probably also a hyper-cathexis. with awareness holding down consciousness. The neurotic may be aware of all his past traumas -. psychoanalysis finally did become "the talking cure" as Anna O had coined it.

Shift to the Here and Now Freud believed that current personal problems were founded upon the repressed experiences of childhood. such new. If one hates one's father and is transferring that onto a therapist. which is omnipresent? The transference will then no longer be possible. By abandoning the more abstruse mysteries of Freudian thought. Besides. In modern analysis. with the here-and-now interactions of daily life coming to the fore. Thus there are usually fewer sessions per week.the past -. It probes into problems of "self-evaluation" (such as insecurity. then all neurotics who have loving partners as adults should stop being neurotic. All of this is no more than saying that you cannot "love" neurosis away. a soon as the hate is felt in its entirety. emotions are not there to be corrected. Whatever needs remain unfulfilled from child will be transferred onto anyone. The neoFreudians dispense with the issue of infantile sexuality (or at least show far less concern for it). As a result of this trend the matter of repression and the unconscious has gradually lost attention. It doesn't mean simply transferring onto a therapist. including one's children. 4) Chapter 9: Neo-Freudian Analysis: The Noncorrective Emotional Experience Introduction So-called neo-Freudianism covers any number of different theoretical angles and therapeutic methods that have been developed over a long period of time by many different psychoanalysts. Neo-Freudians tend to reject the same Freudian notions. none of them rejected Freudian thought or methodology wholesale. After all. While "intrapsychic conflict" is still part of the more recent analytic focus. He tends to play a more active role with his patient. Does it not make better sense to avoid analyzing the transference and go straight to the need. democratic notion that love solves all. unassertiveness. Karen Horney. what he perceives his needs to be.is largely removed from the picture. good experiences will adjust his view of himself in the world and enable him to set about life with sensible. The emotional residue continues on until they are felt. Emphasis upon the influence of childhood experience was maintained by the neo-Freudians. This seems to be the case 1) because immediately observable change in adjusting to the here-and-now is the objective of therapy. In the end. a central dynamic in the Freudian scheme. and how he sets about satisfying them. Harry Stack Sullivan. bringing principles of learning and even conditioning to bear. developed from Freudian psychoanalytic concepts modified rather than discarded the Freudian model for the origin and treatment of neurosis. Working from the premise that the patient is disabled by bad experiences. and 2) because the vast area of experience which lies behind the barrier of repression -. realistic attitudes and restored self-confidence. over months and months. If change were as simple as a corrective good experience. They come together as neo-Freudians because their positions. in their efforts to discard the inadequacies. the transfer will disappear. v. because the patient "learns" in therapy that not all authority is strict and unyielding or indifferent." Here it is believed that positive experiences in therapy will undo tangles wrought by the bad ones. the neo-Freudians have allowed the vital importance of key concepts like repression and past causes to lapse. Key figures in the emerging heresy were Alfred Adler.[11]citation?? (p. and self-evaluation. the key to which were the stages of psychosexual development. Thus the child becomes the act-out for old feelings and needs. The neo-Freudian therapist is generally more flexible and eclectic than his orthodox counterpart. The most obvious parting of the ways with Freudian orthodoxy came over the issue of instinctual drives (the libido).[1] Although all of these theorists parted company with "the master" on significant issues. with neurosis still viewed as the result of unassimilated childhood disturbances. intervening more readily to focus on patterns of attitude. Beyond that he was concerned with the clash between the murky . or if not removed entirely becomes a kind of after-thought of the therapy. Therapy for the neo-Freudians focuses on how the person feels in his environment. the length of therapy tends to be much briefer than the protracted excavation of Freudian psychoanalysis. though they do not always replace them with shared viewpoints. favoring instead a focus upon the present environment with its ongoing interpersonal dynamics. not unlike throwing out the baby with the bath water. That concept is an old liberal. and Eric Fromm. It is thought to be helpful in understanding how the neurosis emerged. The magical notion is that by working through the transference and aided by the corrective emotional experience. At the head of the neo-Freudians were some of Freud's own colleagues who defected from orthodoxy at one time or another. the neo-Freudians have thrown out the past altogether. with a reduced emphasis upon free association. Because of the inadequacies in Freud's original techniques for dealing with the past. neo-Freudianism drifts towards behaviorism. but is not considered to play an active role in recovery. Not the case. the main thrust of neo-Freudian therapy is to provide what Franz Alexander termed a "corrective emotional experience. they are there to be felt. the person will change. For example. and low self-esteem) toward the goal of helping the patient develop practical "self-management" skills. early life experience has been increasingly relegated to that of a reference point. transference in Freudian terms means transferring emotional reactions in the past onto the present. behavior. 126.

what they do in practice often militates against such an experience. how the patient conducts himself within that environment may have a lot to do with how he grew up. True. but is alive in the cells. Therefore the context demanding the most attention is the present one. "the past is happening. Correcting the blood pressure through behavioral techniques tries to get the patient to live in the present." He and other heretical analysts led patients to talk about significant aspects of their lives in a more directed way. However. Freud and early post-Freudian theorists had a much better idea of the importance of not only uncovering "forgotten" memories but of allowing the affect or feeling bound up with the memories to surface simultaneously. she apparently did not recognize that emotional intrusions which often accompany these revelations are not simply caused by the memories entering awareness. Although many modern analysts do pay lip service to the notion of allowing the feelings inherent in repressed memories to surface. had begun to lean towards making the ego rather than the id the concern of analysis. Although modern analysts agree that neurosis may be the end product of repressed conflicts left over from childhood. the staple of orthodox Freudian analysis. He is stuck in the past. would lead to understanding of what was wrong and. instinctual life and the civilized being that he endeavors to be. Whatever its historical basis. a library of academic information. as each generation of analysts has become dissatisfied with various methods of its predecessors. To use a modern colloquialism. While she accepted that a person could recall his past and reveal it verbally. attitudes. it was not the personal past that was rejected but the innate. To refer to the past only to "throw light" upon motives is to miss the point on two counts. neurosis resulted from the intrapsychic conflicts created by repression. a very well known analyst in the thirties and forties was one of the first to ask patients to report what they were feeling rather than just what they were thinking. Certainly the patient with his problems should be allowed the right to go where he must. tissues. or other elements of the mental sphere but signals of the imminent eruption of intense Primal feelings. They prefer to focus instead upon the ego and its defense mechanisms: the here-and-now aspect of consciousness. This painstaking reconstruction of a person's history. there is no indication that she saw beyond the underlying dynamics. Yet we erroneously refer to the past as if it were an external place physically distant from us. Although she paid attention to non-verbal signals in this endeavor. But the neo-Freudians have moved away from addressing that past and toward Behaviorism: stamp in good behavior. The late Franz Alexander. during the latter part of his life. But once he has become enlightened (which is the task of therapy) he will discard these anachronistic. One can use behavior therapy. It was a significant step. and chemistry of the brain and body. new-Freudians acknowledge. For this Freud prescribed a lengthy mental probe into the unconscious to discover the root causes. self-defeating behaviors in favor of more suitable ones for the here and now. and in many ways determines the present. The first phase of rejection was instigated by Freud himself who. The patient. trying to get what doesn't exist. in turn. This environment inevitably includes what are rather laboriously called interpersonal relationships. to see man or woman dissolve into a hurt child.remnants of man's primitive. has given way to what Harry Stack Sullivan and others have called "more genuine communication. lives here and he lives now. they do not give these conflicts the same importance as did Freud. But to Horney the task of therapy was still interpretation of attitudes towards the self and interpretation of defenses. but are in fact repressed memories themselves. There was an increased recognition of non-verbal aspects of consciousness. stamp out the bad/neurotic. To see someone racked by a repressed grief. The interpretations by the analyst and the patient's own insight would allow him to adjust to the prevailing realities of civilization. . The past is not simply a record.[2] This declaration equates only the present problems with "real" problems. there was a move towards encouraging patients to show feeling. and other techniques to correct the blood pressure. They are not signals of ideas. We are what we were. they would say. It is presumptuous for the therapist to decide where the patient should focus his attention. it is a living state which infuses. Among the non-libido analysts. phylogenetic legacies of the species' primitive past that lost their central importance." It is not a separate story written in the pages of some carefully preserved personal history book over which dust has fallen. The neo-Freudian equivocation toward actually feeling the past seems to have turned more recently into a headlong flight away from it. acting out a past we cannot feel. They have moved toward a non-historical. Freud spoke of analysis necessarily fluctuating between the id and the ego. To feel it oneself is to understand that much more clearly. But it is only ephemeral. biofeedback. nondynamic approach when the opposite is called for. the neurosis thrives at the moment and is clearly bolstered by the current environment in which the patient moves and has his being. permeates. is to understand how the Painful past has lived on within us. a pioneering founder of psychoanalysis in the United States. wishes. His descendants would have done better to return to some of the original aspects of psychoanalysis. provide the person with more conscious control over his life. The neo-Freudian analysts depart from this classical approach in several ways. Thus. but the tendency remains. In a sense. these new directions were never taken quite far enough. enunciates the modern Freudian relationship to the past in this statement: We could center the patient's attention on his real problems and should turn his attention to disturbing events in the past only for the purpose of throwing light upon the motives for irrational reactions in the present. The neurotic does not live in the here-and-now. Those analysts tend to call in the individual's past only when it serves to throw light upon how the ego is conducting itself within the present environment. Modern analysts rarely bother with the id and its libidinal drives. when set against the backdrop of man's evolution and innate biological constitution. His present is colored by the past. This is not an improvement on Freud. The shift from emphasis upon discovering unconscious conflicts rooted in childhood to a focus upon current life situations has been gradual. nor do they focus on the same conflicts. Quite the opposite." Sullivan thought that free association was too often a case of patients and doctors indulging in "parallel autistic reveries. Neo-Freudian Shifts in Free Association Free association. Karen Horney.

It is too much to ask. The 45-minute session suits a cerebral therapy where one feels for a few minutes and can then stop with impunity. the tears the child should have cried and never did. all the while clinging to some tentative meaning with which to step back into the world until the next meeting. and reliving ineffable Pain for two hours. will go no deeper than the defense system will allow. try to make sense of one's own thoughts sparked off by the aborted experience. right at the point when an important primal feeling is about to occur. He is robbed of the only experience that can profoundly change him. To heal. If this occurs at around 30 to 35 or 40 minutes in a 45-minute session. Any analysis. having encouraged this confusion to some extent. even if it goes on seven days a week. Presumably. Time in Modern Analysis One needs time to fully penetrate the depths of the unconscious. If the therapy is done correctly. stopped dead in his tracks. Such an approach inevitably produces a greater amount of headwork and therefore confusion. The person in an analytic-style therapy may relate a current situation which unwittingly leads to a primal scene." But in these terms. Adult tears are ameliorative. The shortening of the psychoanalytic session is bound to keep the patient hanging on. Pain will arise in order and in integratable doses. talking must lead into deeper levels of experience and memory. the breaks in the flow of unconscious to conscious are determined by the clock on the wall. the therapy will remain on a superficial level. the four times a week goes deeper and further. At the very least. It might be argued that patients who go three. assimilate the analyst's interpretations. or even five times a week would invalidate my complaint about the distended session. The patient comes close to Pain.and above all. Therapists may feel something has been achieved when they see their patients crying for a few minutes about a scene from childhood. patients don't really go to analysis for advice. With such a short time. it is. whatever was interrupted one day could be easily picked up the next day. From the Primal perspective this patient has been cut off from himself. What is difficult in the training of primal therapists is to teach them how to ask a non-verbal question. It can't because the defense system has recovered sufficiently to prevent access. The statutory analytic hour (usually lasting only 45-50 minutes. What is clear in doing our therapy is that one cannot transgress levels of consciousness. there are tears and a welling up of feeling. Pain and Ego Disintegration . Imagine having to squash the feelings yet maintain a grasp of what came up. As long as the therapist is in the driver's seat. We also find out that the really deep material is nothing that can be recounted to a therapist. It is something that neither one can recognize until the feeling is felt and is over. He either has to talk fast to get the feeling that he is covering the topics important to him. He has a distended session. The genuine communication here is the fluid connection between the levels of consciousness within the patient and not the quality of the dialogue between patient and therapist. Unless Primal techniques are used. The way analysis treats it. nothing that a therapist need dose out to a patient. but it does not restore consciousness. Indeed. Meanwhile.Talking may produce insight. patients are caught in the contradiction of allowing unconscious feelings to surface followed by a need to restrain those very feelings. And no matter how many times a week he comes for therapy. a chance to talk to a "daddy" or "mommy" who will finally listen and care. and kindness -. Thus the analyst ensures his own indispensability. not by his inner time. Baby tears are curative. Still. which in my experience is not the case. We cannot communicate verbally with a patient who is in her non-verbal. What also makes psychoanalysis interminable is that four times a week therapy deepens the dependence on the therapist. because our defenses reflexively tighten their hold when Pain comes close. Presumably. in fact) means that the therapist is setting a limit at the outset as to how far his patients can go. offer up brilliant insights and remain forever dependent. and all the other facets of awareness which analysts prize. what else can they do but restrict themselves to matters of the now? Going into the past can very easily seem like a waste of time. recognition. then is encouraged to push it back down and "think about it" until the next time. the repressive barriers may be strengthened. no matter how convinced the patient and therapist are that they have gone deeper. the therapist must remain on the same level as the patient. pre-verbal brain. psychoanalysis then presents itself as the means of unravelling the confusion through the medium of understanding. which could be a year or two down the line. warmth. or he slows down and is able to deal with only a fragment of what is going on. It can be done. but crying about and being in the grips of childhood is the difference between a few tears and sobs. enlightenment. A certain indeterminate cycle occurs here. I am convinced that the kind of material a patient dare not face until she is ready in psychoanalysis. reassurance. understanding. they go for comfort. four. the patient will continue to be a dependent passenger. Furthermore. That is why many of our former patients who entered Primal Therapy after years of psychoanalysis say that in the first three weeks of our therapy they had gone deeper and learned more than in all the years of analysis. The really deep material remains absolutely out of reach of any analyst who could not possibly guess what traumas lie deep in the neuraxis. who is meanwhile encouraging his patient to be independent and "responsible. is material one can get to in two or three primal sessions. the analyst's response is predictably one of stepping in to seal off the emotion while encouraging the patient to organize his thoughts for tomorrow. It is the "old" tears we are after. What happens next is crucial. To speak while the patient is plunging into a non-verbal early event would be to abort the feeling. to really take full responsibility would mean to stand on one's own two feet and stop asking for constant advice. The painful feelings are memories that take their own time to be told in their own form. I can't for the life of me figure out what the difference is between therapy three times a week or four times a week. The price they pay to get this is to be a bright student.

against being overwhelmed by unconscious forces. we aim for the controlled disintegration of neurotic defenses. Some analysts even encourage crying. The idea is that the patient displays all his neurotic patterns toward the analyst. because analysis does not go directly to the unconscious. The patient then encounters the difference between the analyst's reaction and his parents' past reactions and theoretically experiences a "corrective emotional experience. Then. analysts are forced to theorize about it. what might have been a solidly intense experience becomes a fearful. It is not disintegrating. however. and reasonable) should correct the old neurotic view. Transference and the Corrective Emotional Experience In analytic theory. working instead toward a gradual dissolution of repression both in specific instances of re-experience (a primal) and as an overall aim of therapy." Psychoanalysts believe that experiencing neurotic behavior patterns from childhood in relation to the analyst now will aright the neurosis by showing the patient that his reactions are no longer suited to adult life. The person is becoming whole again. he should begin to understand that not all authority is harsh. From my own experience doing conventional therapy. not to try to close off the patient's feeling. but because of the distrust and suspicion inherent in expressing emotions. believing that the analyst is trying to trick him or manipulate him.[3] If. particularly if it goes on for any length of time. I believe that when the analyst distrusts intense emotions as dangerous and disintegrating. we might agree that repression is necessary because we could not bear to fully experience something at the time it occurred and thereafter. not analyzed nor even "felt"about. We can measure integration in the slowing of heart rate and lowering of blood pressure. The defensive impulse to rush in with one sort of anesthetic or cognitive smokescreen or another is very strong and is supported by an entire culture that is very heavily geared to the suppression of Pain. Paradoxically. patients do cry in analysis. Otherwise there is disintegration where one level of consciousness is alienated from another. but felt as and for what it is. thus ensuring the fragmentation of the individual. The trainee in Primal Therapy often has to learn not to intervene.not because the emotions are disintegrative. losing control is crucial: not in the sense of mindless abandonment to insane impulses." a breakdown of the repressive defense system. . Losing control over one's neurosis is the way to rediscover the natural self-regulation which exists within any organism. That makes the patient's reality subordinate to the analyst's concept. Our job is to allow patients to define themselves and to discover their own health. who coined the phrase. I can understand how intense feeling might appear disintegrative.if appropriately handled) leads to integration.or actually living it fully for the first time -. In many ways it seems that analysts equate the ego with the constellation of neurotic defenses. according to Alexander. Most stop it short. the therapist would never again have to guess or theorize about the unconscious. We all know that the expectations of the therapist can have a tremendous impact on the patient. the patient develops what is termed a "transference relationship" with his analyst. Of course. It is also to stop being afraid of powerful feelings. We can measure the integration with our brain maps. This does not mean inviting psychophysiologic chaos. a patient's parents were strict disciplinarians. hysterical one -. Yet psychoanalysts cannot see that reliving the trauma -. Primal Therapy provides an environment in which the Pain can be felt." It is seen as an episode bordering on hysteria. but in the sense of a total (yet survivable) loss of repression so that the rage felt is enormous. or unfair. Concepts and neurosis can. called it the "central therapeutic agent" in the psychoanalytic procedure. The paradox which analysts do not grasp is that it is the perpetual containment of Pain that is disintegrating. The dialectic to which Primal Therapy conforms is that "falling apart" (of defense -. So important has the corrective emotional experience become that Franz Alexander. and do not see that there is any permanent way to relieve it. It is not up to us to define the so-called "ego" and then make our patients fit themselves into our concept of its welladjusted version. unyielding. They do not want the defenses to disintegrate because they perceive their task to be that of reorganizing them into a strong ego. "to experience intensely the irrationality of his own emotional reactions.would in itself resolve the neurosis. He can't take it when the analyst is nice because he never had it. He may even get paranoid about it. In Primal Therapy. not understood. as our critics assume. Psychoanalysts fear Pain also because they do know what to do with it." It seems to me that the analysts have stood the process on its head! The problem with their corrective emotional experience is that: *the trauma is old while the ending is new. Feelings and neurosis cannot coexist. People suffer because they are in Pain and cannot feel it. when it nears Primal intensity.Psychoanalysts tend to view intense outpourings of emotion as a threat to the ego. and more importantly because they are defending against their own repressed feelings. We guard against the collapse of the whole neurotic structure all at once. we want a "nervous breakdown. he has to learn how to avoid satisfying his own need for control. unjustly harsh and critical. If it is abreactive in nature and not properly connected to the past it will be. But when he gets permissiveness and acceptance from the analyst. We might all agree that neurosis starts with repression. The ego must be protected against "disintegration" -. In addition. the terror really terrifying down to the bones of personality structure. I believe that one reason analysts cannot tolerate Primal feelings is because of their view of the unconscious. This great reservoir of agony weakens the defense system year after year. because they fear the patient will "fall apart. I rarely if ever saw the intensity of feelings we see in Primal Therapy. the patient picks up and internalizes this distrust. then a good experience with a different kind of authority (one that is understanding. which they will do if we do not constantly get in the way of that process. and the patient will be given anything from tranquilizers to shock treatment to calm him. not looked at. He begins. For a therapist to have one primal is to know the force of primal trauma. for example. If healing is to occur. accepting. This means that the patient's unconscious reactions toward his parents are projected onto the doctor.

It must be relived with the very ending it actually had before repression set in. not just an item from his private thought collection. In spite of their defenses. Further. not with the analyst. If this "blank screen" is inviolable. The more human relationship is to be supported because it enhances the feeling process. then the transference is maintained at the instigation of the therapist. But such activity occurs at the most refined mental level. admits readily to all resistances. I'm here to help you see where that thought comes from. or the doctor. This is not simple theory.because it is not irrational. we feel that he has still only shaved the issue. Once this occurs. the genuineness of the therapist is not the key to health except to the degree that it supports and encourages the real key. . The patient reveals much more of himself than the therapist does. Now therapist and patient could sit and discuss what is going on between them. The premise of a corrective emotional experience might be expressed as follows: Analyst to patient: You feel that people. but it does not happen by telling a patient how irrational his feelings are. don't care. His behavior represents an act out of a need. So transference exists willy nilly. the one in the know. The old. we must not regard the more human interaction of the therapist as fundamentally therapeutic in and of itself. The analyst hides so that the patient may reveal himself. Clearly there is an underlying feeling. worthless feelings are prepotent because childhood experience has engraved them throughout the person's entire system. In Primal Therapy. That is helpful. and. all in vain. cheerful. however. redirected. Feelings and irrational conduct toward the analyst are only symbolic substitutes for the original Pain." or can it apply to other lesser souls. this defensiveness is logical. Why doesn't that love alter the depression? Is a corrective emotional experience limited only to someone with a title "doctor. unresolved conflicts of childhood. This is what we see in our patients after a course of Primal Therapy. The only way to experience that rationality is to relive the original event. The aloofness of the traditional analyst promotes transference because the patient can so easily project all his needs and repressed feelings onto the therapist. Even in apparently happy circumstances the neurotic will act neurotically. to have its way. and not in relation to the analyst. as well? If we are trying to change a viewpoint. and so on. Neo-Freudian analysts have made important modifications in the stance of the therapist from the strict "blank screen" neutrality of the Freudian model. He tries to be an exemplary patient. It can be deterred. and to demonstrate by my behavior that that is a false assumption. What we are really talking of here is a trick. Though it helps. People experience the truth of this every day. can in itself resolve irrational behavior. While discarding the barrier of the blank screen is a good thing. But we have found that you really don't need tricks. but it is not enough. produces insights with great mental clarity. Let us use an example. So a person can be praised to the heavens yet hear criticism and that is what sticks. we recognize the inevitability of transference. It is a device because the analyst is not being himself. There is nothing wrong with changing an unrealistic view of authority. It is logical behavior given the antecedent circumstances. A young man does everything he can think of to please his therapist. The patient will simply no longer be terrified because he has finally released the original terror belonging to the original trauma. The other half that contains the seed of healing is therationality of those feelings in their original context. finishes early to avoid being boring. The corrective emotional experience may well enable people to mentally separate past from present and to identify what is "irrational" in their present attitude. An example is the neurotic who marries a compatible. most people are willing to tell someone what is hurting them. even one with a skilled and compassionate therapist. It ignores the fact that the patient's idea that no one cares is a statement about his life (no one did care). the ending that meant great suffering. It is easier to let go in front of someone you feel you know than in front of a detached figure who reveals nothing of himself. especially those in authority. There is no doubt that the therapy situation lends itself to an exaggerated transference. not curative. The therapist is inevitably an authority. From the Primal perspective. with emotion regarded as nothing more than a point of reference. Until it is felt no amount of insight is going to eradicate the motivating force behind it. then the analytic method may achieve it. out of tune with current reality? So much the better. When this is done deliberately it is because transference is seen as one way to unearth the subconscious. friends. No present relationship. the young man might wind up with insight into his relationships with men in positions of authority. particularly because it is an unequal relationship.*the focus is on irrational behavior in the present when it should be on Pain. One needs to match the behavior with the original context in order to make it rational again. and yet continues to suffer from chronic depression. The irrationality of present feelings is only half of the neurotic picture. Why bother with substitutes when the original experience can be recovered via feeling? Changing a viewpoint is well and good. They could even uncover the fact that the young fellow never could please his father and is. not with a new ending in the present. That is a good thing. A parent who is constantly harsh with a child forces the child to be defensive and "tough. That is what matches the underlying feeling." Given the early context. What if the person feels better and is relieved to learn that his feelings are irrational. still struggling (symbolically) for parental blessing. Furthermore. Total detachment may be appropriate for analyzing transference but it does not provide an atmosphere for full emotional expression. through his relationship with the therapist. Unmet need attaches to whomever may seem likely to fill it. This is all well and good but misses the mark. The mere fact that he is in a position to accept trust and provide help has a lot to do with the patient's symbolization. We do not try to enhance it or diminish it. feeling. he will automatically treat current relationships rationally and appropriately. and colleagues that he or she is really worthwhile and successful. and understanding person. The question is what to do with it. *the real problem is with the parents. It is the tip of the psychophysiologic iceberg. Then the therapist will not have to convince the patient that it is irrational to be terrified of the waiter. The blank screen tricks the patient into delivering up the repressed. which may make the patient feel small and the therapist appear big or grown up. It must be tied to the dynamics of the disease under treatment. but we do not make it the center of therapeutic attention. the postman. shows concern for the therapist's own feelings. All deprived people symbolize onto others. A person who feels worthless because he was made to feel that way when very young can be told repeatedly by teachers. but not resolved -. it can be a hindrance if the therapist is forever neutral and aloof.

The patient finds himself a child pleading for love. and particularly repressed experiences. This contrast opened some inner door. the analyst usually encourages the patient back into a cognitive mode. sensitivity. but one course open to the Primal Therapist is to request that the patient say exactly what he does want from the therapist. neo-Freudians ensure that their therapy remains in the realm of talk and ideas and that it will gloss over what causes and continues to fuel neurosis. Freud and early post-Freudian theorists better saw the importance of both uncovering "forgotten" memories and of permitting memory's feeling component to surface simultaneously. The formality of the therapeutic setting provides those guarantees. he is overtaken by them. It enhances vulnerability to the feeling and thereby helps to diminish the time barriers. This is the vital point. not separately but wholly and simultaneously. The session does not have the equality of a social setting. heartwrenching quality to the expressions of grief which rush through and out of him. and sensation realign. and feel the Pain of a suffering child. But this "inside-out" experience of the underlying Pain does in time fade the filter of symbolism so that the patient comes to see the therapist much more as he really is. He agrees to be there for the patient. can't you see. In real life there are no guarantees against being exploited or threatened by the reactions of others. The authentic corrective experience is the correct experience. With the emotion welling inside him. in steering clear of the patient's traumatic past in favor of the here and now. The Pain and need previously transferred onto the present is returned to its original target. In sum. The patient finds the ones which help to evoke what he is already feeling. Often at this point the patient is swept into deeper feeling (which means deeper into his past). using his skills. When feelings do surface. be little. At some point it may be appropriate for the therapist to interject an instruction for him to speak directly to his father. not realizing that it is not insights but Pain that is curative. "You seem to want to please me and impress me. "Who did you want to please so much?" might be asked. . as the feeling moves him. It gives direct. are excluded from therapy. It is no longer the therapist the young man is trying to please. modern analysis departs from traditional methods in several basic ways: 1) Although early life experience and repression of trauma are seen as causative of ongoing psychological conflict. The time dissolve is not complete but it has begun. Please think I'm a good boy." the therapist might say. Give me a word of praise. He is right back in the old situation. Please like me. "Tell him what you need. and particularly on his interaction with the therapist. Sensation and cognition meet at the point of emotion. Thought.In Primal Therapy we may use a head-on confrontation of the behavior. He would be encouraged to use words that really express the pleading displayed in his behavior: "Please think I'm a good patient. Overall. This finding of the real voice can be one of the most moving events to observe. emotion. The therapist doesn't choose the words. he feels it and succumbs to the sensations which are inherent in that feeling. They will literally come to him." There is a simple. but his father." The next step depends largely upon the patient. the patient speaks to his father. This type of direct speech serves a number of purposes." The neo-Freudian therapist is more active in guiding and evaluating the patient's thoughts and words and in supplying "insights. the patient broke into tears and was able to feel his own loss. "Daddy I need you. The patient is not sick because he lacks insights. Through his response to the therapist the patient now may find his father clearly and vividly in his mind's eye. I want you to think I'm a good patient. but only up to a certain point. nor simply made uncomfortable by them. the patient might admit it with words like. For example. 4) There is less free association and more "directed talking. which is seen as the key to providing a "corrective emotional experience." 5) Therapists are more apt to encourage patients to explore what they feel. The therapist implicitly agrees to keep his personal business out of the way. Sometimes it is helpful if the therapist reveals an aspect of his own life." And so on." He might repeat it. "Please see how good I am. and the intuition honed through his own Primal experiences to help. At other times the dissolve into the past can only occur after steady probing by the therapist. embedded in the body and bound by defenses of all kinds. Please love me Daddy. Since the therapist has so openly put his finger on the sore truth. they have been there a lifetime. please. succinct focus to the feeling. It is not the place of the therapist to provide any corrective emotional experience. in search of insight and understanding. It means a "matching up" takes place on all levels of consciousness. who now sits back and watches quietly. Daddy. 2) The neo-Freudians downplay Freud's theories on infantile sexuality and libidinal drives while focusing on the patient's present intellectual (ego) defenses. He will not have to search for words." might be suggested. Does this mean that a Primal Therapist be himself totally? Obviously not. Knowing that there is someone competent in charge makes it safe to give in. because a) it aims for observable change in "adjusting" to current circumstances. he is sick because he needs to feel his Pain. or try several different ways of saying it. The feeling will put the words into his mouth if he gives into it. See how much I do for you. and b) much of the past. expressing it without distance or elaboration. along with similar questions which lead to previous experience. one therapist tells of a patient who was recounting how he never did anything with his father. And the words usually become that of a young child as does the tone of voice. "Yes. He is not just aware of the sensations. interpersonal relationships. His body and mind are beginning to respond with all the reactions he sat on for so long and which he rechanneled into a never-ending struggle to please. therapy is centered around the patient's functioning in current life situations. without any additional interaction with the therapist." 3) A therapeutic course is typically much shorter. Say you see how much I do just to please you. The needs which promote and sustain it are strong. I do not suggest that one such experience will cure transference. The therapist remarked how much it had meant to him that his own father had often taken him to baseball games. riding on the waves of Pain which now engulf him. He is there to help the person liberate his own innate corrective processes. The symbol (the therapist) has faded into the real person. The patient now not only thinks he needs a father to love him.

Thus the young child learns that touching the refrigerator door and pulling on it results in food being available (a positive reinforcer). people learn to act in certain ways through a process of conditioning and association. They are. According to behaviorism. so can we can be deconditioned. Pavlov called this response of salivating upon hearing the bell the "conditioned reflex. which got its start in America in 1913 through the writings of John B. Skinner. by changes that occurred deep within our nervous system on the many times we displayed a particular action in the situation we are in at the moment. Although Freudian thought was their springboard for defection. telling us that our phenomenology is defective and we are deluded if we believe that we control our actions. We do not grow out of it. is the core concept." and the bell was the "conditioning stimulus. carried to its limit. For the behaviorists. several variations of behaviorism have emerged. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (New York: Ronald Co. abject hopelessness that the patient can finally achieve real hope for himself. Jerome Kagan summarizes the views of well known behaviorist B. Otto Rank.. Thus. they ventured beyond what is generally known today as neoFreudianism. [2]Franz Alexander. a little like Copernicus. Factors other than reinforcement also enter into the learning process. for better or worse. Since that time. on the contrary. Analysts do not see that it is in feeling utter. leads Skinner to question the autonomous control each of us has over our own behavior and to issue a challenge to those who think man has some measure of freedom." While experimenting with dogs.Here comes Skinner. in feeling rejected he will no longer have to isolate himself." The impingement of outer events upon us is seen as the dominant behavior-shaping factor in our lives. Contiguity -. we can do something about particular outcomes. under the firm stewardship of the past. Each major behavior theorist has his own set of terms and distinctive concepts with which to differentiate his theory from those of other theorists.having one thing follow another in time -.. That in feeling his fears he can become courageous. While we can do nothing about the permanency of that impingement. p. The single. we can learn to control their impact on us. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. and given solace to only a few. Skinner: "What is man?" has always been a question of priority for philosophers and psychologists .not three hours later. while those that are negatively reinforced (or punished) drop away. At the same time he learns that touching a hot stove results in pain (a negative reinforcer). Chapter 10: Behaviorism: Pushing Feelings Down Instead of Bringing Them Up History and Concepts Behaviorism goes back to the turn of the century with Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov's famous discovery of the "conditioned reflex. he must be told right away that whether or not he is doing it correctly. the dogs salivated in response to the bell.. And. the deterministic relationship between outer events and resulting human behavior is a complete and lasting one. 42. F. modern analysis is non-dialectic and noncurative. and Sandor Ferenczi." Pavlov's concepts formed the basis of what became known as classical S-R (Stimulus-Response) behaviorism. Wilhelm Reich. the child must be reprimanded immediately for fighting with the neighbor boy -.. once we understand the underlying principles.. Back to Table of Contents | Next chapter >> [1]_I am not including Carl Jung. whose primary goals are to discover the laws of learning and behavior that "sculpt our current behavioral posture. F. like hypnosis and traditional analysis but in contrast to Primal Therapy. just as we are conditioned to fear an elevator. Conditioning or learning results because of the intervening reinforcer. Eventually. In the view of behaviorists. It also meant that man was basically an accumulation or conglomerate of all his conditioning experiences. and therefore he readily ceases the practice of touching hot stoves. continually monitored by the invisible happenings of yesterday. Responses that are positively reinforced (or rewarded) become part of our behavior.Thus. 1946). if a toddler is to learn to carry out a particular task. we do not transcend it. as all mothers know. Thus.[1] [Italics added] Man "as a reservoir of possible actions" is the starting point for behaviorists. 88. p. Such a challenge to our sense of freedom and dignity has irritated and energized many. our lives are a continuous succession of conditioning experiences. Thus. Pavlov paired the sound of a bell with the appearance of food. powerful assumption that the effects of our prior actions are the hands that sculpt our current behavioral posture. Watson. even when no food accompanied it. . While these differences are important within the field.To B. we do not overcome it. Reinforcement. if one is afraid of heights. [3]Alexander. That is. they can be legitimately put aside in favor of a summary that reflects the general philosophy or framework of behaviorism as a view of man. the . [man] is a reservoir of possible actions whose actualized profile is finely controlled by the history of different outcomes that followed close upon each of those actions. learn to fear it no longer. and so he becomes readily adept at opening and closing refrigerator doors. Pavlov's demonstration of the conditioned reflex meant that almost anything could be conditioned to our basic responses as long as it occurred at the right time and in the right quantity. In feeling small he can finally grow up and leave the past behind.is necessary if we are to associate the reinforcer with the behavior.

And today with the neo-Freudians who have moved toward ego-psychology. which could be molded into any type of person given the right conditioning experiences even though little was known at that time about how to set up conditioning procedures.which have also been pre-determined by our past conditioning experiences! Stamped-in behavior must be "stamped out." Watson clearly stated what he thought the domain of psychology ought to be: The time has come when psychology must discard references to consciousness. and. behaviorism is parental bromides dressed up as theory. Watson's intention was to show how a basic genetic responses... and volition as elusive and mentalistic leftovers from the 19th century. (2) Just as his right hand touched the rat the bar was again struck. for example. In 1930. abilities. But these "accomplishments" are very circumscribed. that keeping his room clean results in tokens or candy.are innate." A retarded child might learn. Sixty years ago. emotion. that the newborn child was a tabula rasa. To show how new emotional reactions could be learned. could be conditioned to a previously neutral stimulus (in this case. . An autistic child might learn that banging his head results in a mild shock. and race of his ancestors. lawyer. Watson Behaviorism developed in America after the turn of the century. Again the infant jumped violently. lawyer. He did not cry however. a loud noise was sounded behind him. Watson disregarded genetics. The infant jumped violently and fell forward burying his face in the mattress. There was steady fixation but no tendency at first to reach for it. His own description of the experiment is noteworthy (and chilling): (1) White rat suddenly taken from the basket and presented to Albert. He was saying. artist. "Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It. "Adaptation" is a big word in their world. Just as his hand touched the animal the bar was struck immediately behind his head. Watson. All others. he did carry out numerous experiments on newborn babies in which he explored whether "instincts" ascribed to human beings are truly inborn. consciousness. You can predict the kick of the knee given the tap of the hammer. and innate personality predispositions and capacities. John B. to predict the stimulus when given the response. (A simple example of this principle is the knee jerk reflex. sucking. Just at the moment the child touched the rat.moment-tomoment. Although Watson never had the opportunity to sculpt his "dozen healthy infants" into adults. whereupon tentative reaching movements began with the right hand. The procedures have been set up in response to very specific and delimited problems. vocations. Structuralism viewed the elements of man's consciousness as the proper domain of psychology. or blank slate. believed that both of these systems of thought were based on unscientific and invalid theories.that would be necessary to produce the long-range goal of doctor. it is again important. the little boy had no fear of animals. He began . At the beginning of the experiment. They never ask the question. an animal psychologist and the founder of behaviorism in America. even beggarman and thief." and that its job was to objectively describe that behavior "in terms of stimulus and response.such as sneezing. Because the Freudians who started out as historic-dynamic theorists have come full circle back to the beginning of the twentieth century. holding the patient's hand until she "learns" not to be afraid." The aim of behaviorism was to be able to predict a response when given the stimulus.. Watson performed his famous experiment establishing "conditioned fears" in an 11-month-old boy. penchants. Watson's procedure was to bring a small white rat into the boy's reach. too.) Watson proclaimed that this basic principle could be applied to such complex behavior as child rearing. Functionalism was more concerned with how we utilize mental processes to adapt to the world than with the exact nature of the processes themselves. fell forward. artist. such as a fear of loud noises. Its sole task is prediction and control of behavior. When the rat nosed the infant's left hand the hand was immediately withdrawn. and eye-blinking -. We know today certain changes in behavior may indeed be effected through "behavior modification techniques. yes.doctor.therapist might lead the patient toward a high balcony. he stated. John B. It's not unlike the philosophy of some parents: you build character by being tough. and less concerned with internal processes. crying. are very concerned with adaptation. he wrote: Give me a dozen healthy infants. It is thus seen that the two joint stimulations given last week were not without effect. in effect. There is no talk of consciousness or complex mental processes here. and you can deduce the tap of the hammer from the kick of the knee. The rat was then placed nearer." In many ways. and vice versa. and began to whimper. by punishing "bad" behavior so that the child will act "good. "Why?" We simply learn how to manipulate our behavior to the best of our abilities -. hand-grasping.In order not to disturb the child too seriously no further tests were given for one week. were learned responses.[2] Watson unequivocally disregarded the concepts of mind. [3] In the beginnings of the behaviorist movement in America. tendencies. He began to reach for rat with left hand. He stated that psychology was "the science of behavior. at a time when two major "schools" dominated the young field of psychology. He started to reach for the head of the animal with the forefinger of his left hand but withdrew it suddenly before contact. or are actually a result of learning (conditioning). It was this early impetus that made psychology a "behavioral science" and led psychologists away from notions of the unconscious. well-formed. They. He was tested with his blocks immediately afterwards to see if they shared in the process of conditioning. regardless of his talents. Watson proposed that he could discern and establish all of the conditioning experiences -. and so on. In his famous article. a white rat) so that it was then feared. and my own specified world to bring them up in. day-to-day -. and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select -. He concluded that only a very few responses -.. merchant-chief. (1) Rat presented suddenly without sound. and introspection can play no part in its method.

They were always removed from sight when the process of conditioning was underway." "Be careful. inconsiderate and aggressive. fell over. (5) Rat suddenly presented alone. dropping them and pounding them. Prediction and control constitute the philosophical framework for behaviorism and set a tone that has become a very real part of the American psychological gestalt. outgoing expression of feeling.. which is where the trouble begins.[for] Pavlov's conditioned reflex therapydeclares that fundamentally everybody has the same problem and the same cure. Salter believes that good mental health is characterized by the spontaneous. Started. fall over. These include Andrew Salter (1914. Fell over immediately to right side and began to whimper. Started violently and cried. Watsonian conditioning can and does happen. We are solely the products of conditioning.. In his desire to be accepted in life. Because of this conditioning. Watson was not only shifting the focus of psychology away from consciousness and onto behavior. (2) Combined stimulation with rat and sound.underlies Salter's approach.. and conditioning is our sole remedy: It seems to me. I believe that the irrational fears that bring people in for psychotherapy are much more often symptomatic of a clash between traumatic imprints and repression. aptly summarizes his technique.immediately to pick them up.). generalized his fear to a variety of furry animals and also showed fear of a fur coat and Santa Claus whiskers. the inhibited adult has learned to conceal his true emotions. Cure comes through learning healthy personal relationships now. and not stewing over past emotional frustrations.the things he's doing now. The ethics of such an experiment are certainly questionable -. which are a result of environmental influences -. and almost fall off the table in terrified flight. Behaviorism Today Several names are prominently associated with the contemporary behaviorist movement and with behavior therapy." and so on. (3) Combined stimulation.. Therefore the goal of his therapy is to change inhibited responses into spontaneous responses. whimper. apologetic. the healthiest trend of all in the college and university work has been the recognition that. these influences are conditioned into us via a reflex response. There can be no question that therapy is quick and simple once the therapist realizes that the underlying problem of mental illness is always exactly the same. he is selfish and egotistical. (7) Combined stimulation. withdraw. The classic behaviorist philosophy -. boring. whimpered. which is beyond volition and choice. Andrew Salter Andrew Salter's work directly applies the most direct of Pavlov's principles of conditioning to psychotherapy. and B. and a fraud. F. of course. Parents inhibit the needs and feelings of their children. For centuries mankind has known that pairing one thing with another results in learned association. Indeed. cry. fears. start violently. Since the problem is always the same .At all times the emphasis is on the individual's present -." Interestingly. afraid of people and responsibility. inhibition is at the root of all neurosis. but shifting it specifically and exclusively to the areas of behavioral control and prediction. Fell to right side and rested on hands with head turned from rat. he tries in vain to be everything to everybody. Chaplin and Krawiec go on to explain that "Watson went on to demonstrate that Albert. Same reaction. and anxieties for which the individual has no rational explanation may well have arisen years before by a process of conditioning. Moreover. the human being is largely a habit machine." "Stand up straight. though originally conditioned to fear a rat. (8) Rat alone. colorless. Almost instantly he turned sharply to the left. but did not fall over. The instant the rat was shown the baby began to cry.an experiment that reveals the behaviorist movement's mechanistic oblivion to the realities of human experience. Conditioned Reflex Therapy: The Direct Approach to the Reconstruction of Personality. the title of his book. In Salter's view. Then the individual is spared the futile pain of wandering blindly through the swamps of early experiences. Skinner (1904-1990).. and withdrew body sharply to left. Watson suggests that many adult aversions. We make a logical error when we see an irrational fear and assume its origin is as arbitrary and non-meaningful as the random pairing experienced by Albert.[6] According to Salter. Puckered face. In the remainder of the tests the blocks were given frequently to quiet him and to test his general emotional state. for practical therapeutic purposes. No crying. raised himself on all fours and began to crawl away so rapidly that he was caught with difficulty before he reached the edge of the table. then fell over immediately to right side. The child's natural excitatory behavior (his spontaneous self-expression) is inhibited by parental lists of do's and don'ts: "Don't get dirty." "Don't slurp your milk. Salter and Wolpe are key theorists in behavior therapy. However.. Consequently he is self-conscious. Recall that Watson issued the "call to arms" when he declared that the "sole task of psychology is the prediction and control of behavior.[4] In Systems and Theories of Psychology (1974). Another beacon of behaviorism established by John Watson is the concern over the issues of behavioral prediction and control.."[5] Here we see an infant made to jump violently.that man is comprised of learned reflexes or habits. Joseph Wolpe (1915. to say that phobias and neurotic fears stem from environmentally-conditioned events is to say very little. (4) Combined stimulation. Here the thinking of Pavlov presents the most hopeful opportunities for the rapid and deep modification of human personality . (6) Combined stimulation. bury his face in the mattress. etc. phobias. No crying.).

He must be able to praise himself." which is why the therapist must carefully direct and structure the therapy. I get on the phone and call everyone so I won’t be alone. His business activity distresses him substantially less. and it is easy for him to see the importance of training healthy emotional habits in humans as well as in horses. This is the one with the overprotective mother. and any "psychological diet list" I give him will be followed implicitly. how one acts out a feeling. Once our patients are plunged into feeling they can then express it but not before. This is a kind of an inside-out philosophy where feelings follow behavior instead of vice-versa. and the selling of newspapers when he was ten. to improvise. You want nothing that isn't coming to you. the house full of children. you will probably feel the opposite of the way you do now."[8] Salter believes that those past realities can be changed by simply reconditioning behavior. and to act spontaneously. Since all problems result from inhibition of emotion.. Even though Salter believes that good mental health has to do with expressing feeling. Salter's counseling process is the same for all clients.[10] Salter's case study is an excellent example of the dogmatic. Salter's approach is fundamentally ahistorical. persuades. After years of being off drugs and drink people still feel exactly the same. I seem to have a continual spasm of the muscles which control my breathing..-. which is very frightening. The person is just better controlled. the uninterested father.shows his emotions through facial expressions. Salter believes that patients "do not know what they are talking about.. Wrong.” Their attempt is to stop the act out. In evolution the feeling brain predated the thinking one by millions of years. two years later. Most repressed people have no idea what their true feelings are even . never addressed are simply hidden and buried. not the neuroticized ones of the present. his claustrophobia is still gone. and rewarding emotions of excitation. Still feel bad about themselves. the therapist gives him assignments. Salter evaluates: He had a total of five hours of consultation. the others counsel him not to "worry so much. he superficially mentions the patient's past in terms of conditioning experiences. reasons. or during important business conferences. I get severe headaches during which I pant and fight for my breath. The idea is not far from the neo-Freudians.the solution is likewise always the same: disinhibit the person so that he can be guided by "the free. We see the malconditioned dog before us. The behaviorist strategy leads to the notion that if you condition out alcoholism the feelings about it and yourself will change. Those who were psychoanalysts imply an Oedipus complex. the feelings change also. Salter exhorts the patient: In this wicked world it is simply a question of fighting for your emotional rights. He owns a racing stable." He must use the word "I" as much as possible. The idea is to practice a new habitexpression -. and now. This is not therapy. suggests. You can't truly know what today's feelings are when there is a backlog of unexpressed feelings from the past. They still have needs to be loved from their childhood. He has the learning attitude. alone. About half the time I can't draw a deep breath. These attacks come after meals. he doesn't understand that it is the feelings that were blocked in early childhood that need expressing. To express your feelings is an oxymoron. dating from perhaps decades previously."[7] The rub is how does one disinhibit a person? What they really mean is to disinhibit behavior." he writes. Salter narrates: He has seen "dozens" of psychiatrists.. He must learn to "contradict and attack. Feelings have to be expressed not in words but in the language of feelings." and "to get a grip on yourself. or when waiting in a theater. which is probably an exaggeration. instructs. The chances are. and his stomach symptoms occur rarely and with diminished severity. He is unhappily married to a modern Xanthippe. and even commands the patient. The needs. You never get your privileges anyway. One of Salter's methods for disinhibiting emotion is to get the patient to talk freely in a feeling way.. He feels much freer. and has read much but not wisely in psychology. and gasp for hours. There is often no point in going into the background of the case. and he equates the patient with a mal-conditioned dog. it is exhortation: brainwashing. It is hard for me to carry on a prolonged conversation because I seem to be unable to coordinate my breathing with my speaking. Salter narrates: We dispose of his childhood in a few minutes. Still feel helpless and in need of guidance." He bids them adieu and is a perambulating hypochondriac again. The analyst says good things about you and you feel better about yourself. “I feel hopeless and all alone. mechanistic. leaving the feeling. "means carrying about pieces of past realities. and his problem tells us all that we need to know about the kennel from which he came. and even animalistic attitudes of the behaviorist at work. the patient is assured that with "deliberate practice" the new responses will become fixed into reflexes. you will probably feel the opposite of the way you feel now. The rationale is: "If you do the opposite of what you have been doing all your life. a kind of free association done with some emotion. the outward manifestation of feeling.that if you do the opposite of what you have been doing all your life. the therapist advises. and in general he is a much happier person. Conditioned Reflex Therapy. Here is a case study from Salter's book. He equates therapy with horse training. "Having conditioned reflexes. regardless of their symptoms.inhibition -. so that once the behavior has changed. then disposes of it in a few minutes in favor of the presenting symptom. The patient's past is important to Salter only to the degree that it contains the past conditionings that have made him what he is today. To help the patient learn new reflexes. Then the patient "facial talks" -. Salter's patient is speaking: My trouble seems to be a psychopathic disturbance of my breathing function. vigorous. He wants his patients to become totally uninhibited and say what's on their minds without regard to all the social amenities. That is. Toward this end."[9] Although learning new responses takes time. Below...such as to tell people what you think regardless of the situation.

Wolpe views neurosis as a faulty learning habit which can be eliminated through reconditioning -.is known among some behaviorists more appropriately as aversive conditioning. The patient's historical past is considered potentially interesting but not particularly relevant to solving the present neurosis: "Although it would be interesting and perhaps helpful [to explore early history]. Another technique Wolpe uses -. The basis for adult fear is buried in the past. thus making it a reinforcer. each neurotic habit somehow reduces the general anxiety level of the person. The therapist helps the patient's imagination. ranking them from the greatest fear to more minor ones. That's part of the problem. one learns how to feel relaxed in the situation that ordinarily evokes the anxiety. in order to relax. severe shocks are administered in the presence of the obsession. If the person is hypnotizable. First the patient is told not to engage in sex until he has a positive desire to do so. In his book. it stimulates the production of the repressive chemicals that help shut down Pain. Wolpe does not use relaxation and desensitization techniques at all. The more effective the particular neurotic habit is in reducing anxiety. He's instructed to expose himself to sexual images while in the relaxed state. After the patient has learned how to relax."[13]Still. he moves on to the next item. He also reminds the patient that we generally have a low opinion of people who are spineless and unassertive. He explains to the patient how baseless and incapacitating his fears of criticism are.though they can express what they think are feeling. Reciprocal inhibition simply means that you cannot be fearful and relaxed at the same time. Several sessions may be spent just learning the progressive relaxation of muscles from head to toe. despite the patient's obvious efforts to go into it -. like Salter. In some cases involving obsessions. He instead teaches the patient to behave assertively. though not always immediately. something never to be found in behavior therapy. So. there is no way he could eliminate history in the treatment of patients. only the immediate past is of genuine interest to the behavior therapist.) Wolpe aims to extinguish the maladaptive neurotic behavior by making it non-rewarding. bridges. because they are reinforced (or rewarded). the stronger and more pervasive it becomes. Once that can be imagined without the usual anxiety response. In addition. (Drinking and cigarette smoking. In the first interview the patient's historical past is bypassed -. Desensitization can be applied in many ways. or as the patient imagines the obsession. First the patient makes up a list of his fears. What is lost is context."[14] Thus the patient is an ahistorical being. Wolpe's case histories demonstrate how he applies his principles to therapy. and. basically dismissed by the therapist. are likely examples. The possibility that irrational fears might be based on a rational repsonse in childhood is not considered. What's your trouble? Client (C): I get very upset sometimes. and so on.These pressures lead to the desired behavior in most cases. Next the therapist explains the principle that relaxation cannot co-exist with anxiety and teaches the patient relaxation techniques. hypnosis will be included. the obsessions are then controlled. As Pain is repressed.also called negative conditioning or reactive inhibition. to counteract anxiety..indeed. Wolpe makes "small speeches" to demonstrate how the method can be effective and points out ways to apply assertion in the patient's daily life situations. exhorts the patient to express himself more fully. Schmidt. In fact: As much pressure as seems necessary is applied to motivate actual performance of the requisite behavior in appropriate circumstances. since any unpleasant experience would only reinforce his sexual inhibition. With direct conditioning. it is obvious that a searching behavior analysis is an indispensable preliminary to treatment in every case. Early experience dictates those fears that were rational in context. most prominently as a strategy to overcome phobias and phobic behavior: fear and avoidance of elevators. eventually working up to actual sexual encounters. When lack of assertion is the patient's problem... but there are several factors common to most applications. which. but only after "reciprocal inhibition" has been established. he is told to imagine the least fearful item on his list. Desensitization and relaxation techniques can also be marshalled in treating patients with sexual problems. it is the therapist's task to carefully structure the therapy in accordance with the "stimulus antecedents" of the patient's past: "Since the procedures of behavior therapy depend on the therapist exactly knowing the stimulus antecedents of the unadaptive responses. If the therapist were in touch with his own past and his feelings. The way to do this is to provoke the original anxiety situation." The mild shock produces a motor response of "conditioned avoidance. automatically inhibits the anxiety response. "the patient is told to inform his sexual partner (quoting the therapist if necessary) that his sexual difficulties are due to absurd but automatic fears in the sexual situation and that he will overcome them if she will help him. he believes."[12] In Wolpe's system. Direct conditioning is really the reverse of Wolpe's reciprocal inhibition technique whereby a conditioned response of relaxation is used to inhibit the anxiety. in his mind he is floating on a lake while visualizing snakes. FIRST INTERVIEW Therapist (T): Good morning. they have to think about what to feel because their real feelings are inaccessible Wolpe Joseph Wolpe's position is a bit more systematic than Salter's. it is not necessary: for to overcome his neurotic reactions it is of greater relevance to determine what stimuli do or can evoke them at the present time. This goes on until he can imagine all the items on the list without anxiety. The shock has another role. Neurotic habits persist. Mrs. Wolpe outlines his philosophy while adding a few new terms to behaviorist jargon. No one is automatically afraid as an adult. according to Wolpe. . heights.for supposedly more pressing concerns such as learning how to be assertive while standing in line. spiders." which theoretically weakens the original anxiety response. is widely used in behavior therapy. fittingly called desensitization. a conditioned response of avoidance is established by administering a mild shock in the presence of the "anxiety-evoking stimulus. Psychotherapy by Reciprocal Inhibition[11]. freeway driving.direct conditioning -. not discussed by Wolpe. This technique.

But. If you had gone on feeling the way you felt during those few years.. I. and as she was dying she was sorry that she was leaving the house behind. T: Uh-huh. I don't like to -.they don't fix things right or they don't make them right.. I was always looking for somebody like a mother. And so hard things.I just thought there is no place like this. It might be. my uncle and my aunt lived there and they just didn't want me. T: Was your grandmother with you here? C: No.I thought that you could live in peace and there would never be any trouble. And then I found out different -. T: Well. he tells it often that I can't do it. I have so many things to talk about. you don't want to distress . T: What year did you come here? C: In 1947.. When I get too close I am afraid that I get hurt and then I run.. my husband has to force me to talk and he... She had a feeling for home but she never said that she was leaving the child behind and my grandmother used to always talk about that. T: What are his hours? C: He leaves at seven and comes home at half past eight. that's a practical problem. There were many times. A somebody. uhm. it's a thing that one can learn to change. It disturbs me also that my husband is not home enough with them. Suppose that you're standing in a line and somebody gets in front of you. I have seen plenty killings in the war and now I feel the same like over here. and that's the time I started feeling that. let's take this little example that we used first where somebody gets in front of you in the line. you know. say.. days that I just didn't feel like going on living. Look.for that reason I don't like to take it back.they used to listen to me and all that. where I lived with my grandparents. T: Like what? C: Oh.. uh.you see. can you say more or less what year you began to feel that you were not so happy anymore? C: You see. T: What does your husband do? C: He works as a barber now. you're kept back at the same time by feeling you don't want to hurt his feelings. that is very much a matter of habit. I want to ask you how you react in certain rather common situations. T: What is there about the children that upsets you? C: Uh. when you have any thought of doing anything about it. But when you. I used to -. What do you do? C: I don't do nothing. my grandmother used to tell me. before I moved where I am now. uh. I was disappointed in the family life. T: In 1947. And they would tell me that they would be like a mother to me.. I .if something goes wrong in the house -. well. T: Well. You. T: Now let me get one thing clear. Is there anything else that upsets you? C: Yes. I want to tell you how you can succeed. If I had the courage I would have just killed myself many times and I still feel like that. I used to feel like that when I was a child. Can you say what happened to make you unhappy again after that? C: I don't know. my grandmother got killed. He doesn't spend enough time with the children and I feel like I am raising them by myself.. what do you do? C: I don't like to bother people too much. you wouldn't hear of anything and now.you couldn't. Now. Well. T: Certainly very long.. like.. If I. T: Right.I hear more and more things and I get very upset about it. I get upset. You are annoyed. then you would not be here? C: I would not have to come here. when I was born my mother died in childbirth and she never wanted to even look at me. I -.I can't get too close to them. She didn't even want to hold me once. T: What prevents him from being home enough? C: He has long hours. because I don't have the courage to speak up. You get cross. Suppose you're in a hurry and somebody does that.T: What upsets you? C: Lately the children. which she shouldn't have. a woolen pullover like that and when you come home you inspect it and you see there is a little moth hole in the sleeve. I just felt like I didn't want to go on living. When I first came here I. for example? C: The things that I read in the paper. They used to call me all kinds of names and my grandmother used to tell me it would be good if I run away because they didn't want me. How old were you then? C: 21. many things. T: Oh.many things and ever since -like if I would find somebody and I would get -. T: If you go into a shop and you buy. He says that's why people take advantage of me.

Now. and generally speaking they will not affect your state of relaxation. and if you're anxious you feel less anxious. And when this patient says she doesn't have the courage to speak up for herself. moving toward you. Stop imagining this scene -just relax. I'm going to show you how to bring about a deep relaxation so that you can fight the anxiety more effectively than you have been able to in the past. He shows her how to systematically tighten and release muscles throughout her body. Now.she doesn't greet you. just keep relaxed. Wolpe applies relaxation/desensitization techniques to a situation which Mrs. C: I will try. Now. and you think she sees you but she walks right past without greeting you." A woman I saw some years ago had a lock obsession. which is catastrophic. now Mrs. Now. let's go on now to the next step. She must feel the force behind her neurotic habits. Now. Schmidt has told him causes her anxiety: SECOND INTERVIEW Wolpe is speaking: Well. She could only feel safe for a few minutes before the feeling of being unsafe came back and she had to try the locks again. Now. Again imagine that you're walking along the sidewalk and you see Selma coming toward you. Reverberating circuits of Pain form the neurological basis for the experience of what behaviorists call neurotic "habits. Remember that when feeling the feelings in a primal therapy session the body temperature and heart rate can skyrocket. maybe it will make a scene. keep your eyes closed and I'm going to ask you to imagine some scenes. and there was nothing she could do about it. that is very much a matter of habit. Just be calm and comfortable. but there are also other people on the sidewalk. She never felt safe for a minute." He calls the after-effects of not being wanted by the mother. and you expect her to make some response but she just walks right on. and she seems to see you but she walks right on -.a matter of habit But what does it really mean to say something is a habit? Webster's defines a habit as "an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary. "In the act of doing it. This woman must feel the early abandonment that now does not allow her to speak for herself. If you felt any disturbance at that. you will push back the fear feelings. Selma and you get ready to greet her... Well. You will push them down to some extent. you'll be able to signal that to me by raising your right forefinger about an inch. there was something she could do about it: obsess and control her feelings with some kind of action. Thank you. "Will you kindly get to the back of the line?" then. The focus was on the present but the feeling was from the past." In the second interview. again imagine that you're walking along the sidewalk and you see selma approaching and she seems to see you. She had to try the locks on her house at least twenty times a day. The only way she can really come to assert herself is to feel why she can't. so it’s clear that painful habits serve some meaningful. Wolpe says. Such Pain can only be diffused bit by bit in a gradual accumulation of neurotic symptoms. Schmidt. think only of your muscles." and "How do you react in certain rather common situations?" This is a perfect example of the behaviorist's myopic focus on the present. She must clear her system of the stored Pain by living it for the first time. Now. If she had felt that reality fully as an infant and child it would almost certainly have killed her..Okay. now. you will sort of push back the fear feelings." But what is the force behind acquiring a painful or unpleasant mode of behavior? What compels us to repeat that painful mode of behavior involuntarily. She was in constant terror of a drunken father and a volatile. it must spring from real contacts with her past experiences. She controls the triggering off process by avoiding anything in the present that could set off the past. don't think of anything except muscles. Now. Let yourself sink more and more deeply into this calm." Here he is telling his patient what is precisely the thesis of this chapter: that behavior therapy requires further repression. further pushing down and pushing back. stop imagining. So. Now.. and over and over again? Neither nature nor human behavior is random. her early experiences with abandonment and rejection is the reality imprinted within her. Back to Wolpe's client. what I want you to do in the future in this little situation is express these feelings. . with no access to her past. . Now. you are quite nice and relaxed. Now. I want you to close your eyes. raise your finger now. angry mother. You will push them down to some extent. Again.[15] [italics added] All Wolpe has to say in response to this woman's unusually traumatic past is "Uh-huh. I want you to imagine again that you're walking on the sidewalk and you see." something "one can learn to change. As you know. biological purpose that is connected to the storing and processing of trauma. when you relax you become more comfortable. or they will only be imitations forced over a repressed foundation. Now. of course it's difficult. in order to "succeed. if you felt any disturbance when you imagined this last time. As an adult. not even being held by the mother. Any current rejection sets off the original rejection. He repeats the exact procedure again. and that means any rejection. but if you will express this feeling that you have and say. "Well.. in the act of doing it. the next time it will be a little easier. But if by any chance anything does affect your state of calm. Now. things like that.him. I'm going to show you how to relax your muscles. with your eyes closed I want you to try and make use of all the information I have just given you and get as relaxed as possible. let's go through these muscles in a systematic order OK. the force that constellates and binds the symptoms into a neurotic whole. however symbolic.. And if you do that. stop imagining this. you will imagine these scenes very clearly. losing the mother to death within a few hours of birth. If her self-assertion is to be genuine. being abused by relatives and told openly that she wasn't wanted. Wolpe is more right than he realizes when he tells her. She raises her right forefinger. relaxed state.

Wolpe achieves this by "encouragement. The problem with such statistics is that. The evaluations were made only by Wolpe. Now. do nothing.hypnosis. what has frequently been referred to in the past as prestige-suggestion is the method he [Wolpe] relies on most heavily. Keep on relaxing. He does it another time for good measure. Stop the scene. As Wolpe recognizes. command and. it is regarded as adequate if a reasonable trial has been given to each of the reciprocal inhibition techniques that seem applicable to the case. While this assumption cannot be disproved.[16] What must be recognized is that a transient. do nothing. First.. Patterson indicates that Wolpe's technique of reciprocal inhibition is the same concept of extinction or counter-conditioning. .She raises her finger. is not the same state of permanent relaxation that occurs in a person in touch with himself and his feelings. neither is there any evidence to support it. Just relax. but the very subjective impact of Wolpe's personality on his patients. Wolpe does limit his clients to those diagnosed as neurotic.a relationship in which the counselor wants to help the client. in order to give them the degree of significance they merit. so high. that Patterson writes: The claim of success (90 percent apparently cured or much improved) must be viewed with some skepticism. The case examples which he uses indicate that some were severe cases. Stop the scene.) Okay. Now. in fact. clients being included only if they have had an "adequate" amount of therapy. Only relax. two assumptions must be made. (Finger does not rise. She raises her finger. If it is not getting less. and that the ultimate outcome of Wolpe's approach is the inducement of behavior Wolpe himself deems therapeutic. For example. Such selection of clients must be considered in any evaluation. Some of his clients were not included in his tabulations. on the other hand. if the amount of the disturbance that you have been feeling. I'm going to count up to 5 and then you will open your eyes and feel calm and refreshed.. Patterson quotes Rotter's review of Wolpe: Apparently. support.[20] Behavior therapy is generally characterized by the surprisingly high success rates which Wolpe claims." Wolpe claims a very high success rate. There is no evidence for this assumption. Therapy is naturally regarded as adequate in every patient who is either apparently cured or much improved.. Ironically. Okay. and that they are not selected in any way which would bias the results. he questions the legitimacy of assuming that human neuroses are analogous to experimental neuroses in animals. The first is that the clients are similar. it does not tell you how the 85% was arrived at. now. In those who have benefitted less.. he is using the age-old archetype of the wise."[17] Secondly. Stop imagining. many. the relationship [between therapist and patient] is important -. Now. If there was any disturbance this last time. though minimized by Wolpe. both in terms of the kinds of problems for which an approach is applicable and in terms of the results with clients who are accepted. Stop the scene. Okay.. scientific application of learning theory. You're walking along the sidewalk and you see Selma approaching. and then you pass each other without her greeting you. Stevenson notes that if we were to take the entire series of 295 cases which Wolpe reports having seen for at least an intake interview.If the amount of disturbance is still getting less. stating that "Wolpe's arguments are not highly convincing. In evaluating Wolpe's approach.. suggestion.. If there was any disturbance. The second assumption is that the criteria for success are similar to those applied by others. just keep relaxing as well as you can. Wolpe must in fact rely upon that very humanness if his approach is to "succeed. and at least in many cases the patient is willing to try out these behaviors.Again imagine that you are walking along the sidewalk and Selma approaches and passes you without recognition or greeting. She does not raise her finger. raise your finger. if the amount is getting less. we must understand exactly what they are reporting. And the session is over. raise your finger. (finger does not rise) All right. again imagine that you're walking along the sidewalk and you see Selma coming and she seems to see you. raise your finger. in order for his figures to be comparable with data from other methods. and you are ready to greet her but she just walks past without any recognition. if not most. achieved through the laborious repetition of suggestions.[19] For all of Wolpe’s conditioning schedules.[18] Patterson concludes: Again it appears that. The patient is led to expect that his problems will be solved if he will do as the therapist suggests. She does not raise her finger. 1-2-3-4-5. now just relax. the success rate drops to 65 percent. In making this point clear. raise your finger again. claiming an 85% success rate in the treatment of phobias does not tell you the criteria upon which the measurement was based. omniscient Father whom the trusting child is lead to strongly believe in. Patterson points out several major problems. If it is not getting less. which usually report much lower rates of success. would appear to present rather minor or limited problems. You expect her to recognize and greet you but she just walks straight past. while stripping all humanness out of his theory. trance-type state of relaxation. Again imagine that you are walking on that sidewalk and you see Selma approaching and she seems to see you.." Patterson claims that the main force of Wolpe's therapy is really not the objective. using methods which he strongly believes in and is able to lead the client to believe in. Was it based on patient reports that they no longer experienced their phobias? On patient reports corroborated by friends and relatives (in case of patient self-distortion or complaisance)? On objective test situations successfully executed by the patient in the presence of an objective observer? Was . Think only of relaxing.

there any long-term follow-up to verify that the "cure" was permanent, and not tied to the therapeutic relationship or its immediate after-effects? But even including all of the above points in the criteria for measurement of cure would not be sufficient. The ultimate criteria for cure -- the ultimate indication that the symptom had been fully removed from the person's system -- should be objective physiological measurements of that system. If the anxiety in the form of a symptom had been fully removed, it would be reflected in all of the patient's vital sign measurements. For example, in the past we have done stress hormone studies. If the patient lost her phobias but the stress hormone levels were still high we would be suspicious that the therapist had played tricks on the patient, convinced the patient she was well when in fact she was under great stress. But I don't think there are any behavior therapists who would bother to carry out such involved physiological measurements, because, in general, they believe that if you get rid of the symptom, you've gotten rid of the neurosis. This belief in itself circumscribes the procedures they are likely to use in measuring their success rate. It is again the phenotypic treatment of appearances (for those who have no internal access) versus the genotypic approach (dealing with root causes). Success rates claimed by behaviorists such as Wolpe can be very misleading. The presenting symptom may be apparently gone, but unless the person's total system is monitored, there is no way of knowing whether it is truly gone. Symptoms have a rationale! They are part of the defense structure.

B. F. Skinner
B.F. Skinner came into the public limelight a few decades ago with the creation of what came to be called (but not by Skinner himself) the Skinner Box. Skinner designed the box to demonstrate how the behavior of his experimental rats indicated the need for a new concept of the conditioning process. He called this new concept "operant conditioning," and showed how it differed in significant ways from the earlier stimulus pairings conditioning paradigm upon which behaviorism had been founded. In operant conditioning, the future probability of a behavior is affected by what happens after it. Some events make a given behavior more likely, some events make a given behavior less likely; these events are called reinforcers and punishers, respectively. Stimuli present during conditioning, and motivational variables (e.g., hunger or satiation), also affect the probability of a behavior occurring at a given future point in time. Skinner maintained that application of the scientific method to the study of human behavior should yield knowledge that could make the world a more agreeable place. While he emphasized empiricism and being atheoretical in approaching the subject matter, he leaned heavily on operant conditioning as an explanation for what humans do. For this, he was widely criticized. To me, he applied his concept of reinforcement with such conceptual exactitude that no trace of human feeling or life remained; everything reduced down to "not the feeling but the thing felt." Since reinforcement is the all-critical link in Skinner's chain of conditioning, it seems fair (and logical) to ask why something is reinforcing? What is the nature of reinforcement? What mediates reinforcement? What conditions contribute to reinforcement? Chaplin and Krawiec note: If the question is pressed as to why reinforcers are reinforcing, Skinner points to the obvious biological significance of reinforcers such as food and water. From a broad evolutionary point of view, any response that reduces deprivation is likely to be reinforced and that leads to the repetition of the response. However, Skinner does not find that attempts to analyze the nature of reinforcement are of practical benefit in his system.[21] But Skinner really goes further, saying that: There is no important causal connection between the reinforcing effect of a stimulus and the feelings to which it gives rise...Stimuli are reinforcing and produce conditions which are felt as good for a single reason, to be found in evolutionary history. Even as a clue, the important thing is not the feeling but the thing felt. It is the glass that feels smooth, not a "feeling of smoothness." It is the reinforcer that feels good, not the food feeling. Men have generalized the feelings of good things and called them pleasure and the feelings of bad things and called them pain, but we do not give a man pleasure or pain, we give him things he feels as pleasant or painful. Men do not work to maximize pleasure and minimize pain, as the hedonists have insisted; they work to produce pleasant things and to avoid painful things. Epicurus was not quite right: pleasure is not the ultimate good, pain the ultimate evil; the only good things are positive reinforcers, and the only bad things are negative reinforcers. What is maximized or minimized, or what is ultimately good or bad, are things, not feelings, and men work to achieve them or to avoid them not because of the way they feel but because they are positive or negative reinforcers. (When we call something pleasing, we may be reporting a feeling, but the feeling is a by-product of the fact that a pleasing thing is quite literally a reinforcing thing...We call a reinforcer satisfying, as if we were reporting a feeling; but the word literally refers to a change in the state of deprivation which makes an object reinforcing).[22] In effect, Skinner denies the reality of inner states of being while amplifying the significance of the "things' we react to as either reinforcing or punishing. He says that the reaction or feeling is not important, only the thing which triggered it. Relevant to this issue, there are three positions possible. You can take Skinner's viewpoint and say that it is the thing that reinforces which is important. You can take the opposite viewpoint and say that it is the feeling of reinforcement which determines a reinforcer in the first place, so that's the important element. Or you can view the process dialectically and recognize that there is a dynamic relationship between man and environment, between the things that reinforce and the feelings to which they give rise. Skinner's viewpoint is so one-dimensional that it ultimately travels in its own circle. Although he says that, "there is no important causal connection between the reinforcing effect of a stimulus and the feelings to which it gives rise," it is the very "feelings to which it gives rise" that act as the internal mechanisms of evaluation and discrimination. It is our feeling states that recognize an experience as either rewarding or punishing, that tell us that we want the reward and we don't want the punishment. If we need approval desperately from the past, then a flatterer can "buy" us and get us to do almost anything. But if we have had a lifetime of approval, then flattery will be seen as a kind of manipulation not to be taken seriously. It is, in

effect, past unfulfilled need that requires reward in the present. Internal feeling states are the necessary preconditions to anything being reinforcing to us. So while Skinner reduces all behavior to things that reinforce and things that punish, he ignores the link that we must experience reinforcement in order to seek it and experience punishment in order to avert it. When he maintains that what's important "is the glass that feels smooth, not a 'feeling of smoothness,'" he misses the point that it is the feeling of smoothness which occurs within us and which determines our response to the glass as a reinforcer. The glass thus becomes a reinforcer because we "like" (are reinforced by) the feeling of smoothness. Perhaps Skinner has it backwards: feelings are not the by-products of reinforcers, they determine reinforcers. Things are reinforcing because of how we feel about them. Things as reinforcers vary from culture to culture, and from century to century. But the feelings we experience that make something into a reinforcer remain constant. Feelings are the thread of continuity along which evolution proceeds. If, as Skinner believes, there is no consciousness as determining, no feelings which guide, then all of our humanness counts for nothing and we are but robots to be conditioned. It is our human feelings that make us kind and generous, concerned about our fellow man, wanting to construct and design and create, not just some "positive reinforcer."

On the Self
To Skinner, the self represents a personification whereby man attempts to see himself as the originating cause of action in his life: "The self," he writes, "is most commonly used as a hypothetical cause of action. So long as external variables go unnoticed or are ignored, their function is assigned to an originating agent within the organism.[23] Skinner feels that, from the point of view of scientific method, this notion of the self as an originating agent is not valid. Instead he views the self as "a device for representing a functionally unified system of responses."[24] He admits that... ...the concept of a self may have an early advantage in representing a relatively coherent response system, but it may lead us to expect consistencies and functional integrities which do not exist. The alternative to the concept is simply to deal with demonstrated covariations in the strength of responses.[25] Stated more graphically: The self is a repertoire of behavior appropriate to a given set of contingencies...the picture which emerges from a scientific analysis [of man] is not of a body with a person inside, but of a body which is a person in the sense that it displays a complex repertoire of behavior.[26] This is truly the definition of behaviorism. Nothing else counts; no internal processes, no imprinted memories that drive us, just what we do and how we do it. It is the ultimate non-reflective act. There is no human there, just a bunch of behaviors to analyze. Contrary to Skinner’s theories, it’s more likely that behavior not only emanates out of what is going on the "now" but from one's history -- driven by imprints that we respond to before other considerations. Early imprints are based on reactions that involved survival; the defense is life-saving. Therefore, under current stress the system scans its history for what worked in the past and relies on it to get us through.

On Emotion
For Skinner, "emotions are excellent examples of the fictional causes to which we commonly attribute behavior."[27] He believes it is futile to view emotions as inner states of being that cause us to behave in this way and that. Rather it is the environment which, impinging upon us, causes us to respond in this way and that: As long as we conceive of the problem of emotion as one of inner states, we are not likely to advance a practical technology. It does not help in the solution of a practical problem to be told that some feature of a man's behavior is due to frustration or anxiety; we also need to be told how the frustration or anxiety has been induced and how it may be altered. In the end, we find ourselves dealing with two events -- the emotional behavior and the manipulable conditions of which that behavior is a function -- which comprise the proper subject matter of the study of emotion.[28] Therefore, in the Skinnerian universe, it is not important to say that a man committed a crime because of anger, or Pain, or fear. Rather we should say he committed the crime because he was out of a job and desperately needed money. The solution would then be to manipulate the outer conditions by getting the man a job. Skinner's viewpoint is plausible for this example. Conceivably, a healthy man who is forced to grapple with an extended period of unemployment during which time his family's future hung in the air might attempt a theft of some kind. The act would be a very circumscribed act, arising out of very circumscribed circumstances. It is also conceivable that a simple manipulation of the outer environment would provide a legitimate solution in that the man would never again commit such a crime. However, the emotional problems which are the subject matter of psychology and psychotherapy are rarely so circumscribed. More often, the emotional states being manifested in the present have been triggered by circumstances which are complexly woven into the past. The rage and desperation a person feels at being fired may have less to do with the loss of the job than it has to do with painful, prototypic events from the past. A simple manipulation of outer environment will therefore act only as a temporary measure, and the next time a similar jolt occurs, the same emotional response will be triggered. Skinner's problem here makes the assumption that present emotional behavior is a function of present manipulable conditions. Everyone knows that a person can have everything in terms of wealth, friends, and work, and still be plagued by depression, still abuse his wife and children, still be an alcoholic. What outer conditions would Skinner then manipulate to solve such a person's problem. And what about the person who was raised in a ghetto, where outer conditions were as bad as they could get, yet the person is not depressed, does not abuse his wife and children, is not an alcoholic? Would he still choose to manipulate the environment? His rationale is appealing because it is simplistic. Push button two and you can resolve the problem. Throw money at the crime problem, build more prisons, punish the criminal more severely and you will solve the problem of crime.

Believe it or not, this is the prevailing theory of today, perhaps not so explicitly stated, but it forms the underpinning of our attitudes about all sorts of social problems. In other forms it is cognitive therapy. Take what you see, don't bother about other deeper factors, and condition this with punishment, money, exhortation, moralizing, etc Clearly, the relationship between the outer environment and the inner environment is far more complex than Skinner's model would have it. The outer environment is the initial problem. But we now know that that original environment in the form of a specific traumatic event is then neurologically imprinted into the organism. The hate for one's father is engraved not as an idea which will respond to lectures or punishment, but as a neurophysiologic experience. To solve it, it must be experienced and expressed, not suppressed. The difference is between expression and repression. Those who are repressed prefer this mode of treatment. Those open to their feelings are more interested in expression. It is not just a matter of philosophy; it is a matter of personality, which forms the basis for one's outlook. Skinner never would have said that feelings are fictional if he had the tools in those days to measure the processing of feelings and of imprints. Feelings are anything but fictional. When blood pressure goes over 200 during a feeling it is not a fictional state we are dealing with. It is a life-and-death event where catastrophic helplessness and hopelessness are preeminent.

On Repression
For Skinner, to know the self is to know what things act as positive reinforcers, and what things act as negative reinforcers -- for it is those differences in reinforcement that determine the "complex repertoire of behavior" we call man. The particular alternation between positive and negative reinforcers turns out to be responsible for what is commonly referred to as repression. According to Skinner, repression is not an internal response mechanism or process in itself, but an outer behavioral adaptation to aversive stimulation (punishment): "We do not appeal to any special act of repression but rather to competing behavior which becomes extremely powerful because it avoids aversive stimulation."[29] Thus, when a child is punished for whining but not for smiling, the smiling behavior is automatically reinforced in comparison with the results of the whining behavior. Smiling behavior then becomes the "competing behavior which becomes extremely powerful because it avoids the aversive stimulation" evoked by the whining behavior. The repression of the whining behavior is therefore due to the activation of the smiling behavior, which has won out by virtue of the environmental (parental) contingencies of reinforcement. We now know so much more about repression and the brain chemicals involved in the process to make it clear that repression isn't just a matter of negative reinforcement, of avoiding certain things and approaching others. It is a matter of how much Pain is involved and whether nerve pathways are open to pass the message on. When Pain is too high, the pathways shut down and the message of Pain is not passed on. Repression is now in effect.

On Psychotherapy
Skinner describes the field of psychotherapy as "rich in explanatory fictions," chief among these being the construct of neurosis: Frequently, the condition to be corrected is called "neurotic," and the thing to be attacked by psychotherapy is then identified as a "neurosis." The term no longer carries its original implication of a derangement of the nervous system, but it is nevertheless an unfortunate example of an explanatory fiction. It has encouraged the therapist to avoid specifying the behavior to be corrected or showing why it is disadvantageous or dangerous. By suggesting a single cause for multiple disorders it has implied a uniformity which is not to be found in the data. Above all, it has encouraged the belief that psychotherapy consists of removing certain inner causes of mental illness, as the surgeon removes an inflamed appendix or cancerous growth or as indigestible food is purged from the body. We have seen enough of inner causes to understand why this doctrine has given psychotherapy an impossible assignment. It is not an inner cause of behavior but the behavior itself which -- in the medical analogy of catharsis -- must be "got out of the system.[30] With inner causes out of the way, therapy can then proceed with the rearrangement of behavior. Therapy does not consist of releasing a trouble-making impulse but of introducing variables which compensate for or correct a history which has produced objectionable behavior. Pent-up emotion is not the cause of disordered behavior; it is part of it. Not being able to recall an early memory does not produce neurotic symptoms; it is itself an example of ineffective behavior. It is quite possible that in therapy the pent-up emotion and the behavioral symptom may disappear at the same time or that a repressed memory will be recalled when maladjusted behavior has been corrected. But this does not mean that one of these events is the cause of the other. They may both have been products of an environmental history which therapy has altered.[31] If most views of psychotherapy involve explanatory fictions, then what does effective psychotherapy truly involve? Skinner charts the following sequence of events by way of explaining, in non-fictional terms, how change occurs: When a therapist encounters a patient for the first time, he is presented with a "problem." The patient usually shows a novel pattern of disadvantageous or dangerous behavior, together with a novel history in terms of which that behavior is to be understood. The particular course of therapy needed in altering or supplementing this history may not be immediately obvious. However, the therapist may eventually "see what is wrong" and be able to suggest a remedial course of action; this is his solution to the problem. Now therapeutic experience has shown that when such a solution is proposed to an individual, it may not be effective even though, so far as we know, it is correct. But if the patient arrives at the solution himself, he is far more likely to adopt an effective course of action. The technique of the therapist takes this fact into account. Just as the psychoanalyst may wait for a repressed memory to make itself manifest, so the nonanalytic therapist waits for the emergence of a solution from the patient. But here again we may easily misunderstand the causal relation. "Finding a solution" is not therapy, no matter who does the finding. Telling the patient what is wrong may make no substantial change in the relevant independent variables and hence may make little progress toward a cure. When the patient himself sees what is wrong, it is not the fact that the solution has come

1976. H Patterson. Systems and Theories of Psychology (3rd ed. Conditioned Reflex Therapy (New York: Farrar. H. 1949). p. while from another one it is an environment largely shaped by man himself. Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy. . [9]Andrew Salter. [3]John B. 1974. [5]James P . cause-and-effect relationship. CA: Stanford University Press). he also says that man "is indeed controlled by his environment. actually belongs to the environment. 1913. which encompasses many physical systems. pp.B. J.) (2nd. according to Skinner. cit. [14]G. The above contradiction well exemplifies the two variables Skinner tries in vain to isolate and pigeonhole in terms of a one-directional. p. Reinforcing contingencies generate novel forms of behavior. [10]Andrew Salter. How do you fix that? What do you do about chronic depression? There is nothing to manipulate. 64. 61-63. 161. With the behaviorists it is a matter of the shoemaker sees only shoes in the world. 159. and this suggests a progress in discovery and invention in which there appears to be a strong element of originality. We only have behavior that results from "contingencies involving a great variety of reinforcers.[32] Most patients don't present a "problem": They are the problem. By controlling rage. 58." On the other hand. [8] Salter. All is external behavior. He tries to label the environment as the determinant of human behavior. All the control does it help build the rage up to the breaking point.. pp.. in the sense of responses never made before under the same circumstances. Psychology From the Standpoint of a Behaviorist. Psychological Review. It involves a certain level of repression. 20. All that is missing from the behaviorist scheme is the human being. 164-167. 1974. (Conditioned Reflex Therapy). Behaviorism (New York: Norton. vi-vii. Chaplin and T. But we could express this fact just as well by saying that the environment is now in better control of man. Straus. There are no genetics. Clearly. Skinner is saying that the environment is responsible for the progress in the world we live in: "the environment is now in better control of man. pp 154-156.). not just in behavior but in neurochemical systems. op. no abilities inbred and hereditary. but "because of the contingencies of reinforcement which have shaped and which maintain his behavior. p. [2]John B. a certain degree of deviation from normal. 478-479. p. Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy. It is an uncomfortable state of being. That greatest gift. [4]J. there are inbred differences. but we must remember that it is an environment largely of his own making. Back to Table of Contents | Next chapter >> [1]_From a Forward by Jerome Kagan in The Skinner Primer: Beyond Freedom and Dignity. 158-167."[34] From one angle. New York: Holt. [15]Cited in G. Why is someone so adept at basketball and another at piano? Is it all just reinforcement? There are those who take a few lessons on the piano and become great musicians. Of course." a theoretical construct. & Winston. cit. Therapy consists. if anywhere. Psychotherapy by Reciprocal Inhibition (Stanford. Others who study and are rewarded and approved and get nowhere.S. to them it is only an evolved rat.B. 1958. Watson. Krawiec." Similarly. for example. which in turn generate novel behavior: We may acknowledge the emergence of novel ideas. 61." A person does not drive a car well because he has the necessary knowledge and skill. What Makes Behavior Change Possible? (New York: Brunner/Mazel). The Case Against Psychoanalysis (New York: Citadel Press. supposedly belonging to man alone. op. Watson. ibid. The whole idea in behaviorism is that if you change behavior the rest follows. no history. On Originality Skinner maintains that we do not have knowledge. p.. 3rd edition). yet must also concede that the environment is a product of that human behavior. not in getting the patient to discover the solution to his problem. but in changing him in such a way that he is able to discover it. we do not have originality. Ed) p.. 82. taken as a gestalt we call it neurosis. nor do we have skill.. Patterson. Here. But it is also real in that there are measurable changes in these subsystems. p. Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy. 1919. pp. Watson.. [13]Arthur Burton.[33] On one hand. Lippincott. Man is now in much better control of the world than were his ancestors. 36. [6]Andrew Salter. As if you could change brain circuits by the manipulation of behavior. New York: The Free Press. 1963. Conditioned Reflex Therapy.from within him which is important but that. his behavior with respect to his problem must have greatly altered. pp. It is all internal. [7]Andrew Salter. Rinehart. op. by Finley Carpenter. neurosis is a "fiction. Skinner arrives at a uni-dimensional definition of a multidimensional phenomenon. contingencies of reinforcement are seen to shape the environment. Original ideas. pp. emerge out of novel contingencies. originality is to be found. one's feelings are supposed to follow. without implying any element of originality in the individuals who "have" them. cit. 1930. [12]Patterson. [11]Joseph Wolpe. & Young.. in order to discover his own solution.

The Humanists speak of human potentials and growth. the demons have faded away. the thrust of his psychology is entirely on the best -. Kovel succinctly describes this departure: Gone is the angst of European existential analysis. p. (New York: Knopf. op. Maslow and others who founded the Association for Humanistic Psychology in 1964 felt that these two schools of psychology did not deal directly with human experience -.of human potentials. [23]B. Gone too is the doubt and ambiguity. p. repression. It was a little like being the first Negro . In 1968. Abraham Maslow Abraham Maslow is best known for developing the "Third Force Psychology": the psychology of self-actualization. Skinner. 173-174. he recalled being a "little Jewish boy in the non-Jewish neighborhood. 177.. In other words. [30]Ibid. of "self-realization" and "peak experiences.F. 255. tenderness: joy. 174. a past president of the American Psychological Association." What all three theorists have in common is a plurality of techniques and a singularly non-dialectic view. His ideas have been fundamental to the human potential and New Age movements. 284. As such.. 1953). it has provided a balancing opposition within the evolution of psychotherapy. Skinner. cit. [25]Ibid. peak experiences. and peak experiences. Beyond Freedom and Dignity.. As a historical backdrop. [33]Ibid. [24]Ibid. p. [19]Ibid. or trauma. ibid. [31]Ibid. F. p.. and by Roberto Assagioli and his "Psychosynthesis. Skinner. They focus on the potential for actualizing the self. Some of his concepts -self-actualization. F. [32]Ibid. Indeed. Maslow. Ignoring Pain Introduction The Humanistic Movement is a perfect counterpoint to the Freudian heritage of turbulent Ids and erratic impulses. Science and Human Behavior (New York: Macmillan.. Chapter 11: Humanistic Psychotherapy: Proclaiming Potential.F. 381-382. [21]Ibid.the utopia or "eupsychia" as he calls it -. [28]Citation needed. [20]Ibid. 1971). p. Science and Human Behavior. p. pp. 378. p. p. [26]Citation needed. 199. yet skipping over Pain to arrive at a peak experience is the Humanistic Movement’s downfall as therapy." while being careful never to mention such words as pain. p. the skepticism of Freudian psychoanalysis. 286. flow. [17]Patterson. This upbeat approach is undeniably appealing. 283. 285. it is interesting to note that Maslow's own childhood was very painful. 373. p.. and the like -.have over the years have entered our popular lexicon. 177. [34]Skinner. 167-173. 215. Beyond Freedom and Dignity (New York: Knopf. pp. p. [29]B. two years prior to his death. has had a profound influence throughout psychotherapy.. pp. p.. Beyond Freedom and Dignity.. [18]Ibid.The personal realities of man's daily experience are overlooked in favor of philosophical and existential possibilities: what he could be rather than what he is and how he got that way.. Skinner. [27]B. The term "Third Force" referred to the Humanistic's Movement's departure from behaviorism on the one hand and orthodox psychoanalysis on the other.. op.[1] The Humanistic Movement is best illustrated by Abraham Maslow and his "Psychology of Being". p. acceptance. 291. cit. nurturance. 1971).[16]Patterson. human potentials.or with human potential. by Carl Rogers and his "Client-Centered Therapy". In their place is energy. paying little or no attention to the Pain and trauma of neurosis. 107-108. Maslow believed that we needed to study the best of mankind rather than the sick of mankind. [22]B. pp.

" "glory. you cannot do so by ignoring the Pain and proclaiming the potentials. and mental illness in the history of our country. This requires an understanding of the interplay of Pain and repression in blocking potentials. With the addition of poverty and rampant addiction. Too old to enlist. just as will the baby who is jostled. so "average. and even for selfconfidence are real needs. in our society such needs are generally well satisfied. When that doesn't work we learn to act in ways that symbolically or metaphorically call for them.a "psychology for the peace table." and "dignity.enrolled in the all-white school. child abuse. She feels good. This is equally true of the so-called needs for dignity and glory. and it is only in the neurotic or more severely pathological cases that serious deprivation occurs. To cite a few. We get sick as a plea for attention. "Look at me." With the rubric of "civilization. These are the basic needs for love transformed. which are in response to unmet needs." Satisfaction of these multitude of esteem needs then leads to the crowning point on the hierarchy of basic needs: the need for self-actualization. Then a professional comes along and says that these needs are indeed real. wife abuse. and violent crime statistics remain at high levels. according to Maslow. enough clothing. Unravel the need for dignity and you will find someone who was derided. we come to assume the needs for prestige. the esteem needs. This is the need "to become everything that one is capable of becoming. When all we can experience of our basic needs are its later derivatives. A child who is loved has no special needs for esteem. almost without friends. Potentials are only part of the picture. Even for the infant at the breast. he was initially drawn to Behaviorism. the way the father communicates. If you want to prove there is more to life than Pain. To focus on the uplifting side of the picture is to fail to provide a viable theory of human behavior. enough water.. A baby is not born with a need for dignity. Approve of me. A turning point in his life came with the Second World War. Then as toddlers developing a language capacity. as infants. The nervous mother. there is a natural progression of need. Even when there is enough food. then what accounts for the seriousness and commonality of the problems we face? Why is it that one fourth of our population has taken tranquilizers? Why are doctors' offices filled with patients with a variety of psychosomatic afflictions? Neurosis is so commonplace. Maslow assumes that level three needs for love are also fundamentally taken care of: "Again. He sees these needs as inherited."[2] As a young psychology student. a thing. the needs form a hierarchy: the lowest level of need must be satisfied before the next level of need can attract our attention. and overstimulated. She does not need "self-actualization. The force of the real past need is absorbed in symbolic needs which make them seem real." She will struggle . It is a nice liberal weltanschauung. a poet must write. something to be given orders to. "I esteem you. the distracted mother. period. he says. When our basic biological needs for love are not met we then find more sophisticated." To explain why he undertook this project. which purports to model both civilized behavior and high moral standards. the positive side. fall into this category." These are adult inventions.With my childhood." as well as for "status. physiological. but he dismisses this level as generally fulfilled in a civilized society."[4] We are faced with continual high rates of abuse. Maslow vowed to devote the rest of his life to a theory of human behavior applicable on a worldwide basis -. Indeed there can be just as much trauma in too much as in too little. It sets ideals over reality. but that soon waned in favor of Gestalt and Freudian views. more conceptual ways to express this deprivation. These needs are really bi-directional: we need esteem from ourselves (self-respect) as well as from others (recognition). denigrated. or availability. for example. are really sophisticated screams. one might guess that a large percentage of the US population does not have its safety needs met during childhood." Isolated and unhappy." he effortlessly sweeps away needs for survival. Maslow confuses real need states with their symbolic derivatives. it's a wonder I'm not psychotic. crime. subtle but potent shades of deprivation are often still present.. On one hand Maslow labels parental quarreling and turmoil as a threat to a child's need for safety. Maslow also assumes that the first three levels of need in his system are generally satisfied "in civilized society. It is built into the way the parent talks to the child. "I wanted to prove that human beings are capable of something grander than war and prejudice and hatred. we have needs for "strength. But there is no need for self-esteem.. If it is not. Fulfillment of survival needs is not neatly measurable. Maslow "grew up in libraries and among books. Pain is the other half. The same problem holds true for level two of the hierarchy: safety needs.. The infant who is pressured to eat more than he needs." These behaviors.. the needs for esteem and self-actualization.A musician must make music. listens to her. Maslow's Theory of Needs Maslow views the satisfaction of basic human needs as the cornerstone of healthy human development. In all of us. Maslow actually includes a long list of adjectives to further delineate these esteem needs. we call for Mommy and Daddy. safety. expressing his feelings and letting the child express hers. Moreover.. In myriad ways. deprivation is not a simple matter of quantity. and instinctual in origin.because so many of us have these needs. and love despite daily realities of poverty and malnutrition." and "mastery. Even for Maslow's best of mankind." "achievement. the resentful mother is not fulfilling that baby's need.."[3] Setting out to prove that man is grander than war or hatred sidesteps the forces that thrust him into such low pursuits. In the United States. or belittled in her early life. At first. Likewise. it is no simple matter of quantity. drug addiction. So many of us are so deprived that we come to believe that these so-called needs are not only basic but genetic. an artist must paint. status. A parent who loves a child never has to say. no matter how much milk is produced. Level four of our basic needs are. will suffer a trauma of fulfillment. enough touch. But Maslow gives them the name of real needs. satiation. Maslow's last two levels of needs. the infant who is held to scheduled feeding over his own needs will feel a trauma of deprivation despite eventual satiation. If a child is treated as an object." or words to that effect. we can only cry and scream. she will grow up struggling for "dignity. Or become "smart" to say."[5] In his last two levels on the hierarchy. To focus only on ideals is praiseworthy but not scientific. the way the mother touches her. trauma occurs in the process of what Maslow assumes to be the fulfillment of basic survival needs." it looks normal. She lives her life and isn't concerned about how she feels about herself because she is herself. yet we may continue to cling to the illusion that "serious deprivation" is not a commonplace phenomenon. he later said. tossed up in the air.

To make inertia a given. It is precisely what they do: they play. It is thus primarily an adult pursuit. in addition to our natural tendency toward growth. and glee. we also have an innate tendency towardinertia. we will continue to fail. If this did not happen then the adult would still be in touch with his youthful feelings of enthusiasm. therefore. when the human species is growth-oriented. delight. "Loss of meaning" develops from a very concrete and physiologically-mediated dissociation between levels of consciousness. But when we ascribe our deficiencies to some unchangeable force. Observe the infant reaching out for life at every possible moment. Growth. if non-self-actualization is all-but universal -. Consciousness is man's special evolutionary tool. Watch the toddler explore his new world of locomotion with total conviction and glee. The idea is that. to seeing life in a different way.. What was innate one millennium is extinct in the next." Deep repression can suppress energy stores so that inertia sets in. to doubts about the goals of life. When that happens you literally grow. "It has seemed inadequate to explain why. Babies manifest self-actualization continually. not origins. The child dissociates . But by now. There is no inertia in the sleep state. it means being who you are. not innate tendencies. to grief and anger over a lost love. In addition. as in our need to "conserve energy" (whatever that means). It is a slightly more elaborate way of saying that neurotics suffer from neurotic symptoms. probably "only a fraction of one percent" ever achieve self-actualization. should not be confined to a psychologic concept. To be oneself one has to have minimal repression. we are. and partly psychological. And we will continue to pass on that failure to succeeding generations. To have minimal repression one has to have little Pain. We must recognize that the reasons we fail to develop our potentials are man-made reasons. It is a time of restoration and replenishment.[9] While this is a perfectly adequate description of some of the symptoms of neurosis. It is a natural state. Children reared in orphanages often do not grow to their destined height. it is the first."I can't move any more. He recognized the paradox that."[7] While it is true that man has an innate tendency toward growth.many individuals fail to develop their potential. self-actualization comes after the satisfaction of the love and esteem needs. or a moment of public acclaim (because she wasn't "noticed" properly when young) -. If nearly no one reaches the ideal -.. or that there is no possibility of joy or love. bacterial invasions. or "worse" state to a higher. Evolution is not a static process of passing on unchanging tendencies.. What then thwarts that natural process is the deprivation of its basic needs to be loved. He reaches as naturally as he breathes.wouldn't it be necessary to take a closer look at why this might be so? Maslow's solution to this gap in his theory was simply to add on another idea to it. or for the best table at a restaurant.[6] This in itself would seem to point up the inadequacy of Maslow's view. Self-actualization is not the last need to emerge. lesions. dynamic activity is going on throughout all the cells and systems of the body during sleep. or "better" state. Evolution is a process of continuous change from a lower. more complex. using the label "psychological illness" puts neurosis into the same universe of discourse as ulcers." In Maslow’s model. not figurative. When placed into a loving environment they begin to grow again. to recognition that one's life is being wasted. he contradicts his above view and even implies a certain disdain for those who view neurosis in psychophysiological terms: Strictly speaking. The fact that we are not conscious of this activity does not lessen its dynamism. to despair over the future. ponder.what he mistakes for inertia -. As long as we believe that an inertia for which we (or those who shaped us when we were young) are not responsible accounts for failed potentials." [italics added] Indeed. To actualize the self one has to be oneself. Maslow's Theory of Inertia Maslow himself admitted to a deficiency in his theory of motivation.mightily for high corporate position or for just the right desk and office. it illuminates only manifestations. What Maslow inadvertently does is provide a justification for Pain by making the repression of it -. we have learned very well that it is better to consider neurosis as rather related to spiritual disorders. not an inertiated one. lack of growth is not due to some other counterbalancing tendency. a relic we can very well do without today. or tumors. We are born selfactualizing. in fact. to loss of courage or of hope. Inertia may well be an imprint.into an immutable given over which there is no control. What is innate in us is a life process. to loss of meaning.. It alone can advance the human condition. to dislike for oneself. simpler.all to feel like "someone. In Toward a Psychology of Being he asserts a clearly biological view of the deprivation of love: Love hunger is a deficiency disease like salt hunger or the avitaminoses. Because of this new pull toward inertia. To have little Pain means to have been loved. One is born self-actualizing. [8] Yet Maslow's definition of neurosis in The Farther Reaches of Human Nature makes no mention of any connection to love deprivation.indeed. purpose. This is not a natural need but an offshoot of Pain. It alone can revolutionize our very notion of innateness. This inertia tendency is partly physiological. In fact. he admitted. only when one is not loved does the drive to self-actualize emerge. broken bones. I'm all out of energy. natural state of being we are born into. etc. look. The same holds true for psychological rest. and move about with delight. freezing our own evolution and ensuring the transmission of failed potentials. neurosis means an illness of the nerves. Rest is as much a part of the growth process as is activity. curiosity. I remind you that the evidence that we "need" love is of exactly the same type. as in the need for rest. This is literal growth.It would not occur to anyone to question the statement that we "need" iodine or vitamin C. Failure to grow is due to conditions created and fostered out of ignorance and Pain. and fulfillment. Growth does not mean a constant state of activity. Maslow's View of Neurosis Maslow's view of neurosis is surprisingly contradictory. In fact. rising out of some genetic tendency is to ignore the dialectic which demonstrates the dynamic interplay of the real forces at work. The meaning that there is "no possibility of love or joy" is laid down in the infant long before it can even pronounce the word spiritual. the last basic need on his hierarchy. we need "challenge as an additional precondition in the external environment.

and lifestyles both find and create their own justifications. If the parent as a child was derided and belittled then the child is going to have to be very respectful. and we never connect the early pressure to later symptoms."[10] Such a neurotic person behaves as if a great catastrophe were almost always impending. pain. Thus. in all his guilt over his failed potentials and uninteresting life..e. We are put through all manner of weakening experiences so that we have to develop ersatz strengths: a lonely child "learns" to be an "independent" adult. He is polite. Neither childhood attitudes nor undeveloped talents nor uninteresting lives is responsible for the creation of neurosis. Maslow encourages this process by elevating rationalizations that value Pain to theory. The person who hasn't conquered.meaning from the behavior of his parents so that their constant neglect is never felt as." These strengths ."[13] The individual gets sick when his "essential care" is suppressed or denied.. frustration. attending. It is one of the wonderful ideals that cannot be defined or subject to rigorous scrutiny. says Maslow -. or that isolation was of value because they learned to cope on their own. Maslow has fallen into a contemporary trap. sets in motion a constant struggle to get them to love him. remembering. such as in a family where open expression of feeling is frowned upon. smart. deprivation. The condition is that the child make up for whatever was missing in the parent's childhood. Neurotic humans construct a neurotic world. then rationalizes her catastrophic feelings by saying something like "suffering is good for you. This is achieved in a number of ways. a kind of do-gooder philosophy where one imagines one can love neurosis away." We have succeeded in our work but we have colitis or migraines. humans have tremendous power in determining their world.[14] Ironically." Once neurosis is something "spiritual. and becomes a vague psychologic illness devoid of physiologic concomitants. the humiliations. he is usually responding as if to an emergency. An anti-pain. to that extent they are desirable experiences. Instead it is self-perpetuated. laid for him by the prevalent denial of Pain. or whatever it takes to fulfill their needs." it is removed from biology. Neurosis does not develop from the lack of attention. uninteresting lives. i." There are adults who end up believing that every beating they received as children was good because it taught them how to endure pain. implications. In the neurotic adult. learning. the beatings. Observe yet another view of neurosis according to Maslow: People who fail to develop their talents. no prior cause. carrying out the program set out for them in childhood. and tragedy are all necessary for our greater growth. and capacities. The only way the neurotic wrongs himself is by believing that he has self-generated his neurosis out of childish fears and failed potentials. He has elevated a personal liberalism to the level of a theory.. childhood traumas become transformed into invaluable lessons in the school of hard knocks. What exactly "spiritual" means to Maslow is unclear.that is to say. From this. And indeed there is. pain and tragedy. frustration. to account for it. Worse. you need that which does you harm. There are few neurotics who feel that they have wronged themselves. They go on living as if on automatic. We have bought the "program. an abused child becomes someone who can "dish it out just as well as he can take it. But then he concludes the paragraph with a paean to neurosis by saying that discipline. [12] [Italics added] So here we have it. athletic. For example." there must be something going on in his body and brain to make that all so real. He did not search out the physiological counterparts of what was observed. "They don't love me. then you are bound to conclude that what we need is morediscipline. anti-feeling world calls for a population numbed against feeling. neurotic perceptions.as if there were no concrete reason. That is what conditional love means." We are grateful that we couldn't go out and play. That world in turn helps to determine the quality of their humanness. emotions. well-behaved. In this way a severe deprivation becomes necessary as "character building. They never ever put themselves or their lives in question. Like others." The feeling. pain. the neurotic has wronged himself for leading such a life. a neurotic adult may be said to behave as if he were actually afraid of a spanking. via neurobiological processes. subconsciously know that they have wronged themselves for it. deprivation. in fact. who never develop workable methods of relating to other people. and tragedy are necessary for our greater growth. One possibility open to us as intelligent beings is to make ourselves invulnerable through self-deception. It is increasingly clear that these experiences have something to do with a sense of achievement and ego strength and therefore with a sense of healthy self-esteem and self-confidence. Maslow calls neurosis the inability to "choose wisely. A parent who is supposed to nurture and protect his child ends up abusing her. So instead of feeling angry at our parents for not loving us. and so forth "seem to be violent reactions against frustration of our intrinsic needs. It is as imprecise as the "id. instead were forced to practice and do homework. Maslow claims neurosis and psychosis are "cognitive diseases" which contaminate all cognitive functions of perception. If the neurotic behaves "as if a great catastrophe were almost always impending. Maslow says that evil qualities such as destructiveness. frustration. actual childhood catastrophes are still reverberating throughout his system. In another source." If it's not direct physical abuse or emotional terror it's a more subtle form of need deprivation. however. values. he correctly observed the outward signs of neurosis but did not really take them seriously. Maslow suggests that the ultimate paradox of neurosis is to become convinced that you need what you do not need and. withstood and overcome continues to feel doubtful that he could. deprivation. To the extent that these experiences reveal and foster and fulfill our inner nature. If you pursue Maslow's argument that discipline. much of Maslow's "peak experience" psychology is actually a philosophy of denial which supports neurosis. "neurosis" develops. the rejections. and thinking. One generation of harshly disciplinarian parents teaches the next that if you spare the rod you spoil the child. All of these are merely unfortunate results of a much deeper process. Unlike other animals. who live dull."[11] [Emphasis added] Here Maslow hits the target but doesn't know it. we thank them for "toughening us up. The neurotic. develops his own neurosis. the pressures. The catastrophe is still real because it is still intact as it originally occurred. and cruelty. sadism. A final contradiction in Maslow's theory bears discussion because of its far-ranging and harmful.

to realize its full potential. It cannot be cured between people no matter how nice we are. The underlying theme they ascribe to is that neurosis is only mental and can be undone by mental processes. Carl Rogers The person-centered approach.[19] From this viewpoint.. Also.[15] Carl Rogers has a primary position in the Humanistic Movement and a prominent place in psychotherapy in general. but it is an internal state. Neurosis doesn’t lie between people. to develop." ostensibly in an effort to transform the dominant/subordinate nature of the therapeutic relationship. To re-word Rogers' above hypothesis to a dialectical framework: If I can provide a certain type of relationship. he felt it important to use the term "client" instead of "patient. in many ways. or teach a better way to patients.. In psychoanalysis it is called a "corrective emotional experience. What appears to be non-directive on the surface may be compelling (read "directive") underneath. and trust are hard to knock. the other person will discover within himself the capacity to use that relationship for growth. Rogers credentials are impressive: president of the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Psychotherapists. and reality seems deeply important as a first condition [for therapy]. However. the sole condition for change rests on the therapist's ability to relate to the patient rather than on the patient's ability to connect to himself." Rogers maintains that at the heart of a potentially-curative therapy is therapist inputs such as "genuineness. prefer the struggle for it."[18] Rogers writes: If I can provide a certain type of relationship. strengthening ones.the tendency to grow. When he feels what "they" had done to him. implying that the illness is not really physiologic.depends on the actualizing tendency present in every living organism -.without any words such as "worth" entering the equation. the neurotic feelings of worthlessness disappear and are simply replaced by a self who feels capable. which is not surprising considering his background in evangelical Christianity.. Additionally. Rogers says that the first phrase in his hypothesis.are then seen as real."[22] The tricky part of this condition is that warmth. more of a "therapist-centered" therapy. Some have even called Rogers "the most influential psychologist in American history. A child constantly ignored and never answered or talked to develops feelings of not being worth talking to: worthlessness. the focus cannot be on the therapist providing that worth. He rightly points out: "It is only in this way that the relationship can have reality. All the acceptance in the world cannot undo the trauma of being rejected by one's parents. that is just the beginning. Some consider Rogers tobe the Humanistic Movement. It is the patient's internal dialectic that must be activated.the neglect.. preoccupied parents." This means accepting each "fluctuating aspect of the person" and communicating an "unconditional self-worth. and by the way." also known as "person-centered therapy. the more I will be creating a relationship he can use.no matter what his condition. the other person will discover within himself the capacity to connect to his own repressed Pain and thus free himself for change."[20] Next Rogers says that "the more acceptance and liking I feel toward this individual. That is. Like the phoenix. so pervasive has his influence been among humanists and in the human potential movement. "The failure of any such approach through the intellect has forced me to recognize that change appears to come about through experience in a relationship. "client-centered" and "non-directive" may be misleading. The therapist is then the hub of Rogers' process.a non-neurotic love based on fulfillment of early need -becomes the starting point and the guiding principle of life. The dialectic pertains: feeling the repressed feelings of worthlessness finally restores one's sense of worth. Carl Rogers was a truly kind."[17] He sees the therapist's role as one of being "a midwife to a new personality."[21] It also means communicating a "basic trust in the person" in order to counteract society's basic "distrust of the person. and personal development. and change and personal development will occur. they must rise out of the ashes of their own opposite. Rogers' position is no different from the Neo-Freudians who also believe that improvement comes through the doctor-patient relationship. States of worthlessness and mistrust lie within the patient. or his feelings. they can provide safe therapeutic environment essential to healing." Indeed. it is manifested between people." Rogers is best known for his "non-directive" techniques and his "client-centered therapy. via transference. making the therapy more therapistcentered than client-centered."[16] A psychology professor at the University of Chicago. Neurosis is neurophysiologic and is everywhere in our systems." and "communication to the client of the therapist's empathetic understanding and unconditional positive regard. That is asking too much of love—to undo years of living with unfeeling. Self-worth and trust cannot be superimposed on someone else. providing a certain type of relationship. While the patient needs to feel that he or she is a trustworthy person. "client" removes neurosis from the medical model. acceptance. means that the therapist behaves in a genuine and real way. To repeat: we cannot love neurosis away.are seen as valuable." "unconditional acceptance. growth. . the denial of needs -. the old feelings pushing against the gates of repression must enter into the fray. with the critical ingredient being the therapist's "unconditional positive regard. leader in developing "encounter group" therapy. Rogers' theory and his therapy are unmistakably pastoral in flavor... The great experiment for mankind would be to give up the belief that suffering is necessary for ego strength and selfesteem (two abstract notions) and to see what happens when love -. his behavior." It implies that any real warmth and consistent love will help resolve neurosis. liking. with Abraham Maslow and Rollo May). not just the therapist's warmth and acceptance and trust. founder of the Association for Humanistic Psychology (in the 1960s. indifferent. Rogers proceeds from the starting point that while therapists cannot give insights or knowledge. and are then are adept at finding ways to destroy it? While it is true that a certain type of relationship must be created between patient and therapist. Interestingly enough. The key focus of his work is the relationship between patient and therapist. while the threatening experiences -. wonderful person. But how many neurotics cannot take love. what is considered client-centered therapy can be.

in Against Therapy. people do not radiate warmth and acceptance no matter how we behave. When one feels the worthlessness it immediately turns into its opposite. one is not being real and genuine by simply communicating warmth and acceptance. And just as clearly he conveyed the message to his clients. What Rogers describes as crucial is not only of secondary importance but basically impossible." but the urge does exist in every individual and "awaits only the proper conditions to be released and expressed. It is not anything one is going to search out and find. liking. Another problem with the therapist projecting unconditional acceptance is that it can easily clash with Rogers' previous point about the therapist being real and genuine. there is no self-esteem. He doesn't try to tell the client anything. the therapist must have a general sense of understanding and empathy. clearly believed that "troubles.I find very. This is not a realistic attitude and hence not one that is necessarily therapeutic. If one is repeatedly confronted with acting out behavior or endless verbal harangues by a heavily defended patient. does not exist. Nothing that the therapist gives the patient. Naturally." or it may be covered by "elaborate facades. He reflects back only what is given. according to Rogers.to expand. mature.."[25] This declaration actually contradicts what happens in Rogerian therapy. This is why such reports are lacking in almost all accounts of both kinds of therapy. the best we can do is think about it subjectively: We can never know the past. Here Rogers confuses reality with fairy tale. came from within."[24] Rogers admits that his urge may be buried by layers of "encrusted psychological defenses. JAN: Yes. extend. Masson writes that Rogerian theory and practice are "lacking in sensitivity to people's real suffering. I bring those assumptions to all patients."[28] with the added ingredients of warmth and acceptance. I'm not afraid of commitment. early need deprivation -. . and that somewhere in there is a real and worthwhile person. I accept that his behavior is a result of Pain. All that exists is someone's current perception of the past. Rogers believes people’s innate tendency toward growth and maturity occurs when acceptance and warmth are provided by the therapist." as he called them. It is an elaborate rationale for therapeutic passivity. In Rogers view. "facts" as perceived now. The point is that one rule does not apply in all cases. The third element Rogers stresses is "a deep empathic understanding which enables me to see his private world through his eyes. Being real on the part of the therapist may mean not accepting unreal behavior on the part of the patient. all those fears seem to be increasing." He will be freed to exhibit that which is innate in him: "The urge which is evident in all organic and human life -. Accepting their defensive behavior indefinitely would only perpetuate the neurosis While "warmth.[27] This very position -. If I give up complaining I lose all hope to find out. According to Jeffrey Masson. but how well the patient herself feels it. Rogers." In reading through the many case histories that Rogers provided in his books.. will of itself secure health. I can be stern with an acting-out patient and still accept him.one which rejects the role of the past in curing neurosis -. Rogers' Ideas in Therapy How does Rogers translate his principles into therapy? The Rogerian therapist simply rephrases what the client has just said. and a fear of having children? And all that seems to be a growing fear.” I tell this patient she is obnoxious not out of any moral stance but for her good and for the good of her therapy. What Rogers means by the individual discovering the "capacity to use the relationship" is that in a suitable climate the person will simply "move forward toward maturity. I think Dr. not at all. JAN (Client): The fear of getting married. But I don't radiate warmth in the face of confronting or obnoxious behavior. Complaining keeps the fact that something is wrong alive. I treated a woman who complained about everything. and acceptance for all" is an appealing rule.[26] Furthermore."[23] This again overemphasizes what the therapist must communicate to the client. And it's getting stronger as I get older -CARL: It's a fear of commitment. In the real world. reveals only memories present now. Accurate memory. But to me marriage is very -CARL: So you're not a person who's irresponsible or anything like that -JAN: No. To explore our past. How can one individual possibly see another's reality through that other's eyes? What is important is that the patient connect with his private world. no self-confident feelings nestling inside and waiting to be let out. but the crucial point is not how well the therapist perceives the patient's private world. The two are not necessarily the same. he confuses being warm with being real.In short. to friendship. he does not trust our ability to know what this reality was. in spite of the frequency of traumas in the actual lives of the people undergoing the therapy. Rogers talks of acceptance but he apparently does not accept what is basic to all neurosis. Rogers elevated his own sweetness to the level of a therapeutic principle. for it also suggests a misguided corollary: the client arrives for therapy focused on what the therapist will provide. We can never know the individual's past. not from the real world. with "no interpretations given and no evaluations made. very frightening. it is then finally over with. become autonomous. Even the most elaborate case history. be it ever so unconditionally warm. She was obnoxious and I told her so. it is not necessarily a therapeutic one and it is definitely not a realistic one. Many patients need to be called on their act-outs. I was startled to see an almost total lack of the reporting of genuine traumas.the seeds from which later neurosis grows -. to doing certain things. For instance. not only does Rogers not accept the reality that our early experiences cause deep continuing anguish. develop. as surely as any psychoanalyst conveyed it to his patients. and being committed. I got her to the feeling: “I don’t know what is wrong.ensures that healing will be elusive.is not a reality. though he rejected most of psychoanalytic theory. Rogers neither acknowledges the existence of childhood abuse nor ascribes it any importance. and children -. or the most complete free association about the past. when it comes to my work.

Language is in fact a late development both phylogenetically. "There he goes!" Rogers' concern is to get people to feel better by pitting the therapist's "unconditional positive regard" against the patient's bad self-image. with language coming along much later to label the experience.My first reaction to you. On one layer we have neurotic reality formed out of specific past events and held in the system via repression. I need to find those missing parts of myself. I think. you're committed to friends. not just mental pain. In the case study excerpted above. This is the feeling which I think I fought vigorously for the whole time. Kovel describes Rogers' therapy as "unabashedly inspirational": The Rogerian therapist is an active transmitter of regard to [the patient].the laughing face with which she hides her pain. Rogers includes this statement in his book Client-Centered Therapy. having children. Toward the end of the case study. adored. and the seeds of neurosis sown. In fact. "I feel sad. It was the way she got love as a child. only amelioration.One of my first. but I was always painfully and acutely aware of you. ."[31] Let's look more closely at a patient's experience of Rogerian therapy. but actual physical pain. All of which is to reiterate that neurosis is a force. Because there is no interface between the therapy and the neurosis. The reality is that we got sick as a result ofexperience. there is no resolution. rephrasing the client's words so that the statement he has just made is relayed back to him. that she needs "to face life as a whole person. and ontogenetically. rapid heartbeat. neurosis is possible without language. I remember saying once that I felt as if I was putting a knife into myself and turning it around and around so that my blood and all of my insides would gush forth. What he fails to perceive is that it is precisely the past holdover in that transaction which determines how it goes. he says. makes Rogers' therapeutic relationship only a symbolic one. The neurotic reality and the therapy continue independently and irrespective of one another." Patient: "I am so depressed. to "experience the full depth of her hopelessness. her desire for a helping relationship with another. Rogers explains that in his interactions with this patient. psychologically. from your foot as you stretched it out in front of me and moved it slowly back and forth and particularly from your eyes. and getting older. That is why just talking cannot make anyone well except on the level of language -. a constant struggle against the imprint.. Finally. "I gave up my life and my desires in order to feel loved" will she be freed so that she can stop the sacrifice and pay attention to her own real needs. Only by deeply feeling. and most persistent feelings was pain -. strongest. The implication is that we get well through language. unrecognized. But for a therapist to warmly encourage her to pay attention to her own needs without feeling why she did not in the first place and has not until now will be a herculean exercise. An example: Someone who sacrificed her life for a sick mother now goes on sacrificing for others to the neglect of her own life. Rogers quotes his patient. and so on. It's like getting a fix of a painkiller twice a week. On the other layer we have Rogers superimposing empathy over the neurotic's reality without ever dealing with it specifically.[30] Rogers deals simply with what is occurring in the therapeutic transaction. Rogers' present-day reality goes on in the life of the patient while the patient's past neurotic reality goes on in its own direction. Indeed. He does this in the simplest way possible. A totally nonverbal trauma such as major surgery is an example of injury without words. The following excerpts are from a statement written by a client to her Rogerian therapist. The dialectics of consciousness means that the experience of the Pain turns into its opposite the second it is felt. The dialectic dictates that the damage must be experienced so that repair can take place. not by probing beneath the surface but by reflecting that surface back to the client. Clearly.from your hands as you handled the cigarette lighter. It is the past reality which." but not for long.. No access to the damage means no repair. Here the client indicates that her Pain is all right there. along this path of discouragement." Therapist: "You feel depressed.all through the months I was in pain. in the history of a single individual. consciousness is often thwarted long before the baby begins to talk.. he "walks with her. .[29] Seeing this reminds me of the old joke about Rogerian therapy.. But the notion that helping her to gain "awareness" in a purely talk-oriented therapy will actually allow her to "experience the full depth of her hopelessness" is extremely questionable. intellectually. She couldn't feel loved because she couldn't feel. poor circulation. regarding what she has discovered in therapy. headaches. and never the twain shall meet." This allows her. but you also cared and cared very much. need and Pain are still present. in the history of the species." The therapist says: "You feel sad. It "works. even when I expressed it very inarticulately or not at all. was one of surprise at your sensitivity and awareness of what and how I was feeling. It simply emanated from you -. I usually found it necessary to talk to the wall or the window. Because of the strength of this feeling. nausea.. Marilyn Monroe was loved by millions.e. because after one leaves the empathetic. The patient says. never really touching it." Patient: "I am so depressed I feel like killing myself." Therapist: "You feel so depressed that you want to kill yourself?" Therapist walks over to the window sees the patient flying through the air.[32] What especially comes across is the inordinate degree of focus on the therapist: It's hard to explain what has happened to me in the past months [in therapy]. praised and exalted and still felt unloved and unworthy.Then I began to get the feeling that not only were you sensitive and understanding of my feelings. her inability to deal with her fears. reassuring father figure behind. the transaction is his Mecca of cure. when I had the courage to look at them.. and unconsciousness is what neurosis is all about. Rogers runs parallel to neurotic reality. Rogers' client is trying to deal with her fears of marriage. It's just that the notion of being tied into marriage -that's scary as hell.CARL: You're committed to your work.. and regarding how she attempts to keep it from overwhelming her. A warm father figure is going to be reassuring and alleviating but hardly curative. It can be such a shock to the system that the gates of repression are called into action. not a concept.. charged this time not with the masochistic self-hatred of neurosis but with the positive esteem of the therapist.. Another problem with Rogers' technique is that it is primarily (if not entirely) verbal." [Italics added] Rogers is certainly on the right track regarding what underlies this woman's neurosis.i.

If they remain unconnected to real events. rather than solid. all the material of her own feelings is overlooked. From here the woman describes a series of vivid images that occurred in the course of her therapy. I was firmly convinced that to give love meant to sell my soul. None of this is attended to. the wall seemed to disappear but beyond it I discovered a dam holding back violent. She wanted to scream. I closed up in a shell and waited until I could go. Since I couldn't do that. I tried wearing you down by demanding proof of your affection. The pressure to accept the therapist's love for her cuts her off from her own reality of feeling completely unlovable.i.Her pain and acute awareness do not belong focused on the therapist. The issues are evident: Feeling loved meant risking being dominated by someone else. By putting so much focus on warmth and acceptance. it was always when I attempted to express or keep from expressing my feelings toward you. I simply could not shake you. the more unconscious. those feelings are again left incomplete.After this. The therapist may well be acting out his feelings. Whenever I made any attempt to pull away from it. I fought desperately against any love you might give to me. but with the proper probing they could be defined and specific.. What is important is that the presence of her caring therapist triggers a deep. The therapist compelled all of her attention. kind.. The statement continues: Several times I thought of quitting. I don't know whether it was intentional or not. I even tried 'curing' myself and raving about how wonderful it was.how selfish. All of the focus is on the therapist's message of "I care about you. Evidently. I know that the pressure of your feelings toward me kept me working on my feelings toward you (and through you toward all others in my life)." (I am a very caring person) This caring seems to repeatedly force the patient out of her own feelings. inadequate. churning waters. the patient describes her breakthrough experience toward the end of therapy: . in the name of therapy. to discuss other relationships on an intellectual plane. painful response in her. they cannot resolve the primal feelings these experiences engendered.. too high to get over and too thick to go through.. It does indeed require pressure to keep the focus of the patient off herself and onto the therapist. But you were always there." Once I remember you attended a class (that day I felt particularly awful) and sat near me. gentle and sensitive. the patient cannot be herself.. I couldn't talk or do anything but be aware of you. when I really had an experience." This creates so much pressure for the client that she "usually found it necessary to talk to the wall. One day the wall became translucent. In the meantime. and I felt hopeful that I might really see through it. I felt as if I were holding back the forces of these waters and if I opened even a tiny hole I and all about me would be destroyed in the ensuing torrent of feelings. The ambiance militates against it and for suppression of anything negative.e. the therapist is really compelling the patient to be aware of him and to pick up his message of care and concern.. therefore you were being deceitful and cruel in pretending you did. I wanted to get up and run out of the room. As her statement continues. I spend time on Rogers because there are any number of psychotherapies that use the technique of love and warmth as a tool. none of this is dealt with." The therapist's unfailing attitude of "I love you" really forms a kind of denial of the patient's negative feelings. After all. I tried telling you how unworthy I was -. At first she makes general and oblique references. Here again she can't do anything but be aware of her therapist. I also began to realize that when I really found something. "I know how miserable you are and I care about how you feel because I care about you. It is a barometer of the intensity of feelings and their degree of unconsciousness: the more symbolic. to become completely dominated by and dependent upon the loved one. But what of the rage in the patient? Where does that go in the face of a loving. The patient is in the position of having to "live up to" a standard set by the therapist.. and that love could not be received without paying this high price. the images remain images. Imagery is a doorway into unconscious memory. but she could only freeze up inside herself. but to me it said. something she carried forth into adult life. who can scream and shout and pound the walls when confronted with this ethereal atmosphere? What this kind of environment does is leave no room for the expression of feelings of extreme anger. what passed for love and caring was parental domination. but I was driven by the feeling that if I didn't find "it" this time I never would. You could not possibly love me.One day the water changed to tigers -. She does not need a surrogate parent to insist that she is lovable. the patient begins to give vital clues to the history of her feeling. nasty. She needs to complete her own dialectic: to experience how unloved she felt as a child so that she can at last be free to feel lovable as an adult. I tried hating and attacking you.."I am a loving person.. it is a way of forcing a person not to feel badly because you love them so much -something parents frequently do to children to cut off their "negative" emotions. Her imagery is extremely descriptive and the genuineness of the feeling behind it is undeniable: I began to feel that I was facing a solid brick wall. sensitive therapist? It is suppressed while the patient reaches for altruistic ideals." I almost screamed. Unfortunately. like a firm rock which I beat upon to no avail and which merely said.tigers who were straining furiously at the leash onto which I was holding desperately as I felt myself weakening. I didn't want to see you at all that day. This imagery is not merely poetic or metaphoric. she wanted to run out of the room. forceful pictures that point to a reality but do not fully reveal it. Because the Rogerian format does not "probe" into the past. Therefore. Then. It means that. "I love you. She beats upon it "to no avail" -. thus again denying her repressed feelings. you stretched out your foot and it almost touched mine. There are specific events and experiences from this woman's past. The past would become present. I felt compelled to come back to you. The client continues to describe her experience in Rogerian therapy: Throughout all of my sessions I was focused on my relationship with you. Finally.

and endures long after those present realities have changed. The very early childhood trauma engenders radical alterations in hormones and electrophysiology." Actually. the unrecognized complexes that haunt our lower unconscious. More than any other theorist mentioned. the essential message is the same: learn to control this choice/decision-making force and you've got it made. but not of trauma and deprivation in real-life experience. but you were feeling all the things I was feeling. To attempt to change a neglect in the first months of life through exhortation or insight in therapy is to use a water pistol to put out a raging blaze. Then I realized that that was what I had missed and that was what I wanted now and had wanted all my life. The contrast between what the therapist has given her and what she had previously received from her parents has set the feeling unfolding. It is easy to see that Assagioli's concept of the will as man's capacity of choice is basically the same as Albert Ellis' formulations in his Rational-Emotive Therapy. It is an illness created by experience.completely. And neurosis is an illness no matter how nicely it is worded. the therapeutic relationship remains a symbolic one.Last week it was right under the surface. and no mention at all of trauma or deprivation of need. of "will" but not of feeling. Although Rogers talks a good deal about experience. It changes brainwaves. while Assagioli provides us with more mystical. She then skips over her Pain of not being loved by her real mother and moves into feeling a symbolic comfort. As I talked I kept getting more and more uncomfortable because you seemed to be feeling much more strongly than I did. security. developing. with warm understanding and a great love in my mother's arms. Not so. He speaks of the transmutation of energy. Nonetheless. Early relationships with one's parents made one neurotic." There is no very little mention of Pain. It is now internalized and responded to continually. built into Rogerian therapy's limited frame of reference are limited treatment results. the conscious talking about values and growth which implicitly overlooks the Pain. In Rogers' type of verbal therapy. the buffeting about by external influences. even more than I was aware of feeling.in the original key relationship. So compelling is his empathy that he becomes a kind of surrogate mother. of my feeling of being unloved from birth." and "selfactualization." What he doesn't understand is that positive regard today cannot penetrate repressed disregard from the past. acceptance.. We use the present difficulties in relationships as a vehicle to travel back in time to generating sources. it makes unreal change in a real way. Rogers believes that cure lies in what happens between patient and therapist. and you were caring. It is a logical error. Having an illness accepted by someone else still keeps you sick. and the blinding and hypnotizing effect of deceiving appearances. I gave several examples and tried to pin down and explain my feelings in relation to these examples. Suddenly I felt as if I had become a baby and was being held comfortably. Accordingly."[36] Before examining this process. It does not make real change in a real way. of super-consciousness. of the "dark forces" of the unconscious. his therapy involves the use of many techniques for "arousing. The therapy makes changes in the unreal (consciously-aware) half of the experience without touching on the real (unconscious) half of it. let us first consider the nature of the will as the cornerstone of Psychosynthesis. a better relationship later on ought to undo the neurosis."[33] Rogers bypasses childhood trauma and unconscious Pain in favor of warmth. and not to try sorting out how the patient relates in the present. I had one more layer to remove. Her Pain remains." an approach developed by the Italian psychologist. It all comes down to this: understanding an illness still leaves the illness. but it is not taken back to its original and curative source because the focus is still on the therapist. Her own dialectic has been short-circuited. He views the will as the basis of all decisions and choices. Talking about illness never changes it. true Self-realization and right relationship with others. He speaks of "childish images. rather than understanding that that very interaction is pre-determined by the patient's past. cryptic shading. securely. the subconscious processing of Pain. Even while the patient is beginning to fall into some real feelings. he lists a number of infirmities: the illusions and phantasms we are prey to. The problem is how do you make the decision to make the decision? . intellectual tint. To talk about neurotic experience without sufficient reference to Pain is not to narrow but to further the neurotic split.. Roberto Assagioli The transpersonal trend in the Humanistic Movement is best illustrated by something called "Psychosynthesis." and that it "works best where the person doesn't have to go very far or deep. of higher Selves. they uphold it."[34] This direction of the will is crucial to healing what Assagioli terms "the fundamental infirmity of man. Talking "above it. I talked. however. Until that past is dealt with. the kind of experience he discusses is of "growth. strengthening. and it will eventually corrode the symbolic relief of her therapy. or real change in an unreal way.[35] In Assagioli's Psychosynthesis. In essence. We need to go back to where it started..Gradually the goal or end of my search became a light which was working its way to the surface. and love. Roberto Assagioli. In other words. and you have unreal experience. And symbols do not resolve neurosis. Unconscious Pain is prepotent over present realities. He concludes that it is best suited to "relatively non-neurotic people of the middle class. her attention is diverted to the therapist's empathy for her.. Ellis gives us the erudite.. intellectually. I also realized that I had just been loved that way and that I could never have discovered what was lacking until I had experienced it -." as it were.a physiological reality. Assagioli departs from the real world of concrete experience for the land of mysticism. "Man chooses his neurosis and he can choose to undo it" is presented to us through two different tints. The only difference is a superficial one of tone. According to Kovel." "values. the will-strengthening techniques are applied to the above infirmities via a four-stage process aimed at Buddhist-like ideals of "harmonious inner integration. and of harmonious coordinations. "Transpersonal" refers to transcending the person." but not of childhood trauma. and "unconditional positive regard. Because the early relationship is still evident in the person. Assagioli's theory focuses on the concept of will. or the person transcending himself. Then I began to feel that you weren't even listening to what I was saying. and rightly directing the will. And these are measurable forces. you have two simultaneous but disconnected experiences. Therefore. You have real experience. That early disregard is an imprint -.

they feel this way for a reason which lies within the feeling. a fear or any personal emotion or drive. there can be no mystical elan which can conquer it. the conflicts that waste our energies. If. Assagioli adds his pet term. identification. we have ourselves put on our chains.. A deeply-disturbed child cannot focus or study in class. How do you get the will to desire having sex? In a unified. each decision we make is determined by this totality. free will and willpower are extraneous concerns. it can look for their origin. just as no single "aspect" of ourself is free from its influence. he proposes a method called "disidentification. It is the normal person alone who can "control" himself because being totally himself. It's like the problem of having no desire for sex. Arid. We have accepted those limitations. And the vigilant self does not submit to that invasion. For to be Pain free means to be in touch with reality -. Assagioli's view of man's "infirmities” misses the central. A redefinition of terms by the therapist only succeeds in making the problem his possession -. "A wave of discouragement is trying to submerge me" or "An impulse of anger isattempting to overpower me. it can objectively and critically survey those impulses of discouragement or anger. The only reference to childhood trauma is a diminution of it into "childish images. we usually mean "will power.' the ancestral or childish images that obsess or silently dominate us. "Will" is an intellectual force which is never the match in power with the primal forces below.[37] The first stage -. the idea of a "will" as something apart would not be necessary. Saying the same thing in two different languages doesn't clarify anything. People don't "identify". The four stages are: 1. Yet if one really thinks about his key sentence -"Every time we 'identify' ourselves with a weakness.gaining a thorough knowledge of one's personality -. a fault.[39] Into the huge reservoir of psychotherapeutic explanations for neurosis. It seems that many theorists have so many concepts and formulations going on in their own heads and are so quick to interpret. unfettered by past experiences. analytic. When pain is overlooked the will indeed must be mastered and trained artificially as a thing apart from the whole human being. deals with its offshoots: the "infirmities" enumerated above. Every time we admit "I am discouraged" or "I am irritated. In reality. How does he get the will to want to study and focus? When the disturbing aspects in his environment and in his personality are removed. For the conscious person there can be no dualism.The force below the level of immediate awareness makes willpower ineffective. Assagioli explains: In this principle lies the secret of our enslavement or of our liberty. In the second stage of Assagioli's personality development. Realization of one's true Self..which means that the patient now has to understand the therapist and not vice versa. and restate that they can't hear what their patients are actually saying."[38] Here again we see concrete causes of Pain are overlooked in favor of forces. Then he might want to study. Taking a layman's term and explaining it by professional psychologese also clarifies nothing. phantasms. transcendent. conscious person. He says that after we discover the dark forces in our unconscious." To accomplish this. no split. 2. we limit and paralyze ourselves. it implies the detachment of scientific and polite investigation. the discovery or creation of a unifying center. 4." It also means diving into the pit of our "lower unconscious": defined as "the dark forces that ensnare and menace us -.one is left with the impression that Assagioli is saying nothing more than. Then there are two forces confronting each other. which seeks to rectify the infirmities he cites as the core problem of mankind. foresee their deleterious effects. There can be no one agency that acts freely. and realize their unfoundedness. phantasms. Identify is a psychologist's term. We are not prey to illusions. This is often sufficient to withstand an attack of such forces and win the battle. objectifying. we limit and paralyze ourselves" -. When we think about free will. not a sorrow-free. Surely it does not convey how life is subjectively experienced.not a euphoric reality." The only reference to specific repressed events is in the oblique and derogatory form of "fears that paralyze us" and "conflicts that waste our energies.as opposed to how it ordinarily does proceed. I believe. If the whole system were in harmony. they feel and respond and behave in certain ways. translate. unifying infirmity of pain. one of these safely abstruse concepts that prey upon the neurotic's need for mythology. in the same situation we say.the 'phantasms. He maintains that identification is the secret of our enslavement or our liberty. but a human reality. ." the situation is very different. and unrecognized complexes unless we are in Pain. he is that control. This. on one side our vigilant self and on the other the discouragement or the anger. no involvement with an aspect of consciousness that operates separately from the totality of the organism. higher. Control of its various elements. and ancestral obsessions. Psychosynthesis: the formation or reconstruction of the personality around the new center. we have to "take possession of them and acquire control over them. We can dominate and control everything from which we dis-identify ourselves.if we feel weak we feel weak." As long as the unconscious is viewed as the culprit. Every time we "identify" ourselves with a weakness. Thorough knowledge of one's personality." we become more and more dominated by depression or anger. should give us a very good idea as to the lines along which therapy should proceed -. people simply feel their suffering and talk about how it feels.means taking an "inventory of the elements that form our conscious being. blissful reality. "Control of the various elements of the personality." based on the following principle: We are dominated by everything with which our self becomes identified. instead. Because we are total organisms and every bit of us is affected by our past. the true culprit of Pain will go free. If people feel weak. a fault. 3. whether it be a Freudian or a Psychosynthesis frame of reference. the fears that paralyze us. All the will power in the world won't be strong enough to overcome the suicide of a parent and the constant depression of the remaining one. a fear or any other personal emotion or drive. Assagioli's four-stage process of personality development." his cognitive bias becomes strikingly clear. and instead." the ability to control ourselves despite our circumstances.

In the second half of Assagioli's quote he offers a solution which anthropromorphizes our emotions as forces apart from us, forces which are out to get us. The "wave of discouragement that istrying to submerge me" is not in entity in itself attacking one's "vigilant self." It is Pain arising directly out of one's personal history. It is not something to be battled and overcome; it is something to be felt and connected. For Assagioli, liberation comes from dissociating the self from its Pain. This is indeed a false liberation, similar to what we have seen in the critique of hypnosis. The neurotic has been disidentified all his life. He does not need a further prescription for it. Assagioli continues: But even when these forces within ourselves are temporarily stronger, when the conscious personality is at first overwhelmed by their violence, the vigilant self is never really conquered. It can retire to an inner fortress and there prepare for and await the favorable moment in which to counter-attack. It may lose some of the battles, but if it does not give up its arms and surrender, the ultimate issue is not compromised, and it will achieve victory in the end.[40] It is hard to overlook the militaristic vocabulary: stronger, overwhelmed, violence, vigilant, conquered, fortress, counterattack, battles, arms, surrender, victory. Notice too the continuing anthropomorphic quality of the drama taking place. When the dark forces within us temporarily gain control, the vigilant self can retire to its inner fortress and there await the favorable moment in which to counter-attack! In an age in which the psychobiological and psychophysiological origins of mental processes are finally being discovered, it is hard to discern the usefulness of this type of outdated metaphor. Assagioli continues in the same vein [italics are added to underscore militaristic vocabulary]: Then, besides repelling one by one the attacks that come from the unconscious, we can apply a more fundamental and decisive method: we can tackle the deep_seated causes of these attacks and cut away the roots of the difficulty. This procedure may be divided into two phases: a. The disintegration of the harmful images or complexes, b. The control and utilization of the energies thus set free.[41] He says that we can gain some measure of control over our dark forces by becoming conscious of them. This is just what psychoanalysis purports to do. If we really want to root them out, however: We must employ cold, impersonal observation as if they were mere natural phenomena, occurring outside ourselves. We should create a "psychological distance" between ourselves and them, keeping these images or complexes at arm's length, so to speak, and then quietly consider their origin, their nature and -- their stupidity![42] Assagioli is making the same mistake again, a mistake that echoes the shortcomings of Maslow's theories and Rogers' psychotherapeutic techniques. Because he does not understand how symptoms connect on a deeper level with a very personal pain, he makes the symptoms into a kind of impersonal enemy which require "cold, impersonal observation." But the true enemy is precisely what he prescribes as the solution: it is precisely the lack of feeling (read cold) and the disconnection (read impersonal) that rendered neurosis in the first place. Because he feels that the key to healing is building better defenses, he prescribes more of the illness, not less. Assagioli's final error in the above paragraph comes when he prescribes an attitude of stupidity toward one's symptoms. The neurotic has felt stupid about his symptoms all his life. This only compounds his negative view of himself. After all, if his symptoms are so stupid and ridiculous, why has he not been able to rid himself of them? He can only conclude it must be because he is just as stupid, and very weak to boot. Symptoms express disconnected Pain as long as it remains too catastrophic for the person to connect to. The most bizarre psychotic symptom can have an awesomely rational connection to the person's history. Context reveals that rationality. The person who has visions of "the savior," who sees his image everywhere, is considered someone who is hallucinating with delusions. But the deep feeling under it, as was true of one of my patients, was "There's no one to save me!" His life was a hell and there was nowhere to turn. Later, he saw the savior. He saw him so often and in so many places that he was considered crazy. We must also remember that neurotic symptoms have an important function that is far from stupid or crazy. They point to Pain -- and the more "stupid" or irrational they seem, the more catastrophic is the Pain they indicate. The third and fourth stages of Assagioli's method get very mystical. In the third stage ("Realization of one's true Self"), what we have to do is "expand the personal consciousness into that of the Self; to reach up, following the thread or ray to the star; to unite the lower with the higher Self." At least Assagioli is consistent. Not only does he place the worst of us (the images and complexes in our lower unconscious) outside ourselves; he places the best of us outside us, as well! It seems the "higher Self" sits above us, not within us. Here Assagioli simply reverts to Christian mysticism. He again places "higher" knowledge and the good life in a God, a soul, or a higher Self. We do not need to reach up to the stars but down into our unconscious. The individual's past is by definition real and true -- which is more than can be said for fields of consciousness, for higher consciousness, even for superconsciousness. Consciousness simply is; and what it means is that reality and our perception of that reality coincide. Nothing more, nothing less. The fourth stage is the stage where the "psychosynthesis" -- "the formation or reconstruction of the personality around the new center" -- occurs. To achieve this we must "transmute" our unconscious forces. We must learn to utilize "the forces released by the analysis and disintegration of the unconscious complexes." We must develop the deficient and inadequate aspects of our personality (via auto-suggestion, evocation, or training). Finally, we must coordinate and subordinate the "various psychological energies and functions." Assagioli admits that all this appears rather formidable, but optimistically concludes: In this way the new regenerated personality is formed, and a new and higher life begins, the true life, for which the preceding one can be considered as a mere preparation, almost a gestation. Thus, the life we have is supplanted by a mysteriously higher and truer one. This again indicates to me how "heavenly" it is for a neurotic to conceive of the non-neurotic life. But let me be clear. We do not need to transmute, transcend, transform, or reach up to a star. We simply need to connect to the reality within us. We don't have to travel to India to find salvation. We have only to descend a few millimeters in our brain.

Personal psychosynthesis means perfecting the personality (ridding it of complexes and the like), and spiritual psychosynthesis means "unifying with the Self." The personal part comes first, so the therapy begins with a clinical assessment of the patient's "conscious complexes," "antagonistic traits," "ambivalences and polarities," and "sub-personalities." But, as with Rogers, nowhere is there mention of trauma, injury, deprivation, or Pain. Nowhere is there mention of specific concrete events and their effects. Although there is a probing into the patient's past to ascertain family influences, this consists of a "systematic questioning" geared toward uncovering the origin of the patient's traits rather than his Pain. It is a purely cognitive approach in which the patient studies himself as if he were a separate person and thus becomes separated -- the very thing that made him neurotic in the first place. Again, like in Freudian therapy, "understanding" and "insight" masquerade for consciousness. They reinforce repression rather than lift it. The Humanist Movement is a backlash in the true dialectical fashion. To the Freudian thesis of man as impulse-ridden is added the humanistic antithesis of man as energy flow and tenderness. The problem with stopping the process here is that there is no synthesis. Without this synthesis, we are left with a one-dimensional, non-dynamic view of man. According to Kovel, the Humanists have moved out of neurosis and psychosis and into "ordinary unhappiness and alienation." The Humanist Movement, he writes, has made "social alienation directly accessible to therapy."[43] In effect, this gives neurosis a new name and a new source. It is now due not to specific events in our personal lives, but due to the conditions of our times. Should we accept the notions of ordinary unhappiness and ordinary alienation? Are alienation and unhappiness ordinary conditions of mankind, with no special cause and no specific cure? I don't think so. The adult is alienated in his present life because he is alienated from the roots of his past. He has left his childhood behind and with it the freeflowing emotional expression that children have. Unhappiness is an existential condition now because it was a physically engraved experience then. To slough it off as the Zeitgeist or Weltanschauung of the times is to illuminate nothing at all. Social alienation comes directly from personal alienation and personal alienation begins with alienation from one's parents very early on. That alienation is accompanied by a profound feeling of aloneness and estrangement. In their eagerness to throw off the pall of the Freudian Id, the Humanists have skipped blindly over the Pain and made the atavistic leap into bliss. They do not understand that man's negativity cannot be simply denied while his potentials are vigorously affirmed. On the contrary, both levels of reality must be reconciled if consciousness is to be truly "raised." Back to Table of Contents | Next chapter >>

[1]Joel Kovel, A Complete Guide to Therapy. New York: Pantheon Books, 1976, p. 109.
[2]See interview with Maslow in Psychology Today, Jan. 1992, pp. 68-73. [3]Psychology Today, "A Conversation with Abraham H. Maslow", July, 1968. [4]See James P . Chaplin & T. S. Krawiec, Systems and Theories of Psychology (3rd Edition). New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1968, P . 453. [5]*Abraham Maslow, Motivation and Personality. New York: Harper & Row, 1954, p. 46. [6]Psychology Today, Jan. 1992. 43. [7] See Frank G. Goble, The Third Force: The Psychology of Abraham Maslow. New York: Grossman Publications, 1970, p. [8]Quoted in F. Goble, The Third Force, p. 40. [9]Maslow A. The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. New York: Penguin Books, 1976, p. 30 (First published by Viking Press, 1971). [10]Goble, The Third Force, op. cit., p. 72. [11]Quoted in Goble, p. 39, from Motivation & Personality. [12]Goble, op. cit, pp. 71-72. [13]Maslow, Toward a Psychology of Being, op. cit., p. 3. [14]Ibid, p. 3. [15]Carl Rogers, "A Client-centered/Person-centered Approach to Therapy (1986), reprinted in Howard Kirschenbaum and Valerie Land Henderson, eds., The Carl Rogers Reader. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989, pp. 135-152. [16]Kirschenbaum and Henderson, The Carl Rogers Reader. Ibid, xi. [17]See Richard Evans, Carl Rogers: The Man and His Ideas. New York: E.P . Dutton, 1975, p. 30; Carl Rogers, "The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change," inJournal of Consulting Psychology, 21(1957), pp. 95-103. [18]From introduction to Client-Centered Therapy, 1951. [19]Rogers, On Becoming a Person, op. cit., p. 330. [20]Rogers, On Becoming a Person, op. cit., p. 33. [21]Ibid, p. 34. [22]"A Client-Centered/Person-Centered Approach to Therapy, op. cit, p. 136. [23]Ibid, p. 34.

[24]Ibid., p. 35. [25]Ibid., p. 35. [26]Jeffrey Masson, Against Therapy: Emotional Tyranny and the Myth of Psychological Healing. New York: Athenaeum, 1988, pp. 201-202. [27]See "Rogers, Kohut and Erickson: A Personal Perspective on Some Similarities and Differences," in Jeffrey K. Zeig, ed., The Evolution of Psychotherapy. New York: Bruner/Mazel, 1987, p. 185. [28]Carl Rogers, "Reflection of Feelings and Transference," Person-Centered Review, 1(4), November 1986, 375-77. Reprinted in The Carl Rogers Reader, pp. 127-134. [29]"A Client-centered/Person-centered Approach to Therapy," op. cit., p. 142. [30]Joel Kovel, A Complete Guide to Therapy. New York: Pantheon Books, 1976, p. 114. [31]"A Client-centered/Person-centered Approach to Therapy," in The Carl Rogers Reader, op. cit., pp. 147-152. [32]Carl Rogers, Client-Centered Therapy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1951, pp. 167-171. [33]Joel Kovel, A Complete Guide to Therapy. New York: Pantheon Books, 1976, p. 116. [34]Roberto Assagioli, Psychosyntheses. New York: Penguin Books, 1965, p. 5. [35]Ibid., p. 25. [36]Assagioli, op. cit., p. 21. [37]Assagioli, op. cit., p. 21. [38]Assagioli, op. cit., p. 21. [39]Assagioli, op. cit., pp. 22-23. [40]Assagioli, op. cit., p. 23. [41]Assagioli, op. cit., p. 23 [42]Assagioli, op. cit., p. 23. [43]Kovel, op. cit., p. 110.

Chapter 12: Gestalt Therapy: Being Here Now, Keeping Unfinished Business Unfinished
I heard a story about Fritz Perls when Abraham Maslow was giving a presentation about the ten steps to self actualization. I heard Fritz Perls didn't do or say very much aboutthings, that in essence, he was the thing-in-itself that Sartre stated was missing in most. Fritz Perls' response to Maslow and an audience of 500 was to crawl on his belly up the aisle making the sounds of a seal -- confronting Maslow with his actual lack of presence or lack of being there.[1]

Introduction
Gestalt Therapy is one of the "new wave" non-traditional therapies that sprung up in the "human potential" decade of the Sixties. It was developed by Fritz Perls, a German-born psychoanalyst who broke with Freudian theory in the 1940s to create his own "gestalt" view of man. Not until the ferment of the 1960s, however, did Perls' views gain widespread recognition. But with recognition came controversy, for Perls was his new therapy, and Perls was at best unconventional, more often provocative, and always controversial. To some he was nothing more than an "undisciplined, cantankerous, and lecherous old man" strutting about leading weird encounter groups and advocating complete sexual freedom. To others he was a "bearded, brilliant, unpredictable, rascally old marvel [who] offered the hope of nirvana, of cure, of coming to Lourdes on a stretcher and being able to leave by foot."[2] On one hand it is difficult to assess Gestalt Therapy apart from Perls as the driving force behind it, while it seems unfair to draw conclusions about the therapy based on the personal eccentricities of its founder. That he had a potent influence on those whom trained with him is fairly clear. The criticism most commonly leveled at Gestalt Therapy is its confrontational approach. Perls' style of therapy centered on provoking and confronting, and his trainees also used provoking and confronting -- often to an undesirable degree. Abe Levitsky, a San Francisco Gestaltist and former student of Fritz's, well summarized the problem: "Scorn was a weapon [Fritz] used, and unfortunately I feel that scorn has been incorporated by many Gestalt therapists and been perpetuated. But that has nothing to do with Gestalt Therapy. It simply had to do with Fritz's irascibility, where his style is imitated instead of his message."[3] I listened to several of Perl’s audiotapes, and I must say, none of them made any sense. They were the incoherent ramblings of a man too “loose.” He made the confusion between acting out like an ape or any other thing he could imagine, and freedom. To what degree Perls' irascible, scornful style was passed on to second-generation therapists (Perls died in 1970) is difficult to know. We can, however, evaluate the degree to which his core ideas and techniques have been preserved and elaborated by perusing The Gestalt Journal in the 1980s and by examining the journal's Fall 1993 special issue commemorating the centennial of Fritz Perls' birth.

in explaining his break from orthodoxy. Hunger."[6] Perls' first book. which he frequently used to begin his group therapy sessions: And by the way. a friend of Freud's. to incorporate new ideas he had exposed himself to (most notably. a mark of respect. then there wasnegative transference." and "Lose your mind and come to your senses.[4] As glib as this "prayer" reads. Perls explains: . Perls boldly suggested a revision of the traditional Freudian view of "oral resistances. The German word gestalt was used to describe the relativity of perception and how perception of the whole is more than a sum of its parts. and I am I." and elucidated his version of the concept of psychological projection. was written in 1940 and published in 1942. even though a paper he presented at the 1936 International Congresses of Freudians was received coolly by his colleagues.Perls' message was. ideas which he said "brought him some peace of mind" personally. Perls Theory: The Early Years Gestalt Psychology was developed in the early part of this century to study how we perceive the world.[7] Perls' colleagues did not take well to the concepts presented in Ego. however. he wrote: Psychoanalysis turns out to be a closed. and Aggression: A Revision of Freud's Theory and Method. I do my thing. He went on to discount the validity of the psychoanalytic theory of transference (another bastion of the Freudian framework). "Do your own thing. and (3) learning to "own" our projections of faults and virtues onto others. from three to over twenty years. full of explanatariness but missing selfevident understanding. Perls begins "Concentration Therapy" by hypothesizing that concepts in Freudian theory had proliferated to handle each new contingency of behavior: first there was transference. It represents Perls' declaration of independence from his Freudian background. If not. he studied Freudian theory and himself underwent three separate and lengthy analyses. Later. he had been excited by Freud's revolutionary ideas of human sexuality and unconscious motivation. in Berlin in 1920. "If you don't believe in the libido theory any more. Ostensibly. entitled "Concentration Therapy. and to cease to be an orthodox Freudian analyst. and so simply borrowed the word in the naming of his therapy. Conditions in pre-war Germany pointed to departure as the only safe alternative for the Jewish Perls family. a "wisdomshitter" who "confused people. far outweigh the scant success." are standard Gestalt commandments. after a patient finished with her time in the hot seat. had no formal connection to Gestalt Psychology as an academic subject. then there was latent negative transference! He proposes to simplify this situation by presenting a "new technique. it can't be helped. repudiated the need for "historical ruminations. Fritz liked the concept. she reportedly told him. yet he persisted through his supervisory training to full certification. Ego. (2) living and expressing who we "truly" are. In this paper. Perls was still committed to the Freudian framework. you had better hand in your resignation. it was believed. it does contain the three main principles or values upon which Gestalt Therapy is based: (1) living in the present. Perls pointed out that hunger (self-preservation) takes precedence over sex (species preservation). Perls had gone into training to become a psychoanalyst a few years after getting his M. Perls first presented his here-and-now philosophy. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations And you are not in this world to live up to mine. short and to the point. None of the analyses was particularly helpful for Perls personally. Fritz decided to relocate to South Africa. Unsuccessful treatments. and to advocate the importance of personalizing the role of the analyst beyond that of the objective. And if by chance we find each other. Making a more pragmatic point." Here he put forth the concepts that would become the basis of Gestalt Therapy." the aim of which was simply "to regain the feel of ourselves. unchanged and unchangeable system. Perls returned to South Africa and embarked upon a "struggle to get out of the quicksand of free associations. In this section. and by 1935 he had founded the South African Institute of Psychoanalysis as a training center for potential analysts. the book ultimately resulted in almost complete professional isolation for Perls. Whereas Freud had contended that sexual energy was the main motivating factor in the psyche. Hunger. anonymous." Probably most significant for Fritz was the final section of the book. and Aggression." "Be here now."[5] Geographical distance freed Fritz to enlarge upon his own ideas. You are you. Perls now contended that we are primarily motivated by an innate. and that therefore eating habits are more fundamental than sexual instincts in shaping the psyche." Feeling "resentful" about the "rejection" which his heresies provoked. those of Wilhelm Reich and several existentialist writers). As part of his training. Indeed. in many ways. Fritz even wrote what he called the Gestalt Prayer. and you do your thing. Psychoanalysis is an illness that pretends to be a cure. Perls' concept of gestalt grew out of his eventual opposition to Freud's concept of the primacy of the instincts."[8] Indeed. His therapy. analytical "screen. Initially. organismic tendency to strive toward balance. History then intervened to facilitate Perls' break with Freudian thought. What were these supposedly heretical concepts? One of the most heretical concepts replaced Freud's libidinal theory of sexuality with a non-libidinal theory of homeostasis. it's beautiful. he or she kissed Perls on the forehead. When he showed the book to Maria Bonaparte.D. as no traditional psychoanalyst would have any part of it.

. Learn to cut right through until the front teeth meet. which could be directed as an exercise to such everyday matters as eating. and that (2) consciousness of the connection is important therapeutically for the personality. his under-development has never ceased to exist. As Erving and Miriam Polster (1973. The adult's "true self" now comes through. here-and-now experience constitutes the only reality. It resembles the Yoga technique though its aim is completely different. so Freud maintains."[10] The key to learning this new alphabet was concentration. to reveal an "underdevelopment which never ceased to exist": When the neurotic encounters difficulties in life.. calm." become more clearly visible. focusing on anything except present actuality is a waste of time because it doesn't exist. toward the goal of providing a "detailed description" of it. which links many adult personality characteristics to styles of eating and chewing: .[9] He then goes on to caution patience in the learning of the technique. was the sine qua non of his new theory. might suddenly burst into tears. the person occupied with either the past or the future is not aware of what is happening in the present. you are able to bite right through. perhaps to his constitutional nature. "Sense of Actuality.. he contends.. in which the patient would be asked to be each part and person in the dream or life situation. it is the mere fact that the patient's true self."[14] According to the Encyclopedia of Psychology. but not to his childhood.how mentally visualizing the steps or symbols to be learned can actually accelerate the time it takes to acquire the new learning. The cathartic value of concentrating on the image of a person or event to whom or which one has an emotional relationship is nearly that of hypno. his "weaknesses."[15] According to Perls. A man who. and collected is. According to Perls. Perls asserts that the exercises in the chapter entitled "Concentration on Eating" are the "quintessence" of Ego. with the full awareness of the difficulties looming ahead. get out of it. In "Body Concentration. but this cruelty is just as much part and parcel of your organism as it is of the animal's in its struggle for life." Here Perls makes an important departure from traditional Freudian theory on the free association technique.[12] In another chapter.[16] [Italics added] Thus we do not have childhood influences. If you are in the habit of tearing and nibbling. What happens. he regresses.to stray from it distracts from the living quality of reality. p. in my opinion. and he directs his readers to "give this chapter preference [over] every other exercise. 7) put it. and that relaxation is the obverse solution: "If we call the . Since awareness can be focused only on one place at a time. Eating. although he contradicts his idea that it's a waste of time to delve into the past. as if you were biting on rubber? If. non-Freudian direction.. In a chapter on "Visualization.. shall I be able to assist you in acquiring the alphabet of 'feeling' yourself. though we cannot completely disregard the intellect. in your imagination. a point he "proves" by challenging the orthodox Freudian notion of regression. is rarely an historical regression. in fact. Perls asserts that adult lapses into helpless or excitable childlike behaviors reflect innate personality weaknesses rather than temporary historical age levels. likening the process to that of learning the alphabet: "Only when you look upon the acquisition of the new technique. which he contends actually leads to "free dissociation. to certain stages in childhood. Perls makes two important contributions in his observations that (1) "concentrating" on an image or memory from the past can result in a deeply feeling reconnection to it. "only the present exists now and. However. "dealing with behavior out of the here-and-now is a waste of time.[17] In this passage. In the chapter entitled "Body Concentration. speaks rather disparagingly of his father when asked to visualize him and to concentrate on the details of his appearance." Reich's influence is clearest in Perls' "theory of somatic concentration.or narco-analysis with the additional benefit that it strengthens the conscious personality." or one's being "in touch with thoughts. more concentrated on his problems than on keeping up appearances. in times of stress.. Hunger. is far more effective than free association in leading to cathartic release: [Visualization] provides a shorter and superior way to "emotional revival" than either ordinary conversational talk or the technique of free associations. whereas memories of the past and expectations about the future are considered fantasies." Instead of following a dream image to any and all of its tangential points." we see the groundwork for what would later become Perls' "be the thing" technique.The anxious person who generally manages to appear cool. We cannot return to childhood events. to attack them. He has fallen back to his true self. He does not regress to the state of his childhood anxiety. This type of visualization process. He will be surprised by his sudden emotional outburst and amazed that he still has so much feeling left for the old man.. He goes on to discuss its even greater value as a therapeutic technique to achieve what he terms "emotional revival.'"[13] Because there is only present reality for Perls. feelings. for instance. Perls proposes that one should focus only on the image itself. [18] whose ahistorical focus and body armor theory of neurosis did much to move Perls in a different." Perls repudiates the validity of past events. a regression which can almost be measured in years. and sensations as they occur from moment to moment": Present.. whereas our aim is to waken the organism to a fuller life.If you are afraid to hurt people. the techniques of Gestalt Therapy stop short of enabling the patient to make the authentic "deeply feeling reconnection" to past traumatic experiences which is essential to healing." Here Perls proposes that repression occurs through muscular concentration. To understand and assimilate the world you have to make full use of your teeth. can you experience the proper "feel" of the flesh on your teeth? You might condemn such an exercise as vicious and cruel. a "sense of actuality means nothing else but the appreciation that every occurrence takes place in the 'present.Our technique is not an intellectual procedure. shed of its persona defenses. We also see the influence of Wilhelm Reich.. In Yoga the deadening of the organism for the sake of developing other faculties plays a prominent part.Avoid the swallowing of mental and physical morsels which are bound to remain foreign bodies in your system. was never anything else but excitable." Perls describes in the early 1940s what would later (in the late 1960s) become a popular therapeutic technique. only weak constitutions. Can you imagine biting it clean off or do your teeth only make an impression. Perls' idea of concentration wholly on the present was synonymous with "awareness. to say "No" when the situation demands it. and Aggression. He begins by pointing out how visualization can be helpful in the acquisition of new skills such as driving a car or learning shorthand -. only to endogenous flaws. you should attend to the following exercise: imagine yourself biting a piece of flesh out of someone's body."[11] He then provides a theory of "pre-dental and dental stages" of oral development. His nucleus. in its explanation of the major concepts of Gestalt Therapy. his true self.

What he had seen in the analyst was what he imagined his father was. Hunger. he suggests that we look to our dreams as the "one sphere in which it is not difficult to discover the projections."[28] In these exercises we see the forerunner of Perls' "let-it-all-hang-out" theme which became the model for encounter and sensitivity groups in the Sixties. taking full responsibility for the tensed area ("I am tensing my eye muscles. however. and then finding out what the contraction is expressing. whatever it is. in the orthodox view of transference. and Aggression entitled "The Assimilation of Projections. conflicts. puts a bit of energy at the disposal of your conscious personality. uncaring father image onto the analyst could actually discover that the analyst actually was not harsh and uncaring -."[19] While acknowledging that any kind of "deliberate relaxation" is a contradiction in terms. In trying to become ideal persons. In the final chapter of Ego.In general it can be said that whenever you feel jealous. uncaring father onto the analyst was actually projecting his own harsh. this may do nothing to actually cure neurosis. which is to recognize that the projected dream elements are actually parts of our own personalities: "The person or animal which dominates the nightmare is always an unwanted part of yourself. something that he must combat (read repress) by "taking control of the situation" and identifying what it is expressing. and expressing it ("I'll be damned if I am going to cry").The whole complicated process." This can be done by sitting down quietly and meticulously observing each cramp. suspicious. both aspects -. which can be practiced through the visualization technique mentioned previously. As Perls would have it. Perls' view of projection was such that it became the all-encompassing focal point of Gestalt Therapy.. you can lay heavy odds that you are projecting. as depicted by the Jekyll-Hyde character. making new resolutions and adult insights possible. The patient then sees the analyst as mirroring the qualities or attitudes he refuses to acknowledge in himself.[20] Perls rightfully concludes that each expression of what was being repressed frees more energy for present living: "Every picture admitted. that you find a fiendish delight in frightening other people. Jekyll and Mr. unjustly treated.Realize that all the time you have fought your own self only. "he [the patient] reacts to his projection 'as if' the analyst. Thus. it was incorrect for him to assume that any and all male authority figures would be harsh and uncaring. Hunger."[27] Perls goes on to stress the importance of doing away with the "tendency" to project. or contraction in the body."[22] Next Perls uses his concept of projection to de-throne the Freudian concept of transference. perhaps even that you are a paranoid character. The first step toward "assimilation. when you have frightening dreams."[26] The Encyclopedia of Psychology explains Gestalt Therapy's approach to assimilating projections through "dream-work" as follows: "By becoming every object and character in the dream (both animate and inanimate).. he counsels that "to undo repressions you have to re-establish conscious command of your motoric system. is to become aware that projections do exist. and vocalize them aggressively while visualizing the person (such as one's parent) to whom one is not accustomed to revealing such feelings." The book’s conclusion discusses idealism as the means whereby individuals cut off from their biological selves invent a "meaning of life" in the form of ideals in order to justify existence. spasm. We can also see the basically decontextualized nature of this approach.the cruel father and the cruel analyst -. and reiterates the need to assimilate our myriad. break his bloody neck."[25] Once we recognize projections as part of our own personalities. swear at him as you have never sworn before. in this view."[24] Through our dreams we can carry out the second step in this process.contractions of the muscular system 'repressors. only further stifle intrinsic biological realities and lead to nervous breakdowns and schizoid splits. individual projections. Working with projection became a major focus for Perls' Gestalt Therapy in the 1960s. Perls points out. These ideals. The patient.. victimized or querulous. Tell him exactly what you think of him. tension. The patient who began by transferring a harsh. the dreamer can identify with and thereby reown projections. the patient who transferred a harsh." rather than "My eye muscles are tense). be as emotional as you can. taking control of the situation by voluntarily relaxing and tightening the area "by a fraction of an inch". the analyst functions as a kind of blank slate onto which the patient transfers significant persons from his own life. it is both the individual's fault and responsibility.' 'idealistic' Dr. is disapproving."[29] . One way to do this is by learning how to express oneself.and that. Hyde." Perls reasserts his conviction that "concentration is the most effective means whereby neurotic and paranoid disturbance can be cured. and not he himself..' then the remedy for repression obviously appears to be relaxation. learn to express them better.[23] He concludes that dealing with transference is "a waste of time." and then moves on to describe steps by which to "assimilate" our projections." Perls writes. First: "Visualize a person against whom you feel a grudge. Let yourself go." And second: ". Jekyll and 'materialistic' Mr.. In the chapter of Ego. and Aggression.a source deep in the past generating current bodily tension. Perls accurately describes the kind of projection that frequently occurs between patient and analyst: the patient believes that the analyst is being judgmental or disapproving in a particular area when he is not. we must assimilate them in order to end their influence. Perls explains. It was the breadbasket catch-all for any life problem and the basis for change and growth. every tear shed. which is really nothing more profound than going only so far as to acknowledge that bodily tension is a form of anxiety. and unfinished situations reflected in the dream.. "Dr. generally speaking. As a child he had projected his own intolerance into the father. Since most of us will resist admitting that we ourselves project. he merely projected his own unconscious.. As discussed earlier."[21] Yet he does not really get to the source of the tension -. Hyde will go on existing till mankind has finally destroyed itself. This requires the difficult task of identification: It is not easy to admit.boil down to the simple fact of projection of the unadmitted cruelty in the patient's own personality. While it may indeed be constructive to identify one's feelings." we see his basic viewpoint well established by the early 1940s. uncaring qualities: We have to concede that he could not simply have transferred the father-image onto the analyst. unacceptable elements. we simultaneously create the opposite: "Without accepting their biological 'reality. is projecting his own self-condemnation onto the analyst. The patient did not transfer childhood images of significant people onto the analyst. Perls takes this cornerstone of Freudian theory and contends that it is fundamentally erroneous. or that you are a poisonous snake or man-eater. In this way it was believed that the analytic relationship automatically re-evoked the original psychological dynamics.

a former student of Perls'. Stephen Perls. the issues of past causes and personal vulnerability represented Perls' unadmitted "Achilles heel. he would tolerate no mention of this subject from anyone. Seldom did the family eat together."[33] In this environment the youngster apparently developed what Jeffrey Masson describes as "an almost unfathomable lack of warm feeling for. the son described years later (in a talk given in 1993) how his father basically stayed out of the task of bringing him up. He treated such requests." Fritz reached out only by inviting his son to watch him "perform" in Gestalt Therapy training centers. Abe Levitsky. reports feeling "ignored" and "discounted" as a youth. According to his son. he contended that a person's past history could only elaborate upon what you could observe here and now in the present.who had hardened himself against his own childhood suffering -. Fritz found more hatred at school. his wife. the so-called superior group must "dump" or project all its faults and inferiorities onto the designated inferior group. In fact. It is simply to suggest that there are deeper dynamics involved which must be dealt with if the "tendency" to project is to be eradicated.. When I heard of her death in a concentration camp I did not mourn much. Millions of "normal" German citizens ultimately contributed directly or indirectly to what became one of the most appalling debacles of human history. a clinical psychologist. In order for one group of people to be accepted as superior and another group as inferior.his own family." Masson quotes Perls' single mention in his autobiography of his elder sister. Shepard rightly terms this Perls's "neediness paradox. "I do my thing. and friendships. This is not to devalue Perls' contribution of emphasizing the need to take responsibility for one's negative emotions -. He had missed the love of his father. "Fritz wanted. Surely this explains why Perls made the concept of projection the centerpiece of his therapy.[30] He recognized that this "tendency" needed to be rooted out." The younger Perls adds. and had always experienced himself as an ugly toad.. his home life was unhappy. leaving it in blissful and self-satisfied immunity. "I never emerged for him as a figure clearly separate from my sister and mother until I was about 30. and neediness. writes: Fritz's harshness was invariably in direct proportion to his own neediness.. His attitude and bearing discouraged those who would place him in the role of a nurturing parent or a reassurer. What do you want to do?[35] Shepard then quotes San Francisco Gestaltist. Fritz was wholly focused on his own life: his work. Hitler's ideal of the super race was. Since Perls disavowed any focus on past causes.it was indeed a timely message for most of the world. responding to them with various kinds of abuse. Therefore... but he did not delve into what created the tendency in the first place. he did not deign to get to know his granddaughter. wanting or needing something from others offended Perls' dignity and triggered a similarly harsh response. had played second or third fiddle for his mother's love. And so he condemned the wantingness of others. in his life. psychiatrist Martin Shepard.[31] His father regularly assaulted his mother.. His method was to either ignore or reject them. had had few friends as an adolescent. Studying projections can indeed provide a kind of landscape of the person's present state of being. explains the paradox in terms of Perls' past life experiences: Fritz was a man who suffered greatly. from unrequited love. His parents hated each other. By his own admission. But not only Nazis participated in the atrocities of a warring German nation. it makes sense that he observed only the mechanisms which expressed the present or immediate condition via the person's projections. As he grew older." It is relevant at this point to mention some aspects of Perls' own primary relationships."[39] Having had his own childhood needs ignored."[34] Perls -.. If not it can't be helped.was notorious for his intolerance of sensitive or needy men. Instead. and he was particularly needy at this time [the early 1960s.. There wasn't time for his children."[40] [Italics original] . but wouldn't ask. Perls glimpsed this problem when he spoke about the need to deal with the tendency to project in addition to assimilating one's myriad. and that overcoming it requires an act of will and a few dozen visualization exercises. or his children. Perls not only intellectually disavowed the validity of past causes.. colleagues. Perls clearly believed in encouraging "autonomy" in his children. Stephen Perls reflects. "He did his thing and I did my thing. during his first stint at Esalen]. his writings implicitly assume that the tendency to project one's negative qualities is part and parcel of human nature.It is no surprise that Perls scorned idealism and saw it as a generator of destruction if one recalls the time period and circumstances in which he was writing. In his less rational moments he would simply react to mention of past causes with anything from irritation to rage." and then in a very non-Gestalt way. the impelling force behind the Nazi movement. he learned to live without feeling close to his peers. you do yours. whom he called "a piece of shit..scornfully or with a logical argument. If the sociocultural setting of the World War II era helps to explain Perls' passion for certain concepts. "What do you need me for?" he might ask.She also had severe eye trouble.." His biographer.[37] As for his relationship with his son. and why he was so rigid in asserting it to be the only significant psychological mechanism. individual projections. he was almost obsessive about and reflected his own unresolved problems of dependency.in particular. "She was a clinger. but dealing only with projections is like pulling out the weeds while leaving their roots.If we meet it's beautiful." Not approving of his daughter's ways. after all. "couldn't care less" about him or his interests. Nor is it to discount the degree to which projection contributes to and sustains neurotic behavior. Perls carried out a repeat performance on his own children and then on some of his patients. Perls "had a blind spot when it came to interfamily relations. he has just one pithy comment about his daughter: "Renate is a phony. In his autobiography. He endured this deprivation by preaching. he says. where the teachers were "unloving" and "cruel. had lost his closest pal in the war. Many an unsuspecting man got "zapped" in Perls' groups for the mere indiscretion of beginning a sentence with "I want" or "I need.[38] Biographer Shepard speculates that because Perls' own neediness as a child had been met with harshness. his personal life setting helps explain his anathema for others -. "What do you need your parents for? You've got eyes and ears and energy. Perls had experienced first-hand the destruction that was possible in the name of idealism. In his more rational moments on the subject. Having witnessed the seeming ease with which apparently healthy and caring people could be turned against one another. The inferior group then "carries" the negative projections for the superior group."[32] As a teenager. A Jewish refugee in South Africa (as well as a veteran of World War I).'"[36] As a father. The father apparently had hatred to spare for young Frederick. His father. the "concepts" of past history. who said that his mentor had "'an overemphasis on the issues of autonomy and self-support which. I feel. Perls rightly understood that projection was a key part of the process. personal vulnerability.

well exemplifies his idiosyncratic conception of mature behavior: I got her down again and said.Shepard even specifically links Perls' aversion for past causes to pain from his own past: It is possible that Fritz's disinterest in the past was related to his not wanting to rekindle many painful memories of childhood. and from his father's denigrations of him. At that moment of impasse.. And basically we do it by finding the impasse. he effectively accomplished his break from the Freudian fold. paying lip service to the importance of "doing your own thing. and in the next decade established Gestalt Therapy as a formal therapeutic approach. "that most of my showing off is overcompensation." These two parts of us are developed in the process of faulty childhood maturation in which parents do not provide sufficient frustration for their growing child. playing helpless. The impasse occurs originally when a child cannot get the support from the environment. according to Perls.the moralistic. but he left out the underdog which is just as much a personality as the topdog. to discover that you might be able to do something on your own"). threw her arms around me: "Fritz. He saw the topdog. Hunger and Aggression. In Ego. playing stupid. playing weak. Esalen." and getting rid of their "topdogs" in the "hot seat. impulsive. Where does this so-called breakthrough leave the topdog-underdog parts? Theoretically they would fade into oblivion as the person became "whole" and "real" through the re-owning of his many projected parts. I love you. in which Perls described how he had gotten fed up with a woman in a group session and literally knocked her down three times." and of "pseudo metabolisms. and through a new awareness would "re-own" the quality or ability he had expected of the therapist." People now commonly uttered Perlsisms.the part of us that is selfseeking. bitching.. The underdog. Here we have a Gestalt echo of Maslow's desirable school of hard knocks."[41] If Perls had published Ego. but cannot yet provide its own support. and authoritarian voice characterized by shoulds and oughts. An example from Perls' autobiography."[42] These basic divisions of the human personality were. irritating their husbands and never getting their spanking. He had written of "differential thinking. but Perls and his therapy remained relatively unknown until his affiliation with Esalen in the 1960s." The hot seat. His constant hunger for affirmation may have stemmed from his early feeding problems at his mother's breast. put Perls and his therapy "on the map. removing the blocks that prevent a person from standing on his own feet. have misjudged him."[43] The topdog is the internalized parent -.that perform the self-torture game on the stage of our fantasy.[44] and the child gets stuck in an impasse." of "organismic reorganization." of "senso-motoric resistances. starting small encounter groups for both professionals and laymen. is the internalized child -. there must also be an infraego. "two clowns. This would be the adult who "does his own thing. and in accord with his and only his needs. for the struggle between them "is never complete. flattering. but its impact was "almost nil. from his getting less "nourishment" than his eldest sister.. the superego." he was sorely disappointed. who considered Fritz Perls to be a man with few or no values.[47] Shepard points out that among the Gestalt Therapy paradoxes is this one: while the core of the therapy was supposedly based on self-expression and doing your own thing free of the topdog'sshoulds. Perls spoke of the topdog instead of the Freudian superego. which he believed described the basic "polarities" on which life rested. she was asking for.. Provoking and tantalizing.. The only "special" response he received from the professional psychoanalytic community was unanimous disapproval.. His second book." "being here now. Again. was published in 1951.." Now he dropped all pretense of scientific underpinnings and went straight for simplistic catch-phrases. peculiar to Gestalt Therapy. Not unlike the forces in the Freudian id." who acts impulsively. and in the process rigidifies himself into the topdog-underdog roles that will plague him into adulthood: What we are after is the maturation of the person. and powerless (to use a few of Perls' own adjectives)... [Yet] Gestalt. Perls demonstrated an undeniable preference (and penchant!) for what might be termed a slightly maturated underdog as the ideal adult behavior. He valued highly such notions as . A particularly Perlsian concept is the idea of a topdog-underdog personality split." its own unwritten but ever-present prescriptions. the child starts to mobilize the environment by playing phony roles. This for Perls was the ideal. on the other hand. Hunger and Aggression in the hope of becoming "something extra special.[45] What was the solution? Fritz wrote that it was "to get the patient to find out what his own missing potential is [by using] the therapist as a projection screen. defensive." Then she got up. no reason to mobilize your resources. You don't have to be a Parisian prostitute to need that so as to respect your man. and there are thousands of women like her in the States. all her life. gasping: "I've beaten up more than one bitch in my life. Perls had formulated his concepts in relatively scientific terms. Intentionally or unintentionally. Some detractors.for my unsureness. wheedling. Scattered Gestalt Centers sprang up here and there during the 1950s. Perls' topdog and underdog battle unendingly. perfectionistic. Gestalt Therapy. At this point the critical transition takes place in which the child attempts to control the outer environment via role-playing and manipulation. Freud did half the job. spontaneously. and then reasoned: "If there is a superego. and he apparently took great pride in personally modeling the behavior. in a sense. crybaby."[46] The patient would expect of the therapist exactly what he wasn't able to mobilize in himself. We try to help him make the transition from environmental support to self-support. to hypnotize you into the belief that I am something extra special. In reality. is a sort of therapeutic electric chair in which the patient submits to the therapist's often confrontative direction. and all the roles that we use in order to manipulate our environment.. in reality Perls had his own list of strongly valued behavioral guidelines for both men and women: The major Gestalt paradox centers on its insistence that you tune in to your own inner truth and follow it wherever it leads you. "I am sure.contains within it its own set of "shoulds." Apparently she finally got what. Perls' Theory and Therapy: The Later Years In 1946 Perls moved his family from South Africa to New York." [Fritz] wrote. however." Perls then began touring from city to city. Insufficient frustration slows down the growth process ("without frustration there is no need.

The situation worsens as Perls goes on to deny the reality of trauma itself: The great error of psychoanalysis is in assuming that the memory is reality. and thereby discover who we are and what we are capable of. is that moment in which you carry your so-called memories and your so-called anticipations with you. I haven't seen a single case of infantile trauma that wasn't a falsification. these "feelings never fully experienced or discharged" will continue to impact our current affective states and behavior." *"Anxiety is nothing but the gap between the now and the later. how he would explain the brutal physical damage still visible on the faces and bodies of the children at child abuse rehabilitation centers across the country. is the phenomenon. are an invention of the patient to save his self-esteem. take our own risks. preoccupations with the past dissipate. mistaking the effluvia of Pain for "incomplete maturation. . "You all know how much you are lying. memories of yesterday and the day before are nothing more than lies and deceptions we have conjured up to rationalize our plights. "In this way completion is achieved. it is an attractive idea.leaves the individual powerless and dependent. All the so-called traumata. and the individual can redirect attention and energy to new possibilities. Instead of blaming the environment for what we imagine we cannot do for ourselves. given the undeniable neurobiological presence of past Pain in the organism's present existence."follow your impulses. it is important to reiterate Perls' paradoxical position regarding the past -as something which does not really exist.even as he decried it as "elephant shit.[55] [Italics added] Perls obviously felt that for himself it was best to harden himself against his own Painful familial past -. how many of your memories are exaggerations and projections.to embark upon an autonomous path and not wallow in blame and resentment -." converting his own distaste for neediness into a theory that ignores the dialectic and sanctions repression. and he often introduced his here_and_now concept as a kind of mysterious. Who would not choose not to discard these burdens in order to enrich his experiences and relationships? But the problem is that. Perls freely used highly descriptive." This old baggage. childhood traumas. no matter how strongly we commit ourselves to putting the past behind us in order to pursue "awareness" and growth." or "incompleted situations from the past. or. Not only that." they typically require "reenacting (either directly or in fantasy) the original situation and allowing the associated affect to be experienced and expressed." *"Beware of any helpers. If you dwell on it. They spoil you and keep you dependent and immature. and the like -. We also see his evolution from a Freudian "wisdomshitter" to a wisdomshitter in the guise of a self-important and unsympathetic guru. The now is the present. not your Topdog. Perls' penchant for labeling was easily matched by his penchant for philosophizing -. "favor your Underdog. though..The past is no more. and actions as parts of the self. None of these traumata has ever been proved to exist. That's not all. Fritz also frequently added Oriental flavorings as additional underpinnings. more dramatically. according to Perls.those Zen questions which seem to be insoluble." And he had his own set of shoulds. the individual is encouraged to accept thoughts. feelings. which are supposed to be the root of neurosis." *"Lose your mind and come to your senses. we must each of us do our own work. not your thoughts." This usually involves hotseat work. spouse. they shouldn't be uptight or defensive. framed this issue in terms of Perls' emphasis on "the importance of accepting responsibility for one's own behavior": Instead of denying. projecting. and they should be willing to go into and explore whatever their craziness consists of. koans. when carried into present life. in Gestalt Therapy's scheme of things."[52] On the surface.[50] [Italics original] Accordingly. I can't help wondering what he would say if confronted by the Department of Health. it serves as an obstacle to any kind of personal growth.parents. Attributing responsibility to scapegoats -.[48] Shepard further comments that Perls' penchant for using labels and catchy phrases was not necessarily positive.[51] I suppose that there is something to be said for this perspective on personal responsibility. They are all lies to be hung onto to justify one's unwillingness to grow. blaming. in its critique of Gestalt Therapy. Nothing can possibly exist except the now. People should be free and impulsive like him. and use it as a reason to blame others (like your parents) for your problems.. accompanied by unexpressed feelings never fully experienced or discharged. and Zen were favorite referents of his."[54] Here Perls long ago previewed the current controversy regarding "Repressed Memory Syndrome" and the "pseudomemories" of sexual abuse many professionals believe that patients conjure up. As for Gestalt Therapy's techniques for resolving one's "unfinished business. colloquial expressions ("bitch") to "nail" a person. Shepard concedes that such "name-calling" can have the negative effect of locking the person into the "horrible label" in an unwitting cycle of self-fulfilling prophecy. You all know how much you are deceiving yourselves. But this willful denial of trauma erases neither his reality nor the traumas others experience.and to blot out the horror which overwhelmed his native country.. Who would choose to wallow in the past rather than get on with life? Another concept of Perls is that of "unfinished business. and displacing responsibility for one's experience. Claiming existentialism as the philosophical basis of Gestalt Therapy." *"I consider the neurosis to be a symptom of incomplete maturation. enigmatic koan: Now let me tell you of a dilemma which is not easy to understand. Education and Welfare statistics that child abuse has reached epidemic proportions in this country. The future is not yet. rather than "waste his time" looking back. Taoism. It's like a koan -. The koan is: Nothing exists except the here and now. how many of your memories are patched up and distorted. whatever happened to you in the past is basically meaningless."[53] In discussing this "unfinished business" problem. interferes with "present-centered awareness and authentic contact with others. is what you are aware of. with the patient acting out the topdogunderdog aspects of his or her personality."[49] In these pseudo-profundities we see Perls' basic lack of understanding of the dialectics of neurosis and anxiety. The Encyclopedia of Psychology." *"Now experiencing will solve all neurotic difficulties..

"I remember when my brother held a gun to me. or about any situation in the outer world. Unwilling to recognize and deal with the negative trait in myself. everyone lies and distorts. dream element or fantasy and labels it projection. Hence his conclusion that memory and history can never be identical. and forcefully takes each reaction. situations. I would readily recognize and condemn it in another." In other words. the memory] and the original neuronal activity [the original event] are identical. although it may be so. the passage of time only reinforced Perls' rigid view of the role of projection. where does that leave his here-and-now concept and his there-is-nopast concept? Far richer than Perls' limited formulation is the researched reality of what Penfield termed a "double consciousness": [The patient] has a double consciousness.first elaborated in Ego. for our present moments are infused with the stream of the past. rapidly. But what about. As acknowledged previously. "I dislike Betty because she gossips too much. for example." [Italics added] The example Perls used in 1942 to illustrate his new and radical position did serve a positive function of proposing a type of dream interpretation more personally relevant than the presiding Freudian one. Penfield's work also sheds light on the so-called "falsification" of memory that so disturbed Perls. so to speak.period.and as previously noted. "'They' want to hurt me. indicated that memory is actually an encoded. or traumas encountered in the individual's life. "I feel like robbers are after me.[57] In other words."[56] His reasoning is that since events are lived in the flesh. memory."[59] Searching for the snake within rather than the phallus without does indeed seem like a healthy step forward -." It is the elevation of personal pathology into the realm of theory. With unvarying precision. Perls consistently (and predictably) presented the dogma of projection. Trauma produces distortions so as not to disturb consciousness. one must assume that the reactivated recording [i.every dream element.acknowledged or not acknowledged -. events." it really meant that I was a gossip. he says. given the ongoing historical events. standards of behavior and qualitative assessments are themselves aspects of projection which fall into Perls' "shouldn'ts. and events. feeling. No. This view further implies that no external reality exists apart from the machinations of each individual's psyche. published in 1959. Once Perls' view of memory is discredited. but when he looks at the banks of the stream he is aware of the present as well. Distortion in memory may be just a matter of the amount of distance in the brain from the site of the literal memory (the "feeling site") to sites that are slightly adjacent and produce a symbolof the memory. Unfortunately. projections could only depict the person's internal and immediate state of being. the desired parts of ourselves we would like to reach .e. Indeed." When he placed it directly on the feeling site it elicited the response. all reactions to all people. With his work at Esalen in the 1960s. sensation.[58] Thus. but that he was hurt terribly in his childhood and the memory now dominates his perceptions of others. From time to time we do all project our unwanted qualities onto others. Recall Perls' earlier statement that "the person or animal which dominates the nightmare is always an unwanted part of yourself. Thus if I said. Yet the research of Canadian neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield. There is nothing wrong with the substance of this tenet. which contains selections from audiotapes of Perls' weekend dreamwork seminars conducted at Esalen between 1966 and 1968. appear to be one and the same.. We certainly do seem particularly sensitive to aspects of other people's behavior which mirror what we condemn (consciously or unconsciously) in ourselves. neurophysiological event as real as the neurons that mediate it: Every individual forms a neuronal record of his own stream of consciousness. just as we infuse the future with the stream of who we are today. otherwise one would be naked before the Pain. Penfield cites a case of brain surgery in which he placed an electrode on one point in the temporal cortex and got. Since artificial reactivation of the record [by applying an electrode to a specific part of the brain] later in life seems to recreate all those things formerly included within the focus of his attention. He enters the stream of the past. they cannot be accurately re-represented in the flesh via the abstraction of thought. But what of his contention that memory is also a distortion? His basis for this claim is the assertion (which he treats as a prima facie statement) that memory is an "abstraction. was a projection of some part of ourselves. and there is no real childhood Pain. I would simply be projecting my negative feelings about my own gossipy tendencies -. each fantasy or daydream. but it is more useful to search for the poisonous snake hidden in your own character. and it is the same as it was in the past. But his attitude is essentially misanthropic: everyone is egocentric. however." It's not that the person wants to hurt someone else. living in the "present" as preached by Perls cannot occur. stimulating the actual feeling site of a particular memory will cause it to be activated as it originally occurred. Projection in Gestalt Therapy By the time of Perls' work at Esalen. We see this well illustrated in Gestalt Therapy Verbatim.Perls' claim that trauma itself is nothing more than a self-serving distortion of memory is absurd. Perls now contended that everything we feel or think about another person. (he will need to reown that one). Hunger and Aggression in 1942 -was extended and solidified into a key position in the therapy. and the experience that is remembered. When Perl's states that trauma itself is nothing more than a self-serving distortion. He cites a dream in which the dreamer is bitten by a poisonous snake and explains: "It might be correct to interpret the snake as an aggressive phallus symbol. The problem comes with Perls' extreme quantification of it to encompass everything -. Perls methodically. Stimulating adjacent sites will produce symbols of what actually occurred. Since there were no legitimate past influences or reliable memories in Perls' formulation. I cannot simply dislike gossipy people because I find such behavior a draining and negative waste of time. projection is a legitimate psychological defense mechanism as evidenced in paranoia where intolerable feelings are "sent" elsewhere and imputed to others . in Perls' view. his concept of projection -. he is way off the mark. it was also a particularly timely viewpoint. which unequivocally denied the possibility that dream elements (or reactions to people and events) could also represent or symbolize actual people. We can view cases of trauma all too clearly with our own eyes.

who is also a Gestalt therapist.the chair the person wishing to work sat in -and the other chair was the chair the person moved to when enacting his various roles. There is no real sense of the tragedy of neurosis. It is all a game. that his "present. that he has lost his mind and come to his senses.take people who are conditioned and automatic and put them in some kind of aegis over themselves. the control and power are deceptively hidden behind a professed disinterest in either. Gestalt Therapy After Perls: A Scramble for Definition To what degree were Perls' original concepts preserved? To what degree did Perls' personality permeate the Gestalt inheritance? Did Gestalt therapy develop and turn in new directions? An overview of The Gestalt Journal in the 1980s provides answers to these questions. what they're doing unbeknownst to themselves. feelings. here-and-now experience constitutes the only reality. wherever the organism is looking. when to do it and how to do it -. Arthur Ceppos. but serious scientific therapy was out of the question.but can't? What about a sexual response that is totally repressed. actors play roles all of the time and do not change at all. chain smoking. the willing person would walk onto the designated area where Fritz sat with two empty chairs.right down to selecting the words and images in which the patient is to express himself. He submits in the same childlike fashion of the hypnotic subject to the suggestions and authority of the therapist so that the subsequent experience is largely determined and defined for him. the command center. we mimicked Perls running the group." Here individuals would play different roles so that they could get a feel of what it was like to be someone else. The Hot Seat Perls' use of his famous "hot seat" was one of his central techniques in the implementation of his therapeutic tenets."[61] His friend and publisher.giving them back possession of themselves. But of course. Gestalt Therapy does the same thing though not in precisely the same way. more powerful need of the therapist).. Gestalt Therapy as practiced by Fritz Perls and those who carried on his work employs a form of hypnosis on its patients. The focus is on the leader who is usually idolized."[62] Indeed. But it had to do with liberating feelings to some extent." "Be a couch. Their notion and that of Perls was that playacting helped change a person. even cruel. His reality is circumscribed by the larger presence of the therapist (in a sense by the larger. Perls acknowledges conflicts. the Gestalt therapist tells you what to feel and what to do. or the cult leader who manipulates his followers' need to be taken care of to suit his own need for control and power? In the case of Perls' therapy. . which was something new in his epoch. The goal of therapy is to make this possible by somehow by.. what they really want." Just as in hypnosis. If Perls' verbatim accounts are anything to go by. In its own way. and sensations as they occur from moment to moment". His ex-wife. is the last word. viewed the hot seat as "just a way in which he could keep himself from getting involved. as well). polarities. how terribly unhappy the patient is. Acting aggressive instead of passive would be one way. Hypnosis functions through its ability to make use of the split in consciousness which is the essence of neurosis.. It is part of the hypnotic process to convince the subject that something is happening which is not happening." It was all whim and caprice. in any case. The therapist is the central figure. an interesting show. The goal of therapy in Gestalt is to develop people's awareness about what's really happening to them. that he is "in touch with thoughts. what they're really striving for. taking roles and being busted by the chief."[60] In a typical encounter with Perls. inspired. there was the obligatory kiss on Perls' forehead or cheek. and also to play different roles with the goal of changing.. sometimes it can hurt. but it is essentially a game with the ringleader running the circus. It was more a show than therapy. divisions within the self. and innovative. and who. consciousness is restricted to provide a distraction against Pain and a barrier against the presence of the past. or laughter that is stuck inside? Perls only leaves room for the undesirable. Perls seemed unparalleled in the therapeutic community for his ability to evoke so-called foolish behavior in those seated before him in the hot seat. possession over their own motives. finding out what is unconscious to them. The patient takes his cues about reality from this external figure rather than from the truths of his own experience contained in his own mind. The chief difference between hypnosis and Gestalt therapy is that hypnosis excludes awareness to avoid the unification of consciousness. and saying. and I was struck by the theories that psychologists construct that seem to evolve straight out of their personalities. One of the chairs was the hot seat -. Others regarded it as self-indulgent and insensitive. Some regarded what transpired between Fritz and his hot-seat candidate to be brilliant. "Be an ashtray. a disconnection that is sustained by his being given the illusion that he has become more conscious. The hot-seat technique was an offshoot of an earlier technique called "psychodrama. There is no basic trust of the patient and his feelings. yet he conducts his therapy through games which he instigates and which not only illustrate the split but enhance it as well. The master received his homage.[63] In Gestalt Therapy. He developed this technique for what he called his "circus" -. believed "the whole secret behind Fritz's hot seat [was to] show people how they made fools of themselves."demonstrations of Gestalt Therapy in front of a hundred people or more upon a stage that he had rigged. the patient is kept unconscious by being made aware. Playacting is fun. because he was a showman. As students. wherever its attention is drawn. Consciousness is narrowed down to the present offshoots of repressed Pain in the form of projections in the here-and-now. gave her broader perspective and enabled her to see herself objectively. whereas Gestalt excludes the unconscious to achieve the same end. I took a seminar with Perls (and with Rogers. as I mentioned. after a group session where a woman was in the hot-seat. Of course. How is this different from the hypnotist who tells you that you are sleepy when you are not.

real-life experiences. and psychology.underdog conflict and therefore flipflops back and forth between the two polar opposites. One speaker aptly stated: "If we continue to ignore defining who we are in our center and what our boundaries are. each aspect of a dream is viewed as a quality of the dreamer. .[71] How useful this type of cosmic conjecture is to a person simply trying to understand the forces driving his own life is questionable at best."[66] [Italics added] Another journal article about depression illustrates the traditional Perlsian flank of the therapy. and ideology was not founded in the realities of the organism. They affirmed that Gestalt Therapy could remain applicable because "a moral vision concerning the unity of human life with nature is the truth that Gestalt Therapy embodies." The author was concerned with the negative consequences of this routinized structuring ("technique and coercion had ultimately overtaken inventiveness and creativity"). and how to best facilitate that survival. through developing the "witness" part of his consciousness. Instead.was (later) adapted and routinized to produce instant insights and cures. In transpersonal Gestalt. and partially functioned as a forum to decide where to go next. gentleness replaces attack. Because this mingling of method. the one thing that Gestalt Therapy lacked was a gestalt." The shift away from the Perls legacy. The speakers expressed concern as to whether therapy would be able to integrate new approaches while maintaining "its integrity and coherence." This departure partly drew on Perls' penchant for the mystical. had created all of us as manifestations of Himself and had "identified" with each of us to such an extent that he forgot who he really was." Depression. and poor discipline.e. in terms that would accommodate Gestalt Therapy's survival. each person is viewed as an aspect or quality of the Cosmos: The transpersonal approach conceives of each of us as a manifestation of the energy of the universe." In traditional Gestalt. In transpersonal Gestalt. was clear throughout this symposium.[72] Clearly Transpersonal Gestalt has little or nothing to do with psychotherapy. vague ideology. the dreamer." Resolution occurs by working through the unfinished business -. and problems. the transpersonal flank is ethereal. religion. Thus.. new dimensions and spin-offs were added. known as "transpersonal Gestalt. "I do my thing and you do your thing" is superseded by the new formulation: I am I and I am you and You are me[70] You are you Transpersonal Gestalt takes traditional Gestalt to a new level. poor training. It is as if God. "the neurotic individual continues to be the displaced target of his own aggression. Where traditional Gestalt deals with the personal. The value of this new level.which for latter-day Gestaltists meant the same thing it meant for Perls: acting out the topdog and underdog as one's own qualities at the complete exclusion of past. I would predict a future in which we are replaced by an endless number of new techniques and in which our name is used as an excuse for poor therapy. reflecting that the "narcissistic indulgence" of the 'Sixties self-development era had been replaced by larger ecological and environmental concerns which demanded a more planet-oriented rather than self-oriented focus. Meanwhile. When we remember who we really are. mystical. so-calledGestalt Therapy found itself more than ever in bits. It is definitely "New Age.. Although four speakers discussed different topics. It was acknowledged that the movement was going through a kind of identity crisis. expressed the conflict and re-evaluation which took place in the years after Perls' death. the traditional technique of "creative frustration" is replaced by "an atmosphere of mutual trust and caring."[65] The need for definition. Therefore. Gestalt Therapy seemed at a loss to know where or how to acquire definition. and partly represented a reaction against the modus operandi of Perlsian aggression. philosophy. in the Gestalt view. A certain inexorable balance is evident in the far sides of Gestalt. however. Perls' descendants grasped for principles with which to paste together the elements of a theory and therapy that had come apart without its main pillar. he left them with broad sentiment. a common area of concern emerged in each presentation: whether or not Gestalt Therapy would survive. Perls' main concepts remained the cornerstone of the therapy. In this split "the individual fails to resolve or be fully aware of the conflict between two diametrically opposite components of his personality." Without the central driving force of Perls' personality from which it derived its identity.[64] The symposium this article covers seemed to represent a retrospective and an end to the Perlsian phase of Gestalt Therapy." and the "screw you" attitude so often associated with the Gestalt commandment. even insultingly down-to-earth as Perls was.In summary. disembodied -. this new Gestalt focuses on the "cosmic. and through letting divine trust and faith in the universe provide the secure environment. Neither the topdog nor the underdog side is fully expressed. and dubious techniques.[67] One therapist.. The forcefulness of Perls' personality remained a source of emulation for some and of conflict and re-evaluation for others. eliminating) people who would not benefit from his "high structure-high frustration form of therapy. practitioners tried to cover all ground by gathering in elements from mysticism. however. and explained that Perls probably avoided such problems by simply "selecting out" (i. Ironically." These components are attitudes and beliefs which are acquired ("introjected") in early childhood and constitute "unfinished business. concerned about the degree of structuring used in Gestalt Therapy. is as dubious as it is ethereal. The author's closing remarks suggest a kind of disturbing evangelical tangent: Each person can do his own Gestalt work through meditation. Perls failed to leave his followers a theory in accordance with biology and psychology upon which they could develop an effective therapy. means that the person is not fully aware of his topdog. An article entitled "The Future of Gestalt Therapy" serves as an introductory sampling of post-Perls trends.[69] Transpersonal Gestalt contends that Perls' cornerstone principle of the here-andnow is the link to such transpersonal concepts as the "flow of Tao" and the Jungian "collective unconscious. viewpoints."[68] A counter-reaction to this seemingly indelible stamp of the Perls personality can be seen in an offshoot of Gestalt Therapy. Neurosis was predictably defined in terms of Perls' "topdogunderdog" personality split. however." They questioned with the therapy's relevance in the changing times. we discover that we each are God. technique. The author noted that Perls' "truly experimental approach. As unabashedly.and ultimately insubstantial. can be found in new emphasis on the gentler side of life.

P: (As dad): "Well. But you're just a drone." Parents and child compete to get their needs met. while the 'daughter' can't take all the responsibility for comforting him when she feels vulnerable and inadequate herself. I feel like shit.Gestalt Therapy Today By 1993. or soothe. you're always criticizing me." The patient conjures up.goes. If my mother died in a car accident when I was five it is not a matter of top dog or underdog. forming defenses -. Fritz Perls had been dead for nearly a quarter century. you do all the work. I don't think he likes me. comfort. Friedman says that here authentic feelings are being experienced and expressed. How else will you learn to shape up?" T: What do you feel as dad? P: That she is a piece of shit." "the therapist must have had enough personal therapy to have experienced this place personally and so be able to be supportive of the patient's need to face it rather than 'fix' it. while that of the child's self becomes that of the Underdog. an intrapsychic reflection of the actual situation: the voice of the parents becomes internalized as the Topdog. this neurotic personality comes into being at an early age. is to "encourage both the two sides to confront one another and to intensify the conflict. why are you always showing me my mistakes?" (As dad): "Well. it's only because I love you so much that I want to see you shine. I suppose it would be heresy to state that there is no topdog-underdog in our brains." Like Perls' version. Specifically. P: "Sure. explains the rationale for the use of the "hot seat" in topdogunderdog role playing. I think he looks a little like my father to me! He never liked anything I ever did.ignoring his own needs." At this juncture the therapist must resist trying to help the patient resolve this impasse." T: Switch back. both roles. In other words. a child who makes the family look good -. then suggests): Switch over. but to "serve as an objective enabler." Later in life. no imagination. or acts out. is essential to experiencing and assimilating unacknowledged feelings. -. T: Could you tell that to her some more? Do it openly. such as "an appropriate amount of acknowledgment. The therapist then requests that the patient (as her dad) tell her what he needs from her (validation) and that she tell him what she needs from him (that he tell her he loves her). the empty chair is where the topdog "projection" -. What ensues is a "dialogue.perhaps mother or father -. T: What does that feel like? P: It feels like shit." the patient sits in the hot seat with an "empty chair" placed a few feet away. in "chairwork. "Out of this compromise." to "provide a model of openness and authenticity" in order to "bring the conflict out as much as possible so that it may be brought to a head." T: Can you hear yourself? Whom do you sound like? P: You know. according to Perls' theory." aimed at bringing "both sides of the conflict" into "awareness. "a polarity is formed. P: "That's bullshit! If you love me so much. honey. validation. you know. Because "being in the impasse" is the "fundamental turning point from neurosis to health. when the child's parents require that the child "conform to their own unmet needs rather than meeting those of the child. His theories and therapy lived on." Friedman creates the following hypothetical dialogue: P (a college coed): My English professor gave me only a B on my paper yesterday. T (therapist): Would you tell that to him? P: "Why are you so down on me? Don't I do all the homework?" T: Now switch over and be him. reviews the genesis of the topdog-underdog dichotomy. The first stage of chairwork is for "the polarity to come into awareness and the patient to take responsibility for both sides. In The Gestalt Journal's Fall '93 issue celebrating the centennial of Perls' birth. it aims to produce the "reenactment" of "unfinished business" which." . and support. an obedient child. but the two have come to an impasse: neither can give the other what is asked for. The therapist's role in all of this is not to explain. and provides examples of therapist/patient interplay a la Perls. "The 'father' fears exposing his vulnerability and inadequacy. According to Friedman." for the patient to "take back" and "own" the projection. director of the Gestalt Therapy Center in Queens." writes Friedman. being agreeable. the conflict between the two causes anxiety and other problems.in order to survive. The next stage of chairwork. someone has got to do it. etc. and the dependent child loses out. submissive. interpret." They want a quiet child." T: (Pauses to see if she's with what she's seeing. it is a matter of great pain and how that has affected my life. Friedman describes how the topdog-underdog split within a single personality stems from childhood.while the child wants and needs other things from them. writes Friedman. Friedman's dialogue continues as follows: P: My father never liked anything I did. T: Could you tell him that now? P: "Dad. the "hot seat" technique used in Gestalt "symbolizes the commitment a person makes to deal with anxiety when coming up to work with the therapist. always making me feel like I can't do anything right. Norman Friedman.

) (As daughter): "I hate you. by being an attentive and compassionate listener.falling. or whether it is more in the nature of a "dramatic performance. Friedman describes what is occurring: She is now beginning to make contact with the terrible grief she had to repress. It moved along fueled more by its emotional rebellion against psychoanalysis than it did from any profound insight into the nature of human suffering. her chest and shoulders begin to shake. denouncing repression as invalid and memory as distorted. then begins again." Friedman points out that Gestalt Therapy is distinctive in the way it both uncovers feelings and ensures "that they are seeking their proper object. as other erstwhile Freudian disciples had done before him. Just let it happen. He also recognized (1) the need for therapy to come out of its proverbial "head" and (2) that feeling rather than thinking was crucial to restoring health. in order to accommodate herself to her parents' neglect of her emotional needs when she was very young. she puts her hands up over her face. unselfconscious that they've been tearing and her nose sniffling. even as Gestalt Therapy began in the right direction. Soon thereafter the patient declares that she feels good. Her breathing becomes slow. He insisted on people living as they truly were. Although Perls often grasped what was wrong in broad terms. This latter position was . her breathing seems to stop for a moment. and she begins to sob. His appreciation of the non-verbal aspects of experience and the need to express oneself in more than just words opened doors of possibility in consciousness that had been closed for a long time. They then agree that what she really needs is not to confront him but to really feel stuck.) T: Whom are you mourning for? P: Myself. admit that among the "unfortunate legacies" of Perls' work was his "simplistic application of an insistence on immediacy. to the broadening of conscious experience. will take the form of replacing the missing part. as in many other non-dialectic therapies." The patient responds sarcastically." She asks the therapist what to do. Perls himself. systematic theory and therapy. what to feel. Much of this technique was borrowed from Moreno”s psychodrama. incomplete though they may be. the therapist facilitates the patient's dropping her defenses and "imploding. This is rather more convulsive than crying or weeping. P: (She lets herself go into the sobbing. but the expression never really happened. which arise in an unconscious state. That doesn't mean a few tears here and there. she feels afraid. as was his sweeping claim that trauma was a fallacy. Self-nurture. you fucking wimp! Go to hell. Conclusions Gestalt Therapy began as one man's personal reaction to the overly mental focus of classical Freudian analysis." Required.an internalizing-assimilating-integrating process. She ostensibly begins to feel it. acknowledging the difficulty. not just cerebral or intellectual awareness. awareness becomes the goal. it took several steps backwards for each one forward. I feel so alone!" She then describes how she's experiencing "floating. it's hard for her to breathe. He tells her to let herself cry. Yet paradoxically. and finally she says. blinking her eyes. she begins to feel relief. just go to hell!" (Gradually. he writes. It generated no testable hypotheses. "God." He goes on to pose the question as to whether this kind of "breakthrough" will last. Perls seemed to grasp some of the picture of neurosis and the necessity for expressing feeling. and that everything seems "more colorful. She smiles. yet he constructed a therapy whose main features involved enacted feelings and role playing --roles which he scripted. Gestalt Therapy's strengths lie in its general intent and in the directions in which it pointed -. Damn! (She becomes enraged. a focus of transferred feelings.. deep. Gestalt Therapy's most enduring aspect. Yet. We are now confronting the basic tragedy of human existence. This lasts for a number of minutes. popular in the forties and fifties. P: (Her face becomes contorted. Our research indicates that there is no profound change until the profound Pain stored in the limbic system and below rises to consciousness. Erving and Miriam Polster.. It means pain relived over and over hours at a time for months and years." which encouraged "glib imitation" by unprepared disciples who only superficially understand Perls theories.namely. the therapist tells the patient that he's helping her "stay with feeling stuck. which may help to explain why it did not develop into a coherent. regular."[73] Here." As this mock session unfolds.sharper. To dismiss the phenomenon of transference was to suppress aspects of the total therapeutic experience. he didn't really know how to put things right. are compilations of all that we are. will be further work in subsequent sessions. She looks around. long-time Gestalt therapists. how much and when. He wished to reject mental ruminations and awaken the person to life through feeling." or feeling fully what Friedman calls "nothingness.. where patients acted out different roles. All these wasted years. both with psychoanalysis and with individuals. Transference was denied. as the price for being able to survive at all. and the therapist suggests that she complain about him. founders and co-directors of the Gestalt Training Center in San Diego." and "terror of annihilation. in other words. yet he concentrated on awareness and understanding. he did so while fencing off the past as forbidden territory.[74] Perls called for total experience. Perls’ approach never seemed to lose its impulsively reactional qualities.. Perls recognized the flaws in Freud's model. That is well and good but the goal must be consciousness.. which is the mark of a scientific therapy. contributes to its limitations. yet by his therapeutic staging and self-presentation as seer. authors of Gestalt Therapy Integrated.as Supportive Self to In-Need-of-Support Self -. Perls inevitably made himself into a symbolic figure and therefore.. She pulls herself up short): Holy shit! What's going on here? T: (Very present but unobtrusive." "underlying abandonment anxiety. He disavowed the unconscious while proclaiming that dreams. "in order to reinstate a good-enough father in the place left vacant by the real-father introject. There is the notion that ideas in the form of awareness and insights can make change. It was controlled by him.Thus.) Despair." "isolation. then stops. and so on.

and Aggression. and Aggression. op. op.. p. [22]Ibid. op. [24]Ego. 195. yet they still do not take it far enough. [12]Ego. Hunger. allowing "reenactment" to weakly substitute for full reliving of Painful experience. cit. Corsin. cit. and liberating feeling. 8. "A Life Chronology. p. cit. pp. p. Hunger. op. Against Therapy. [29]Ego.." op. Dutton)... 5-9.in the shadow of its showman founder. p. p. Fritz (New York: E. [3]Fritz. [27]Encyclopedia of Psychology. cit. 5.. A Perlsian incongruity continues to ensure that therapy will not lead to genuine. p 206. seeking awareness rather than full consciousness. 1947. Hunger. cit. XVI(2). cit. pp. [28]Ego.." op. In later years. p. [8]Ibid. Hunger and Aggression. Back to Table of Contents | Next chapter >> [1]_Len Bergantino. or "finish" past business in order to free the individual to "be here now. as exemplified by Friedman. 229. 1988).. [5]See Frederick Perls. 192. [15]Raymond J.. [25]Ibid. [17]Ego. p. Gestalt Therapy -. cit. cit." Deep down. 235. [13]Ibid. and Aggression.is very shallow. p. cit. 61. 8. Ed." The Gestalt Journal. p. 15. 6. who constructed his theory of wish fulfillment on the conclusion that patients fantasized rather than remembered childhood seduction trauma. 235. [18]See Chapter 14 for a critique of Reich.. 186. underlies neurosis is coupled with therapeutic techniques which do not achieve what they claim to do: assimilate.. [26]Ego. [31]Frederick Perls. cit. It falters mainly on the contradiction that it tried to bring depth to human experience while dealing. at Perls' insistence.P . [9]Fritz Perls. 205. 241-242. Ego. cit. [2]Martin Shepard.. Another similarity to the Freudian model he originally rejected is his notion of intrinsic flaws and innate weaknesses. op. Fall 1993. [32]See Jeffrey Masson. 240. who slithered and barked like a seal in response to Abraham Maslow -. 60-61. and Aggression. p. [21]Ibid... 203. p. op. (New York: Athenaeum.. pp. [11]Ibid. [19]Ego. Fall '93. "A Life Chronology. 239.. cit. p. [4]Quoted in Fritz. [6]Ibid. p. Hunger. op. 186. [14]Ibid. (New York: John Wiley & Sons). 209. [16]Ego. Encyclopedia of Psychology. pp. . p. 5. cit. Hunger. p.. The theoretical realization that "unfinished business. Hunger and Aggression. 1984. op. cit. 240.. op." written in 1968 but published in The Gestalt Journal. with the "utmost surface. p. p. and Aggression. p. [33]"A Life Chronology. 3. p. op. p. cit. XVI(2). and Aggression. p. Hunger." Its loose weave of humanistic sentiments and intense therapeutic activity give Gestalt Therapy the appearance of a therapy of feelings which in the end creates the very sort of pretense which it so earnestly sought to undermine.. 272. op. Hunger and Aggression. p. 254. [7]Ibid. 218. "Recollections of a Young Whippersnapper.. Hunger and Aggression.ironically similar to that of the rejected Freud. [20]Ego. pp.. 91-93. p. p. [23]Ego.. integrative.." or whatever you want to call it. some Gestalt therapists have admitted past trauma into therapy far more than Perls did. Vol. Hunger and Aggression (New York: Vintage Books). op. 5. 212-213. op. Hunger and Aggression. 2. p. [10]Ibid. [30]Ego.. 1975.

" The Gestalt Journal. "Depression: A Comparison Between Gestalt and Other Views. 1959. p. [58]Penfield. XVI(2).. p. op.. p. [61]Ibid. p. [59]Ego. p. [71]Ibid." The Gestalt Journal XVI(2). cit. Hunger and Aggression. 82. 17. pp. 4-20. [36]Ibid. op. [42]Fritz Perls. . 4(1). 41. 60. op. [40]Fritz. 119-120. p. New Jersey: University Press). pp. p. 36... 45. Fall '93. [54]Ibid. 54... [72]Ibid. [43]Ibid. p. pp. p." The Gestalt Journal.: Real People Press). ??? [65]Ibid. p.17.. 1969. p. [53]Ibid. p. XVI(2). cit. 60. op. 19???. [48]Fritz. pp. 23. "Growing Up Rugged: Fritz Perls and Gestalt Therapy.. Fall '93. p. [49]Quoted by Bruce Bryant. pp.. Fall '93. "Frederick Perls: Legacy and Invitation. [62]Ibid. 217. p.. Gestalt Therapy Verbatim (Lafayette. 42.. 240. p. Against Therapy. op. 87. [66]Ibid.. Gary Yontef and Joseph Zinker. 19??... p. p." Gestalt Journal.. [56]Gestalt Therapy Verbatim.. pp. [45]Ibid.. 19??.. 6. cit. [47]Masson. 9. [50]Gestalt Therapy Verbatim. 80. p. Against Therapy. cit. [46]Ibid. op. p. Fall '93. 3(2). cit." The Gestalt Journal. cit. 73. p. Penfield and L. op. 4. p. cit. 120. [52]Ibid. "The Use of Therapist-Imposed Structure Gestalt Therapy." The Gestalt Journal. 2(1). 213. 1981. pp. [70]Ibid. p. Roberts. in The Gestalt Journal. "Frederick Perls: A Son's Reflections.. [64]By Laura Perls. cit. p. 212.. [60]Fritz. pp. 60. p. Miriam Polster. XVI(2). 212-213.[34]Masson. 79-82. Speech and Brain Mechanisms (Princeton. 95-118. 23-25. cit. [38]Stephen Perls. pp. 57-64. [55]Ibid. cit. 36. p. [69]Ed Elkin.. 45-86. [41]Ibid. 27-44. [67]Gary Tyson & Lillian Range. 32. p. [57]W. 121. "Towards a Theory of Transpersonal Gestalt. p. Calif. [39]Ibid. [73]Norman Friedman. Fall '93.. [51]Encyclopedia of Psychology. 214. [37]Masson. p. [68]Joseph Melnick. cit." The Gestalt Journal XVI(2). [44]Gestalt Therapy Verbatim. cit. op. pp. 42-43. in "In & Out of the Gestalt Pail. pp. "Fritz Perls's 'Layers' and the Empty Chair: A Reconsideration.. op.. [35]Fritz. cit. op. Against Therapy. op. [63]Ernest Becker." Gestalt Journal.. op. 42. [74]Erving and Miriam Polster. 165. 11-22. op.

Ellis recalled that his patients "temporarily felt better from all the talk and attention.[2] Ellis' marriage of psychology and philosophy produced a cognitive-analytic therapy based on the orientation that we create our own neurosis." Events themselves do not bother us. and then "choosing" to give up the latter. On the other hand. Ellis received high accolades from the American Psychological Association and was recognized as the "pioneering practitioner and grandfather of cognitive behavior therapy" and for his "profound effect on the professional practice of psychology. ahead of Freud himself and trailing only humanist Carl Rogers. he drew upon "the wisdom of philosophy as well as the most modern psychological advances of our age" to synthesize an analysis of behavior that he could then "present" to the client: I found that by my presenting a philosophical as well as a psychological analysis the client could enjoy the fruits of two sciences and achieve positive and lasting results from our therapeutic efforts. RET will help you make this better choice. but something which goes along with one's ideas and ways of thinking. The primary strategy for discarding our irrational beliefs (such as that we deserve to be treated well by others) and unrealistic expectations (such as that those around us should be concerned with our welfare) is known as "disputation. and consistently done by their parents and by themselves to counter and thwart these inborn tendencies. as Ellis explains: My approach to psychotherapy is to zero in. practical ability to learn. You just think he is. they are biologically prejudiced to acquire and retain some of these traits. Researchers in cognitive and behavioral psychology carried out studies which ostensibly validated his techniques and gave Rational-Emotive Therapy what passes for scientific credibility.Chapter 13: The ABCs of RET (Rational-Emotional Therapy): Holding Back Feelings with Words Introduction Rational-Emotive Therapy (RET) was developed in the 1950s by clinical psychologist Albert Ellis. Over time. since we have a greater tendency toward neurosis and irrationality than we do toward health.[3] Ellis’ optimistic. according to Ellis. and the assigning to patients of cognitive/behavioral homework exercises (to help them learn new ways of thinking and behaving): these are among Ellis' innovative contributions to psychotherapy. The Encyclopedia of Psychology describes RationalEmotive Therapy's position on our human proclivities: "The capacity to learn includes the capacity to learn nonsense. to profoundly change it. one which. The fact that these tendencies are biologically rooted makes them quite hard to change.[6] Ellis is really saying that we are basically irrational. directly. the First Century A. Years later. you can rationally decide how to interpret it."[5] In fact. He has an enormous. emotively and behaviorally." He decided that there had to be a more effective and less time-consuming way to do therapy. and choose to hold onto in a "self-defeating" pattern. As founder (in 1959) and director of the Institute of Rational-Emotive Therapy in New York.[1] To find that better way. Ellis made a controversial name for himself for his liberal views on sex and his groundbreaking work as a sex and marriage therapist. and to persuade him to work his ass off. external events in which we are involved are almost like mirrors upon which we unwittingly choose to project our own idiosyncratic reactions. which although persistent. the way out of our problems involves thinking about our thinking and analyzing our beliefs in order to sort out the rational from the irrational. man is quite able. When you think someone is treating you badly. you can learn to have an entirely different reaction to the same external event.. looking back on his early years as a psychoanalyst. On the other hand." a form of empirical analysis achieved through a formula Ellis devised. as quickly as possible. it is not true that he is doing anything particularly unpleasant to you. and unless something is actively. Basically. we trap ourselves in unpleasant behaviors through the perpetuation of irrational beliefs and unrealistic expectations we have acquired over the years. you have given him that power over you. Therefore. but they didn't seem to get better. power-of-positive-thinking view of human experience has had tremendous impact on psychotherapy. From this perspective. He was fond of quoting the philosophy of Epictetus. man is born "biologically prejudiced to acquire and retain" neurotic traits: Children (as well as adults) have inborn tendencies which make it much easier for them to behave badly or neurotically than for them to behave well or sanely. In a survey of 800 clinical and counseling psychologists. even predisposed. his theories moved out of the realm of the unconventional into the mainstream. Emotional disturbance is not a particularly deep-seated problem. are eminently changeable. In the 1980's.D. they will probably be troubled for the rest of their days.. and. Ellis saw that this approach did not really work. Ellis contends that man is basically rational or he wouldn't have survived this long. to behave irrationally. which will allow you to respond to the world in a sensible manner. on the client's basic philosophy of life. According to Ellis. After many years of clinical work using traditional analytic techniques. to get him to see exactly what this is and how it is inevitably self-defeating. would give the therapist a more active. the self-analytical patient. This means that although they are not irrevocably imprinted at birth with specific neurotic characteristics. but our thoughts about them do. Stoic: "What disturbs people's minds is not events but their judgments on events. On one hand. the insights it took them so long to arrive at didn't change things for them in significant ways. but it can . Ellis was ranked as the second-most influential psychotherapist in history.[4] The Nature of Neurosis According to RET Rational Emotive Therapy’s views are an interesting admixture of judgments and contradiction. "exhortative-persuasive." The talkative and interactive therapist. incidentally.the predisposition to think is very often the predisposition to think crookedly." role. individualistic. cognitively.

Whew! . and fear and anxiety next week. which in turn changes C (the emotional consequence and resulting behavior). yet it does not play a significant role in altering inborn tendencies in a negative. Ellis continued to believe continued to believe that basically all beings have "strong biological tendencies that encourage them to think irrationally."[13] The person who shies away from sex because he fears sexual rejection or ridicule.." not to mention his irrationally "dire need to feel approved and loved. they can gradually be trained to become more consistent and straight-thinkers. The ABC's of RET Ellis refers to the principles underlying this new analysis of behavior as the ABC's of RET. They had nothing to do with it. and violence. they largely -."[12] The true neurotic is not that way because he has been shaped by his life experiences but because he hasn't asserted control over his thinking. you are just burdening yourself with irrational ideas. By taking the problematic emotional response -. Ellis offers many definitions of neurosis and its causes: It (neurosis) is an unrealistic.. Of the formula's elements. The ABC's constitute a kind of formula that anyone can apply to figure out how to change their negative behavior." but cautions that "we'd better not view such information as conclusive without further consideration.child abuse.aimed at achieving the "training in straight thinking" that is his answer to neurosis." is basically the victim of his own perfectionistic perceptions. the less we shall tend to blame them for their behavior. it is more likely that an abused child grows into a violent adult not because of his actual. It enables you to respond differently to A (the activating event). "The anger and violence characteristic of those raised in hostile and aggressive atmospheres may stem from an inherited rather than from an acquired disposition. E is the solution in the form of a New Philosophy. immature."[14] As I think I have shown in my psychotherapeutic practice during the last twenty years. we are able to get over it and stop "needlessly upsetting ourselves. All of us. which you must do with the irrational belief underlying your disturbing emotional response. such as impotence.make themselvesneurotic. as many nonpsychoanalytic therapists insist.do not merely get disturbed from their relationships with their parents and from the teachings of their culture.and it is usually a determined. with much prodding and guidance. on others. only the elements of one's behavior change.[11] This position echoes Fritz Perls' assertion that neurosis is the result of immaturity and retarded personal development. frustration. and the more we shall be able to show them that persistent hard work to overcome their biologically predisposed handicaps will be rewarding.as well as the "behavioral consequence. B is the Belief System used to evaluate or judge the experience. to feel severely disturbed. They construct their feelings of insecurity and their low frustration tolerance by their Jehovian demands and commands on themselves.we may not be able to avoid becoming "disturbed.which is really cognitive analysis -. Rather." when we are subjected to extreme trauma or loss -. He is a "bigot" who sticks rigidly to his views that things aren't the way they ought to be. and practically being forced to follow them for a while.and passing it through the formula. think considerably better about themselves and their surroundings than they usually do. He and the neurotics like him are "much more disturbed than they have to be because they simply will not accept themselves as fallible. Because we are "born so vulnerable to emotional turmoil.. ormust be different from the way they are.. and are almost allergic to continuing to think straight for any period of time. or depression -. and then set about the task of countering and thwarting them: The more we face that fact that our children often are born with very strong predispositions to be emotionally disturbed in various ways. He has a silly "tendency to exaggerate the significance of things.. war. a relationship between a person's early training and his or her later conduct. we are "normal neurotics. a solution can almost invariably be found." prone to "needlessly upsetting ourselves.be done with a great deal of work and practice ("man is the one animal who can change his inherited characteristics"). The formula is itself unchanging. pigheaded refusal to accept oneself and the world as they are and an asinine insistence that things should. the less we shall condemn ourselves for making them the way they are. According to Ellis. Nor do they get upset by obnoxious environmental conditions. if you are a parent.but not exclusively -. "to some degree. it was preordained. or avoidance of sex due to what has been called "performance anxiety.the anger. depression or grief tomorrow." even predisposed to occasional bouts of self-destructiveness. It is a perfectionistic or grandiose demand. but due to his inherited predispositions. such as poverty.[10] [Italics added] People. as psychoanalysis alleges." But at some point."[9] [Italics added] The contradiction resides in Ellis' view that the environment (in the form of parents and family) can play a significant role in the positive alteration of inborn neurotic tendencies. these severely disturbed individuals (the "true" neurotics) can. fear. parents can rest assured. if the child turns out angry and violent.. which is the Cognitive Effect of having gone through all of the above. Finally you arrive at E." based on his illogical "fears of failure. anger might be the problem today. rape. In his extensive work. a "Jehovian or Hitlerian moralist" who dogmatically clings to his faulty conception of the truth no matter what. Ellis writes." D stands for Disputing. neurotic direction. but they seem to have great difficulty in doing so. frigidity. or depression -. someone who has sexual difficulties. and you are convinced that you screwed up your kid. The important things for us to do are to first acknowledge that we simply come with these defects. incessantly error-prone humans. What's more."[8]Decades after first propounding these views. And how they usually resist![15] The "proper guidelines" to get over the "allergy" of crooked thinking Ellis refers to are contained within an involved system of behavioral analysis -. Thus.the immediate experience that triggered the emotional response. and on the world around them. A is the Activating Event -."[7] He concedes that there exists. are neurotic to some extent. day-to-day experiences of being abused. the death of people close to us -. and who opts for masturbation or peeping is just self-destructively stubborn. C is theEmotional Consequence of the experience -. anxiety. and usually self-immolating way of looking at oneself and the world. fear. and to act dysfunctionally. or ought. regardless of the extent of our trauma.that things occur and people act in a certain way. But what a job it is to teach them. Thus. Thus.the anger. Given proper guidelines.

Take the notion that it is useless to rely on anyone. let's take an example. A belief is labelled irrational when it results in what he calls self-destructive emotional responses (such as irritation. So you examine your beliefs about this particular situation. it holds that in most cases -. you can more quickly. you are currently experiencing.(Thus) a simple rule of thumb for discerning the difference between rB (rational belief) and iB (irrational belief) in your Belief System is: Beliefs remain rational so long as they do not extend an evaluation of the action into an evaluation of the person. You know that C (the emotional consequence) is the feeling of anger. It's a corrosive. and will keep him on the track toward his own happiness and goal-fulfillment. You try to explain this to the boss. Well. You know that A (the activating event) is the unfair reprimand you received from your boss.. there's no point in sitting and stewing. He contends that what we feel (C) in any given situation (A) is a result of what we think and believe (B). and never discovers how helpful and encouraging others can be. even outrage. In Ellis' words: This failure to separate a person from his action implies that only an (x) person can act (x). but that he is a terrible person for having done so. rage.your belief system. Since he won't listen to you. empirical checking. the most pivotal link is point B -. A rational belief. If a good person performs good acts. But you actually did the report in the way you have always done it.the belief system." What he is basically saying is that thoughts (otherwise known as ideas or beliefs) create feelings. And you know from your RET training that the pivotal element in getting from point A to point C is at point B -. they "teach themselves to use these thoughts to evoke emotions. and stalks impatiently out of your office. impotent emotion which certainly won't help you accomplish anything constructive at the office and might even be driving up your blood pressure.. A person armed with this attitude never asks for help. You are left feeling angry and depressed. you can control how you react to his treatment. Meanwhile. for he is a bad person and can perform only bad acts. which Ellis defines as anything that interferes with one's goal of happiness. Before taking a more detailed look at Rational-Emotive Therapy's perspective on neurotic belief systems and how to alter them. But you do not have your emotions under control. then he can never do anything bad. by contrast. he can never do anything good. While you can't control how your boss treats you. for he is a good person and capable of only good acts. Whether people generate these thoughts consciously or unconsciously. and so on). Moreover. helps to keep the world the way he sees it. How? Bring in the ABC's.and not what you actually do experience. is miserably alone. You prejudice your feelings about something with your views of what you believe you should feel. By putting the case into the RET framework.[17] You now realize that you are stewing in anger because you believe that your boss' treatment of you was unjust and awful.your thoughts remain paramount over what we call feelings. will help him get along with others. you can change your belief to something more sensible. the boss reprimanded me. so that changing B automatically changes C: One of the main RET hypotheses states that you seem to feel what you think or expect to feel -. and keeps too much to himself.and Without -. Thus. an RET clinician can discover your rBs (rational beliefs) and iBs (irrational beliefs) simply through a knowledge of your feelings and behavior at both points A (activating event) and C (emotional consequence)." The chapter on rational and irrational beliefs is entitled "The Insanity of Anger. Once you have reinterpreted this interaction -reconceptualized it from an outrageous confrontation to a minor to-be-expected conflict -. There is no doubt that emotional problems can easily appear to stem from beliefs. Okay.Anger. the rational response (rC) (the response you did not have) would be a feeling of disappointment and discomfort. and more specifically. it's just part of the nature of things. . designed to discover any illogical. anxiety. and although I don't like it.[18] Now that you've recognized the irrationality of your response by discovering the irrationality of your belief.you will feel better. this is something I should expect to happen now and then. it is the product of them. the boss has refused to hear you out fairly. He may therefore find it more difficult to achieve his purposes. What to do about it? Ellis says that you don't have to feel angry or depressed.Although there are five components to Ellis' ABC chain. If a bad person performs bad acts.[16] B is thus the focal point of RET. your anger is self-defeating. Therefore. when he acts by it. easily. Ellis entitles his chapter on the ABCs of RET "How You Create Your Own Anger. although RET fully admits the transactional nature of human thoughts and feelings. you must locate the irrational belief (iB) that is fueling your irrational response or consequence (iC) of anger. The rational belief (rB) determining this relatively cool response would be something to the effect that your boss should not treat you the way he did. and there is nothing you can do about it. never develops lasting friendships and loyalties. it is inappropriate and irrational. nonempirical ideas you might hold at B (your belief system). In your RET training you learned that such beliefs are irrational because they inappropriately equate a person's actions with his worth as a total person. any person who does anything that any other person deems bad or unjust must be a bad person. you are sitting and stewing in anger. He has an assumption about the world which. This is done through the application of objective and rational analysis: In locating your iBs (irrational beliefs) we use the method of logical. According to Ellis. Instead. What Come First. Feelings or Beliefs? In his 1977 book How to Live With -. Irrational beliefs generate irrational behavior. You are at work when your boss unexpectedly reprimands you for not doing a report in the right way. and that all (x) acts must get performed by (x)."[19] The emotion itself does not exist independent of thoughts or ideas. To figure out why you are sitting and stewing. Further. I would like to comment upon Ellis' idea that our feelings stem from our beliefs rather than the other way around. and importantly change your thinking than you can change your thinking by modifying your feelings.not all -. but he won't listen. that not only is it wrong for him to behave that way toward you. will help keep the individual emotionally composed.

Ellis maintains that "you create your own anger philosophically. Once she felt (over and over again) the alienated feelings inside of her. A person who was abandoned by a parent when little may feel alienated and worthless. So when Ellis says that the person must change his assumptions about the world he neglects the fact that behavior is based on feelings. he has to reach back into history for the origins of his feelings. To change matters he has to change his feelings. which is where history is lodged. who claim that the emotion does not exist without the thought. The attempt at harmony is an attempt at balance. In short. Furthermore." or "They don't know what I'm really like." or "It'll never last -. There is no notion of feelings. The child has feelings long before he has words to describe them. That is because you are out of touch with your feelings and cannot imagine that they motivate you." There will be a strong tendency to undermine such developments in order to return himself to the past which preoccupies him. in short. They make our feelings harmonious with our ideas. Now what? Better repression. Is that progress? Is behavior the be-all and end-all of therapy. and Ellis assumes they are neurotic and need changing. No notion. which when felt often leads to the spontaneous evaporation of the idea. Could one imagine having feelings that were in contradistinction to one's ideas? It would be most uncomfortable. Even if the ideas are altered by a therapist. but he wouldn't believe and behave as he does without the feeling to direct him. RET arbitrarily detaches the idea from the feeling which infuses it. The early abandonment is the center. something we have seen. Where else would we get our assumptions from if not history? They are certainly not acquired like so much mental dust from the philosophical atmosphere. Ellis hews strictly to the present. Ellis neglects all of the recent research on the blocking mechanisms in the brain that keep feelings and thoughts apart. Ellis apotheosizes the disconnection of feelings and ideas. In any case. All of these neurotic assumptions. not simply on assumptions. he will start to mend his mistaken philosophical ways. the belief brings him back to the very feeling which prompted the belief. If we were to take just her ideas as though they sprung from the air and tried to convince her that there were no aliens. less being in touch with oneself. In other words. Such conclusions might be: "They are only helping me because they want something.Ellis would counsel him to change his assumptions. they serve an important purpose. albeit neurotic balance. There are those. There are also those who argue that once our loner has experienced the loyalty and dependability of others (or at least understood that it can be found). it's all over. if the one he loves and needs leaves him. Because firstly. Whereas we look to the past for the source of a patient's present feeling states. the delusions left. He is busy telling the patient all about the assumptions he is carrying around that have to change. and it must be brought into consciousness if the influence it exerts on all facets of the person's life is to fade. the feelings are still there. If the idea is held tenaciously. it is unlikely. Once they find out. The woman above felt alienated. Helpless and hopeless. She imagined that the aliens were outside of her instead of inside." This seems to me to be true whether we are speaking of philosophy on the grand scale or everyday personal catchphrases. Though this can happen. and secondly. There is ample evidence in the neurologic literature that feelings can be organized below the level of conscious awareness. Primal Theory recognizes that they are all of a piece. He doesn't just "assume" women are dangerous. Someone who says that they cannot rely on anyone has clearly had the experience of being let down by another. Say someone assumes that women are dangerous because his whole history with his mother was dangerous. An individual can feel a certain way without the belief or behavior to support it. but he is quick to differentiate between what he calls . he will distrust the experience no matter how it proceeds and will find other conclusions to uphold his underlying feeling of distrust. To change his feelings he has to have contact with them throughout his history. It is unconsciously a basic distrust of the patient. Do you attempt to dissuade her or dissuade any paranoid from her ideas? You can talk yourself blue in the face doing that. and that you can liberate yourself from emotions such as suspicion and loneliness by replacing your conventional way of thinking with a more positive one. He then acquires the attitude that people will let him down. This may subsequently generalized into a number of philosophical positions: that people cannot be relied upon. The generalization that "There is no use in relying on anyone" is an historical account. The patient nods and Ellis goes on lecturing. consciousness or unconsciousness in their schema. Later. more disconnection. implying that the former don't count nearly as much as the latter. If you live in your "head" you might imagine that behavior is driven by ideas.they'll do something in the end to show that they can't be relied on. The idea is driven by a feeling. etc. and not vice versa. He explains that insight is the key to RET. philosophy tends to be "a species of involuntary and unconscious autobiography. that being a loner is virtuous. before it converts to the assumption. he will not cultivate such people. of the total human being. The point is he is prophesying something that has already occurred. thought patterns. Such assumptions are based upon real experience. He may never have been helped by his parents and has learned not to expect it. He is the center of wisdom and power in the therapy. a statement of actual experience. lower than the ideational processing mechanisms of the cortex. the unconscious reasoning or assumption would be that it must be because he deserves to be left. To watch films of his therapy one sees what an intellectual process it is for him. But aiming therapy exclusively at such attitudes is to mistake the rim of the target for its center. But it's not so easy. and who repeats these sentences to himself interminably? Miserably alone. A number of feelings do not get transferred to the left hemisphere thought processes early on because the connecting pathways along the corpus collosum which bridge the two brain hemispheres are not fully developed until the age of ten. At this point receiving what he never had may be more painful than struggling for it. Take the mystical notion of aliens coming to take a person to a strange land. symbolize the Pain so that the person need not face it. It goes through the idea to the feeling. How does the person feel who constantly predicts that everyone will fail him. like Ellis." he is fighting against a relentless undercurrent. that he is intrinsically unlovable. As Nietzsche rightly pointed out. It is clearly not a matter of ideas. If you are a Behaviorist it is. And no matter how hard he tries to change this "assumption. then it indicates that he was probably let down by someone vitally important to his well-being early in life. The emotion is a response not only to a present situation but also an echo of past hurt. and belief systems."[20] I could not disagree more. you do not erase history anymore than you erase part of your physiology. we would be fighting against her history and her physiology.

RET insight and insight according to classical theory. political viewpoints. He deals with presenting symptoms. 1 -.no matter how or when you may have acquired them -." As adults. teachers. shallow and phenotypic. anxiety. 1. not our parents or others. All three systems revolve around the concept of should or must by which we upset and devalue ourselves and others." This. dwelling on those past traumas only serves to reinforce the fear. But you are not left totally on your own in this next endeavor. of course.feeling hurt because someone was mean -. what's knowledge without action? It is not enough to recognize the problematic beliefs as irrational in a generic sense. What Ellis forgets is that the childish concept that a child should be loved is not neurotic." Irrational Idea No.Granted the influences of your parents. And if we do not get to work on them. and overall worthlessness. however. and punish them for their inconsideration. eradicates the symptoms -. is: "I must understand the nature and secrets of the universe to live happily in it." Insight No. or predictability in the universe around me in order to feel comfortable and to perform adequately. The past remains fixed and unchangeable while you may affect the present and future by your own actions. Irrational Idea No. certainty." Ellis believes that these obsessive ways of thinking account for a wide diversity of feelings and problems we experience. He also recognizes that children are "at the mercy of" their elders." This accounts for the self-hating and self-depreciating end of the emotional spectrum. they by no means remain fixed and unchangeable. the focus is on the present situation.and feel better. "we can seriously question the degree to which our childhood experiences influence us. that makes it unpleasant for us. beliefs. professional preferences. feelings of inadequacy. really reason through the specific points of illogic and irrationality in the belief. Ellis again provides a framework for this part of the RET method in the form of "three major insights or understandings that will help you dispute irrational beliefs. leads to strong feelings of depression. It happened. you must then carry out the second most pivotal act of disputing them. not then and not now. According to Ellis: Insights about one's childhood or distant past prove of little or no service in facilitating adequate "working through" of a client's problems. we have the ability to make conscious choices every day. not to your infantile ones." Here is one of this idea's thirteen corollaries: "I must remain a helpless victim of anxiety."[23] Thus. Ellis terms this process of stubborn self-denigration "musturbation. and that they have "little or no choice in their somewhat helpless situation. Under the first point Ellis explains: . to Ellis." Another: "I must find a high degree of order. And further. and feelings as if they were so much putty.and imagines that effective treatment has taken place."[22] Ellis does recognize the complete dependency and need that characterizes childhood. a therapy of appearances. We. "What happened ten or twenty years ago. and hostility unless the conditions that cause my unhappiness change and allow me to stop feeling disturbed.[21] Thus an animal phobia can be better treated by locating the pertinent irrational beliefs underlying it than by attempting to trace it back to childhood trauma. you may then somewhat "logically" conclude: "If I do rate as a rotten or inferior person. In RET. proves the primary assumption upon which RET is based. depression." He cites how in adulthood we may easily differ with our parents in regard to religious convictions. The unloved child still resides in the person and directs his actions now. One corollary. This.. as almost all people in all parts of the world seem to. religious leaders." He then provides an outline of "the whole system of the irrational beliefs that contribute to or 'cause' emotional disturbances." Each of the three major irrational ideas has a number of corollaries or sub-ideas. for example. and environment may greatly contribute to your growth and formation. really elucidate. "The responsibility to change your life." Once you have accomplished the pivotal act of discovering your irrational beliefs. The insight is that you can therefore change those beliefs -. damn. Ellis explains the logical progression from the idea to the feeling of worthlessness and self-destruction: Once you believe this idea. Insight No. and so forth. If they don't. social and cultural values. Ellis' view is most undynamic. I view my life as awful and might as well begin to give serious consideration to the idea of my own self destruction. you must really nail down.[24] There are some eleven corollaries under Irrational Idea No. 3: "The world (and the people in it) must arrange conditions under which I live so that I get everything that I want when I want it. 1 is a really recapitulation of the RET position that our beliefs constitute the single most influential factor in how we feel and behave. Irrational Idea No. Rather. Irrational Beliefs and Neurosis RET says that adult emotional problems stem almost invariably from one of three major irrational belief systems. society and the universe should severely blame. are the agents of the choices we make." Ellis maintains.. In fact. 2: "Others must treat me considerately and kindly and in precisely the way I want them to treat me. conditions must exist so that I don't get what I don't want."I must do well and win approval of others for my performances or else I will rate as a rotten person. and the insights achieved by the application of its methods are insights about present irrational beliefs. Moreover. We can mold our thoughts. "has little or no value now. not the event itself. "involves your willingness to separate yourself from the childish concept that your parents still have responsibility for your actions and attitudes today. 2 contains two key RET points: (1) We sustain our emotional problems by mentally repeating and reiterating our irrational beliefs to ourselves. I usually must get what I want quickly and easily. After all." Ellis says. and (2) Epictetus' idea that it is our view of an unpleasant event. And it also involves your attending to your present and future situations. yet you'd better realize that although these factors significantly influence development. we are basically the architects of our own unhappiness.

This is what often happens. you almost certainly do not give the incident much thought after a . having found it difficult to nail down causality. so we must therefore be repeating the original irrational beliefs in order to sustain the original irrational emotions over such a long period: Unless you continually repeat to yourself your irrational beliefs and thus vigorously throw yourself into holding onto them and perhaps even acting aggressively while holding them. It is hard to believe that Ellis actually purports to reduce all experience to a matter of indoctrination or teaching. They react. once he has recognized it as such. Certainly the patient is partly responsible for its continuation if he fails to do something about it. but it leaves me wondering why anyone would knowingly seek to make themselves suffer. He may decide that he is more comfortable in the half-world of neurosis than he would be in an emotionally-naked encounter with his Pain. so we had better turn our attention to the current manifestations of these tendencies. indifference. such beliefs serve to keep the Pain in check while at the same time obliquely expressing it. humiliation. We choose to be neurotic. that makes us feel unpleasant -. so that attaining health becomes a matter of making new decisions. they are all reacting to being hurt. RET seeks to hold back the waves with words. when not being able to make a decision is part of the neurosis? After Ellis explains his second point -. One can't help suspecting that. which they often do. A sick choice is based on sickness. The matter of secondary gain in neurosis partly confuses this issue. They feel so badly. For instance. Ellis says that doctrines and teachings are what neurotics repeat. ranging from mild neurosis to psychosis. They have been affected. neglect. But as adults we are fully equipped to do so. It merely enables that agent. in the fashion of Canute. A person's choice to remain sick does not mean that choice is the essence of the sickness. No child suffering any of the injuries listed above shows signs of having registered a doctrine. so naked and vulnerable in the face of their Pain that the Pain conjures up the specter of an omniscient Being who will watch over and protect and love them -. but he often finds that his symptoms bring external rewards.who will in effect save them from their Pain. Ellis makes it sound as if a neurotic's repetition of unhealthy ideas is voluntary.he points out that we often cannot remember the details of what happened. and certainly having nothing to do with exhortative sentences? Do you suddenly wake up apprehensive or depressive long before you've shaken the cobwebs out of your head to be able to form sentences? If beliefs result from experiences. But even that decision is prompted by Pain.which in effect allows him to invent an easier cause. Neurosis is laid down as experience.irrational beliefs by your own repetition of these ideas in your mind and your continued acting upon them. Ellis has decided that the underlying cause is too difficult to do anything about -. a biologic systems "opts" for neurosis because it serves a survival purpose: to protect us from overwhelming Pain and keep us alive.[25] He notes that children have a limited ability to recognize irrationality in the "teachings" given to them by their parents. it is devilishly hard to get people to make the "right" choices. Rather it is our own "constant repetition of the early acquired doctrines" that is the prime culprit in today's difficulties. Inappropriate Emotional Consequences remain in existence because you continue to maintain irrational philosophies or beliefs from which they stem. but gains attention and the efforts of concerned friends seeking to remove the cause for complaint. contempt and abuse conceptually received? No doubt the child learns a lesson. A child must repress the memory of her father doing things to her or her mother going out the door never to return. Likewise. but surely to call these and lesser miseries mere doctrines is to demonstrate a one-dimensional view of human existence. You can in fact watch the progression from Pain to belief.it is our view of an unpleasant event. is how does one make the decision to make the decision not to be neurotic. Is the child hurt by incest only because she has the wrong philosophy about what to expect from a father? Or is it a devastating experience that is rarely conscious later on? Young children do not have the physiologic wherewithal to sit around making choices. for example. What I often note about therapies such as RET. in the born-again experience. In fact. Neurosis is a reflexive reaction to too much Pain. It is nearly axiomatic that people suddenly "find God" at the time when they are closest to their Pain. not as ideas. Can you imagine anyone going around repeating sentences to himself ad nauseam? Do you repeat sentences to yourself over and over again? Is that what makes you depressed or anxious? Or do panic attacks suddenly arise. he makes choice the key. it isn't. Is a beating at the hands of a drunken father a doctrine? Is sudden abandonment by a mother a mere teaching? Are impatience. They feel bad.. Neurosis is global.RET teaches that you carry on your early acquired. I believe it is because. and you continue to feel emotions such as anger. it is not something which is considered and chosen. we would put the world to rights in no time. which is essentially decision therapy. as is the stress hormone levels and the neurotransmitter output. Ellis would have us believe that we opt for sickness or health as a result of some evolutionary whimsy. the choice to become healthy is important but in itself it is not the agent of change. In other words. a person not only "benefits" from the basic repression which allows him to survive the Pain. The fact that many of our negative emotions operate differently in us as adults than they did during our childhood indicates to Ellis that early conditioning is not the sole factor. It is too biologically profound and obscure to investigate. rather than the event itself. Ellis opted instead for a cause which is beyond either sensible argument or informed support. You seem to do this automatically or "passively" but if you look more closely you will see that you actively keep indoctrinating yourself with irrational Beliefs. Although there are gradations to their reactions. not on choices. Possibly because it is easier to remedy something chosen. Not only does this seem to contradict Ellis' own theory of genetic predetermination. But of course. If that were true.. Neurosis is a compromise for the sake of survival. a chronic complainer not only keeps the Pain at bay. not instructed. The thyroid is affected. Ellis might interpret this as voluntary neurosis. As Ellis himself admits. We can see this clearly in the case of something or someone who upset us a long time ago. anxiety and depression at C because you either consciously or unconsciously keep reiterating your irrational Beliefs to yourself. seemingly stemming from nowhere. yet we continue to be upset. rejection. In his keenness to do something about neurosis. The whole biologic system deviates from normal. His almost glib assertions about a specific inherent neurotic inclination display either a loss of theoretical stamina or a taste for working upside down. The specifics of what happened are lost to our memory.

rather than the (original) conditions themselves .reasonably short period of time. no universal law exists. Ellis is again the repository of reality. aspirations. must not treat me unfairly. "and unless you Dispute your (irrational beliefs) powerfully. simply real reactions to real events. Ray Di Giuseppe. That history may not have been resolved. but to feel one's way through the anger. Is that a way to lead a life. however. it exacerbates our current reactions. You react with anger and rage. dignity.. and in the Pain beneath it lies his means to becoming truly reasonable. which in turn the therapist is supposed to modify through insistent "rational" exhortation. but an excerpt is sufficient to provide a taste of the process: "Granted that he has dealt with me unfairly and that virtually everyone in our society would agree that he has." For no matter how aware we are of our irrational beliefs. anger fades into mere rational disappointment. Don't expect anything and you won't be hurt. we learn what their irrational beliefs are. nothing better. He decides what a proper reaction is.[29] Two pages later. If bad results occur by someone's actions. Yet morality doesn't actually determine what ought or should exist. His analysis goes on at considerable length. moral. but only as a window into the beliefs that supposedly generate them. What would Ellis do with someone who spent three years in a concentration camp? Is it neurotic on the part of the victim because he expected to be treated fairly and fed three times a day? Is it just his attitudes that need changing? Or was his life destroyed by confinement. lack of privacy."[28] Toward this end. What if expecting decent treatment is not neurotic? What if expecting love is not neurotic? If you weren't loved he is going to help you think it wasn't and isn't necessary. Insight No."[27] And a final caution: "Remember. Ellis arrives at the desired rational belief needed to properly dispute the above irrational belief. Have rationale: will travel. one might say that if the people in general ignored the oughts and shoulds of its social. Being talked out of one's feelings is the quickest path to confusion and tension. that's all. Instead. A gap opens up between what is biologically imperative and what we actually receive. it wouldn't be neurotic. kindness? Was his life ruined by daily threats of death and of watching others march to their deaths? It is not a matter of philosophy. what evidence exists. The guy walking down the street shouting at imaginary tormentors -.[26] [Italics original] Here again Ellis is saying that outer experience has no intrinsic reality. Ellis uses a hypothetical example in which a friend has withdrawn from a living agreement. RET will provide a rationale for whatever the situation. No good is achieved. view of that original (situation)_. Ellis next attempts to help the reader develop the needed skills for Disputing. But in telling us what we should believe and think and feel." Ellis then proceeds to suggest how one might dispute the irrational viewpoint. their society could not survive as a civilized unit. it merely establishes definitions or guidelines with regard to either right or wrong. One of these is: "He (your friend) should not. and the patient is left to follow his directions. In his anger lies the reason for it.. You put your anger through the RET mill and discover that there are several irrational beliefs underlying it. He's still overreacting to past incidents the basically ephemeral nature of which he was and is too irrational to perceive. In other words. Ellis counsels that changing our irrational beliefs. Failure in this area leaves us with the feeling of unfairness. When someone in our current life lets us down. to feel its early context. What makes for overreactions in the present is the historical weight added to it. What Ellis has discovered is a giant rationale for keeping real hurt away. Your ongoing. But for those less sophisticated? What do they do? Here again.but only up to a point. however. RET does make an attempt to deal with feelings. the sooner you will dispel them. He further explains that beliefs vary in intensity. It may also be a throwback to the early-life situation in which we have needs that parents are biologically obliged to fulfill.giving up hopes. the members of a society may feel impelled -. the more powerfully and consistently you dispute (at point D) your anxietycreating or anger-producing (irrational beliefs). and ethical standards.because of civilized morality --to lay some sanctions against the transgressor in order to persuade him or her to act otherwise in the future. no change will occur until we take action and dispute them. It reads: "Although it would seem desirable to get treated fairly at all times.his thinking is just a little off. director of training and research at the Institute for Rational-Emotive Therapy. So be it. that he ought not abuse me in this unfair manner?" If we approach this question from the point of social morality. because that's when. as if "appropriate" thinking and feeling were something you teach rats in a cage how to do properly. nothing worse.. Turning oneself into a student of universal law has little to do with personal therapy. leaving you with no roommate and less money. skill in disputing means taking an irrational belief and putting it through the rigors of logical analysis. no reason commands I must get treated fairly. it is what we make of it. or sustained.keeps you upset. The answer is not to objectivelythink one's anger away.. if it were confined to the present. even psychotics suffer solely as a result of their "invention" of traumas that were never really so traumatic. To analyze what might make you angry in a situation in to gain insight is all well and good -. According to Ellis. Otherwise. requires a "great deal of work and practice. explains that RET focuses on trying "to help patients get in touch with their feelings. civilized morality states that one had better act "properly" rather than "improperly" and goes on to dictate that otherwise bad results will accrue. It is a matter of humanity. and desires to avoid suffering? It is fine for those urban types who live in their heads and can develop intellectual rationales. We are reminded (consciously or unconsciously) of what was our due compared to what was our lot. we are opened to the history of being let down. The individual feels angry. The idea that we ought to be treated in certain ways and not in others can have an objective validity in the here and now. Without that baggage there would be no neurotic reaction. science takes a back seat while the therapist elevates his neurosis to the level of a theory. As noted earlier. The logical recognition that there is no universal law or power requiring you to be treated fairly reinstates your emotional equilibrium. and although social rules declare it advisable for people to act fairly to me. and the disturbed feelings and behaviors they generate. of being let down. 3 is the call to arms. What we should have or what we ought to have implies not having or not having had. We teach them how to modify the quality of their . between natural expectation based on instinct and the social realities affecting fulfillment of that expectation." Once one can accept this viewpoint. you stand a good chance that they will gain a controlling influence in a situation. by exerting strenuous efforts to agree with someone else's so-called rational viewpoint. as therapists.

yet the circuits continued to reverberate. or lets out a scream of frustration. he also contends that an "unconscious rehearsing of statements" must also occur. This implies some kind of cortical superiority whereby thought processes would have a regulating. Thus. altering hormone output. The third false assumption is closely entwined with the second. surely you cannot be rid of them.many. No one can ever expect to attain perfection at all times. or sentences. Or by cutting the corpus collosum to block the transfer of information from one hemisphere to another. In actuality. do not travel to where they should go. Critique: A Primal View Albert Ellis' theory is based on three false assumptions.. and even then. But what is "repeated" is not ideas. all humans do. yet by using the RET methods. Rather than producing "elegant solutions. It now has to examine itself according to foreign lights. The problem with this notion is one of contradiction. the tension increasing with every new dispute undertaken. because feelings are processed subcortically. It amounts to acquiring a great tangle of intellectual clutter. and he really does. you will always use your ability to recognize your iBs and iCs (irrational consequences) and you will have the process for debating and disputing them at hand so you may rid yourself of them as they recur. the unhappy neurotic is further confined by a baffling though more refined maze of thought. you can have feelings which are unconscious. unravelling intricate spools of logic and learning sophisticated methods of debate with itself. The person who is in great physical pain now is able to deny it. even vigorously throwing ourselves into holding onto them. you will tend to sink back into your irrational beliefs and into your inappropriate Consequences. Ellis not only contends that ideas are necessary to sustain an irrational (neurotic) response. It's the distinction between feeling sadness and depression. neurological dominance over feeling processes. and so on. Agreement with a viewpoint belonging to another does not mean the anger or other emotion fades. his heart will stop thumping. many times. but merely because he is saying to himself something to the effect of. Emotional events in human beings are also stored in the limbic system. no matter how important. Was this because they were repeating the wrong sentences over and over to themselves? Or was it that they underwent experiences that they could not predict or control and which finally made them sick? Ellis' demonstrations on the skill of disputation of irrational belief are informative."[30] On the one hand Di Giuseppe says that it's important to feel. thoughts.[31] If your iBs and your iCs keep recurring. Ellis' methods evoke images of desperate attempts to keep the lid on a powerfully sprung jack-in-the-box by applying heavier and heavier ropes of so-called logic and reason. to convince people to feel differently than they do. It is not enough that it is already battling away. You will often tend to regress into your former habits. and he will be able to get on with his life. There wouldn't be time for anything else in life. The experiments were designed to show that single events can result in long-lasting effects. strongly. changing blood sugar. Only with continual practice will you probably uproot your iBs (irrational beliefs) thoroughly. constricting blood vessels. and until you practice them over and over again. He is compelled to quell the Pain.. and yet Ellis seems to want to tax the poor brain with even more to do. But he can't because his body dictates his behavior. on the third level of consciousness. The disconnected person who is still in Pain may say that he wants to quit drugs. It all sounds exhausting. It only means it has been repressed. Clearly dogs have no neurologic equipment for such conceptualizations as Ellis suggests. "Oh." as Ellis claims to do. In essence. or because the near miss brings up feelings from the past. In Ronald Melzack's experiments with dogs. They began to feel helpless and hopeless and developed tumors. His first false assumption is that thoughts remain paramount over feeling such that you can change your feelings by changing your thinking. We now know that neural circuits of engraved traumatic events reverberate continuously throughout the limbic system. From this perspective. The second false assumption is that ideas are necessary to sustain an emotional response. How incredibly tiring.feelings so they don't get knocked over by them. Neurosis is the result of an overload of information called Pain. Unconscious ideation is a contradiction in terms. . The effects of these events are engraved subcortically and continue to reverberate whether or not any sentences are repeated subconsciously. Something like a near-miss auto accident can activate these circuits so that unconscious memories suddenly become conscious. thoughts (plus the belief systems they constellate) and feelings are organized in different areas of the brain. Thus we continually repeat our irrational beliefs to ourselves. He is invited to jog through the labyrinth of Ellisian dogma until I fear he collapses in a heap. a single electronic "zap" to the limbic system produced continuous. However. my heavens! How terrible it would have been if that car had hit me!" If he can just put a cork on the internal chatter. until you do them vigorously. he will stop trembling. the person who experienced a near-miss auto accident two hours ago is still shaking and unnerved not because of the unsettling nature of the experience itself.. Here again Ellis demonstrates a surprisingly narrow comprehension of the nature of experience. It is possible through surgery of the prefrontal cortex to disconnect feelings completely from ideas. And the gating mechanisms can disconnect them so that messages. for instance. reducing it to the domain of thought by viewing it as the sole sustainer and sculptor of how we feel. and powerfully. In attempting to explain why neurotics stay anxious and upset over even trivial events. patients are told to roll up their sleeves and be prepared to do battle indefinitely with these demons: Until you go through these ABCs. Are adherents of RET aware of Liebenskind's experiments at UCLA administering inescapable footshocks to rats periodically. One can eliminate the awareness of Pain by severing the orbitofrontal pathways such that one's ideas about one's Pain contradict the actual physical state of pain. long-term neurological reverberations. Ellis concludes that it is because of repeated ideas. Ideas are processed cortically. never for all time to come.We teach people to take out the self-destructive nature of the emotion so they can function in the world. triggered by the near-miss auto accident are reverberating circuits of feelings. but on the other there is the attempt to change feelings..

and the like -. You don't need love. I have seen hundreds of patients who have said everything in the book to themselves to get over their problems. Ellis' outlook toward the results of his own therapy is as tough-minded and insouciant as his view of neurosis. he must have some hidden."[32] he is saying that no event is intrinsically traumatic. as adults we are the only ones who can undo our Pain. the patient is now being made to feel anxious and guilty about being anxious! He's just being "pigheaded." and it's his fault. [33] . not a mental issue." I wonder what the patient is saying. and in that sense we are responsible for it. rejection. Whatever sentences accompany the experience are merely extensions -. and says over and over again. pressure.but we make out of them just what suits our purposes. indifference. It follows feeling -. rejection. or whatever it is we neurotically desire. that is their terrible frustration. but nothing worked. It's an illusion. In reality. you just think you do." Is it? Or is it a real need based on history? The infant doesn't interpret his trauma. Ellis says that we determine the meanings we give to situations. Indeed. feeling the Pain of the wound means you want to be hurt.not even love. Meaning is the last element in the neural hierarchy of perception. Ideas are meant to pinpoint and make sense out of sensations and feelings. If they choose not to get better. It is not a cognitive utterance. "I don't need stability. You cannot heal without feeling the Pain of the wound. no rational. Ellis contends that sentences are the realities. He pushes patients toward "more elegant solutions" even when they resist. Ellis contends that the patient is responsible for making his own life.Memories of being chased and beaten by a brother or father. if I had a public speaking phobia. the meaning one assigns to a situation in the present is not a deliberately chosen one. And I would furthermore work at giving up several concomitant feelings of shame. it is simply "tough!" And that about sums up the leitmotif of Ellis's therapy -. When Ellis states. because of the very real lack of warmth and kindness and belonging he has experienced. "No one says I have to succeed all the time. But how. The people in est some years ago extended Ellis's ideas so that even a young child was responsible for his own neurosis. and the therapist's job is to craftily discern what we are getting from our behavior -. In other words. affection. hostility. beatings and humiliations (let us not forget the epidemic proportions of child abuse in this country). But I would also work very hard at giving up the belief that I must impress others with my speaking and that my life would turn into a holy horror if I did not. no matter how hard they tried. an alteration of one's total physiology. The patient is then left with the disturbing implication that if Ellis' theories and therapy don't work for him. masochistic desire for them not to work. We are anxious because we perversely insist on telling ourselves the wrong things. and according to Ellis. Ellis implies that we are all basically self-destructive in that we choose our neurosis. Ideas were the last to develop in evolution and follow the lower levels which developed hundreds of millions of years previously. Is she saying. but one that reflects unconscious processes at work. "We do not suffer from the shock of our experiences -. Change your thoughts and presto! your need disappears. The experience of nearly being killed in an auto accident is an experience of severe trauma. then "tough!" Ellis is no doubt saying to himself.not agents -. This is a harmful oversimplification of the concept of self-responsibility.as I did during my twentieth year.be tough. and if I don't. We get something out of being neurotic. Of course. For him the grim reality that patients change only moderately in his therapy is not something to feel badly about. But Ellis treats self-responsibility with a kind of superficial flippancy. If I don't succeed I don't want to live anymore"? Obviously. I contend that Pain is the reality. and therefore. Here is a sampling of his Marine-style therapy applied personally: Today. Perhaps the stability he requires now is an illusion and isn't really necessary. and that he must simply choose to feel good. Converting Personal Experience into a Therapy Ellis is as tough on himself as he is on his patients. It reflects how one feels about the situations. better to exhort and persuade himself that he is succumbing to sentimental irrationality. Such attitudes make healing impossible. And the patient agrees. nothing worked to quell the Pain. There are not too many interpretations for all the traumas he goes through -. "I have led a miserable life. in Rational Emotive Therapy. concern. he suffers it.of it.violent fighting between parents. This is my last chance. Ellis is using his own therapy on himself by using strings of words to alleviate or circumvent any possible feelings of failure. He later goes to a RET therapist and is told that perhaps he shouldn't have expected love in the first place. rejection. A person suffers when he spends the first ten years of his life in three or four foster homes.attention.to "suit" his purposes? Why would a child have such miserable purposes to begin with? Why would a child want to neuroticize experiences if they had been truly healthy ones in the first place? Where do these "purposes" come from? What prior forces shape the purposes for which we use or invent trauma to suit ourselves? Neurosis is a profound biologic state. "We are in pain because we want to be" is really a remake of the puritan viewpoint that bad things happen to us because we are sinful. develop excuses or rationales for your behavior because nothing really matters -. And if he does feel badly about it for a moment.the so-called trauma -. and abandonment. there is no reality. memories of first-grade bullies -. "No one says therapy has to succeed. however. too bad!"? Or is she saying. too bad. does a child twist real catastrophes -. I would still force myself to give many talks in a row -. memories of fighting parents. but because of the very real heartache.neuroembryologically. and if those elegant solutions don't work.all can be triggered by experiences in the present. The foster child mentioned above will not become neurotic because of his attitudes toward the foster homes. implying self-destructive intentionality on the part of the patient if he doesn't get well. according to Ellis. and that sentences may arise out of feelings in order to justify and rationalize them.except Pain. Ultimately. psychologically. and if it doesn't.

They cannot passively relax because they are too busy using action to run from what is inside. he seems to regard action and aggression as the highest goals of therapeutic achievement. one doesn't have the energy to desire anything except rest. not on passing thoughts. and childhood traumatic feelings are the only way to account for the continuity of irrational ideas. neurologically speaking.but because he is agitated by Pain. If it were that easy. sleep problems. the context is missing. They stay on the move because to stop might mean to have to feel certain things they are terrified to confront. The infant is beset by these problems not because he is rehearsing irrational ideas -." Ellis asserts: According to learning theory and strict behavior therapy. get out and DO! His adage seems to be. a common delusion. differentiate. His position implies that if you are more passive and reflective." it is his ideation. diminished the delusion. which took weeks of feeling to reach. "If you are active and functioning. The process of trying new behaviors and understanding what happened in the real world led me to overcome my fear of speaking to women. This is true in the evolution of the species as well as in the life of each individual. her ideas would seem totally paranoid. Not surprisingly. for introversion-extroversion predispositions. It's the "get over it" school of psychology. not thought. which is why feeling remains the inroad to desire. This again indicates the fact that ideas are derived from lower-level neurological processes. he is bound to remain neurotic and irrational -. and who then change their ideas and irrational thoughts immediately without any discussion whatsoever taking place. "I caused the war!" dissipated when she felt that she caused the war between her parents when she witnessed a violent argument at the age of five when her father left the house permanently. He may have allergies. Recalling this self-imposed "exercise. These factors can be altered early on by trauma.is putting the cart before the horse. In actuality. Ellis makes much of the "desire" to change.is because giving up feelings amounts to giving up parts of oneself. Ideas are a much later development than feelings. No need to introspect. . he could just as easily go all the way and get over all of his neurosis. which work on lower brain centers. Without that context. Again. The clearest illustration of my point is found in the case of psychotics with delusional ideation who are given particular painkillers. loss of desire is precisely the problem: the person doesn't desire to doanything. This is one reason why Ellis' action approach is one-dimensional and lopsided: it does not allow for individual differences. then you are fine. or unduly hyperactive." But the truth is that most doer neurotics are terrified of being without activity. There are physiologic factors to take into account. only it occurred thirty years earlier. Tranquilizers.even when that something is wanting to feel better -. Feeling and ideation are a unity. a constant whiner. children can be neurotic long before they develop ideas. A serious depressive cannot be coaxed into desiring to feel better. Forcing a patient to desire to do something -. Ellis has it backwards. When someone is forced to be "real and logical" in the present. These ideas can endure unchanged for a lifetime. If one is deficient in interleukin II. reflect on one's self and one's feelings. The dialectic of neurosis pertains: when we feel our own past reality. He has not paid attention to neurology. deficient in thyroid and is anemic. Ellis himself had learned as a young man to combat fear and shyness with action and boldness. What he doesn't realize is that the reason force is necessary -. in order to overcome his "terror" of speaking before a political group to which he belonged he devised a number of "shame-attacking" exercises for himself. eating problems. I discussed in another work the delusion of a young woman who thought someone in Europe was sending messages to her through her television set. not on thought centers. Should we have convinced her that there was no war so she couldn't possibly have caused it? There was a war. But I realized that throughout this exercise no one vomited. at age 19."[34] This worked for Ellis. if you act less and introspect more. is Ellis' view. why not assist others achieve a similar growth? Ellis has extrapolated from his own personal life a philosophy and a mindset which he believes is universally applicable. Ellis is blind to the "doer" neurosis where action is used as a defense. or for the inwardlyoriented life. skewing the physiology toward the "hypo" or undersecretion mode.not only because he is forced to adopt somebody else's idea about reality which has no relevance to his own physiology. The point is that the ideas make perfect sense once they are reconnected to the past. When we do not feel our past. and symbolize them. and where passivity (inaction) would really be a step toward health. Irrational ideas persist when feelings are buried. the current unreality remains. In fact. To overlay it with the therapist's ideation is to make it only more inaccessible. A one-year-old child who hasn't developed the cortex to formulate ideas can still be very neurotic. our current unreality disappears. my lack of rewards should have extinguished my efforts to meet women. According to a 1988 portrait of Ellis in Psychology Today. The delusion in one of my patients. Ellis' example regarding public speaking is actually an oblique reference to the fears against which he had effectively "desensitized" himself long before. but because they are reverberating below the level of conscious-awareness untouched by new ideas. no one called a cop and I didn't die. In the order of the development of the brain.Ellis believes that you have to give up your feelings and force yourself into action in order to function. Our ideas and concepts emerge out of sensation and feeling in order to express. It is asking the patient to get over some of his neurosis in order to get over the rest of his neurosis. Even though that current ideation is "irrational. Feelings shape our attitudes. We must spur ourselves into action. until he no longer felt uncomfortable doing so. Ellis' error grows out of his belief that neurosis is a set of ideas separate from the total state of the person.not to mention the hard work and practice he so often refers to -. Such psychological amputations do indeed require force. sensations come first. then you are less adapted to the world. He may be a headbanger. colic. But how do you get someone to feel that desire? In some types of neurosis. his neurotic synchrony. This is not because they are being rehearsed. and finally ideas. and repeatedly forced himself to speak up in public forums as often as possible. trying to do anything is a great effort. Thereafter. Desire rides on feeling and on physiology. or other such ailments as a consequence of his repressed Pain. He later forced himself to overcome his fears of talking to women by striking up conversations with dozens of them in a park in New York. and are altered when those processes are altered. but also because he is now deprived of the direct tie between old feelings and current ideation. which is why they seem irrational. then emotion. And why do these ideas persist? Why do they plague us despite all our awareness and self-analyses? They do so because the continuity of human existence is based on feelings. The fight was about her and her upbringing.

To manipulate.. Most children.to be hostile. but without dramatic upheavals. another would turn up in its place. phobia-ridden." Ellis points out that a parent probably won't be able to spot truly disturbing behavior until the child is at least four years of age because..psychosomatic upsets. are much more afraid of various people. If Ellis studied electroencephalography he would know that the cortex and its rationality aren't fully functional until puberty." In discussing this "irrational" need for love. and these children have to be somehow disabused of their anxiety-creating philosophies of life if they are to live comfortably and if they are to give their parents peace. A child's choices are not really choices at all in the sense that full cognitive deliberations are not his to call upon.is predisposed to neurotic behavior during his first four years because so much of his behavior during that time is. They have physiological imprints of Pain acquired through actual lived events. scared that he would cut himself with a knife. Ellis takes the rather surprising view that love isn't all that necessary: Granting. ineffectual and self-defeating behavior. .. or threaten the child into behavior that merely gives his parents peace is to enforce psychological prostitution upon him. But if a degree of awareness is essential to choice. Neurotic children. as Ellis suggests. like John.[36] Now that we have "justifiably concluded" that a goodly amount of love and acceptance is hardly necessary. and we have seen that hostility and blame. blaming. etc. The first one is: "It is a dire necessity for a human being to be loved or approved by virtually every significant person in his life. then Ellis is out of order. between experience and response. He cannot put so much intellectual distance between action and reaction. He is being asked to deny his own integrity. and that the lack of it does not automatically send each "deprived" youngster into the doldrums.that most children have to be helped and approved to some considerable degree before they begin to accept and value themselves even when they have done many wrong deeds. or immensely afraid of a few. envious. seek such conditions dramatically and wind up by having school phobias. you can then begin to detect neurotic predispositions. he is setting up ("inventing") failures and catastrophes such that "he will sooner or later end up by considering himself worthless and will make himself distinctly neurotic. Furthermore.RET and Childhood Neurosis One might reasonably assume that Ellis' system of cognitive behavioral analysis is applicable only to adults. This is not child therapy. cajole. children are overtaken by neurosis long before the capacity of conceptual awareness is fully operational. and so forth. if he started off with a fear of doing spelling one week -. adequate. however. worried about becoming ill. The child's repertoire is much more limited because his brain simply cannot do the same work. Others. analyze motives. They are not basic tendencies and do not exist in the absence of Pain. and speculate on outcomes. weigh alternatives. John had been plagued by school phobias and other assorted irrational fears all of his young life. He was terrified of going to school. The more catastrophic these events. relatively bizarre and "childish" that it is still too early to see very clearly whether he is headed in a truly aberrant direction. The Primal view of man is not based on such negative suppositions because we have observed human beings experiencing the very depths of their Pain. For instance. that he also uses it on children to show them how they create their own neurotic problems through irrational ideas. no therapy can be called child therapy when its aim is to "give their parents peace.[39] Children do not have "anxiety-creating philosophies of life" which they must be "disabused" of. the more catastrophizing is the child's behavior. by exchanging his Pain for a philosophy that suits his parents' needs. It is then that ideas have some chance against feelings. after all.and conquered that -. of course. He cannot choose to be neurotic. afraid of being assaulted by other boys. consider. excruciating nightmares. we may justifiably conclude that this kind of total acceptance is hardly a requisite for mental health. and events than are average adults. The kind of choices one is capable of making as an adult are very different from those made as a child or infant.then the next week he would have a fear of doing geography.[35] Once a child has outgrown most of the bizarre and childish behavior of early childhood. Some do so mutedly and manage to get through the normal happenings of their existence with too much tenseness. examine options. The adult may reflect.. But a minority of youngsters are pathologically afraid of innumerable things. things. Ellis believes that we all have genetic tendencies to be irrational -. childhood behavior is generally "bizarre": It is exceptionally difficult to tell whether a child. and various other manifestations of intense.. let us look at the second irrational belief which leads the believing child down the path of further neurosis: "One should be thoroughly competent. and how they can choose more logical ways of perceiving the world. an 11-year-old patient. to deny the validity of what he experiences. so that they can stop being plagued by "stupid. and most negative emotions. Most children can hardly be given love and adoration by all their associates and relatives. in the same way that an adult can be prefer one philosophy over another or even welcome some nurturing magical presence into his life. Ellis seems to believe that children are aware of their neurotic "choices" -.[38] Ellis' general attitude toward neurotic children is well summarized by his evaluation of John.. One main sign can be found in the area of self-depreciation. If he managed to overcome one fear or obstacle. irrational fear. at least from an adult standpoint. and achieving in all possible respects if one is to consider oneself worthwhile."[37] Ellis explains that once a child has set up such a premise for himself. are reactions to hurt and deprivation. there is certainly no evidence that youngsters have to be greatly loved if they are to get along reasonably well. Ellis evaluates: John's case epitomizes the fact that certain children are enormous catastrophizers who actively seek conditions to worry and fret about. It is child abuse. or intractable for reasons directly related to the parents themselves. Ellis explains. subscribe to two major irrational beliefs. and since only a small percentage of children seem to turn out to be exceedingly self hating as a result of this dearth of unalloyed approval.hence calling them choices at all." Children are unruly. It turns out.

[30]Psychology Today.43.. pp. p. 19. [6]Ellis.. 188. irrational) and have to be corralled into good behavior. p. only serves to perpetuate neurosis as the accepted condition of mankind. pp. p. [22]Ibid. How to Prevent Your Child From Becoming Neurotic. op. cit.. 57.. p. 300.Anger. .Ellis' view is a twist again on the Freudian and religious notion that we are basically bad or evil (read. 54. 1992. cit.. I believe it is the opposite. p. 21. p. however. 58. 70-71. p. p. 55. We are "made bad. cit. 1966. It is simply lived. p. pp. cit. p. op... cit. cit. op.. Vol. "You Are What You Think. Their perceptions change and are no longer warped.. 1992. p.. When my patients relive early Pain. [28]Ibid. [4]Psychology Today. [31]Ibid. [29]Ibid.. 207. "Making Ourselves Neurotic. p. 19. 19. op. and will continue to exist as a survival mechanism as long as the capacity to inflict deprivation and injury exists. [11]The Humanist. p. 39-46. cit. 49. 3.. op.. p.. [18]Ibid.. 54-58. [3]Quoted in Psychology Today. 54-58.9 [23]Ibid. p. 67-68. I believe we are born eminently rational. cit. According to RET. (New York: Brunner/Mazel. [26]Ibid. [35]Ellis. '88. Back to Table of Contents | Next chapter >> [1]_See Claire Warga. however. [32]Arthur Burton. cit. Ed.and Without -. [15]Ibid.. op. 33-35. 20. pp.. p. p. 56.. March\April. 4. [9]See Albert Ellis' column. the capacity to be hostile exists in everyone. [14]Psychology Today. [10]How to Prevent Your Child From Becoming a Neurotic Adult. p. op. 12. Ellis does not understand that neurosis is a survival mechanism. [24]Ibid. pp. He does not understand that humans become irrational precisely because their basic heredity has been denied. [17]Ibid. is not one of our basic needs. Corsin. 4. Viewing hostility or irrationality as an inherited trait. p.. [34]Psychology Today. 8. Pain deviates our whole system including our psyche. 32. Sept. p.. basic need remains deprived. and neglect.. 191.. p. [7]Ibid." in The Humanist.. Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1976). p. (New York: John Wiley & Sons. When fulfillment occurs. "Are Gays and Lesbians Emotionally Disturbed?" The Humanist.... a "good philosophy of life" does not have to be developed. [12]Ibid. pp. [21]Ibid. 43-44. 1984). [8]Ibid. Getting our needs fulfilled isbasic. [2]Albert Ellis. they return to rationality... p. 55. What Makes Behavior Change Possible?. Of course." Psychology Today. 51. p. p. pp. by abuse. [19]Ibid. [5]Raymond J. op. There is no one quite so perceptive and real as a child untrammeled by Pain. [20]Ibid." We are made hostile by deprivation of need. op. 48.\Oct. Ibid. p. How to Prevent Your Child From Becoming A Neurotic Adult (New York: Crown Publishers). 31. [25]Ibid. 21-22. Without feeling." Having a philosophy. p. Sept. 58. [33]Ibid. p. the solution to the problem of neurosis lies in developing a "good philosophy of life. [13]Albert Ellis. [16]How to Live With -.. [27]Ibid. 43..

" or attitudes and decisions which lead to repetitive ways of behaving. What Do You Do After You Say Hello(1971). Games People Play (1964). we begin treating it as if it is one. Both the mental and emotional components of the memory are retrievable when the brain is stimulated. a tape recorder may be able to hear. He quotes passages from neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield. and Adult. as Harris sees it. Chapter 14: Transactional Analysis: Making a Better Adult Mask Introduction In his well-known book. childhood. or those parental. Upon this framework Berne hung his "blueprint" of personality." Harris acknowledges Berne's contribution to the development and application of TA. which anybody would understand. For these reasons analogies tend to be simple. are thus all explained in terms of a familiar appliance like the tape recorder. learning. as well as the brain in which they are housed." Berne wrote in a later work. and evaluate it. and between a spoiled and impulsive Child and a spontaneous and creative Child -.) 4) Recorded experiences and the feelings associated with them are available for replay today in as vivid a form as when they actually occurred. let us pause to examine Harris' first point. He then extrapolates the following conclusions: 1) The brain functions as a "high fidelity tape recorder. and how we can stop doing what we do if we wish. These represent three separate ego states."[2] The precision vocabulary Harris refers to consists of three words: Parent. p. as both observer and participant. In short. and obvious. judgmental Parent and a positive. [38]Ibid. guiding Parent. which he stresses means that the memory is more relived than recalled. and characterizes Berne's approach as "a blueprint of the mind. "Freedom gives him the power to carry out his own designs. We must learn. 24. The reader makes a jump from the often difficult ground of concept to the more familiar footing of images and pictures. The purpose of TA. along with a precision vocabulary. [37]Ibid. why we do what we do. a video tape recorder can hear and also see.. 3) We can exist in two states at one time." 2) The feelings associated with past experiences also are recorded and are "inextricably locked" to those experiences. This is another cognitive therapy which. We can understand "how the mind operates. [39]Ibid. and actions in order to free oneself from old. p. Since the tape recorder analogy provides the ethos and ambiance of TA therapy. how to differentiate between a negative. that is. beliefs. calls for rational analysis of one's thinking. pp. 23. which no one had constructed before. (Harris concludes this from the fact that Penfield's patients knew they were on the operating table in a hospital at the same time they were reexperiencing vivid memories being stimulated by electrodes. Complex and diverse processes such as memory. and adulthood influences that exist within all of us. and power gives the freedom to interfere with the designs of others. describing how the placement of electronic probes on certain parts of the brain elicits old memories. They make long. is that instead of thinking that the mind is like a tape recorder.all of which is accomplished via the balanced perceptions of the Adult. but neither one of them can feel. restrictive patterns. especially when we are talking about the reality of human beings. p. Whether positive or negative.. and attitudes. In this way we can analyze the elements of our own "scripts. feeling. 27."[1] To explore the theories and practices of TA. comprised of stimuli and responses) and shape our inner state of being. But it certainly is not. these three influences determine the outcome of our transactions (interactions with others." The Theory: P-A-C (Parent-Adult-Child) Interestingly. I have chosen to critique Thomas Harris' popular book I'm OK -. "Each person designs his own life. Child.You're OK. analyze. We forget that we are utilizing analogy or . feelings. described as a "practical guide to Transactional Analysis. and that they contain the mental recall of the experience as well as the original emotions which accompanied it. Theorists like to provide analogies to help clarify ideas and make them more comprehensible. once individuals gain "awareness" of why they think and feel the way they do they can opt for more rational and sensible alternatives." According to TA. The danger here. Harris begins his book with research that also serves as a foundation for Primal theory. Harris offers Penfield's work as proof that childhood memories endure for a lifetime and can be relived under the right conditions. like RET.. TA theory is a tool to "help people better adjust their behaviors and have more satisfying relationships.. to identify the parts of the blueprint. clear. detailed descriptions and explanations unnecessary because they connote rather than denote. 38-39. Harris notes that the memories are apparently encoded in the brain.[36]Ibid. Eric Berne originated Transactional Analysis (TA). is to inform us about the existence of this inner trio and to help us understand.

You're OK" decision is made no later than the age of two. M A. helpless. and cognitive deliberation which are not available in preverbal or precognitive states of development. Berne's term which means positive stimulation. He doesn't. "in order to be criticized and to feel as [he] felt. This Child. Feeling is the primary response of the Child in us."[7] But how is this accomplished -. and then experiences the therapist of being angry or attacking. implies an active process of choosing among factors both old and new andbeing aware that you are doing so. a game or repetitive negative pattern is played out by both. hurtful feelings of childhood. or positive recognition." In the piece from which this example is cited. This conclusion would be an empirical rather than cognitive one. Child. however. To begin with. The Child The Child in Harris' system is a conglomerate of what was heard. because decision-making and pre-cognitive states of being cannot coexist. If neurosis begins as a result of a series of bad transactions. 37) And later in life." the modified version of TA to which Harris adheres. the therapist is there in a "working alliance" with the patient to help the patient make the kinds of decisions which will change her life. to change the responses to recurring and new stimuli. and sensitive. Thus the child might decide that he doesn't want to play baseball based on prior experiences of not being good at the game. every child concludes "I'm not OK" about himself. become neuroticized through transaction(interaction between people).metaphor --clever but incomplete comparisons which can end up diminishing us into ostensibly adjustable machinery and adding to our confusion." in the form of (borrowing from Gestalt Therapy) "a repetition of important unfinished business in the past.You're OK" is established (usually by the age of two) as the "most deterministic decision" of the child's life. autonomy. and a decision -. Ph. Such an analysis "enables a person to have freedom of choice. seen. Harris begins with a description of those aspects of childhood which contribute to the universal starting point for all of us: the not-OK Child. according to Harris. Since the rest of Harris' theory and therapy rests upon the premise of childhood decision-making.[8] This is the basis of what Goulding and Goulding called "redecision therapy.[5] What underlies this unconscious seeking of a payoff? It is a "desperate need for strokes" being experienced by "a suffering Child beneath an apparent Critical Parent. a child might conclude that he was unwanted based on the prior experience of being ignored or mistreated.[3] So they are obedient. Adult. according to Harris.[4] From another source we learn that an individual's repetition of certain behavioral patterns yields him a "payoff. They are not. Aconclusion implies a viewpoint based on or inferred from an accumulation of prior experience. decide that he is unwanted. Rather.You're OK. however. For example. and "You're OK" about his parents. 26) This means that the not OK child exists in all of us. often echoing the client's childhood experiences."[6] And the job of therapists involves finishing this business.every child is small. it would be derived out of the child's life experiences. and utterly dependent -. In other words. A decision. a position. He says that the critical "I'm not OK -. These entities.. In Harris' system. Yet to say that the toddler decides he is not OK clearly implies a consciousness. If the therapist responds in the induced way. its correction must lie in a series of good transactions. and how both are feeding into current transactions.how do we get out of such old tapes and behaviorally-constricting scripts and into more liberating ones? How do we get out of the basic life position of "I'm not OK -." (p. It also writes the script for how he will behave. the author (Petruska Clarkson. which is the "agreed-upon unit" of neurosis and the pivotal point of cure. Thus. 58) This freedom constitutes an "emancipated Adult" who knows the truth about what is in the Parent and the Child. and Adult." recorded in the first few years of life? Harris says that it requires making a new decision: "Because it is a decision it can be changed by a new decision. Or they unconsciously create situations ("ulterior transactions") which repeat what happened in the past. and which are Berne's "games people play. based on his prior experiences. dehypnotizing our clients from the limitations and restrictions they decisionally accepted as youngsters.Harris concludes that the universal feeling of "I'm not OK" is every child's starting point: "It is the situation of childhood and not the intention of the parents which produces the problem." "recreating" the past in the present in an unknowing attempt to finish what was not finished then. and is a completely nonverbal and precognitive process. self-effacing. reflecting an organic integrity which could not be altered by the simple "decision" to change the decision. dutiful. Note the use of the word "induced. it influences all action from that moment forward. Since Penfield's experiments indicate that our experiences are coded and stored intact. notice that Harris alternately labels the not OK feelings of childhood as a conclusion. who has decided he is not OK. makes other decisions in order to receive "strokes" from his parents and others. Good transactions in the outer world are brought about by a careful analysis (TA) of one's own internal transactions among the three residing entities of Parent. So encompassing is this tape that it forms a state-of-being which Harris calls the Child. the freedom to change at will. and felt in childhood. The not OK decision itself becomes a "tape" which "records" all the negative. I would like to point out the basic contradictions within it before proceeding. 37) Because this decision is permanently recorded (as per Penfield's research)." Perhaps he arrives late to a therapy session. there is an obvious contradiction in this basic aspect of Harris' system. Harris concludes that these experiences somehow coalesce into three distinct psychological entities within us: Parent.) maintains that such recurring patterns which occur in therapy as well as in everyday interpersonal situations. Since certain aspects of childhood are universal -. loving." are akin to hypnotic inductions. Bothconclusion and position imply a passive process of assessing information based on prior experience. he experiences the reality of being unwanted and "concludes" (feels) that he is unwanted. even if our parents were kind. (p. and Child." (p. the client is inviting the therapist to behave in an angry or attacking manner." (p. A position also implies a viewpoint resulting from prior experience.as if all three were synonymous processes. designing their behavior so that it is agreeable and pleasing to others. the child takes the position of not being important because he was not treated in any special way. decision-making is both the problem and the solution. Since the Child is the first identity to form chronologically.D. In this way a life position or life script of "I'm not OK -. Harris continues his analogical thinking by making a questionable theoretical leap. such as what might happen in therapy. according to one transactional analyst: If the client projects anger onto the psychotherapist. .

" By what? By neurons. by brainwaves. impulsive." "act like an adult. meaning. anger.they are a contradiction in terms. a restraining of spontaneous impulses such as mischievous behavior. he cautions that it must be watched over and held in check by the reasoning Adult. nor does he specify the active agents in the "state" of the Child. It is the Child that overwhelms us with feeling. prone to emotional extremes of enthusiasm and sadness. the reasons why he should not be a child are more compelling than ever. or depression --feelings which indicates that the Child has "taken over.does he mean something physical. it does not mean they do not make sense in their own ways. psychological. He never lets himself be the child because ever since he was actually a child he was enjoined by parents. by chemicals. then he makes it an individual decision." "control yourself.over what would have been natural childhood feeling. by desires? The passive voice is appropriate in one sense: things do happen within us in which it seems we have played no active part.the whole infrastructure of do's and don'ts and shoulds and shouldn'ts -. Usually the awareness of not being valued comes as the result of being denied proper fulfillment of his needs from the people he values as OK because they are supposedly his providers. impulsively." old "tapes" of rejection. Because he had to abide such injunctions as "grow up. But viewed from another vantage point. with an element of truth in it. We are almost incapable of thinking of rationality as anything other than virtuous and its opposite as a sort of chaotic beastliness. This experience provides the child with an awareness that he is either valued or not valued. Irrational and impulsive behavior is tagged a flaw to be pressed out as soon as possible. that reacts without thinking. Now that he is an adult." (p. The supremacy of rationality in modern life has made it increasingly difficult to accept the non-rational world." "don't be so childish. by wishes. whenever we are impulsive and irrational. When these are modified by parental injunctions and other attitudes learned from external authorities. Rather than being an adjective which factually denotes the opposite of "rational. But how can the child make a decision about not being OK when there is only one possibility in the first place? Decision-making implies a choice among alternatives. when a moderate "Adult" sensibility is developed. Being told you are like a child (even if you are one) becomes an insult. Also note Harris' use of the passive voice: "The Child is a state into which a person may be transferred. Although he cannot conceive it or enunciate it as such. although I certainly would not use his metaphoric terminology. and abandonment are replayed. Even in adulthood. It is in the nature of children to be spontaneous. however. It is the cultivated definition of the intellect. biological." "think before you act. . we can see that stamping the label "Child" upon him with its implied pejorative judgment is to miss the point. "the Child is a state into which a person may be transferred at almost any time in his current transactions. by fears. 26) Harris rightly explains that when difficult situations "hook the Child. Although we realize that the neurotic adult is still very much a child. there is only one predetermined possibility. Harris contends that the language of TA is the "precision tool" of the treatment. bursts of anger. with the perceivers (us) lacking in our abilities to detect and comprehend all the many complex factors and interrelationships. He acts from it or against it but never fully gives in to it." He does not specify the mechanisms that mediate this transference. First he makes the not OK feeling a cultural inevitability. if you will. a muting of reactions. They are rational in that they have an idiosyncratic order. and irrationally. it is because our Child is coming on" seems a harmless and sensible enough statement."into which a person may be transferred. They may even be rational in the familiar and formal (logical) sense of the word. mental. In Harris' system. and language. Maybe Harris' Child is impulsive and irrational precisely because he imposed an Adult surveillance system -. the tendency to withdraw and rebel. and "irrational" because reason as a conscious mental facility is a late acquisition in their development. and he did not grow up in accordance with the innate timetable of need. acting out its watched over and checked feelings in the only way possible: negatively. It is one thing to tell someone what he "should" or shouldn't do and be. It is the Child who carries the archaic not OK feelings to be discerned and filtered out by the Adult. we judge them to be signs of maturity. teachers. especially if maturity is defined by the very rationality to which these modifications conform. which he then contends is somehow decided upon.be they tears. Harris' Child would then naturally become a behavior-problem child." While Harris admits that the Child is the feeling being in us. Simply because certain aspects of our being are beyond the considered formalities of reason. and even friends not to be one. It is a bind." "irrational" is now laden with moral condemnation. and in whom tears and anger will dominate. Indeed. similar contradiction arises from the fact that what Harris calls a decision. We look for a cooling of passions." and so forth. What we need is a proper understanding of why it exists so that we can do something about it other than condemn and suppress it. The problem is that inevitability and decision_making cannot coexist -. a combination of all? -." "be reasonable. What is really underneath Harris' vague and imprecise passive process is a very precise and active process: the neurological reverberation of unconscious Pain. he never really was a child. Pain is the active agent which transfers us into the feelings of childhood. a flattening of emotions. These "archaic" tapes place us "in the grip of feelings" -. but how does it stand in relation to the innate definitions of biology? There is a trap here because childish behavior in the adult is inappropriate. it has a simplistic and harmful element." "Whenever we are impulsive and irrational. and yet another what he is and can hardly help doing. it is because our Child is "coming on. we insist. Harris' point about the Child being "a state" into which a person may be "transferred" could be rewritten as follows: Pain transfers the adult into the original childhood feelings of traumatic events so that the adult relives those events. a child begins only with "I am" until he learns from experience that there is an "OK" and a "not OK" feeling. he also calls a universal attribute of childhood. by thoughts. Yet we turn this natural condition against them. emotional.A second. "Stop acting like a child! Grow up!". This means that he couldn't grow up naturally. "Stop being a child" is an impossible injunction to follow because whatever he does he is still a child. helplessness. Saying that this or that type of human behavior is "irrational" may in the end prove to mean nothing more than saying that we do not see all of its dynamics clearly at the time it happens. The problem is that this childishness is only half-way conscious. Yet what could be more imprecise than to declare that "the Child is a state" -. And so they may be. emotional.

But let's continue to explore Transactional Analysis' distinctive tripartite separation of personality. however." Harris says. All this Parent data can be either useful or hampering depending upon how appropriate it is to the present. A danger or "bad news" signal can hit the Adult and make the Child respond in the way it originally did. I would agree that "catering" to the helpless child in adults is not therapeutic. that in adapting to its strictures "people may discount their own needs. for Harris believes that "catering to the helpless Child" only delays the reconstructive process of getting the Adult back in control. and again leaves important feelings uncompleted. Verbal clues that an un-useful Parent is "coming on" in the present are time-bound words such as always. and life as he figures it out by himself (Adult). Thoughts can be blocked. his Adult is born. How do we know when our Parent is saying something useful? Enter. stupid. It again denies the reality as experienced by the Child. how they behave. or correct what he sees. emotions. evaluate. but there is a considerable difference between catering -. The "data" in the Parent is taken in and recorded verbatim because the child does not have the capacity to modify. asinine. This is not done. out of the question. shocking." (page 30) Harris' Adult is a data-processing computer which "grinds out decisions" after computing information from the Parent. It examines. The Parent The Parent is comprised of a "huge collection of recordings in the brain" that are set down the first five years of the child's life.The other thing to ask is whether Harris' personified psychological divisions of the mind accurately correspond to the neurological capability as described by Penfield. with the feeling of Not OK. Harris' Adult is really the agent of repression. the moment the child begins to move about on his own and to find things out for himself (at about ten months). and specific behaviors while avoiding others" and "thus limits the individual's ability to problem solve and relate to the environment. and the data which the Adult has gathered. all oughts and shoulds. All parental rules. a family that prays together stays together. "Through the Adult. The purpose of it is to "turn on" the patient's analytical. The Adult evaluates Parent data to see if it is still applicable today.[10] [italics added] Harris concludes that "this 'effort of the will' is the Adult. The Child's emotions are always something to be got out of by the more reasonable Adult. life as he felt it or wished it or fantasized it (Child). It is only by a certain effort of the will that I can overcome this impulse. objective processes. however. the Adult. It is utterly reasonable from his vantage point. and attitudes (as well as all useful data in the "how-to" category) become part of these tapes."[11] If the Adult is alert. once_and_for-all. It again forces repression. meaningful decisions related to the 'here and now' instead of based on preconceived notions stemming from Child feelings and adaptations or from Parent traditions and prejudices. in the hope of getting the adult in touch with his original feelings. keep good company. feelings. or actions. the therapist would intervene at this point with the question. actions.which I take to mean encouraging the helplessness --andallowing the helpless feelings of the child to . it can devise emergency solutions to meet trouble when it comes. and learns. don't trust people of a different race. The point is that the child is afraid. the Adult is brought in to reason them away. This Adult transforms external stimuli into information. live according to the Bible. This may lead to regressive behavior. ridiculous. What to do at this precarious point? In Harris' therapy. and condescensions such as "poor dear" and "there." so that present realities can gain priority over past realities. To reinforce this point he quotes a passage from Bertrand Russell's autobiography: So many things were forbidden me that I acquired the habit of deceit. but unlike the Parent it is not judgmental. the Child. All of this requires an "effort of will. The condescending assurance from the Adult that "There's nothing to be afraid of" only pressures the child to repress his terror. never use credit. thoughts." The script that emerges is a "self-limiting adaptation. 66) This domineering Adult becomes so insistent. that fear comes from some real experience within him. It became second nature to me to think that whatever I was doing had better be kept to myself."[9] A simple example would be the person who habitually strives to please others while ignoring his own feelings and needs. and I have never quite overcome the impulse to hide what I am reading when anybody comes into the room. (page 18) The most significant tapes we develop are provided by the example of the parents: what they say. The adult now feels tiny and helpless. The Adult According to Harris. The information ranges from the earliest nonverbal communications of facial expression and voice tone to the endless do's and don'ts of the toddler period. judgmental pronouncements such as. Under sufficient stress. "the little person can begin to tell the difference between life as it was taught and demonstrated to him (Parent). and judges. "Why don't you stay in your Adult?" The therapist would then probe the patient to find out the similarity between what is going on now and the original situation in which the child underwent distress. Feelings may take over. another commentator writes. The problem with this is that reasoning the child out of his emotions is part of what caused neurosis in the first place. admonitions." and words such as naughty. what they teach us. The moment the Child has difficult feelings. and it decides whether or not the Child's feelings are appropriate today." It is the job of the Adult to keep emotional expression in line with reality by continually updating the Child and Parent." (p. the Adult can fail to function efficiently and emotions can take over completely. The Adult helps us "make objective. which selects and repeats a number of feelings. to the more elaborate and complex list of adult attitudes and values: work is man's only virtue. in which I persisted up to the age of twenty-one. The two-year-old who is terribly afraid of the dark cannot be reasoned out of his fear. etc. there. hears. never. (page 30) One of the Adult's most important functions is to mediate between Child and Parent. "That's wrong. evaluates. The Parent is hampering when it overwhelms the child with its shoulds and musts and other restrictions.

finally come through. Harris makes a serious mistake; he confuses coddling the helplessness with allowing its conscious experience. The two are definitely not the same. Furthermore, I would suggest that it is Harris who in the end cossets the helplessness by bandaging it up with his P-A-C catechism. The helplessness is preserved behind the false facade of mentallycontrived adulthood. And what could foster helplessness more than offering a dependency upon answers cooked up by someone else in an unfamiliar language? Here TA is similar to other cognitive therapies such as RET; it attempts to impose an alien dogma over the individual's subjective experience. This is a straightjacket of belief rather than a liberating therapy. How to "stay in the Adult" is a central concern of TA. "The more sensitive one is to one's own Parent and Child, the more separated, autonomous, and strong becomes the Adult." Separation is the TA ideal, a clue to beginning wellness: "One of the first indications [of wellness] is the statement by the patient, 'My Not OK Child was...' or 'is...'" (p. 202) Harris believes that the use of this expression "signals the achievement of an understood, authentic, and real separation of the patient's Child from his Adult." (p. 202) But this is exactly my understanding of neurosis: it is an authentic and real separation of the Child (childhood feelings) from the Adult (consciousness). In a curious way, what Harris is describing is really a more correct neurotic split. One does not integrate the Child through feeling it fully. One integrates an understanding and control of the Child, and that makes you well. I believe quite the opposite. It is integration, not separation, that must be the goal of any truly feeling therapy. A merging of all levels of consciousness should be sought if harmonious functioning is to be lived. One must not separate from some kind of generic Child; ratherone must integrate those highly individualized traumatic events and experiences that were previously separated from consciousness via repression. Harris' ideal of separation remains necessary as long as something is undesirable and un-integratable -- and primal needs remain both, as long as they remain unconscious. While Harris' Adult functions like a complex computer, "grinding out decisions" and "processing new data," the techniques he provides for developing this Adult are surprisingly simplistic. Harris explains that the first way to develop the Adult is to become sensitive to signals from the Child or Parent: "Aroused feelings are a clue that the Child has been hooked. To know one's own Child, to be sensitive to one's Not OK feelings, is the first requirement for Adult data processing." (p. 92) His technique for becoming sensitive to one's Not OK feelings, however, is an old wives' tale offered anew as science: "Counting is a useful way to delay the automatic response in order that the Adult maintain control of the transaction. When in doubt leave it out." Counting to ten allows us to curtail the "archaic, destructive child reactions" so that "the Adult [can] maintain control of the transaction." Aroused feelings are childish legacies which are ideally processed dispassionately by the Adult. Above all Harris does not want feelings to get out of control, which is why he advocates the control of the Child's Not OK feelings. Here Harris is confusing what might be called childish impulses from true childhood feelings. Childish impulses are nothing more than the pressures which accumulate from the repression of real feeling. The adult who demands attention from everyone around him is acting out a childish impulse which is derived from a profound Primal feeling of self-negation. The acting-out behavior is a defense against the unconscious feeling of worthlessness. That is why when Harris' Adult "takes over" and "counts to 10", it is literally overtaking repressed childhood realities. The result is an artificial adulthood rather than authentic maturation. I have always found that the childhood responses are the real ones, once they are allowed to surface, and that the child -the real self -- is by nature social, cooperative, and curious. It is the Adult who is neurotic because he is the captive of a child with countless unmet needs. The longer those needs go unmet, the more of the person is destroyed. It is adult curtailment of childhood need that is ultimately destructive; not the other way around. Harris again has it backwards: Destruction is inherent in neurosis, not in childhood.

"Contamination" of the Adult
Harris is against traditional diagnosis. He finds such terms as superego, ego, and id, or manic-depressive, schizophrenic, and catatonic, to be vague and uninformative. I agree. But for him the solution is more TA lingo. Harris explains that when the Parent, Child, and Adult are not cleanly separated one from the other, "contamination of the Adult" results. From another source we get this TA explanation of how one element of personality can "contaminate" another: The Parent, Adult, and Child ego states are independent parts of our personalities that determine our feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and behavior. Energy can flow freely between these personality parts, or it can be restricted or blocked. Psychological energy can flow from one ego state to another as a spontaneous reaction to a stimulus or as a deliberate act of will. This flow is necessary for clear and effective thinking... Understanding how to shift psychological energy increases our inability to understand. The inability to shift our internal energies is usually due to...ego state boundary problems. These authors rephrase Harris in describing the three kinds of contamination possible: 1. The Adult Contaminated by the Parent 2. The Adult Contaminated by the Child 3. The Adult Contaminated by the Parent and Child[12] Number two might translate verbally into: "You have a lot of Not OK in your Child with a fairly sizeable contamination of your Adult, which lets you come on inappropriately at times and gives your hovering Parent an opportunity to beat your Child." (p. 200) Is this type of caricaturing really any more useful than the superego, ego, and id entities of Freud's day? Can such elaborate labeling really advance our state of being? Or does it further entangle us in a filigree of thought that keeps the substance of our reality even more remote? To answer these questions, let's take an example provided by Harris, which illustrates how he applies the above concepts to real life. This example is supposed to illustrate the first kind of contamination: "Parent-Contaminated Adult with a Blockedout Child." This type of person cannot play or relax. He is dominated by duty, working compulsively all of the time. He has no time for anyone, including his family. Harris says: "It is as if, at some point in his childhood, he was so utterly quashed by

serious, stern, duty-bound parents that he found the only safe way to proceed through life was to turn his Child off completely." (page 100) We all recognize that kind of person. He was given orders and tasks in place of love. He then grows up into a removed, cold, and preoccupied parent. Harris concludes: "However, he can be helped to appreciate that his position is not fair to his own family and to his own children, and that, indeed his marriage may break up if he persists in trying to block out the Child in his wife and children." (p. 101) Harris' approach here is to cajole the man into change via threat and guilt. He is not behaving fairly toward his family, which is a reason for change; his marriage may break up, which is another reason for change. Yet where in this analysis is concern for the man's state of being per se? The primary concern here should be the patient's own experience of himself, not whether the marriage endures. Furthermore, Harris should consider the possibility that this man's marriage might be better off breaking up, rather than himself playing God and decreeing its preservation as a primary goal of treatment.

A Case Study
The following transcript recreates a session between Harris (D) and an adolescent fictitiously called Sally (S).[13] Here we see how Harris force-feeds his own values in the name of therapy. He attempts to rework the patient's problem into a triad of characters which supposedly explain all things to all people. The important focus is on labeling the data, rather than on contacting the patient's feelings. While this session may not be truly representative of how TA practitioners work, it must be fairly typical or Harris would not have included it. I have inserted comments where appropriate. S: You know, you're sounding just like a psychiatrist of course, you are, but it's just so typical. D: Is that bad? S: Well, it's just like a television program that I just despise when they show these psychiatric programs. I hate it. And I am sounding just like a typical patient. I mean, I really am, I know it. D: Why don't you talk about P-A-C S: Oh, I can't today. I can't use it, I am not using it now. I am dealing with everything totally, completely wrong. D: Do you know what you're saying? S: No. D:You're saying to this guy that's acting like a psychiatrist, "I dare you to change me." Isn't that what you're saying? S: When did I say that to you? D: Well, that's what you are implying. I ask you, why don't you use your P-A-C, and you say, "I am not using it, I am not going to use it, I dare you to make me use it." S: I didn't say forever, I just said for today I'm not using it and I don't feel like using it. I'm nervous, that's it. I've been nervous for a couple of days. D: So you want to play nervous today. In this opening segment we see a tone of accusation and manipulation established by Harris, to which the patient responds by continually "sticking to her guns." Sally responds negatively ("I hate it") to the artificiality of the doctor's (Harris) behavior. Rather than deal with what the patient has expressed, however, Harris counters by grilling, "Why don't you talk about P-A-C?" The patient answers in a straightforward and affective manner, saying that she cannot use the P-A-C terminology today. Harris then takes the patient's statement and reinterprets it back in an accusatory fashion: "You're saying...'I dare you to change me'..." When Sally counters with, "When did I say that to you?" Harris contends that she implied it, and to prove his point proceeds to "quote" the sentence in question by completely revising the second and third clauses to suit his purpose. In reality Sally had said: I can't use it, I am not using it now. I am dealing with everything totally, completely wrong. But Harris reworks it to: I am not using it, I am not going to use it, I dare you to make me use it. The patient again responds with an accurate grasp of what actually transpired saying: "I didn't say forever, I just said for today I'm not using it and I don't feel like using it." When she admits she has been feeling nervous for "a couple of days," she receives Harris' discrediting retort, "So you want to play nervous today." What appears to be occurring in this opening interchange is a kind of battle of wills: the patient knows exactly what she's feeling but doesn't want to express it in P-A-C lingo, while Harris seems determined to discount what she does say in an effort to pressure her into his pre-established framework.

S: No, I don't want to play anything. I want a stronger tranquilizer. D: You want a stronger tranquilizer? S: Why not? I need a stronger tranquilizer. I shouldn't have come today; you know, I didn't want to come. D: You want a stronger tranquilizer because you are too lazy to use your P-A-C. We again see accusation and pontification. The patient needs more tranquilizers because she is "too lazy" to use Harris' lingo. Harris fails to consider the possibility that the patient's resistance to using P-A-C may reflect the limitations and unsuitability of P-A-C itself -- rather than the laziness of which the patient is accused. S: I have been using it, and I did try, but I am short-tempered and I -D: So what's new? S: So what's new? (laughs) That wasn't nice. But I mean I'm very short-tempered and I wasn't when I got out of the hospital. D: Is this the only option you have, to be short-tempered? S: No, it isn't, and I try not to be, but sometimes I am. D: You blow off the handle? S: Not extremely, but I find myself getting mad and then when I keep it inside of me it makes me kind of shaky. Do you understand?...I hate everything about this and I hate everybody today. I'm going to quit psychiatry. Now doesn't that sound typical patient? D: With a smile -- I'm glad you're smiling. S: Oh, I can smile about it. I'm...it's making me nervous. But do you know what I do? D: What? S: If I smile, then I laugh, and then I get very upset, and -D: Can you tell me what's upsetting you? S: No! D: Are you on the verge of tears? S: I hope not. No, I'm fine. I'm upset today, I knew -- I hate this. This is getting us nowhere -- why don't we just stop my therapy and I'll take pills. What's the matter with me besides headaches and the regular bunch of stuff that seems to be -What is my problem? D: You don't want to grow. We now get Harris' diagnosis of Sally's problem. Because she "hates everything about this" it means that she doesn't want to grow. Harris is taking a position which is typical of many cognitive psychologists today: that the patient is choosing her neurosis, choosing her short-temperedness, choosing her shakiness and nervousness -- and can just as easily choose the opposite. He is asking her to choose P-A-C over the reality of her own Pain, and when she balks he accuses her of laziness and of not wanting to change. Such a position is judgmental, parental, and guilt-producing. Harris' irony as a therapist is that his approach seems to embody much more of his hovering Parent than his mature Adult. S: That's what you told me one time. You said I didn't want to grow up. Now that wasn't fair. D: I don't know what "up" is, I said "grow," you know, open your mind to some new thoughts. S: To what thoughts? D: P-A-C. S: I opened my mind to that when I was in the hospital. I came home and I was feeling pretty good. D: Why isn't your Adult plugged in today? S: I don't know. D: All you can talk about is "I am nervous, I can't, I shouldn't have come here today, you're an old psychiatrist and I'm a patient." Well, that's what we are today. Well, that was a real statement. That came through the Adult. That's what we are today. S: I can't be P-A-C every single day. D: Well, it wouldn't be a bad idea. I am. S: OK, that's fine if you can do it, but I can't do it right now. D: Oh, why not? S: Because I'm -D: Your Child likes to take over. S: Well, every once in a while I guess maybe it happens. I haven't been using P-A-C all my life or even for a year or anything. I don't know.

like this. Instead of exploring in depth the complex dynamics going on between father and daughter. and then I just kind of laughed and I said. Harris' answer is rich in metaphor and poor in fact: D: I know what you mean. "I am. ideas. "I can't be P-A-C every single day." It seems easy for Harris to see the situation from everyone's vantage point but his patient's." and therefore Sally really ought to hug her father when he wants to be hugged. according to Harris. but your Adult can say. her Child likes to take over and her Adult is not plugged in. where a role of Adult is force-fed over the reality of being human. It's almost not human sometimes.not with his hermetical system. let the Adult go along to make sure that everything remains appropriate. If the Child wants to play.. Harris' mastery of the Adult over the Child is really a violation of the Child by the Adult. Well. this interchange suggests. he then superimposes without modification over each patient. I mean the Parent.OK. in a way. Sally is not hugging her father for very good reasons. who in essence absolves the guilt and discomfort with a few words of advice. he simply takes the father's side and offers up a platitude to justify it: "Your Adult could have a value that not to hurt anyone is important. If the patient balks in any way. or the Parent may crowd out the Adult and the Parent takes over. Sometimes I just don't want to. and I moved away from him and I told him not to do it. it's almost being actually perfect." When the Adult does so with success. I don't know whether or not I want to be. Sally continues: S: I try not to now though. I guess the trick is to always keep the Adult plugged in even though the Child is playing. but you have P-A-C to psychoanalyze yourself. "Well. "Frustrates you. D: You don't want to hug him back? S: Well. Harris offers another platitude (which we shall see further extended in the next section) to the effect of. once again remonstrates her for it: "All you can talk about is 'I am nervous." I would take the opposite view. aptly summarizes her discomfort with an Adult who is so perfect as to be "almost not human": S: Well. now I'll go and kiss him on the cheek or something. because your Adult would have let your Child hug him because your Adult could have a value that not to hurt anyone is important.Harris demands that she open her mind "to some new thoughts. I expected every -well.'" Sally then bemoans. and it will hurt her to "have a value that not to hurt anyone is important. it wasn't a total act because I mean I felt -D: You see. The solution is to listen to one's Adult. and approaches that do not agree with the given dogma. but let's say that P-A-C is always around. This comes across like some kind of psychotherapeutic form of "political correctness" which makes no room for comments. too. But I have been showing him affection.. it's handling everything the correct way at the right time. Harris concludes that the problem is with the patient -. "Yes. D: Then did you hug him? S: No. She is sensing the falsity and unnaturalness of imposing theory over feeling. The transcription continues with Harris refusing to allow the patient to talk about how "rotten" she feels in relation to her parents." [italics added] Next Sally." which turn out to be his thoughts in the form of P-A-C. If I don't feel like showing much affection I just let him hug me and that's it. in fact. and he said. Harris again superimposes a pat P-A-C answer over the patient's reality. but plays games that are dangerous. But how can Harris be so certain that his hugging Sally is a good thing? How does he know that the father has not sexually abused her in the past? In all likelihood. everyone is uncomfortable being affectionate with the opposite-sexed parent. And I try to use it most of the time. perfectly proper for you to give your father affection in the form of a physical embrace and if you can do it. Instead of exploring Sally's discomfort with affection between her and her father. when he was going to go down in the elevator and he wanted to hug me. Right? This leads into a discussion of manipulation in which Sally expresses the fear that she manipulates her father by taking advantage of him: S: I took advantage of him and took advantage of his feelings. I would move away from him and I was actually cruel sometimes. D: That's a pity. He is advocating. the Parent is watching the Child. and I will show him some affection and I will be very nice and I have done this to my mother. I can't. and P-A-C will give you the answers you need." to which Harris omnisciently replies. if he wants to hug me I let him. She comments that she could go on "psychoanalyzing myself from here to doomsday. . because the way that girls get into trouble is when the Child takes over and plays. to use my Adult all the time. and the Child are always present. I shouldn't have come here today. it's one thing to psychoanalyze yourself without tools." to which Harris smugly replies. the Adult. the Adult can step in and say "Everything is OK. I expected to get everything I wanted. I felt badly then. Of course we have said before that your Child is what makes you charming and delightful to others. Harris has constructed a hermetical system of belief which." and he agreed with me." Sally can't be P-A-C every single day because. This was even going on in the hospital and then one night I said something horrible when he was bringing me to the hospital. Look it's perfectly appropriate. still -. in all her teenage wisdom. a kind of psychological rape whereby the parent's needs and wants take precedence over the child's needs and wants. It's true the Child may crowd out the Adult and the emotions take over. it constitutes a "mastery of the Adult over the Child. so it isn't that we want to kick the Child out. I'll tell you something. the problem here with affection with the opposite sex is the Child is afraid of s-e-x whether it's a feeling or what others may think. doesn't it?" as if I was really trying to hurt him. it is a form of mastery of the Adult over the Child. Your internal Parent is watching your Child and your Child is fearful of s-e-x because of the internal Parent. I expected quite a bit and yet he had so much affection for me and I wouldn't let him even touch me unless I was in the mood. I think. I have done this purposefully to show them affection. It is difficult to imagine how anyone could keep this hodgepodge of parts straight: the Child is afraid of sex. it's just kind of a battle. Harris is not interested in her reality and.

" Harris' Adult processes generalizations and platitudes which deny the validity of the person's specific reality. as we both know. who then further elaborates his generalization on adolescent sexuality by explaining how the taboo has been around for eons. have the data out in the open. The Child doesn't have to be afraid of the Parent because the Adult is processing the data with regard to what is real. you know.t-ab-o-o. And besides. D: But you know it's a problem for teenagers. by simply showing them how to "get data out in the open to process it with their Adult. Harris feeds her further into it. But this is data that needs to be out in the open. I have encountered many a patient who has been in this type of "centerfold" position in the family. actually too close. then emotional.First of all.. D: Good. and that's entirely different from what's real today. why are you rotten? S: Because I have given him such misery. Sally is saying. and second of all. Sally reports that she experiences being affectionate with her father as an unwanted task. S: I don't see why. you have a handsome daddy and when I see you two together and I see him looking at you I can see that you are the pride and joy of his life. Sally's "handsome daddy" needs to supply his own pride and joy rather than looking to his daughter for it. By doling out therapeutic syrup and cajoling Sally that she is the pride and joy of her father's life. *because the Adult is processing the Parental data "with regard to what is real. you know. after all. But this is "good" according to Harris. well I didn't know that. S: I'm not. *with the Adult taking care of the Parent. I'm so rotten it's pathetic.if not physical. selective. He can resolve this dilemma in most teenagers." This further belies the intrusion (contamination) of Harris' own value system: Who says it's ideal to be affectionate and outgoing with parents? What is wrong with reserved and contained?! D: Parental data is dated. obliterated) here is Sally's internal reality. I find that I can help any teenager to be perfectly natural and affectionate and outgoing with his parents if I can help them to get the data out in the open to process it with their Adult. "Touch your father. it is good and appropriate. it's as if you can't really be discriminating. Harris again misses the point that it might not be good for Sally to be the "pride and joy" of her father's life. not everyone is uncomfortable being affectionate with the opposite-sexed parent. with the goal of helping them become "affectionate and outgoing with [their] parents. And you can't be affectionate with the opposite sex. The adolescent in such a situation has every right to pull away. not get too close. D: Well. you're his only daughter. Once they see it." The only thing getting truly "mastered" (i. S: I have been doing it very well. Harris continues to offer generalizations that have no connection to this patient's reality. then they are free to be affectionate at the Adult level and affectionate at the Child level and the Adult will take care of the Parent. What age? S: [At the age of] three? D: That's right. really too close. "I cannot touch my father. . period. D: Well. he says. It's OK for affection with s-e-x if there are no blood ties.you told me once that you have to do these things in order to sort of keep a distance. He's a sucker. She obviously resents his excessive attention but can only feel "rotten" about it. D: It really is. when there is discomfort it is usually because the parent has sexualized the affection in some subtle (or not so subtle) way. S: Well. and experienced it more as a crippling burden than the grand blessing Harris implies it to be." Harris is saying. too close. so that *the Child is not afraid. That's a great big taboo. and in fact are harmful. S: We've always been close. and indeed must pull away for his or her own protection -. D: No? This has existed down through the generations -. you probably love him so much that you -.e. S: I have been doing it. I feel sorry. D: Well." This involves another hodgepodge of interactions in which the adolescent is: *affectionate at the Adult level. *affectionate at the Child level. S: Is it? D: There is a great big word in here called t-a-b-o-o. sometimes. He provides the taboo explanation to all teenagers with this problem. because. who wouldn't want to be the pride of joy of such a handsome daddy? Instead of helping her out of the emotional bind with her father.

Feeling. But we never get a chance to find this out because Harris simply supports the father's behavior and at the same time asks his young patient to accommodate herself to it. Once the TA patient learns the right answer.You're OK stance is "a position and not a feeling. of hurting her father unnecessarily.e. be it to a system which purportedly explains psychological dynamics or one which defines life in religious terms. that nothing short of a "conversion experience" to the I'm OK -You're OK position is required to dethrone them. (End of Interview) Once again Harris obliterates a portion of Sally's reality. which Harris is doing his best to reinforce and maintain: if she acts in the way her father wishes. "What is causing your cold?" and believing that the reply "It is a virus" will cure the cold! This analogy may seem a bit of a stretch. and of unnecessarily being fearful of sex. and the answer will supposedly make him well.You're OK position must be repeated and repeated in the hope of gathering a collection of OK recordings sufficiently strong to outdo the not OK recordings. A father's need to have his adolescent daughter display affection toward him is his need. after all. The irony is that in accommodating her father's neurotic needs by denying her own. as if at the end of a cheesy TV show. she is punished outwardly for her supposedly ungrateful behavior. even though the Child is enjoying the transaction the Adult still is calling the signals and this is what will save you." he offers. is frightening to Sally. quasi-philosophical diversion away from the only real hope of healing. risks. 50) On this point Harris and I agree: TA does indeed require conversion. that scares me. So strong are these not OK recordings. D: Maybe you have to be scared in order to keep your Child from getting out of control. D: Why be scared? S: I don't know but it scares me. I'll see you when the group starts again. by contrast. Sally is suspended in a painful double bind. and you have a good Adult. This is tantamount to asking. This means. 52) He explains that is why the I'm OK -. D: OK. This transcription of an actual case report well demonstrates how learning the right answer is the illusionary measurement of progress in TA. This must mean the self is preserved. he is judged to be making progress. rather than dealing with the realness of those scared feelings. or decisions. P-A-C: Is It Valid? . Still. and if she acts in the way she wishes.You're OK. So. do it!). and the Child?" Where are the physiological counterparts to these psychologic entities? And how can we be sure that there are not four or five such entities or agencies in our minds? Harris admits that the I'm OK -. and all the unconscious need and pain is thrust upon the child." and that "the not OK recordings in the Child are not erased by a decision in the present. "You know. Conversion implies belief." despite the fact that during the session he has accused her of. of refusing to use her P-A-C. In the name of filial duty (or family ties.. I love you. that Sally can "play the game up to a point" and then call it off. Not surprisingly. of feeling rotten unnecessarily. Ideas come rushing in to absorb Painful feelings. S: I see my time is up. Neurosis is as much a biologic disease as it is an emotional disorder. and consequences. Eventually one must come to the question. "I'm OK -. may be the only tool of control for her Adult. Harris then concludes the session by dutifully chanting. she is his only daughter. however. she is punished inwardly by the denial of her own feelings of discomfort and resentment. Goodbye. positions. She is eager to get away from this insensitive dogmatism. I could never let that happen. according to Harris. but it really isn't. It is about a recovery of the self -.of those completely private experiences that have nothing to do with terms. Even getting to that point. she is sent out the door with a flippant "I'm OK.playing nervous. requires only a fullness of individual being. in fact. Being scared. but once you develop confidence in this Adult of yours. You're OK!" It is like the parent who repeatedly criticizes the child and then says. The father is apparently pressuring Sally for a closeness she is not comfortable with. she is laying the foundation for her own adult neurosis.a fanciful.none of her internal reality has suited him. "Where is the Adult. That is why psychologic theories which make no reference to underlying neurology must go astray. When conversion occurs. and Adult: the Child wants to play (i. or whatever) the child has little choice but to fulfill the needs and demands of the parents. Conversion. and it is all just fine because. which then gets distorted into being the daughter's responsibility. "you're his only daughter" explains and justifies the whole situation." and the Adult does the reality processing by evaluating the dangers. requires the assimilation of someone else's reality. The difference comes in that I don't think therapy is about conversion to anything. the self is hybridized. not consciousness. the Parent. of not wanting to grow. Again and again Harris advocates the sell-out of the child in favor of the parent. In all likelihood the problem here is with the father.. the Parent comes on with a barrage of moral dictates not to "play. on the other hand. "It's my Parent.For Harris. We must stand on personal reality and any therapy that leads away from that reality into terms and preconceived answers is in the end a delusion -. I don't want anything like that. and she says so: S: Oh. of letting her Child take over. Harris has given her nothing but not OK messages -. (p. Harris dismisses them as necessary adjuncts to the development of a "good Adult" who can call all the signals and save the day.. In reality. because your Adult can handle every transaction. I'm OK -. and the daughter's acting out behavior is merely a reaction to his projections. Sally responds by noting that their time is up and exists. and it produces biochemical and electrical changes as measurable as those caused by a virus. you're the greatest!" Harris' TA here appears to be a kind of pseudo-therapeutic hypocrisy where the patient is truly OK only when conforming to Harris' formula. according to Harris. and remember. Sally next brings up her fears of sexual advances from boyfriends. This is exactly how neurosis gets started in the first place. unless it was by force because it scares me." (p. Child.You're OK. of being lazy. and never forget that. Harris examines the issue of teenage sexuality from the revolving roles of the Parent. you have it made. The parental behavior goes unchallenged.

So when we compare ourselves to compact. The Child in us is really made up of specific traumatic experiences left unresolved from childhood. but instead personifies them as actual. whether it is the Child or Parent coming on now is secondary to what the total human being is experiencing now. That is. . Harris' Not OK tapes are in reality reverberating neuronal circuits which. concrete events from childhood which are not resolved and which require resolution. The Parent is really made up of specific experiences with our real parents. At best.full around to the Pain.of feeling." (p. What we label an experience is secondary to thecontent of the experience. a dumping of one's needs on others. but negative tapes do? What is the difference between stored material that is pleasant and over which we have control. but is really there. He tells the story. not some generalized archetype drawn from the speculations of one or two men.You're OK" becomes a slogan religiously repeated at the end of each session.Now that we know the basics of the Transactional Analysis system. and parents -. not metaphorical labels. however prized or apt it may be. Then why not refer specifically to the content of that recorded data. divorce. For the decisions we make as total human beings are inevitably determined by unresolved childhood Pain. or being raised in foster homes. Later in life that means trying to get anyone and everyone to listen. But the child who is not listened to may become a compulsive talker in an attempt to get someone to listen. The Child contains ideals and false notions as well as feelings. but it cannot reproduce the feeling itself. Identifying which of the P-A-C trio is coming on. All that is required is knowledge of how the machine works. it is something outside of us. Indeed. Harris spent a chapter describing neurosurgeon Penfield's work to establish the fact that events are recorded. really exist within us? Is there a kind of global Child who "comes on. In some respects the brain-mind is like a tape recorder. then we can come to terms with what has to be done. Harris' divisions are too distinct. because like everything else in nature they strive toward completion. Frustration with the ineffective treatments so far developed for neurosis has caused us to turn an envious eye toward the knowable and predictable functioning of machinery. we make objects of ourselves while the deep waters of subjectivity dry up. these terms should be terms of convenience -. is listened to. which we internalized and incorporated.that hold us back and bind the neuroses into our personalities. what we must remember about a tape recorder is that it does not feel. especially if the analogy is to be the centerpiece of psychotherapy. and people. Harris' metaphor does not refer to the levels of consciousness as neurological realities. Above all. 18) He claims that his Parent-Child-Adult schema is not an abstraction like the Id. and stored material that is negative and over which we have no control? Stored memories do not engage us against our will unless they contain unfinished Pain. Not OK tapes repeat themselves because they are unfinished.the feeling and meaning of each repressed Pain -. Harris believes that three "people" exist in all of us and that they "are not roles but psychological realities. For it is the specifics -. Let's say it once and for all: There is a dwarf running around the brain which is basically bad and needs retraining. which conforms to distinct mathematical and physical principles. But that doesn't mean there is some self-contained entity called the Child or the Parent functioning inside of us. Child. as conceived and drawn by Harris. I agree that we have specific recorded events locked into our systems. demons which must be conquered. which is the same as a conventional religious one.a unit composed of historical specifics. They form a unit -. places. Behavior repeats itself for a reason: the fact of repetition in itself indicates meaning and purpose. the other is a material fact. instead of reifying it into images that apply to everyone and thus to no one? The machine-type analogies of human functions -. and Adult? Do these divisions. too personified. Ego. not the label we attach to it. We must be careful of reducing ourselves to fit an analogy. Likewise it can "recall" via replay. with siblings. when triggered by present-day situations. So much energy goes into identifying and analyzing that there is none left over for simply feeling. But whatever the similarities. detached from the subtle weave of biology and psychology. but specific events from individual human lives.heuristics --but instead Harris has enshrined them with the quasitheological stature of dogma. The young child who is truly listened to does not badger the parent with endless repetitions of the same story. single-function machines such as tape recorders.such as that the brain functions as a "high-fidelity tape recorder" -. but it cannot remember or relive. his analogy becomes repeated and reinforced to the point where patients do look around for their Parent. We are in control. And analysis of our "transactions" is not it. It seems to me that the TA point of view is the same as the Freudian. or whatever. and minor ones such as day-to-day problems at school. go off again and again seeking to complete the circuit -. Furthermore. rather than finding an analogy which fits us. switched on or off at will. at what moment. That (the so-called "not OK tape") when the basic need of the child is frustrated. It should have followed that it wasn't Harris' Child that was played back under Penfield's probe. we are basically bad or evil or inferior. It is no longer a mutual relationship. becomes an artificial and overly self-conscious ritual conducted throughout the session. Where? His answer is in the playback of recorded data of real events. and is satisfied. But it is those specific events that must be addressed. each either thinking or feeling. Moreover. it is a monologue.seem particularly open to this abuse." a Parent who "hovers around. and Superego. The choice over what goes in and what is erased is ours. It is the specifics we must deal with or we can never get anywhere. separate entities. the brain-mind is not a tape recorder. Animation is linked only to purpose -.it can be made to work or not work. The former idea is a fantasy. let's consider the validity of it: How real are his Parent." and an Adult who "takes over"? Can we really so clearly separate a Parent from an Adult from a Child inside of us? The fact is these parts or aspects which Harris so discretely personifies are really all interlocked. "I'm OK -.are the determining factors in adult neuroses. Once we understand that traumas -major ones such as parental abuse. It may record the sounds -. and even reproduce it quite faithfully. Perhaps the tape recorder owes its existence in part to an analogous reference to human hearing and memory. Now let's rephrase it: There are imprinted. The machine has the additional advantage of being an object. Harris fails to ask a crucial question: Why do the not OK "tapes" replay and replay? Why is it that pleasant tapes do not plague us compulsively.the evidence -. Creating a metaphorical scheme to portray the actions of neurosis is fine as long as it corresponds with the real neurological actions of the neurotic system. Nor can any of its processes be considered in serene isolation from the others just to suit the theorist's fancy or desire for clarity. and the Parent contains feelings as well as ideas and false notions. It is the Pain that is crucial. inhabited by demons however you label them. or their Child. and too analogical.

Language can serve us in understanding. 93. what Child would dare express itself? You have to be a child before you can grow up properly. Instead of experiencing the wounds created by having to grow up prematurely at the command of the so-called rational world.. April 1992." Transactional Analysis Journal. one is bound to ascribe all "negative" feelings to this psychological entity. a completion that would have happened if being a child had been allowed. January 1991. he has to make himself a better adult mask.. 108-111. [2]Thomas Harris. are forced to gag to ease throat tension. because so much of his personality is caught in the pre-rational stage of development. in the investigation of neurosis.. Thus it contributes not to rationality but unreality. it is the last repository of what is left of reality inside of us. "Transference Process and Transactional Process. he has to put on another layer of unreal. According to body therapists. Body therapists believe that restructuring the body by removing the armor not only relaxes the person physically and restores his posture but makes him more spontaneous and expressive and more able to experience joy and pleasure. and it also traps emotions and restricts emotional expression. Pain and neurosis both predate language.You're OK..Ultimately Harris is caught by his own panacea -. 21(2). While Harris cites Penfield to show that "tape recorded" experiences from the past can be relived. He is admonished for not growing up and is then denied the means of doing so. Language only describes them. cit. pp. In fact. and that the way to help a person regain feeling is to attack that body armor. Back to Table of Contents | Next chapter >> [1]_Gysa Jaoui. it may well confuse us more. M. pp. 109. I'm OK -. cit. p. ?? [11]Muriel Jones & John James. And as long as we believe it is something to be watched over and held in check. Passion for Life: Psychology and the Human Spirit. 21(1). and so on. contrived maturity. p. But as long as one believes the Child (or childhood feeling) is basically negative. [7]Clarkson. 21-30. Instead of allowing the "Child" fully into consciousness. p. and consciousness unlocks them. 1991). 23. Feeling contains the mysteries. (New York: Brunner-Mazel. "The Somatic Component of the Script in Early Development. p.. sadly waiting to enjoy completion. (New York: Dutton. not language. [9]Susanne Ligabue." we get real very fast. Transactional Analysis does not facilitate or even value this reliving. "The Interpersonal Field in Transactional Analysis. p." Transactional Analysis Journal.. there is no possibility of the true feelings actually coming to the surface. If misused. So he goes to TA which helps him recognize these interferences for what they are but then commits him to more of the same by teaching him new ways to combat the Child. 186-195. But first we must uncover the reality of neurosis. [12]James & James. the armor distorts posture and motility." (p. [3]See Berne. Chapter 15: Body Therapies: Mistaking Effects for Causes Introduction The body therapies popular today fall under the category of "holistic medicine.his claim that the Transactional Analysis framework has brought us "a great deal closer to the secret of human behavior than we have ever been before. xiv. What Do You Say After You Say Hello?." Transactional Analysis Journal. & Goulding. he has symbolically returned to his parents for another dose of what left him part-child in the first place. Under such surveillance. [8]Ibid. op. April 1991. The language of neurosis can only emerge with validity and precision out of that reality -." They are based on a belief that the body forms armor or tension around repressed feelings. Pain. [5]Goulding. pp. It now interferes with adulthood where he finds it difficult to be rational in spite of his best efforts. pp. 31.You're OK. 1967). (???).L. patients pound pillows. [13]See I'm OK -. When we feel our Child "coming on. it encourages him to suppress it. we must agree on what to examine and must ultimately find common terms to describe what we discover. 13) Naturally. [4]Petruska Clarkson. but it alone does not serve in healing.a reality imprinted in human experience. To attack this armor and achieve relaxation. R. 25. 93. The child aspect remains. The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell. p. . not in language. op. pp. p. 89-94. is the key to neurosis. cit. Instead of calling for the patient to return to childhood. op." (p. Because the Child is eminently rational and real. [10]Bertrand Russell. p. If you are made to grow up before your time. The adult has to hold his childishness in check and live under the regime of an imposed adulthood and its rational ways. Indeed. have their muscles prodded and kneaded. "Agreement on the meanings of words" does not unlock the great human mysteries.M. 22(2). Changing Lives Through Redecision Therapy. 15) He believes that language is the key to this secret and that "agreement on the meanings of words plus agreement on what to examine are the two keys which have unlocked the door to the mysteries of why people do as they do. [6]Jaoui. a child is what you remain. (Boston: Little Brown. 1979). 22-23.

restricted gestures.have commonalities with these prominent theorists and body therapists of past decades. as follows: The body 'holds' injunctions. It is not body manipulation that we are doing.be it Swedish massage. It is from the brain that the energy of repressed Pain is rerouted into the musculature. become undefended and the Pain does rise -. It may flow out of one bundle of muscles. If the energy of repressed feelings is bound up into the musculature. They believe that tense muscles cause tension rather than understanding that it is tension in holding back repressed feelings that causes tense muscles. It is basically abreaction.." or what Wilhelm Reich called "muscularcharacter armor. when forced to move in a loose way. This is another way of saying that the body is hooked up to the brain and is not an entity unto itself. Prominent body therapy theorists. breathing.. At least it is a method of release from being all bound up. there are certainly people who do defend with their bodies. Of course. like the traditional Chinese view that chi flows along a systems of internal conduits and meridians.. In actuality."[1] One commentator describes certain kinds of body language which give clues to their underlying meaning. it critiques some of the more important strands of theory and practice. but from there it will flow into other channels which will produce measurable affects such as quickened heart rates. guarded. one is usually dealing with rerouted and disconnected Pain from material (memory) stored in the brain. confuse cause and effect. ." "tense musculature. Primal Therapy has sometimes been equated mistakenly with these physical therapies. from massaging someone's cranium to kneading and poking the soles of his feet. Let us examine three different body therapies which have been popular and influential over the years: Reichian Therapy. holistic body therapies and Primal Therapy operate from opposite directions. It is essential to remember that when one puts a finger on a chronically-tense muscle. The problem doesn't result from the clenched fists but from the drilling. hardly corresponds to any physiological reality. style and quality of movement. there is no facile transformation of the brain and of deep-rooted feeling to be had by manipulating the body. and if the musculature is then loosened so that the energy is temporarily released. while this chapter is certainly not an exhaustive exploration of body therapies. This simple but fundamental error leads them to treat the symptom of tense musculature as the problem rather than as the result of a problem. and so on. No doubt you can reduce emotional stress for a time by manipulating the body in any number of ways. and elevated brainwave amplitudes. Ideas are not the central problem. This is because in using body work to release muscle tension (or in using needles and massage techniques on certain "pressure points" in order to get one's vital energy flowing correctly). Be it chronic muscle tension.. But one must not confuse palliative help with a deeper resolution of causes.rather than magically give way to the "free flow of emotional energy" or to a newly "centered" individual whose chi flows freely. shallow breathing.but that's the point. A great deal of effort goes into massage and manipulation of special muscle groups without a thorough understanding of how those muscle groups tie into the brain.[2] I agree. causing muscle tension. And since neurosis is not caused by tense muscles. Some crouch in corners and whisper. we must properly understand its source. shifty eyes. that there is not a mind-body connection. This is not to deny that there is such a thing as "body armor.only in reverse. the energy must go elsewhere. one is actually putting a finger on a memory. heart problems -. afraid to occupy space or to make themselves seen or heard. wilted. They are all derivatives of Primal events that were symbolized and rerouted in the service of repression. and Rolfing. "guardians" of "deeply hidden or denied feelings. Which is not to say. and they do. like proponents of many of the other therapies already discussed. just as we are when we deal with phobias and bizarre ideation. so that the person feels better for a time. Some of these people. and posture which might be tense. in effect." Any kind of manipulation of the "body armor" should lead not to the liberation of body tension per se but to the liberation of feeling. even if rearranged and resorted. chronic emotional distress. Bionergetic Therapy. pained facial expressions. nor that tense muscles do not express emotional trauma. And you must look to the drilling. Thus. or neurotic ideation such is that God has "saved" you. developed by Wilhelm Reich. as if to camouflage themselves. ulcers.g. reflexology. which may be revealed in posture. however. others display themselves through seductive glances. In my experience. developed by Alexander Lowen. Nevertheless. Trager -. before trying to undo the effects of neurosis.. to get at the problem. as I shall explain below. It does release. the ones who are as physically stiff as they are emotionally repressed. we are dealing with derivative energy. In a sense. of course. Think of the body as an energy-processing thermodynamic unit. the eyes and the way a client looks at others.Because of the physical aspects involved in reliving Primal Pain. body armor.headaches." This may be a very nice image. heightened blood pressure levels. or whatever you want to call it. with its mind-body connection ethos. sighs). but one that. His ideas are the result of the clash between giant forces of Pain and repression. CranioSacral therapy. others strut with their heads held high as if to challenge the world. When the dentist drills your teeth you may clench your fists.Some people keep their heads lowered as if they were carrying a load. which cures nothing. Distorted posture and tense musculature are. prohibitions. To deal with derivatives is to remain on the fringe of the problem. Yet it gets addicting as the person comes back for more: his fix. manipulation of the musculature is truly a manipulation of the brain -. developed by Ida Rolf. and adaptive decisions. nor is body armor. parental programming. You are tensing up against the pain. The holistic health movement. Some of the types of body work which have come into vogue in the stress-reduction field in recent years -.. It is no different than trying to change a paranoid's ideas. serious loosening of the body armor often results in crying jags by the patient but she knows not why she is crying. butbrain manipulation. voice tone and variations (e. For without conscious connection to the real source. which leaves the problem virtually intact.of the most deeply hidden or denied feelings. allergies. It will produce symptoms and disease -.. massaging certain tense muscles can and often does make a person feel better. shiatsu (which "unblocks" and "rebalances energy flow"). voice tone. There is. one that borrows from Chinese medicine's notion of "chi" (vital energy or life force). has unleashed a great deal of talk about how various therapies release the "free flow of emotional energy. not the clenched fists. it can only be rerouted. aggressive. deep tissue massage.The body is the guardian.

primary cause of those defenses: Pain.. He then devised another device to withdraw the immobilized orgone from the organism. as if propelled by a spring." He was convinced that a tangible explanation of the physical aspect of psychic events waited somewhere in the laws of physics.. conscious connection to it. When confronted by Reich. I had to break with all the old concepts of psychosomatic interrelationship.. and that their release would bring about its collapse. Reich's devices for accumulating and withdrawing orgone energy may seem humorous now. in light of his Freudian background. It was the musculature that served this inhibitory function. it loses its life-enhancing qualities and becomes deadly (Deadly Orgone. but Reich did not connect to the underlying Pain. he had diarrhea.[5] [Reich's italics] Here Reich clearly states that psychic defenses do not "cause" muscular armoring.not surprising. but never that violent. Alexander Lowen and Bioenergetics . For three days."[4] They do. Reich made his breakthrough observation: After an energetic attack upon his (the patient's resistance he suddenly gave in. only to the intense anxiety that often presages the ascension of Primal Pain. Even if you could accumulate and remove neurotic energy with some mechanical device. one another. He is saying they are parallel processes. they were simply these processes themselves in the somatic sphere. Reich later "discovered" that when orgone energy is immobilized in the body due to chronic muscular armoring. In my opinion. It was precisely because the patient's anxiety in this unresolved. the skin was mottled and of various tints." Reich reported. parallel processes of what? If neither psychic nor somatic disturbances cause. however. reflect Reich's important recognition of the very physical and concrete processes underlying neurosis. still stirring up surface symptoms from its subterranean sphere. Affects had broken through somatically after the patient had yielded in a psychic defense attitude. and seemed to have lost hold." During this same time. for he contended that this orgone energy operated in all forms of life and filled all space. but in a rather alarming manner. "Full orgiastic potency" was the means by which the blocked energy that constituted neurosis would be freed.a type of energy he thought was distinct from all other known types of energy. nor do the latter cause the former. it can be syphoned off via internal. apparently had bound vegetative energies which now broke loose in an uncontrolled and disordered fashion. or "DOR"). and that there must be a physical counterpart to one's "characterological defenses. He rightly recognized that "something had happened here that was somehow inherent in the therapeutic process." the "causes. Reich developed the physical part of his theory in the 1930s. True. while treating a highlyresistant patient.Wilhelm Reich and Reichian Therapy As a Freudian-trained psychoanalyst in the 1920s. in this DOR. Reich's discovery that energy could be bound into the system via muscular tension lead him to clarify his belief in the unity of mind and body. expressing an attitude of tense masculinity. what then causes both of them? Reich comes close but ultimately falls short. similar to what had happened to Fritz Perls when he broke away from Freudian orthodoxy. Reich became convinced that sexuality was the key to the cure of neurosis -. Convinced that neurosis was more bound up in the body than in the intellect." Reich pondered the possibility of something he termed "biophysic energy.. When the muscles of the neck relaxed.. These manifestations were not the "result. I was disturbed.broke loose in an uncontrolled and disordered fashion. Here Reich's theory turned mystical. He began to see patterns in these attitudes and developed a method of analyzing them which he termed "character analysis. but what he doesn't ask is. the patient's defenses crumbled.Such a reaction presupposes a continuous inhibition and damming-up of biological energy. He even went so far as to develop the orgone accumulator: a box in which one sits in order to concentrate orgone energy so that one's "energetic charge" is amplified. He called it "orgone energy" -. I had often seen similar symptoms." or the "accompaniment" of "psychic" processes. he presented severe manifestations of vegetative shock. Pain becomes both the unifying principle and the sine quo non of defense mechanisms. The color of his face kept changing rapidly from white to yellow or blue. In 1933. one commentator places Reich's DOR and orgone accumulator in his "wilderness of inflated theory that is reminiscent of the mad astronomer in Johnson's Rasselas who believed he controlled the weather. pre-Primal state was so severe and hence observable that Reich was able to make that vital connection between mind and body. Reich now believed he had finally discovered the physical. His theory remains a theory of defenses because he did not perceive the underlying. The stiff neck. We now know that bound Primal Pain is indeed deadly to the system. "bound vegetative energies. biological source of human emotions." I believe that the severe somatic disturbances Reich observed in his patients were part of a prolonged pre-Primal state. And while it cannot be syphoned off via a mechanical device. it does involve neurological processes only recently discovered. Reich was really observing the bound energy of Primal Pain. or result from. He concluded that character armor (our psychic defenses) was "functionally identical" to muscular armor in that they both serve the same function in the psychic apparatus and cannot be separated: The loosening of the rigid muscular attitudes resulted in peculiar somatic sensations. Repressed Pain is the one reality. It produces the energy which keeps muscles tense and prevents relaxation. He believed that unreleased sexual emotions supported neurosis. felt worn out.. it also produces neurotic ideas and behaviors." and that that something was thephysical reality of Pain. This placed him clearly outside of traditional psychoanalytic thought. Wilhelm Reich became interested in the way a person's attitudes defended him against repressed feelings. you would still be leaving the Pain intact. Something had happened here that was somehow inherent in the therapeutic process but was at first unintelligible. the heartbeat was rapid. manifesting in a myriad of ways through psychological and physical defenses within the different levels of consciousness. powerful impulses broke through. he had severe pains in the neck and the occiput. While bound Primal Pain does not involve any unknown source of energy.[3] [Italics Reich's] The patient "lost hold.To comprehend these manifestations.

During a Primal.. My position is that the energetic processes of the body determine what goes on in the mind just as they determine what goes on in the body.Bioenergetics aims to help a person open his heart to life and love. the state of being graceful and the quality of being beautiful. Lowen goes on to explain the importance of working with all the layers. at age 11. He contends that all of our defenses develop in reaction to early disturbances in the heartbeat. It is the brain. because no connection has been made with the memory circuit which is the source of the tension. Finally.. moving. his notion of the muscular origins of character structure. symbolized. and it is the brain that contains the memory circuits from which Pain resounds. it is often due to Pain. The problem with this schemata is that it is really a product of Lowen's intuition rather than of known research in the field. overwhelming traumas which engrave Pain in our memory eventually are mediated by the limbic system. This might sound like a convincing metaphor. the hypothalamus and thalamus which ultimately mediate heart action. Lowen contends that our inability to love as adults comes from the closing of our hearts in childhood. The outermost layer contains the ego defenses of denial. which is one of its basic functions. If the heart is constricted. The brain. The point is that the central problem in neurosis is not a metaphorically closed heart. not a cause. Perhaps we do "close our hearts in childhood. he shouldn't have been burdened with carrying for anyone. the released feelings will be only generalized. Next comes the muscularlayer which produces the chronic muscular tensions that support the ego defenses and protect the person against the underlying layer of suppressed feelings.The goal of bioenergetics is to help people regain their primary nature. and rationalization (a typical Freudian framework). that mediates these signals. In some individuals. On the contrary. These suppressed feelings constitute the next layer. which we now know is the controlling organ of repression. during a Primal. The way to resolve those contracted or armored muscles is to contact those specific life experiences that caused the formation of the armoring -. and pain. Reich was dead. it also blocks external input. get off my back!" He had never before connected the backaches to being weighed down with chores and responsibilities early in his life. If the focus is not on those specific memory circuits. and every time they got hurt he was blamed. which contains the ability to love and be loved. the original causative event is connected with the particular muscular tension. This emphasis on the body includes sexuality. We know that specific memory circuits are at work innervating the muscles to produce tension."[7] [Italics added] The first problem here is that muscles do not control feelings. panic. "Get off my back. working with the muscular tensions. muscles tense in response to unacceptable feelings. the heart is really just one more organ that responds to the signals of catastrophic Pain. But it also includes the even more basic functions of breathing. but only generally. one can help a person understand how his psychological attitude is conditioned by the armoring or rigidity of his body. and then continued as a Reichian therapist from 1945 to 1953. there is the core or heart. character analysis. but the fact of reverberating circuits of physical Pain in the limbic system. which is the condition of being free. blaming. and his concept of depression and its cure. in others. he departed from Reich's singular emphasis on sexual functioning and orgiastic potency. Our inability to love as adults results from the active presence of Pain and repression which shut down the entire system. Thus. the emotional layer. both literally and metaphorically." Still another patient felt the source of the pain in his neck he had had for . Unfortunately. feeling and self-expression. or even a literally tight heart. Each major part of his theory contains this error of reversal: his theory of the role of defenses and of anxiety." For repression not only blocks internal information. Here I agree. not the heart. found that way in his jail cell. as in angina.Alexander Lowen began his psychological work as a patient and student of Reich's from 1942 to 1945. distrust.[6] [Italics added] Below I will explain how Lowen reversed the mind-body relationship by making effects into causes and causes into effects. one can move into the first or third layer whenever necessary. in an effort to resolve his personal problems. It is then that love will be blocked from "entering. These defenses form layers around the heart. but it is far from the whole process. the heart is the core of therapy. as Lowen would have it. I will show how his theory is really more of a personal metaphor for his own experience than a rigorous scientific investigation of objective processes. one patient who had had backaches for years screamed. which contains feelings of rage. They are an effect of feelings.. for again Lowen reverses cause and effect: "If one works directly with layer two (the muscular layer). is left entirely out of the picture.. to where the FDA and the courts had hounded him for the "fraud" of treating people in his orgone accumulator. And when advisable. The Primal came about when he was discussing how he always had to take care of his two younger brothers. one can reach and open up the suppressed feelings by mobilizing the contracted muscles that restrain and block their expression. 1957.that. He never felt the real feeling until therapy -. Lowen began to work with his associate. the heart will be particularly affected. despair. John Pierrakos. she felt the source: "I was always holding back from pounding my mother. For example. While Lowen retained Reich's principles of muscular armoring. Lowen later realized that many of his neurotic fears and problems persisted. In its place is the more poetically-appealing heart. Lowen's Theory of Defense For Lowen. In the pre-Primal state of a feeling. however. In the final Primal stage. projection. and the importance of breathing. sadness. a patient can scream or pound a pillow or kick (all techniques used in bioenergetics) but still be left with muscle tension. By this time. Again we see the effect (a closed heart) being confused with the cause.not to work backwards by trying to release feelings in random fashion via an attack on the physical armor. His initial work with Reich confirmed for him that the body was the "basis of the personality. Finally. In the course of this work he developed the basic body positions and exercises that are now standard procedures of his therapy: bioenergetics. Another patient had a characteristic soreness in her shoulders and arms for years. The second problem stems directly from the first. and disconnected. all to keep us from being overwhelmed. the stomach or the head or the back will take the brunt." Although he felt that his therapy with Reich was helpful for him personally. Here Lowen defines bioenergetics: Bioenergetics is a therapeutic technique to help a person get back together with his body and to help him enjoy to the fullest degree possible the life of the body." but why? Specific traumatic events have this effect.

. Lowen's theory of anxiety has several important errors. But it is past Pain." or that crying is for "softening and melting body rigidities. not feeling per se. and therefore the therapeutic solution is to disassemble the defenses. or whatever is only effective when it is secondary to the internal connection between the emotion and the original event it expresses. and anxiety.. It is connected feeling. there is no specific historical context for the origin of his or anyone else's anxiety. This will then allow the organism to open to the flow of pleasure. we do not assume that all screams or all sobbing has therapeutic effects. because we are anxious that we will be hurt again. and have encouraged patients to act out imitation primals. the focus is on sensations and generalized feelings rather than on specific. This he then ritualized into falling exercises for his patients. and the only thing it has to do with the future is the threat of Pain breaking into consciousness. Furthermore."[8] The problem with this is that it is too general and too ritualized. With his addition of the "falling anxiety. not future possibilities. 2) anxiety arises from a disturbance in the normal functioning of the body. He attributes the lessening of his fear to "grounding exercises" he had done with his legs."[10] He explains that defenses initially develop in response to a hurt or rejection and that their only present-day function is to guard us from an anxiety that we will be hurt again in the future. It sunk in. both mental and physical. unconnected screaming and sobbing may actually increase bodily tension as it dredges up feelings which stay unresolved. and the rigid character fears falling forward. as it were. "The simplest way to get a person to express feeling. It follows that to dispel anxiety and feel pleasure. serve a protective function. is afraid of falling apart. whereas 3) in the absence of defenses. so that 4) "we must therefore conclude that it is the presence of defenses that predispose an individual to anxiety. Lowen's own terror at being lifted onto his father's shoulders at age eight apparently had nothing specific to do with that little boy or his father. Defenses. In bioenergetics.Every patient who starts to let go of his illusions and tries to get down to the ground will experience some falling anxiety. that presents the threat. there is no anxiety. In daily life and in therapy. Not only does targeting the defenses themselves leave the neurosis intact. Lowen's view is entirely speculative. they prevent us from being spontaneous and restrict us from expressing emotions. he says. Lowen again makes an effect into a cause. Our research indicates that the opposite is true. crying. Although he doesn't differentiate between hurt. As I have said previously. while anxiety is future and does affect us.. rejection. We cannot settle for the view that a scream is "like an explosion within the personality. To remove the defenses as needless and future-oriented is to leave the patient suddenly open to all the repressed Pain in his system. The role of defenses in relation to Pain and consciousness must be properly understood before the therapist intervenes in their functioning. sobbing. It was the prototypic response to later stress. metaphoric. These types of assumptions greatly limit the possibility for an original and unique expression of feeling..will experience a certain kind of falling anxiety. and later could be overcome by grounding his legs through exercises." Lowen says. Imitators of Primal Therapy have sometimes operated under similar assumptions." In other words. and thus it is used as a standard bioenergetics technique. but the masochist is afraid that the bottom will fall out. Lowen's Theory of Anxiety When discussing the nature of anxiety. When informed that he was a pain in the neck there was already a vulnerability there. It assumes that all patients need to scream "No" and need to kick their legs. for example. they guard the person against the ascension of too much Pain. while the oral character is afraid of falling behind." In our Primal research. Lowen also implies that defenses are more a function of projection into the future than repression of past hurt. "is to have him kick his legs into the bed and say 'No' in a sustained and loud voice.[9] Unfortunately. The schizoid character. Lowen was terrified of heights. we just need to lower the physical defenses. characterizes all neurotics: The fear of falling is a transitional state between being hung up and having one's feet solidly on the ground. The first one is his contention that not past hurt but only the threat of future hurt is what is being defended against.[11] The personal side of this is that. connected events. And that these defenses not only reflect our anxieties. But he has taken a fear idiosyncratic to his own life and elaborated it into a theoretical framework. was having his head violently rotated during a difficult birth. that resolves neurosis. as a child. We know the contrary is true: defenses operate in response to the immediate threat of repressed Pain. again dividing them into types of falling anxiety based on their character structures. A fear of falling. The very early source. or that create the conditions for anxiety. The psychopath fears falling down." His father always told him that he was a pain in the neck. Lowen hypothesizes that: 1) all defenses guard the person against anxiety. however. . screaming. he contends. a fear he spent years attempting to dissipate. pain which usually turned into "tension headaches." Lowen's concept of anxiety becomes a generalized version of his own personal anxiety. he implies that hurt is past and no longer affects us. only pleasure. In fact. Lowen believes that screaming in itself has a powerful cathartic effect on the person. This brings up the second error: Lowen's conclusion that defenses are the main problem. rather than searching for the deeper causes of his personal fear in his childhood. and unsupported by research. a fertile ground. Crying and deep sobs produce a similar effect by softening and melting body rigidities. He writes: The scream is like an explosion within the personality that momentarily shatters the rigidity created by chronic muscular tension and undermines the ego defenses of the first layer. We erect defenses. it now leaves the patient undefended against it.most of his life. he takes the easier route of collective identification: "Every patient who starts to let go.

It is comprised of the memories encoded within each patient's brain. therapy addresses generalized states as well as localized derivatives. Here Lowen approaches the source. like much mind-body movement rhetoric.indeed. These memories have already affected and altered the entire system in ways that are measurable." Nor should we assume it is caused by the mother. saying that falling anxiety's "effective cause is the lack of sufficient holding and physical contact with the mother. where are the physiological structures that correspond to this flow of feelings? You might as well say that depression is basically a question of bad vibes. and feet. Depression becomes the inability to respond. We see it in alterations of imipramine binding."[17] To be grounded. with the "bioenergetics flow" of feelings blocked throughout the body. Lowen is trying to superimpose a purely physical feeling of reality over a psychoneurobiological condition (neurosis). This. such exercises can remove the patient's symbol of fear -. or did the diagnoses determine the fears? A more important problem with Lowen's theory of anxiety is that generalities replace specifics. Did Lowen's patients' fears determine the diagnoses. so that the actual cause of each individual's neurosis once again escapes scrutiny. As a signal of repressed Pain. but it also describes how a state of mind feels. In any case. with the traditional tossing of the infant up into the air. If the neurotic sacrifices his independence. thus forcing the actual source of the fear --"falling" into repressed Pain -further underground."[15] Like Perls ("Lose your mind and come to your senses"). It is true that metaphorical expressions of mental states often do have their origins in actual experiences.falling through space. It is a sign that he lacks faith in himself. Not only is it an unsupported abstraction to claim that falling anxiety is curable through grounding exercises. clearly borrows from Oriental philosophy and medicine. reality is definable in concrete terms. . When the definition of the first and second variables are interchangeable. Neurosis begins in the brain. it is certain that "grounding exercises" in the present cannot undo the traumatic effects of childhood or infant deprivation. it is because his independence was sacrificedalong with his childhood needs.is called grounding the individual. Lowen's Theory of Depression We can learn a lot about Lowen's theory and method from his treatment of depression. it is certainly not the current-day cause of it. Lowen goes even further out on a limb in theorizing about the so-called origins of falling anxiety: "It can probably be traced back through our evolutionary history to the time when our forebears lived in trees like some of the apes.. Lowen's idiom of having one's feet on the ground may have its roots in the contrary situation of being tossed in the air by the father. it is a clear indication that he has not been standing on his own feet. It is getting well by metaphor. But then what? Perhaps the neurotic does lack independence. in which he explains its etiology and provides exercises for its removal. or beyond that to being held upside down immediately after birth.. therapy would do much better to uncover the source of the feeling of having one's feet on the ground or being up in the air -. or do they just serve as theoretical extensions of the character structures. but he then goes to exhort that: When a person becomes depressed. To begin with the feet is to begin at the tail end -. He has sacrificed his independence for the promise of fulfillment by others. His reasoning is clearly circular. down.[14] He begins with an assumption typical among body therapists: "The self is fundamentally a bodily phenomenon. or changes in interleukin II. for example. And the only reason he seeks the "promise of fulfillment by others" is because he still needs."[12] This passes down to the human infant as a need to be held securely. not to mention a difficult birth where passage through the birth canal was too sudden and violent for the helpless newborn. Lowen's major bioenergetics technique involves the lower half of the body: "Getting feelings into the belly.and into the legs. concretizing a metaphor so that it appears to contain reality. may signal a "lack of faith" in oneself. This is not a bad beginning. Rough handling by the father.[16] This is really a milder version of the neurosis-is-a-choice syndrome we've seen in previous therapies."[13] I don't think we need to dig into evolution for the secret to what Lowen terms "falling anxiety. as when we change immune cell functioning. legs.just a self-fulfilling tautology.be it apart. Lowen has written an entire book on depression. Perhaps depression.came from actual patient experiences. could be responsible. As for what causes depression. or whatever -. Although not "standing on one's feet" may be a symptom of neurosis or depression." Many of his exercises involve stressful physical positions aimed at getting feeling into the belly. It is also evident in lowered immune function. whatever the cause of whatever the anxiety. And how do you get in touch with reality? By being grounded. should be the real definition of "grounding". depression is quantifiable indirectly. but the question is why this occurs.. I wonder whether these fears of falling in certain directions -. Lowen says that it's always due to the loss of mother love and by the lack of fulfillment of oral needs which cannot be fulfilled in adulthood. is to be in touch with reality: "to have one's feet on the ground. Lowen begins from an anti-mental position that leaves the mind and brain out of the picture. In Primal theory. and self-expression therefore means the expression of feeling. behind. With his grounding techniques. At best. but again as a generality.. To "ground" the person from a Primal viewpoint would mean to put one in touch with the entire experience of one's history.passing through all its representations in consciousness along the way. Being up in the air may have once been literally and frighteningly true. according to Lowen. a literal case of standing the therapeutic process on its head! It is not surprising that. In uncovering its specific origin. like everything else about neurosis.grounding into oneself. But again. But instead of trying to implant that grounded feeling through literal enactment of the metaphor.. Nor in my experience is it evident in all neurotics. To normalize cellular functioning.One problem with these neat designations is that the framework itself overrides the patient.. with the alteration via repression of all of our internal systems. To be grounded is to be in touch with reality. you have no definition at all -. having reversed the picture. For instance.

the fact that reliving Primal feelings does indeed cause positive and lasting changes in bodily functioning. especially those of his childhood. Muscles do not act on their own. one would really have to work on each and every muscle. he explains how the child learns to repress his memories and suppress his feelings as follows: In situations where the expression of an impulse would evoke a threat to a child from his environment. The emphasis must be on the crippling of his bodily functioning. He wants the patient to understand how tension relates to life experiences in a general way." he writes. What an adult can grieve for is the loss of his full potential as a human being. not a defense against what is to come. skull and jaw. The reason for one's psychophysical paralysis may be the fact that a great part of one's consciousness is responding to a previous situation that still lives inside where reaching out meant abuse. Many individuals do not breathe deeply in order to aid in their repression and to keep from dredging up deep feelings. each and every organ and system. "the relation of his body attitudes -. "reaching out is dangerous!" While the tight muscles are not the cause of the inability to make physical gestures of affection or need. in Primal Therapy. for that is the reality of his being. He never tried again. or neglect. rejection. The insights do not emanate out of the body but are something apart. When they can finally do that there is a tremendous release of crying and sobbing. we did electromyegraphic studies (electrical activity of the muscles) on the neck and forehead and found that muscle tension was significantly reduced with feeling. there may be a vague remnant impulse to reach out. To follow Lowen's logic in a thorough way. It is not a rigid chest wall that reduces sensation and restrains love. diaphragmatic tensions. They are thoracic tensions. He explains: A rigid chest wall will reduce sensation in this part of the body. The person may feel that he is physically incapable of making the gesture. Lowen goes on about how muscular rigidities in the shoulder girdle inhibit "reaching out" physically and emotionally.. Lowen continues to err seriously. He was angrily and abruptly pushed away. but the command to do so comes from a memory in the brain that constantly reminds. The body's reaction to the future is really a reflection of the past.The unfulfilled child in him (the depressed patient) must be recognized but its demand cannot be satisfied.chart the course. part head part body. By not moving and by holding one's breath. In fact. This continues the neurotic split. the child will consciously try to suppress that impulse. there were too often out of sequence and confused the patient. tensions specific to the upper half of the body -.[20] Here Lowen reveals a lack of knowledge of research contemporary to his work. The Pain which was inflicted when the child first reached out can result from many causes. we have discovered. To work those muscles hard (because they may ache from all the inhibition) can release part of the memory. But the context is rarely released. it is restrained and confined. he believes that there is nothing we can do about them. Decreased motility and shallow breathing are only the outermost aspects of an internal neurobiological process that is not under conscious control. What is important is to rebuild the self.and not a set scheme of bodily manipulations -. To put "reaching up" in context when the patient is ready and is on the verge of certain feelings becomes liberating. but not a unified entity. . retained by repression. and the degree of his Pain -. The reason that one's future is sufficiently tangible to alter every muscle and fiber in a person's body is because that future is really an encoded past. One patient remembers crawling up on his father's knee and reaching out for his neck.his tension patterns -. Although Lowen recognizes the reality of unfulfilled needs. to develop the full functioning of the body. To extend his arms now would be to open that memory like an old unhealed wound. Everything from pulse rate to temperature to brain wave patterns to breast development can be enhanced as Pain is felt and released. but he doesn't understand that tension simply reflects the past. By contrast. The patient's tempo. the throat and neck. in the old days we used deep breathing to do just that: bring up deep feelings. In his contentions that the repressive process is under conscious control and that it is mediated by breathing. Some years ago. When the heart is enclosed in a rigid thoracic cage. beyond attending to the after-affects: To grieve over the loss of mother love will not restore an adult's bodily functioning. I have treated patients who during Primals of experiences at age five were encouraged to reach out to their parents as that five year-old.to the experiences of his life.[21] When bodily functioning is externally manipulated. He can do this by decreasing his motility and limiting his breathing.. each and every tissue and cell. but it really means that he is also emotionally incapacitated. one can cut off desire and feeling. Most importantly. but the muscles tighten up against it because the reaching out is reaching into Pain. as in bioenergetics. the progression of muscles worked on or breathing exercises performed is determined solely by the therapist. the shoulder girdle. Whatever bodily changes occur as a result of these manipulations are out of context. Unfortunately. while a protruded jaw indicates defiance. and if it is it happens out of sequence and is therefore not curative. They were liberated when the original blocked impulses were finally acted upon. the tears and memories were locked up in those muscles. the muscles coding part of the memory. believing that insight into the origins of the tension is necessary if release is to be permanent: "A person should understand. to root oneself into present reality. both physically and emotionally.. The tight muscles restrain the natural impulse. it does not foreshadow the future. they are not autonomously responsible for the part they play in neurotic defenses. Lowen also works psychologically. not to mention spasticities in the long muscles of the back and legs. With repression. one's love is not free. Paralleling RET and TA theories on how childrenchoose certain feelings and behavior. Lowen is bifurcating the patient. they may be part of the memory loop. these changes occur organically from within the patient as a result of his ability to descend into his own Pain. It is Pain that constricts the chest wall. and projected again and again in the attempt to complete the experience and release the repression. and quantified. his needs.[18] Again.. Lowen has it backwards.the chest wall. specifically those sensations and feelings associated with the heart. But by offering insight.Lowen puts a lot of emphasis on various patterns of chronic muscular tension which crop up in us when we're depressed. This is more upside-down reasoning. It is a reaction to what has already happened. and about how a retracted jaw indicates lack of self-assertion."[19] Yet Lowen never goes beyond the perception that current defenses and current tensions are the root of the problem. and must be but temporary. A rigid thoracic cage is but one of the multitudinous effects o repressed Pain.

How can a body which has spent a lifetime getting out of alignment require a mere 10 hours to be permanently realigned? The implication is that decades of experience can be eradicated in one day. alignment. by others. specific repressions.and that reason is to lock up Pain. the problem is that they focus on generalized feelings rather than on particular connections. In the conditioning approaches.structured. It did help me relax for a while but I found no lasting change with it. The tension is in the body for a reason -." Rolfers use their fingers and knuckles. "demanding a change in function" is precisely what neurotic parents demand of their children. of the old feeling itself. In so doing you are demanding a change in function. They are coded in the cells. The body therapies operate from the mistaken belief that a anatomically-open organism is somehow an emotionally-open one. While it is true that the body therapists are more interested in feelings than the behaviorists and RET adherents are. or it remains just that: a partial and superficial alteration forced over the individual rather than arising from within. For Rolf. Rolf recognized that what gets us out of shape are the problems. if you will --from the outside. and in changing their structure you are able to change their function. This is the basic consideration that makes all manipulative techniques worthwhile. Rolf writes: You can change human beings. Their aim. Balance is the primary goal of the work. Feelings are literally stored in the fascia and musculature of our bodies. All are mechanistic. the person requires weeks if not months to fully recuperate. not having the jaw reshaped. And all neglect sources as primary targets. however. wholeness. It is again a phenotypic therapy. the brain and the entire nervous system actually initiate the processes that result in the binding. As in Lowen's case." Ten sessions of this not only enables you to "move differently. the body therapies parallel these other techniques. This is the basic reason why Rolfing works as it does. It is the basic reason why there can be a study of bodies based on structure in the sense that we use the word. Posture. and functioning of a body through balanced change in structure. Structure determines function to a very great degree and to a degree which we can utilize. structure is the key element. Putting one's finger on a tense arm or leg is putting one's finger on a part. On the contrary. I would firstly point out that it is impossible for me to imagine how 10 hours of anything could produce permanent change of any kind. It is essentially a confrontational approach in which an expert confronts the physical front. is to be reshaped into someone else's concept of what you should be. tissues. What Ida Rolf lacked was the understanding that specific scenes and events cause a specific muscle grouping to be tense. they are organically connected to our neural circuitry. neglecting deep motivations. a "Rolfer. There can be a change of function. In this sense. on effects rather than causes. according to a contemporary practitioner. This neglects the fact that the only way to get truly open is to deal with those conditions and experiences which closed the body down in the first place: namely. Rolf's original term." and no doubt your self-esteem as well. To have a rigid jaw as a result of holding back rage means that one has to feel that rage in all its force. is to "improve body posture. In response to Rolfing's declared aims. well-being. . At that time.not selectively and temporarily by having its energy released via muscle manipulation. a bioenergetics therapist. Reshaping and restructuring cannot be enforced from the outside. by changing this structure. and traumas of our lives. Conclusions Being remolded by a Reichian." but the nickname "Rolfing" took hold and became the technique's official name. Repression shuts down the muscles. and organs of every bodily system. Therefore. Like with the deprogrammers for those in cults who confront the ideational system. Neurosis means being molded. he assaults the behavior and determines how it will be changed. "To stretch and guide fascia to a place of easier movement.[22] [Italics added] Unfortunately. all try to change feelings and behavioral mechanical by manipulating external factors. The structure of our bodies reflects the events of our lives and literally shapes how we feel. tells us more about what Rolfing is in practice. The first aim of Rolfing is to bring a part to where it anatomically belongs and there establish a new movement pattern. The basic law of Rolfing is that you add structure to the body. into an unnatural state. but only a part." or by a reflexologist or deep tissue masseuse for that matter. she describes how these limit our physical range of responsiveness and movement and distort the very position of our muscles and bones. and stance are all part of our complex history. where a whole part is neatly removed in a few hours. gait. but in our feelings as human beings. You can change their structure. and flexibility. one must not be reshaped yet again. Deep-lying trauma must be identified and dealt with as a whole -. body and mind. This does not hold true for any field of healing. we can also change our feelings. Secondly. To cure neurosis. accidents. It is not just the muscles that bind our feelings. It was one of the most painful events of my life. Even in the case of surgery.[23] I underwent Rolfing years ago. a contribution to the health. the body armor therapist is dealing with appearances. In encounter therapy. one must have his own destiny handed back to him. The aim of Rolfing is to reverse this process: It is a ten-hour cycle of work during which a Rolfer uses physical pressure (direct energy) to stretch and guide fascia to a place of easier movement.Rolfing Rolfing came to popular attention during the 1960s when Ida Rolf began giving sessions at Esalen. We can be sure that destiny is not contained in the structure of our bodies. fists and elbows to work on connective tissues that cover muscles and joints." it also changes your "body image. and that resolution must involve addressing that conflict. It does not help to be remolded into another shape decided upon by someone else. the expert confronts the personal-social front and tries to direct it. They act in opposition to the dialecticians who see that neurosis is generated by basic conflict. she called her body manipulation techniques "Structural Integration. and certainly nothing happened to my self-esteem. Neurosis occurs because one's destiny has been shaped -. to disembody a defense from its physical location means that the system must find another defense. and Pain begets repression.

One could certainly manipulate the fascia of the shoulders and chest and produce erect posture. In Primal Therapy. there is no way to know what a hunched or stooped shoulder means. not an entity unto itself. It would be in context and not done haphazardly. . (New York: Lowen. (Baltimore. it is helpful to "be aware" of tension in a particular part or various parts of the body. Maryland: Penguin Books. 9/26/88. p. caressed.. We have found that when the key Primal feelings are relived. Yet no one would say that it is curative. [10]Ibid. 39-41.temporarily.like free association of the body. perhaps the musculature would not be so tense and would not need constant massage. Releasing that history is what cures. 128. the real source of all excess neurotic tension. any physical manipulation must be random -. and neck might well facilitate getting at feelings. The therapist can help. Knowing the location of key muscle systems is as important for the Primal Therapist as is understanding mental defense mechanisms. not releasing its results. too -.. [13]Ibid. [2]Ibid. Maryland: Pelican Books.Rearrangement of muscle groups. does not connect someone to their basic. realigned and reeducated. [9]Lowen. and Giroux.. That is basically moving the defense upward. 213. Depression and The Body. If she lacks coordination it is because she is out of touch with her body. 201. or when it should be manipulated in the patient. Muscles respond to a stored history of Pain. [12]Lowen. and of how one uses one's musculature to close down on feelings. and soothed their child. pp. op. But what happens next? Will the posture hold up? More importantly. I am sure that certain bodily manipulations can be helpful in some Primal patients at the proper time. It could mean: "I'm afraid of showing my breasts because daddy doesn't like girls. p. 215.. Bioenergetics.. p. p. because someone else is imposing the sequence. Of course. Straus. cit. p. p.. I am thinking of the barrelchested man. 39. pp." Transactional Analysis Journal. because he is the one with the truth. pp. 120-121. op. reworking. [5]Ibid. Unlike all other therapies. [11]Ibid. and guide the patient's descent into Pain. [7]Ibid. posture straightens itself out. however. [3]Wilhelm Reich. 1/91. Feelings brings that coordination back. a physical therapist might work on certain muscle bundles when a patient is ready for such an experience. is the expert. With these approaches. 122. 44. not on the therapist's notion of how the patient needs to be made aware and worked on. 1972). (New York: Farrar. 25. the truth of his engraved past experiences. [6]Alexander Lowen. support. but he cannot make the final. Reichian.it is the reciprocal of the neural circuit. In this sense. When not done in context. p. 122. for example.. Bioenergetics. whose feelings are literally encased. Most importantly. In this sense a body restructuring session is akin to the use of drugs or alcohol or even religion to assuage anxiety for a time. [14]Alexander Lowen. 105. In short. Bioenergetics. the patient. the primary goal is connected feeling rather than relaxed muscles. Working with the fascia of the chest. Short-term relief is certainly preferable to unmitigated suffering. (Baltimore. Selected Writings. cit. in New Republic. Massage therapy certainly helps one feel better for a while. not the therapist. unfulfilled childhood needs. 21-30. pp. McCann and Geogregan. The stooped shoulder is part of an historical defense system and will be changed only when a person relives the experiences associated with that central feeling. [4]See Rosemary Dinnage's review of Reich's autobiography. [8]Alexander Lowen. 1960). Passion of Youth. p." or "I don't want to show my chest and be sexual. 1974). If parents had touched. Back to Table of Contents | Next chapter >> [1]Cited in Susanna Ligabue. p. posture is a memory. What sometimes happens with these kinds of therapists is the development of a dependency on a therapist who can externally alleviate pain -. [16]Ibid. It is part of one's overall defenses. 1973).. Perhaps a patient is ready to undergo a particular early experience. Although Rolfing. and even bioenergetics techniques appear to be methodical. vital connection to it. Only the patient can. Being aware of how the body works can give us a mental defense about bodily defense systems. p. 27. 21(1). but they do nothing about long-term healing. permanent cure in Primal Therapy ultimately depends upon what happens inside the patient. they are actually random in relation to the patient's reality. shoulders. An awkward person who feels as though she is an outcast will walk and move in a way that expresses how she feels about herself. and other kinds of physical attention. the patient alone depends upon himself to relieve and resolve his problems.. what has happened to the reasons for that poor posture? They are certainly not in the mind of the body therapist." or any number of things. 119-120. p. but his body is so tied up that it cannot cooperate. however well it is carried out.. Moreover. "The Somatic Component of the Script in Early Development. [15]Ibid. Depression and the Body. The Primal Therapist is trained to follow the patient's cues back to that history.

managed. in A Complete Guide to Therapy. [18]Ibid. regardless of their ostensibly improved selfawareness or the new cognitive patterns they have painstakingly learned. 81. and with the rise of the New Age movement. go to school. Over time. None of the mainstream psychotherapies can do this. p. a new notion has emerged: that it is neither necessary nor possible to cure neurosis. you can think you feel better -. patients will remain neurotic. [22]Ida Rolf Talks About Rolfing and Physical Reality. [20]Ibid. And the defense which keeps the Pain far away can last for years. The illness is defined as mental. with the realization that psychoanalysis and other psychotherapies do not really work. "The model for therapy is not the cure of a disease but the growth -. Edited by Rosemary Feitis. As long as mental illness is defined as mental and as long as therapy remains on that level. 50. by imagining. So.. There are therapies that deal with ideas and mental adjustments. He is more alienated. and still others which attempt to change one's physiology through drugs and chemical alterations.. others that attempt to manipulate the mind through rearranging the muscles. who has abandoned the medical model and believes that neurosis is only in your head. suppressing symptoms or talking patients out of them. But beliefs do not heal.[17]Ibid. never understanding the dynamic interplay of internal forces that transform a normal system into a neurotic one. which is important. and that is why he feels better. Beliefs unleash the chemicals of repression so that suffering is diminished. Hypnotherapy helps him dissociate. philosophies. Then you can think the opposite of what is being processed in the body. The problem with psychotherapy today is psychotherapy. He no longer feels his suffering. If there are signs that the body is processing Pain even when a person thinks he is feeling good. Does this mean that neurosis is something one learns? One is born fully conscious. conquered. are you really well? There is evidence that it helps some people. spontaneous. he thinks he feels well. And the deleterious effects that repression and alienation cause will eventually break down the physical system. [21]Ibid. psychoanalysis. p. Thus. The whole person is left out of the equation. If one doesn't feel well. You don't need psychotherapy for that.that is. In the last generation. by "changing your attitude. others that focus on abreaction and catharsis but in a historical vacuum. 35. Chapter 16: Conclusions Years ago I said that next to mental illness. His Pain is now just a distant echo. Their symptoms are better. As we have seen. Are they well? If the Pain remains. (New York: Harper & Row. opinions.more specifically. in the first place. Or if neurosis is defined as a muscular state the treatment will ignore everything except that musculature. 1/94.by wishing. psychoanalysis gives him "insight. [19]Ibid." in Glamour. In my opinion. Although patients may think they're well. but it doesn't help you get well. The aim is to help someone who is blocked from feelings become a feeling person. but the patient leaves therapy with exactly the same set of encoded Pains he had in his body when he entered treatment. I believe that there is a cure for neurosis and a role for psychotherapy in it. otherwise he probably would not have come for psychotherapy. But by imagining health you get imaginary health. most psychotherapies either ignore the dialectic and Pain or manage to shut it down. joyful. 34[23]See "Body Work. RET helps him identify and change his beliefs and philosophy. but only to a small extent. because all the cerebral insights offered by the therapist provide him with a defense that better separates him from his suffering. because no theory recognizes the central fact that neurosis is based on early trauma which remains in the system for a lifetime."[1] My view is that if you want education. driving one to do things beyond one's control. and then unlearns how to be this way? Which then requires that one must grow back into what one once was? . the body will pay the price. This is what has happened with most of the main currents of psychotherapy. 1978). to help a person gain access to herself or himself so that they no longer have an unconscious that weighs preponderantly against consciousness. Gestalt leads to "awareness" and random discharge of feeling. rather. all one must need do is follow a certain formula in order to feel better. but not a "psycho" psychotherapy." But truly feeling good is a state of being that encompasses the body.. some years ago. wishing can make you better. which has got to be there. Each therapy attacks the problem on a different level without recognizing the totality of the processes involved. other therapies that champion here-and-now selfexpression. p. and only for a time. 60. an experiential one. p. and so on. Can a therapy help you if you think it does? Does wishing to be better make it happen? If you imagine little hammers beating cancer cells to a pulp. p. Joel Kovel wrote. The psyche is targeted." humanistic psychology bypasses over trauma and Pain en route to so-called self-realization and peak experiences. yes. Yet he "feels well" -. pp. by believing. That cure means addressing the basic conflict between the forces of suffering and their antagonist. Symptoms get better in biofeedback. These therapies are usually on one side of the dialectic or the other. Psychotherapy today is a tangled mess of approaches. as in directed daydreaming. I still believe that statement. so the patient goes to a therapist to have his psyche rearranged. confronted.. it's obvious that they do not really change in any profound way. and personalities at war with each other. one's psychological state is reduced to a matter of learning. But for Kovel. no therapy has as its main goal the attack on imprinted Pain. Psychotherapy today may enable you to get better in your head. and religion. but never working within the dialectic. 59.. no. then there is a split between what one is aware of and how one really feels. 137. mankind's greatest affliction is the treatment for it. the education -. and altered.of a person.

patients usually have to fit into the preconceived aims or goals of the therapy. the therapist is pressed into service under certain theoretical philosophical guidelines. as in our therapy. their ways of seeing themselves and their lifestyle in general. or when in autopsy of schizophrenics. These therapies are well funded by the federal and state governments because they meld with the prevailing zeitgeist: they are able to carry out society's demand upon its citizens to repress and get on with it. Decision therapy helps people make decisions and get over their ambivalence. deep feeling. so that sessions are up when the patient says they are. That is real growth. dedicate yourself to studying more and getting good grades. And the result is reinforced "self-control. even those that champion here-and-now expression. warm. compassionate. Patients are often fearful of therapy because they don't know where the therapist will take them. Given the nature of repression. and RET fit into a broader social environment in which regulation and discipline have high import. although patients want to feel better. This is because neurosis is in the blood. and produce. another authority figure urges you to stop thinking and behaving in certain ways. rich human interaction. but they don't really want to change. then you are treating something else. The field of psychology is left chasing its conceptual tail. Why has it come to this impasse after a century of theory and practice? Because neurosis is not considered a biological disease. Therapies that basically remain on the surface of the problem and which attempt to redress effects rather than target deeper causes. Whatever has happened to you in the past no longer matters. it should tell us something about the bodymind unity in mental illness. and that those who use the word become pariahs. most psychotherapies are extensions of the parental system.may be an intellectual activity. The new 45-minute therapeutic hour is a continuing part of the authoritarian mechanization of psychotherapy. this makes a certain amount of sense. When the goals are set by the therapist. It is then that "cure" becomes suspect. that's just the way it is: the session must begin and end on time." as Kovel does. Nearly every psychotherapy involves some kind of manipulation of the patient by the therapist. Lord knows what. stated or not. The patient either resolves his predicament in 45 minutes or waits until next week. Decision. they ought to speak of real biological growth. When therapy bypasses feeling and targets cognition. Nearly every school of psychotherapy discards the notion and possibility of cure. one finds systematic rotation of brain cells in the limbic system. In our therapy there are important changes in growth hormone after one year. There is growth of soft tissue among some of our patients. Getting well simply requires you to set goals and dedicate yourself to pursuing them. show you how to creatively visualize yourself free of anxiety and meditate away stress. Instead. but they are in the nature of "I'd like to make a decision if I could make a decision to make a decision. If feelings exceed those allotted minutes. It is all in your mind. Of course the very structure of psychoanalysis does not permit deep. not some mystical notion of psychological or metaphorical growth. of course cure is not possible. so as to minimize that eventuality. Everything is by the minute. If she is in the middle of tears and great sadness her time is still up. And there is an abundance of such therapies out there -. They want to get well in the most comfortable way possible. It is very much like the family setting in which one parent lets the children feel and express themselves a bit while the other parent doesn't even want to know about what the children feel. should this not also tell us something about the pervasiveness of neurosis throughout the organism? Most people would certainly like to get well. or that a . decide you're going to do better. conditioning therapy. try harder. with the objective of helping patients stop looking like they're sick. You are told that your problems are the result of choices and decisions you have made and which you can change. Today we basically have two different approaches to psychotherapy: therapies that support some kind of emotional expression and therapies that zero in on cognition and analysis. most psychotherapies do not facilitate this kind of healing-feeling. a process that requires hours. the field of psychology by and large still clings to the simple "mental aberration" concept. The disease remains. bones. the growth of the total person. without significantly disrupting their habits and routines. which means that removing it ought to result in physical growth changes as well. and the disease remains no matter how much "growth" there is. to reflect back on how he has felt. deep feelings could be arrived at. or any human endeavor must be seen as the outgrowth of historical processes.If therapists are going to talk about "growth. adjust." also known as repression. no time for slow. Even insight given by the therapist is a form of manipulation because it subtly changes the power base from patient to therapist. Many conventional therapies. This is given the heading of therapy but it is really just parental exhortation dressed up under a new title and moved to a different setting. Which is paradoxical. we already have the first problem. As I said. and tissue. This is why they select therapies that fit their psychological mindset. With just a small change in its structure. and that it's time to take control of your thoughts and get your life in order. Later in life. more knowledgeable soul about. because even the appearance of Pain is evidently an affront to the therapist and to the efficacy of his therapy. There seems to be no time for anything -. but because you are not treating it. adapt. In any case. help you manipulate the tension out of your muscles. Even though there are hundreds of biological changes correlated with neurosis. tells you there is no logical reason to feel the way you do.no time for delving or searching. much less talk about it. not minutes. they do not necessarily want to feel the deep down sources of their neurosis. but the disease exists. you have to get yourself going. They continue what neurotic parents do to children when they say you have to get organized. Telling someone about himself means there is a stronger. assertion. deny the need to acknowledge the existence of Pain. in the service of improved social functioning.like resolving to learn different patterns of thinking and behavior -. Yet when the lymphocyte or immune cells undergo a radical change as a result of depression. Decision-making -. If you really believe that you are not treating a disease. There is no leisure for the patient to feel his feelings. It conceives of neurosis as simply a question of dysfunctional thinking.therapies that exhort you to change your ideas. it's just the product of distorted thinking. a question of intellectual "understanding" and coming to new conclusions. but many decisions are the result of unconscious forces which have not been felt. But the idea that a rapist will decide not to rape again. The objective of most therapies is not consciousness but current functioning. When early traumas are fully relived and not only anxiety and depression vanish but so do longstanding somatic symptoms such as allergies and aches and pains of mysterious origin. Repressive cognitive therapies such as behaviorism." This is not to say that no one can ever make a conscious decision.

Early Experience: Myth and Evidence. calls seriously into question the possibility of an early period in which the organism is irreversibly vulnerable to environmental influence. one-third of American adults have taken tranquilizers at one time or another. Institute of Psychiatry." the editors write. etc. Statistical studies finally come down to the scientist's subjective judgement as to what to use as criteria for measurement. are 10 times more likely to become battering parents. Some years ago. The Clarkes are saying that the Freudians and neo-Freudians have overemphasized the importance of early childhood events. but do these ads ever discuss the "whys" of headaches.Q. In any case. The other criterion is the ratio of discrete satisfactions to dissatisfactions expressed by parents in interviews with the investigators. they assert. [4] [Italics added] The only way anyone could come to that kind of conclusion is by being totally disengaged from his own childhood. "unwittingly act as mutual reinforcers in discovering anomalies in early life. Not to mention how the research cited by the authors mentioned flies in the face of myriad studies indicating the contrary. there is no way you could call these experiences insignificant. Some of the authors anthologized in Early Experience: Myth and Evidence provide evidence that children from very bad orphanages who moved to other institutions and later to adoptive homes made good adjustments in adulthood. Brooklyn College. The truth is that we have seen some very intelligent psychotics in Primal Therapy. It seems that these prominent professors have all come to the same conclusion. alcoholism. there was a book on the market about early experience which highlights for me the kind of problems and erroneous conclusions which arise when one tries to arrive at an understanding of emotional illness through ahistorical theorizing and "objective" statistical analysis. Professor of Human Development at Cornell University. "The consistent picture of substantial recovery (of severely early isolated babies). has anyone ever asked the children how they felt about all of their "adjustments"? No. You can end up with "statistical truths" rather than human realities. "coupled with the absence of evidence suggesting potential genetic superiority. Michael Rutter. Professor of Human Development at Harvard. not to figure out where it comes from. . or exhorting an epileptic to decide to stop having epileptic attacks. Professor of Child Psychiatry. stomach distress. the authors whose work is cited are aware of the importance of genetic variables. Nowhere is feeling discussed. What about the misery index? The physical and behavioral offshoots of imprinted trauma? The neurotic ideation? Where are the statistics for that? Since a large part of the country is being tranquilized and Prozac-ized. it must be assumed that tens of millions of Americans are suffering from unacknowledged Pain. the word itself does not even appear. A high level of satisfaction expressed by parents meant successful adjustment in the children. edited by Clarke and Clarke. based on serious and scientifically-organized research projects: that early life experience does not have much to do with later neurosis. insomnia. "general competence. There are massive forces at work in the brain and nervous system. Drugs are automatically given to not only 90% of schizophrenics. quiet.[2] presents the perspectives of many of the biggest names in child therapy and research. and that their adjustment depended on "later changes" rather than on early trauma.. How do they come to this conclusion? One index they use is the I. they say. then early traumas are insignificant. therapist and patient mutually reinforce neurosis. Wayne Dennie. and play but a minimal role in later intelligence. They include Urie Bronfenbrenner.person who is cold and distant will decide to be warm and connected. The widespread use of tranquilizers (prescribed to millions of people every year) is an index of the failure of psychotherapy. Pain is not among the topics discussed here. London." and "average health" as criteria for how well they had adjusted. they end up seeing only what they want to see: the harmful effects of early experience. and most of those admitted for emergency outpatient psychiatric treatment. Children from broken homes are far more likely than children from intact homes to suffer nervous breakdowns. For instance. unexpressive. passive. You see a lot of ads on TV for over-the-counter medications like Tylenol and Bayer and Nyquil and Tums and the rest of them. sometimes to their own surprise. If you could remember your childhood experiences and feel what they have done to you in later life. If early traumas do not alter I. Amid all the attention paid to intelligence and grades and parental satisfaction. In this way."[3] In their conclusions. for example. just about anyone who is considered suicidal. Another study used grades in school as determinants.Q. and which must be addressed if any kind of real healing is to occur. One criterion is parental satisfaction and dissatisfaction of the adoptive experience. you do not have to study other people to recognize the power that early events play throughout a lifetime. Psychiatry is taking a back seat and the driver is the drug business. produced evidence suggesting that events occurring in the first few years of a child's life are not necessarily of any great significance for later development. These editors refer to researchers who assert that to focus in psychotherapy on an adult's childhood is a convenient way to avoid discussing current problems. But what if the parents are neurotic? Then we have neurotic satisfaction with neurotic behavior of children who may fit in well by being obedient. Clarke and Clarke state the following: Without exception. It's a matter of the tail wagging the dog. A study of refugee children used I.Q. and the most disturbed patients we see are invariably those who grew up in institutions."[5] I would say the opposite: those who do not stress the impact of childhood unwittingly support repression. two criteria are utilized to judge the "wellness" of children who had had traumatic early lives and were subsequently placed in adoptive homes. Just take the pill and experience a little bit of magic! In the past generation. They are also saying that when therapists assume neurosis derives from what happens early in life. Professor Emeritus. is about as ridiculous as expecting a migraine sufferer to decide never to have a migraine again. forces which must be understood as the sources of neurosis and its somatic effluvia. Those who stress the impact of childhood. Statistical indices can be useful. they can also dehumanize. or anxiety? The point is to wipe away the distress. and drug addiction. the use of drugs for so-called psychological problems has spilled beyond the walls of mental hospitals and pervaded the larger society. Battered children. Jerome Kagan.. they are sensitive to the possibility of environmental effects. in the Alfred Kadushin study included in the Clarkes' book. a majority have.

Social systems which are not constructed with need in mind must frustrate and traumatize their inhabitants. and market domination take precedence over human needs. the need for profits. Stalin. and is unresolving and ultimately reactionary. Today it's Prozac. And they are going to look out for these needs. More depression -.. any therapeutic system which does not address itself primarily to need creates false hopes. conscious of not. one is forced to focus their need for help in the present: weekend seminars. magic. but is it? When social problems are merely bandaged and personal problems are not dealt with in a meaningful way year after year. to seize and wield authoritarian power. out of the warp and woof of experience and adversity. meaning. that is. not to mention Jim Jones and David Koresh. If they don't understand that imprinted Pain from early deprivation of need is the cause. yet convince people that they are indeed changed. and there are calls for more discipline in the schools. and they are made to take their place in society. it is finally fruitless. such resources are wasted. then they are going to be on the outer margins. Or they are depressed. spiritual guidance. inspirational talks. and if they protest. or don't know how to address it. The authorities do not want any reminder that people need.If psychotherapists are not going to root out causes of neurosis. expansion. His unmet needs make him ambitious. It can be satisfying not to put people in Pain. the society must develop compensating subsystems to handle the symptoms of this central contradiction. needs which conflict with basic human need. Once the system is set in motion. practically demands the need for magical ways to avoid more Pain. repeatedly beating back symptoms. Government itself is a frighteningly effective tool for repression and abuse. These actually change nothing. Isn't that what medications are about? Painless change. three giants of industry (dealing with oil. etc. prestige. and religious observance may take different forms. Are they at fault? Perhaps not. Then they must rationalize that the treatment of manifestations is the apotheosis of psychotherapy. and most people don't. The neurotic chases after money. A high material standard of living is what everyone pursues. who but a needy sociopath would want the power it confers? If a society doesn't feed its inhabitants and doesn't offer them proper shelter. est. etc -. But in my opinion. Is it any different than the starving peasants in South America who chew on coca leaves to drug themselves while they work at a killing pace producing drugs for the druglords? Once need is repressed. are trapped in a system which constructed itself in the same way the human brain constructs itself. When this is the case. and increasing chronic disease rates are but a few examples. ocular. It is no accident that in the neediest segments of society. not causes. esteem. Electroshock is having a renaissance and may be the choice of the future. They. Pol Pot. The needs for profit. It certainly is the most effective repressor. . The weapon of choice to make this magic happen used to be Valium. So many people are so emotionally deprived that without these Painkillers there would not be enough doctors and hospitals do deal with the madness. in society or in the individual the work involves suppressing the secondary symptoms. Instead of reducing the amount of automobile traffic by building a viable mass transportation system. There is more crime and mental illness -. and power. once they have been formed. The same occurs within the personal system. Most societies are based on gain rather than need. their needs are further suppressed. He is in constant pursuit of symbolic fulfillment which has nothing to do with real biologic need. drug abuse. Of course. the symptoms of unfulfilled need are many. all else is secondary. Need is what drives Hitler. High crime rates. These companies have needs too. generate unreal needs and ideologies to justify them. child abuse. the Pain that exists nevertheless. a sense of belonging. all of them to gain identity. wife beating. and so on. lectures. It produces cities asphyxiating in air pollution and is impelled to channel enormous amounts of energy and funding toward treating the respiratory. increasing drug use. success. it must deal with symptomatic expression of the pathology rather than the source of the pathology itself.. More mental breakdowns -. More opiates are produced to quell "problem children's" hyperactivity and antisocial tendencies and to tranquilize highly-anxious people so they can continue functioning. it is very attractive to seize upon medications or enter into therapies that are magically and painlessly transforming. perhaps by electroshock therapy. also known as the forces of order. and automobiles) bought up the city's rail lines and eventually destroyed the streetcar system. What is to prevent millions of nervous breakdowns and the breakdown of society? Prozac and religion. with serious deprived need lying just below the surface. and to receive the gratitude of the patient for the help received.put them away. Being in pain. Needy young people forge groups in opposition to other such groups. and heart afflictions which result. they have no choice but to treat its manifestations. but perhaps it doles out unemployment as a surface remedy. Since the symptomatic expression of individual pathology takes a myriad of forms. A competitive society based on acquisition rather than geared toward need fulfillment does not produce jobs for everyone.it's voodoo by another name. mental illness. The existence of gangs is itself a reflection of need. It is also true of the psyche. These are the glues that hold the country together. yet they hope against hope. Someone acts dependent and needy and requires drugs to make it in life. When symptoms. made that way by the deprivation of need. are targeted. Thus more mental hospitals and prisons are constructed. the task of reactionary treatment is not only formidable. ideology and psychotherapy. On a social level. Any system of therapy not directed toward need must become a compensating one. but they are all usually compelled by the Pain of deprived need. substance abuse. One can also find in these sectors more hyperactive and antisocial children. Some people who are so needy for recognition and adulation end up with control over others. the symptoms insidiously increase. the highest incidence of murder and rape. The sick society and the neurotic individual. Social Need and Personal Need Let's look at society for a moment.put them away. If one doesn't know about the existence of buried Pain. thinking that this is the key to happiness. Therapists take part in this because they too want a magic formula where the patient is ecstatic with his change in therapy. Many people know better. one can find the most pathological symptoms. like needy people. they risk being killed by the forces of repression. They are being drugged and told to function. regardless of the needs of the grand majority of the people and the planet they inhabit. Lifespring.shove it down with drugs. alcoholism. Gang activities. Take Los Angeles. tires.

or inculcating them with an ideology which ignores need. wealth. to the effect that he who does not understand history is doomed to repeat it." according to Freud. To be in touch with one's biological rhythms and feelings also means to understand the kind of living and work situations one needs. Nor do we attempt to alter them. The patient has spent a lifetime in the unconscious search for fulfillment and redemption. Part of the theory is that dreams are the "royal road to the unconscious. Is it possible to change the system? Can we change people's minds? Let's take the lessons we have learned in Primal Therapy. What does every psychotherapy promise? Fulfillment. This is undoubtedly as true for patients as it is for countries. both on an individual and society-wide basis. life settings based not on society's organization around conformity. This is certainly understandable. no longer driven toward alcoholism or substance-dependence or on symbolic need fulfillment: success.a misguided approach doomed to mistake symptoms for causes and to leave neurosis intact. my therapy addresses itself primarily to need. Similarly. Therapeutic approaches that deny the need to search into one's past and root out original causes are going to have more success in a relatively young country like the U. We "change" a person's mind without ever dealing with it directly.must ultimately lay with the organization of the society and the individual around need. the society would no longer expend pell mell without regard to the natural environment and its limited resources. There is an old axiom. hospital beds. . For example. People want simple solutions. productivity. And for some time now a shift has been underway in this country's psychotherapeutic currents. so that there would be less need for medical attention. hyperactive. partly because many psychotherapists are themselves defended against their own Pain.on a societal and personal level -.the hope of transformation and salvation. a consciousness of personal self. If rapid transit systems were built for the needs of the people. This in turn would reduce the number of those hospitalized for lung conditions and heart disease. medications. be approved of.. Contrary to what many psychotherapies purport and practice. dissociating them. in the social sphere.ideologies will change automatically. no less. The patient adopts this value and notion and brings in reams of dreams to each session. The solution -.once the means of need fulfillment are not in the hands of private individuals whose interests are in conflict with those of most people -. antisocial. and we will stop thrashing around anxiously in an attempt to gain attention. salvation. the need for a therapeutic ideology will disappear. but on the needs of individuals to grow in the realm of consciousness. and these. a shift away from past reflection and onto the here and now. They want to be cured. Once we are able to consciously connect with our own Pain (unfulfilled needs). Without repression. This is because ideology is the handmaiden of repression. The resolution of the contradiction between the forces of need and the forces of repression will facilitate the restructuring of the entire social system. and all the rest of it. redemption. from George Santayana. we will no longer try to quell it with Painkillers. The essence of any religion is hope -.having lifted the barriers of repression decades after the trauma occurred -. It begins with an internal experience. Primal Therapy offers not surface remediation nor symptom tranquilization but the Pain that actually occurred. hour after hour is spent analyzing dreams. are what he wants from therapy. substance abuse and child abuse are dramatically reduced. the amount of total energy expended in the social and personal spheres would be radically diminished and also used more efficiently. As social symptoms recede. and so on. It is this experience. we have found. avoiding the central realities that could really liberate the patient. validated. Desperate people want their suffering to end. healthier air. The resolution of the conflict between personal needs and the needs of those in the position to fulfill them would result in the existence of fewer neurotic people and a less explosive society. there will be no longer be an emotional stake in keeping an unreal ideology. rapid cures. Likewise. Doctors in mental hospitals will not immediately use drugs to repress patients' symptoms. Such a consciousness of need is essential for resolving the central contradictions between citizens' needs and the needs of those who control the means of production and distribution.For a great number of people. Individuals would no longer be needy. They really don't want to know why they're so miserable. psychotherapy is the new religion. we help the patient feel his early needs in all their unfulfilled agony. to experience the agony which occurs when such needs are deprived -. repression will no longer be the response of choice. with fewer traditions than European countries. Law-enforcement and penal authorities will stop resorting to force and repression to resolve every problem. once the key contradiction is resolved -. and statistical indicators of economic growth. And psychotherapists want to help. Once needs were fulfilled. Nor could it. quickly and painlessly. in some therapies such as in Jungian and Freudian analysis. as violent crime and gang activity. but they do not want to go through the turmoil of change. And psychotherapists will not aid in the repression of their patients by drugging them. there would be fewer automobiles on the road. particularly one that counters one's best interests. no past -. We do not discuss the neurotic's ideas. For this to happen there must be a consciousness of need. Instead.makes it less likely that one is going to inflict such trauma on one's own children. It is game playing. happiness. So the patient expects and the therapist offer the same thing: magic. But his life does not change. Going further than that. appreciated. they just want an end to the misery. less gas burned. and loved. This then evolves into a social consciousness. Therapeutically this means treating the patient as if he had no history. less pollution. They are gone over with a fine tooth comb. such a consciousness of need helps one deal with causes rather than effects. Schools will find more constructive ways than repression to respond to hyperactive children and others who create problems. To be aware of one's own childhood needs means to be aware of what children need in many areas. between a child's needs and a parent who is in charge of fulfilling them. Addressing Need: The Logic of Consciousness Since unfulfilled need is at the root of neurosis. the new means to salvation.S. Psychotherapy fits into this ethos. and nothing happens except that the patient is convinced that progress is being made because he has wonderful insights into his dreams. that is resolving. With the lifting of repression. and resolution of their problems. and not at all geared to its own past. influence.

This is also the Freudian view: that the unconscious is full of destructive impulses and instincts. Pain has its own evolutionary logic and order. this premature event will not take place. even in the first hour of therapy. it blocks neurological channels so as to protect the individual from Pain. It occurs when the therapist does not understand the characteristics and functions of the body's defense system. lifting repression and feeling Pain can leave people in pieces. All of the mock or rebirthing approaches have something in common: they try to get a patient to relive birth as soon as possible. We know how repression shunts information away from the cerebral cortex and other parts of the brain. Each begets the other. They give my therapy a bad name. Over the years. Another technique is to have patients read a story about birth. it must be allowed to gradually integrate long-repressed messages. which we must be attuned to and respect. processes. Pain excites brain neurons to secrete endorphines. nor any idea where it might be located. naked. People do sometimes run. Based on a large body of research. on a schedule set by the therapist and not according to the patient's inner time . it is what every mock therapy group does in the name of Primal Therapy. after many months or years we arrive at traumas at the beginning of life. and that is a society which centers itself around need. We know about the role of the thalamus in human consciousness and in relaying information to the cortex for connection. These techniques tend to bring up Pains in the wrong sequence and can be dangerous. Why is this possible and so prevalent? It can only occur when the individual is shut off from his own being. This critique is based on a demonological view of the psyche. Beware of Mock Primal Therapies The greatest problems in a feeling therapy occur when people go through the motions of feeling without feeling or when they relive Pains out of sequence. id. The other problem we have is that there are some five hundreds clinic throughout the world using my name or the word "Primal. We can verify this by looking at vital signs and other clinical criteria. Abreaction can leave people in pieces. you end up reinforcing the individual's need to repress Pain in whatever way he can. a death. serotonin. we are now able to "see" that this integration has taken place. This requires feeling less Painful experiences first and the more Painful ones after that. A society that is not repressive produces less Pain." usually at clinics and with therapists I have never heard of. Neuroreceptors mediate this process. For example. and then they blame Primal Therapy. numerous clinics have claimed to have therapists whom I trained. which supposedly gets them into the proper frame of mind to relive the birth trauma. Or. We have a brain researcher on our staff whose role is to help us understand all of the brain structures. These mock Primal Therapies used and use a range of techniques in order to get their patients into birth Primals. Some rebirthers have used the breathing techniques first described in The Primal Scream. If you do not address imprinted need. this is known as abreaction. She needs human techniques. and superego are constructs which in reality do not exist. yet there is no precise definition of what the ego is. nothing to fear. the whole "rebirthing" industry. Gaba. With our brain mapping procedures. We have discovered that artificial techniques are not necessary. but science has leapt forward. It is completely natural. The unconscious is far from the hideout of shadow forces and demons. It is an inevitable sequence. so that the patient's system is not overwhelmed. finally. and that "disintegration" is a myth concocted by those who have inordinate fears of the unconscious or who have a stake in not having Pain as central to neurosis and psychotherapy. This internal Painkilling system desensitizes the brain. It is a friendly place. biologic approaches. Freud's ideas and therapy may have been valid in his own time. We start in the present. Often when I do a TV or radio show. and other chemicals which help protect the psyche from overwhelming information. people come up to me and tell about their "Primal Therapy. The result is that patients do not leave our therapy overwhelmed and in pieces. and usually occur when sufficient information is lacking. which of course is true. we realize how antiquated the Freudian psychoanalytic system is. techniques which we rarely use anymore. a supposedly rational extension of the ancient religious notion that we are inhabited by evil forces we must beat back. Many psychotherapies are busy strengthening one's ego.is the most interesting of all. Today we know a great deal more than we used about the role of different brain structures and chemical processes in repression of Pain and integration of feeling. nothing to run from. This is why abreaction is rampant. the idea that drug addicts and alcoholics must get their act together and start making a productive life for themselves. The psyche must not be flooded with shattering Pain. an emotional trauma. Repression and Pain are a unity. a divorce. True. and over the months retreat to childhood events. we can open the brain channels slowly. Some have immersed their patients in tubs of hot water. they are able to both feel their Pain and integrate it. But those who criticize Primal Therapy as disintegrative do not appreciate what the unconscious is really made of. The patient is not a machine. we know that the brain is designed to stop painful messages from reaching consciousness. If one trusts the biological processes and knows how to work with them. We do nothing mechanical. and then encouraged the patient to get in touch with birth feelings. It took us almost 30 years to perfect the techniques we use. Because we are aware of the processes which occur in both shutting down feeling and opening it up. Without a doubt. as it should be." practicing all manner of therapy over which I have no control. But how? It is an inexorable dialectic. It is a system based on fantasy. that it pushes us towards temptations we must forever resist. its ego. this happens when they are forced to face Pains they are not ready for.that ideology inimical to one's well-being can be inculcated into people -. induced panic. There are those who say Primal Therapy disintegrates the psyche. As noted earlier. nor use body armor techniques. Some of my ex-patients have gone into practice without a day's training. But a society or personal system which denies need must become repressive and must develop ideologies to justify itself: such as the idea that you are the architect of your own neurosis and that you can make it go away by an act of will. We don't strobe the brain as we did in the early Seventies.This point itself -. almost a century ago. The truth is that our patients are getting well. It is not my caprice but a biologic hierarchy that must be followed. such as with bioenergetics. Primal Therapy spawned a lot of imitators. When we consider how far we've come from the days of Freud. and chemicals involved in repression of Pain and its integration. if handled incorrectly.

"spiritual liberation and enlightenment. While most of our profits go into training . inexplicable experience. and writhing as a result of the birth experience under LSD may look like a real birth Primal when in reality it is just a release of raw energy and becomes another defense against Pain. This is in accord with how the brain is developed and organized. This is the essence of abreaction. But the results are almost always deleterious." When these terrible feelings are experienced. and mystical union with the creative principle in the universe. He claimed that the drug enabled many patients to go through rebirth and to come close to death feelings at birth. Nor do they need to have "cosmic" experiences. To think that some kind of randomly-induced "rebirthing" experience can erase all that is to believe in sorcery. People who are too close to their Pain embrace "God" to be saved from it. How a physical human being does all that from a birth experience is not made clear. there is no reason for those who want to do Primal Therapy to reinvent the wheel. They must be reexperienced at the end of a systematic continuum. His patients were not just dealing with a material. He feels good because he has fled to his head and is totally out of touch with himself. We know this happens because there are not the characteristic changes in vital sign measurements that there should be. it is tampered with. If the therapist believes in the mystical the patient will be getting sicker under the guise of mental health. The reliving of birth. Each one of us has thousands of crucial post-birth experiences that help make us neurotic.. In my view. said Grof. for which they have no preparation. It is no wonder that Grof's patients scramble into mysticism and spiritualism. While for some people it's impossible to go into a birth Primal very quickly. Only by using "a whole series of high-dose LSD sessions. The patient in these cases will be the last to know what is happening. The say. chooses to ignore these harmful effects. sometimes was funded by government agencies and psychiatric institutions -. They have been summarily catapulted into an out-of-sequence experience which lies imprinted in the innermost depths of their brain. unbeknownst to me. it should be clear that in reversing neurosis. The rebirthing therapist."[6] In my opinion. Flooded with the force of a catastrophic experience. Many people have attempted to imitate Primal Therapy. murderous aggression. Stanislav Grof gave his patients large doses of LSD. a sense of ecstatic connection with all creation. incidentally. after a series of lesser Pains are relived. It decides there must be some unknown. all these lofty flights into spirituality are another. with the rapid changes in core body temperature and heart rate and other vital signs that go along with it. It was an experience that took them beyond what we mortals know and experience to another plane where time and space no longer exist. but I have seen patients begin to conjure up ideas when the Pain is too much to handle. "I have been saved!" And they have -. volcanoes exploding.. Sooner or later. It took weeks to undo that weekend event. Problems are not solved. not liberated from it. When they are experienced at the beginning.clock. When people approach birth during an LSD experience is when they often get "born again". they are impelled to flee into their heads. they do not monitor the biologic signs which objectively reflect what has happened. A license in psychology or psychiatry is no guarantee of competence in this precise form of psychotherapy. and suffering human beings don't need to be guinea pigs. Under the therapist's authoritarian direction. there is likely to be cosmic unions with the Great Mother and the like.only they don't know from what." He also spoke of how the subject "experiences powerful currents of energy streaming through his body. He may become immediately mystical as the cortex reaches for something to hang onto. uniting with the Great Mother and the rest of it are just symbolic ways of saying that people had been engulfed by internal Pain. I'm not sure what Grof's overblown words means. regardless of how it's attempted. Moreover. it is just these high doses of LSD that convert anxiety into "cosmic" and "ecstatic" experiences while assuring that the subject can never come to full conscious terms with his agony. screaming. highly-charged ones. others can do it. there are no symbolic aftereffects. visions occur. But Pain is not transcended. this is what the "born again" experience is usually about. abysmal guilt and inferiority feelings and the agony of total annihilation. distinguish between abreaction and true resolution. As I have said in an earlier chapter. when resolution does occur. On Monday it was immediately apparent when she discussed her "transcendent" experiences. something we have seen with thousands of patients: no words and concepts. Unlike what we do in Primal Therapy. mystical force behind it. he will pay the price. however. They do not have to go through all the mistakes we went through in our early years. and glazed look. or electrical charge. no psychotic symbolism.which. made something positive out of the conversion of Pain. Grof went on." One of my new patients years ago did a rebirthing session during a weekend. because it has built to intolerable levels. Grof. They are also the Pains with the highest valence. Something as precise as Primal Therapy cannot be practiced correctly by dilettantes or charlatans. or don't care to. Why? Birth Pains are registered in the innermost depths of the nervous system. less severe Pains and work methodically toward the deeper. Indeed. they are symbolized. of atom bombs." Grof theorized. one must deal with the most recent. Grof maintained that many of his subjects transcended space and time and experienced eternity and infinity. This is not surprising when you consider the tremendous power of the birth experience. On theoretical grounds alone." And he reported that nearly everyone who managed to ride the vehicle of LSD to the verge of death achieved some kind of spiritual "transcendence. just feelings. It is said that imitation is a form of flattery. engraved birth experience." After this. But when abreaction occurs. often not a trained psychologist or psychiatrist. no explanation. Which is why a lot of those who go through mock Primal Therapy come out in worse shape than when they went in. The body simply acknowledges its Pain. one could experience and transcend "existential despair. Consciousness is one thing. Ideas are both a product of and a refuge from Pain. Consciousness is not integrated. It became into "transcendence". metaphysical anxiety. Like the mock Primal Therapies. due to lack of understanding of brain processes. etc. leads to "cosmic engulfment. The rational mind conjures up explanations for this explosive. And in a mad flight from Pain the human mind is capable of incredible and creative flights of fancy. Furthermore. one is opened to "orgiastic feelings of cosmic proportions" (whatever those are). In another variation on rebirthing. her phony smile. All the thrashing. no way to understand or integrate them. The patient is flooded with an accumulation of early Pain for which there is no conceptual handle.followed by episodes of explosive discharges and feelings of ecstatic release.. scenes of war and destruction. and it was -transcending the Pain. as in rebirthing. rather. not to mention "union with the Great Mother. no frame of reference and no ordered descent over time. Grof's approach to rebirthing -.ignored the dialectic. But mock Primal therapists do not know how to. but no one has managed to duplicate it. the patient is made to skip over many smaller Pains in order to zero in artificially on the birth trauma. they can be quite disintegrative. But we don't need flattery. it is converted into "cosmic" ideation.

Anything which artificially alters those defense mechanisms produces artificial and potentially dangerous results. Nor will they work for everybody. Janov as a university student had flunked his courses in methodology. open. the immediate results and quick cures. [2]Clarke. If it works he is depressed. constant agitation. 34. 259. You cannot be this way again by acting grownup. [3]Ibid.B. One professor on the psychology faculty of California State University. They want a controlled situation. published in 1962 as part of the series of studies known as the International Encyclopedia of Unified . in short. There are no shortcuts to it. [5]Ibid. who will go back to their origins. Grof. not control from without. is what ultimately heals." Journal of Psychohistory. On the other hand. p. he's got blown gates and permanent anxiety attacks. Our methods may not be perfect. It is a statement of fact. One must understand what the body's self-defense is all about. A patient must feel the Pain in the proper sequence and react according to her specific internal responses to it. warm. In these attempts to dismiss the theory. if Primal theory is truly revolutionary. The model of that process which I am using is the one developed by Thomas S. 34. [4]Ibid. They are electrochemical wrappings stimulated by Pain. the chaos within. once told a group of his students that there was no scientific evidence to support Primal theory and that Dr. by the accretion of experience. Defenses come into being and exist precisely so that Pains will not overwhelm the system.. allowing the system to be natural produces natural results. or as a lunatic eccentricity along with hare krishna or the more bizarre forms of meditation. The point of this essay is to show that. It is generally neglected by the psychology departments of most universities. A Complete Guide to Therapy. It is wrong to play with. The adherents of Primal theory. The unconscious of repressed Pains was built slowly. nervousness. spending months in agony.and research. not the careful avoidance of it nor the conversion of it. The flooded patient tries to repress with everything he's got. Pain itself.. Joel. and thus no shortcuts to consciousness. if it doesn't work. Janov comes under a personal attack that often approaches slander. the same control (imposed by others) that got them into the mess they're in. We have seen too many cases of mental breakdown and suicidal depressions as a result of it. are in the business of offering people the magic they long for. Back to Table of Contents | Appendix >> [1]Kovel. The rebirthers. And it will become clear that the fervor with which the theory has been attacked by other scientists is actually part of a normal process that governs historical development in every science. This is not a complaint. spontaneous. Primal theory as a school of thought has remained on the fringes of the psychological establishment. the theory is discredited as non-scientific speculation and often categorized as pop psychology along with est or Arica training. they are the most scientific extant. innocent. generous. Los Angeles. like so many other therapies. Dr. practice on. Totalitarianism and Revolution. not in response to someone else's direction. & Clarke. 1976). Real Primal Therapy. It is a sacrosanct method for helping people get well. 4(3). and manipulate people in this way. p. To suddenly unwrap these defenses is to leave the system open to more Pain than it can possibly integrate. Kuhn in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. But in my opinion. Appendix: Primal Therapy: A Revolutionary Shift in the Paradigm of Psychology by Agustin Gurza Despite its popular success. then its status in the development of psychology as a science could be no other than what it is. This control is what is wrong with most therapies. In my view. and lack of restful sleep. A.D. The chaos of Pain. curative psychotherapy. "Perinatal Roots of Wars. Winter 1977.M. You need to return to your childhood. wondrous. when they were naive. p. p. the same control and repression that is going to make them very sick later on.. I have yet to see serious research amongst those mock Primal therapists who have capitalized on our work without really understanding it. of course. if ever. devote space to Primal topics. 46. not the ideas and symptoms which are merely its offshoots. Primal Therapy creates new human beings. creative. is not a business. (New York: MacMillan. seem to comprise an underground movement that exists in spite of the psychological world.. [6]See S. or human beings who no longer need to search for magical salvation. (New York: Pantheon Books. p. is the sine qua non for true. Many proper ladies and gentlemen are put off by the idea of rolling around the floor screaming and crying hour after hour. holds the key to the dialectics of consciousness and to the end of neurosis. is true. Early Experience: Myth and Evidence. where humanists and behaviorists are in firm control. And when it is not ignored by academia. But it is difficult to counter the impression held and advanced by that professor because the professional psychological journals rarely. 1976). Primal Therapy isn't neat and clean and it isn't intellectual. as opposed to the poor imitations of it. hopeful. A. however. 259. Neither statement.

. 13)." he writes in the preface of his work. united opposing scientists under his achievements and ushered in the first period of normal science in his field. "that exposure to out-of-date scientific theory and practice radically undermined some of my basic conceptions about the nature of science and the reasons for its special success. Kuhn refers to all such achievements as "paradigms. for example. Examples of these types of achievements are the ones described by Aristotle in Physica. as had been the case in the pre-paradigm phase. Most science. At no time before the articulation of Freud's theories was there ever a single universally accepted view about the nature of mental illness. by Franklin in electricity. Kuhn introduced two fundamental concepts that need to be defined at the outset. In the study of optics before Newton. . although it is a rather revolutionary view of science in competition with other contradictory views and it has created its own controversy among historians of science. noting that "fundamental disagreements characterized the study of motion before Aristotle and of statics before Archimedes. and by Lavoisier in chemistry. like Newton. there existed irreconcilable differences among groups of scientists. is normal science in which an attempt is made to force nature into the pre-formed box supplied by the paradigm. phenomena and techniques from which Newton drew the first nearly uniformly accepted paradigm for physical optics" (ibid. If one is to accept the arguments I make. Finally. 10). some more scientific than others battled each other over basics. One took mental illness to be an "imbalance of the humors" so that depression was understood as a state of excessive bile. "all these schools made significant contributions to the body of concepts. Freud's work had the same impact on his field that all other works of the same stature had on other sciences. Another took it to be the result of dislocated organs.[1] Although Freud certainly had his predecessors (notably Breuer. Pierre Janet and Jean Martin Charcot). For a person who accepts the Primal theoretical formulation. His ideas on the subject developed over a decade and were finally formalized after a year spent at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences.Science (University of Chicago Press). I was struck by the number and extent of the overt disagreements between social scientists about the nature of legitimate scientific problems and methods. Freud. These works and others like them have served for a time to define the legitimate problems and methods of a research field for succeeding generations. and of historical geology Wore Hutton" (ibid. for two reasons: "Their achievement was sufficiently unprecedented to attract an enduring group of adherents away from competing modes of scientific activity. the more rigid definition of the scientific group provided by the Freudian paradigm meant that each scientist no longer needed to build the field anew from its foundations. With examples from the natural sciences. one must accept Kuhn's model as an accurate description of scientific change. The nature of that process will become clear subsequently and we will be able to understand. it could be said that Freud's achievement was the establishment of psychology as a science. First principles began to be taken for granted and the scientific community began to function on the basis of a commonly held body of belief. by Ptolemy in Almagest.that is. Nevertheless. Even as late as the end of the last century. we can ask what scientific activity is like in a field before the appearance of its first paradigm -. Indeed. Kuhn shows that the pre paradigm phase of every science is characterized by fundamental disagreements among its practitioners. Kuhn claims that this situation repeats itself in every science. "normal science" is defined as a stage of scientific development in which all research is solidly based on one or more previous scientific achievements. Having introduced these two notions. and generally bring more precision to the paradigm's articulation. before the state of normal science is possible. while special curricula were established in the universities. Those achievements must be universally accepted by the scientific community as cornerstones for further practice in the field. "To my complete surprise. They were able to do so. Instead. Clearly. increase the agreement between fact and theory. revolutionary paradigms are rare events in the history of science. 15). First." Kuhn then abandoned his studies in physics and turned his attention to the history of science as a junior fellow of the Society of Fellows of Harvard University. known as the founder of American psychiatry." Kuhn writes. while it simultaneously requires the rejection of Freudian theory for its acceptance. p. p. Specialized journals began to be published and specialist's societies were founded. explaining hysteria as a wandering uterus. Discussing that crucial experience Kuhn writes. how Primal theory can depend on Freudian theory for its existence. it was his theories that triumphed as the generally accepted paradigm in the field. was explaining madness as a disease of blood vessels in the brain and was thus placing his patients in a spinning chair as therapy designed to counteract the congestion of those vessels." the second basic concept in his work. The vast bulk of scientific activity involves what Kuhn calls "mopping-up operations. Another understood it as a modification of the medium that intervened between the body and the eye. Kuhn's analysis is particularly appealing because it describes scientific change as a dialectical process. it was sufficiently open-ended to leave all sorts of problems for the redefined group of practitioners to resolve" (Kuhn. Simultaneously. the older schools gradually disappeared and the scientific community was unified under the Freudian paradigm. Kuhn's original interest in the nature of science and its historical process came at the end of his graduate studies in theoretical physics. of chemistry before Boyle and Boerhaave. the chaos of the preparadigm phase (when all facts seemed equally relevant and fact gathering was a more random activity) was more or less eliminated. it is a view that has gained increasing acceptance and is now almost standard reading in social science classes at the university level. a number of schools. for example. And there were the theological explanations (quite attractive in the pre-paradigm phase of any science) that irrational behavior was the result of demonic possession. in short. each of which had its own view about the nature of light. Benjamin Rush. One group thought light was composed of particles emanating from material bodies. Particularly. Thus. when he chanced into an experimental college course treating physical science for the non-scientist. First. p. the study of heat before Black. It should stand fairly uncontested if I extend Kuhn's analysis to include the study of psychology before Freud." in which scientists attempt to answer the questions raised by a paradigm. "At various times. Normal science can only be carried out by scientists who labor under shared paradigms and thus are committed to the same rules and standards for scientific practice. Aristotle and Black. "Spending a year in a community composed predominantly of social scientists confronted me with unanticipated problems about the differences between such communities and those of the natural scientists among whom I had been trained.. by Newton in Principia and Opticks." An obvious criticism that can be leveled at the project I have undertaken is my total reliance on Kuhn's model. says Kuhn. and still another took light to be an interaction of the medium with an emanation from the eye.

. Before announcing his discovery. A case in point is Kuhn's description of the discovery of X-rays. Normal science proceeds fairly smoothly in its puzzlesolving endeavor until the anomalous fact appears. and expect to find. the new paradigm emerges when the old one proves unable to explain the newly discovered phenomenon.and therefore change in both procedures and expectations -.. the undoing of neurosis involves the experiencing of the Pain that produced it in the first place. That statement contains the essential feature of the dialectical process. Paradigm procedures and applications are as necessary to science as paradigm laws and theories. with the recognition that nature has somehow violated the paradigm-induced expectations that govern normal science. The perception of anomaly -. 64). finally. 23). scientists went about the business of redefining the theory. improving its fit to nature and applying its principles in therapeutic practice. It is the reaction of a man totally perplexed by a phenomenon . Kuhn concludes: "Let me now point out that. and much else besides. The more precise and far-reaching the paradigm. As a result we may also understand how the discovery of X-rays could seem to open a strange new world to many scientists and could thus participate (80)effectively in the crisis that led to twentieth-century physics (p. as Freud claimed.they required seven hectic weeks in which Roentgen rarely left the laboratory --indicated that the cause of the glow came in straight lines from the cathode ray tube.As Kuhn puts it. intense attention is focused on the anomalous fact. Kuhn explains it this way: "Discovery commences with the recognition of anomaly. should nevertheless be effective in causing them to arise" (p. recognizing the process.[and] normal science consists in the actualization of that promise" (ibid..the fact that is not anticipated by an established paradigm and which. and they have the same effects. then the anthropological investigations of Bronislaw Malinowski among the Trobriand Islanders should provide evidence for that fact. Dr. then the problem should clear up nicely in therapeutic practice by cutting those two components down to size. Janov describes his reaction to the first Primal he witnessed in one of his conventional therapy groups. 57). we may simultaneously see an essential sense in which a discovery like X-rays necessitates paradigm change -." In personal development. But the anomaly can only be identified against the backdrop provided by the paradigm. could not be deflected by a magnet.of a phenomenon. And it closes only when the paradigm theory has been adjusted so that the anomalous becomes the expected" (page 52).for a special segment of the scientific community. for which his paradigm had not readied the investigator -. Fuller Torrey to announce that "psychiatry is dying. That failure impelled psychoanalyst E. something else. Also.. Scientists systematically discover new and revolutionary facts without ever consciously looking for them. we can at last begin to see why normal science. p. how do these novelties ever come to be uncovered? Here we are faced with a seeming paradox because research under normal science. The decision to employ a particular piece of apparatus and use it in a particular way carries an assumption that only certain sorts of circumstances will arise. There are instrumental as well as theoretical expectations. does in fact regularly lead to revolutionary discoveries. it provides an assurance that those problems have a solution. the traditional pursuit of normal science prepares the way for the discovery that will destroy that tradition and establish a new one.. the more sensitive an indicator of anomaly it will provide. Recognizing that much. The paradigm provides the criterion for selecting the problems to be solved. After the establishment of the Freudian paradigm. This example allows us to isolate the characteristics of the process by which new discoveries lead to paradigm change. So in science. It is worth quoting at length: Its story opens on the day that the physicist Roentgen interrupted a normal investigation of cathode rays because he had noticed that a barium platino-cyanide screen at some distance from his shielded apparatus glowed when the discharge was in process. normal science based on the Freudian paradigm) has failed on all these counts. each stage of society "contains the seeds of its own destruction. a pursuit not directed to novelties and tending at first to suppress them.. the psyche is actually compartmentalized into the ego. It is clear now that the process begins with the initial acceptance of a paradigm theory which establishes a research tradition. that the radiation cast shadows. no matter how far it is stretched. If. The major empirical and theoretical tasks of normal science are provided by the built-in limitations of a paradigm in its ability to make theory fit nature.played an essential role in preparing the way for perception of novelty. the discovery of Primal Pain and the formulation of Primal theory with the advantage of understanding the process of scientific discovery. confirming its predictions. Further investigations -. And if the Oedipus complex is truly a central conflict basic to human nature. once discovered. limitations which provide the most fascinating and most consuming problems of that phase of scientific research. The anomalous fact -. Consider. Roentgen's discovery commenced with the recognition that his screen glowed when it should not. So many of the puzzles defined by the Freudian paradigm have resisted solution so stubbornly that many of its own practitioners have openly recognized its failure. Finally. Roentgen had convinced himself that his effect was not due to cathode rays but to an agent with at least some similarity to light.e. those discoveries are only possible when scientists are looking for. then. superego and id. In social development. that is.can emerge only when normality is well-defined and well-understood. designed to promote and substantiate an established theory. Torrey recognizes that the death is a natural process required for scientific progress.. cannot be explained by the conceptual tools the paradigm provides -. if a mental disorder is theoretically due to a bulging superego or an unruly id." and by pointing to Kuhn's analysis. apparently. In his introductory pages to The Primal Scream.2 What exactly is the nature of that process? The question might have already occurred to some readers that if the majority of scientists spend their lives engaged in the activities of normal science. It then continues with a more or less extended exploration of the area of anomaly. The resolution of that paradox comes with the introduction of Kuhn's concept of anomaly as the basis of scientific discovery. which is basically traditional. When scientific expectations are upset by the appearance of anomaly. Inevitably they restrict the phenomenological field accessible for scientific investigation at any given time. "the success of a paradigm is at the start largely a promise of success discoverable in selected and still incomplete examples. Freudian theory (more precisely. and if those activities do not aim to uncover novelties of fact and theory. i. it sets out the rules by which those solutions are to be sought and often it provides a prediction of what those solutions will be. Needless to say. and they have often played a decisive role in scientific development.. then neurological research would hope fully provide some evidence to bring that psychic structure into compatibility with brain structure. In fact.

the development of psychology follows the pattern closely. the acceptance of the Copernican paradigm required the absolute rejection of all geocentric theories of the universe that had preceded it. there is little agreement as to fundamentals and each theorist is forced to build the field from its beginnings. then all the scientific discoveries and theories developed along the road would remain as buildingblock foundations of later work.e. Some even circumvent the problem altogether by claiming that there is no need for a cure because actually there is no sickness after all. Janov may not have known this in advance. His famous preface still provides one of the classic descriptions of a crisis state (Kuhn. Janov less than well-liked by many of his colleagues. if accepted. The dialectical process requires that this be so." Janov's discovery commenced with his recognition that the patient had resolved a Painful memory by crying in agony when he should not. there could be no coexistence with previous theories that took light to be something other than what Newton said it was. (Kuhn observes that this is the commonly held view of science which is perpetuated by science textbooks. That is what motivated Dr. The loss of status of the Freudian paradigm and the resulting proliferation of new theories are.that could not be explained by any theory in his field with which he might be familiar."[2] Those kinds of statements have made Dr. Janov to speak of having found the cure for neurosis when almost everybody else in the field had already given up looking for one. it is more than just a coincidence that Dr.i. 65). because it was the identification of the anomalous fact that would require the overthrow of all psychological theory as it was known at the time. no false modesty or false democratic ideals.) If this were so. A prerequisite for the emergence of those theories (as in the case of the emergence of new facts) is the profound awareness of anomaly. In the time between the awareness of anomaly and the completion of the paradigm change. "These examples [from physics. Increasingly. Similarly. "typical effects of crisis" (Kuhn.. Janov (unaware at the time of the dynamics of Kuhn's model) to write: "If the laws governing the development of neurosis and psychosis are specific then there can be no leeway. is able to recognize that something has gone wrong" (p. had read every word that Sigmund Freud had ever written. 69). I suggest that in psychology. Kuhn makes a striking statement that allows us to carry the application of his model to the last detail. knowing with precision what he should expect. Domenico da Novara.expressed in psychology as the abandonment of a search for a cure -takes hold of the practitioners in any field when they are faced with the failure of the paradigm that has guided their work. First. the science exists in a state of extreme crisis that demands resolution. There can be but one approach. It is no surprise. Janov's observation that a shattered defense actually yields Primal Pain and its resolution is a direct violation of the theoretical expectations of the Freudian paradigm -. Finally. although only time will show whether the Primal paradigm is to be accepted as the revolutionary paradigm. Dr. p. there were almost as many versions of the phlogiston theory as there were pneumatic chemists" (p. 70). all of which would leave room for many approaches to the problem. Kuhn concludes from this that "the novel theory seems a direct response to crisis" (p. the malignant forces of the id will be released with horrendous consequences. Freudian theory creates the expectation that when defenses are shattered. Kuhn provides a good example of the crisis state in his discussion of the state of astronomy at the time of Copernicus: In the sixteenth century. Copernicus' co-worker.is that they occur no more than a decade or two before the enunciation of the new theory that will eventually replace the old. once Newton's theories of optics were generally accepted. The discovery was so unsettling. And in the absence of crisis those anticipations had been ignored" (p. Just as "Roentgen's discovery commenced with the recognition that his screen glowed when it should not. 75). p. Suppose that scientific progress were not dialectical and that instead it proceeded in a cumulative fashion with the addition of fact upon fact and discovery upon discovery. Practitioners with this latter bent take it as their goal to help their patients learn to live happily with their transvestitism. held that no system so cumbersome and inaccurate as the Ptolemaic had become could possibly be true of nature. In this respect. also. psychology has arrived at a stage resembling that of its pre-paradigm (pre-Freudian) era. during his career. In this regard. we will examine some of the characteristics of that crisis state to see how closely they fit the contemporary condition of psychology. But Reich was writing at a time when there was still great confidence in the Freudian paradigm and other scientists were too concerned with the actualization of its . Briefly. But Kuhn's analysis shows that scientific despair -. it is more and more a random venture in which all observable facts seem to have equal relevance. some adhering closely to traditional Freudian theory and others veering so far in other directions that their antecedents are hardly recognizable. Janov. That recognition was a prerequisite for Copernicus' rejection of the Ptolemaic paradigm and his search for a new one. 72). Dr. Today. Again.it is the perception of anomaly for which the old paradigm has no explanation. The despair in psychology has come to be so profound that most psychologists resign themselves to treating symptoms (behaviorists are the most conspicuous example). Kuhn writes. requires the rejection of all theories that preceded it. The state of chaos and disillusionment which always precedes scientific revolutions increases in direct proportion to the inability of the old paradigm to solve the problems it has defined for itself. Most psychologists found it exceedingly arrogant for Dr. compulsive hand-washing. there are dozens of schools and sub-schools in psychology. or whatever their neurotic behavior may be. the research guided by the Freudian paradigm has come to resemble that conducted under the competing schools of the preparadigm period -. The professional insecurity that grips the practitioners of a science in crisis (as it has in the field of psychology today) always precedes the emergence of new theories. We are now able to see how the discovery of Primal Pain would require the elaboration of a new theory which. While the Freudian paradigm operated satisfactorily it was able to fulfill its function in providing the criteria for research and otherwise guiding the activities of normal science. then. By the early sixteenth century an increasing number of Europe's best astronomers were recognizing that the astronomical paradigm was failing in application to its own traditional problems. chemistry and astronomy] share another characteristic that may help to make the case for the role of crisis impressive: the solution to each of them had been at least partially anticipated during a period when there was no crisis in the corresponding science. And Copernicus himself wrote in the preface to the De Revolutionibus that the astronomical tradition he inherited had finally created only a monster. A most interesting feature of crisis states -. The reason is clear. however. a most common symptom of crisis is the proliferation of different versions of a theory. Clearly. Primal theory was partly anticipated by the theories of Wilhelm Reich. that the acceptance of Primal theory aa a paradigm in psychology would require the rejection of any other theory that does not view Primal Pain as the fundamental cause of mental illness and its reexperience as the cure. As Kuhn writes: "Novelty ordinarily emerges only for the man who. but it was certainly clear to him at the time that something was terribly amiss. Again. I submit. 75). in Kuhn's words.and the theory proliferation which signals them -. for example: "By the time Lavoisier began his experiments on airs in the early 1770s. The result of their emergence is large-scale paradigm destruction and major shifts in the problems and techniques of normal science.

in the area of difficulty. Who is to say that one is less valid than the other? Dr. Janov exhibited the stab-in-the-dark technique when he asked that patient in his office to call for his parents. can be surrendered with relative ease (p. as significant as it is incomplete. by moderation and by coercion. Only Primal Therapy. would have a revolutionary impact beyond the field of psychology. schools. combine with those of the psychological establishment to make the acceptance of Primal theory an arduous battle. each one claims success for its theory and each one amasses a barrage of evidence to hurl against its competition. The sociological and political implications of the theory are so vast and so profound that social and political systems would also be endangered by its success. megavitamin therapy. But this kind of random poking around. It would necessitate a basic redefinition of the field because the competing paradigms differ not only in substance but also in the methods. like the institutions. and it is that recourse to external criteria that most obviously makes paradigm debates revolutionary (p. then how does it really come about? Since we have already seen that the choice of one paradigm means the simultaneous rejection of both its predecessor and its competitors. who would have to make a sudden alteration of their entire view of the world.the interplay between opposing forces that creates new syntheses. often seem a man searching at random. Simultaneously. it can hardly be disputed that both behave the same way --that is. the scientist in crisis will constantly try to generate speculative theories that. But the most distressing thing is that the debate between proponents of opposing schools is often fruitless. however. as a truly liberating process. and its practitioners were employing those tools •with confidence to solve the problems which the paradigm defined. that question of values can be answered only in terms of criteria that lie outside of normal science altogether. Often. the scientist's first effort will often be to isolate it more precisely and give it structure. one Primal and one Gestalt. It would mean that thousands of analysts would have to give up their hundred-dollar-per-hour practices to undergo their own Primal Therapy. In the same way. sex therapy. he will almost be like our most prevalent image of the scientist. And in the latter effort. since no experiment can be conceived without some sort of theory. Though now aware that they cannot be quite right. is that a debate between a Primal theorist and a behaviorist is logically impossible as long as the latter does not recognize the inner life of the patient as a legitimate area of scientific concern. in the first place. the rules of normal science have become so blurred in psychology that the operative expression in the field is "anything goes. The acceptance of Primal theory. and if unsuccessful. It is no wonder that the theoretical battles are so intense and that the proponents of the old school never give up their paradigm without bitter resistance. psychology has arrived at the occasion that demands retooling (if it is in a state of crisis). and even beyond science altogether. was willing to try anything. then. and in this regard I would again like to quote at length from Kuhn: To the extent. to weigh the value of their respective therapeutic . Previous psychological theories have not had revolutionary effects on these institutions because the theories. like many of his colleagues. each paradigm will be shown to satisfy more or less the criteria that it dictates for itself and to fall short of a few of those dictated by its opponent. they will inevitably talk through each other when debating the relative merits of their respective paradigms. it never produces a clearcut vista and it most often serves to further deepen the irreconcilable differences among them. may disclose the road to a new paradigm. In fact. It rarely leads to any resolution. There are other reasons too for the incompleteness of logical contact that consistently characterizes paradigm debates. Simultaneously he will seek for ways of magnifying the breakdown. in fact. just where and how far they can be made to work." Nude therapy. If the theory were widely accepted. For example. as many have claimed. it would not only mean the dismantling of a profession but also the destruction of the personal lives of its practitioners. and that many of the practitioners in the human potential movement would have to start putting their clothes back on. Imagine if Primal theory were accepted overnight by the entire psychological establishment. more than in any other part of the post-paradigm development of science. in other words. The fact that there is such a battle. therapy by deprivation. In the partially circular arguments that regularly result. and the agencies of war would become subject to radical alterations. that two scientific schools disagree about what is problem and what a solution. In the face of the massive failure of traditional psychology. both engage in rather wild experimentation. 86). The time of crisis had not yet arrived. however. If one equates the therapy room of the contemporary psychologist with the laboratory of the natural scientist in periods of crisis. it is clear that much is at stake in the resolution of the scientific crisis. he. Psychology was moving quickly because the tools provided by the Freudian paradigm still seemed useful. the revolutionary paradigm does not triumph until the death of the scientists of preceding generations. it will be instructive to quote Kuhn's description of how scientists behave when faced with crisis. are repressive. He will.promise to consider its replacement. therapy by indulgence. The question arises here: how is it possible to value one theory above the other? How. The significance of crises is the indication they provide that an occasion for retooling has arrived" (p. illustrates another feature of the dialectical process -. paradigm debates always involve the question: Which problems is it most significant to have solved? Like the issue of competing standards. since no paradigm ever solves all the problems it defines and since no two paradigms leave all the same problems unsolved. If. The repressive forces in society. looking for an effect whose nature he cannot quite guess. society would have to rethink the fundamental tenets for its approach to solving social problems. Faced with an admittedly fundamental anomaly in theory. he will push the rules of normal science harder than ever to see. and drop-outs. This provides some clue to the nature of the conflict. if successful. In other words. Prisons. leads to the generation of speculative theories to explain the results. drug addicts. so in science -. is the choice made that will show one theory to be better than the rest and thus make it worthy of the loyalty of the entire scientific community rather than just a part of it? In the conflict that exists today among psychological schools. as Kuhn states. But if the process is not based on logical evaluation. problems and standards of solutions they define. trying experiments just to see what will happen. courts. Additionally. 109-110).retooling is an extravagance to be reserved for the occasion that demands it. in practice. What that paragraph means. of making it more striking and perhaps also more suggestive than it had been when displayed in experiments the outcome of which was thought to be known in advance. 76). It leads one to doubt whether logical argument could ever serve to win converts from one camp into another and settle the matter definitively. it is a dead end endeavor for two therapists. Kuhn writes in conclusion: "As in manufacture. creates the possibility of a truly liberated society. not really knowing himself why he was making the request. behaviorists would have to scrap their conditioning shock equipment and all biofeedback machines would have to be sent to museums as relics. A repressive society requires a repressive psychotherapy (such as behaviorism) to deal with its criminals.

In short. however. But the older paradigm can presumably be articulated to meet these challenges as it has met others before. With the advantage of hindsight. and we can now look briefly at the nature of those conversions. shyness.are developed. For example. 153). is not a violation of scientific standards but an index to the nature of scientific research itself. nor Lord Kelvin the electromagnetic theory. We might even accuse the resistant scientists of human folly. that nature can be shoved into the box the paradigm provides. 151). Before those texts are written. To scientists those arguments are ordinarily the most significant and persuasive. and most of those solutions are still far from perfect. rarely made entirely explicit. Add the counter-arguments generated by what we previously called the incommensurability of paradigms. in outline form. in isolating the difficulty through the study of which a new paradigm may emerge" (ibid. then. And it is only through normal science that the professional community of scientists succeeds.Sometimes the looser practice that characterizes extraordinary research will produce a candidate for paradigm but initially helps not at all with the problems that have evoked crisis... particularly on the continent. of not being able to admit their mistakes even when faced with compelling proof... the situation is very different. a concept which to the former is an outright absurdity that has no place in his theoretical construct? Still.. I will simply present Kuhn's points. A decision between alternate ways of practicing science is called for.they are neither individually nor collectively impelling. so that it can be untaught while new desired behavior is learned. first. particularly persuasive arguments can be developed if the new paradigm permits the prediction of phenomena that had been entirely unsuspected while the old one prevailed" (p. Fortunately. p. The man who embraces a new paradigm at an early stage must often do so in defiance of the evidence provided by problem-solving.. this claim is often the most effective one possible" (p. particularly from those whose productive careers have committed them to an older tradition of normal science. there is also another sort of consideration that can lead scientists to reject an old paradigm in favor of a new. Producing them is part of normal science and their role is not in paradigm debate but in post-revolutionary texts.techniques as long as the latter does not recognize the overriding importance of the patient's past and gears his therapy instead toward the goal of bringing the patient into "the here and now. Nevertheless. it seems inconceivable and ridiculous from a Primal point of view for a therapist to try to teach a patient how to be more aggressive and self-confident (how to say no and not feel guilty). have faith that the new paradigm will succeed with the many large . The source of resistance is the assurance that the older paradigm will ultimately solve all its problems. at times of revolution. Ordinarily. When it can legitimately be made. as indeed it sometimes becomes.. we are all tempted to consider old discarded theories with some amusement and wonder how it could be possible for an intelligent man to believe that hysteria was the result of a wandering uterus. for more than half a century after the Principia appeared. that appeal to the individual's sense of the appropriate or the aesthetic -. "is that they are very often not. while the debate goes on. Copernicanism made few converts for almost a century after Copernicus' death.Instead. accepted and exploited that apparently decisive arguments . Probably such arguments are less effective in the sciences than in mathematics" (p.. 2. For this. we wonder how his contemporaries could have resisted his ideas so stubbornly for so long. When the current debate in psychology is at its most passionate. if a new candidate for paradigm had to be judged from the start by hard-headed people who examined only relative problem-solving ability. 155). Nor can it always legitimately be made. The reasons for it are explained below: When a new candidate for paradigm is first proposed. "All the arguments for a new paradigm discussed so far have been based on the competitor's comparative ability to solve problems. 4.the new theory is said to be 'neater.. from the chapter "The Resolution of Revolutions. that is." 1." Kuhn writes. He must. it handles some problems better... for example. and so on" (Kuhn. the proponents of one school often consider the proponents of all the others as fools. rarely sufficient by itself. it is only much later after the new paradigm has been developed. Lifelong resistance. that assurance seems stubborn and pigheaded. And when we think of Copernicus. But paradigm debates are not really about relative problem-solving activity.' 'more suitable." conversions of the scientific community to revolutionary paradigms do take place sooner or later. 154). etc. 3. it has seldom solved more than a few of the problems that confront it. the issue is which paradigm should in the future guide research on problems. although "resistance is inevitable and legitimate.' or 'simpler' than the old. In those areas. and in the circumstances that decision must be based less on past achievement than on future promise. But Kuhn sees the matter differently: "I would argue that in these matters neither proof nor error is at issue. For the conditioning therapist. has disclosed some new regularities. But it is also something more. Inevitably. the neurotic behavior is seen as a total psycho-physiological response of the organism that simply points to the underlying Pain that caused it and which will not go away at the exhortation of a teacher. When that occurs. in exploiting the potential scope and precision of the older paradigm and..) was taught. this only underscores the vast difficulties in resolving scientific crises. Kuhn's last point is crucial and it should be noted carefully. Of course. the technique is not at all ridiculous because his learning theory tells him that the undesired behavior (timidity. Newton's work was not generally accepted.. The transfer of allegiance from paradigm to paradigm is a conversion experience that cannot be forced. It is little wonder that the one is looking at the work of the other as derisively as they would both look at a person who still believed that the world was flat. 153). That same assurance is what makes normal or puzzle-solving science possible." And what could possibly be the outcome of a debate between a Primal theorist and a follower of Abraham Maslow as long as the latter firmly believes in the existence of the human need for symmetry. For the Primal Therapist. It does not help answer the question: how are paradigm debates resolved? "Part of the answer. These are the arguments. Priestley never accepted the oxygen theory. "Probably the single most prevalent claim advanced by the proponents of a new paradigm is that they can solve the problems that have led the old one to a crisis. p. and the sciences might experience no revolutions at all. Usually the opponents of a new paradigm can legitimately claim that even in the area of crisis it is little superior to its traditional rival. evidence must be drawn from other parts of the field as it often is anyway. of refusing to accept what to us now appears obvious. The claim to have solved the crisis-provoking problem is. the sciences would experience very few major revolutions. "Claims of this sort are particularly likely to succeed if the new paradigm displays a quantitative precision strikingly better than its older competitor" (p. But. 150). many of which neither competitor can yet claim to resolve completely. of course.

That is. Janov has already stated that his discovery of Primal Pain was possible only because he bothered to listen to what his patients had to tell him. And even those arguments. that people who have not had a "spiritual experience" would never be persuaded of religious truths. is spotlighted by the very way I phrased the previous sentence. once again. Kuhn . we are ready to ask questions of the Primal paradigm that will give us the proper indication of its strength and validity as a candidate to replace the Freudian paradigm and unite. and does it not offer proof for the particular mode of therapy or style of religion it is called upon to justify? The answer can be found in the very definition of neurosis as a disconnection from feeling. he must accept the fact that he himself is neurotic. Too often we rely on statistics to try to prove what we can't feel. simply. Clearly. Is not this type of experience equally as valid as that of Primal patients.feeling scientist of the validity of Primal Therapy is a problem that somehow transcends argument and proof in a way much more profound than Kuhn states. We fail to understand that feelings validate -. I can see clearly the patent absurdity of trying to massage or meditate or teach that anxiety to go away. religious people often offer their personal "experience" of God as proof of his existence. What were the problems that led the Freudian paradigm into crisis. are the questions that the Primal paradigm is uniquely equipped to solve the ones that it is most significant to have solved? Some of the answers to some of these questions have already been provided by Dr. he used the hundreds of personal experiences related by his patients as the raw data from which he derived his theoretical constructs.But if a paradigm is ever to triumph it must gain some first supporters. It should be clear from the above that to convince a non. were resolved under the Freudian paradigm but are left unresolved by the Primal paradigm? What predictions can be derived from the Primal paradigm that are not the same as those derived from the Freudian? And what experiments should be devised to test those predictions? What areas of inquiry -. it is likely to be right. what occurs is an increasing shift in the distribution of professional allegiances" (ibid. if something feels right to a feeling person. Rather than a single group conversion. finally. We know that Pain. The rest will have to remain for future essays. When that ideation takes the form of a paranoid idea. And now that the theory and the research program are in more advanced stages of development. I wrote that experience "dissipates the need for proof. For if a psychologist is to accept the validity of Primal theory. It also adds a new dimension to the problem of paradigm debate that could never before have been considered in the history of science. Because scientists are reasonable men. How can we accept the experience of an unfeeling person as proof of anything when that person is disconnected from the very core of his experience -. Statistics measure quantities. That experience simultaneously provides me with an intuition about the limitations of other therapies.that feelings are not something to be shunted away as irrational and unreasoning.. men who will develop it to the point where hardheaded arguments can be produced and multiplied. and can the Primal paradigm legitimately claim to solve those problems? What problems.his feelings? The Primal experience is the only valid one because it is complete. In this regard. That anxiety had proven formidably resistant to the attacks of other non-Primal therapies. however. I am aware that I wrote the previous paragraph with the assumption that a hard-nosed scientific type may find it interesting. Janov's theoretical statement that "tension is feeling disconnected from consciousness. This suggests that Primal theory will eventually have much to contribute to the sociology of knowledge. for example) before it could be included as valid data for scientific argument." Patients in other types of therapies have often claimed that their "experience" in the therapy has radically altered their lives and made them better. and feelings are qualities of being. the scientific psychological community. that I personally do not need any arguments to convince me of the accuracy and validity of Primal Therapy. when repressed. A scientist who does not have even minimum access to his feelings does not have the necessary condition for proof of a psychological theory that claims that "neurosis is a disease of feeling" (Janov). Moreover. Additionally. Now. 156). And they claim. not qualities.[3] This discussion requires an important distinction which hinges on the crucial phrase from the preceding quote: "to a feeling person. the consciousness that I have gained through therapy dissipates any need I might have had for proof of Dr. when they come. I would only like to make a personal observation that brings us to a point that Kuhn does not discuss. A decision of that kind can only be made on faith. are not individually decisive. and vice versa? What new areas of difficulty are opened up under Primal theory that did not exist under the other theory? Can experiments be devised that would supply empirical evidence giving the Primal paradigm a quantitative precision superior to its competitors? How useful can we claim the Primal paradigm to be in providing the criteria to guide normal research in the field? What kind of research questions does it suggest and what are the ways in which experiment could bring Primal theory into a closer fit with nature? And finally. it is not difficult to see that it is a neurotic symptom.. Neurotics are people who did not fully experience their past and therefore do not fully experience their present.what part of the observable data -. especially when we are talking about human endeavors. This is not to suggest that new paradigms triumph ultimately through some mystical aesthetic. furthermore. Janov in his previous works. he continues to rely on the personal experience of his patients.. knowing the feelings that were the basis of that anxiety. both as validations of the established hypotheses and as guides to further theoretical refinements. And now.seem important under the Primal paradigm but irrelevant under the Freudian. can produce highly convoluted webs of ideation which can only be removed by experiencing the Pain that produced them. Dr. On the contrary. if access to feelings can serve as validation of Primal theory. Dozens of Primals over the past year and a half have steadily and permanently reduced a tortuous anxiety that had been acute and constant for about four years before I started therapy. he writes: We must understand that statistics are not synonymous with science. intellectual arguments advanced by a scientist to discredit Primal theory can often be part of his personal defense structure and are thus totally immune to logic. very few men desert a tradition for these reasons alone .. then lack of access serves as de facto invalidation. and my personal experience would first have to be objectified (comparing my pre-and post-Primal tension levels through vital sign measurements. one or another argument will ultimately persuade many of them. on the other hand. In other words. My statements are much too subjective. knowing only that the older paradigm has failed with a few.problems that confront it. But there is no single argument that can or should persuade them all. but would certainly not accept my little testimonial as any kind of proof for the theory.. My own experience in the therapy has been more than convincing. p. When it takes the form of a psychological theory the problem becomes very complex. Above anything else." as if scientific proof and personal experience were mutually exclusive concepts." The crucial point here.

the object of observation is the individual. 1972) p. the changes would be restricted to the realm of ideas. how much more disturbing must it be to change one's view of how man operates? Apart from the resistance that we now know to be an essential element of scientific change. To accept it requires a conceptual adjustment that could be carried out leaving the core of the person's personality in place. then. or chemicals in solution.Consider. maybe. 1972) p. had to be shifted and laid down again on nature whole. 37. no matter how difficult it may have been. something which psychoanalytic insight could never do. [3]Arthur Janov. force. That is not a pleasant thought. the fact that man was the object of question was a major reason Freud's theories caused such an intense reaction. The Primal Revolution (Simon & Schuster. And elsewhere. those kinds of shifts in world view are mind-boggling.' Without those changes. therefore. M. Then the final revolution would require a shift in man's view of himself: a shift that undermines both the security previously provided by his confidence in his own sanity. even when what is involved is a change in the view of some part of the external universe -. and the comfort inherent in his concepts of insanity. and so on. the men who called Copernicus mad because he proclaimed that the earth moved. Part of what they meant by 'earth' was fixed position." he writes.D. To believe in Freud. to believe in Primal theory. Kuhn adds: To make the transition to Einstein's universe. Note with what facility and frequency perfectly wholesome characters on television confess a profound insight: "You know. p. The Death of Psychiatry (Penguin Books. for example. The revolution of the paradigm conflict in psychology today. To undergo the therapy requires a thorough transformation of how one looks at his life and how one lives it as well. a truly unsettling process. at least. could be contained in a person's admission that she (or he) was envious of a penis? How could this change the person's life? Obviously. Rather it was a whole new way of regarding the problems of physics and astronomy.the heavens. Fuller Torrey. An indication of the depth of this experience is provided by the evidence that Primal Therapy produces physiological changes in the brain. Their earth. But still. but neither does it seem to pose imminent personal danger. after all. the whole conceptual web whose strands are space. [2]Arthur Janov. On the other hand. one that necessarily changed the meaning of both 'earth' and 'motion. 149-150). in short. "It is. But so what? The Freudian subconscious. "rather as if the professional community had been suddenly transported to another planet where familiar objects are seen in a different light and are joined by unfamiliar ones as well" (Kuhn. To accept Primal theory. or a falling body. could not be moved. is to accept a personal truth that is more devastating than any ever discovered in the history of man and science. one must squarely face the fact that inside him lies the hurt and need and despair of his childhood.. 111). Correspondingly. the acceptance of the Freudian subconscious could be accomplished without requiring the individual to change himself substantially. If changing one's view of how the heavens operate can be a disturbing experience. . Back to Table of Contents [1]All the examples of psychiatric history are taken from E. time. Only men who had together undergone or failed to undergo that transformation would be able to discover precisely what they agreed or disagreed about.. is made doubly difficult if the Primal paradigm is held up as the alternative paradigm. New York) 1975. They were not either just wrong or quite wrong. for another example. his behavior as well as his inner life. Analysis only requires one to talk aboutfeelings. Copernicus' innovation was not simply to move the earth.explains how profound an experience the conversion to a new theory can be. takes on such grotesque fairy-tale qualities that it can easily be accepted by everybody and still remain at a remote arm's length from personal reality. there's a little bit of the murderer in all of us. one must believe that somewhere inside himself there lurks an id that is the seat of murderous and perverse impulses. Clearly. In Primal Therapy one is required to feel them." A bit frightening. He describes it as an entire shift in an individual's view of the world. What possible consequences. In psychology. matter. however. 29. Penis envy is an idea. the concept of a moving earth was mad (p.. The Primal Revolution (Simon & Schuster.