Mental training

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AuthorTopic: Mental training
Shaper
Member # 32
Profile #25
If you are thinking about not thinking of things, then you are in fact thinking of said things...

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Lt. Sullust
Quaere verum
Posts: 2462 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Agent
Member # 2210
Profile #26
Plenty of people do these kinds of things, its called monks and nuns, religious people, but they are usually separated from society, because they are supposed to do things which ordinary people don't normally do. Leave this stuff alone.

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Posts: 1084 | Registered: Thursday, November 7 2002 08:00
Skip to My Lou
Member # 40
Profile Homepage #27
quote:
Originally written by Lt. Sullust:

If you are thinking about not thinking of things, then you are in fact thinking of said things...
Which why what I do is attempt to think of something else with enough focus that I am not, in fact, thinking of the other thing any longer.

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Take the Personality Test!
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Posts: 1629 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 2984
Profile Homepage #28
quote:
Originally written by Najosz Thjsza Kjras:

My understanding is that hypnosis is an entirely conscious behavior, and the claims of its advocates are unsupported and largely constructed on the assumption that the brain operates on some level besides neurochemical synapses.

It is very tempting to reify thoughts, feelings, and personalities - to pretend they operate on a level besides the one which our natural science has pinned them to - but it is still inappropriate. We are a beautiful architecture of chemicals, nothing more, and anyone who tries to convince you otherwise is a fool or a liar.

For all my skepticism, I must point out that hypnosis is not mind magic.

Analogously, a computer consists only of electric currents. It is based on rules we have invented and that we understand (or at least, there are people who know pretty much all there is to know about them). They're far less complex than our brains, and yet their complexity is enough to give rise to unbelievable concepts - viruses, operating systems, simulators that pretend to be a computer for another operating system to run in. Computer programming has become complex enough that it can take years for a bug to make itself known, or to be identified.

Just because we know that the brain, at a low level, consists of cells that fire electric impulses at each other, does not mean we understand how the mind works.

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Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 10578
Profile Homepage #29
The human mind is nothing less than mind-boggling, I must say. ;)

Hm... last time I heard this kind of discussion was in "Of Dreams" by Sigmund Freud. I find it very intriguing. And yes, I have had a lucid dream! It was a long time ago... I remember that I said to myself, "I don't like this dream" and then, as I paused the scene in my mind, opened my eyes. Very weird.

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"What direction, what direction now?"
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Posts: 432 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2007 07:00
Guardian
Member # 2476
Profile #30
I don't like what you are doing, Alex, not one little bit.

If I understand you right, you wish to broaden and widen your consciousness. The key to this is not (and add any number of exclamation marks here) the type of hyped up mental activity you currently experiment with. The key to what you wish to achieve is relaxation.

You are on an unsafe path with this. Stop it. Please do. Don't do any exercise for a long while, so that your mind can rest and hopefully forget some of this very wrong training.

And please don't start learning relaxation techniques right away. Give yourself a break.

If half a year from now you are still interested in learning about these things, I'll help you find a safe path. That I promise.

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Polaris
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Posts: 1828 | Registered: Saturday, January 11 2003 08:00
Off With Their Heads
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Profile Homepage #31
At one point I thought that this might be a good plot for some sort of sci-fi novel. Then I realized that it lacked basic credibility and wouldn't be believable.

I'm still wavering on whether I think this is a weirdly described version of what yoga experts might do with meditation and such or is just a load of placebo effect. I'm pretty sure that I've been pushed over the edge to the latter.

And virtually any comment phrased as ef's latest was inclines me to doubt that she knows what she's talking about.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Guardian
Member # 2476
Profile #32
If after a long break he still wanted to continue with this, I'd rather prefer to help him find out more about his priorities and find a teacher than see him repeat what he's doing now, Kel.

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Polaris
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Posts: 1828 | Registered: Saturday, January 11 2003 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #33
I'm skeptical enough that Alex's program can succeed, to be pretty confident that it can do no damage.

I agree with Aran's mind theory. Even a glass of water has many levels of description, from a vector in an enormous quantum mechanical Hilbert space, through a soup of tumbling v-shaped molecules, to a continuous fluid, a point mass on larger scales, and ultimately nothing at all on the cosmic scale.

I am not a holist. I like to borrow the phrase with which I once heard Steven Weinberg reply to the charge that he was an unqualified reductionist: I am a fully qualified reductionist. So I do not suppose that any extra kind of stuff creeps in somehow between the levels of description. The whole is not more than the sum of its parts — unless you are too naive in your understanding of the summation involved.

Such subtle summing of so many parts is extremely complicated.
Its principles may be understood, however. In physics we may not be able to describe a glass of water quantum mechanically, but we can trace the chain of approximations that are needed to derive the hydrodynamic description from quantum many body theory. To use the handy computer science analogy: we may only be able to understand the source code, and not the binary; but we did write the compiler.

The hydrodynamic description of water is not an illusion. It is a powerful and accurate approximate summary of the microscopic quantum mechanical phenomenon. Water is really like that.

So it seems a peculiar emphasis to insist that human brains are 'nothing but' synapses and neurochemicals. The mind-boggling complexity of that many synapses and neurochemicals is easily capable of exhibiting all the phenomena that any non-reductionist mentalist might attribute to immaterial mind. The brain is its own place, and in itself can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of heaven. Some psychological hypotheses may seem much more natural with a naive homunculus picture of mind, but that by no means makes them impossible within reductionist substance monism. Brains are weird.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #34
Alex - I have no clue what you are trying to do, but ef seems to have some clue. You would do well to listen to her. I don't need to have my news stations start talking about the weird kid from Utah who bends soccer balls like Bucky.

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Synergy, et al - "I don't get it."

Thralni - "a lot of people are ... too weird to be trusted"
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Guardian
Member # 2476
Profile #35
quote:
The mind-boggling complexity of that many synapses and neurochemicals is easily capable of exhibiting all the phenomena that any non-reductionist mentalist might attribute to immaterial mind. The brain is its own place, and in itself can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of heaven.
Thank you, SoT. That is what I am afraid of.

Alex, you tell us that you've trained visualization, and that you wish to do the same with the 'audio' and the 'olfactory'. The sense of smelling for instance is located in a part of the brain where emotional memory is also stored. That's why smelling hay can bring up immediate images of summer vacations spent in the country. But not all emotional memories are pleasurable. Are you prepared for this?

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Polaris
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Posts: 1828 | Registered: Saturday, January 11 2003 08:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #36
Such awareness does lead to control. That's why great yoga experts can actual stop their hearts briefly and do other crazy things like that. Your intentions make little difference in the process; if you go into meditation wanting to gain control of your heart rate or if you go into it wanting to gain a "greater understanding" of your heart, you'll get both out of it. They come together.

Wanting control of your internal processes is not inherently unhealthy.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 6388
Profile #37
quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:


So it seems a peculiar emphasis to insist that human brains are 'nothing but' synapses and neurochemicals. The mind-boggling complexity of that many synapses and neurochemicals is easily capable of exhibiting all the phenomena that any non-reductionist mentalist might attribute to immaterial mind. The brain is its own place, and in itself can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of heaven. Some psychological hypotheses may seem much more natural with a naive homunculus picture of mind, but that by no means makes them impossible within reductionist substance monism. Brains are weird.

I find that it needs saying with depressing frequency. I accept that the conscious/subconscious/unconscious systematization is useful to an extent, but hypnosis strikes me as well beyond that extent. What Kel describes in his latest post is biofeedback; when undertaken in the spirit of scientific inquiry, it is a decent thing and easy to document and explain, if somewhat challenging to practice. When undertaken in the spirit of wild questing after the nation of ghosts we are trained to believe resides in our brainpan, you usually wind up seeing decent, repeatable claims traduced with mysticist hogwash. The yogis Kel mentions exercise an incredible amount of control over their semiautonomous muscles owing to distinct, fairly well-understood neurological processes that are underused by most (and for good reason) - but few would explain it in those terms, preferring generally an ontology centering around chana/prana/chakras/ki/whatever. (I don't know how Indian mysticism works and I won't pretend to - and it is the latter part, not the former, that distinguishes me from most American yogis.)

The alarming part of this exercise, for me, is the usage to which Alex almost certainly intends to put it. He's previously been involved in a massive tiff over de-gaying, and while I'm open to the suggestion that's not his primary motivator here, it wouldn't be the first time he had expressed a desire to expurgate himself of a sexuality he considers abnormal.

I consider it atrocious, and in light of the tendency for ex-gays to either become crooked MSMs (who, to oversimplify, ruin sex for straights and gays alike) or at the very least lead miserable, unfulfilled, and basically abusive marital lives -- it is an issue beyond just himself and his personal choices. But I am not basically inclined to bring the same criticism I to bear of his personal behavior as I would be in the case of an ex-gay ministry or some other public jackassery.

This is the spirit in which I muttered about the refusal of the intellectual culture here to address the fact of neurochemistry. Desire isn't part of some mystical node of sexual energy, and this is - if my speculations about it are basically correct - another entry in the genre of conscious effort to control preconscious thought. And a deeply politicized one, at that.
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Skip to My Lou
Member # 40
Profile Homepage #38
For the sake of ef, my underlying goal is, and has always been, to develop my mind to its fullest potential. I'm fully open to changing my methods to whatever I find the most effective. That said, this whole thing obviously touches on some things that involve your own personal philosophies, some of which I do not necessarily agree with.

However, discussion of this particular method I was looking into has helped me re-examine and clarify my perception of what exactly it would have accomplished should I have gotten it to work the way I had in mind. Which, it turns out, would basically have been that I would have deliberately developed a sort of abstractified obsessive compulsion to force myself to enter a meta-directed state of intense focus to accomplish things that require such a state. Which sounds rather less appealing that it first appeared. I do think I shall be looking into other options for the development of my mental capacities rather than continuing to pursue this particular process.

However, to Kel, I do still think I could get it to work, and rather effectively. I was always aware that the actual process itself might be inherently meaningless (though there is enough support for spoken and written repetition that I doubt it would be totally useless), but that the point was that I could get it work because I believe it would work. Which is, indeed, very much a placebo effect. However, placebos can be extremely effective, if one believes they are effective. This is merely a deliberate application of that principle used in conjunction with other methods thought to have some effect.

Moving on, Skepdic's article on hypnosis is now the third source on the subject to give a list of qualities of the highly hypnotizeable that fits me exactly, and think I may look into this a bit more and seek some professional opinions.

Also, Kel, I'm very interested in what you are saying about yoga masters. From what I'd heard of it, I thought yoga was just a sort of exercise that involved a lot of bending and stretching. Could you refer me some resources on the matter?

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Posts: 1629 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Skip to My Lou
Member # 40
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To Alec, whose post I just read, the idea of any this having anything at all to do with the totally unrelated and none-of-your-business matter of my sexuality honestly hadn't even occurred to me until you suggested it. Personally, I think trying to use any of this for such a purpose would be totally ridiculous and recommend against it to anyone.

If you are, by chance, interested in a greater understanding of my point of view, I recommend Joseph Nicolosi's "Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality" and would welcome any reference to the studies and data you base your point of view upon.

I would like to re-emphasize that that particular matter is totally unrelated, and rather than have this descend into an argument of something that neither of us has much of a likelihood of changing the other's view on, I suggest we agree to disagree and move back the things thread was intended to be about.

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Take the Personality Test!
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Posts: 1629 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 10578
Profile Homepage #40
Where there is subconscious, there is Freud. Where there is Freud, there is sexuality. I'm surprised it wasn't brought up earlier.

Freud notwithstanding, this thread should try to stay away from such issues, inescapable though they are. Just be respectful, Alec.

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"What direction, what direction now?"
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My poetry
Posts: 432 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2007 07:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #41
Freud, popularity notwithstanding, knew from an early point in his career that sex sells. Hardly a surprising focus for his career, and many others have followed in his footsteps. I daresay there are many other parts of the subconscious that get short shift as a result.

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Synergy, et al - "I don't get it."

Thralni - "a lot of people are ... too weird to be trusted"
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #42
Interesting and provocative intention you have proposed here, Alex. Why use hypnosis to achieve your ends? There is a way to access the beliefs of your subconscious mind, and essentially erase/reprogram them very simply with a therapy technique called Psych-K. I trained in it recently. It also requires permission from the superconscious that what you are seeking to program into your subconscious is safe and appropriate for you. Some would call the superconscious "God." It is that higher part of knowing within, which is typically beyond our conscious awareness, but has an agenda for us. The subconsious doesn't have an agenda, per se. It just executes its programming, much of which is acquired.

Psych-K tests established beliefs in the subconscious using kinesthetic measures, as the subconscious conrols motor function/muscle integrity. It is a very cool, streamlined, and methodical technique that can bypass years of therapy trying to get at and change deep-seated belief patterns. It doesn't require any weirdness or altered state of being. It doesn't matter if you understand it or even believe in it. What it does take is training in proper utilization. Or you can seek out a practitioner, if there is one in your area.

I can hear Alec's wholly predictable response to this already. As a preemptive comment, I have no interest in Alec's opinion on the possibility or veracity of this modality or whether there is a superconscious, or whatever will get his knickers in a twist. This technique is quite cool, simple, and powerful—more direct and powerful than hypnosis, and I think it would streamline what you might be attempting to achieve, unless you are just tinkering with yourself for fun, rather than for more specific intention. One can learn to self-test, and self-program with Psych-K. Subconscious beliefs typically derail conscious intent and statements of intent on one's behalf. This is why power of positive belief techniques often don't work for people consistently, if at all. We are fighting against inner processing which is a million times more powerful than our conscious processing. We start acquiring all the crap that hampers us from the subconscious level, from the messages our parents, society, and institutions deliver to us from day one. For instance, one usually starts with examining and changing one's beliefs about whether change for the self is safe and desirable. If you don't address your belief about change, you might not get far with trying to change other beliefs with Psych-K.

The subconscious is like a tape-recorder. It processes around 4 billion bits of information per second. Our conscious mind only processes around 2 thousand bits per second. Guess which one wins out when it comes to conflicting beliefs? It doesn't have an opinion or judgement. It just has instructions that have been recorded, as if on a tape. If we don't like the instructions we wind up with, we can record over them with new instructions...as long as the superconscious permits. You can find out anything you believe at a deep level through muscle testing.

Check it out, if this sort of thing is what you are seeking to accomplish. There are 42 trainers worldwide.

-S-

[ Monday, December 03, 2007 14:15: Message edited by: Synergy ]

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Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
Shaper
Member # 32
Profile #43
Even if you aren't interested that it's probably a lie(or at the very least extremely exaggerated), that doesn't make it any less so...

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Lt. Sullust
Quaere verum
Posts: 2462 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 4256
Profile #44
No idea what Psych-K is, or what it does, so I won't assume to comment on it. But I would question the validity of ascribing its effects to some 'superconscious'. Assuming Psych-K's effectiveness, couldn't it just be a more effective way of reaching the subconscious? The thing's pretty complicated.

[ Monday, December 03, 2007 15:15: Message edited by: Sticky ]

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"Let's just say that if complete and utter chaos was lightning, he'd be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour and shouting 'All gods are false'."
Posts: 564 | Registered: Wednesday, April 14 2004 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 6388
Profile #45
quote:
Originally written by Archmage Alex:

To Alec, whose post I just read, the idea of any this having anything at all to do with the totally unrelated and none-of-your-business matter of my sexuality honestly hadn't even occurred to me until you suggested it.
I was considering an anticipatory rebuttal to the 'none of my business' bit - that is, that you've made this public fairly recently, and it's not like I'm some kind of traipsing gumshoe bringing to light damned deeds done in the dark - but I decided not to because I figured you wouldn't resort to just straight-up treating it as an insult. So I suppose this is my opportunity to say all of that, then.
quote:

Personally, I think trying to use any of this for such a purpose would be totally ridiculous and recommend against it to anyone.

Well, in that case I apologize; I misconstrued. You'll probably be disappointed to learn that it *is* used for such a purpose quite a bit - in fact, it was the original 'therapy' of choice for homosexuality (back when it appeared in the DSM), along with electroshock. This is the source of my misconstrual - the two aren't unrelated, although I'm willing to presume good faith if you are.

quote:
If you are, by chance, interested in a greater understanding of my point of view, I recommend Joseph Nicolosi's "Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality" and would welcome any reference to the studies and data you base your point of view upon.
My interest in sexology being in a different field and tangential anyway, I'm afraid I have to defer to the expertise of a near-unanimity of the medical and psychiatric community without further comment. I'm of the opinion that it's one of those issues where offering sources for something as banal as 'changing adult sexuality without serious and unmerited psychosexual trauma is infeasible and the results have never clearly outweighed the consequences otherwise' would be like offering sources for 'the world is round and revolves around the sun'. There's no one as high-profile as Gallileo for the basic theory, but it's an inescapable consensus in modern medicine. The dispute is between genetic, developmental, and hormonal/psychiatric models for permanent formation of sexuality. Situational homosexuality aside, there just doesn't seem to be any stable, well-accepted model of sexuality in which what you want is possible.

As I said, though, I'm not an expert - but no expert I'm familiar with in the mainstream of the relevant field agrees with you. It's similar to climate science; I'm aware that there is, for various political and economic reasons, some kind of controversy, but it isn't shared by the experts. The experts *do* disagree widely over many fundamentally important things, but the controversial cleavage society would prefer simply does not exist among mainstream professionals.

quote:

I would like to re-emphasize that that particular matter is totally unrelated, and rather than have this descend into an argument of something that neither of us has much of a likelihood of changing the other's view on, I suggest we agree to disagree and move back the things thread was intended to be about.

I'd like to reemphasize that the relationship was a line of open and uncomfortable conjecture until you cleared it up; that the topic is one of public understanding; and that 'gay' is not, in any respectable community, any kind of slur. Besides that, it's free to drop.

I'm still vigorously skeptical about hypnotherapy, from the literature to the methodology to the results - and I'd like the topic to remain about that for the time being. I regret the error.

[ Monday, December 03, 2007 15:22: Message edited by: Najosz Thjsza Kjras ]
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #46
quote:
Originally written by Archmage Alex:

Also, Kel, I'm very interested in what you are saying about yoga masters. From what I'd heard of it, I thought yoga was just a sort of exercise that involved a lot of bending and stretching. Could you refer me some resources on the matter?
Not easily, because it was just something that was mentioned to me in passing. This may have something to do with it.

And Alec's mention of biofeedback is interesting. It is actually possible to gain some conscious control of certain things relating to the brain, but my understanding is that the science of this is very much in its infancy, and normally it involves hooking a person up to some serious instruments. Doing it without computers would be... um... challenging.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #47
quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

The founder is a psychologist named Rob Williams, who lives in Colorado.
IMAGE(http://images.darkhorse.com/covers/14/14009.jpg)
Also, when I Google Psych-K, I find that Bruce Lipton was also a major contributor, and when I Wiki search Bruce Lipton, I am told that "Animal sexual behavior" has 92.7% relevance.

Then I recall the previous discussions we had about the man, and my curiosity is satisfied.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #48
I'm not really clear what's unique about Psych-K. It's official website talks on the one hand about "conflict between your conscious desires and your subconscious beliefs" -- which is Freud in a nutshell, the basis of classical psychoanalysis and of much of the psychodynamic school of psychotherapy.

It further says that Psych-K "was a response to the frustration that came with the realization that typical counseling techniques, which rely almost exclusively on "insight" and "motivation," seldom create real and lasting changes." This sounds like a direct complaint against the evocative psychotherapies, a.k.a. the ones listed above and their offspring.

It then says the founder's "background in business and psychotherapy creates a results oriented approach to personal change." So basically, he threw evocative therapy out the window and ushered in cognitive-behavioral therapy. The discussion of "outdated subconscious perceptions and beliefs that may be sabotaging your goals in life" confirms this suspicion. Indeed that page (on therapeutic differences) made me think of a video I saw of a therapy session run by Albert Ellis, founder of Rational-Emotive Therapy, one of the earliest cognitive-behavioral therapies, in which he railed at his patient about "the insane sentence" in her brain that was quietly making her do irrational things.

Glancing through the website briefly, it seems like the program is relatively reasonable and could certainly be helpful to people who connect with it. This is something that is true of numerous therapies, including many forms of self-help, psychotherapy, and so on.

But as theoretical frameworks go it seems both derivative, and simplified, simplified in ways that are arbitrary rather than elegant. And I can't get over the fact that the main page immediately reminded me of the ads placed by Beetlejuice. I am always suspicious of any therapy that feels the need to hawk its services.

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