The Dark Ages
I had a meeting with a psychologist yesterday – I practice what I preach, regression therapy has been my holy grail for many years.
As soon as I saw the yarmulke on that guys head alarms started going off in my head – I don’t trust people who believe in a higher power. Their thinking seems to always be skewed, and they keep dragging God into everything. I remember hitching a ride home, once, when I was living in the Judaean hills – a pious place. The driver was listening to a show on the radio where the host was interviewing a psychologist. One of them, I think it was the host, asked the other: “why have they taken God out of therapy…. maybe we should being Him back into it?”, with which the psychologist, I think it was, eagerly agreed.
“Doing what?” I said quietly to myself, “he’s got no degree in psychology….”
Which was quite ironic, if you knew what I thought about their science. I guess they might as well be religious….
So I went through his ‘intake interview’, and then we started talking about regression therapy. Regression means going back into one’s past, while still remaining aware of the present, of reality, finding the traumatic events lying dormant there and re-experiencing them. But, of course, the mind has its defenses. Those memories are protected. This is how we keep our sanity, avoid being flooded by pain from our past, in our everyday lives. How do you circumvent these defenses?
Well, in the good old days they used Sodium Pentathol, today they use hypnosis. When you do your work this way, integration is required. If regression itself is going into combat, then integration would be the ‘debriefing’ that takes place after the action. What is this integration needed for?
To integrate, I guess. To analyze the experience…..
The way I view regression therapy, it is a completely experiential process. Healing is done by re-experiencing and expressing past trauma. When this trapped trauma leaves your system your brain readjusts on its own, it starts ‘filling up’ the empty spaces left by the traumatic imprints. This process is automatic, I do not see how we can interfere with it, or make it work better, unless by means of positive social interaction, which is always a good thing. As someone once said – you cannot develop your personality on your own; you cannot evolve, as a person, without human interaction.
But this is not integration. What they refer to as integration is mere human interaction, without regression, without expressing intense emotions. It can be useful, as such – it’s always good to have a sympathetic listener who has been payed to listen to you talk about your troubles for an hour. It has some intrinsic therapeutic value, but you cannot call it therapy.
On the other hand, when you go to past experiences in a state of hypnosis (or under the effect of a hypnotic drug) you do not remember your experience afterwards.
Let’s stop here for a second and think about this. How are you supposed to heal, in a state of unconsciousness? How can you heal from the effects of unconsciousness (which always accompanies trauma, as I have explained in other articles) in a state of unconsciousness, of unawareness*? How can you express – or even have – any feelings, in such a condition?
I think they just skip it all, cut to the juicy parts, use a shortcut by putting parts of your brain to sleep. The juicy parts – the traumatic memories themselves – generate resistance to therapy in the form of irrational behavior, but therapists don’t know how to deal with this irrationality. The problem is that if you skip it, therapy will be pretty much useless. If you don’t consciously experience the emotions that accompany the memories, if you don’t make your way – fully aware – through your own psychological defenses, taking them down layer after layer, starting with the things that bother you in the present and making your way, from there, into your past , experiencing, processing, integrating, as you go, then there is no meaning to uncovering the data itself.**
But, in psychotherapy, they are used to therapy lasting forever, being accompanied by lots of memes and admonitions, and never effecting a serious change in the patient’s personality. Traumatic imprints, however, do exactly that: they change your personality, and each such change creates a layer of defensive behavior.
A neurotic personality, with all its defenses, is very complicated to deal with it, it’s confusing, it’s annoying to the point of being infuriating, and, most importantly, we have been educated to be intolerant of it. To be able to treat it requires, first and foremost, an understanding of the mechanism of irrationality – a sound science of the mind, which is missing. It requires intelligence to practice it, a rather high intelligence, a requirement which would put about 90-95% of all current practitioners ‘on the streets’ (and I’m being generous here). Other than mere IQ, a therapist in this method would also need to be not too emotionally repressed – relatively healthy – and this rules out at least 50% of those who meet the previous requirement.
The problem with the therapy I’m looking for is that it answers the following question: how to design the most economically nonviable therapy known to humankind. And this is why I don’t know if it will ever be developed, researched…. if it will ever be available to anyone with enough money to pay for it (I’m not even talking about it being available to the general public. You can forget about that, in fact, take a knife and cut out the part of your brain that’s still hoping for it). It’s just not economical to invest in its development.
And, on this merry note, I wish you all
Good night and good luck. You’ll need a lot of it this century.
* – Hubbard argued that induced unconsciousness was actually traumatic in itself, and, to wit – you can implant temporary neurotic behavior patterns in a person’s head using hypnosis (this is called post-hypnotic suggestion)
** – It would be grossly unfair to say that no emotions are expressed in hypnotic regression, but under hypnosis these emotions are still not experienced or expressed consciously, so, this cathartic/unaware expression, this ab-reaction, has no therapeutic value. Freud himself – the person who had developed it – abandoned it after awhile for the sake of psycho-analysis. For some reason he believed that work that was done consciously was more useful.