In article <firstname.lastname@example.org> email@example.com
(Suzanne Patricia Johnson) writes:
> .... Napotherapy is
>derived from two distinct empirical traditions of proven effectivness
>(I'm quoting here from the brochure my therapist puts out), one of which is
>recent work being done on eye movements and mental depatterning of destruct-
>ive habits, the other of which is research on afternoon naps.
>It's actually kind of easy to see how these two fit together, once you have
>it explained to you. If eye movements affect brain states even while
>awake, how much even more so must they when asleep! We all know about REM,
Although I don't know anything about napotherapy, I can relate it to some NLP techniques as well as to the Five Minute Phobia Cure (developed by a chiropracter and described recently on alt.psychology.help) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization something) described recently here in sci.psychology.
[In a later article, firstname.lastname@example.org stated that napotherapy is -- as yet! -- a hoax.]
I think of all these techniques as examples of a neurological approach to therapy. Namely, one takes the point of view that what we call ``mind'' is simply the functioning of the central nervous system. And the images, words, sounds, and feelings that make up subjective experience are simply the traces the processes of this nervous system leave in our awareness.
Most therapy, including much of NLP, operates on the cognitive level, i.e. by manipulating these images, words, and feelings. However the neurological approaches go about changing the mind's programming by confusing the nervous system in ways that don't the subject doesn't directly connect to the subjective phenomena he wants changed.
EMDR and some other approaches access the nervous system through the subject's eye movements and also by presenting the subject with tactile sensations (on the face). The Callahan Five Minute Phobia Cure (now part of what Callahan is calling Thought Field Therapy) also uses light touches around the subject's eyes and I wonder whether in fact it was in part the inspiration for EMDR.
A year and a half ago, while going through NLP master practitioner training from NLP Comprehensive in Colorado, I learned a somewhat similar technique invented by an elementary school counselor named Larry Sanders and used as a means of thought-stopping.
I described this in an article which I now quote below.
From: Lee Lady
Subject: Re: NLP
Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1992 21:13:22 GMT
In the past, in sci.psychology there's been a lot of ridicule about NLP's famous ten minute cures. (The people who ridicule them never bother to try them out, of course.) Well, the technique I will describe takes about four or five minutes and will seem even more preposterous. Those who want to flame it for that reason can do so. It's certainly made my life a lot better though.
I think you really need to have someone take you through it the first time. It has to be done very abruptly and that makes it just momentarily uncomfortable (at least for me). The best analogy I can think of is a time when I'm immersed in thought or in feeling and somebody comes up and interrupts me to ask a dumb question. You should feel jerked around in exactly this way when somebody takes you through this technique.
You have the subject think of a thought or image that makes him feel bad. Then give him the following instructions: ``Make your right hand [or left one, for those few left-handed people whose eye accessing cues are ``reversed"] stiff, like a karate chop, and hold it vertically on your right thigh, like a trap door that's open over a black hole. Then think about the thing that makes you feel bad, take a very deep breath, and blow all those bad feelings into that black hole. And as soon as you've blown the feelings out, slam that trap door shut really hard against your thigh and immediately follow my fist with your eyes as I raise it up, so that you're looking upwards to your right. And as soon as your gaze moves up there I'll spread out my fingers as a signal for you to immediately take a deep breath. And then right away blow that breath out towards the horizon.''
It's all got to be done very fast, so that just as you start to settle into one state you're jerked into the next. It's also important for the subject to slam his hand against his thigh reasonably hard. Then you repeat the process until the subject can't get the bad feeling back any more -- maybe four or five times.
What you're doing is retraining the nervous system, breaking the cause-effect between a certain thought (whether that thought is something you say to yourself or an image that comes into your mind) and the feeling that goes with it.
I was taught this by one of the assistants in the training (Larry Sanders) and he then taught it to our whole study group. (Charles Faulkner also took me through a more elaborate variation of it.) It seemed to be reasonably effective those first few times but since I had to think up a problem to work on in a hurry, none of the things I chose were major problems.
My partner in the study group for the exercise started out by saying ``Maybe I shouldn't choose this, because it's really a big one.'' And I shrugged and took him through the steps and after we did it about four times he said ``That's amazing!'' Later, at the end of the study group he said to me ``Boy, I really owe you one. That's been bothering me for a long time.'' (I checked back with him a few days later and he said that everything was still fine.)
That's anecdotal evidence of course. As far as I know there aren't any statistical studies, but I can say that I have used it on myself several times since then and it's been consistently effective. Even though I still have trouble jerking myself from one step to the next as fast as I need to.
Learning this process made me really aware of how frequently I say things to myself that really make me feel bad. Before, when I read books on cognitive therapy, I just didn't recognize this. When therapists asked me about my ``self-talk'' I'd think of things I say to myself like ``That was really stupid'' when I make a mistake. But I didn't have strong bad feelings associated with those thoughts.
Now, I became of other thoughts at a deeper level, although still above the threshhold of consciousness. I hadn't identified them as ``self-talk'' because I don't think of myself as saying them to myself -- they're just things that go through my mind. And they're not like the standard examples that cognitive therapy mentions. They're sentences like ``I'll never get X'' or ``I'm no good at X'' or ``Being nice never gets me anywhere'' or ``My life is such a waste.''
In the weeks after the NLP training, I started being aware of how much of my life I was spending feeling bad -- despite the fact that I usually don't usually think of myself as being depressed! Now I've become sensitized to that ``feeling bad'' state so that I notice it immediately when it happens. And lots of times I stop and identify the thought that caused it and sit down right then neutralize it. (This can be hard to do when I'm in public. People look at you a little funny when they see you blowing at your thigh and then looking up at the sky and blowing another breath out. Now I've got it down to the point where I don't have to do it so overtly.)
And the amazing thing was: As soon as I taught myself not to have bad feelings about a particular thought, I stopped having that thought at all! I discovered that the bad feelings had been acting as a reinforcement for the thought! That's certainly contrary to the naive conception that a reinforcement is something which is pleasant and desirable.
And when I started thinking about this, I realized that there are lots of cases with human beings of this sort of paradoxical reinforcement, where a reinforcement can be something that a person doesn't like. Such as the way that spanking a child or sending a student to detention hall can be a reinforcement for certain types of behavior.
And I also thought: Gee, Beck and the cognitive therapists are really dumb. (Despite the fact that they do help a lot of people.) They notice that a person's thoughts are what causes that person to feel bad and then it never occurs to them to challenge that cause-effect and to try and change it. Instead they go through a clumsy procedure to teach the person not to have that thought anymore. As if the connection between the thought and the feeling were something innate in the person which can't be altered. (The Beck interventions also seem to be addressed to the rational mind, which is not where the problem lies. In my opinion.)
And this brings me up to the issue of how the most important questions in clinical psychology never get investigated because they fall between the crack between clinical and scientific psychology. The clinical people are too busy doing carefully designed studies of various ``treatments'' to try to understand fundamental questions such as: What makes people feel bad about certain things? Why does the mind (for many people at least) keep going back to things like unpleasant memories, for instance, when the principles of behavioral psychology (applied in this case to internal subjective experience, of course) would suggest that these are precisely the memories our minds would stay away from? And the scientific psychologists don't investigate this kind of question because they have a disdain for anything ``clinical.''