In article <1993Feb11.firstname.lastname@example.org> email@example.com
(Carol Anne Ogdin) writes:
>In <1lbcrtINNrdj@usenet.pa.dec.com> firstname.lastname@example.org (Todd I. Stark) writes:
>>email@example.com (Carol Anne Ogdin) writes...
>>>IMO, it seems to work best on specific phobias that have a specific
>>>stimulant (e.g., arachnophobia), but not as easily with non-specific
>>>stimuli (e.g., agoraphobia).
>>I'd be very surprised if it were otherwise, because most of the
>>techniques I've seen involve something akin to 'classical conditioning,'
>>under the name of anchoring, which has long been established as a
>>mechanism for instilling specific fear responses, or modifying them.
Although anchoring is usually not recommended as an approach to curing phobias, what is true is that the NLP phobia techniques are refinements of known approaches in behavioral therapy.
The first half of the Fast Phobia/Trauma Cure is basically just classic desensitization, with two important twists (see below). NLP claims -- and my own experience confirms -- that this sort of desensitization is also the best approach for neutralizing traumatic memories -- in the extreme form, Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome.
NLPers do not believe that the behavioral technique called Implosion or Flooding is the best approach for phobias, but they use a refinement of it (the Compulsion Blow-out) to break obsessions and compulsions.
>The most common NLP Phobia Cure relies on establishing a dissociation
>from the event (e.g., running a movie in the mind being watched by
>the Subject in an imaginary theater), then changing that movie by
>running it backward, chopping it up into random order, adding calliope
There are two important differences between the approach used by NLP in the first half of the Fast Phobia/Trauma Cure and classic desensitization. First, and most important, in the mental movie the subject watches himself confronting the phobic stimulus. For instance, the subject does not make a mental movie showing spiders, but rather watches a movie showing himself encountering spiders. This seems to make a great deal of difference and is part of what Carol Anne is referring to by the term dissociation. (NLPers use the term dissociation in something close to its original meaning, rather than as reference to what psychiatrists call Dissociative Disorder.)
Second, since behavioral therapists think in terms of extinction (whereas NLP most often thinks in terms of replacement), the behavioral approach first trains the subject in relaxation before beginning the desensitization. Since relaxation is one of the least powerful of all internal states, it takes quite a bit of work to train a subject to be relaxed while imagining something he has a mortal terror of.
Instead of relaxation, NLP asks the subject to further dissociate by imagining floating up out of his body and watching himself watch the movie. (I like to have the subject imagine floating up into the projection booth so that he can be in control of the imaginary experience.) In this way, the subject has been taken several levels away from reality: He is imagining being in a movie theatre rather than the therapist's office. He imagines having not having an experience there in the movie theatre, but watching a movie of himself having the experience. Except that instead of imagining that he himself is watching the movie, he imagines that his consciousness is having an out-of-body experience watching himself watch the movie. Furthermore, the movie should be silent, in black and white, and perhaps grainy, jerky, and flickering. As Carol Anne suggests, one can also have the subject supply an incongruous musical accompaniment.
In the second half of the Fast Phobia/Trauma Cure the subject ``associates into'' the movie at then end, after the horrible experience is over and the subject in the movie is safe. In other words, he imagines himself actually being there, seeing everything three dimensionally and in color through his own eyes as a participant. Then he runs the whole experience backwards several times very very fast (in only a second or two). Like a VCR backspacing. Speed is essential here.
This approach requires only a single session with the subject. Or at least so NLP claims, and my own experience confirms. The process itself usually takes less than fifteen minutes. When neutralizing a memory, the subject does not need to actually tell the therapist the details of the traumatic event.
If a subject says to me aftewards, ``Is this something that I should practice when I'm alone?'' I take this as in indication that the process has not been completely successful. When the technique works, the subject simply loses interest in the traumatic memory or phobic stimulus. (One subject I treated for a memory of childhood abuse was reluctant to go through the process with me at first because ``If I think about what happened, I'll cry.'' Two weeks later she told me ``I still know what happened, but it's as if I read it in a book.'')
It is a poor sort of skepticism which merely delights in challenging those claims which conflict with one's own belief system. --Bogus quote