Subliminal Therapy — Resources
INFORMATION FOR PROFESSIONALS
On The Web:
Edwin K. Yager, Ph.D. Personal Website http://docyager.com/
The Milton H. Erickson Foundation http://erickson-foundation.org/
Roy Hunter’s Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy http://royhunter.com/
American Society of Clinical Hypnosis http://www.asch.net/
Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis http://www.sceh.us/
European Society of Hypnosis http://esh-hypnosis.eu/
International Society of Hypnosis http://www.ishhypnosis.org/
Advanced Hypnotherapy http://advancedhypnotherapyonline.com/
Memos and Articles by Dr. Yager:
■ Article – Rancho Santa Fe Review: Psychologist Makes It His Personal Mission To Tell The World About The Power and Effectiveness of 'Subliminal Therapy'
■ Article – Carla Payne, Psy.D.: Subliminal Therapy for Addiction: An Interview with Ed Yager, Ph.D.
■ Article – La Jolla Patch: UCSD Professor Teaches Subliminal Therapy at Athens Conference
■ A Description of Subliminal Therapy, AKA Yagerian Therapy
Many problems are the consequence of conditioning; therapy consists of re-conditioning. In Subliminal Therapy, it is assumed that “parts” of the patient’s mind were created during experiences in life and these parts continue to influence life based on those experiences. In using Subliminal Therapy, these Parts are reconditioned, thereby resolving the problem at the level of cause. When the causes of a problem are resolved, its symptoms – e.g., headaches, anxiety, insomnia, depression and addiction - cease to exist.
For example: A child bitten by a dog will learn to fear dogs, and that learned fear can persist for a lifetime (even without the memory of the event) unless re-conditioning occurs. A Part of the child’s mind formed at the moment of trauma and can remain active, keeping the person afraid of dogs, until the Part learns new information, gaining new understanding. This reconditioning is the task of therapy.
Subliminal Therapy is a brief, psychodynamic psychotherapy, based on two assumptions:
1. Our present behavior and experience is determined by conditioning from earlier life-experiences.
2. All persons have extra-conscious mental abilities that exceed conscious mental abilities.
In using this method, the patient’s higher level, extra-conscious abilities (identified as “Centrum” for convenience) are accessed to do the work of therapy. The patient may be consciously aware of the proceedings, yet remarkably uninvolved in the work of therapy.
New understanding of an experience changes the effect of the experience.
The Parts are intelligent, at least to the extent of being capable of “learning.” Being educated about current reality constitutes reconditioning; it is as though the parts are stuck in time, knowing today only what they knew when they were created.
The tasks of therapy accomplished by Centum (guided by the therapist) are:
1. Identify the Part/s that are causing the problem.
2. Recondition those Parts by means of education.
Resolving the actual cause of a problem eliminates its symptoms.
In using this method, the therapist guides the protocol, as Centrum does the work, while the patient consciously supports the work by acting as a vehicle of communication between Centrum and the therapist.
■ The Origin of Subliminal Therapy
I am often asked about how Subliminal Therapy originated, and my answer is seldom adequate. It has been about 40 years since that occurred, and allowing for a degree of memory impairment, I can best respond in terms of the circumstances at the time.
My first copyrighted paper on ST is dated in 1975, following a period of speculation and discussion with my engineering colleagues who shared my curiosity about mental functioning. Conception must therefore have occurred in about 1974 when I began transitioning from my career in engineering into the field of mental health. I had begun to seriously study and teach clinical hypnosis; however, I had not yet begun my formal training in psychology. I had no knowledge of current treatment protocols and theory.
There is a common belief that nothing is truly new, that knowledge evolves from earlier knowledge. It’s a well-founded argument that I generally endorse, but it doesn’t fit in this situation; I had no knowledge of psychology from which ST could have evolved. I was an engineer. My way of thinking about the world was (and still is) pragmatic, and thoughts about psychic issues had only recently begun to occur, largely in reaction to my studies of hypnosis. I began to wonder about how we function mentally, about how to explain the frequent presence of contradictions between conscious desire and conscious experience. I concluded we must have an unconscious level of superior intelligence, a level having abilities not available to consciousness. I could not explain our functioning in life without that assumption. With the aid of hypnotic trance, I was able to establish meaningful communication with that domain in the minds of my patients and ST evolved as I explored and tested possibilities of the pragmatic use of the abilities of that domain.
Out of my personal experience, and in contradiction to my earlier convictions about life that derived from my training as an engineer, I am compelled to acknowledge the reality of true inspiration, inspiration that defies reasoned explanation.
■ Our Cognitive Functions
Freud taught us about the Id, Ego and the Super Ego, a model of mental functioning that has largely been ignored by modern theorists, yet one that may have merit if interpreted differently. In this article, I propose and defend the structural concept of three divisions, yet with different meanings than Freud envisioned. I argue that the three divisions are best defined as the conscious, subconscious and extra-conscious domains. The term “unconscious,” as commonly used in defining a mental domain, is inadequate to the task; it is too general.
The Conscious Domain
To argue for the existence of the conscious domain seems a bit absurd, yet not to do so is to ignore that existence. We are aware, even of our own existence. We reason, remember, extrapolate, theorize and relate. We experience desire, emotion and motivation, we love and we rationalize. We are able to be proactive and to objectively evaluate, and yet there are mental activities that are not conscious, activities that cry out for explanation.
The Subconscious Domain
Few would argue against the idea that events, especially emotionally-laden events, can have long-lasting influence on our lives. Such influence is represented in our minds in some form, whether recognized consciously or not, and may manifest in mental or physical ways. There is a need to explain the presence of fixed, sometimes seemingly immutable influences such as values, beliefs, skills, compulsions, obsessions, phobias, addictions, and even common habits. Often the consequence of classical conditioning from previous experiences, these influences are undeniably and sometimes frustratingly present, and often not consciously desired. Collectively, these influences comprise the subconscious domain.
This subconscious domain is seen a being somewhat like the memory of a computer: unchanging unless outside influence is exerted, literal and lacking proactive capacity. The significance lies in the ever-present influence exerted by the subconscious domain on life experiences.
The Extra-Conscious Domain
In speaking of mental functioning, there is also the need to explain mental functioning that is consciously acknowledged as taking place, yet its content is not known and the process is not consciously directed. An obvious example is the function of control of smooth muscle in highly sophisticated ways that maintain life itself by regulating blood flow, digestion, respiration and glandular functioning. Such functioning cannot be consciously comprehended, much less controlled. This mental functioning has also been shrugged off as “unconscious” yet, at a functional level, it is clearly different from the capacities of the conscious and subconscious domains. This argues for the existence of a domain of the mind that is separate from consciousness, a domain that is not conscious, and is dynamic rather than fixed, the “extra-conscious” domain.
Other arguments supporting the existence of an extra-conscious domain include the following phenomena that are apparent in life:
• The conscious experiences of insight, intuition, inspirations and dreams, all of which occur without conscious influence.
• Sudden awareness of information that surprises the conscious mind, information that cannot be explained in terms of conscious functioning because it was not expected and was not known consciously. Such information can be specifically requested of the extra-conscious, and experienced consciously. Such information is generated within the mind of the person; it is not communicated from without.
• The astonishingly inaccurate theories we have about our behavior, in spite of the consistency of our behavior.
• The so-called “muscle memory” that permits us to ride bicycles, type into computers, and even to walk, without paying conscious attention to what we are doing, yet able to modify that activity in response to the environment, again without conscious participation.
• The extraordinarily high success rates of Subliminal Therapy in treating a wide variety of psychogenic disorders is, in itself, an argument favoring the separate existence of the extra-conscious domain. Subliminal Therapy is grounded on the concept of proactive utilization of extra-conscious intelligence, intelligence that is engaged in rational ways to alter the influences projected from the subconscious domain. This process may, or may not, involve conscious awareness of the process of thought taking place within the extra-conscious domain.
I conceptualize the extra-conscious domain as having the capacity for creative thought, yet lacking in motivation to be proactive. There is awareness, as in consciousness, there is a higher order of intelligence than is present consciously, and this is combined with occasional demonstrations of other undefined abilities. In short, the existence of the extra-conscious domain is evident, yet it is largely undefined.
■ Problems Successfully Treated by Subliminal Therapy
Examples of problems that were the consequence of unfortunate life-experiences and that have been effectively treated by hypnotic techniques, most effectively including Subliminal Therapy.
■ The Future of Subliminal Therapy
As with medicine, psychology is changing. Our understanding of human nature is evolving, and perhaps our nature is evolving as well. To say that our therapeutic interventions of today are the “final” ones, not to be replaced by other – hopefully improved – therapies in the future, would be an absurd statement. Subliminal Therapy (ST) too will evolve and this is my prediction of the course of change.
Changes in Form:
Without question, the protocol of ST will change, yet the concept of utilizing our extra-conscious abilities in the rational way of ST will not change.
Changes in Application:
• There will be expanded use of ST in the treatment of physical illness as awareness of the fact, and the extent, of the psychogenesis of physical illness becomes more commonly understood. There will be increasing demand for this treatment, in particular by the public. At least initially, increasing resistance to this use will be coming from the medical community because of the inevitable invasion of this treatment into medical practice. Of course, it is also possible that ST will be embraced and employed by the medical community. Economic pressure from insurance companies will also contribute pressure and, as in life generally, I believe economics will prevail: ST will become widely employed.
• The treatment of sexual problems by ST will become common. The malfunction of smooth muscles, controlled by subconscious mental processes in response to past experiences, is the mechanism of most erectile problems, dyspareunia and vaginismus, not to mention issues with libido.
• There will be expanded use of ST in academics, especially in primary and secondary schools, where conditioned problems in learning can so easily be addressed. Barriers to learning in selective subjects can be easily resolved, essential self-concepts corrected, and general performance enhanced by the appropriate use of ST.
• There is unheralded recognition of our gross failure in managing our prison populations. Those incarcerated are released even less well prepared to integrate into society than they were when first incarcerated. Recidivism rates in some prisons exceed 90%. The only apparent solution to this problem lies in education, not just cognitive education, nor cognitive restructuring, but education that fundamentally reconditions learned values and convictions about life into concepts that support society. I speak of education that is integrated at the subconscious level, as is made possible through the use of ST. This intervention will be limited to those prisoners who have the intellect, motivation and self-awareness to benefit from ST, yet this will be a significant percentage of the total.
■ A Letter to Ruth
I have had a high order of success in treating PTSD using hypnotic techniques in analytical ways, including but not limited to Subliminal Therapy. It seems to me the most accurate theoretical model to explain PTSD is that one or more mental entities ("Parts" as I refer to them) come into existence at the time of the trauma, and that these entities thereafter respond to the same or similar stimuli with the same reaction as was experienced initially. It's as though those entities are stuck back there in time, ignorant of present life circumstances. This is the model upon which I base my treatment.
If that model is accurate, effective resolution of the PTSD must involve re-conditioning those parts that are causing the problem. Doing this will require some form of communication between you as the therapist and the parts themselves, communication in which a process of education takes place. Direct suggestions might penetrate, rehearsing positive scenarios might have benefit, and CBT approaches have value; however, the limitation of these approaches is that they only address the symptoms of the PTSD. In consequence, they are time-consuming, typically involving long-term treatment.
If we conclude the reactions (cumulatively called PTSD) were "learned," it is reasonable to conclude that they can be "re-learned" in a different way, with different conclusions and consequences.
Treatment based on this rationale can be effective if it takes the form of direct interactions with the offending parts, possibly by using ideo-motor responses. In other words, use the ideo-responses as the vehicle of communication with the parts, and having established that vehicle, use that vehicle to inform (educate) the parts about present reality and the unfortunate consequence of their influence. With more sophisticated/intelligent patients, you may be able to establish such communications in the form of a direct verbal exchange. The point here is that the communication must be with the responsible parts, as opposed to working with the patient at a conscious level.
The use of Subliminal Therapy can bypass many of the problems inherent in the previous approach in that the patient's own "higher level" of mental capacities are utilized to accomplish the re-conditioning of the entities, with the therapist guiding the process by communicating directly with that higher level of functioning (which I refer to as "Centrum"). See "Success Rates" on my website, www.docyager.com.
The degree of trauma initially experienced will impact the duration of treatment and you will be challenged to devise rational approaches to deal with different situations (what words to use, what to do next, etc.). Nevertheless, by focusing on the cause, rather than on the symptom, my experience is that most such cases can be resolved in a few hours of treatment. On the other hand, I have had cases that had not fully resolved after multiple years. To my knowledge, however, all benefited by achieving some relief.
– Ed Yager
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A MESSAGE FROM DR. YAGER