Monday, 24 April 2017

Believe or Die

I am continually amazed at how much healers, therapists, and personal development gurus attribute to beliefs. It is as if they have found that the act of belief literally shapes the universe, and if your universe isn't shaped right, then you need to change your beliefs and everything will be fine.

I keep reading how good beliefs can heal and bad beliefs can cause cancer and bad AIDS, they may inhibit recovery, cause poverty and shape your destiny.  Belief is where the action is, not cold hard reality.

Churches got rich and cashed in on peddling belief for years, some still do, but for many God got boring. Beliefs needed to be organised and systematised and the emergent doctrines were just too limiting. And besides, God simply wasn’t scientific enough and He lacked sufficient antiquity.

In the self-help industry, the training manual became the new bible, quantum physics became the new gospel, “what’s in it for me?” became the new lament and “I deeply and completely accept myself” became the new affirmation. Future saints line up to await beatification and in a field where false prophets abound, the ever faithful squabble amongst themselves whilst praying for confirmation.

To those that demand evidence of this new faith, they point to the placebo response, to quantum physics, to Einstein, to the Tao, to Buddhism and all manner of miraculous proofs.  You just need to believe, they say.

If you suffer, then it is your fault. If you get ill and die then you had limiting beliefs.  You must have faith or you will be damned.  There are hope and redemption to be found in the sacraments; the joss sticks, the flower remedies, the filtered water and the herbal teas.  Penance and forgiveness can be found by the correct observance of the rituals; the tapping, the whoop whoop, the happy clapping and the attitude, and of course the search for those elusive toxins. There is only one law and that is the attraction. It keeps things simple.

Now, I wonder what these poor fools believed in order to demise in such an appalling manner:
"The participants had fasted for 36 hours as part of a personal and spiritual quest in the wilderness, then ate a breakfast buffet Thursday morning. After various seminars, they entered the sweat lodge lightly dressed at 3 p.m.
Two hours later, a woman dialled 911 to say that two people, whom Waugh identified as 38-year old New Yorker Kirby Brown and 40-year-old James Shore of Milwaukee, did not have a pulse and weren't breathing.
According to a family spokesperson, Brown was an avid surfer and hiker who was "in top shape," before the mysterious sweat lodge death.... 
...Sheriff's Lt. David Rhodes said authorities were checking whether there was a lag time between the first signs of medical distress and the emergency call...."

At the root of this is a self-help industry that promotes "me, me, me, me, me, me!"  - no matter how dysfunctional you feel, you are special, you are important, you are worthy and you will be accepted and loved – at the price of the entrance fee. Pay the fee and you will be admitted entry into the mysterious sanctum, get others to sign up and pay the fee, then you can come again at a discount.

Sign up as an assistant and you can come again and again for free in an orgy of hope, happiness and adulation. A shepherd leading the flock, a fisher for men, the person serving the Kool-Aid.

The industry promises that yes, you can be rich! Yes, you can have the life you choose! Yes, you can break free of life's burdens! Yes, you can be free! Yes, you can heal yourself and learn to heal others!

You are special, you are valuable and the universe revolves around you, you, you!

This soft and malleable universe will bend to your will, mold to fit your beliefs and will adjust itself to suit your aspirations. The universe is weak, but the attraction is strong and God lost the monopoly on omnipotence.

The thing is... so much of it is all smoke and mirrors. Scratch beneath the surface of this industry and you will find stories of drug addiction, bankruptcy and personal disasters – not rags to riches style, nor bad man made good type of thing, but self promoted success gurus who themselves are broke and claiming unemployment benefits; personal development coaches and mind control experts who take psychiatric drugs or cocaine or are alcohol dependent; business consultants who have never consulted and trainers who themselves are unemployed and struggling, divorced relationship coaches who rely on hookers, life coaches who are so dysfunctional they have no life to speak of, and on and on and on.

All this lies behind the veil of self-proclaimed success and fine promises of hope, affluence and secrets, the veil of illusion of opulence, happiness and brilliance, but it is a lie, designed to get that cash from the naive punters hoping for a better life for themselves.

The medicine show never went away. The snake oil just got repackaged, refined and much, much, more expensive.

As a skeptic and rationalist, I am not surprised at how much spite gets aimed in my direction.  I am a disbeliever and in the self-help business the refusal to believe is tantamount to heresy. It is a betrayal and such heresy is not at all tolerated well.

“We want action taken,” they write on their forums, “what makes you so special?” they ask in their emails. It's all about being special.

It is time to start blowing the whistle on the industry that I find myself flirting with on a regular basis. The romance died out long ago, I saw the man behind the curtain. He was bloated, he had serious personal issues but he had a good agent.

Know this: this is an industry that lies to you.

Not by accident either, but in a cynical and deliberate manner designed to exploit and cash in on the desperation and unhappiness of people who want a better life.

What I know, what I have seen, is that all the positive thinking and all the self-belief in the world doesn't make a single bit of difference to so many of these people, or possibly to you.  Many of these gurus are as dysfunctional today as they were yesterday, and I don't see that changing at all, at all.  In fact, it seems to be getting worse.  All that "self-development" and "Me! Me! Me! Me!" seems to reduce people's income, career prospects, familial relationships, friendships and so on.  It gets ugly.

I'll tell you more in a future blog entry, beginning with the personal development industry obsession with "status."

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Mind, Myth and Magic Weekend

The next Mind, Myth and Magic workshop is in Yorkshire on 1st - 2nd July. Join us!

For details and booking please go to:

Monday, 17 April 2017

Saddle Up The Unicorn

Grab that coaching book and a copy of The Secret, sit cross legged for a moment and give a little ommm. Pack your bags and saddle up your unicorn, we are going back to Jericho. It’s a whole new trip and you are all invited.

Sitting in front of a bookshelf whilst you talk about “my journey” is so yesterday and old fashioned. Facebook status updates about your happy clients will no longer pass muster. There’s a new trick in town. It’s an old trick made new. Rediscovered maybe, but never lost.

The medicine show died a slow death along with its gullible patients, but the gurus will always live on. At first, the new young things scene adopted their gurus and their gods. They paid them money, hung out with them, had their photos taken for all to see. Who you trained with, when you trained with them, your relationship with the God-like trainer was all so important, but alas that is no more.

The passage of time has rendered the old Gods so passé. Their message has been assimilated into the culture, so now is the time to express contempt for the new kids finding their message for the first time and who cite their message as new. We reject the old, forever on with the new. There are new gods in town and they no longer sit in front of bookshelves and talk about their journey.

These days these new gurus and gods in town talk about other people’s journeys, offering guidance and wisdom as they struggle to maintain their beatific state in front of the camera. They do offer up their experience, express their vulnerability, try to be open. Vulnerability is the new secret code. Expressing past mistakes and regrets is the new way of maintaining focus on the self, whilst imagining and pretending to be guiding others.

Mysticism is the new model, bringing the light into the darkness, bringing the darkness into the light of reason. The universe speaks to us, and we need to hear it’s message. Not just for us, but for all of humanity. We are the messengers, the intermediate, the messiah to whom the universe communicates the truth. And it is Truth that we now speak.

The debts that are forever mounting up, the failed relationships, the bankruptcy, the poor health. These are not signs of failure but instead are demonstrations to ourselves of the sacrifice that we are willing to make to dedicate ourselves to the truth. We suffer to take away the pain of others, we take the sin away from mankind. We didn’t ask for it to be easy, but you must know how we suffer so, but we won’t mention the current debt or letter from the tax man. Our worldly concerns and chronic unemployment are not your concern. But we will teach you how to be wealthy, happy and sane. Your devotion, loyalty, and money is all we ask.

Come and be in my company, we can sit silently and meditate. I can teach you magick and connect you to the orgasmic moment of creation. I will talk of Hermeticism, tantra, yantra, yoga, Yarker and Crowley. We can share of ourselves, give a little of us to each other, imagine we have changed the world by changing a little piece of ourselves. There is no suffering, there is only beauty. You just need to look and see, we will help you remove the blinkers that blind you.

We will raise the temple. There are no techniques, processes or therapies. Just Truth, Love and Hope. The new holy trinity that will cure all of mankind’s ills, if you all would only watch our youtube videos and talk to us via Skype for a small fee so that we may plan our next trip.

Workshop Survival Kit

I sold these back in 2010, if there is enough demand I'll restock them (please use the comments section to declare an interest or request a custom made badge).  Previously, the first badge on the list sold out completely the first day they went on sale.

The Training Workshop Survival Kit!
Badges for seminar/training/workshop attendees:
  • "Fuck off, I Don't Want a Hug!"
  • "I Attend Workshops."
  • "I Have Trained More Than you Have."
  • "I Am One Of The In-Crowd."
  • "Smug, Pious and Proud."
  • "7-Day Expert."
  • "...and who did YOU train with, Hmmm?"
  • "I deeply and completely accept myself, now fuck off!"
  • "Training Workshop Junkie."
  • "Wannabe Guru."
  • "I Talk Others Walk."
These will be available from The Fresh Brain Company, priced at £8.40 for a selection of any five badges. Others will be added soon.

Other products I am considering adding to the range include:
  • Branded spittle wipes to deal with the moist trauma of all those group hugs and air kisses.
  • A big shitty stick to beat off those fellow attendees stuck at the "How specifically?" phase.
  • "The Whoopee Glee" (TM).  Set to automatic mode, The Whoopee Glee (TM) emits enthusiastic whoops of joy at variable random intervals.  
  • The NLP Laughtastic 6000 (TM). Similar to the Whoopee Glee, this item is calibrated automatically to be able to emit the right type of laugh to fit in with the in-crowd in any live training situation.
  • "The Grinnatron Joy Mask" (TM).  The Grinnatron Joy Mask (TM) can be worn safely for up to 24 hours in a single session.  Now it is possible to grin all day without risk of facial injury or being asked about your limiting beliefs.
  • The Self Catheterisation Kit.  Useful for those workshops where the trainer gets a bit too carried away and forgets that the mortals need to do normal things like take bathroom breaks.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Just a small prick

One residential care environment that I worked in specialised in a particular method of annoying the insane.  It used the "are you sure?" method.  For those unfamiliar with this method it goes something like this.

Staff:  "Hi John, how are you feeling today?  Have you been feeling anxious?"
Patient: "I'm fine thanks."
Staff:  "Are you sure?" (spoken with a tone that suggests superior knowledge)

I saw the same routine occurring with the daily enquiry of, "any suicidal thoughts today?" The patient would deny suicidal thinking and the staff with the same tonality would ask, "are you sure?"

Here's another example.

Staff:  "Did you have breakfast this morning?"
Patient: "Yes."
Staff: "Are you sure?" (with that same tone as before)

It took me a little while to work out just what going on in that place, because it seemed to me that pretty much all of the staff used the same pattern; it was as if everyone was reading the same script.

I'd have hated to be a patient there, it all seemed so demeaning and really rather unproductive.  But I doubt any of it was intentionally so, because staff tend to adopt each others patterns and this often occurs in close-knit working environments.

In hospitals for example, cliche phrases, mannerisms and expressions emerge amongst groups of staff and these can differ from department to department and hospital to hospital.  For example, anyone that has received an injection in a UK hospital is likely to have heard the nurse say, "Sharp scratch!" as the injection is delivered.  It's what nurses say, it is part of the culture.  Personally I always preferred the, "you will just feel a slight prick" gag, but that is a different story.  Another common expression is the "...for me..." tag when asking patients to do something, as in, "stand up for me," "take a deep breath for me," "squeeze this for me" and so on.  Although this was more common on the elderly care units.

The adoption of these little cliches is in part the adoption of the local culture and this often happens without conscious thought or consideration.  It is almost Pavlovian in nature. For example, non-NLPers should watch out: Never say, "I am sure" to an NLPer.  They will nearly always fire back the Bandlerism of, "Are you sure enough to be unsure?"  NLPers can be strange like that.  I once bet a nursing colleague that she couldn't go through a day without saying, "sharp scratch!"  She took the bet and promptly lost it about 15 minutes later.  As Pavlov found, some conditioned responses can be very hard to extinguish without sufficient counter-stimulus.

People adopt cliches and mannerisms that shape the perceived role in which they operate.  For example, saying, "Sharp scratch" fulfilled the need to say something and was acceptable to the peer group.  It fitted in.  My line about feeling a slight prick, which oddly was always acceptable with doctors but almost never with nurses, simply didn't fit in with the language of the peer group.  I learned early in life that, for so many people, fitting in is more important than anything else.  It is frightening sometimes to not fit in.

Hierarchy emerges within groups and the person who best knows how to use the language peculiar to his group is the person who can garner the most status from the group.

Most institutions possess their own language.  The armed forces each possess their own linguistic pecularities, prisons have their own language and currencies and most major professions and institutions also adopt their own expressions and terminology, not least of all, the medical profession.  In medicine, the language used can sound foreign, or like some kind of weird code.

For example, "upon admission the patient was cyanotic, SOB and with pyrexia of 42 degrees" translates as he was blue, couldn't breathe and was pretty hot.  Every part of the body has a name and that name means something to doctors and related professionals.  The words, "he had a heart attack" doesn't actually mean very much from a medical point of view since there are so many variables of what actually constitutes a "heart attack."

All these variables have a name or a medical description that immediately translates meaningfully to those who understand the language.  Given the complexity of what is involved and the size of the subject, it surprises me not one bit that medical training takes so long and requires so much intense study and experience.

NLP has its own peculiar set of words and phrases.  My favorite and one that I like to never miss an opportunity to use is, "kinesthetic transderivational search."  This isn't a term I hear often from NLPers, but is readily understandable to the initiated and rather bewildering to everyone else.  Much like the medical terminology, many (but not all) of these terms are useful in communicating concepts and ideas, such as "a submodality swish" versus a "content swish" and other referential terms such as, "eye accessing cues", "presuppositions", "double binds", "submodalities" and "pacing and leading" function the same way.

So, we have these two type of linguistic cliches - those that enable us to fit in, and those that enable us to understand.  I've never been too much of a fan of the former but must admit to being a bit of a fan of the latter.  I urge NLPers to watch out for the former, these "fitting in" cliches such as the "are you sure?" and the "are you sure enough to be unsure?" examples. Unfortunately, all too often, excessive demonstrations of "fitting in" tend to negate demonstrations of understanding to those outside of the peer group.

Now, it must be said that I didn't exactly fit in at the mental health unit from which I drew the "are you sure" examples, and an inverse relationship between how much my patients trusted me and how much my colleagues didn't trust me became apparent.  The staff tended to think that I didn't "get it" whilst my patients tended to disagree and suggested that I did "get it"; my employment at that unit was never going to last long, that much was agreed by everyone.

In the handover meetings between shifts, the reason for the "are you sure?" nonsense became clear.

The acting unit manager was an unusual individual in that she radically changed her appearance and identity so that she became sexually androgynous on the day she was "made up" to manager level and she would grill the staff about their handover reports.  It seems a bit bizarre now when writing this, but basically, she'd demand that the staff "check" what they wrote by asking the patients if they were sure.  Pettiness was taken to new extremes as in the following example:

Staff: "...and this morning John had a good breakfast before taking his medications..."
Androgyne: "What do you mean, he had a good breakfast?" (spoken with a slight tone of contempt)
Staff: "Well, he had cereal and toast."
Androgyne: "Which cereal?" (again, spoken with that same contemptuous tone)
Staff: "Ummm...not sure..."
Androgyne: "Well, go and ask him."

Yes dear reader, it really did get that petty.

That member of staff would then have to leave the office and go and ask the patient what cereal he had for breakfast whilst the rest of us waited.  I guess many people have been unlucky enough to meet managers like this, androgynes or not.  They don't actually have to do too much to create significant levels of stress in employees.  They also have the following effect.

Those that understand the necessary rituals and ceremonies that keep the manager happy will garner status with her, those that don't end up ostracised by the group.  Over time, the group becomes self-selecting and those who play the game will stay, those that don't will leave, and so a shared and delusional mindset emerges amongst the group.

It can become quite cult-like and it can be really quite unsettling; it is the Emporer's New Clothes all over again, only without the humour and nudity.

I have observed that many NLPers fail to model effectively and simply imitate instead.  I have lost count of how many people I have experienced doing a spontaneous impression of Milton Erickson, not based on their own experience of Erickson (via available audio-visual material) but rather based on a famous trainers' impression of him.  Meanwhile, I have noticed that NLPers no longer imagine things, instead they "hallucinate"; they no longer seem to have opinions, they have "maps"; they don't learn things, they "model" things and "install strategies."  Here are some other examples I experience far too often for comfort:

Me:  "Hi!"
Them:  "Very Hi!"

Me: "How you doing?"
Them: "I'm GREEAT!!  What about you?"
Me:  "Err...fine thanks."
Them: "Just fine?  You should be feeling GREEAT!"

Me: "I don't like that."
Them: "Don't like it how, specifically?"

For too many NLPers, being an NLPer depends upon using all the cliches, mannerisms and attitudes that they observe the rest of the NLP herd using and make attempts at garnering status within the "NLP Community."

Sadly, this can have the effect of distancing them from their own existing community who worry that their loved one has joined some kind of mind control cult.  People that behave in these ways do not always come across as especially functional human beings and I cannot help but wonder if there is a degree of a cargo cult mindset meeting The Field of Dreams - "build it and they will come" - as if the NLPer only need use the right words and parrot what they have heard other NLPers say then life success, happiness, wealth and status is as good as theirs.

Experience goes far deeper than the mere use of the right words.  Remember this before you find yourself abducted and deprogrammed by well-meaning people who "care."

NLP provides a great set of tools for building great states and mindsets, and there are as many states and mindsets as there are people. The emperor wore no clothes, an interesting choice and not one that I would necessarily choose for myself. Be grateful for that. But imagine if the crowd all chose the emulate the emperor, the sight might not be a such a pretty one; depending on where you are stood in the crowd, I guess.

As I see an increased uniformity amongst NLPers striving to reach that elusive but correct NLP mindset this is something that all-too-often tends to get forgotten. 

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Why don't doctors learn NLP/EFT/Hypnosis etc?

I want to tell you a short story. It's largely true, the bits that are not true arise merely as a result my faults in my memory, ability to recall and some deliberate obfuscation to eliminate identification of the subject of the story. The story comes from my time working in neurosurgery.

A young woman fell from a horse.

The fall was serious and the injuries were life threatening.

Initially the woman's survival chances were rated as very slim indeed. An expert paramedic team arrived on the scene, so did a surgeon and an anaesthetist. The woman was carefully moved to accident and emergency department where another team of people went to work before transferring her to intensive care whilst a bed in a specialist unit (neuro-intensive care) at a different hospital (the hospital in which I was employed) was found.

Transfer was arranged, and a nurse specialist, an anaesthetist and doctor accompanied the patient in the rather impressive mobile intensive care unit to bring her to the neurosurgical intensive care unit where the responsibility was handed over to one of the best neurosurgical teams in the country.
Time passes, a number of surgical procedures are carried out, injuries start to heal and against the odds the patient appears to begin to recover.

Her recovery reaches a stage whereby intensive care is no longer required, and the patient's care is downgraded to “high dependency” and she is moved to our unit whereby this lady came under the care of another expert team of which I was one of the most “junior” members.

This lady's neurological state was still appalling and her injuries still very severe, and a huge question lay over the prospects of long-term survival and, if she did survive, about the quality of life she might have to endure.

It's contentious I know, but if I was some of the patients I have seen, I wouldn't consider survival to always have been the best of the possible outcomes.

But survive she did. And a huge team of people ranging from pharmacists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, nurses, doctors, porters, cleaners, social services, technicians and so on, all contributed their encouragement and expertise to ensure her recovery.

Now, here is that all important detail. Throughout all of this, the family suffered enormously and one of the worst experiences for families of the seriously ill/injured is the experience of helplessness. It is the hardest thing to do to stand back and allow “care” to be delivered by strangers; strangers who may be faulted – most will be just fine of course, but some may have attitudes that we don't like, some may seem weak, may seem officious, some may even seem lazy or ignorant, some will be kind, dedicated and hard working, a few may appear at the edge of a breakdown themselves, and of course some will appear to have their own “issues” - and so on.

So, family need to be involved, they need to feel empowered, noticed and involved. But you know what? We didn't always have time for that as the patient was always the main priority, and whilst the patients were legion in number, time and resources were not.

So this gap was often filled by innovation on the part of the family. Maybe they'd play tapes of the patient's favourite music, bring in aromatherapy oils, vitamins, healers, prayer groups and hope.

This particular patient had a healer visit every day. Laying on his hands and channelling his mysterious energies into her body. The nurses are happy to allow such activities as long as the additional treatments being offered are medically approved in that they do not affect bodily processes in a way that conflicts with medical treatment, do not put the patient or anyone else at risk (i.e. lighting incense and burning herbs, etc), and do not interfere with any of the routines of running the department.

The patient survived and eventually went on to recover sufficiently that within a couple of years she was living independently again. A good result not only for the patient but also for the Accident and Emergency, Intensive Care, Neurosurgical and Rehabilitation teams, you might think?

Apparently not.

I was later told by “someone” the following line, and I hear similar lines a lot from the mouths of NLPers, healers, tappers and therapists. “The doctors said that she wasn't going to live and would die within 6 months. Well, we weren't going to take that so we employed a healer to see her every day. The doctors are baffled by her recovery, and it just goes to prove how well healing works. Doctors are so small minded, they really should look at all the evidence for healing.”


This was one of those rare occasions where I kept my mouth shut, but needless to say I was appalled. I regularly hear the immortal lines, “...and the doctors are baffled/amazed by his/her recovery....” which is rarely true of course.  They are mostly just very pleased.  So let's not delete out all the research, hard work, dedication, medical expertise and experience, and let's not forget the sheer amount of stress suffered by many staff, and let's not ignore all the physiological processes involved and simply nominalise the patient's recovery down to the fact that some strange man waved his hands around the room.

It used to be fashionable for credit to be given to pop stars or celebrities – the young patient's favourite pop star was persuaded to send in a tape or visit personally, and the subsequent recovery is put down to that event, and little to do with the efforts of the staff, routine biological processes or anything else that is a little complicated and multifarious.

The reason I write this is because three times this week I have been asked by NLPers, “Why don't doctors bother to learn NLP?” As scorn is heaped upon the medical profession for their sheer stupidity in telling patients such awful negative suggestions such as, “this injection might hurt a little.” (If it does hurt, that isn't necessarily because of the suggestion or belief of the doctor. It might just be due to the fact that some injections hurt. Some hurt a lot. Some don't hurt at all.)

Recently I'm hearing and reading a lot of biased criticisms by NLPers about things doctors say and do, as though all the suffering in the medical world is caused by negative suggestions that doctors say, and all healing results purely from the mental might of the patients to overcome such powerful negative programming.

Such criticisms are often accompanied by lamentation as to why don't doctors learn NLP?  After all, if they did, devastating travesties such as negative suggestions could be avoided. To which I can only reply the following: Why don't NLPers learn and practice medicine - might that not be easier?

I'll write more on this later.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

More Tapping Ranting

It’s been some years since I put together the website  It was a fun site, mostly, and a wry look at a therapeutic process that I consider to largely consist of total nonsense.

However, the complaints continue to arrive in a slow but steady trickle.  I care not, probably because I am exactly that which call me. My two favorites that I showed Laura, "You seem to think you are Jesus" and "You seem to think everyone else is an idiot except for yourself" to which my ever loving wife replied, "Well, they are both right about that."

Yep. Anyway...

I did experiment with tapping a few years ago, the results were underwhelming and I quickly got over my initial interest in tapping as a therapeutic tool.  What stood out and grabbed my interest were the huge claims made for tapping by its advocates, its simplicity and the fact that a few respected friends swore by it.  A few still do.

But then people used to fervently burn “witches” at the stake, believe that the world was flat, the sun revolved around the earth, mercury was the grand cure all, and many other strange things that turned out to be total bollocks.

I’ll be clear about my stance here.  Tapping as a therapeutic tool is total bollocks, but it seems to be an exceptionally popular bollocks.  I just know that I’ll get more emails from fervent tappers telling how my skepticism needs addressing; how I have limiting beliefs, and how dare I deny the powerful set of evidence that proves tapping is effective.  How dare I?

I’ll say it again.  It is all bollocks – and you are probably deluded if you think otherwise.

In the tappers dream future the following situations would arise…

Patient:  “Doctor, please help me, I am so terribly depressed, I want to die.”
Doctor: “Fear not, young man, do this, tap your face and repeat after me… ‘Even though I am terribly depressed I deeply and completely accept myself.’…”

Patient:  “Doctor, I have this lump, I fear it might be cancer…”
Doctor:  “Fear not, young woman, please tap your face and repeat after me…..”

Nurse:  “Doctor, a patient has just arrived with the most frightful psychotic symptoms!”
Doctor:  “Now, young nurse, do not panic, please break out the manual and look up which meridian we must get him to tap on his face…”

It’s all total hogwash, hokum, bollocks.  The client taps their face, the therapist taps their wallet.  It’s a good deal…for the therapist.

On YouTube I’ve seen such crap as “tapping for the troops” – some young idiot without any combat experience, military training, medical training or pretty much anything other than training as a “pick up artist” and a bit of face tapping teaching people how to “tap for the troops” and cure them of their combat experience.  I say let’s send these morons to Baghdad, where they can best employ their services.  They won’t suffer from the heat, the danger, the prejudice or the fear of course, they can simply tap that away and endure anything.

YouTube is awash with such hokum for using tapping to overcome hunger pangs and obesity, anorexia, depression, anger and even fear of the Illuminati.  All the videos posted by enthusiastic tappers all showing you how to tap your face in order to cure pretty much anything and everything.
Repeat after me.  Even though this is total bullshit, I deeply and completely accept myself.

Whilst this might be bad enough for some, there is far, far worse.  I hope that maybe some day those people will look back and find it all a little embarrassing, remembering the era of the mad tappers where the solution to all the world’s problems lay in getting people to tap their faces.  In the 60’s LSD had similar advocates and to those advocating it looked like the solution to the world's problems – if only everyone tried it, they thought, then maybe everyone would be open minded and wars will end.

So get on the phones everyone, call Al Qaeda, call North Korea and Jeremy Kyle, spread the word and get the bloody fools to tap their faces before it is too late.  Spread the word, spread salvation, they banned LSD, maybe they will ban tapping too.  The powers-that-be fear its power, and tremble in the face of the liberation and freeing of imprisoned minds.

The solution is so simple, why can’t these people understand and open their minds just wide enough to see?

The zeal of the Christians never went away; the missionaries took up their positions with the natives to spread the seed of their religious fervour.  Soon the natives were converted and the great Word spread unhindered.  The natives converted to the correct version of reality, their souls were saved and the Truth set them free.

And anyone who disagrees be damned; freedom works a bit like that.

And whilst there may not be so many Christian missionaries these days, but as I say, the zeal continues – God simply got replaced by therapy.  Priests and pastors become counselors and therapists, and the word to be spread became not the words of the Christ, but rather the immortal mantra, “Even though I am blah blah, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

And so the charities began and the overseas rescue missions planned.  To Africa they said, and to Africa they went, armed with their mantras and tapping fingers and taught the Africans how to cure malaria.

“Tapping can relieve the suffering of malaria” they claimed, and to a desperate population, remote and impoverished, these well fed and well-intentioned “therapists” and “healers” taught them the new gospel and creed.  It was the creed of “energy medicine”, of great medicinal claims and of a mysterious force that man can learn to manipulate to bring about relief from suffering and death. 

Here’s a quote from some purveyors of this astonishing cure:

"If the study supports our previous anecdotal evidence that TFT is beneficial in relieving symptoms and effects of malaria, the ATFT Foundation will need to proceed with the second stage of the project, which is to determine the most effective methods for disseminating and teaching the appropriate TFT techniques and protocols to vulnerable populations.
“Recently, the missionaries in Tanzania invited the ATFT Foundation to send a team of TFT teachers and researchers to explore the uses of TFT to reduce physical and emotional suffering associated with the deadly disease of malaria, and to set up a study to determine the effects of TFT on that population. Local personnel will continue the study once the team has left. It is anticipated that two to three follow-up visits by Foundation members will be required for supervision, further training, and monitoring purposes."

I don’t doubt the sincerity of the people involved, any more than I doubt the sincerity of the people who collected the firewood following the witch trials in the 16th century, and as Bateson suggested, if you are going to send a message of deception, you better get an honest man to carry it.

I’ve seen a recent shift in the claims made by tappers from the ability to “cure” malaria, to “relieving the suffering caused by malaria” but they take not medicines, quinine based drugs or intravenous fluids.  No, they take pseudoscience and proper sounding algorithms; they offer false hope and come home with impressive mission statements and of course the all-important feel-good factor and photos of having helped the less fortunate and ever grateful Africans.

Mind you, it could be worse.  The Mexicans got "Tappy Bears", but I’ll rant about that later in the week.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Phantom Limb Pain Treatment | Mirror Box | Training Videos

The entire workshop of Phantom Limb Pain - Effective Assessment and Treatment is now available as streaming video. No cost other than your email and your soul.

Video 1.
00.01 Introduction and background
04.00 Amputations in hospital, patient experience of visual representation and feedback
05.50 Patient experience of kinaesthetic representation and feedback
06.50 The mirror box, rationale for choice of style and construct
08.25 Vilyanur Ramachandran, Phantoms in The Brain.
09.25 Phantom limb pain case study/example (edited to remove confidential details)
12.30 Ramachandran, change the picture
12.57 Assessment of patient (PTSD)
23.10 Assessment of patient (delayed organic depression)
26.24 Assessment of patient (dysmorphic distress)
32.10 Assessment of patient (secondary depression and anxiety)
36.45 Assessment of patient (pre-morbid conditions)

Video 2.
00.01 Trapped in relationships
00.50 Assessment of the phantom (remapping phenomena)
09.09 Assessment of the phantom (eliciting the phantom image)
13.00 Assessment of the phantom (position of phantom, contractures)
15.45 Demonstration of repositioning phantom
19.12 Assessment of the phantom (mobility of phantom)
21.30 Congruity and incongruity between image and kinaesthetic representation
24.19 Overlap between phantom and physical pain
25.48 Question and demonstration of testing amputee for remapping
37.57 Demonstration with brachial plexus injury patient 

Video 3.
00.01 How to use the mirror box
08.30 First non-amputee experimentation with mirror box
12.18 Second non-amputee experimentation with mirror box
13.20 Getting results, expectations, time pressures on appointment duration
15.25 What to do with the prosthetics when using the mirror box
25.15 Treatment session structure
30.00 Considerations of limb transplants
32.30 Patient expectation management
34.55 Instructions to patient
37.00 Question from audience about medication for pain relief
38.50 The stages of the treatment session (Expectation and anticipation)
40.49 The stages of the treatment session (Focus)
42.00 The stages of the treatment session (Reaction)
43.00 The stages of the treatment session (Emotional reunion with limb image)
44.05 The stages of the treatment session (Abreactional states)
45.55 The stages of the treatment session (Fascination and Exploration)
48.18 The stages of the treatment session (Fatigue)
49.00 Results and effect of mirror box session (Telescoping phenomena)
50.40 Demonstration with upper limb amputee
73.50 end

Video 4.
00.01 Demonstration with hand injury
09.39 Questions from audience
15.16 Demonstration with brachial plexus injury, pre-amputation
28.00 Questions about demonstration and discussion
39.31 End

Qualified clinicians may be interested in the complete video recordings of treatment sessions here: Phantom Limb Pain Treatment Sessions.

Tapping for Trump

I'll just leave this here:

The Tapping Challenge

I'll call this project, "The Tapping Challenge" and I will gladly assist where possible any tapper who wishes to take on any of the challenges outlined below.

Tapping Challenge #1.
A team of tappers meet and camp outside a regional psychiatric outpatients clinic for one month.  Every person entering the clinic is shown where to tap for their own given personal distress and encouraged to tap daily for an entire month (just to be sure, you understand).  At the end of that month, will the staff inside that clinic have anything left to do?

Tapping Challenge #2.
A team of tappers will camp outside the Youth Criminal Courts of Justice.  All young persons leaving the building are taught to tap away their problems and are also encouraged to tap daily for one full month.  By the end of the month, the recidivism rate should be reduced and crime statistics for that region will be affected accordingly.

Tapping Challenge #3.
For one month, patients on a leading oncology unit are divided into two groups.  Those that receive only tapping and those that receive only conventional medicine.  The test here is to see if the staff will be able to tell any difference in survival rates between the two groups.

Tapping Challenge #4.
Since tapping is allegedly so effective in dealing with cravings, all attendees at a selected drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre are taught tapping prior to entering the system.  By camping outside the centre, all arrivals and departures can be captured and taught the appropriate tapping algorithms.  The staff will need to look for alternative employment as a result.

Tapping Challenge #5.
Since tapping is so effective in dealing with cravings such as hunger pangs and chocolate cravings, I propose a team of tappers set up a project to rival any of the existing weight loss and slimming clubs. This could be lucrative in the extreme.

Tapping Challenge #6.
This is my favorite.  Hospices.  It works like this, tappers work in hospices and tap like fury.  Within a month or two, there should be a major problem with the noticeable lack of dying.  Media worthy for sure.

Poor taste?  You bet, but nothing like the poor taste that is offered to seriously ill and vulnerable people, people with serious life issues, physical disease and mental distress who are handing over money to individuals that they believe to be trained professionals - only to learn that the secret to health is to tap on their face.