Posted by: Just Curious | 2006/10/29

Carte Blanche - Hypnosis

I've visited here on occassion before, but never felt the need to post anything. I have, however, noted your antipathy to hypnosis in previous postings & the Carte Blanche program on hypnosis tonigh t has prompted me to post.

AS a background, I did 26 sessions of CBT (on your recommendation) for my claustrophobia & all I achieved was a severe guilt-complex! The therapist (apparently considered to be one of the best CBT therapists in the country & one who apparantly does a lot of training in this approach) spent more time telling me that I was not co-operating because if I was, i should be a whole lot better because everyone knows how effictive CBT is - Clueless, you are not alone, I to have have been endlessly lectured about how effective CBT actually is!

The programme raised a number of issues for me. Can one really undergo surgery under hypnosis (even if only about 10% of us, according to the programme)?

Is t really possible to resolve a phobia to the point shown on the programme - if si, I'm definately interested!

And is it really possible to do an age regression to the point where one can recall burried memories to the point where a clearly accurate identikit can be drawn up, as was demonstrated on the program? Furthermore, if one can bury memories & later recall them, isn't there something of value in the thought that suppressed memories can affect us in the present?

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Our expert says:
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Carte Blanche is probably the most unreliable single source of information on ANY health-related topic, being characteristically poorly informed, prejudiced and totally uncritical in all such inserts I have seen in recent years.
I'm sorry top hear of your discouraging experience with the so-called expert in CBT --- if he/she is so busy lecturing, then they're not doing CBT. But of course, like most effective therapies, you DO need to actually carry out the exercises and do the homework, etc. But unless you were veryu markedly failing to do the actual elements of CBT as advised, its a poor therapist who blames the patient when things don't work out as expected.
Remember CBT adds a cognitive ( thinking ) dimension to the longer and well-established Behavior Therapy, which has been found very effective in many of these conditions for decades.
As to your questions --- yes, SOME people can indeed undergo some varieties of surgery using hypnosis as the main anaesthetic, just as some people can do likewise using acupuncture. As mentioned, most of us, unfortunately, are not susceptible enough to do so, and not all varieties of surgery are suitable.
As for the phobias, what we saw in the program I didn't find particularly impressive, a it seemed to take far more sessions than normal behaviour therapy usually does, and when we ran a service s[pecifically for phobias, in London, years back, in around 3 or 4 sessions, we could have someone actuallty personally handling the giant hairy tarantulas supplied by London Zoo. Typically, we heard nothing of how the therapist concerned actually works, but behaviour therapy is almost certain to be the basis of what she was doing --- within it, the person is taught to deliberately relax themselves deeply when they need to, and to use this in relation to gradually increasing exposure to ( in this case ) spiders, first as ideas, and then in reality. relaxing whenever the experience began to get too anxiety-provoking. Some call the method used Relaxation training, others would call it hypnosis. But it's not what many people naively expect hypnosis to be, a single session magic in which you're hypnotized and told that the problem has gone --- and it goes.
The description of the identikit process as "age regression " was luducrously inaccurate and ignorant. All they did, again, whether you call it hypnosis, or relaxation, was to help the woman to relax so that she was able to use her normal memory to allow herself to recall the appearance of the rapist. They failed to mention that any evidence that has been evoked by hypnosis is inadmissable in many sensible courts, for a very important reason --- while it can indeed help one to remember some details of events which one might otherwise overlook, it also, unavoidably, and in some cases very seriosuly, can encourage one to "remember" things that didn't happen or which were NOT part of the experience in question, responding to suggestions made deliberately or unwittingly by the "hypnotist" or questioner. So hypnosis in working with a witness has been well established by good research to produce MORe details, but significantly more unreliable details.
In the case so superficially shown in the program, there was nothing in the remotest way resembling "age regression", nor anything to do with "buried memories" --- the woman had memories of what the rapist looked like, but grew so anxious when she thought of him, that she was unable to relax enough to produce a useful identikit. The memories were not buried at all, but hard to access due to her degree of discomfort and anxiety.
There is still, despite decades of some shrinks believing profoundly in it, no good research supporting the theory that there are "suppressed" memories, rather than some memories which are so uncomfortable that we choose not to try to recall them. And no good evidence that such memories affect our current health. But great mountains of dangerous and damging quackery have been built on those beliefs, which have caused great harm to many people.
Homeopsych, a hypnosis fanatic, is inaccurate in some of his claims, as ever. "Age Regression" and "Age Progression" are not used by any signle competent CBT therapist on the face of the earth. Similarly his comments on "the more traumatic the more suppression" are ignorant and inacurate. No victim of the Holocaust ever forgot they were in a concentration camp. No victim of torture ever forgot that they were tortured. Maybe they might not remember every single detail of their most horrible experiences, but that is not "suppression", and indeed they often recall more than people normally recall of non-traumatic experiences after the same degree of time has passed.
I'm amused that Homeopsych has the chek to mock any "one true approach" attitude, when he himself has fanatically laboured to tout hypnosis on every opportunity he has been able to get. But then, fanatics criticise every belief but their own, and never recognize their own fanaticism. Maybe hypnosis would help him to sort out his problems in this regard

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Our users say:
Posted by: anon | 2006/10/30

Rick I think he could be a Homeopathic Dr....??

Reply to anon
Posted by: Rick | 2006/10/30

What's a "HomoeoPsych" - is it simply a nic or is it a specialised psych. application?

Reply to Rick
Posted by: HomoeoPsych | 2006/10/30

Hi Just Curious

I’m afraid I didn’t see the Carte Blanche programme – it sounds interesting.

In response to your q’s, the following:

Yes, there are many documented reports of persons undergoing major surgery under hypnosis as the only anaesthetic. One of the earliest reports of this was by a Scottish surgeon – James Esdaile - in India. Dr Esdaile performed about a thousand surgical procedures in the mid 1800’s, with hypnosis as the only anaesthetic. Not only did he report largely pain-free surgery, but also his mortality rate decreased from around 50% to about 5%. Not surprisingly, a committee of investigation instituted by the Royal College of Surgeons found that his reports could not possibly be valid & that the “natives” were in such awe of the “great white surgeon” that they were simply PRETENDING not to feel any pain!!!!

Apparently they were in such awe of the “great white surgeon” that that also were pretending not to die! Awesome, isn’t it? That said, hypnosis should never be considered in preference to chemical anaesthetic unless there is a really good reason for doing so & only a fairly small percentage of the population – about 10 – 20% - can achieve the levels of trance needed to achieve this.

Hypnosis is also an EXTREMELY powerful treatment modality in the treatment of phobias. If fact, even the CBT approaches make use of hypnotherapeutic techniques in their therapeutic interventions. One of the stock CBT approaches – progressive desensitisation – makes use of various hypnotherapeutic phenomena, including deep relaxation, age regression, age progression, hyperaesthesia, as well as hypno-anaesthesia. And yes, hypnotherapy in the hands of an appropriately trained & skilled professionally registered therapist can often resolve phobias far more quickly & effectively than CBT ever can (I am sorry about your CBT experience – more later).

As far as repressed memories are concerned, hypnosis is accepted by most Courts of Law as an acceptable manner of enhancing memory recall, on the condition that certain procedural approaches are adhered to & that information recovered under hypnosis is collaborated by physical evidence. So, YES, it is possible (under certain circumstances) to use hypnosis to help someone to draw up an accurate identikit.

As far as repressed memories are concerned, two things are unquestionable:
Firstly that we tend to suppress unpleasant memories & that the more traumatic the circumstances, the more we tend to repress memories associated with the experience (everyone has either experienced first-hand, or has heard of someone “blanking-out” during a traumatic experience, even though they were not unconscious!);
Secondly, that we often react in ways we do not always understand, or that feel somewhat foreign or childish to us. In analysis, this is considered to be typical of he effect of repressed memories in our current functioning. So, YES, repressed memories can & do affect us in the present.

As far as your experience in CBT is concerned, this is unfortunately not unusual. When anyone adheres to a “ONE TRUE FAITH” approach to anything, it is an unfortunate consequence that anyone who does not “believe”, is considered to be a heretic. As has often been stated on this site, CBT is considered to be the only therapeutic approach that is ever of any use in anything. This is also a belief often unconditionally accepted by CBT therapists. The result is entirely predictable: if you do not get better, it’s because YOU are not co-operating – after all, everyone knows how effective CBT is, so it MUST be your fault!

In contrast to this, analytical approaches would postulate that CBT can be extremely effective where root causes are more habitual in nature, but that analysis of underlying experiences, belief systems & maturational patterns are essential in more deeply rooted cases

Go well

Reply to HomoeoPsych

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