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Question
Posted by: Ros | 2004/01/10

Loosing Family

Dear Cybershrink

Could you cast your eyes back to question 6633 and the response I made to your responce. I appreciate that you probably don't want to encourage protracted dialogue on a single issue on this site, but your response really has alarmed me!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Dear Ros,
Firstly, folks, for future reference, by all means let us enter into a dialogue when this could be useful, but rather summarise your reactions and fresh aspects of your question in a NEW posting, to which I can respond, rather than asking me to hunt back through dozens of earlier messages to find the original one.
Anyhow, Ros, back to your question.
I understand the difficulties of locating ANY psychological / psychiatric help within very large areas of this country ; and indeed it may be easier for a therapist with quaint or outdated methods to continue unchallenged in a rural area rather than an urban one. I of course have no idea of the range of your local psychologist's skills and abilities, and he/she may well eb excellent in much or all of what they do. Your GP would probably refer you to whatever resource is accessable, and presumably hasn't any more choice in wo is avalable, than you do.
What I was responding to was the mention of "regression hypnotherapy" which happens to be a TOTALLY discredited method which is not endorsed by any competent major professional group in any country, and is based on concepts and theories which have never been proved to be right.
It absolutely does NOT help someone to try to "regress" them into some mythical past ; doing so by means of hypnosis leads one into fantasy territory where one reaches highly unreliable ideas of a possible past, that usually mixes fragments of memories of some things which actually happened, with large amounts of fantasized and imagined material, fragments derived from books one read of movies one saw, all mixed up. And in such "hypnotherapy" one is profoundly vulnerable ( by becoming profoundly suggestible ) to picking up the "therapist's" ideas, theories and expectations, even when he/she doesn't realize he'she is implanting them. it's about the worst imaginable way to explore anyone's past because the method so hugely contaminates the situation that one finds whatever the therapist is looking for, even if it actually never existed in the past. These methods were, tragically, very popular in America in previous decades, and did a great deal of damage, and have become much less fashionable in the last decade, as major multi-million dollar law suits were won against some of the therapists using such methods, and major professional groups warned or advised caution about hem.
UIt is also an absolutel myth that the only solution to someone's present problems is to play Archaeology and spend ages digging into their past. Without exception, all the good evidence points to the fact that the best way to deal with anyone's problems is to work with them in the here and now, and find current solutions, in the present, to the problems which exist in the present. If your therapist were asked to produce copies of an official endorsement ( rather than a caution ) of "Regression Hypnotherapy" from any recognized major national or international professional group in Psychiary or Psychology, he'she'd be hard put to find one. Of course, endorsement by any "hypnotherapy" organization would be worthless, as they exist precisely in order to promote such techniques, and are not known for their objectivity or scientific standards.
I have a marvellous article from an American journal about someone who manaed to get his pet cat fully accredited and licensed as a practising "hypnotherapist" by several such organizations.
From the sound of it, with your wife's interest in Tarot cards, another old-fashioned, sometimes fashionable method without any evidence of efficacy or accuracy, she would probably find the "Regressive Hypnotherapy" ideas attractive and enjoyable.
I doubt that you, any more than any of us, are an "angel", but that's not a problem. Sadly, what you desrcibe in the way you say you hardly know the person your wife is becoming, is typical of the results of the use of such methods. It would be considered good psychological practice, when there are marriage problems, to try to work with BOTH partners, jointly. Otherwise, it's like trying to help a team's performance in Tennis Doubles, by coaching only one of the players.
I can't and don't pronounce on the qualities or skills and ablities of the shink your wife is seeing -- I don't know him/her at all. But I do know that if the method being used is "regressive hypnotherapy" then it is a very dubious method which no highly qualified therapist I do know and respect, would touch with a barge-pole. It is absolutely typical of such methods that they result in a very close and firm bond between "hypnotherapst" and patient, in which the views of anyone else are deeply resented and rejected. Sadly, I doubt that your wife would appreciate or read any books with contrary opinions to those she is learning from her therapist.
You might find it useful to browse the web ( using such search engines as Google and Yahoo ) looking for some of the good anti-Quack sites ( I seem to remember the nicely named Quackattack, and a Quackwatch) which should contain interesting material about a range of such "therapeutic" methods which are discredited or discreditable.

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