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Turning negatives into positives

MagazineJune 2010 (Vol. 21 Issue 3)Turning negatives into positives

At a conference in 1990, biol-ogist Bruce Lipton was sharing the podium with Rob Williams, who'd developed PSYCH-K(R), a therapy that Williams claimed could change longstanding and limiting beliefs (such as 'I'm not good at math') in a matter of minutes

At a conference in 1990, biol-ogist Bruce Lipton was sharing the podium with Rob Williams, who'd developed PSYCH-K(R), a therapy that Williams claimed could change longstanding and limiting beliefs (such as 'I'm not good at math') in a matter of minutes.
Lipton was sceptical until Williams invited a woman to come up on stage who was so shy that he had to climb off the stage to let her whisper in his ear. Not surprisingly, her problem was speaking in public; when escorted onstage, she turned bright red and spoke sotto voce in reply to the simplest of questions. Yet, after Williams had worked with her for only 10 minutes, the woman suddenly relaxed and commanded the stage.
Williams developed the technique in 1988 as an alternative to ordinary counselling, which Williams found to be labour-intensive and limited. With PSYCH-K, he claims to quickly and permanently 'erase the tape' of past limiting beliefs.
Essentially, PSYCH-K is a hybrid of two tried-and-tested energy-psychology techniques. The first is behavioural kinesiology, developed by psychiatrist and holistic healer John Diamond, who was inspired by George Goodheart, the creator of applied kinesiology, which tests the effects of substances on the body. Goodheart developed 'muscle testing', now a standard feature of applied kinesiology. He would ask a patient to stand facing him while holding her left arm out parallel to the floor: after placing his left arm on the patient's shoulder to steady her, he then asked her to resist with all her strength while he pushed on her arm.
In most instances, the arm would spring back and resist the force of the push. However, when Goodheart exposed that person to noxious substances, such as food additives
or allergens, the patient's left arm would be unable to resist the pressure of Goodheart's push and was easily overcome.
Diamond's contribution was to be the first to apply this muscle testing to toxic thoughts. When a person was exposed to any unpleasant thought, the 'indicator muscle' would test weak. Diamond dubbed it 'behavioural kinesiology', and has tested it on thousands of subjects over many years as a way to instantly take stock of a person's thoughts and most secret desires (Diamond J. Your Body Doesn't Lie. New York: Warner Books, 1979).
Diamond has experimented with a variety of thoughts that can immediately overcome any negative influences, or debilitating ideas or situation. Although his methods have not been subjected to scientific scrutiny, the sheer weight of the anecdotal evidence from thousands of patients-and the number of therapists who have used or adapted his techniques-is significant.
With PSYCH-K, besides locating limiting beliefs through kinesiology, Williams uses brain 'integration' techniques to promote 'cross-talk' between the brain's hemispheres.
Since 1981, when American Roger Sperry, at Caltech, won a Nobel prize for his discovery of the different roles of the brain, researchers have been investigating the different sides of the brain.
While it's true that one side may be dominant during certain activities, later research has discovered that both sides continually work in tandem. Consequently, many new forms of energy psychology have experimented with using techniques that repattern the neural connections.
'Repatterning the brain' essentially means that, when an individual thinks a particular thought, the brain is stimulated in a different way to 'retrain' the associations of that thought. Many neurologists have found that certain body techniques can retrain the brain to change its neural pathways, rather like creating a detour off a train track.
Usually, repatterning requires the use of simple exercises and stretches, along with gazing in a particular direction, and creating a system of muscle feedback so that the patient is aware of the changes as the information is being processed differently.
Certain parallels can be drawn between PSYCH-K and eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), developed by psychologist Francine Shapiro, which seeks
to 'erase' upsetting memories and negative self-beliefs, and substitute them with positive beliefs.
EMDR works by having the patient focus on a moving target (such as the therapist's moving fingers) and other sensory triggers while the patient is thinking negative thoughts. Later, the patient replaces these bad thoughts with positive alternatives.
While PSYCH-K has not been scientifically tested in trials, EMDR has an abundance of scientific evidence attesting to its effectiveness across a wide range of psychological traumas such as post-traumatic distress syndrome (PTDS) (J Consult Clin Psychol, 2001; 69: 305-16), as well as a range of problem behaviours, phobias, panic disorders (J Anxiety Disord, 1999; 13: 69-85) and addictions (J Psychoactive Drugs, 1994; 26: 379-91).
Most relevant is the evidence that EMDR is an effective tool for improving performance on the job, in the arts and even in competitive sports by erasing self-limiting beliefs (J Appl Sport Psychol, 1995; 7 [Suppl]: 63; Sport J, 2004; 7: 1-5).
EMDR is proof of the feasibility of using physical techniques to erase emotional and psychic wounds. What's now needed is true scientific evidence to back up PSYCH-K's spectacular claims.
Lynne McTaggart

WDDTY Volume 20 Issue 09


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