- HYPNOLOGIC REPORT (N. 133): A FOREARM AT THE CENTER OF ATTENTION
(16 Dec 2015). A girl told me that she underwent several session with a psychologist who had diagnosed her with a persistent condition of anxiety-depression (appeared after a deterioration of an important affective relationship) and an associated obsessive-compulsive behavior (the girl was touching her right forearm many many times); then, because of the lack of improvement, she posed some questions to me about non psychological (holistic) approaches and a possible hypnotic training, but when I asked her whether she had seen a physician, she answered that she felt no need to see a doctor, because her condition of nervousness and stress was very well known to her; I replied by describing her the difference between a psychological diagnosis and a clinical diagnosis, and I dismissed her. After about a month, that girl wanted to tell me that she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and that the neurologist has forecasted a particularly favorable course of her illness thanks to the extraordinary precocity of the diagnosis, which is usually a lot more belated in these cases.
- AND FINALLY: WHO BELIEVES IN PSYCHOLOGICAL DIAGNOSIS?
(25 Nov 2015). David L. Rosenhan, professor of psychology and law, wrote in his paper "On Being Sane in Insane Places" (published on Science, New Series, Vol. 179, No. 4070, Jan. 19, 1973, pp. 250-258): "if sanity and insanity exist, how shall we know them? [..] It is commonplace, for example, to read about murder trials wherein eminent psychiatrists for the defense are contradicted by equally eminent psychiatrists for the prosecution on the matter of the defendant's sanity. [..] the view has grown that psychological categorization of mental illness is useless at best and downright harmful, misleading, and pejorative at worst. Psychiatric diagnoses, in this view, are in the minds of the observers and are not valid summaries of characteristics displayed by the observed". Now, since there is no scientific proof at all about the existence of the so-called mental disorders, the logical consequence is that to believe in mental disorders is an act of faith (the dictionary defines the faith as a belief not supported by proofs), and therefore any action based upon such belief is not part of the science but it is part of a religion (the dictionary defines the religion as the practice and observance of faith). This is why professional hypnologists and many other holistic practitioners can be considered not "anti-psy" (psychiatry/psychology), but just and simply "non-psy".
- AND AGAIN: WHO BELIEVES IN PSYCHOLOGICAL DIAGNOSIS?
(31 Oct 2015). The necessity of answering to this question arises directly from the same DSM (the dictionary of mental disorders). In fact, in DSM-IV and then, unchanged, also in DSM-5, there are these exact words: "it is precisely because impairments, abilities, and disabilities vary widely within each diagnostic category that assignment of a particular diagnosis does not imply a specific level of impairment or disability [..]. Even when diminished control over one's behavior is a feature of the disorder, having the diagnosis in itself does not demonstrate that a particular individual is (or was) unable to control his or her behavior at a particular time". Therefore, the DSM itself indirectly recognizes its scopes and limits, and also the unavoidability of coexisting with other different professionals that don't like and don't use the DSM (e.g. the hypnology practitioners).
- WHO BELIEVES IN PSYCHOLOGICAL DIAGNOSIS?
(22 Sep 2015). The answer to this question requires a very careful study, and it should be made the object of a deep and prolonged meditation, but approximately we can say that psychologists, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists believe in psychological diagnosis, while empirical people, researchers, hypnologists, and other professionals and scientists do not. In order to understand the reason, the following example is useful: if you break your arm and consult several medical doctors, you will always get the same diagnosis, because the X rays prove that your arm is really broken, and the treatment for your arm will be invariably the same. On the contrary, if you discuss a psychological problem with different psychologists or psychiatrists, almost certainly you will receive different diagnoses coupled with different proposals for treatment. This situation has also legal consequences, because a person can easily fake a mental disorder by enacting the proper behavior (for example a serious depression) in order to receive an invalidity pension or other advantages and privileges, but that same person will never be able to fake a medical problem, for example diabetes, because blood tests and other objective exams will always reveal the truth. Also the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) published (see www.nimh.nih.gov) that "while DSM [the diagnostic manual of mental disorders] has been described as a 'Bible' for the field, it is, at best, a dictionary, creating a set of labels and defining each. The strength of each of the editions of DSM has been 'reliability' - each edition has ensured that clinicians use the same terms in the same ways. The weakness is its lack of validity. Unlike our definitions of ischemic heart disease, lymphoma, or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure [..]. NIMH has launched the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project to transform diagnosis by incorporating genetics, imaging, cognitive science, and other levels of information to lay the foundation for a new classification system [..]. But it is critical to realize that we cannot succeed if we use DSM categories as the 'gold standard' [..]. That is why NIMH will be re-orienting its research away from DSM categories". Note that this is an evident departure from the DSM, with the explicit intention to transform, sooner or later, the psychological diagnosis into a medical diagnosis. From such premises one can logically deduce that psychological diagnosis can exist only as long as there are no scientific and objective proofs of the existence of a psychopathology (otherwise it would be within the medical scope), and therefore it is also possible to infer the conclusion that the psychological diagnosis is, from a scientific point of view, a mere expression of medical ignorance. This is why the hypnologists consider the psychological diagnosis devoid of any relevance in their profession (moreover, the hypnologist is an intellectual practitioner, not a sanitary one).
- HYPNOLOGIC REPORT (N. 132): HYPNOTIC ACTIVITIES OF A SLUMBERING PERSON
(25 Aug 2015). A woman (who came in my office as a mere escort of her husband) fell asleep, but even in that state she showed the ability of responding hypnotically to stimuli, shifting from physiological sleep into hypnosis (and then from hypnosis to the waking state) during an improvised experiment on-the-fly, started immediately after the conclusion of the husband's training. [To know more about this case, go here].
- THE ITALIAN SUPREME COURT FORBIDS EVEN MAGISTRATES TO IMPOSE A PSYCHOLOGICAL HELP
(21 Jul 2015). In Italy the supreme Court has taken position against the common, typically Italian, tendency to force unwilling people to see a psychologist-psychotherapist. More precisely, the supreme Court judged the case of two parents that have been diagnosed as immature and that a court wanted to undergo mental therapies and psychological support. Well, the supreme Court ("Corte di Cassazione", first civil section, decision n. 13506 year 2015) revoked the prescription of the mental therapy. In fact, about the human rights, the supreme Court stated that "the prescription to parents of undergoing an individual psychotherapy and a couple treatment for supporting the parental role violates the right of personal freedom which is constitutionally protected, and [violates] the prohibition of imposing health treatments when they are not provided by law". And then, about the magistrates, the supreme Court stated that "the prescription of an individual psychotherapy and a couple therapy for supporting the parental role is outside of the judge's powers in a case of custody of minors even when the aim of the prescription is to overcome a condition, described by the Appointed Technical Consultant, of immaturity of the parental couple which prevents a reciprocal respect". This is why the supreme Court concluded that the personal maturation of the parents "can only rely on their right of self-determination" (which is, by the way, the same fundamental right that is actively promoted by the professional hypnology, and which led to the revocation of the illegitimate prescription of the psychological help).
- IN HYPNOLOGY THE PSYCHOLOGICAL TALKING HAS NO VALUE, OR, WORSE, IT'S AN OBSTACLE
(25 Jun 2015). Usually, those who want to talk go to a psychologist for a talking, while those who want to act go to the hypnologist for a training. This description is rather approximate and simplified, but probably it's the most informative and useful for promoting the understanding that in hypnology there is no place for the psychological talking. This professional layout from my part is fully supported also by very authoritative publications on Ericksonian hypnotherapy. In fact, as reported by the same Erickson, "no person can really understand the individual patterns of learning and response of another" (MH Erickson, 1952); and here a question comes spontaneously: then, why should we talk about mental processes if we cannot really understand them? But the same holds also for the so-called mental disorders; in fact, in Erickson's opinion, people understand a lot more than their therapists, as he personally stated: "regarding this matter of psychopathology [..] there is very very little you can teach people about psychopathology that they are not capable of understanding far better than you can explain it to them. [..] each person is entitled to his own standards, and I haven't got the right to force my standards, whether lower or higher, on any patient" (MH Erickson, 1965). In addition, Erickson wrote that he never knew "anybody who has ever really understood the variety and purposes of any one patient’s multiple symptoms despite the tendency of many psychiatrists to hypothecate, to their own satisfaction, towering structures of explanation often as elaborate and bizarre as the patient’s symptomatology" (MH Erickson, 1966); here Erickson is saying that the psychological and psychiatric explanations are "elaborate and bizarre", and that they satisfy at best the therapist, but certainly not the patient, because actually nobody can read into the mind of another person, despite certain common popular beliefs. In fact, Erickson wrote that those who try to understand others' problems are often wrong: "what the therapist knows, understands, or believes about a patient is frequently limited in character and often mistaken" (MH Erickson, 1973). As a further confirmation, I can say that in my professional experience as hypnologist, many clients told me that they came in my office because they discovered that they were no longer willing to talk about their problems.. I'm telling this in order not to attack the psychology, but to definitely separate it from hypnology; in fact, as I always say to my clients, usually the "patients" go to a psychologist (mental-health professional), while the "impatients" go to the hypnologist (holistic-intellectual professional).
- SCIENTIFIC UPDATE
(27 May 2015). You can now download the new free collection of 2159 abstracts on hypnosis (see the document PHD here).
- IN HYPNOLOGY THE SO-CALLED MENTAL DISORDERS ARE USELESS THEORIES
(25 Apr 2015). MH Erickson has written (1968): "not only have psychologists been at fault, but even worse, so have psychiatrists [..]. Throughout the ages everybody has tried to believe that normal psychological behavior includes only that which is good at the social level". This belief still persists as a foundation of the psycho-theories: in fact, in the most recent DSM-5, which describes the mental disorders, you can read (p. 14) that "mental disorders are defined in relation to cultural, social, and familial norms and values", and that "the boundaries between normality and pathology vary across cultures". Note that, based on such official definition, mental disorders become very similar to a sort of popular tradition, folklore, style, or local fashion. In addition, note that more than half a century ago, the DSM-1 had 132 pages, while today the DSM-5 has 947 pages; such abnormal proliferation of mental disorders indicates that an exaggerated culture of illness has grown in a society where almost everybody is doomed, sooner or later, to be defined as mentally disturbed and in need of cures and assistance, unless (s)he behaves exactly as prescribed by the DSM. Consequently, the modern Ericksonian hypnologist (while respecting those who still base their work on the so-called mental disorders) neglects completely that concept, because the hypnologist considers it arbitrary, unrealistic, dogmatic, and too invasive into personal freedom, and in fact the hypnology is interested in the healthy part (which is also the stronger part) of the individual. With this comment I don't want to make comparisons nor criticisms nor exclusions, but, on the contrary, I'm meaning that there are different "religions", multiple "philosophies", and therefore distinct professional activities, each one with its peculiar (and sometimes very innovative) points of view. We hypnologists do have approaches, concepts, ideas, and visions of the world that are profoundly dissimilar from psycho[patho]logy.
- ALSO MILTON ERICKSON HAS BEEN UNJUSTLY ATTACKED BY UNETHICAL PSYCHOTHERAPISTS
(21 Mar 2015). During a conference, Milton H. Erickson (as reported in volume IV of his "Seminars, workshops, and lectures") told to the audience: "I'm going to give you an example in which a group of psychoanalysts decided to take me before the Board of Ethics of the Wayne County Medical Society. A psychoanalyst had a patient in therapy. For three months, the patient had been resisting. The patient had gone for sessions one hour each day, for six to eight weeks [..]. Finally [..] the patient came to me [..]. At the next meeting [with the analyst][..], when he [the analyst] asked her how she had overcome that resistance, she answered very simply: 'I was running out of funds to pay you, so I asked my friend, Dr. Erickson, to interfere and put an end to my resistance' [..], and so her psychoanalyst took it up with the Ethics Board [..]. My statement to them was rather harsh and unkind. I said that I did not agree with the ethics of any person who would manipulate a patient for three long months for so many dollars per hour [..]. I had done something for free that helped the patient. That ended that inquiry into my ethics! [..] I think it is an utterly unjust denunciation of hypnosis or of the use of hypnosis to say that it is manipulative [..]. There are so many people who like to attach derogatory terms to something that they don't understand".
- HYPNOLOGIC REPORT (N. 131): THE DISCOVERY OF HYPNOLOGY
(25 Feb 2015). The case reported here (see cases) describes the experience of a client who has wasted a lot of time and money on trying in vain to solve a problem; therefore the client, not knowing what else to do, attempted a hypnological approach while cutting down most of his worries about the problem, and in that way (that is without any therapy, counsel, or support) he got an unexpected, sharp, and persistent improvement of his quality of life.
- ERICKSONIAN HYPNOLOGY HAS DEPARTED FROM PSYCHOLOGY DECADES AGO
(28 Jan 2015). In "Experiencing Hypnosis" (1981) Milton H. Erickson says: "now, Dr. Rossi here is somebody who is trained in psychology. He has been oriented to place individual meaning or interpretations on everything according to his past teachers. He does not know very much about looking at or experiencing reality. He must experience reality in terms of what he has been taught and read". Indeed, indoctrination is a problem that plagues psychology but also (at a lesser degree) classical hypnotherapy, while modern and naturalistic hypnology (which we are actively developing) is, on the contrary, immune from such rigidity and unreality, and in my opinion this is exactly why hypnological observation (based on the absence of any ready-made theories) is a lot more difficult than psychological observation (based on fixed, universal, and dogmatic rules), and it requires personalities endowed with sufficient strength and versatility; in other words, I consider correct to state that psychology is accessible to anybody, but hypnology is not.
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