Institute for the Study of Peak States
"Methods for Fundamental Change in the Human Psyche"
Support Newsletter #15: May 25, 2009
From the Editor...
A Note from your CEO
Student Support News
Training and Certification News
Research Team News
Feature: Healing Addictions
Part 1: A letter from Matt Fox
Part 2: Two case studies
Case Study - Use of WHH/BAT in the Treatment of a Crack Cocaine Addict
Case Study - Use of WHH/BAT in the Treatment of an Alcoholic with Panic Attacks
From the editor...
Springtime miracle again in the north hemisphere. Meanwhile the institute is busy as ever: research, often sidetracked to deal with life-threatening emergencies; the mere existence of which, from time to time, make us reassess whether we are training people safely. Then once again we revamp the whole training model. Yes, yes, it's frustrating. But that's part of the territory for first-generation explorers. So you will see in this newsletter some writings on the latest version. The great news is that this newest version also includes structured advanced training, something that we had never offered before.
My little island, save for a few snow storms, has been quieter this winter, the first one without Grant in the neighbourhood... It's uncannily quiet... There are fewer visitors coming over for tea and WHH coaching and philosophical discussions. Instead, those discussions happen online - usually with one person just starting his or her day and asking, 'what, you're still up?' to another person several time zones removed.
One unforeseen constant of those conversations is the cats. The house cats, finding a restful human lap to sit on, and peering at each other through the web cameras.
There was a year's lag time between the announcement of a newsletter about EFT and its publication in the last issue (November 2008, how time flies!). There may be a similar time lag before you see part 2, announced in the same issue - are you getting used to mostly-volunteer organizations yet? So meanwhile, we'll look at a very exciting and successful program that has quietly been developing on the margins: the Addictions Healing project, brainchild of Matthew Fox. Matt is an addictions counsellor who started work with power therapies 13 years ago. Gradually he started integrating these techniques to his practice. The past 2 years have seen him start teaching those skills to other therapists, and have occasioned difficult discussions on how to apply the charge-for-results model to the treatment of addictions, and how to set up ongoing support for clients in a safe manner but with minimal legal complications. Our main article gives a flavour of this ground-breaking work.
There's even more happening! I reproduce, in the next paragraphs, some of the contents of a letter I wrote to the students' mailing group about the Wes Gietz's Awareness class, which is coming in August to Scotland. My primary intent isn't just to promote the workshop, although I will do that; it is to promote reflection on the ethical issues addressed, in part, by that workshop. We all have to find answers, through inner search or by mentorships or both, to the problems of living with powerful peak states and healing tools in today's world. These issues are important and need to be addressed in any healer's development.
I took the Awareness classes with Wes Gietz because I was interested in cross-mapping between the Peak States model and the model Wes is teaching; also I had met Wes many times in different settings, and had observed his way in the world, and was interested in what he might have to teach. In this culture, a legitimate teacher of this material is a very rare find. As it turned out, the cross-mapping was only a part of what I took home.
What I got from the course, most usefully, is an ethical and philosophical system; Rob Egan wrote below, in the course outline, "As Wes points out in his chapter in Peak States of Consciousness Volume 2, giving people tools to rapidly transform themselves without the years of self-mastery and practice required of more traditional methods is potentially a problem."
Why is it a problem? Because people who take ten or twenty years to arrive to a powerful healing state, for example, have had those ten or twenty years to look at their personal and spiritual motivations, and to face the associated problems. They usually attain the states by following teachings that hold their own code of ethics. Think of meditators and yogis: there is a whole culture supporting them that is old enough to have dealt with every aspect of human nature.
We don't have that benefit. It's wonderful to move into peak states so quickly, and yes, of course, one could argue that all ethical problems are caused by fear, and that we have the means, and the duty, to heal those fears. But it's good to have a culture that calls us on it, that reminds us of the caveats of power. The traditions that Wes teaches are a good starting model for such a culture.
I also feel very supported by these teachings, as someone trying to live a life of spiritual exploration in a small community where this is not part of the dominant culture. How can I keep my path without constantly confronting my community, but also without compromising my principles? Who are the elders who can guide me in this? I started finding answers to fill that gap. This is very comforting. It's also an ongoing process of discovery and reflection.
We had several discussions about living in community - including what it means to be an elder, and why we need elders. And one does not need greying hair to benefit from that one: we spend our whole lives becoming elders, and even a teenager is elder to a six-year-old. The discussions have helped me look at my own responsibilities, within my small island, but also within the small community of the Institute. It has also made me more interested in fostering a wider culture where elders are recognised as such and respected; I have taken concrete steps in that direction, and that feels very good.
I, who have always had resistance to attending ceremonies of any kind, also learned what a ceremony actually is, the different things it does to consciousness, and why it is sometimes useful. This is also something that now gives shape to my solitary life.
Sounds serious? It is. But we had fun at those workshops, and the answers to those heavy ethical questions, the overlap of tradition and our new methods, often has a lot to do with... lightening up.
Until next time...
A Note from your CEO
As many of you know, this past winter and spring have been very trying for me personally.
Planning to spend the cold months in our motorhome in the southern US, we were staying in an RV park near Needles, California, having enjoyed a wonderful visit with Grant prior to his trip to Australia. When leaving for Christmas dinner, my wife of 54 years, Elaine, was knocked down by a very strong wind gust, breaking her wrist and elbow, plus a compound fracture to her upper arm.
We ended up taking her to a hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada, where specialists were available to put her arm back together. Unfortunately, complications arising from the operation caused her to pass away on January 10, 2009. I returned to Canada to arrange a celebration of her life. I miss her terribly.
Subsequent to my return, I experienced severe pain in my lower abdomen, eventually being diagnosed as caused by a malignant tumor in my lower bowel.
I am very fortunate to be in a position where I was able to:
1) Start a nutrition program for this problem. As several of you have asked me about it, I’ll give a description here. It was developed by a prior business partner who is a research chemist; the process uses cesium chloride, a very caustic compound which because of its size can enter a cell but cannot escape. This causes the human cell to become neutral or slightly caustic. Cancer can’t survive in a caustic environment. If you want more details, contact my brother Bruce Downey at 403-241-5564 after June 1st.
2) Take advantage of the expertise of the members of the Institute, whereby they were able to merge with me, identify the problem, and I think, successfully treat it. Principal members of the team working with me were Lars Mygind (who has a fascinating theory on what may have caused my problem); Grant McFetridge; Samsara Salier; and Anne Mason. I know there were others – to each of you, thank you very much. It was fascinating to be able to feel where they were working within my body, prior to their saying where they were working. Perhaps, as a result of my situation, we will be able to move forward on a possible treatment for cancer.
3) Go ahead with surgical removal of the tumor with modern medical microsurgery. There is an argument that I should have gone through a retesting procedure for cancer prior to having the surgery to establish the results of the nutrition and peak states treatments. Because of the difficulty of obtaining a date for surgery, amongst other things, I went ahead. I have not received the results on the material removed during surgery as of yet.
The most important thing, in my opinion, is that I feel much better than I have for a long time.
And now, enough about me, as our date is half over; let’s talk about peak states.
It was marvelous for me to participate in the business meeting held on May 17th. The reports presented to the meeting by our various team leaders and members were very positive, making me feel that our progress in developing new or improved procedures has speeded up dramatically.
Your work on the development of new, improved training techniques for both beginning members and advanced therapists is impressive. It is very rewarding to me that your work in this area is providing a great new pool of talent.
The opening of clinics around the world for members to train in, and employ, peak states treatments is very positive. Your participation in developing and opening these clinics is critical to their success.
The development for the possible treatment for autism is moving forward very positively. I am sure we will run into problems in this area, but I know we will solve them with your participation.
We are a very small, volunteer Institute, and staff responsibilities move around a lot. I want to thank the staff for all for the work they’ve been doing; and for taking up the challenges of new tasks when needed.
To students and certified therapists: if there is anything I can do to assist you in your endeavors, please don’t hesitate to contact me on Skype at afdowney, or phone 403-396-0843. I would enjoy chatting with each and every one of you – it is a real pleasure for me.
Ps: I had some results from the cancer testing. There was what appeared to be very low grade cancer in just one lymph node. I'm back on the cesium treatment and considering my next steps.
All the best,
Frank Downey, CEO
Student Support News
From Monti Scribner, student support coordinator
The students from the March 2009 Scotland workshop are very proactive and enthusiastic, working in their study groups and asking lots of questions. Carmen even created a Yahoo group for the class in order to facilitate communication. I hear from them frequently, and want to remind all students not to be shy about contacting me, even if it's just to say hello.
All my best!
Currently, there is a series of certification teleclasses being run by Samsara. For times and dates, refer to the support calendar is at www.peakstates.com/tcalendar.html. The next teleclass will on Wednesday 27th May at 8pm (UK), 9 pm (Denmark), &Thursday 28th at 5 am (Australia) . We will be covering some of your questions and going over special situations. The cost will be 15 Euro per session, and billed to you through Paypal. All the classes will be through a skype chatroom on +9900827048620448 (Chat room number 8620448) This is a free call when using skype. It is also possible to call in with a regular phone. Contact Samsara(at)peakstates.com for more information.
Signe Fjord and Myriam Pitre are giving business support meeting on June 19 at 8am Copenhagen time. “This group is open for all certified therapists and all are welcome to contribute and share, so that we all can benefit from each others various strengths. We also seek volunteers to help with the work. It's teamwork between Peak States colleagues.” The date and times are on the support calendar for dates; or email signefjord(at)gmail.com or myriam(at)freeyour potential.com.au.
From Samsara Salier, certification coordinator
Since the last newsletter, another fifteen students have graduated to become Certified Peak States therapists. Congratulations go to Lailah Johansson, Else Baden-Jensen and Simon Riget from Denmark, Mark Payne, Gomati Gilchrist and Bain Robinson from Australia, Anne Mason from England and eight students from Poland whose names unfortunately I do not have yet. As well as that, Monti Scribner has joined the ranks of Advanced Therapists, along with Thessa Belcher and Samsara Salier. Congratulations to everyone.
Currently we now have 40 active certified therapists, and another 46 registered to do the necessary training. Six provisionally certified therapists have fulfilled their mentoring requirements and become permanent.
We have FINALLY got certificates signed by Grant for these graduates, so if you have not already received yours, it is because I do not have your postal address. Please email me, samsara(at)peakstates.com, if you would like a certificate.
From the training coordinator
Over the last 3 months the Institute has moved forward on our long-term plan for changing the way we deliver trainings. This has been a slow and careful process with what we hope to be very positive results, and we’re very happy that we’ve grown enough to be able to now make this change.
For approximately 4 years, ISPS has delivered its professional therapist training in a roughly 9-day format, to already-established therapists. This format has worked well for the Institute to get the work out into the world; we are now known in about 9 countries. After training some 400 students, we’re ready to move to the next step in our training goals that will be more effective for our students, and better suit the primary goals of the Institute.
As you may know form the website, our primary goal is to heal mankind. The ISPS model and techniques are designed to ultimately achieve this goal; this requires a huge amount of research. The institute is currently run by a group of volunteers, some of which are the research staff. By opening ISPS clinics in several countries, to treat people with major diseases like autism etc., we hope to establish a platform to generate enough income to fund the research department. The current format of our trainings has also supplied us with a number of dedicated therapists who are now moving forward into our advanced skill training, which is necessary to do research and to support students with difficult and unusual problems.
Since our very first trainings, we became aware of many new and unusual conditions in our students, which have kept our research department very busy and distracted away from completing the work on serious diseases like autism and multiple sclerosis. Some of these conditions are what we call 'structural' or ‘special cases’ problems. Anyone can have these, even well-established therapists who have done a lot of work on themselves; actually the majority of the population has them to one degree or another. These types of problems cannot be relieved by normal trauma healing approaches. In fact, when these problems are activated, they often slow down or completely block any healing process; or they can trigger dangerous conditions in a person. On average we found that 2 participants out of every training fall into this category. Finding solutions has used up much of our research resources.
To improve the successful mastery of the material by students, and to allow us to keep focused on our core projects is what leads us to a complete revamping of our training structure as follows:
1) Trainings will be conducted in ISPS training clinics only. This means that we will no longer travel to new countries until we have established a clinic there. Currently we operate training clinics in Australia, Scotland and Poland.
2) The Basic training is now divided into several sections, which will be conducted over a period of about 6 months. The segments are: Whole-Hearted Healing, Triune Brain therapy, peak state introduction processes, peak state processes. Each segment has to be integrated by practice on self and clients and by handing in case studies.
3) The training will be held in a much more hands-on format, working with clients in a student clinic set-up.
4) All applicants will receive the results of a preliminary scan for structural problems and, if necessary, receive a recommendation of what type of therapy to complete before being admitted into the training.
5) We are now only accepting applicants who plan to work in one of our clinics after completion of their certification process.
This overview is preliminary and may still change. It has not reached its final form and so we don't yet know how all the details will play out. We’ll update the training section of the website when we’ve finalized all the details. The last training using the old format will be held this June in Denmark.
Diagnosis and core issues workshops
We are offering a 7-day training in Scotland covering diagnosis skills (4-days) and core issues (3-days). Tal Laks will run the trainings, in conjunction with Thessa & Rob Egan. An advanced training module will be run alongside this workshop.
It is advisable that participants are either certified before they attend or know the material well enough to be certified. There may be time on or around the course to complete aspects of certification if necessary, but registration should be made with Samsara (samsara(at)peakstates.com) well before the training.
The two modules are stand-alone so can be taken separately. Both are designed to increase therapeutic skill levels for self-healing and working with clients.
The Core Issue part of the course is also a prerequisite for joining an advanced training group. However, attendance does not guarantee participation on the advanced course, as the trainers need to see that the participants have a good grasp of the basic material, can effectively heal themselves, and that they develop the awareness to identify and heal their own core issues.
Logistics: Before booking, please confirm your intention to attend with Rob and then pay the full amount to Newbold House in Forres - http://www.newboldhouse.org/ email: office(at)newboldhouse.org
Phone: +44 (0) 1309 672 659
Price includes accommodation, instruction and food. There will be an additional charge if certification is required, in line with the normal certification process. The availability on this course is limited, as it will take place alongside an advanced training module (an existing advanced group).
7 day module. Diagnosis and Core Issues
Arrival on Saturday 20th June. Course starts 9am on Sunday 21st and ends with 6pm dinner on Saturday 27th June. Leave on the morning of the 28th June. In other words there will be 8 night's accommodation allowing you to settle in before we start.
4 day module. Diagnosis
Arrival on Saturday 20th June. Course starts 9am on Sunday 21st and ends with 6pm dinner on Wednesday 24th June. Leave on the morning of the 25th June. In other words there will be 5 night's accommodation.
3 day module. Core issues
Arrival on Wednesday 24th June. Course starts Thursday 25th at 9am and ends with dinner on Saturday 27th June. Leave on the morning of 28th June. There will be 4 nights accommodation.
For those wishing to apply for entry onto the Advanced course it is advisable (though not essential) to take the combined diagnosis and core issue module. It is also worth noting the following dates for forthcoming advanced training programme (sorry, the classes are now full):
Advanced Module 1 (Gateway): 17th-24th July. 7 days at Shambala retreat centre in Findhorn, Scotland
Advanced Module 2 (AdvancedWHH): 5th-13th September. 7 days. Held at Newbold House in Forres, Scotland.
Logistics for Advanced modules 3 to 5 have yet to be decided.
Shamanism and Peak States: Awareness - the Journey of the Healer Taught by Wes Gietz
‘Awareness is the doorway to the world of spirit’
- Stalking Wolf
This course is designed primarily for graduates of ISPS training, to teach them the shamanic techniques of native healers. As Wes points out in his chapter in Peak States of Consciousness Volume 2, giving people tools to rapidly transform themselves without the years of self-mastery and practice required of more traditional methods is potentially a problem. It is also a limiting factor for those wanting to go on to advanced ISPS training as the ability to navigate alternate dimensions and ways of seeing might not have been developed. A variety of Native American techniques will be used in the training to support the development of the healer. In particular, an expanded sense of physical awareness will be used to transition from physical to spiritual awareness. In so doing, participants will create their own ‘good medicine’ place.
Wes has studied and practised natural skills and beliefs for over forty years, with pauses as required by the necessities of love and life. He learned from Tom Brown Jr. and Native teachers the skills of survival and living, awareness, and philosophy, the ceremonies of daily life, and the ceremonies and responsibilities of the sweat lodge. He honors his teachers by using these ways and keeping them for the generations yet to be born, and has taught in workshops and at gatherings since 1993. He also worked extensively in the early days with Grant developing ISPS techniques.
August 14-23, 2009.
Newbold House in Forres, Scotland. Cost: £1250 including full board (£1450 if booked by April 14). £500 deposit to secure a place. Book directly with Newbold House - email: ofice(at)newboldhouse.org. Phone 0044 (0) 1309 672659. For more details, contact Rob Egan at or phone 01309 641 032.
For a complete list of upcoming workshops, please go to the Peak States website at www.peakstates.com/upcoming.html.
From Grant McFetridge
I just came back from spending four months in Australia, working with Nemi Nath and the other Aussie certified therapists. The original purpose for my visit was to do research on self-identities; further the Autism project; spend time with the Australian team for bonding; and help them focus on establishing an ISPS Clinic.
I was also hoping to get some warmer weather and sunshine. Yes, there were some very hot days in the beginning, but after that it was warm with rain, and rain, and more rain, and even a flood. With the rain came the leeches and plenty of mosquitoes! Don’t get me started about the leeches… As you might imagine, this was very conducive to staying indoors and doing research.
Samsara Salier came up from Tasmania for 2 months of full time research, and luckily Gomati and Bain kindly made their beach house available to us for a month while they were in New Zealand. Altogether we spent 4 months of solid work, with very little down time. Nemi writes: “Solid means 12 - 14 hours a day!! Being new to research, I found it quite eye-opening as to how much detail has to be paid attention to, and the tediousness of making sure nothing is left out. This is combined with the flexibility of the creative flow of exploratory work, where it is easy to end up on side-tracks or in dead ends. Samsara's orienteering skills were a great help to keep us on track. For me doing research is like living in the country. For every job, you need to plan 3-4 times as much time in as you think the tasks should take.”
During this time, we discovered a new, very important and extremely common ‘structural’ problem (i.e., a problem that affects the structure of the primary cell, rather than being symptoms in a trauma string – some of the special cases you’ve studied in WHH are also structural problems). This involved the ‘column of self; the column, seen using a peak ability, is a ‘visual’ analog of how well the nucleoli of the sperm and egg combined at conception. In the past, we only looked for cracks in the column to determine if a person has multiple personalities. Now we find that many people also damage in the centre of the column, which causes the person to live out one of the triune brain’s limited self-identities. When something interferes with this role, existential fears, dread and severe abandonment issues are triggered. If the column of self has this damage, a person feels extremely uncomfortable in their core, so that they remove their CoA from the centre column and put it into a triune brain structure. This brain’s self-identity is used as a substitute for the role of the column of self, causing a whole range of problems (inflexibility being one of them). Aside from the suffering and dysfunctional behavior this problem causes, it also makes trauma healing difficult or impossible when activated, as some of our advanced students discovered this winter in Scotland. Healing this life-long column problem removes this form of substitute self-identity; afterwards, exploring and adjusting to who they really are can take anywhere from a day up to a couple of weeks. We’ll be introducing this process in our clinics shortly.
Another very important problem we found is that most people’s core consciousness has an imprint from their grandmothers. This makes us live out their behavioral patterns; worse, some people live with a mix of their own and their grandmothers consciousnesses inside themselves. Solving this problem led us to the developmental events for the important ‘I am’ and the ‘Listening to Silence’ states (see Volume 2). Please note: this doesn’t mean that we’ll be introducing these state processes for therapists any time soon (or even at all, depending on safety issues) - right now our priority is working on the clinics.
We also continued the research on autism. For those of you who don’t know, I came up with a treatment around 1998 or so that worked well for the small group I tested. It wasn’t until last year that we finally had some time to explore this discovery further. We hope to introduce the newer process we’ve developed in the clinics in the next few weeks.
If you know of any parents of autistics, or autistic people who would be interested in participating in our treatment study, please contact me at Grant(at)PeakStates.com. Thanks!
We’ve published a preliminary list of how long that it takes a skilled therapist to use the different processes we teach. We’ve also written down the specific details of how we do advanced support and backup for certified therapists. This information for certified therapists can be found on their support webpages at www.peakstates.com/certified/clinicprices.html
On May 15th the Australian ISPS clinic and training centre opened its physical and virtual doors officially. The facilities are situated in Northern New South Wales in the hinterland of Byron Bay, about 1¼ hours inland near Mt. Warning. The centre offers individual sessions and training courses or personal residential retreats as well as a student clinic and research testing. A variety of services are available. To our certified therapist we offer advanced backup for client sessions and processes, quick scans and more comprehensive diagnostic scans. To the general public we offer peak state processes, addiction treatments and a number of structural repair treatments that we will announce in detail in the next newsletter. As soon as the autism treatment has completed its test phase it will be integrated into the clinic program.
Feature: Healing Addictions
Part 1: A letter from Matt Fox
We recently completed our third Whole-Hearted Healing for Addictions Workshop in Copenhagen. Participants reported that this was one of the best trainings they had ever attended. Previous workshops had already taken place in Adelaide, Australia, (September 2008) and Warsaw, Poland, (November 2007). We continue to adapt Basic WHH techniques to addictions and we also have improved our technique for the elimination of cravings. (We have seen great improvement among video game addicts, for instance). Another addictions training is scheduled in Poland for September of 2009.
During this most recent workshop, we worked with two alcoholics and a heroin addict, all of whom had been using for over 40 years. By all indications, the techniques were very successful, and the subjects have been paired with therapists for continued aftercare and monitoring. Workshop participants reported that they were especially impressed with the speed with which the techniques worked. Everyone also experienced significant shifts in consciousness when they used the techniques on their own cravings for sweets and other things.
This workshop also included a video from an American television program titled “Intervention,” which we encourage all of our readers to watch. Episodes are available on the Internet at A&E.com.
The Adelaide training was conducted at GATS treatment center, and included the successful treatment of several clients, including a young woman who was anorexic. We also picked up another addictions counselor, Ian Waugh, who brings years of experience in the addictions field. Ian will be heading up the residential program in Australia.
Current projects include the development of residential treatment programs for addicts in early recovery. We are working on a three-week program in Brisbane, Australia and are considering a one-week version in Denmark. These programs will provide effective and inexpensive treatment for addicts and are a potential source of income for the Institute.
We have also returned to work on an article on Whole Hearted Healing for Addictions for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. This was inspired by the following article, published November 11, 2005 in Frontiers in Addiction Research, by the National Instituted on Drug Abuse, (NIDA).
The Labile Nature of Consolidation Theory - Karim Nader, Ph.D.
Memory consolidation theory posits that new memories initially enter a labile or sensitive state, during which they can be disrupted, called short-term memory (STM). Over time, this STM is converted to a fixed long-term memory (LTM) state, which is resistant to being disrupted. For memories to enter the LTM, the neurons mediating the memory must produce new proteins that will be used for LTM storage. Recently, this study showed that when a consolidated LTM is remembered or reactivated, it returns to a labile state similar to STM, in that neurons must synthesize new proteins for the memory to persist. If protein synthesis is inhibited after the reactivation of a consolidated auditory fear memory, that memory could be erased from the brain. This phenomenon is called reconsolidation. The findings from these studies have significant clinical implications for disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder and drug addiction. In the case of drug addiction, if drug-related memories could be reactivated and prevented from being restored, then drug seeking behavior could in principle be greatly reduced in one session. (Italics mine). Theoretically, reconsolidation challenges the foundation on which memory consolidation theory rests.
Other articles along the same lines, but more technical, appear on the same site. Naturally, these researchers continue to assume that only a pharmaceutical intervention can be effective in the treatment of trauma and addictions. Recent work has focused on the use of Propraninol, (a blood pressure medication) in the treatment of trauma. The advantage of WHH over medication is that pharmaceutical interventions tend to have more global effects on memory, whereas WHH can pinpoint specific traumas. On a biological level, we are modifying specific memories and causing shifts in consciousness, while Propraninol is just as likely to remove all memories of grandma as well as the trauma.
Overall, we are on the verge of major developments in the Addictions arena, both in the Institute and, we believe, in the treatment of addictions in general.
Matthew Fox, MED, LMHC
Director of the Addictions Project, ISPS
Paris, March, 2009
Part 2: Two case studies
The case studies below, adapted from Matt's work, amply demonstrate how greatly our techniques speed up recovery from addictions. But they also show that there isn't a magic bullet that works on everyone: the therapist needs a complete repertoire of power therapies and specific techniques, and these are applied inside a wider context that may include residential treatment, group therapy, outpatient services and the usual gamut of support. The WHH interventions target cravings and withdrawal (and this is what we can do on a charge for results basis, not their behavour). But once these have gone, the clients still need other types of support to rebuild their lives. Cravings usually are triggered by more than one cause; or else there are several aspects to the originating trauma. The therapist's work, therefore, demands a wide range of knowledge, skill, patience, persistence, and compassion.
In the first case study, we see how, even when there were relapses, the results of the initial treatment were still apparent: the character of the highs has changed, other options besides using do come to mind, and some new boundaries come into action. A further WHH session then targets the cause of the relapses. We also see how the client's own work with WHH between sessions brings her further benefits and helps her change her old patterns.
The second case study hints at the wide range of problems that a therapist specializing in addictions might encounter. In this case, although the client is addicted to something, her chief goal isn't to get off the drug. The therapist must honour that. This example also shows how, in a client whose consciousness is altered by one or more drugs, power therapies can have some very unpredictable results indeed.
Case Study - Use of WHH/BAT in the Treatment of a Crack Cocaine Addict
Sally was 36 years old when she came for treatment for addictions to alcohol and crack cocaine. History-taking revealed that she had been raped by her brother-in-law when she was twelve years old. The sexual assault resulted in a state of emotional arrest, symbolized by her continued wearing of pigtails. She stated that she never wanted to grow up and be responsible and would never stop wearing pigtails. The rape also resulted in inappropriate sexual acting-out as an adult, including prostitution. The money she earned was spent to support her habit, and she felt no guilt regarding her behavior. “It’s like being paid to do something I would be doing anyway,” she explained in therapy. Sally also often dressed as a teenager when working as a prostitute. Her drug habit was severe, often coming in binges that lasted for weeks. She reported that she seldom went more than one day without using, often experienced blackouts (at which times she could be violent), and spent a lot of time in crack houses.
Initial attendance at sessions was spotty. Sally later reported that she had expected to receive benzodiazepines as a part of treatment, this being her main motivation for seeking services. She often experienced cravings that were physically violent, including vomiting and diarrhea, an indication of advanced and severe addiction. Having recently successfully eliminated cravings by using the Body Association Technique (BAT) with another cocaine addict, I suggested she try the intervention. Sally had used EFT with good results, and was willing to try the BAT. She rated her craving as an eight out of ten on the Subjective Unit of Distress scale (SUDS). I explained the theory behind the technique and guided her through it, the actual intervention taking less than five minutes. In the end, the client reported a total elimination of cravings, accompanied by a state of deep relaxation.
Sally's first lapse occurred about five days after the intervention. It lasted about six hours and appears to have been the result of dropping off her son at her mother’s house. She reported a sense of freedom, or “What should I do now?” She stated that she considered going to church, but instead went to a bar. The second incident occurred six days after the previous lapse, and involved using a $20.00 rock of crack cocaine. She reported that the high was unpleasant and that it resulted in paranoia. She was using in an unoccupied house with a man who demanded sex. She left the situation, reporting that she did not want to be found dead in an abandoned house. This incident also followed dropping her son off with her mother. The third occasion also occurred on the day she dropped her son off, but Sally had already decided to take drugs, earlier in the day, as a response to an argument with her partner. She had six beers and smoked $100.00 worth of crack cocaine. She stated that it was a different experience and that she did not feel the overwhelming compulsion to continue to use. All of the lapses occurred at about six-day intervals, and had emotional components. The client had not missed any individual sessions and her attendance at group had greatly improved. She began attending church. She also attended 12-step meetings twice daily. She entered and completed treatment at the local halfway house, where she was a resident for three months.
Following her return to outpatient treatment, she reported that she continued to have thoughts of using when dropping off her son. We revisited the Body Association technique, focusing on feelings of boredom and anxiety. This intervention ended the relapses related to dropping her son off at her mother's house. Sally maintained sobriety for several months and then lapsed on 120 tablets of Vicodin that she consumed over one day. The large dose of pain pills was a result of a high tolerance she developed while using. She attributed the relapse to stress resulting from spending Christmas with her family, all of whom were drinking and/or using drugs. She continued to maintain a positive attitude towards recovery and intends to return to a drug-free lifestyle.
Other significant changes occurred as a result of her practice of Whole-Hearted Healing between sessions. At one point, she arrived for a session with her hair out of pigtails. When questioned, she stated that she had decided to take it down two days previously. Further discussion revealed that she had been practicing WHH on the initial rape trauma, having started two days earlier, about the time she stopped wearing pigtails. She has also began dressing more appropriately for sessions and discussed getting rid of her past wardrobe, clothes she wore while prostituting. This aspect of the case emphasizes the idea of an initial trauma that activates the association, resulting in craving or addiction.
Another significant aspect of this case is the normalization of sexual response. Sally had reported an abnormally high sex drive, or compulsion, that could be described as a sexual addiction. Following the intervention, the client reported a reduction of sexual drive to a more normal response for a woman of her age. It should be noted that the client was unconcerned about the change and, when asked, reported a sense of relief. Whether this phenomenon was the result of the intervention or from some other origin remains to be clarified. We often see sexual activity being substituted for the addict’s drug of choice in recovering persons, suggesting that the two are linked. Of course, the addiction is believed to hijack the pleasure systems of the brain, which, in this writer’s mind, would suggest such a relationship. Some research supports this assumption. If there is a relationship, it would be a highly significant result, given the fundamental, and presumably unalterable, nature of the sexual response in relationship to the personality.
Case Study - Use of WHH/BAT in the Treatment of an Alcoholic with Panic Attacks
Alice was, at fifty-five years old, a recovering alcoholic who had been sober for many years. During this time she worked as a nurse and had developed a dependency on Klonopin. Alice’s presenting problem was general anxiety and panic attacks which prevented her from working, and for which she received disability. Her eventual goal was to return to nursing full time.
Alice had been raised by her grandmother and step-grandfather after having been given up by her mother. This was part of a larger family pattern; Alice’s mother had been raised by her own maternal grandmother. Alice’s grandmother was an abusive and manipulative woman who did extensive damage to Alice’s self-esteem as she was growing up. Alice began drinking as a teen to deal with her feelings of low self-esteem and anxiety, and had experienced numerous traumas as a result of her alcoholism. She began to experience feelings of competence and esteem for the first time when she completed her nursing degree and began her career. After many years of work as a nurse, she began a position under a female supervisor who was highly critical and scapegoated Alice for any mistakes that occurred on her shift. This critical woman in a position of power activated Alice’s negatively charged mother archetype and she began to experience feelings of self doubt, anxiety and panic that led to her quitting her job and filing a harassment claim.
After identifying Alice’s negative archetype, I began by using EFT on an image of her grandmother, whom she described as “an evil Betty White.” The SUDS rating went from seven to zero. Alice reported positive feelings that she had never experienced before. She left the office feeling much better, but returned an hour later for group therapy, experiencing a flood of emotion that she did not know how to handle. This unusual reaction to EFT appears to have been the result of her use of Klonopin, which acts as a central nervous system depressant. I was unable to persuade Alice to use EFT or WHH for many months, and was reduced to using traditional psychotherapeutic techniques. Eventually, after much prompting, she decided to wean herself off Klonopin and she agreed to use the BAT on her panic attacks. We had decided to use the BAT after a discussion of how her mother must have felt during her pregnancy, constantly worrying about her mother’s (Alice’s evil grandmother's) reaction and her own future. Following the BAT, Alice’s panic attacks subsided, her feelings of competence returned and she subsequently obtained work at a different local hospital.
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Copyright 2009 by Grant McFetridge