Going public with subcellular psychobiology

Grant McFetridge photo
This month, we’re publishing our ‘Subcellular Psychobiology Diagnosis Handbook’, a desk reference for our certified therapists - and we thought you might be interested in the very unusual ‘backstory’ about it. This book represents a major change in policy for us, as it includes material we have kept out of public view up until now. Oh, and by the way, this story is about our research ups and downs, not about the therapy you get from Institute certified therapists. So you might want to settle back and relax, as this is going to take a while…
Back in 2002 we made a fundamental breakthrough in biology. The implications were profound and tremendously exciting - but we soon realized we had a live grenade in our hands.

…wait, what?

Yes. Let me explain. We were exploring early prenatal development to find new peak states when we encountered one we’d never heard of before. It let us ‘see’ immaterial stuff all around us that was so strange and unfamiliar we figured it just had to be ‘spiritual’ - and in a sense, it was. What we’d done was to stumble across a way to see inside one particular cell in the body, one so important that we ended up calling it the ‘primary cell’ - because it was where our consciousness is actually located.

Over time, we discovered that psychological problems and physical illnesses could all be tracked back to damage inside this primary cell, because it controls how all other cells form and function. Over the last 12 years, we’ve used this breakthrough to discover the origin of many psychological disorders and several ‘incurable’ diseases - hence the term ‘subcellular psychobiology’. This alone would be a fascinating biological curiosity except that we also found that people could directly intervene, by accident or on purpose, with this cell. This allowed us to develop treatments that got their effect by healing this cell. More, these processes can be done in an office setting without drugs or physical manipulation. In essence, we’d cracked the psychoneuroimmunology problem (something that many biologists have been searching for for over three decades).

All good so far… But unfortunately, we also quickly found that teaching people how to see inside their primary cell was a very, very bad idea. First, many would explore or play around with their cell and inadvertently damage themselves - in spite of our dire warnings and their promises not to - sometimes in ways that we could not repair. These dispassionate words don’t begin to convey the agony some of these people suffered, their endless pain, inability to earn a living, and despair.

Because this was an entirely new field of research, it took years to even start to understand the cell biology we were attempting to manipulate. The research was not easy; we had to work through many, many difficult problems over these years. It turned out that research in this area was also incredibly dangerous - all of our research staff were seriously injured at one time or another and four died during this period. Thus, for ethical and safety reasons, we restricted our discoveries to just Institute research staff during those early years.

By 2006 or so we started to cautiously teach selected parts of our work to our therapist trainees. Those early techniques, designed and tested for clients, significantly improved therapist effectiveness; but just as importantly from our perspective, it gave students a clear biological framework to understand how psychological processes actually worked. As part of our training, we also had them sign an agreement that they would not share some parts of what they learned, because of safety issues. It was very difficult for many of these therapists to accept that there could be any dangers with ‘psychological’ techniques; perhaps reading this you’ve already had the same reaction?

Most people simply don’t have any experience with research, and so don’t understand the risks and protocols involved with exploring the unknown. (See a description of the Institute safety protocols.) Let me give one example to illustrate why we had non-disclosure agreements with our students. One of the many very dangerous problems we encountered was one we didn’t even realize was a problem at first. For a number of years, a few clients had been coming to us for help with debilitating pain or other strange sensations that we could not understand or treat. Of course, this was no surprise as there were lots of different kinds of problems we hadn’t yet figured out. But now, during our professional psychotherapist trainings, we started to realize we were seeing similar pain and body sensations arise in some students as they focused on healing themselves. Generally the student’s pain or issue would soon pass, but in some it simply would not go away.

At first we assumed these symptoms were due to old injury traumas that had been triggered but not fully healed; but we eventually realized (because we were now able to eliminate so many other possible causes) that these symptoms had nothing to do with trauma at all, that they were something completely different. Worse, it also became clear that whatever it was could be triggered by using any kind of psychotherapy or spiritual practice. Over time, we slowly worked out the underlying biological cause, but then we made another, very disturbing discovery - just knowing the biology of this problem would cause some people to obsessively focus on it, triggering severe pain and other symptoms that we did not yet know how to stop.

Yet, in 2008, after many months of staff discussions we decided to publicly disclose a brief description of our primary cell discovery in Volume 2 of Peak States of Consciousness. Why? After all, we didn’t yet have treatments for many of the problems we’d found - and for all we knew, maybe we never would. Simply, we were afraid that our fundamental psychobiology breakthrough might be lost if it was not in print. Because the research was so dangerous, there was a real possibility that we wouldn’t be around to share it later. (As Paula Courteau puts it, “research is an extreme sport!”) However, balancing information with safety concerns, we gave a very minimal explanation but enough of one so that other motivated researchers could eventually re-derive the missing material.

Also in the summer of 2008, we cancelled all our therapist trainings. It was now clear that we needed to stop until we could come up with treatments for those students that had somehow triggered themselves into problems. It took another three years, but the breakthroughs we made during this later period were as fundamental as our earlier developmental events and primary cell model discoveries. With new treatments for those problem clients, in 2011 we restarted our therapist training program, albeit in a new, month-long format.

By September 2012, now with a much more complete biological understanding, it was time to pick up a task we’d been putting off for sheer lack of time - writing a cohesive subcellular psychobiology diagnostic handbook for our licensed certified therapists, to fill in gaps in their course manuals. We felt we were not yet ready to release it to the public, as it would include information that was still restricted for safety reasons. 26 months later, by November 2014, research had forged ahead and the handbook was finally finished - and from what we’d learned in those two years, we felt we now had a good handle on safety issues and so could ethically publish our discoveries.

The subcellular psychobiology handbook is not a book on theory for scientists or a simplified summary for laypeople - it is a practical desk reference written for Institute trained therapists. And for safety reasons, the book only has material that was released to Institute certified therapists up until about 2010 - newer material is still restricted to therapists who have backup from our clinics and research staff. However, to make it understandable to interested readers, we also included several summary chapters explaining the underlying biology and nature of the problems that took us so many years to understand and treat.

Our breakthrough into subcellular psychobiology allows us to understand and treat psychological and medical problems that have been untreatable up to now - for example, brain damage, chronic fatigue syndrome, schizophrenic voices, to name a few - and the future is even more exciting, as we (and hopefully others) apply this new approach to a plethora of terrible illnesses. And on a personal note, it is a huge relief to now be able to talk about this part of our work - as I’m sure our certified therapists will agree! By ‘going public’ on subcellular psychobiology, we hope to spur a revolution in psychology, psychiatry and medicine to this new way of understanding biological processes - and move our core Institute mission forward: to help heal all of humanity.

From the desk of the research director,
Dr. Grant McFetridge
Hornby Island, Canada
Nov 5, 2014