Reverse Therapy

Bodymind healing and awareness

Death? No worries.

When I was a child Death terrified me. When the elderly next-door neighbor who used to give me sweets died I asked my father what had happened to her. Reluctantly he mumbled that she had gone and wouldn’t be coming back.

‘Well, where is she now?”.

‘Up there’ he said, his finger pointing to the ceiling.

Even at six years old I was smart enough to realise that living in the clouds couldn’t be much fun. So I persisted with the interrogation.

‘Does everyone die, Daddy?’.

‘Yes – everyone. Everyone.’

From then, for quite a few years, I thought about it a lot. How could people just vanish? It seemed ridiculous. I would walk home from school and look at all the grave-stones in the cemetery. Here so-and-so had died in 1887. There a child had died in 1909. Over there, her grave surmounted by a huge, sorrowing angel, someone else had gone in 1956 – the year I was born. Once they had lived and breathed and loved – now nothing.

I mention this experience because it sums up the common dread of death: that we shall be nothing at all at some point in the future.

Let us leave aside whether or not there is an after-life. As it happens I believe there is an after-life, although not the one some people imagine, where we carry on as somehow the same person. But that is irrelevant. Because even the after-life, too, will have to come to an end at some point in the future. And then we – that is the person we are now – will most definitely come to an end

This problem is in fact entirely created by Headmind and the Ego. The worry is that this unique, ‘special’, person that I am will cease to be. That the world should not and must not continue without me.

The cemeteries are full of indispensable people – many of whom got there earlier than they needed to by trying to prove that the world could not do without them.

The solution lies in grasping that our terror of death only exists through a hallucination. The fiction is that we will go from life to death, from something to nothingness.

But when we are truly alive – right now – we know that we are a part of everything and that something lives through us that can never die. You can call that God, or the Divine, or Spirit but those are only names. You have to experience it to know it. And you experience it in moments of love, joy, awe, ecstasy and excitement.

Here are some examples from my own experience:

  • Watching my children being born
  • Kindness from a friend when I was at my lowest ebb
  • Diving off the rocks into the Aegean sea at sunset
  • Looking at Giotto’s paintings of the life of Christ in Padua
  • Realising that Reverse Therapy was ‘my mission’
  • Watching a healer at work in Brazil

In such experiences we know – through Bodymind – that something very powerful works in, and for, and through, us. And that something never dies. Only Headmind, and the ego, dies.

‘Nothing burns in hell except self-will.’

Theologia Germanica

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June 15, 2007 Posted by | Anxiety, Bodymind, Consciousness, Headmind, Reverse Therapy | Leave a comment

Why Cognitive Behavior Therapy doesn’t work

Many people with M.E. will know that they are continually being pushed towards Cognitive Behavior Therapy as the treatment. You may even have been told: ‘nothing else works’ or ‘this is the only thing that has any scientific evidence going for it’.

Er…well, the problem is that there is no real scientific evidence that CBT works for anything. There have been about three worthwhile studies on CBT for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome published in the UK and only one of those produced any evidence at all that CBT could be effective in reducing symptoms. Yet even that one study compared CBT with relaxation techniques which (as anyone with CFS will tell you) are practically useless. I wonder how CBT will look when it finally goes head to head with a really effective contender like Reverse Therapy?

Cognitive Therapy, as I never tire of reminding people, was developed to treat Depression. Since M.E. is not depression why should anyone assume that it will work for that condition? Cognitive Therapy works on changing peoples’ thoughts, beliefs and expectations. But since Chronic Fatigue symptoms are not created in the head there is no reason to believe the belief that changing beliefs will make any difference.

In fact, about twenty years ago it was realized that changing thoughts doesn’t make much difference to Depression either. Or Anxiety. Or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Or anything else. That was why Cognitive Therapy was merged with Behavior Therapy – because it began to dawn on one or two minds that getting someone to change their thoughts about their problems isn’t going to make any difference until they do something about them. The truth of the matter is that it is probably the ‘B’ part of the process that is effective for a few people, not the ‘C’ part.

Unfortunately for the moguls that run the National Health Service there is no evidence that CBT is effective for anything else either. In one recent study in Scotland over 1000 patients who had received CBT years before were followed up. Of the 489 who could be bothered to talk about the therapy (were the rest too ill to come to the phone?) over half of them were still unwell and 30% of them still had severe symptoms. That means – in plain terms – that less than 10% of the original number were reporting any benefit at all. If you were a taxi-driver and only managed to get 1 out of 10 passengers to their destination you’d soon be out of business. Yet the current Government wants to spend £600 million pushing CBT on the rest of us. With the absurd claim that it has all been scientifically proven.

So why is Cognitive-Behavior Therapy the number one most used therapy in the UK and the United States? Well, folks, the main reason is that it is promoted by the Psychology industry, which is now well-embedded in the universities, the health services, in business, government and the press. And because it fits in with what the powers-that-be think people should be like: rational, reasonable, normal workers who can control their thoughts, act sensibly and not get over-emotional. In that sense what someone who goes in for CBT is really getting is an indoctrination in mainstream psychology. Don’t forget, nearly all the research that has so far been carried out on CBT has been organized by – you’ve guessed it – other psychologists. This is one reason why most of the research is unbelievably biased.

Here are a few reasons why Cognitive-Behavior Therapy won’t work for M.E.

  1. No evidence exists that CBT can eliminate symptoms, only that it can reduce them.

  2. CBT has a high initial drop out rate. Over 20% of people with M.E. do not go back after their first session.

  3. M.E. symptoms are not created by thoughts so changing thoughts won’t make any difference.

  4. Sufferers who have headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, IBS, sleeping problems, etc feel insulted by the suggestion that they can get better through positive thinking. Another reason they are unlikely to go back.

  5. Forms. CBT makes people fill out endless forms, questionnaires and journals. Doing which not only creates frustration but triggers brain fog too

  6. Since symptoms are created in the brain, glands and nervous system only an approach – like Reverse Therapy – that recognizes and works with Bodymind has any chance of reversing the condition.

  7. This in turn means recognizing that the symptoms are created because the organism – the body – is in crisis. And that we have to address the organic cause, rather than the negative beliefs that people have developed after becoming ill.

  8. When CBT does help in reducing symptoms it is not because CBT is effective but because it is accidentally – and without realizing what is happening – encouraging the client to try new activities that reduce Bodymind’s need to create symptoms as a warning call. But Reverse Therapy does that anyway.

 

 

June 11, 2007 Posted by | Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, M.E., Reverse Therapy, Therapy | Leave a comment

Stress won’t kill you but hopelessness can

Ever since Hans Selye came up with the idea of stress in the 1950s people have misunderstood what he meant by it. They think stress is something that happens to you. Well – no – shit happens and then some people get stressed and some don’t. Selye’s point was that people get ill because they have been unable to adapt to challenges. The emotional overload that comes with that eventually leads to a break down in body function.

You can put two people through the same circumstances – unemployment, break up, financial disaster, or fleas on their dog – and one person will react beautifully and the other will get ill.

What that means is that the ‘stressed’ person will get stuck in Headmind, will overload with fear, frustration and grief, and the General Adaptation Syndrome will kick in – the stress response. This happens as Bodymind tries to keep things going and uses symptom-signals to kick start the person into action. While no action is taken we get the Resistance stage, then the Alarm stage (first appearance of stress symptoms) and then the Stalemate stage (symptoms become chronic).

One thing Selye got wrong was that he thought there were only two responses a person could make: fight or fly. But those two are often dumb responses. There is no point in thumping the boss if she is exploiting you – that just makes it harder to get another job. Nor is there any point in running away from her – that just encourages her to abuse you some more.

The emotional subtlety of Bodymind cues you up for plenty of smart moves if you are aware enough to be able to decode the feelings that go with them. For example, you could use assertive language, find some allies, clarify what exactly is it she wants, or start looking for another job.

Now the reason some people get stuck is that they have no memory banks that tell them what to do about problems. If you have never learned how to say ‘no’ then you are not going to be able to defend yourself against unreasonable demands – so you have to start to practice doing just that. If your partner leaves you and that has never happened to you before then you are going to have to get advice, help and support from others.

Now this is where Headmind can create a road-block. When it focuses on problems rather than solutions, past failures instead of future prospects, and when it assumes that learning something new or asking for a help represents ‘failure’, then you have a problem. You won’t be able to adapt to the challenges, problems will mount up, the emotional overload will become acute, and you will get ‘stressed’.

When Headmind gets stuck in hopelessness then you will just give up. The secret is to reverse that by focusing on the possible, not the impossible.

Let me conclude with a story about one of the most ‘stressful’ experiences a human being can go through – as a prisoner in Auschwitz. Now many people would think that undergoing starvation and torture in one of the death camps would be one stressful experience people could not survive. But Victor Frankl – who spent three years in one – found that it was not entirely so. Those who had not been gassed were put to slave labor and many died. Yet he observed one simple fact – people were more likely to survive if they had something to live for – whether that was a spiritual faith, another human being, or a vision of the future. On one morning when he had collapsed in the freezing cold and was near to death he imagined being applauded by an audience after talking about his experiences and his discoveries about the power of faith. That enabled him to get up and try to carry on. Over twenty years later Frankl was talking at a conference about this experience and the entire audience got to their feet to applaud him, many with tears in their eyes.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation—just think of an incurable disease such as inoperable cancer—we are challenged to change ourselves”

Victor Frankl 1905-1997

June 6, 2007 Posted by | Reverse Therapy | Leave a comment

Are M.E and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome the same thing?

One of the things we have to get used to in Reverse Therapy is the weird arguments people come up with for why M.E. is incurable.

The argument goes like this: M.E. and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are not the same thing. M.E. is said to be an incurable genetic, or neurological, or viral, disease (take your pick according to which ‘scientific’ article you just read) while CFS is just a fatigue problem which comes and goes.

So – if you had M.E. and don’t have it now then you never had it in the first place. The gob-smacking cheek of this circular argument is an insult to all those brave people who managed to find the way back to health. I’ve lost count of the clients we have seen who have gone back to their ME Maintenance Groups to announce the good news about their recovery and have met with blank hostility and the repetition of circular arguments.

The reason this argument keeps going the rounds has little to do with ‘science’. No piece of scientific research carried out in 40 years has ever identified a single virus or brain fault that could cause M.E. The recent flavour-of-the-month idea that M.E. is genetic rests on a misunderstanding. It is not genes that have been identified as the problem – it is gene behavior. And gene behavior (or expression) changes in almost any illness. The one we know most about – cancer – shows that gene expression changes in a way that produces cancerous cells. That doesn’t mean that genes cause cancer. The causes of cancer are multiform – and overwhelming life changes and emotional challenges are one of the most important.

The reason arguments like these are popular is due to the toxic link between medical orthodoxy and the mistaken Headmind ideas that some people with M.E. carry around with them. The core mistake is that if M.E. can be cured it must be all in the mind.

But M.E. is not all in the mind. The symptoms are atrociously real. And, yet, at the same time, M.E. can be cured by addressing the emotional challenges that triggered the organism to overwork the immune system, the nervous system and the endocrine system – as well as changing gene behavior.

No one, for example, says that Migraines, or Stomach ulcers, or High Blood Pressure are all in the mind. Yet all of these conditions are curable by paying attention to the situations that trigger symptomatic behavior. Why should M.E. be any different?

May 24, 2007 Posted by | Reverse Therapy | Leave a comment

What they don’t teach you at Medical School

We most of us have had experience of consulting a medical doctor about an ailment and within a few moments a prescription has been written and we are out of the door.

Some of my medical friends will forgive me when I say that, much of the time, medical doctors might just as well be positioned behind the counter at Boots the Chemist. That would save us making two visits instead of one.

At medical school they teach you anatomy and physiology, a little bit of surgery, how cells work, how the embryo forms, pathology and drug action, and about infections and the immune system.

That is to say, they teach you how the body functions and what happens when people get ill. But they don’t teach you why people get ill. And one important reason people get ill is that they are undergoing major life challenges.

The list of conditions which have been shown by research to coincide with upsetting life events (sometimes called ‘stress’) is surprisingly long. It includes cancer, stomach ulcers, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, neuritis, shingles, appendicitis, asthma, raised blood pressure, colitis and angina.

A medical practitioner will typically ask how what symptoms you have, how long you’ve had them, where the pain is and arrange for tests. The answers to these moves will indicate what is going on before the prescription pad comes out. But if you believe (as we do in Reverse Therapy) that symptoms are used partly by Bodymind to signal that closer attention needs to be paid to emotional needs then more useful questions would be:

‘What’s been going on at work/home/in your family?’

‘Is there anything upsetting you?’

‘How have you been coping with that?’

‘What do you do when you have some time to yourself?’

Of course there are many enlightened medical doctors who do ask these questions – it’s just that they won’t have been taught them at medical school.

Opening up an investigation into illness along these lines takes you away away from drug prescriptions and towards a cure based on addressing the reasons symptoms were triggered in the first place. And restoring emotional balance will be a far more effective way to restore health in the long run.

May 9, 2007 Posted by | Reverse Therapy | Leave a comment

10 things to stop doing if you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

1. Stop looking for ‘cures’. The more you look for cures which fail the more focused you will be on your illness. The solution for Chronic Fatigue syndrome is right here on the Reverse Therapy website and it contains all the information you will ever need on how to be well.

2. Stop pacing. There is no evidence that pacing works. The reason it seems to work is because people are changing activities, not reducing them. Bodymind likes change so it turns down the symptoms when more variety is introduced. That’s especially true if what you were doing before was a chore.

3. Stop talking about symptoms. The more you talk about the symptoms the more trapped you will get in the illness loop. Bodymind wants you to talk about getting well, not staying ill!

4. Stop using M.E. Chat Forums and M.E. Support Groups. All you will ever meet are other people who are focused on illness. What’s more, some users are so trapped in suffering that they create negative energy which gets passed on to you. If you have made friends in a forum or a group then meet them elsewhere.

5. Stop withdrawing from people close to you. Your Body doesn’t create symptoms because it wants you to give up your life. It uses them to signal that its time to create a better way of life. And that includes spending more time with your friends and those you love.

6. Stop listening to medical doctors. With some exceptions (such as the wonderful medics we have on the Reverse Therapy team!) most medical doctors do not understand M.E. Either they don’t believe it exists or – if they do treat it as a real illness – they don’t know what to do about it. Either way you will just get frustrated.

7. Stop thinking ‘I will never get well’ and, instead, focus on what you need to do to in order to become just that. If you don’t know what to do then try doing anything that raises endorphins if you notice symptoms on the increase.

8. Stop waiting for the symptoms to go. Many of our clients have fallen into the trap of thinking ‘once these horrible symptoms go I can get my life back’. In fact the reverse is true: once you go back to an emotionally rewarding life, Bodymind can switch off the symptoms.

9. Stop living in the past, dwelling on all the times you have been miserable, ill and depressed. Instead, learn to live in the moment, being directed by what your personal Bodymind wants you to do right now.

10. Stop worrying about the future. The future is simply something people imagine. You can learn to imagine a future in which you are healthy and living the life you want. But better still, you can be guided by your symptoms and start creating your future in this very moment.

May 4, 2007 Posted by | Anxiety, Bodymind, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Headmind, Health, M.E., Reverse Therapy | Leave a comment

Greed is good – yeah?

As Gordon Gekko once famously quoted Ayn Rand – in ‘Wall Street’ – ‘Greed is good‘.

Well, both Ayn and Gordon got it wrong. Greed isn’t good. Passion is good. And Greed is a Headmind distortion of passion.

What goes on here is that Headmind (or Ego, if you prefer) substitutes Being for Having, and Emotion for acquisitiveness.

Now some people have a passion for making money. It’s not one of my attractions but I can understand why some people get that way. And if they are living that passion then they may well be doing other people a favour by giving them something they want – or making jobs for them. But when passion is distorted by acquisitiveness then they get greedy – and obsessive – and lonely – and sad. They may even end up in the Penitentiary like Gordon did.

When you live in Bodymind (as I try to do) you realise that Passion is its own reward. Work, Love, Telling the truth and being Creative are exciting things to do. Its not a guarantee that you will be rich, famous, loved or powerful. That’s Headmind telling us that we are unworthy if we are not in one of those categories.

As it happens I recently made up a list of emotions (passions) which get distorted by Headmind’s need to have something rather than to be something.

Joy – Addictions (Headmind has to possess happiness rather than just being with it and then letting it go). The addiction can be to sex, drugs, love or even money.

Anger – Revenge (Headmind has to control the offender rather than just express and forgive)

Fear – Dependency (Headmind has to collect helpers rather than accept personal responsibility)

Awe – Religious mania (Headmind has to impose the truth on others rather than admit that Life is too tremendous to be understood completely)

Sadness – Grief (Headmind refuses to live without the lost friend, father, mother or child) and lives in the past, holding on to memories.

Love – it isn’t really an emotion but it is a passion based on joy. But its distortion by Headmind is interesting because when the Ego tries to control it, then it becomes jealousy or possessiveness.

April 30, 2007 Posted by | Bodymind, Emotions, Headmind, Passion, Reverse Therapy | Leave a comment

Monty Python and Kurt Vonnegut

“Life happens too fast for you ever to think about it. If you could just persuade people of this, but they insist on amassing information.”
Kurt Vonnegut 1922-2007

A fantastic story appeared last week from Tom Hart Dyke – the Eccentric Gardener. Apparently he and a friend were plant-hunting in the South American jungle when they were kidnapped by the Indians. Trying to persuade them that they were not CIA agents but just two average joes who got lost in the jungle, they hit on the idea of singing and dancing to them.

They launched into the Pythons’ ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life‘ announcing it as the English National Anthem.

‘If Life seems jolly rotten – there’s something you’ve forgotten – Always look on the bright side of life’ one of them sang in a baritone, while the other leapt into the air with his knees up to his chin, waggling his hands.

Very soon the guerillas, sub-machine guns at their sides, were rolling around on the floor, crying with laughter.

Life of Brian could well be the funniest film ever made. Be that as it might, Tom Hart Dyke’s story tells us that extreme situations invite laughter or tears. Either are ok but I prefer laughter. The Life of Brian is full of characters – religious zealots, empire-builders, revolutionary conspirators, who just don’t get how funny they are when they are trying to be serious. In short, they are stuck in their heads. And the more pedantic they try to be, the funnier they are.

Now in the story Tom Hart Dyke tells it could have gone the other way. He and his friend could both have got very serious in a way that would have made things worse. The more worried they got the more those Indians would have gotten suspicious. But the crazy idea of doing that song broke through the barriers. Through laughter they avoided tragedy.

Which brings me to the late, great Kurt Vonnegut. This was a man who, as an American POW, survived the Dresden Fire Bombing in 1945 which wiped out 130,000 people. And who still managed to write SlaughterHouse 5, a book which is funny as well as grief-stricken for the men, women and children who died in the worst war in history.

God bless all those like the Pythons, Kurt Vonnegut and Tom Hart Dyke who give us the gift of laughter. Goodbye Blue Monday!

April 13, 2007 Posted by | Bodymind, Emotions, Laughter, Stress | Leave a comment

Another article about Reverse Therapy

We are getting quite a lot of press coverage about Reverse Therapy in the British press. The newest article appeared in Woman’s Own, which has a circulation of around 400,000.

You can read that item by clicking here if you’ve a mind to.

My only beef about this article is that the journalist writing it thinks that Reverse Therapy is ‘counselling’. Aaarrgghh!

April 11, 2007 Posted by | Reverse Therapy | Leave a comment

Achieve Radio

Last night I was talking to Sherry Anshara on Achieve Radio, Arizona. You can tune into the broadcast by clicking on the link here. Many thanks to Sherry for providing such a perceptive and enjoyable conversation.

April 5, 2007 Posted by | Reverse Therapy | Leave a comment