This is a commentary on two papers by Grossarth-Maticek and Eysenck, in which they report on 'creative novation behaviour therapy' to prevent cancer and heart disease in people with prsonalities associated with the development of those diseases. Therapy may involve hypnosis and/or relaxation, with suggestions that facilitate modification of unhealthy expectancies. The papers are:
Author presents a male teenager diagnosed with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, who was treated without noticeable success using a variety of techniques (relaxation, suggestion, hypnoanalysis, video-feedback, paradoxical injunction).
The therapist suggested that "her mind would take her back to a time that was important in understanding her fears and that she would be able to stay calm and relaxed while this past event was revealed to her" (p. 69. She subsequently imagined being in a cave, peaceful and calm. "On being roused from hypnosis, Francesca eagerly described her cave image. She was enthusiastic about the significance of this experience, claiming that it was evidence that in a _previous life_ she had died from being locked into a cave as some sort of punishment and that this pexperience made her fear of enclosed places rational and comprehensible to her" (p. 69).
Compared Behavior Therapy (BT), self-relaxation (SR), transcendental meditation (TM), and a waiting-list control group (WL) on measures of cardiovascular and subjective stress response. Male and female respondents (N = 60) to an ad for therapy were evaluated in assessment sessions before and after treatment. The results indicate that BT and SR were more effective than either TM or WL in reducing cardiovascular stress response. These data were interpreted as resulting from therapeutic suggestion and positively reinforced client progress.
In summarizing the effectiveness of behavior therapy the author states, "At this point there does not appear to be sufficient evidence to demonstrate that all of the effectiveness of various types of behavior therapy is produced by non-specific, especially placebo, effects. In fact, it is more probable that many of these techniques will be found to have elements that are not due to non-specific effects and, as such, they will be the treatment of choice for certain limited problems, such as aversive therapy for autistic children or training of the mentally retarded. Nevertheless, concerning the central issue in this monograph, it is increasingly apparent that a very large proportion of the 'power' of behavior methods is due to non-specific, suggestion or placebo effects.
Summary: a measure of visual imagery ability was obtained for 33 females who and participated in desensitization therapy for snake phobia. Visual imagery was positively related to pretherapy performance (closeness of approach to a live snake), but not to improvement. On the basis of these results and the results of two other studies, it was hypothesized that the fear of good imagers tends to be based on imagination while that of poor imagers tends to be based on sensory experience.
Technical Memorandum 23-74 (October 1974), US Army Human Engineering Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland 21005, AMCMS Code 5910.21.68629, Contract No. DAAD05-73-C-0243, Dunlap and Associates, Inc. (now
The author presents "experimental evidence indicating that there is no essential difference between 'hypnotic' behavior and 'post-hypnotic' behavior" (p. 11).
Although expectancy accounts for some variance in the development of classical hypnosis effects, it is also true that "experimental data suggest that faking accounts for relatively few of these effects" (p. 507). "The best predictors of hypnotic suggestibility are waking suggestibility and response expectancy, and expectancy remains a significant predictor of hypnotic response even with waking suggestibility controlled (Braffman & Kirsch, in press; Kirsch, 1997)" (p. 508). The authors theorize that automatisms (like Chevreul pendulum) are "responses that are primed for automatic activation by two response sets: an intention and an expectancy for their occurrence" (p. 508). They suggest that most behavior is routine, virtually automatic, because cognitive structures like schemas, scripts, or plans that are outside immediate awareness trigger the behavior. They cite research by Libet (1985) and hypotheses developed by Nisbett & Wilson (1977) and Dennett (1991), concluding that "the feeling of will is a judgment, rather than an introspected content" (p. 509). The authors discuss the Chevreul pendulum phenomenon in terms of expectancy theory and explore how their theory would apply to psychotherapy.
"Pain Management Psychotherapy" (PMP) provides a clear and methodical look at pain management psychotherapy beginning with the initial consultation and work-up of the patient and continuing through termination of treatment. It is a thoughtful and thorough presentation that covers methods for psychologically assessing the chronic pain patient (structured interviews, pain assessment tests and rating scales, instruments for evaluating beliefs, attitudes, pain behavior, disability, depression, anxiety, anger and alienation), treatment planning, cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques, and a range of hypnotic approaches to pain management. The book covers both traditional (cognitive and behavior therapy, biofeedback, assessing hypnotizability, choice of inductions, designing an individualized self-hypnosis exercise) as well as newer innovative techniques (e.g., EMDR, pain-relief imagery, hypno-projective methods, hypno-analytic reprocessing of pain-related negative experiences). An extensive appendix reproduces in their entirety numerous forms, rating scale, inventories, assessment instruments, and scripts.
An earlier review by these authors found that EMG biofeedback and relaxation training were equally effective with headache [Zitman, 1983, Biofeedback and chronic pain, In Advances in Pain Research and Therapy (Edit by Bonica, Lindblom, Iggo) V. 5, pp 794-809. N. Y.: Raven Press]. Other authors also found that hypnotic suggestion, EMG biofeedback and EMG biofeedback plus progressive relaxation training were equally effective [Schlutter, Golden, Blume,
"In summary, the results of the present study in combination with the results of the Friedman and Taub (1977) study should lead to the treatment of biofeedback and hypnosis as potentially different processes involving different, possibly antagonistic, cognitive processes. The treatment of hypnosis and hypnotic ability as different phenomena from biofeedback self-control should lead to experimental designs which do not automatically assume additivity of effects. Such enlightened designs will then shed more light on the mechanisms of each and the relation of these two cognitive control techniques" (0. 60).
In their discussion of the finding that hypnosis + biofeedback did not yield more positive results, the authors state, "it is possible that two opposing sets were established that negated each other: the biofeedback instructions wherein S was enjoined to direct his attention externally and to attempt to change the displayed number which reflected diastolic pressure, versus the more passive, relaxed attitude implied in hypnotic induction. It is interesting to note that Benson et al. (1974b) have similarly suggested that the set involved in biofeedback training may interfere with the elicitation of the 'relaxation response.' Also, Orne [personal communication] has indicated that, although anticipating a synergistic effect as a result of combining hypnotic and biofeedback procedures, some difficulty may lie in requiring Ss to be hypnotized during [emphasis on 'during' in original] the biofeedback training proceduer"
The three adepts studied were: (1) RCT, a 34 yr old Ecuadorian who had "demonstrated control over pain by placing bicycle spokes through his body, being suspended from hooks inserted under his shoulder blades, and walking through fire -- all without reported pain or observed damage to his skin;" (2) JSL, a 31 yr old Korean karate expert, who "suspended a 25-pound bucket of water from a sharpened spoke placed through a fold of skin on his forearm;" and (3) JS, a 50-yr old Dutch meditator who had "demonstrated pain and bleeding contol" (pp. 363-365). "RCT, JSL, and JS each remarked that pain is principally fear of and attention to pain, and they maintained that anyone can learn to control pain through relaxation and passive attention" (p. 367). Both JS and RCT had increased alpha EEG activity during piercing, whereas JSL showed no increase. The authors suggest that "the karate expert practiced a very focused meditation, during which he mentally saw and felt the ki energy as a point, while RCT and JS employed passive attention and did not attend to the body stimuli. Thus, it is possible for physiological measurements to reflect strategies used in dissociation of pain perception, and that the quality of pain perception is altered if S is at either extreme of focused or unfocused conscious attention" (p. 368). "We hypothesize that, for nonadepts, alpha EEG training without alpha blocking to stimuli could become a distraction technique whereby S again could learn self-control and competence as he becomes more successful in controlling his EEG" (p. 369).