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Lost Connections

Lost Connections and Depression

LOST CONNECTIONS AND DEPRESSION

Lost connections is a new book about uncovering the real causes of depression, and the unexpected solutions.

This book takes a fresh look at what really causes depression. The author, Johann Hari, tells his own story. He suffered from depression from childhood. He was on medication for decades. And it was only after decades of not getting any better that he began to question whether pharmaceuticals were the right answer to depression.

This book is the outcome of 30 years of thinking about depression. He proves that almost everything we know about depression and anxiety is wrong.

Chemical Theory of Depression

The accepted explanation of depression is that it is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. All mainstream efforts are aimed at correcting that chemical imbalance.

Depression is a brain disease, and Seroxat is its cure. That has been the accepted wisdom for more than 40 years. According to the Prozac theory, depression is caused by lack of serotonin in the brain. Seroxat, Paxil, and all the other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors restore your serotonin balance and banish depression. Although they don't.

Johann Hardy realised that the pills made you feel good for about six weeks, and then they didn't. The doctors' answer is to increase the dose. That makes you feel better for about six weeks, and then it stops. So the answer is to increase the dose again. And so on. Until you are walking around like a zombie. You don't have depression, but you don't have any real life either.

No support for serotonin theory

The core of this book is about how he started to question the reality of chemical treatment of depression. He realised that even after 20 years of taking the medication, he was still depressed.

So he started thinking about what other things might be associated with depression. He went to  see his doctor early on. The doctor asked about his symptoms, and prescribed him medication. And every time he saw doctor after that, they asked about his symptoms. He eventually realised that they did not ask anything else about his life.

No doctor asked what was going on in his life that moment. Nobody asked if he had had any emotional shocks. Nobody asked about money worries. As long as you believe that it is a chemical imbalance, there is no need to look for any other explanation.

The doctors assumed that all his troubles are the result of the common chemical imbalance. In fact it was the other way round. It is the emotional shocks, and economic circumstances, that give you depression.

Depression is in your environment

The rest of the book examines two things. One, the results of the chemical imbalance theory. And two, the factors that really cause depression.

The first few chapters are a detailed analysis of the astonishing rise in antidepressant prescription. At the time of writing one person five in the US is on some sort of drug for a psychiatric problem. This is an incredible level of drug consumption.

Debunking serotonin

The analysis looks at what is driving this level of consumption. He details the vast profits made by pharmaceutical companies, and the incentives for doctors and hospitals to keep prescribing these things. That story is well known.

What is not well known is the hidden truth. there is not one shred of evidence to actually show serotonin has any connection whatsoever to depression. The entire industry is built on a lie. Every scientific study that has tried to find a connection has failed.

His first breakthrough was to realize that depression and anxiety are simply different aspects of the same thing. They are always found together. When one goes up the other goes up. When one goes down the other goes down. They are not separate illnesses.

The second was to realize that unhappiness and depression are strongly related. There is a continuum between unhappiness and depression and anxiety.

The nine causes of depression and anxiety

It is not all in your head. The cause of depression is in your environment. His researches showed that there are nine interconnected environmental issues which are leading to an increase in depression and anxiety for everyone.

The first cause is disconnection from meaningful work.

People who hate their jobs, people who can't see any point what the doing, have stepped on to the conveyor belt towards depression.

The second cause is disconnection from other people.

Human beings evolved from groups of apes. Humans are happiest when they're in a group. But most of us lead fairly solitary lives. The nuclear family is quite different from the way humans used to live. Most of us have lost the warm interconnections of an extended family and even a village. Social isolation is a driver of depression.

The loss of meaningful values is the third cause of depression.

Society has changed so much that the principal leisure activity is now buying stuff. Our principal social actions are about meaningless fluff on social media. People are driven by extrinsic values, that is, we do things for rewards, physical rewards mostly. Intrinsic values are things that we do because we love it. The Western world has become obsessed with extrinsic values. And depression is the price.

The fourth cause childhood trauma.

This is widely understood. An unhappy childhood leads to an unhappy adult. Childhood trauma is one of the most obvious indicators of depression and anxiety. Children who have been sexually abused, emotionally abused, or neglected are at very high risk of depression. Nothing to do with genetics or brain function. The scientific results are quite simple. The more types of childhood abuse you had, the more likely you are to have depression.

Disconnection from respect

Studies with baboon society showed that the lowest member of the hierarchy was constantly stressed. The highest member of the anxiety was also highly stressed if his position was threatened. Other research showed that the more social distance there is between the haves and the have-nots, the greater the prevalence of mental illness. There is much more mental illness in the USA then there is in an egalitarian society like Norway.

Cause six is disconnection from the natural world.

Spending a couple of hours in the natural woodland has a remarkable effect on people's feelings. This can be measured by the stress hormones in the blood. Living in modern cities is the exact opposite of that.

Cause seven is disconnection from a hopeful or secure future.

The more insecure your future income or personal security is, the more likely you are to have depression.

The length of time you have been under stress is the eighth cause.

Your brain is constantly changing to meet your needs. Your brain changes as you suffer life changing challenges. If this goes on for long enough, your brain changes to deal with it. Part of the brain become more sensitive to bad things and parts that are sensitive to good things get smaller. This leads to the common feeling of being stuck in anxiety and depression. The good news is that once the external factors begin changing your brain can repair itself.

The ninth cause is genetics.

There is a clear and proven correlation between certain genes and the tendency to become depressed. However having the gene only gives you a tendency. If the other eight factors don't happen, then you are no more likely to get depression and anyone else.

 

"Depression isn't a disease. Depression is a normal response to abnormal life experiences."

 

Hari, Johann. (2018) Lost Connections. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-4-1-4088-7868-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

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remember your dreams

How to remember your dreams

How to remember your dreams

Everyone dreams, every night. In fact on average we dream about every hour and a half. The longest dreams last between 30 and 45 minutes. And yet many people say they never dream. What they actually mean is that they cannot recall their dreams. If you would like to remember your dreams, there are some simple things you can do to make it happen.

Keep a dream journal

There is a time between beginning to wake up and being fully awake. This is the ideal time to record your dreams. It has been shown that the best way of remembering your dreams is to keep a dream diary. All you need is something to write on that you keep other side of your bed. It's probably best to get some sort of notebook. That way it keeps all the dreams together, in sequence, and you are less likely to misplace it.

When you first wake, think about what you were dreaming about, and immediately write a description of it it in your dream diary. Make a habit of doing it every day. Even if you can't remember the dream in detail, write down a word or a phrase that comes to mind.

As soon as you start, write down as much as you remember. Usually after you put down a few lines, you will recall more of the dream. Write that down, and you'll get more of the dream. Keep writing it until you think there is no more. Don't worry about spelling, grammar, or sense, or anything else. Don't worry about how weird it seems. Just write down whatever you remember. If you do this every day, over time you will be training your mind into recalling your dreams.

Tell yourself that you can dream

If you never, or seldom, have dreams then you need to tell your subconscious mind what you want. All you have to do is, when you go to bed, gently bang your head three times on the pillow, and say "I will wake up when I dream". It may take a couple of nights to have an effect but for most people this form of gentle self hypnosis allows them to become much more aware of their dreams.

Give your dream a name

After you have written down your dream, give it a name. If you don't have time right now to go over the dream in detail, then the name will remind you later on. You'll also find that when you go back and look over your dreams for a few weeks, you will probably find the same themes appearing in the names of your dreams.

Draw a rich picture

It is often useful to draw a picture of your dream. Just do a little drawing of one of the symbols in the dream. Then do another and link the first one to it, and then just keep adding more and more things which will remind you of your dream. You can also add in words and anything else you think will remind you. As you draw more and more of the dream will come into memory.

Use a mind map

If you don't have time for a written description, you just don't feel like writing it out in sentences, then use a mind map. A mind map has one or two words as the central idea. Write it down and draw little oval round it. Then draw three or four look little curvy lines coming off that circle. At the end of each line draw another oval. Then add more words which are the relationship to the central word. Draw more lines either from the second of also from the original oval. Eventually you end up with a a map of 'bubbles' containing the keywords of your dream.

The habit of writing down your dreams as soon as you have them will remind your mind how important it is to you. That will encourage your mind to waking up when you are having a dream. Eventually, you will find that your wake up several times a night immediately after having had a dream. Then you know down your dream in as much detail as you want to, and just go back to sleep.

Very often when you wake up fully in the morning you'll be surprised to see two or three dreams described that you don't even remember writing down.

 

 

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find past lives

Why people can’t find past lives

My reason for wanting to visit you is that I am interested in my past life regression (if any) and a stronger connection/understanding of Higher Power and Spiritual awareness.

This client seemed quite bubbly and outgoing. She was very well dressed. Actually dressed very young. I was much surprised later when she said that she was 50 years old. I got the impression later that it was all a façade.

She put out this image of being up, and alert, and outgoing but in fact she felt quite differently inside. She feels disconnected from everything and everybody. That longing for connection is why she thought it might be good to find past lives.

Hypnosis Childhood Regression

I was not at all sure that she was a candidate for past life regression. Nothing in what she told me about herself and her feelings seem to have anything to do with the standard past life regression requests.

I decided to do the regression with her anyway. I took her into trance using a walk along a river. "You will find something significant from your younger life that has a bearing on what you are feeling today." After a long time, she told me that she was seeing a horse.

I questioned her about the horse. It was a horse that her parents had given her. I asked her how she felt about the horse, did she love the horse? "No, I just feel confused". She had no idea what to do with the horse. She could not ride it, she knew nothing about horses.

When she had been given this horse all she felt was confusion. Her parents had taken down to this place in the country and just said to her "this is your horse". No preparation, no training. no nothing. Apparently this was quite typical of her upbringing. Her parents really were quite clueless about children. Her parents were very cold and distant people.

Regression to past life

I tried to take her back to a time before this present life. She told me she was getting nothing, feeling nothing. I pressed on with finding a life.

Still nothing. Then I asked her what she was feeling. She told me she felt small and lonely. I used that feeling to start an Inner Child therapy. But part way through she said "I am not seeing any child" so I stopped that and deepened her again.
Since she was already in trance I decided to try to work on her feeling of loss of connection.

Parts therapy

I took her to a place where she was floating in a void. In that place a Presence told her that it was the part of her that controlled all the other parts. It showed her the part of her that was causing the connection problems.  She visualized getting other parts of her to repair the damaged part that could not connect.  She was able to repair the part of her that was causing the connection problems.
I then brought her out of trance we talked about her experience for a while.

Holding on to control

She described how as she was going into trance she felt herself constantly fighting against what I was saying. This matched what I observed as I was inducing her. I lead her into trace with my standard induction of  Breathing, Favorite place, Stairs. She seemed very susceptible, except that she was one of those people who keep moving around. After the stairs induction  I always test with an eye catalepsy. I suggested that she could not open her eyes, and then suggested that she test it. She was unable to open her eyes. But about 10 seconds later she did briefly open her eyes then close them again.

I then decided to be absolutely sure she was in trance, so I did a beach induction. I asked her to imagine lying on a beach somewhere comfortable, relaxed, nothing to do. Then I asked her to focus on the waves rolling up the beach and back down again. I suggested that as the waves pulled away she felt herself being pulled with them. But every wave was taking her deeper and deeper.

She told me that as I was saying that she could feel herself being pulled down by the waves but was frantically clawing back up again all the time I was talking to her. I then do the vanishing numbers induction and she did finally go into trance. She clearly does not like giving up control.

The real reason for lack of connection

Then I started asking about her own feelings. I asked her "would you say your mind is always busy?" She said, "oh yes".
I showed her the anxiety questionnaire and she agreed that she was all over it. I suggested to her that her feeling of disconnection was much more likely to be due to a mild form of depression, rather than having anything to do with a past life. I asked her "would your mother be on that list of symptoms?". At that point she told me "I was adopted".

We then talked about her relationships with her brother and the couple who brought them up. She said that she always felt quite distant as a child. I explained that this was a symptom of dysthymia. We then spent 30 minutes talking about how depression affects her.

Why people can't find past lives

I think that the undiagnosed depression completely explains her feelings of not belonging anywhere. It also explains her need to never give up control.

I have been doing quite a few past life regression is recently. Comparing my notes on each of them, I have come to the tentative conclusion that people who have no past life, or at least are not willing to allow themselves to submit to the idea of a past life, are actually people who are trying to keep control of their own consciousness. Their desire to stay in control is incompatible with letting go enough to experience past lives.

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super visualizer

Are you a super visualizer?

Are you a super visualizer?

This month's edition of Scientific American Mind deals with something which might be of interest to hypnotherapists. Recent research has shown that about 2% of the population are unable to visualize anything. When you ask them to recall say, what they had for breakfast this morning, they are incapable of picturing it in their mind's eye.

They are also unable to imagine the face of their children, or their kitchen, or the school they went to. Hypnotists have long known that some people do not respond well to hypnotic inductions that require them to visualise.

You don't have to be a super visualizer to go into trance

Hypnotists have also learned that you don't have to be able to visualise in order to be able to go into trance. Avoiding visualization words allows people to understand things in their own terms. You do not need to be able to see a picture of a staircase in order to imagine going deeper by going down one.

The new research has shown that people who cannot visualise are not handicapped. Many of these people have successful careers in design, programming and the arts. It appears that they have invented other ways of experiencing the world to make up for the fact that they cannot create a mental image.

In one test people were asked whether the grass was a darker or lighter green and a pine tree. Non-visualizes insisted that they were not seeing a pine tree grass, somehow they just knew that the pine tree was darker.

How to spot a Super Visualizer

The researchers developed a questionnaire which reliably classifies people who have aphantasia. MRI scans have shown that the brains of these people react differently when asked to visualize. The normal visual part of the brain shows almost no activity, but parts of the brain to do with decision-making and error prediction were busy.

It turns out that aphantasia has been known for more than 100 years but no one had ever bothered to look into it closely. Once it began to become widely known, hundreds of people came forward to say that they also could not visualise.

They had all assumed either that no one could, or that there were oddities. Most of them felt a great relief to know that there were actually thousands of people just like them.

Interestingly enough, at the other end of the scale there are people who are superbly good at visualising. This group has not been studied scientifically either.

Maybe this is something you should look out for in your clients?

 

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taste hallucinations

Why don’t you have Taste Hallucinations

Why don't you have taste hallucinations?

I had a client yesterday who told me that she cannot go to sleep without a radio playing or the TV on. This is a common behavior. Many people use music to drown out the sound of the voices in their head. Or more correctly, the feelings that they experience as if there were voices in their head.

And that got me thinking. Hearing sounds, words, or voices is very common. Visual hallucinations, seeing things or people who aren't there is the most common. They are not necessarily an indicator of a  serious mental condition.

But I have never come across an Oral hallucination. Why do people not get hallucinations of having a taste of banana in their mouth? Or curry, or any other taste? If the mind can produce the other types of hallucinations why not the taste one? In dreams we think we see and hear things, but I personally have never had a dream where I tasted something.

There is a condition called synesthesia where colors are experienced as smells, and noises as tastes. The various sensory pathways get switched over, but that is not really a hallucination. Tinnitus is an imagined roaring in your ears, but that also is not really a hallucination.

People with schizophrenia sometimes believe that they have an unpleasant smell in their nose, or a bad taste in their mouth. It seems never to be an actual food or a specific smell. These types of taste hallucinations are clearly associated with mental illness.

Can you hallucinate a strawberry?

I wonder if there has been any attempt to hypnotize people to experience tastes and smells? When stage hypnotists persuade people to eat an onion, is the subject just ignoring the taste of the onion? Could the hypnotist persuade the eater that the onion actually tastes of strawberry?

I personally can vividly picture a strawberry. I suppose I could imagine the sound of the food processor making a strawberry smoothie. But I cannot summon up a memory of what a strawberry smoothie tastes like. I recognize the taste, but I cannot recall it in advance.

Can other people summon up tastes on demand?

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website engaging

Is your website engaging?

Is your website engaging?

Telemedicine has been around for many years. But has not really been accepted by mainstream providers, or patients. We are actually behind developing countries, where it is sometimes the only thing available.

The problems are social, not technical. Providers are often not willing to invest in it. This is not just due to personal resistance. There are also problems with unfamiliarity, training, finding time, hardware and software needed. And structural constraints: liability, insurer regulations, professional body restraints of competition, problems with jurisdiction.

Patients have similar problems: access to suitable hardware and software, fear of the unknown, privacy issues, lack of support from insurers.

Making your website engaging

There is now an irresistible move  to connect caring professionals to their patients through online means. But before this can get started you have to have enough clients to make it worthwhile investing in the necessary infrastructure. This is not just having a computer and internet connection. Everyone has got that. You also need scheduling software, booking and payment methods. Many traditional doctors' methods are not easy to convert to something suitable for online intimacy.

Therefore, it is a chicken and egg thing. You need patients ready to sign up, but you need everything in place first before you can sign them up, and they won't sign up until they know you have everything ready for them.

Creating and engaging online presence

So the first move is for the providers to create an online presence, something that lets potential clients test the water so to speak. Each provider is setting out a welcome page designed to reassure the patient. This features a video profile of each health provider explaining who they are, their qualifications and outlining the sort oft thing they do. The patient can then shop around for someone they feel comfortable with, test out the connection quality and then make contact online when they are ready. At a minimum, every therapist should have a Skype or Zoom service.

For hypnotherapists the hardware and software already exists and is easy to use. Some hypnotists already use it, but few integrate it into their marketing plan. Maybe it is time for us to start to focus on creating a front page not as an internet business card, but as a website engaging with clients electronically?

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wearing your metaphor

Wearing your metaphor to hide your fears

Wearing your metaphor

It was a cold day earlier this week, and I had the heating in the office going full blast. I thought it was nice and warm, but my client came in and sat down in my big chair with a bulky coat on.

I invited her to hang it up, but she refused, saying she was feeling cold. It clearly wasn't cold and there was no logical reason to sit and get hypnotized wearing an overcoat.

But this client just sat there, all wrapped up. As we talked,  I asked her what she needed. She punctuated all her remarks by slapping the side of the chair as if batting away my inquiries.

I noticed from time to time she was swung her leg up as if kicking away some uncomfortable idea. She was pretty much refusing to reveal anything personal.

Signalling with clothes

Fortunately I had seen this before and I knew what to do. I have seen it at a dinner party in my house. One guest insisted she was cold and sat at the table eating dinner with her outside coat on.

She was later invited to other dinners with us. The next time did take her coat off, but wore a dress that came right up to her neck and covered her legs and arms completely.

At later dinners the dress became less severe. Her next dress had no arms, and then at the next dinner the dress was a bit shorter. Finally, she wore a dress that showed her shoulders but with a scarf there, just in case.

I am sure she was totally unaware of her own unconscious behavior. She was signalling that she was keeping all wrapped up in the presence of strangers, and only gradually let her guard down.

This was exactly what my client was doing: coming for help but keeping everything wrapped up, and slapping and kicking away all efforts to get her reveal anything. The metaphor couldn't have been more clear.

I was able to hypnotize her despite her reservations, and the session ended successfully.

But she still hadn't taken the coat off.

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professional development hypnotherapy

Professional Development Hypnotherapy Training

Professional Development Hypnotherapy Training

Recently I was a speaker at a training day for the members of the New Zealand Association of Professional Hypnotherapists. I am currently the Vice President nzaph.co.nz

The day was highly enjoyable and covered topics and techniques of interest to professional hypnotherapy.

After my presentation, the next speaker talked about a method of soul restatement, a therapy she has developed to deal with the sources of people's unhappiness. She outlined her theory. Then led everyone in the room on a journey of visualization. It is long time since I was on a guided visualization. I had forgotten how powerful it is. I enjoyed it immensely and learned a great deal.

Part of the membership requirements of NZAPH is to undertake professional supervision. The afternoon was given over to discussing the role of supervisors for practicing hypnotherapists.  It was good to learn from other supervisors about what they think the supervision relationship.

Professional development also includes marketing. One presenter talked about the role of social media in marketing for hypnotherapy businesses. Technology changes all the time. You need to keep up with how young people use the internet if you want to reach them.

Metaphor training

The final part trained us in the use of physical metaphor in therapy. In the first exercise we chose a toy from an assortment and then to justified the choice of that toy. We then tried to explain what it revealed about each person.

Then followed a fun exercise with playdough. The leader told each person to close their eyes and then model something out of the Playdough. The first task was  to represent an incident when they felt angry about something. Most people created something spiky.

Next, we had to model something that represented how we felt the last time our hearts were really touched by something wonderful. We created those models and discussed what they meant metaphorically.

Then we had to combine both models. The resulting change in feelings was quite spectacular.

Training days are often great fun. Make sure that you take every opportunity to attend anything on offer by your professional association.

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woebot

Woebots may be coming for your job

Woebots may be coming for your job

Woebots are artificial intelligence programs which advise  and counsel you. The best-known one is Siri. This is Apple's home assistant. You can ask it what the weather is going to be like this afternoon, you can ask who is going to win the big match, you can ask it where to get the cheapest curtains for your living room. You ask a question and it answers.

But almost half the conversations with Siri and Alexa, Amazon's equivalent, are actually conversations about emotions. People tell woebots like these about their stressful day, about how they feel about people at work, about how they really wish someone would phone them. More and more people live on their own, and have no one to talk to. So they talk to the woebots.

People will say, "I feel sad". Or "I am so lonely". And they expect the application to reply. It does reply. In fact all of this type of artificial intelligence conversational software has preprogrammed responses to questions like these. Google Assistant might reply to you "I wish I had arms to give you a hug". Or you might be told "Nobody said life was going to be easy. What do you think you could do?".

The arrival of the woebots

Talking to a machine has gone from seeming weird to being normal in many households. It is only a small step from telling Google Assistant "play me some upbeat music, I'm feeling down" to saying "I'm feeling down, how do I get out of this?".

And the machines are getting better and better at it. Artificial intelligence used to be about how to beat a chess grandmaster. The software learned from every game. It learned from its mistakes. Gradually, the software increased its playing skills until today chess programs are better than any human being.

Learning to play chess is different from learning how to counsel someone deep in grief. But the same basic principles apply. Do something, measure how well you did, change your next attempt, and see if it is better or worse.

This is not going to work terribly well between a machine and one person. But when the machine is learning from hundreds of thousands of people simultaneously it becomes a completely different situation.

Pretty much the same questions are being asked by hundreds of people at any one moment. The software understands multiple languages and is available in every country. Therefore the opportunities for learning are greatly increased. The software offers a response, and then analyses the reply. It does this over and over tirelessly, 24 hours a day. And it learns.

Your woebot counselor is here now

It is predicted that it will not be long before everyone has access to a conversational robot. Past experiments have shown that people will speak more freely to a machine than they will to a human being.  The machine doesn't judge you. The machine doesn't make you feel embarrassed. It has endless patience. It's always there for you. And it costs nothing.

That last point, that it is free and always there, is what should give concern to many in the caring professions. People go to counsellors very often just to have someone to listen to them. One of the primary benefits of counselling is just to allow people to unload how they feel.

If talking to a machine makes you feel good, then you will do more of it. The machines are getting better at giving helpful advice and encouragement. Why would someone go to a counsellor, if you can talk to a friendly understanding voice on your cell phone day or night?

Leave a comment
How could you convert this software into an asset in your practice?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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fetish shoes

Fetish Hypnosis Replacement

Can hypnosis be used to treat a fetish? A fetish is generally described as a sexual attraction towards an inanimate object or a particular, non-sexual part of the body. With a rubber fetish, a person gets sexually aroused by touching on wearing rubber garments. Leather fetish is very similar. One of the most common is a shoe fetish, getting sexual gratification from looking at shoes, handling shoes, smelling shoes.

Many years ago I had a client who had a fetish about rubber. The only thing he could remember that might account for this was a memory of having a tightly fitting rubber swimming cap when he was a child. At the time I was unable to help him, but I never forgot about him. I have always wondered at the origin of his problem.

Instant learning experience

I started thinking about this recently while I was telling someone about how I cleared phobias. He asked me where phobias came from. I explained that a phobia is an instant learning experience. An instant learning experience is something like touching a hot stove. You learn instantly that hot stoves burn and you never touch them again. However, some people don't just remember that they get burned, they get a lifelong fear of stoves. The exact mechanism of how this happens is not known.

Origins of a phobia

After many years of treating phobias it seems to me that there is a common element in acquiring a phobia. I think that the essential elements include an unexpected event, an intense feeling of threat, and the inability to get away or do anything about it. For example, bird phobia is very common.

It typically arises when a child is out with its mother, feeling safe enjoying themselves in some outdoor situation. And then suddenly they have a bird flying at them, wings flapping around them noisily, maybe even close on their hair. This generates an intense instant fear. When that is combined with the feeling of being unable to get away from the bird there is a potential to generate a phobia. The phobia is easily cleared by getting the person to experience the feeling of fear again, and then using metaphor replacement therapy to change the fear into something else.

Origins of a fetish

I believe that a fetish is simply the opposite of the phobia. Instead of experiencing an intense fear, I think the person gets a fetish by experiencing an intense sexual pleasure while doing something else, and the two things get linked.

Just as a phobia can be acquired from just about any random experience, so can a fetish. My old client with the rubber attraction probably at some point felt a strong sexual urge while simultaneously experiencing some rubber object. The two get linked in the brain in the same way that a phobia gets created. From then on any time the person experiences something made of rubber they are instantly reminded of the sexual feeling associated with it. I believe that this is the origin of a fetish.

Removing a fetish

If I am correct in this, then it suggests that a fetish can be removed in exactly the same way that a phobia is removed. Clinically, all one would have to do is to get the person to experience the positive feeling they get from their fetish object. Then apply metaphor replacement therapy to their representation of the feeling. Then change it from a positive feeling to a neutral feeling. That is exactly what hypnotherapists do with phobias. You take the negative feeling, represent it in some way, change the representation,  and the fear disappears. I see no reason why it should not work to change pleasurable feelings.

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