What Is the Mind?
The other day a friend of mine told me I was out of my mind and that he had recently lost his and later that day my daughter changed hers. So what is this thing ~ called the Mind? You can't see it, most doctors and scientists cannot tell you where it is, although we now have scientific evidence to show it's in every cell of your body. Therefore, all of our thinking and feeling -- all the things that go on in our minds is going on in every cell of our bodies! It makes perfect sense then, that our thoughts and feelings can make us feel sick or feel good!
The mind is known by different names depending on which part we are talking about: the conscious or the unconscious.
For humans, the mind is not so much an entity as a communication and storage system, operating very much like a computer. The conscious portion of the mind is similar to the RAM (temporary) memory compartment of the computer. and the unconscious (permanent) memory compartment is similar to the hard disk or permanent memory of the computer.
How Does the Mind Work?
Like the computer, these two compartments are used to store and process information, generally in the form of our thoughts, in different ways. We are completely aware of the first area, our conscious mind. It's the part we use when we are awake and when we are talking and thinking. The information and processing in the second compartment is done outside our awareness level and therefore, we have no idea about what is happening in this area. It is therefore known as the unconscious or subconscious. Both parts of the mind have very separate and important responsibilities.
The main responsibilities of the CONSCIOUS mind are:
1. Analytical Thinking
2. Rational Thinking
3. Will Power
4. Temporary Memory
5. Critical Faculty and Guard to the Unconscious
We use analytical thinking to determine the correctness or acceptability of incoming information. Rational thinking gives us a reason for what we do and feel. Neither rational or analytical thinking needs to have any factual basis and it usually doesn't. As long as we have some reason for why we do what we do, that's all we need.
Will power is a somewhat confusing subject and in reality, as a part of the conscious and therefore only "temporary", it has no real impact for us. Temporary memory is our way of storing the information we need at any given moment. If you need to dial your mother's phone number, assuming you know the number, the number moves from permanent storage (explained later) into your temporary memory and will stay there as long as you need it and when you're done, just returns to permanent storage.
The last and most important function of the conscious mind is the critical faculty and guard to the unconscious. This part of the conscious decides to accept or not accept information. It makes it's determinations based on what is already stored in the unconscious to support or reject new information or beliefs. This critical faculty is inherently lazy and is therefore inclined to permit negative information through before positive information.
The UNCONSCIOUS mind is far more complex. It is the place that your mother's phone number went to when you were through with it. The unconscious has many important responsibilities. It controls and monitors all your bodily functions plus:
1. Permanent Memory Storage
2. Maintenance of Your Habits
3. Storage of Your Emotions
4. Self Preservation (survival instinct) and
5. Storage of your belief systems ("I am smart, stupid, good, bad, successful, worthwhile, etc.)
Your unconscious mind holds all the memories and associated emotions that you've ever experienced. As very young children, nearly everything goes directly into the unconscious and becomes permanent because your CRITICAL FACULTY OR GUARD IS UNDEVELOPED. For instance, as an adult, you know your colors so that if someone directs you to a wall painted green and tells you to look at this "red" wall, you know that makes no sense and you do NOT now believe the wall is red. However, if you're only two years old and you haven't yet learned your colors and someone directs your attention to a wall painted green, calling it red, your response would be a simple okay. This is because your critical factor or faculty has not yet been developed for your colors.
Therefore, as little children, we are like sponges absorbing and holding onto all information that comes to us. Unfortunately, much of that information is misunderstood, misinterpreted, maybe not even meant for us in the first place (we overheard it) and often comes from inexperienced, well-meaning parents. Sometimes it comes from poorly informed grandparents, teachers and unkind siblings, neighbors, or playmates. If this negative information is not immediately and strongly corrected, it becomes a permanent part of us with it's unconscious message affecting us throughout our lives. It is these experiences, memories, information and misinformation that are the basis to what we believe about ourselves and it is these beliefs which like a Windows 98 operating system function unconsciously in our background directing our mind and body system to create health, happiness and success or the opposite! An experienced clinician who knows how to go right to the source of your negative and destructive information and the resulting beliefs can rapidly correct them.
Clinical Hypnotherapy is the only way to access the unconscious, the key to our Psychoneuroimmunology System and EMT makes it a faster, more comfortable process.
PSYCHONEUROIMMUNOLOGY (PNI) – The only real road to healing!
It has been determined that the underlying source of nearly ALL emotional and physiological health is based on an individual's level of self esteem. Your self esteem or notion of worthiness to be happy, healthy, loved, etc. is stored on a cellular level and now recognized as the Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) System which functions as an unconscious operating system affecting all phases of our emotion health, physiological health and overall productive functioning in life.
An individual's self esteem is largely developed during the first five years of life and is the result of one's interpretation and misinterpretation of environmental surroundings and events. The individual who has developed a healthy self esteem can, through trauma, experience the destruction or deterioration of self esteem which manifests or triggers a wide range of emotional and physiological symptoms including anxiety, depression, panic attacks, fears and phobias, nightmares, flashbacks, chronic pain and illness-- the gamut of symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. The clinical community, however, largely ignores the more subtle degradation of the individual's self esteem, also a form of PTSD. Indeed, it can be shown that all forms emotional and physiological disturbances originate from some form of post-traumatic stress.
Clinical Hypnotherapy and in particular, Transpersonal Clinical Hypnotherapy is the only means to access the unconscious which the effects are trauma are stored and to correct the destructive beliefs and symptoms which are developed.
Mind-Body science has been the core process of Clinical Hypnotherapy long before it's practitioners were aware of the clinical science behind the mechanism they were using. The entertainment and publishing industry with spy thrillers, intrigue, stage shows and mystery novels have all but destroyed the powerful healing image so rightfully deserved by this technique.
In order to bypass the erroneous fears of the general public, practitioners have developed a multitude of hypnosis "derivatives" including guided imagery, biofeedback, meditation, etc. Not until Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School introduced his "Relaxation Response", another minor derivative of hypnosis, has the technique of Mind-Body medicine achieved legitimacy.
Dr. Benson created what the underfinanced hypnosis industry never could: mainstream clinical data. Although using only a small portion of the capabilities of Clinical Hypnotherapy, Dr. Benson's clinical findings were nothing less than astounding. Particularly since it was all premeditated on just relaxation.
The pressure of the public, increasingly dissatisfied with the ineffectiveness and expense of medication which only covers up symptoms, almost never heals anything, and brings with it a whole host of side effects more dangerous than the condition it is supposed to correct; triggered the National Institutes of Health creation of a Mind-Body Research Department which started with a $10 million grant about five years ago.
Scientists discovered and revealed the key to Mind-Body Science: that every cell containing neuropeptides (most of our cells) contains a "mind" and communicates with other cells through the release of chemical neurotransmitters. With this revelation, they were finally able to scientifically substantiate why the thoughts and beliefs cycling in our minds, translate into feelings and physical responses ranging from anxiety to depression and a suppressed immune system to actual pain and disease.
It was therefore deduced that in order to heal disease, we must heal the causes of disease: the destructive beliefs affecting our expectations stored in the unconscious department of our mind cells. You might be saying to yourself that this new science means we should then just be able to"think" ourselves well – which obviously doesn't work. It is possible IF you are thinking with the right department of your mind. Most of our "aware" thinking occurs in the conscious which has NO ability to affect change and instead keeps us locked in our current state. The only way to bypass the conscious and reach the unconscious to make corrections is through the technique of hypnosis – no matter what you want to call it.
To avoid the public's negative baggage with this term, and to boost scientists' ownership of this new "science", scientists developed their own term for "their new findings": psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). Broken down, mind (psycho), communications (neuro) and immune system (immunology), the term encompasses their "new" understanding. The mind influences the immune system to effect our overall health.
That which is cycling around in your unconscious mind - that's right "unconscious"-- you are not aware of it except by its results; directly effects the physiology of your body. The single most important thing cycling around in your unconscious mind is the belief you developed while growing up of whether or not you deserve to be happy, healthy, and successful. Your core belief system functions as YOUR operating system just like Windows–in the background--runs your computer. In your computer, once it boots up, you have no concept of what's going on with Windows unless something goes wrong with the program you are using. Similarly, we don't consciously know what is running in OUR operating system, except by the external results. Are you generally happy? Are you generally healthy? Are you generally successful? Whatever your answer, it is based on YOUR internal operating system's beliefs.
Positive beliefs become deconstructed through real or perceived traumatic events and consistent negative input. The deconstruction process is also addressed in the TRAUMA section. The unconscious, where we hold our beliefs, when directly accessed can easily be rehabilitated because the unconscious cannot tell the difference between reality and vividly imagined (which must include the associated emotions) scenarios. But even this will seem to be an oversimplification for most individuals. The best way to understand how we function to be well or ill, happy or not, is to The Institute's seminar on this subject.
1Most scientists and practitioners use the term "subconscious", however, "unconscious" is more accurate.
HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL &
DEACONESS HOSPITAL, Boston, MA
Eighty percent of hypertensive patients have lowered blood pressure and decreased medications -16 percent are able to discontinue all of their medications. These results lasted at least three years. Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, Volume 9, pages 316-324, 1989
Women with severe PMS have a 57 percent reduction in physical and psychological symptoms. Obstetrics and Gynecology, Volume 75, pages 649-655, April 1990
Seventy-five percent of insomnia patients become normal sleepers and 90 percent reduce or entirely eliminate sleep medications.
Behavioral Medicine, Volume 5, pages 111-117, 1989
Chronic pain patients reduce their physician visits by 36 percent. The Chronic Journal of Pain, Volume 2, pages 305-310, 1991
Infertile women have a 34 percent conception rate, (compared to only 20 percent with in vitro fertilization), and decreased levels of depression, anxiety and anger. Fertility and Sterility, Volume 58, pages 144-147, 1992
High school students exposed to a relaxation response-based curriculum significantly increased their self-esteem. The Journal of Research and Development in Education, Volume 27, pages 226-231 , 1994
*Visualization, as is used at the Center, is an initial stage to the natural state of hypnosis.
Trauma -- most of us have experienced some. Who hasn't been in a car accident, a house fire, been fired from a job, been sued, lost a loved one or even a beloved pet, been mugged? Who hasn't been inadvertantly given repeated negative messages like "you're stupid," "you're a failure," "you're too fat," "you're clumsy," "you'll never amount to anything?"
And there are the really bad traumas like child abuse, rape, war, bombings, devastating tornados and hurricanes .... floods. We're told that these are the tough life experiences that toughen us up ... make us stronger. Well, they're supposed to, but it doesn't necessarily happen automatically. We do become stronger, but not just by going through a bad experience, but by conquering it.
Some individuals are fortunate enough to accomplish this on their own in a relatively short period of time. Many have successfully or unsuccessfully attempted months and years of traditional therapy. The important thing is to process our traumas to the point where a healthy, positive attitude and outlook on life develops.
Unfortunately, many never get to that point. For some, a traumatic experience can feel so overwhelming that the response is to try to ignore it and force yourself to "forget about it." Although this may seem like a good idea, temporarily appearing to provide relief, nothing has been accomplished inside. The thoughts, feelings, and images related to the traumatic event continue to be intense and powerful. This can lead to symptoms which include anxiety, depression, stress, anger, depression, repetitively intrusive thoughts and images, nightmares, apathy and an inability to function. Many experts now realize that the vast majority of emotional and even physical problems are symptoms of traumas that have not been effectively processed.
Not everybody who has been traumatized develops post-traumatic stress syndrome. But many notice changes they don't like. This is generally an indication that the traumatic memory was not properly worked through, but has become "stuck". Without appropriate help, this condition can last indefinitely. In the past, with traditional approaches, the condition may remain permanent. Many trauma victims have been told that they simply have to learn to live with their debilitating memories and the symptoms that result.
But there is good news. There is a new approach that helps people to quickly work through a traumatic memory, often in one or two sessions! The method is called "eye movement therapy" or EMT.
AEMT is based on the unconscious beliefs we store.
In conjunction with Clinical Hypnotherapy, Eye Movement Therapy (EMT) is an advanced form of trauma release, sometimes compared with the internationally acclaimed approach (EMDR) to facilitate healing the underlying causes of post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression and so much more.
The implementation of various eye movements to release emotions actually began over 1000 years ago with Buddhist monks who used the technique to improve their meditation by clearing their minds and creating a deep sense of well-being.
After the Oklahoma City bombing, the FBI selected a now inferior form of eye movement (EMT) techniques, known as EMDR as the treatment for the survivors, their families and rescue workers. Teams of EMDR Clinicians currently travel around the world helping victims of war and disaster. Over 40,000 clinicians have been trained in various levels of EMDR but only a handful enjoy the advanced training acquired by Ms. Ritter.
Ms. Ritter has developed a superior delivery system that substantially improves mainstream EMDR.
Clinical Hypnotherapy, approved by the American Medical Association in 1958, completes the rapid healing process and achieves results not available through traditional talk and medication routes.
And perhaps best of all, one need not fear negative side effects!
• Excessive Anger
• Difficulty Focusing
• Hypersensitivity to a variety of stimuli
• Hyper vigilance
• Chronic pain and illness
• Feelings of hopelessness and being worthless
Examples of Traumatic Events:
Being a victim of or observing
• rape, abuse
• natural disaster
• job loss
• serious illness
• auto accident
• repeated direct or indirect negative and destructive messages
1Most scientists and practitioners use the term "subconscious", however, "unconscious" is more accurate.
2The definition of hypnosis is "direct access of the unconscious."
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
What is therapy like?
Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. People seeking healing are willing to take responsibility for their lives and are willing to cooperate in the easy process of healing offered by my techniques.
- Compassion, respect and understanding
- Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
- Proven technique that facilitate permanent healing
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
Except for short term help through a crisis giving you time to locate a professional, medicate cannot heal you. Medications can only temporarily cover up symptoms and come with very dangerous risks including suicide.
Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
Insurance is not accepted. Any reimbursement included in your insurance coverage will go directly to you. Payment is required at the time of each appointment.
To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.
However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.