Taken from a presentation to the Northern California
Society of Clinical Hypnosis Society. It was taped by them and
Green People Productions. This contains selected selections that
contain important information on how Self Acceptance, hypnosis
and Eidetic Imagery fit together. There is pertinent information
on the current questions about memory and historical accuracy.
..... indicates words or a section left out.
(Introduction and Remarks)
In the name of Allah the Compassionate, we will begin. . . . My approach is to do some didactic work in which I lecture and explain and then I get into demonstration work. After each person has worked with me, I will ask if there is any personal sharing.....
My work for the last 20 years has been called Self Acceptance Training, and I haven't deviated from that, I haven't changed from that. All of the modalities that I have enough training in, that I feel competent in them, are all under that umbrella of Self Acceptance Training. It includes the Gestalt work, the energy flow work, Bioenergetic work, which, by the way, doesn't mean that you have to be doing a lot of exercises to be working bioenergetically. For me the main part of Bioenergetics is energy flow and the perception and working with energy even though the person is simply sitting very still. So you see, that can be combined with hypnosis. For me hypnosis is simply a tool which is used in various contexts. It is, I think, very often used in the context of behavior modification, which is something I don't use very much. But hypnosis can be used with Gestalt, it can be used with Bioenergetic work. Bioenergetics is simply to look at it from the point of view of energy flow. It can be used with practices which we associate with the shamanic tradition, which is also something that might come up here. And it certainly can be used with Eidetic Imagery. And I am going to give most of my attention to it in terms of Eidetic Imagery. But I want to clarify my definition of Self Acceptance. Self Acceptance for me is not self understanding, which people often think I mean. Self understanding may come incidentally as a by product, but it is not the constitution of Self Acceptance. Self Acceptance is certainly not self approval, and it certainly is not resignation. Self Acceptance rather is simply experiencing myself without judgment or criticism. That is a very simple statement of it. The formal definition is that Self Acceptance is the experiencing of myself in any given moment without the inhibition of self criticism, self evaluation or self judgment. Self approval, the search for self approval, is the end of Self Acceptance. Because it places one part of me in the position of being a judge and the other in the position of being judged. Resignation is a negative form, actually a form of self denial, not self acceptance. Resignation is judging myself, so again I am split, and not liking what I see and then coming to the decision that since I can't change it, I won't do anything about it, I will just put up with it. That is a form of self denial. Self understanding again, I understand you, and who is you, or who is me. Again there is the split into the understander and the understood. In experiencing myself, I come into fullness, I am integrated. I am not split into the approver and the approver, the judge and the judged, the condemnor and the condemned, the understander and the understood. I simply am one who is experiencing. It is my experience years ago, and I started to come to this view about 20 years ago and called my work Self Acceptance about 1973 or '74. I began to announce that I did Self Acceptance Training as a modality. That will always be in the background. Because the work I do here is not aimed at leading the person primarily into self approval, or self understanding, or resignation. But it is moving primarily in the direction of experiencing himself or herself as she or he is at that given moment.
Now in terms of eidetics, the reason I got so excited about Eidetic Imagery, and Eidetic Psychotherapy, when I first encountered it in 1982, at the American Academy of Psychotherapy Conference in Washington DC. I had made a presentation there and when my stint there was finished I was drawn into other presentations and I was drawn into a room that said EIDETIC IMAGERY. I didn't know beans about it. The word imagery caught me. I went in and I was immediately fascinated, ... and I have increasingly since that time explored this, and for the last four years or so very intensely, with Dr. Ahsen and with reading and doing a lot of exploration on my own by practicing, of course. The reason I find this such an elegant way of working is because the essence of Eidetic Imagery is the experience. I am going to, by defining it, get into comparisons of other ways to look at imagery that are not from the eidetic point of view. Because we can have many different kinds of images.
So let me plunge in. I want to make several distinctions for you. I want to make a distinction between memory and the eidetic image. I want to make a distinction between the Image as an eidetic experience and image as symbol. And also I will say something about the image as it is used in Eidetics and the way it is used in Behavior Modification. So let me begin by talking about the triple code model of the image. And you all understand what I mean by an image. Some of you, if I asked for an image perhaps would come up, not with an image but with a meaning, with a thought, or a concept. An image is always specific, a concept is generalized. One of the problems that we have, and one of the problems that we see with people who come to us for help, is that they are often unable to experience images, which means that they are unable to have a direct experience of something specific. They seem to be capable, some of them, of only experiencing a concept. This is something like the old joke about going to a fine restaurant and eating the menu. And that is precisely what it is like. Dealing with the concepts which I have been calling semantic reality, a term I got from Joseph Chilton Pierce, who wrote A crack in the cosmic egg, and Exploring the crack in the cosmic egg. . . They are old books but I recommend them. They are really very good. I borrow from him the term semantic reality. I think that is an excellent way of putting it. It is the reality of concepts and ideas and generally of words, of descriptions, as opposed to what he calls primary process, which I have been calling direct experience. The triple code model of the Eidetic Image is I-S-M. It is often presented as a triangle with the point at the top, two points at the base and one on top. If you make such a triangle, on the left you make an I at the base, on the right side on the base you put a S, and at the top you put an M for meaning. This represents the image. The S represents the somatic response, and I is the image. If you look at this, you see why this triple code model preserves the image as an actual experience. You have the image, then you have the body experience, which means both sensation and emotion, because, I'll say, in my book, that emotions are complexes that are made up of sensations and judgments. For example, the emotion of fear is: this threatens me and I must escape. This is a judgment, but then there are all kinds of purely somatic responses connected with that. Certain tightenings and certain motor impulses which I may or may not inhibit. Even if I inhibit them, they are still there. And the emotion of anger is the same judgment "this threatens me" plus the judgment "and I must destroy it." This is the fight or flight syndrome. But the emotion is also a somatic response. So when we have a S there, we mean both emotions and sensations. And sometimes in working with this, you are aware of the emotions of a client, or with yourself, because you certainly can do this. Eidetic Image Psychotherapy is presented by Dr. Ahsen as method of self analysis, of working with your self, with your own consciousness. And then you have the meaning, which is intellectual. Now it is this business of the S, down in the right hand corner, the emotional sensational response, which precedes the meaning, which makes the image an experience, an actual life experience, and this is what makes it so very powerful, because, as they used to say in Kansas, experience is the best teacher. I know that that is an old saw, but it is true that experience is the best teacher. Eidetic Imagery actually is an experience. It is the experience of an image. And out of that experience, the meaning evolves.
You see why this fits so perfectly with what I have been saying about Self Acceptance. If we define Self Acceptance as experiencing myself without the inhibition of self judgment. That is precisely what you have here in the eidetic image, you have an experiencing of yourself in an image, that is, in a situation, and that experience means something to you. Let us contrast that with using images as symbols.
When you use an image as a symbol, I have the image and I skip the S, the somatic response, or I treat it incidentally, without going through the process of experiencing the somatic response and letting the meaning emerge from that. I can do it either way, and two people who might imagine that they are doing the same kind of therapy with images, might actually be doing something quite different. Because if the one person goes from the image to the somatic response, and lets the meaning evolve. That is very different from the other person who goes directly from the image to the meaning. The symbolism involves the image and the meaning. For me there is this important point omitted.
.. . Hillman's book, Re-visioning Psychology, I am paraphrasing, "when we work with an image, if we symbolize it, we begin to kill the image." If I have an image of a snake, and I begin to symbolize it as kundalini energy, or sexually, or wisdom, or eternal renewal because a snake renews its skin every year, or evil, the wicked one, the devil. There are five different symbols that are available. If I immediately symbolize the snake, I kill the snake, I kill the image and am simply left with the meaning. This very well puts the point that I am making.
So it is possible to be a Jungian, and be very much involved with images, and be either going from the image to the symbol, or going from the image to the somatic response and then to the meaning. In my book it could be done either way but it seems to be to be different processes at work there.
It is the somatic response that makes the eidetic image a living experience, as opposed to simply being a symbol. Or, as in the case that an image is used as a symbol in behavior modification, it might be a means of achieving control. This is the great difference between eidetic imagery and behavioristic imagery. In Behaviorism, the symbolism is brought up for the purpose of controlling behavior, changing and controlling behavior. And that may be a perfectly valid motive, I have no quarrel with that. In the eidetic image, there is not the attempt to control a predetermined behavior, to move from A to B. But the eidetic image has a life of it's own, and what comes out of it comes out of it, which again, makes it like an actual life experience, as we think of life experience. We have an experience and out of that experience we experience that somatically and make conclusions out of it and our behavior may be altered by it. But the altered behavior simply follows naturally. It is not a thing that is thought out in advance, leading to a predetermined desired behavior. That is a very important difference. If I were to evaluate those two approaches, I would say that the Behavioristic approach is limited, because it is limited to simply altering behavior into a preconceived pattern. Whereas with the eidetic image, you are simply going with what comes. It is, well, the sky is the limit, as they used to say in Kansas. They always say it there, you know, the sky is the limit. It is open ended. It seems to me that it much richer and potentially deeper approach.
The last comparison that I want to make is between the eidetic image and memory, which is extremely important. I have done workshops in the past on eidetic imagery, which I have called freedom from memory. Because we all are all slaves of our memory. We say that our memory is the record of our actual life experience and therefore it is real. Actually our memory is very unstable and unreliable. I am sure that most of you would agree to that. Nietche says that Memory and Pride are at war. Memory says it was so and so and Pride says it was so and so and Pride always win. Our memories change so that they become more palatable to us. Even memories which we call traumatic are that way because often we cling to traumatic memory because we get some sort of pay-off from it. We get a justification of why we are allowed to be sorry for ourselves, or justification why we can demand this or that from life. Very often this is there subtly. So memory as a matter of fact is not completely reliable, many times memory is completely unreliable. And the reason that it is unreliable not merely because with the passage of time we tend to vary it or change it, but it is unreliable because it is so selective. I would image that if four or five of you got together over lunch and talked about what happened this morning, you would have a certain amount of agreement, but on specifics, you would have no agreement. It would probably be very different. This is generally true of memory.
But because we put our faith in memory and trust it, and we think that it is the truth, it tyrannizes us. It is as if we wear shackles of memories. Each of us has a photo album and it says "My Life." Dick Olney. We start to go through this album. And we see snapshots and posed pictures and all kinds of pictures. And this is my life and when I look back on my life, this is what I see. I have relatively few snapshots in that book. The total adds up to quite a bit but of what is available, it is a mere fraction.
If I am registering impressions, I have forgotten the figure of how many impressions per second, but I know it is much more than one. So if I am registering only one, in my life I would have registered 60 in a minute times 60 for an hour times 24 for a day times 365 for a year times seventy five for my present age. That is a hell of a lot of impressions that could be called up as memories. I have a mere fraction. And if you think about your own memory bank, think about your childhood. I venture to say that most of you will have relatively few memories. These are the ones that when you think of your childhood that come up again and again and again. You have, one, a general impression, a concept, and then to back it up, a number of specific memories, but very, very few.
And with each of those memories, if you think about it for just a few moments, you know in advance what those memories mean. If you think about it, here is a good one and here is a bad one, and you know in advance. I might say, "Remember your ninth birthday?" and you say, "Oh yes, that was a happy one." And then you start to remember it. You know what the memory means before you recall the memory. This is opposite of the eidetic image, where you have the image first, then the somatic response, and only then the meaning comes. "Everybody loves me" or whatever the case may be. Now because our memories are so selective and so edited, each in itself that they are not accurate, but because we give them complete authority. This is the reality of my life, we are bound by them. And the Eidetic Image, one important thing that it does is to free you from that bondage. And people who experience an eidetic image will say with respect to their childhood, and we may see that, will report later that other memories (people will say, "My childhood was a horror. I don't have a single good memory of it) they develop a single eidetic image which is loving and pleasurable for them, they tend to develop memories that hadn't registered, or rather memories that registered but that were not available. They couldn't be accessed. I did this just recently with someone in a recent workshop here in Berkeley and the person had a pleasant eidetic image of a childhood and then I made these remarks about how this eidetic image might call up memories that were pleasant that had been blocked. I said this to the person and the person smiled at me and said it has happened already. I have already had one. So this is what happens. It opens us memories that we might be blocking. But more important than that, and this is something that is very central to the way that I work, it begins to change my self image. Remember, I have an eidetic image of my childhood that is pleasurable and meaningful for me, and I don't mean one that I make up, it is one that comes out of me. That image now begins to change my self image. This is axiomatic, Dick's axiom: all behavior, in the global sense of what I do and say and what I think and feel is the manifestation of the self image.
All behavior is a manifestation of the self image. So when I am working and someone wants to stop smoking and say, "I understand that you do hypnosis, can you do that?" I say, "Well it has worked for quite a few people so we could try it. I do not use trance to ask them to see themselves as a nonsmoker under trance because that is behavior modification. Neither do I give them the adversive re-enforcement, dying of lung cancer or something like that. Or what is worse, having people in the image turning up their noses in disgust because you smell like cigarettes. Instead of doing that I work with their self image and attempt to facilitate a change in which they stop seeing themselves as smokers, and begin to see themselves as a non-smoker. The strategy is very simple. What do smokers do? They smoke, and in the same situation what do non smokers do? They don't smoke. Now if I see myself as a smoker, I will do what smokers do, and If I see myself as a non-smoker I will do what nonsmokers do. And so the Eidetic Image can begin to change that all important self image which manifests itself as the personality, and as my behavior. This is another aspect of getting free of the bondage and tyranny of memory. Do you have any questions? You are not all going into trance now, are you?. . .
With that much of a definition of it, let me come to a generalized definition of the term eidetic. The term comes from the Greek word Eide.
The Eides were images, the word idea comes from this. Where images which the classical Greeks called the friends of the gods, they were gifts of the gods. If you re-read the Iliad and the Odyssey, as I did this spring, and by the way, if you are going to re-read it, I would recommend you get hold of a recent translation by Fitzgerald, .. it is magnificent. And in that, Athena, or Apollo, or Hera, or Aphrodite are always appearing or talking to somebody. What I imagine happened here is not that the gods really appeared to people so often, but that rather people would get inspired images, the idola, they call them. They get these inspired images and believe that Athena or Apollo had planted it in them or talked to them. ....
The word was then coined as a modern word in the research that was being done in the twenties and thirties into something they called the eidetic image. Now if you are not aquatinted with Dr. Ahsen's definition of the eidetic image which I have given to you as the I-S-M. Then perhaps you have run into it in its older sense as meaning a very vivid image, and that is the way I first learned that word before I wandered into that workshop. An eidetic image was simply a very clear image bordering on what we call a positive hallucination. "I remember that and it was as if I was actually there. I could hear it and taste it and smell it beside seeing it. And they believe that most children have this eidetic quality naturally and that as we get older, we begin to lose it. Except for a few people, like musicians, for example, or others that may have photographic memory. That is the way the word was used primarily.
Now Akhter Ahsen, in the middle sixties, I think about 1965 was his first publication. And I think this was published by a Pakistani publishing house. He is an Asian. He was born in Kasmir, and was brought up as a Muslim. He is very much an alive western American. He has added all that on. He lives in Yonkers, NY, which is almost as funny as living in Milwaukee Wisconsin, where I am from. In the middle sixties, he began to present his concept of Eidetic Psychotherapy and began to write books then. And for him, the eidetic is not a vivid image at all. It may be extremely vivid, and in their vividness they can be very pleasurable. But an eidetic image may also be unvivid. And one of his interesting articles that he has written is on the unvividness paradox. The fact that unvividness is not merely the absence of vividness, but is a positive quality in itself, which is significant. So if you have a great deal of difficulty in, for example, calling up the image of the parent, if your parental images are consistently unvivid, then that is extremely significant because it suggests conflict and blocking.
And Akhter Ahsen has done some interesting work around this. For example he has studied the quality of unvivid images as very powerful advertising. And you are all familiar with ads which make their point by having in their illustration or in the headline the point they want to make, illustrated more by its absence than its presence (for example, "_ingle _ells" ad for J&B Scotch). This is the significance of the unvivid image. So you see, this is a tremendous departure from the older meaning, where the eidetic image is simply an image which is particularly vivid (tape change).
... It was an experience and has the quality of changing your life, of making you see things differently, and therefore of behaving differently.
Let's draw another difference between this and behaviorism. . . In image therapy, there are four possible combinations of two qualities, one is vividness of the image, and the other is control of the image. The most effectiveness image, in this model which I am giving you right now, is very high in vividness and very high in control. You can make it do what you want to do. And that is an important thing. Because if you want to see yourself as a non-smoker and you keep seeing yourself as a smoker, that is not going to work. So, great vividness, clarity, with great control, that is the best you can have. The next best you can have is vagueness with good control. The third, less desirable, is poor vividness and poor control. And the least desirable is great vividness and poor control because then they say that the image has run away, you have no control. That is very different from the eidetic approach, where the image is usually not controlled. Sometimes suggestions can be made, but basically the eidetic image has a life of its own. And this is why the Greeks thought it was something that came from the gods. It was something that they didn't control. .
I have defined the eidetic image, I have defined the triple mode model for you. I want to say a little bit more about describing and defining memory. Memory is fixed. Contrasting it with the eidetic image, memory is fixed and unchanging. If you will right now check on your childhood memories, I think that you will find that, indeed, you get one snapshot, like my ninth birthday, and you immediately check it out. "That was great. That was wonderful. That was a good birthday." Something else that was traumatic or unhappy for you, you will have the same kind of response. It is a fixed snapshot.
The eidetic image, in contrast to this, is a moving picture. It starts out and it develops and, the more you look, it keeps changing. And you will find as you are working with people, using eidetic images, they are going along with something, and you start to say something and they start to smile and say, "Oh, it's changed." And in that case you go along with it, you just follow the change.
So, the memory is frozen and fixed. And the meaning is pre-determined. The eidetic image is fluid and changing, like a moving picture, and the meaning emerges as you experience it, somatically, with your feelings (both your sensations and your emotions).
I want to mention something about the types of eidetic images now. One that is most important, and that is worked with a great deal, is our parental images. I think that in many different modalities, many different therapies, there would be agreement that parental images are of primary importance. I think that would be generally accepted.
But now we have to distinguish between the parental image that is memory, which is fixed, and the parental image as a flowing eidetic image, an image that changes and develops. Another important aspect is that we value memory because we image that it is historically accurate. As I said, and I think most of you will agree with me, a great many memories are not historically accurate. And you run into that all the time with your clients, they have memories that aren't so, but they believe they are so. For the eidetic image, historical accuracy is irrelevant.
The important thing here for you, if you want to learn to work with this modality, is that you will have to begin to modify your views about how important historical accuracy is. Historical accuracy is of primary importance, if you were a judge hearing a case, if you were a defense lawyer or prosecutor, or if you were a social worker going out and exploring a case. Historical accuracy would be of primary importance.
But if you are interested, either for yourself or for one of your clients in changing the quality of their life, changing the quality of their life experience, historical accuracy becomes far less importance. For example, a person comes to you, presenting complaints: "I feel very insecure in my profession. I can't do it. I don't feel worthy of it. I can't do it. Trouble sleeping at night. I do all these things which tend to be self destructive. And I connect that with a sense of shame, and fear, and rage that I have because when I was six years old, I was sexually molested by an uncle (or it could be anyone)." Okay, too often the emphasis in this situation, is trying to get the person to remember more accurately. Which is what we say, "more accurately", what we are actually doing is trying to get the person to remember more vividly, and it is not accurately at all. It is simply more vivid. And one of the most serious errors that I think I can commit is to imagine that vividness of memory makes it true. It doesn't at all. And you all know, you all know that if a person comes to you and says, "I think I was molested as a child, I don't remember it, but I just have a strong feeling." (Dick mimics a conversation) "When did you get this strong feeling?" "Couple of years ago I read an article about how common child molestation is (or saw it on television) and as I was reading that article ( or as I was looking at the TV show) I suddenly got a real strong feeling that that is what happened to me. And I am not sure who did it, whether it was my father, or a brother, or a neighbor, but I got a real strong impression that it happened to me." "Okay, what can I do for you? What would you like out of this session?" "I want you to hypnotize me. I understand you can hypnotize people and regress them and take them back. I want you to regress me so that I will recall that incident so that I can see who did it and how it happened." "I am sure that most of you will agree that in that set-up, if you hypnotize that person and suggest that they will recall a memory, that they will indeed recall it. Do you? Even though it never happened. And that is why I think it is wise not to accept as evidence things that is recovered in that way. Because the subject is very likely to have that "memory" even if it is not accurate.
Cl: How do you know that it didn't happen?
Dick: You don't know that it didn't happen. And that leads me to what I was just going to say. If a person comes to me and says that, "I have this impression, I am sure that this happened to me." I don't say, "Oh but you are not imaging that." I would never say that. Instead I would look at the situation and see what I see. I see a person who is being made uncomfortable and is engaging in behavior that is not in that person's best interest: self destructive or destructive to others even. Because this person is somewhere dealing with images of being molested as a child. That is true. Can you see the difference between recognizing, and therefore beginning to work, with the fact that this person has this image, which is very real to that person, and the question as to whether it is historically accurate. Can you see that these are two different things. Here is a person who was molested as a child, and can't prove it, but has a strong impression, and the fact of the matter is that this person was molested as a child. It is true. Here is a person who was not molested as a child, but who also has a strong impression that he or she was molested as a child. What is different between them? One, that something actually happened here didn't happen here. And how can you tell the difference? You can't tell the difference. What do they have in common that you can work with? They have a self image of having been molested. And that is what I would work with. And that is what I would work with eidetically. And that is what I would work with using a very strong image that I call a wipe-out fantasy, that I incidentally developed before I had ever heard of eidetic psychotherapy. In order to change a self image. Simply trying to recall more and more clearly the traumatic experience, whether it is historically true or not, is likely to drive it deeper.
You ask the question, "What is this person's problem?" The problem is not that the person was years ago molested. Because you don't know whether or not it happened. A very present problem, which has been present for a number of years, is this impression, this image is here and that is what is causing the problem. Now the next question is, "What is that self image?" It is the self image of helplessness. And when the self image of helplessness is depotentiated, and whatever is it's opposite image is in effect, the person's problems cease. . .
Q: Are you saying that it never happened?
Dick: Let's say that the person can validate that it actually happened. What happened now is that the image is still there but now it is there more vividly, more strongly than ever. You still haven't dealt with the problem. The problem is not that it once happened. The problem is that when it happened, or when that was suggested, either way, it resulted in an experience in which a person views as degrading, cruel, unfair, all the negatives, and being in the face of that situation totally helpless. Do I make myself a little clearer?
Q: Do you see a value in the catharsis of remembering abuse?
Dick: I am not very strong on catharsis. I used to be. When Janov published the Primal Scream twenty years ago, I was impressed and I was doing a lot of work with tennis rackets and screaming, "Die, die, die." Standard Bioenergetic exercises. I am aware now that that can actually intensify the problem. I am no longer of the cathartic school. . .
There are times when it is important and valuable. The person who has never dared to do that. Doing that. Screaming and yelling, etc. And being cathartic in that sense. If he or she has never dared to do that, to do it is a great educational step. Simply to do it. But after they have done it two or three times? Then they start to role play it. They start to perform. They are not expressing any more. So my use of catharsis is limited to just that.
We will get more into the use of images now. I want to define bi-polarity for you. A very important aspect of eidetic images is the bi-polarity of images. Now this is nothing new to you. It is simply the idea of yin and yang, but it is a tremendously important factor in actual practice. This is another reason why eidetic imagery and eidetic psychotherapy fits so well into my own model which I call self acceptance training. Because the last thing that eidetic imagery is, is an exercise in denial, an exercise is saying, "Everything is rosy, don't look at this, look at that." Actually in working with the bi-polarity of images that is precisely where you end up. You stop looking at this image and you begin to see the other image. You allow both image to be present alternatively. And you start with the negative image. Only after you have accepted the negative image (using my definition of acceptance now), after you have experienced it as I-S-M. Not only the image but also the unpleasant somatic response and you know the unpleasant meaning, do you then look at the opposite, at the polar image. Let me be very definite about this. If we were doing this in a behavioristic way, I, as a therapist would give you a positive image to look at, which is supposed to then change your behavior. This is something that we almost never do, working eidetically. Instead I would ask you to look at the negative image, the negative state, not to glance at it, but to look at it more and more and more. Really stay with it, without shrinking away from it. And if you would do that, you will be able to discover, coming out of your own unconscious, what the polar image is.
See this point very clearly. The polar image, the positive image, when you are working with the negative is not given to you by the therapist, is not suggested. It arises in you. This coincides exactly with an axiom, another axiom of Dick Olney, of Self Acceptance Training, that "when I feel bad, if I allow myself to feel worse, I can begin to feel better." And strange as it may seem, this is it. The thing that keeps me feeling bad is my attempt not to feel bad. Pain has been defined as the anguish which comes from trying not to feel a sensation. So all images are polar.
Now Akhter Ahsen uses the image of the pendulum, which is interesting because back in the '60's, I heard Fritz Perls use exactly the same metaphor of the pendulum. When the pendulum is at rest in the middle, Perls calls this the point of creative indifference, or sometimes the creative midpoint. Creative indifference because you can go either way, negative or positive. Creative indifference because being able to go either way is a creative state to be in. Then both Fritz and Akhter say that the pendulum tends to be pulled over here and simply hang in the negative. Now they both use the same principle. Fritz called it exaggerating what is. This is one of the basic principles of gestalt practice, "exaggerating what is." We do the same thing with eidetics. We look at the dark side and allow ourselves to feel worse and worse and worse until it becomes really unbearable, and then we say, "What is the opposite?" And pssst. It swings over to that. And you will come up with an image which represents the opposite which will give you different feelings. You make the suggestion to the client and I will demonstrate it for you. You just ask the question, "What is the opposite image." When you do this with your clients, or when you do this with yourself, which you can do it with yourself. I'll tell you a little story of the first time I tried it which was before I knew anything about eidetic imagery. So this is a method which can come to you quite easily. You have to watch people to see that they are not coming from their left brain. Now what is the opposite of the person who is sitting in a chair looking very disconsolate with their head down. (Dick fakes a response). "A person who is dancing." That comes from my left brain.
The eidetic images may be apparently irrelevant. They will not be obviously the opposite. If I were going to do this as a behaviorist, I would suggest to you what the opposite image is. We are looking for the polarity to come out of you. And let me give you an example. The first time I ever did this I was in a situation where I was feeling very bad about something and I was obsessing about something and it was making me despondent, and depressed. It had been going on for a couple days. I was sitting at home, and I can see myself there now in the chair with the orange coverings on with the lamp next to it. And I said to myself, this has gone far enough. Let me really accept what I am experiencing here. What is it really like? Instead of doing this, cringing and trying not to feel this awful stuff, let me relax and feel the damn stuff!
And I began to feel somatically what it is like. And this is always the start. If you can start somatically, you have your feet on solid ground. Get out of the concepts and all the thinking about it. Go with the body! I found that I was incredibly tight. My forehead was tight, my jaw was clenched, my throat was tight, my shoulders were tight, my chest was tight I couldn't breathe very well, my belly was tight, everything was tight. And I said, "Just feel this." And I felt this incredible tightness. And I said, "What is the image that this tightness is coming out of?"
And I immediately saw that there were leather bands at every point that I have mentioned. And there was a sort of wheel that somebody was turning, and I didn't even see the person. It was being slowly turned and the bands were slowly tightening. Errrrr. I saw a clear image of that. And I said, "What is the opposite image and immediately, within a second, I saw a bright blue balloon about that long, the kind of balloon that children have that you fill up with gas and have at parades and so on. Maybe you can remember having one, you know, what terrific fun it was. I see this balloon and I see it in the instant where all the air coming out of it and it is totally flopped. And as I saw that balloon, I could feel all the tension leaving me, like water, running very rapidly out of a tank that had been punctured, or almost like a balloon was suddenly opened and all the air just went psssssst, gushed out. It was a matter of seconds that I saw those images. And I looked at that image and felt this almost blessed sense of relief. And if you think back on times when you have been in that situation, you can imagine what the relief was. And then I thought with my left brain and I brought back the thing that bothered me and it didn't bother me. I did not tighten up. This is an example of it.
Now a collapsing balloon is hardly something you would dream up with your left brain as the opposite of things tightening. When I have done this with people, when they have had an image of being constricted in some way, And the opposite image will be a field of flowers. It can be anything. The danger is coming at it with the left brain and figuring out what the opposite image is. Now, let's try that. We will make that one of the exercises.
I want you to sit down, (and one of my early teachers in hypnosis was Bernard Erenson, who died last April, Bernie said, "The art of hypnosis is to tell people to do what they are already doing. This is probably not new to any of you, but it is a nice way of putting it). So sit in your chair and I want you to do this. I want you deliberately to think of something that makes you feel lousy. Now some of you are in that blessed state that can't think of anything like that, so those people please just be quiet and observe the rest. So think of something that makes you feel very bad. . If you can find something that makes you feel shameful, or angry, or that is hurtful in some way. Just do it and think about it. I'll give you a minute to think about it and think all the worst thoughts that you can. We are practicing "When you feel bad, allow yourself to feel worse." So think all the awful thoughts about this, all the bad things that did happen, or could happen, or will happen and I am assuming that enough of you will have that to demonstrate this. Continue to feel this and notice how it affects your body. Continue to experience how it affects your body. Feel that. Now as you think about how awful this thing is, and how you feel in your body, how bad it makes you feel, what is the image that comes up? Let an image come up but please don't devise one with your intellect. (pause) Just let yourself experience the image and look at that image, and as you look at that image, fee your body and know I ask you, "What is the opposite image to this? Please don't try to answer that as a question. Keep looking at the negative image more intently until it changes into something else and whatever it is, no matter how irrelevant you think it is, that is what you have got. When you see it change into something else, don't judge its relevancy. Don't judge its relevancy, whatever is there, that is what you've got. Begin to look at that image now. Begin to look at that image. Keep looking at the new image that came to you and as you keep looking at it, begin to observe how you are feeling. Just observe how you are feeling. Okay. I hope I am giving you enough time. Bring yourself back. Open your eyes. . .
. . How many of you experienced relief with the opposite image? Many of you. Those of you who experienced the relief with it, I want you to do something else. And that will bring to the last definition before we break. The definition is a technique that we use it is called Oscillation. The definition is a technique that is used, it is called oscillation. Whether it be oscillation of an image, and often it is called oscillation of a symptom. I want you to practice looking at your bad image, the one you had, until you begin to feel some of the negativity and then deliberately switch to the positive image. And then see if you get the positive result. If you do, immediately switch back to the negative. And if you start to get the negative results, switch back to the positive. Do that three or four times. And just do it right now. This is used as a test, you see. You are testing the effectiveness of the polar image. Now you may be experiencing that, one of two things. One, you may find that each time you think of the negative image, you feel negative, and each time you look at the positive image you feel better. And that happens as you go back and forth. But very significantly, some of you may be finding that the negative image may be de-potentiated. As you come back to the negative image, it is becoming less and less. How many of you feel that? Quite a few hands are raised. . .
Q: What do you do with people who can't get a positive image?
Dick: You go back and look at the negative image longer. In a group, this can be a problem.
Q: How about people who are not visual?
Dick: Thanks for bringing that up. The image can occur in any of the modalities. You may have a kinetic image, you may be primarily kinetic. Or a few people might be auditory or olfactory, relatively few people are. Most people are either visual or kinetic. But in any image if you continue to concentrate on it, it will continue to develop into other modalities, other representational systems. For example, if you are primarily visual, you will see it visually, but if you stay in it, you begin to feel it, hear it, taste it, etc. And if you are primarily kinetic, if you stay with it, you will begin to get a visual image.
Q: What happens if it seems to be a right brain image but still doesn't de-potentiate the image?
Dick: Well, the significance is that the trauma might be much much deeper than for most people. And there is a situation of serial trauma which you rarely encounter. . .
Q: I had two images that came and I didn't know which one to choose. The first image had more power which surprised me. I thought the second image might be more appropriate.
Dick: Well, I was going to say, "When two images come, I always ask them to take the first one. Because what happens is that the first image will come. That is the eide, you know, it is the gift from the gods. It comes. You didn't figure it out. It is given to you. Apollo goes down and just pow! And then your left brain says, "That's not so hot!" And another image comes. So I always stick with the first one, even if I think the second one is more relevant. Remember that this relevancy is a very left brain thing, and we are working with the right brain. And later, I hope to talk about hyponoia and the hypnotic state. And the hyponoetic state is the state in which eidetic images come.
Q: How is de-potentiation different from de-sensitization?
Dick: De-sensitization is one of the techniques that is one of Professor Wolpe's basic techniques. And there is a guy at the University of Milwaukee who calls it implosive therapy and this is also the techniques of Dianetics, which later became Scientology. In fact, in Dianetics, they go so far as they got a machine that hooks you up and you go through a traumatic memory again and again. They call it an engram, again and again and again until the machine registers zero. Then they say that you are cleared of that engram. That is simply a de-sensitization. It doesn't open into anything else, it simply makes you insensitive. It may help to change behavior, but the basic negative image is still there. And if you would wonder about symptom substitution, that is one area that I would wonder about. I am not making any statements about that, I am not in a position to do that. But de-potentiation means, not that you become insensitive, but that the image loses its power.
Now that is different. You know, if there were a dangerous situation
that you were de-sensitized to, you wouldn't be bothered by it, but on the other hand if you depotentiated the situation, it wouldn't be dangerous any more. Does that make some sense to you?
De-sensitization means that it makes you insensitive to it. De-potentiation is not to make you insensitive, but to take the potency out of the image itself. It is a different concept.
Q: Bioenergetically, the positive energy can open you up to more energy.
Dick: Because the positive energy opens you up. That is exactly right. Thank you for adding that. (Group break)
I recommend if you want to learn more about Eidetic Imagery, this is the Journal of Mental Imagery, founded and edited by Dr. Ahsen. This is Volume 13, number 2, Summer of 1989 and pages 1-82 are an article called Hyponoia, Hypnosis and the Eidetic. If you want a lucid and detailed explanation of what I am talking here, I would recommend that to you. . .
I will try to make some connections with our interest in hypnosis. Which, of course is my interest too. I have been done hypnosis for almost 40 years, 39 years. It is pretty much a part of me.
I want to talk a little bit about the exercise that we have just done, and several people have asked me several cogent questions about the oscillation here. Someone had a response. . . of a bowl of oatmeal. The reason I think this is significant is that from a left brain point of view, the oatmeal would be totally irrelevant. . . then you had an image of a reptile that changed into a tree without your making a choice of the two images.
Let me comment on that. Let me direct your attention again to the apparent logical irrelevancy of the polar image. If we were about to theorize about this, we could say a lot of things about the bowl of oatmeal for her expresses warmth and nourishment when she was at home, very safely as a child eating hot oatmeal on a cold morning. Maybe she grew up in Florida, I don't know. But that is the kind of theoretical stuff that you could get into but it wouldn't prove anything. But, in terms of the results, it was there.
Now, a second thing that I want to point out that was significant, is that the images took over. This is not a guided fantasy such as we might do to lead a person somewhere. The images took over and had a life of their own, and fortunately you went with it because they were gripping you enough for that. The lizard which became the negative image, the image that represented the negative pole, itself began to change into a positive image that was a tree, which you reported as being very nourishing, everything that was good.
3A Eidetic images are not superimposed, they emerge and have a life of their own. This is a huge difference between an eidetic image and a memory. A memory does not have a life of its own. It is fixed; it is frozen. And what happened here was a very good example of it.
Q: How do you know if you've had a memory or an eidetic image?
Dick: Some memories can become eidetic images. In fact, if you take one of your frozen memories and you can experiment with this at your leisure, look at it steadily and call it back again and again, concentrate on it, you will probably experience what the last speaker experienced when the lizard began to change into a tree. Your memory will probably begin to become an eidetic image.
So if we call a memory an image which we believe is historically accurate, and we don't know whether it is historically accurate or not. We never will know if it is historically accurate or not in most cases. An image that we believe is historically correct, we call a memory. That image can become eidetic also. I have an image from my childhood that has been with me for years and years. When I was about eight years old, I received a bow that was about that long and an arrow that was about that long, which was thrilling because it had real feathers on it like Robin Hood, and the Indians. It wasn't one of these homemade jobs that I used to make. I have this image: I am on the front porch of my grandmothers house. She lived in an area of vast meadows and woods and I am standing there in the act of drawing the bow back, in my imagination, drawing the goose feather back to my ear. That is the way Robin Hood used to do it. And that is it. And that is a very pleasant image. About four or five years ago I looked at that image that is a memory. I remember doing that. It was Christmas of 1922, my eighth year. As I continued to look at it, I released the arrow, which was not part of my memory, although I am sure that I did it. And I watched the flight of the arrow like a little black speck going up, up the hill in front of my grandmother's house and sticking in some snow. I felt again the exhaltation of watching the flight of this arrow through the air. And then I ran madly through the snow and I wasn't wearing boots or coat or anything. I had just stepped out of the door because I just had to try this bow and arrow. Going up and recovering it and shooting back in the direction of the house and luckily I didn't hit a window or something. And running back. And then a flood of memories, down in the basement that afternoon, with my father and two of my uncles. With another man who was a guest. With a little paper target on the wall. And all of these adults, full of turkey and beer or whatever they had, sitting there and shooting my little arrow again and again at the target. I am excluded from that activity and I am just incredibly expansive and warm. All the big powerful men in my life are using my bow and arrow. And then this followed with a whole chain of memories, four or five, one after another. There was a pleasant memory that became eidetic. But an unpleasant memory can also become eidetic simply by staying with the traumatic image. Any image will tend to become eidetic. It tends to develop it's own life.
This leads us to the important definition of image latency. We have latent in us, eidetic images that would fill volumes. They are there. One of my friends, a trainer who works with Akhter Ahsen named Janet Bloom, made the metaphor of a canyon that has been cut by a stream of water. And the progress of your life is that stream of water cutting deeper and deeper, and leaving the walls of the canyon there. Now if you begin to scratch the walls of the canyon at any stage, at any stage, at age one or at age forty one, if you start to scrape, under the surface, begin to emerge all kinds of artifacts, all kinds of leavings of your past. But in this case it would be the eidetic images. And Dr. Ahsen uses the term bio-latent, that they are biologically present. This is not the place to debate that, whether they are basically biologically latent. But he makes a very strong case for it.
Q: As a therapist, how do you know if it is a memory or an eidetic image?
Dick: If it moves, it is an eidetic image. If it is frozen, you would consider it a memory. And remember, whether it is a memory does not mean that it is, or is not historically accurate. It is frozen with a set meaning. If it changes, it is eidetic.
Dick: There is a difference between this and a guided fantasy that I give you that is pre-determined. You know, "Go down ten stairs and reach the control room and open the door to your unconscious and you will see all these dials and switches and in a chair in a corner is your life teacher." That is the guided fantasy. The eidetic image takes you where it will. It is not pre-determined. It is not controlled.
And let me say at this point that there is a very strong connection between what happens in shamanistic journeying and the eidetic. In a shamanic journey I usually start from a certain tree or certain cave down in the Yucatan, depending on where I want to go. But once you start, it carries you. It creates itself. We are talking about it's eidetic quality. So the whole eidetic thing is very compatible with the ideas of shamanic journeys.
Q: What about dream work and eidetics.
Dick: It is very much like a wakeful dream. That is right. Ahsen's way of working with dreams is called Prolucid dreaming. If we have a chance, we could do it as a group exercise. For years I used the gestalt method that I learned from Fritz. Identification with all the things in the dream, or looking at holes in the dream. But prolucid dreaming is such a simple way and it goes so often right to the point. The essence of Perl's dream work is to find the hidden message of the dream. Not through analysis but through identification. In eidetic work, that is precisely what we are doing. We look at the traumatic to find the positive images that are there latent in it.
Dick: I am definitely saying that whatever a person needs to heal is latent in that person. Somebody asked me about applications of eidetic imagery for physical healing. Very definitely.
That leads me to another definition. They have a life of their own too. So much for control. So much for the illusion of control, which is all I really have. I want to talk about filters.
which is all I really have. I want to talk about filters and the use of filters. I have a group exercise for that one. You all know approximately, which is all I know about it, how a photographer uses a filter. I would look through my lens and see a group of people seated in one direction with an isle running down the middle with one chair at the end, a nice focal point, Back there a colorful kind of panel, and below that a tablecloth with squares on it and coffee pots and urns and things like that. That is what I see.
Now I put my filter on it and does anything change, in terms of content? No, I see the same people, the same isle, the same empty chair, the same panel, table and urns, but the filter somehow changes the quality of it. Do you see the difference between changing quality and quantity? And the use of a filter changes the quality but not the content. And this of course is a lot of what we call therapy is all about. It is all about.......a woman came to me last week and had a lot of conflict with her husband at home, and he does a lot of things that are unreasonable and irritating to her, a lot of biff-baff going back and forth. I said ,"Well, there is not a thing that you and I can do about what he is doing. If he wanted to come in, we could work on him. But he is not here, so all you can do is tell me how you receive what is happening. We can't change him. All we can change is the quality of how you perceive this." And she agreed with that. So we preceded to work and we got to a place where she agreed that some of the things that had been terrible, were not as terrible as she had seemed. And she got to a place where she saw that she had some part in it. Not that he was blame free and making her the scapegoat. But letting her see her part in it. And also that part of her part of it was to over-react to some of the things that he did. And if they came in together, hopefully you would use the same approach with both of them and the tension might go down just a little bit. So this is what a filter can do. An image can be used just as a photographer uses a filter not to change the content of the picture, but to change the quality of it, the way you respond to it.
Now the images that you received in the little oscillation exercise we did, the positive image is there. Once you have received that, that isn't the end of that exercise, using it as an approach in your own work. Once you have received it, the person can use this as a filter.
Now to use it as a filter means "to keep it in mind." Keeping it in mind doesn't mean that you keep it in the foreground, that it is the gestalt that you hold there. If I say to you, if you were working for me as a salesperson, and you were going out on a sales call, and you were all prepared, I would say to you, "Now, this prospect, this Mr. Smith, I want you to keep in mind that he is very sensitive about the fact that he is bald, so for goodness sake, keep that in mind or you will lose the sale." Now you would go out and see this fellow, and hopefully you wouldn't be sitting there, thinking about his baldness all the time. But if you kept that in mind, you would automatically censor little remarks or jokes that you might have made. This is "keeping it in mind." I am going to call someone up, and I am going to suggest something to her, but keep in mind that this person is very sensitive about being told what to do. So then you would approach this person in a different way. You wouldn't be thinking about that all the time, but you would have it in mind.
The way I try to help people get something in mind is to say, "Take your image, and put it on the right side of your forehead, put your finger right there, and pretend that you are putting the image through your skull, so it is going to be right there, and you keep it in mind. Don't try to see the image while you are talking to someone, because it will distract you. But remember that it is there: keep it in mind.
The reason I am being almost so painfully simple in explaining this is, invariably people will say, "Well, I had a problem doing this exercise because I kept looking at the image and I couldn't see the rest of what I was supposed to be looking at. So, you don't keep looking at the image, you put it here, with your finger, and keep it in mind.
. Here is the exercise. Close your eyes and let yourself relax. Let yourself create an image. When you create these images, it doesn't matter where, when, or how old you are or anything. Just take what comes. You are standing in the middle of a street. And you are looking at the other side of the street. It doesn't matter what the street looks like or if there is traffic or people or time of day and you are just standing there. And your intention is to go to the other side of the street, for whatever reason you want to do that. Maybe there is a little shop there or it is more shady. You are standing there getting ready to cross the street. In your image, see that you do cross the street. Cross the street. That is all you have to do. (30 second pause) Open your eyes so that you obliterate that image. You will be able to remember that experience. Now create an image of your mother, whether she is living or dead, if you don't know who your mother was, your surrogate mother or one you used to fantasize. At any age. Just see her as clearly as you can see her. By the way, how many of you can only see her vaguely? Remember what I said about unvividness. It doesn't mean that this image is not important for you. The unvividness can be significant. Just see her, either vivid or unvivid. Now, keep her in mind, right behind your right eye, and go back as you were before, stand in the same place, and you are again going to cross the street. But as you cross the street, you are going to keep your mother in mind. Now keeping your mother in mind, cross the street. (30 second pause) Remember what that was like and open your eyes again.
Now create an image of your father. Just an image of him, that's all. Put your father in your head, keep him in mind, stand at exactly the same place, and keeping your father in mind, cross the street. (30 second pause) Okay, come back. How many of you found that when you kept your mother in mind, somehow the experience of crossing the street was different than the first one? How many found that when you kept your father in mind, it was still a third experience? And almost everyone is raising their hand again. Let's go further. Most of you found there were three different experiences because there were three different filters. Let's ask some more questions. Here you are going to see some enormous differences. How many of you found that crossing with mother was less positive than doing it alone? How many found it was more positive crossing the street with mother? How many found that crossing the street with father was less positive? How many found that crossing the street with father was more positive than crossing it alone? How about crossing the street with mother was less positive than with father? How many of you felt that crossing the street with mother was more positive than crossing it with father. You get the point. This demonstrates the use of the filter. We can say that we are using filters all of the time without being aware of it.
I can't control my feelings. That is one of my axioms. I can repress them, but that is not controlling them any more than building a dam is controlling the father of waters, the Mississippi. Or spending a spaceship up to Mars is conquering and controlling space. We can't control nature and our feelings are nature, not part of nature it is nature, just as my little finger is not part of my body, it is my body.
But although I have no control over my feelings, I have input. And I think this is the thing that we really need to look at. And ask our clients not to control themselves or to control their feelings or seek to control them but to look at input, look at input. And I can have input into my feelings by working deliberately with eidetic filters. Please don't translate this into saying that I am preaching a gospel of how you can achieve nothing but good feelings all the rest of your life, because I am not. That would be aiming at this off-on control that I said we can't have. But we do have input which can have enormous differences.
And in the course of the demonstration work I will show you people coming up with filters that can be used. But you have experienced for yourself the basic principle of the filter, you keep it in mind. And after you have kept it in mind for a while, it becomes automatic. You keep it in mind. It becomes automatic. You all have situations in your life, it may be a situation of a certain place, or a certain person or a certain activity, or something else, a piece of music, that will suddenly call into play a certain filter, and you will say, "I suddenly feel very sad and I don't know why." It is like Shiller's famous poem, (He quotes it in German and then translates: "I don't know what it signifies that I suddenly am so sad." Well, he was sad because he was using a certain filter and something called it up and then he goes on to tell it. "A legend of old times that doesn't go out of my mind." There was his filter. No reasoning that would make him sad but there it was making him sad. Because it had connections down underneath.
And that leads me, finally, to something that might have a connection to the subject of hypnosis. At long long last. There are still some things that I could say about self images but I think I've covered it.
I want to introduce the concept of co- consciousness. Co consciousness. This is a principle, a concept that was first given its name in 1909 by Morton Prince. He is the guy who discovered a case of multiple personality, Priscilla, the woman who wrote these novels through automatic writing. She was what some of us would call a channelor. And Priscilla was a 17th century new England woman who took her over and she would write these novels which were published, and they had literary merit. But while she was conscious, she had no recollection of doing anything, Very similar to what Helen Schuckman did when she channeled the Course in miracles. Morton Prince worked at great length with this woman and published a book on her. Interesting book. And he coined the term co-consciousness. Co-consciousness. That idea of consciousness was also developed by Hilguard. The idea of consciousnesses that carry on at the same time. I am conscious of one thing up here, talking with you, and something else is going on at the same time underneath, and there may be god-knows how many levels. And it is at the co-consciousness level that the images are working when I am consciously not aware of them. This ties in you see with the concept of bio-latency. They are there because there is this other level of consciousness. And this is a little bit different from just the idea of the unconscious as the Freudians used to think of it as a dungeon full of beasts and monsters, repressed desires, destructive instincts, etc. The Jungians had more to think of the unconscious as a repository of all kinds of resources, treasures and so on. This is a little bit different than that. The co-consciousness is not just a repository with a lot of stuff in it but of a consciousness that is actually going on that is kind of parallel to what is happening up here. To access this co-consciousness is what is often done in hypnotic work where the co-conscious becomes available to us. The classical Greeks had a term for this: they called it Hyponoia. Underneath knowing. And so today we have the Institute for Noetic Sciences. How many of you belong? Yes. This is the phrase that Akhter Ahsen has borrowed from the Greeks to express this idea of co-consciousness. And when we enter the eidetic world, then we enter this other reality. And this is going on all the while. This can be seen as the experience of what Lawrence Leshan calls alternative states of consciousness. This is the area where what we might call the eidetic state merge with what we might call, which I will come out and will call the trance state of hypnosis. They are both states in which we begin to tap, in which we begin to become aware of the co-consciousness that has been down there all the while. It is like a secret river down there in the dark that we don't know about.
Q: Is there a difference between personal consciousness and collective consciousness?
Dick: I doubt that there is a personal and a collective. My inclination is that there is only one. and that is the collective. And just to show you how far out I am on this, it includes not only the collective unconsciousness of all of humanity, but also of the cats and dogs, and their fleas: the whole thing. I think life is...I think if we are getting to the bottom of it and I think we are getting to the point where there is only life. This raises interesting questions about the theory of re-incarnation.
There is a very good writer on this subject, Roger Woolger. He does something called past lives therapy. Roger is a Jungian, certified out of Zurich, and his ideas on reincarnation are different from the ideas that are generally prevalent. His ideas are pretty much my ideas too, I think. Some of my clients, my students in Milwaukee are in training with him.
Somehow the co-conscious, I think we strain the collective, or the total unconscious that is down there somewhere, we strain that through the filter of our own ego, and that is what gives us the illusion that the ego is somehow reincarnated and reincarnated. That is the power of the ego you know, poor little ego, ooohh, the power, it can be a monster. So that is the connection, the state of hyponoia and the state of trance.
I just want to make one big difference, the state of hypnotic trance as we are used to working with it, that state, most of you will agree, most of the time, the condition of it and the content of it is often dependent on what the hypnotist is doing, is leading. And it is a situation in which the subject, the person being hypnotized to a large direction awaits direction, in one way or another. I am not making this 100 percent, generally speaking. The hyponoetic state, the eidetic state, is much more a state where the happenings are self generated. They are not dependent on the operator, the hypnotist, to make suggestions.
I am sure you have all have experience without being aware of it, in which you are working with a subject and that subject suddenly opens up some inner experience and begins to relate it and there is a whole world that is quite different than you were imagining or even had intended. In fact, it seems to me that this is implicit in some of the statements, in the things I have read, of Milton Erickson's work, that what happens is that your own unconsciousness, if you are being hypnotized, will take the suggestion and make something of it. It may not be exactly what the hypnotist was presenting When that happens, in the trance, your clients begins to tap these thing, I would say there, the trance state has moved into the state of hyponoia, where it is self generating. In my book, I am speaking for myself, not for Dr. Ahsen, of my experiencing and seeing these two states. I would say that this is where the connection from what we call the hypnotic trance and the eidetic state in which we are experiencing Eidetic Imagery, that is where they come together.
You will see that, and in my own practice. I do one of two things. I may move from hypnotic trance to eidetic imagery or I may move from eidetic imagery and watch it and help it develop into a trance. In which, at some point, I may intervene, not with a formal announcement, but by saying certain things. "You may now be able to...." and so on. I may begin to intervene, in the sense of making suggestions, just as I might have done if I wasn't interested in Eidetic at all. So in my own practice I move back and forth between these two states. It is possible to use Eidetic Imagery without inducing a trance state. It is possible to use eidetic imagery in the trance state. It is possible for the trance and eidetic or hyponoetic states to shift back and forth and merge. There is no conflict, as far as I am concerned.
There are a couple more things that I want to talk about that are both important concepts and important techniques. There are different kinds of images in terms of content. In the eidetic world, there are images that we call personal images, nature images, and mythic images. This is a kind of hierarchy that gradually moves away from the little ego. Not that one is superior to another. But just that the differences do exist and that they are removed from the ego. Of the personal images, probably the most important ones are the parental images. Sibling images are also very important. and there are all the other stuff that goes with it. I should say something about the Rhea Complex . Rhea was the mother of the Olympic Gods. The next born of the opposite sex is the Rhea sibling. For example, your next born brother of the opposite sex is the rhea sibling. Akhter has a book called the Rhea Complex, which I recommend. The subtitle is Beyond the Oedipus Complex. The Oedipus Complex is always a triangle. The child at one end and the two parents. And if you have ten kids in a family, you've got ten triangles with the parents, because each kid has this relationship with the parents. And it doesn't take much into account the sibling relationships. The triangle is a dynamic, energetic, kind of figure. The sibling relationship is parallel. So there is in the dynamics there is less conflict. This is particularly important to me. Most of you are probably aware of the work on genetics. I am told it is taken very seriously by people that are in a position to evaluate it, but the research is that all living people, regardless of their geographical location or of their skin color, are descended from a single mother, who was supposed to once have lived in Africa. How many have heard that? So lots of you have. It becomes really important because of this fact. If we are all descended from a single mother, then we are all siblings, we are all brothers and sisters. All of us in this room. But that also means that your husband or your wife are your sibling, you grandparents are your older brothers and sisters, your children are your younger brothers and sisters. Now this means that all the people that lived ten thousand years ago are your brothers and sisters that passed away. And all the people who will live ten thousand years from now will also be your brothers and sisters. Feel the impact of that right now. Look around the room. See that all these people, including complete strangers are really related to you, they are blood relatives. Now think of your mother and father as being brother and sister. If you have children, think of them as being your brother and sister. How many of you already feel a change. Many of you. I feel that this is an extremely important concept. I think that this is a very important, real contribution that Akhter has made.
I want to mention a couple other books while I am on the subject. Basic principles of eidetic psychotherapy by Akhter Ahsen, published by Brandon House is an important book. An equally important book published years later is called Psycheye, psychological eye, which is subtitled the self analysis of consciousness. That is a very good book, very dense. It is all done in cookbook style which appeals to me because I can skip what I don't want to read, where it is repetitious, but it is all there. "Do this, now do that." You have to write to the Imagery Institute, 22 Edgecliff Terrace, Yonkers, New York 10705. Akhter Ahsen. A couple other books, A very important book is The Age projection test, and I will demonstrate that to you if we get time. You will find the Eidetic parents test complete in Psycheye. that test is only in part diagnostic as most tests are. It is in itself a tool for working. I've had that test twice. It takes anywhere from three to five hours to take. It consists of thirty standard images. Some of which, at least one of which I will use when working with you, and I will note it with you. It is one that you can all use. If you watch me do it once, you will know how to do it. Everything you say is recorded, every word, plus everything you say about your semantic responses while you are doing it. And that is analyzed and tabulated into positive father, negative father, positive mother, negative mother. And also special semantic responses, and that is tabulated, and that gives you a very rich mine that you can mine for yourself. It is the work after that test is taken is far more important than the test by itself.
And then there is the Journal of mental imagery, and Akhter has an article in every issue and sometimes his articles are very lengthy and it is always new stuff coming out of his own research. If you are interested, it would probably be worth your money to invest in back issues. Because he has done so much work that it is amazing. The work on the periphery of images. Who would think that the periphery of images would be important? But they are important both in terms of significance and a method that you can use when you are working with people.
I want to talk briefly about the types of images. Nature images are invariably healing. When a person comes on an image of almost any kind, if it is of something in nature, you will find that it is healing. If you stay with the image, it becomes healing. So much material.
For people who have trouble imaging. And some people say that they are unable to make images at all. For those of you who have trouble making images, I'd like you to do an experiment right now. See if it doesn't work and it will at least demonstrate the technique.
Close your eyes right now. I want you to think of an experience that you had with your entire family or part of your family where you were out in nature as a child and you had a good time. now it may have been a picnic, it may have been a vacation trip, or a camping trip, or a visit to someone who lived in the country. Just so it is out of doors and in nature. Just so you can think of it and remember, "Oh yeah, that day!" What did you do on that day? What do you remember that was fun? Was it the food, or the playing a game of some kind? or hiking, or going in some water, swimming or fishing? Was it a picnic? Was there a dog or a pet that you had with you? Friends that you had with you? What was the most fun that you had? Where did this take place? What was the day like? What was the weather like? Was it rainy or clear? Can you remember? If you can't remember, what do you think it was like? Can you see the sky? Can you see your parents or one of your siblings? What are they doing? What are the surroundings like? Is it open space? Do you see trees? If you are seeing trees, what do they look like to you? Okay.
Of the people who were doing this that thought they would have trouble seeing images, how many started to see images, to see the pictures, You did! If you go back and very patiently, and I did this very, very quickly of course, very patiently, you would go back to a time that was pleasant and out of doors.
And you would simply ask them to remember. And simply remembering would be like, if I remembered the 4th of July in our summer cottage that my family maintained up on Lake Burimore, I can remember that he used to let me use his duck hunting skiff to go around the lake, when I was nine, I used to have my firecrackers up there, one time I burned a hole in the roof of his car. In those days they had touring cars with canvas roofs. But it is hard for me to talk about that without seeing those images. But you can remember those things without seeing them. But if you can take a person back to out of doors and a pleasant memory, and begin to ask them questions to expand the memory, at some point, when you are saying, "Can you remember this? Can you remember this?" At some point you almost innocuously ask a question like, "What is the weather like? Was it clear or rainy? Can you see the sky? Do you see clouds?" You make that shift. Very easily in a sneaky way from what you remember to what you are seeing, very sneakily. And you would be amazed at how many people begin to see the images in that circumstance. And in Eidetic Imagery, the key activity is repetition and concentration. And as you do that, repeat and concentrate, you begin to enlarge the image, we call that expanding the image. And we expand the image by asking about details is a very important technique in developing images and when I do EP1 which is Eidetic parents test # 1, you will see how that is done. I'll show you right now, so you have got it.
Make a picture of the house that you lived in when you were six years old. How many of you can actually see the house? Most of you can. Okay, see that house. Place your mother in the house anywhere. How many of you see her in the kitchen. Most people do. I'm going to assume that you are seeing her in the kitchen. I am going to assume that you see her in the kitchen. Where do you see her in the kitchen? Let's say that people say that she is by the stove cooking. Can you see the stove. Is it gas stove, or electric stove? How many burners do you see? And always the emphasis on what they see. Can you see the windows? Are there curtains, or blinds , a shade, or just bare? What do you see? Can you see through the windows? What do you see outside? Can you see the sky? Trees? Do you see the yard? Cars? The neighbors house? Can you see the floor covering? Can you see the refrigerator? What color is the refrigerator? Is it beige ? Or green? Or is it white? Is it square or is it rounded at the corners? What is the sink like? Can you see the cabinets? This is called expanding the image. And there are times when you want to do this to make the image more and more complete, to carry that out.
One more thing, I want to talk about the emanation technique. What that is based on and how it is used. The emanation technique is based on the presumption that we are not a monolithic consciousness. We are many selves. Hilguard is his masterful study of consciousness opens by saying that the notion of a monolithic consciousness is a myth. We are actually made up of many selves as opposed to being one self. This same idea you find expressed as ego states. Some of you are familiar with ego state therapy, the idea that we are like an automobile and we have a dozen different drivers. This is not the same as multiple personality. It is quite different. You can talk about ego states or you can talk about multiple selves. Virginia Satir used to talk about parts, and she would invite you to have a parts party in which you would assemble your creative part, your angry part, your fearful part, your artistic part: all your different parts. I don't like the word parts, because it suggests things that are connected, the way different parts of an automobile are connected. I prefer to use the word selves.
You also could use the words, self image,
because in the self image which is so important, we don't just
have one self image but a great many self images. and a self image
will arise as it is stimulated as it is appropriate for a certain
situation, for a certain context. This also fits quite well with
the concept of co-consciousness. We have many different selves
that are all conscious at the same time, under the surface and
we say this is who I am. Well, an hour from now I may be someone
See: Emanation technique and Eidetic Parents test for
a continuation of this talk
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