Performance Enhancement Group
to the Maximization
of Brain Mind & Body
"We've Got It Pegged"
by Ron Fitch
(This article is an evolving
process as I attempt to put into
In our EMG (Electromyography) training, one my mentors in Biofeedback, the late Marjorie Toomim of the Biofeedback Institute of Los Angeles (cited in the Peter Sheppard article), used to remind us that physical therapists who do not utilize EMG Biofeedback as a significant aspect of their treatment modalities are like blind people trying to teach sighted people to read a book.
Likewise, I am amazed by the numbers of people who tell me that they (or their children) have been given a diagnosis of A-D-D, A-D-H-D, O-C-D or other neurological disorders and yet they've never had a Brainmap or some sort of Brain Scan.
To diagnose a brain disorder without first looking at the brain itself is sheer insanity at best, and at worst puts peoples health at risk, as the usual reason for the above diagnoses is so drugs can be administered; drugs which potentially have crippling side-effects. For example, if you give Ritalin (a neuro-stimulant) to a "fast-brain" person, I believe you can inadvertantly kill him; or at least whack him into an anxiety-ridden Zombie.
The same concern is true (or should be true) for psychotherapy. The Introspection Therapy methods in use at the Human Insights Group, while not psychotherapy, make a significant use of psycho-Biofeedback. It is thanks to psycho-Biofeedback that we are able to create "Miracles as Usual" on a daily basis.
Psycho-Biofeedback is any approach to therapy which is based on the Freud & Breuer's theory of memory-chaining (the idea that memories are catalogued according to significance and more-or-less in chronological order) and utilizes some sort of emotional-response monitoring such as a G-S-R (Galvanic Skin Response) meter, or SCR/SPR Biofeedback.
While I have been known to utilize SCR (Skin Conductance Response) and SPR (Skin Potential Response) monitoring in Introspection Therapy, for me, the only real advantage to SCR/SPR monitoring is the ability to record the stimulus data for display at a future time. SCR snapshot screens, like Brainmaps, can be a Case Supervisor's best friend.
In therapy sessions, I usually prefer using some form of GSR metering to guide the session work. While there are some procedures that benefit little from psycho-Biofeedback (Ex: The original Experience Processes of Introspection Therapy), overall, I don't know where we would be without the availability of psycho-monitoring.
GSR Biofeedback is hardly a new idea. In 1890 Tarchanoff wrote about his use of what he termed a psycho-galvanometer, delineating what today is known as the The Tarchanoff Response.
Psychologist C.G Jung encountered Tarchanoff's work and investigated the phenomenon using a crude (by today's standards) GSR device around 1905. Freud declared the device to be a novelty and rather promptly dismissed it. However, Jung continued his research with GSR, even publishing a book about his findings in 1906 entitled: Studies in Word Analysis. Because this unit was largely unamplified, the efficacy of the process was limited and Jung moved on to other endeavors.
While amplified GSR meter's became available in the 1930's, it wasn't until 1950 with the introduction of the Mathison GSR meter (about the size of a double-large lunchbox) that GSR monitoring took a prominent place in certain forms of therapy; in particular, what is known generically today as "Clearing Therapy".
With GSR/SCR/SPR monitoring, a pair of sensors are setup to make contact with the palms of the hands or the arches of the feet. In both cases the palms and arches produce an abundance of sweat gland activity based indirectly on arousal in the sensori-motor strip of the cerebral cortex. Under stress (or lack of it), our sweat-gland activity changes, sometimes at quite a rapid rate. Those changes register on the monitoring equipment.
A well-trained therapist can interpret GSR readings, using them to direct the therapy session, encouraging the client to open their experience to areas of the mind which have purposely been "shutdown", allegedly for reasons of survival.
For example, with psycho-Biofeedback, a therapist can help the client track down and eradicate what are known as collapsed-dichotomies - pairs of emotionally-charged mental-significances which are in opposition to each other and therefore producing subconscious emotional agitation. When located, these dichotomies make the needle on the GSR meter oscillate back and forth at a rapid rate - several times a second - sometimes known as a belief-disruption pattern.
Once located, dichotomies can be discharged of their emotion and rendered inactive. Unlike behavorial therapy (wherein you are encouraged to develop opposite behaviors to counter, say, a bad-habit), discharging a mental-dichotomy eliminates the need to devise alternate behaviors - the relief being immediate and permanent.
The GSR meter is not a lie detector. Contrary to popular belief, lie-detectors don't actually detect lies, only emotional stress (or lack of it), which could be related to almost anything - even your reaction to the lie-detector examiner his/herself.
information about Psycho-Biofeedback
Contact: Ron Fitch
Telephone Ron at: (818) 216-5376
E-mail Ron at: Psycho-BioFeedback@PerformanceEnhancementGroup.Org