Brookside Center for Counseling and Hypnotherapy
by Maurice Kouguell, Ph.D., BCETS.
Ideodynamic communication describes all the relationships between ideas, thoughts and the dynamic or physiological responses of the body to the thought. Historically, ideodynamic feeling is reported to have appeared as far back as 1000 B.C. Through the use of altered states and expectancy, the practice of magical interventions through incantations and rituals brought about healing. In the 18th Century, Anton Mesmer, followed by Chevreul, believed that unconscious knowledge could affect minimal movements and the muscles. Shortly after Bernheim described hypnosis as basically an ideodynamic process in which ideas are transformed into acts. He describes the process of hypnosis as thoughts into action, vision and movement which occurs so rapidly that it circumvents the critical factors of the subject. Bernheim used the patients own inner resources (an approach which later on was adopted by Erickson in his naturalistic approach to hypnosis).
These authors refer to the most significant realization in psychobiology: that memory, learning and behavior are influenced by neuromodulators which are capable of recording information in the brain thus imprinting traumatic events. These memories are often imprinted on a non-verbal level thus making ideomotor response the vehicle of choice to recover these memories.
Besides hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis are also used to uncover forgotten and repressed memories. The patient is thought to develop amnesia for the precipitating events of his existing problem.
James Braid defined hypnosis as a process which can be described as a state dependent memory. In other words, what is available to the memory of the patient is dependent on his physiological state at the time of the trauma. During hypnosis, Erickson introduces the "utilization approach." His predecessors, including Freud, Jung and others, believed that whatever develops from hypnosis must necessarily be the result of the suggestion given by the therapist. Erickson used the altered state of consciousness in bringing about the patient's life experience.
The experience of hypnosis and ideodynamic signaling allows the patient to re-examine, organize, re-evaluate his physiological problems using his own abilities, capabilities and potentials, to reach a satisfactory resolution.
That is contrary to the standard "traditional style" of hypnosis where direct suggestions appear to be more the desires of the therapist than of the patient. LeCron and Cheek used Chevreuls pendulum as a vehicle to access the unconscious by watching how accurately the pendulum moved. Using a similar procedure, the patient is then introduced to the finger signaling method.
The author warns about the possibility of the response being invalid or questionable with specific antisocial personality disorders.
A valid ideodynamic signal is repetitive and is hardly visible. One needs to observe changes in respiration, pulse rate and emotionality. All these have to occur prior to the finger signaling. When the finger lifts, the patient is not fully aware of the experience itself. This is just an anticipatory period, sometime reflected by a discomfort.
Additional techniques are introduced, such as the use of another finger to indicate the completion of the thought. When no signaling is obtained, the therapist can assume that he is dealing with resistance on the part of the patient and a series of procedures are introduced to help the patient to respond. Resistance can also be shown by refusal to answer verbally. At times, signals appear coming from various fingers and thus could be confusing to the therapist. However, they all have in common the fact that these are signs of resistance on the part of the patient and have to be dealt with.
The therapist also needs to question the possibility of a difficulty in the
transfers between therapist and patient. The authors also described how cultural and
religious factors in a very passive personality can at times make it impossible for the
patient to respond with a 'no' signal. The ideodynamic signaling technique provides a most
relaxed communication between the therapist and the patient. And this technique can also
be used without actually inducing hypnosis.
It is the repertoire of the patient's unconscious creative resources that is continuously being accessed in order to bring about healing.
Two Basic Ideodynamic Approaches To Psychosomatic And
The author evaluates the reasons why conversational hypnoanalysis may fail and why ideomotor methods might be preferable. A direct authoritarian approach in hypnosis may result in a defensive reaction on the part of the client even to the point of refusing to enter hypnosis.
The motor approach permits the patient to be objective and witness what is happening, especially the pendulum moving seemingly without his direct involvement. The patient can then observe his fingers doing the response and not himself. Thus absolving himself of any guilt and blame. The authors described two methods.
All approaches are repetitive and are circular in their applications. Thus when a
question cannot be answered satisfactorily, one returns and repeats the process again and
again. However, with each repetition there is a pyramidal effect which builds on whatever
preceded it. This repetitive process is analogous to the functioning of the nerve cells
which feed back on the same cells to promote future activities. This is reported as being
a "fundamental feature of all of our sensory and motor processes."
Ideodynamic Hand/Arm Signaling
The use of the technique by hypnotherapists disfacilitates the experience of the association. Those techniques have the advantage of convincing the patient of the effectiveness of the method. Patients who experience these signalings also experience a fascination of their own resources and creativity. When involuntary movements are perceived, the implied director and the conscious - unconscious double bind are introduced. The implied directive is a permissive non-directive means of helping the person access the subconscious part of the mind.
Of particular significance on the conscious / unconscious double bind, inner healing occurs even if the conscious mind is not aware of the process.
Rossi establishes an environment in which he asks his patient to tune into the real or imagined magnetic field. He reports that his patients find it most interesting to experience heads, hands or arms moving by themselves. As the therapeutic process continues, the patient accesses his own creative resources and the autonomous movements of the various parts of the body are taken as signals of the cooperation of the inner mind. As the session continues and should the patient feel stuck in accessing his resources, a verbal report is elicited.
This procedure frequently becomes cathartic and leads to insights. But this is also a learning process for the patient in taking charge of his own processes. He learns to develop a fuller inner life and awareness between his conscious and unconscious processes.
A technique referred to as "monitoring inner experience" consists of the patient using his arm, starting at a neutral level and raising or lowering his limb as an indicator of insight. This technique allows the patient to learn to connect with his own personal experience in a flexible creative fashion. The author states that anxiety, fear, depression and psychosomatic symptoms of all varieties can be modulated, transformed and resolved with insight and a growing sense of self-guided development.
Rossi uses the channeling position which consists of the arms extended with palm facing downward to re-experience inner conflicts which can be observed by the therapist. In a particular case illustration, the patient was able to access a state of dependent conflict which expressed itself in a catalepsy of both arms. Sitting with the palms facing upward, the patient is asked to tune in to determine whether energy is being received from the universe or whether he is transmitting energy outward. The diagnostic value of the information received could be of great significance.
Utilizing the patient's characteristic positions for accessing state dependent learning, memory and behavior lends itself to accessing an idiomatic state dependent process. Once communication is established on that level one could then continue with the finger signaling processes.
In the last part of this section devoted to research, the authors suggest projects that need to be done and bring the reader up to date as to what is being done.
The mind-body healing methods in hypnosis need to take into account the neurotransmission and the neuromodulation findings. The findings of the studies indicate that neuromodulators have a long term effect on groups of neurons thus affecting changes of behavior. There seems to be evidence at this point that the information substances and their receptors have a significant role in the therapeutic use of hypnosis.
With the advance in psychobiological research, close relationships begin to appear between the is-receptor systems, state dependent memory and learning stress and dramatically imprinted problems. One begins to take a different view of the meanings of repression, disassociation and emotional complex as described in traditional analytical psychoanalysis. Rossi provides extensive documentation of the psychobiological basis of depression and disassociation.
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