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Neurohacking - Methods & Technology
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Sunday, 28 February 2010 03:15
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Methods & Technology Intro - Part I: Methods
Investigative and Diagnostic Techniques
Repair and Prevention
Intelligence Augmentation and Exploration
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Methods and Technology in Neurohacking - Introduction Part I: Methods


We can use methods and technology in NH to do any or all of the following things:

  • Assess our current status, physically, psychologically, functionally.
  • Repair any existing problems that we have.
  • Keep in practice with the abilities and skills we already have.
  • Explore new possibilities for improvement and augment intelligence.
  • Find information to test a particular theory.
  • Prevent problems.


There is information to assist in all these pursuits in this introduction.



There are three sections to this part:

  • Investigation & diagnostic techniques –ways of finding out stuff about your brain, mind and health
  • Ways of treating a problem: repair & prevention
  • Intelligence Augmentation & exploration


Each section discusses the following types of methods:

  • Physical & sensorimotor methods
  • Behavioral methods
  • Psychological methods
  • Spiritual methods


For information about Chemical methods, see Drugs & Chemicals section of library.

For information about methods using technology, see Methods & Technology Intro - Part II: Technology (this section).




Investigative & Diagnostic Techniques


Physical & Sensorimotor Methods

Physical and sensorimotor methods are very helpful if you have nonuse in network 1 or weak rear networks in general. They are not usually helpful if network 1 is in wronguse or if you have uncontrolled overt synesthesia or suffer from sensory overload (as in some types of autism) -see tutorials.

The most widely used method of studying the brain is to present natural stimuli of one sort or another to the sensory organs, and record the resultant behavior. This is often done with very little technology, and obvious examples are sight and hearing stimuli. The performance of our senses reflects the state of the underlying neural networks we process information with, and sometimes sensory problems can be early warnings of network imbalance.

If any sense is less than optimal, the corresponding processing network will find itself short of input, and will rewire itself to glean more input from other sources (not necessarily other senses). Most of those leading a 'western' lifestyle will 'normally' have poor tactile senses and mediocre awareness of odor and taste, as our society relies almost exclusively on the long-range senses of sight and sound for exchanging information., and all networks decline with nonuse. Too much of any particular input too soon isn't good either and results in both sensory and perceptual problems (the outward symptoms being myopia or hearing problems). These 'normal' problems limit the usefulness of sensory testing for diagnosis.


Fitness Tests

Suffer from similar limitations; 'normal' metabolism for your average burger-and-fries sedentary loafer is not optimal for health. Guides to 'ideal' weight and 'ideal' calorie intake are also not reliable in diagnosis (see nutrition section).

BMI (Body Mass Index) is a good indicator of condition in populations (eg among groups) but still not sufficiently accurate for individual diagnosis. Body mass index is defined as the individual's body weight divided by the square of their height. BMI below 17.5 indicates the person is underweight and may have an eating-related disorder; a number above 30 suggests the person is obese (over 40, morbidly obese).

Here is a simple fitness test for those over the age of 21 that you can do yourself (it doesn't work if your cardiovascular system is still growing, as is usual before this age, as pulse rate is highly variable):

You will need: a box or low bench or step about 20cm high that will take your weight (the bottom step of a flight of stairs is good), and a stopwatch or clock with second hand.


Do not do this test after eating or drinking beer.


  1. Sit quietly and take your pulse in beats per minute, recording the result.
  2. Step on and off the step with both feet twice every 5 seconds for 3 minutes.
  3. Sit down and rest for exactly one minute
  4. Take your pulse and record the result.


  • If your second reading is below 81 you are very fit.
  • If your second reading is 81-90 you are fit.
  • If your second reading is 91-100 you are unfit.
  • If your second reading is 100 plus you are very unfit.


It is sensible to do this test before beginning any form of physical exercise or therapy. If you are very unfit, you may need to make changes to your diet and lifestyle in order to get the optimal benefit from such practices.


General Medical

When a neurological disorder is suspected, doctors usually evaluate all of the body systems during a physical examination, but they focus on the nervous system. They do a neurologic examination, which includes evaluation of mental status, cranial nerves, motor and sensory nerves, reflexes, coordination, balance, walking (gait), regulation of internal body processes (by the autonomic nervous system), and blood flow to the brain. Some areas may be evaluated more thoroughly than others depending on what type of disorder is suspected.

Many of these tests can be done at home and lots of examples can be found online. Most such testing exercises the abilities being tested, so if you do a lot of these you should expect your performance to improve over time, regardless of whether you do other exercises for them. This is one of those fortunate situations where the very act of testing something improves it!


Dietary Analysis

Relationships between dietary patterns, food group intakes, health and behavior are now well established.

Higher total withdrawn/depressed and delinquent/aggressive scores are significantly associated with the Western dietary pattern, with increased intakes of high GI carbohydrates, takeaway foods, sugar, corn products, additives and processed red meat. Improved behavioral scores are significantly associated with higher intakes of low GI carbohydrates, leafy green vegetables and fresh fruit. These findings implicate a Western dietary pattern in poorer mental health and behavioral outcomes Better behavioral outcomes are associated with a higher intake of low GI carbs (see nutrition section).

Analyzing the diet can help to predict possible problems and prevent them as well as furnishing possible diagnoses for current problems. Food cravings can give clues about possible vitamin or mineral deficiencies, addictions, or adjusting requirements due to lifestyle changes.


Blood Tests

Blood testing for physical disorders as well as for the body's drug content is well known, but blood testing for mental disorders is a field in its infancy, and has only become recently possible due to advances in molecular biology, neurochemistry and gene transcription.

Biomarkers have now been discovered that correlate with high and low moods in bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, alzheimers and chronic anxiety, and this is a promising field for future diagnostics although currently (2010) methods use gene expression detection and only have 75-80% accuracy. In 2008, researchers published blood biomarkers for mood disorders.


Testing Neurotransmitters

As more was discovered about neurotransmitters, we began to identify which neurotransmitters correlated with certain bodily functions or which were correlated with certain emotional/psychiatric difficulties. Serotonin, for example, was found to be correlated to body temperature and the onset of sleep. Research also identified Serotonin as affected during depression and later during a variety of mental health conditions such as anorexia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Studies between neurotransmitters and mental conditions revealed a strong correlation between amounts of certain neurotransmitters in the brain and the presence of specific psychiatric conditions. Some confusion about cause and effect later, they were discovered to be different symptoms rather than causes of imbalance, which remain multiple.

There has been extensive experimentation with the application of the DEX/CRH (dexamethasone /corticotrophin-releasing-hormone)test to assess hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-system (HPA) alteration in persons with psychiatric disorders. The application of this combined dexamethasone suppression/CRH-challenge (DEX/CRH) test requires individuals to take 1.5 mg dexamethasone (DEX) at 23:00 h orally the previous night. On the day of the test, 100 micrograms human CRH are administered to the subjects under study at 15:00 h intravenously as a bolus, and blood samples for the determination of plasma cortisol and ACTH are drawn every 15 min from 14:00 h to 18:00 h.

Psychiatric patients, regardless of diagnostic classification, release significantly more cortisol and ACTH after DEX and additional CRH in comparison with age-matched controls.

To learn more about cortisol and neurotransmitters, see tutorials.


Behavioral Methods

Behavioral methods are a good choice if you have nonuse in network 2 or weak rear nets in general. They are not a good choice for those with wronguse in rear networks (see tutorials).


Freeze Framing

The method: we fit ourselves with a beeper that randomly goes off several times a day. When the beeper sounds, we stop what we’re doing and briefly record everything in our awareness. In later sessions, we reconstruct these moments, often under rigorous self- or cross-examination.

The resulting mental freeze-frames are remarkably diverse. The basic makeup of inner life varies substantially from person to person. Many people are deficient in imagination and cannot form clear images, while others effortlessly form high-fidelity, technicolor, moving images. Some people have inner lives restricted to or dominated by speech, body sensations or emotions, and others by unsymbolized thinking that can take the form of wordless questions like, “Should I have the egg sandwich or the cheese?”

These differences are based on processing capabilities and linked to personality and behavior. Differences in thinking style also help reveal and explain some aspects of mental illness.

After-the-moment sessions done on oneself or with others should be treated with caution: one cannot assume the subjects will be honest, or that they are not twisting their answers to conform with their own biases, or telling the assessor what they think s/he wants to hear, or confabulating details they forgot.

Ideally you would note down as much as possible immediately on having your ‘beep’; but not everyone has a lifestyle compatible with doing so. We can improve accuracy with training to get past our preconceptions and report accurately on our experience.

In the meantime we should always bear in mind the limitations of memory; the very act of self-observation can seemingly add detail that was not there before, or we could have a very rich experience that we forget as soon as we hear the beep. These problems have always been an issue in self-observation or after-the-fact reports.


Lifestyle & Input Control

Reviewing your lifestyle and seeing how different kinds of input control affect you (see tutorials) are powerful ways of assessing your condition. Often what seemed like a serious problem turns out to have a simple cause; such as lack of quality sleep or lack of effective relaxation, wrong input, poor nutrition, tedious activities, poor decision making skill or bad planning. All these factors can be adjusted by various means.

A good lifestyle analysis should reveal your likes and dislikes in relation to your usual activities as well as your habits. If you wish to do one there is an example in tutorial 2. Diagnosing a problem becomes easier if we can predict causal factors from lifestyle & behavior.

For more information about lifestyle and input control, see “Anxiety and input control” in the basics section of the library, and tutorials.


Behavioral Observations

Recent advances in neurology and research have simplified the way psychiatrists and others diagnosis and treat mental health problems. But in over one hundred years of mental health studies, the symptoms and behaviors associated with certain mental health conditions have remained the same. Psychotic disorders, where the individual often can’t distinguish between inner and outer input, still have auditory hallucinations. Depressed individuals still can’t sleep and remain preoccupied with the past. Histrionic personality disorder still presents melodramatic sentiments. Paranoid people look downwards, arrogant people look upwards, Autistics cannot look you in the eye, Hyperactive people (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD) still exhibit uncontrollable restlessness.

It later became clear that many mental health problems also had a physical component that involved changes in concentration, sleep, appetite, speech pattern, energy level, perceptions (hallucinations), and motivation. Studies began to determine the connection between the condition of the person and the physical signs/symptoms that were also present.

Because of this, problems often show up in behavior and moods before they show up in physical or mental symptoms or clinical tests. Noticing changes in mood and/or behavior is an important part of 'knowing yourself', as important for charting your improvements as for spotting and preventing any problems. Keeping a diary is one method of doing this, as is 'freeze framing' (see above).


Psychological Methods

Questionnaires & Surveys

There are two basic ways of gathering information; qualitative and quantitative.

Qualitative: You talk to a lot of people or you talk to one person a lot, or you study yourself, collecting as much information as possible. Then you look for patterns in the information [for example “Every time I felt awful in the morning, a great deal of coffee had been drunk the night before.” Or: “Those of us who had sudden migraines that summer owned a particular kind of pet.”] This is how researchers discover new directions to explore and new theories; by looking for patterns in data.

You can also do remote surveying via questionnaires, although they are more difficult to get qualitative information with.

For quantitative surveys, see below (cognitive methods).


Functional Analysis

We have been able to test for brain functions for much longer than we have known much about the nature of neural nets, because functions can be assessed rather easily from behavior, which is why IQ tests are pretty good for assessing intellect [they are not good, unfortunately, for assessing how sensible people are].

All functions can be tested like this. It is blatantly obvious that if you wake up in bed with someone you don’t recognize, that there has been some loss of memory, for example, but we only used to find this sort of thing out after an accident because patients failed memory function tests; not because we saw or knew in any way which brain networks were malfunctioning.

The brain was still very much a ‘black box’ when functional analysis [FA] came into play, and we really had no idea whether brain function testing was testing the performance of individual networks, particular mixtures of networks [modules], groups of neurons, or the whole brain!

But FA was still pretty useful. If a person suffered an accident, or reported any sudden loss of mental ability, we tested for the different functions, and from the results we could still be reasonably sure that there was no damage to the brain [now we would say, ‘that all major networks of the brain are functional’] before considering the patient healthy and ready to go home. [It is no use a person having an undamaged IQ, for example, if they feel too traumatized to leave the building, or cannot remember where they live or recognize their wife.] Mental performance in this sort of testing remained until recently one of the best ways to assess mental health.

If a specific problem is known or suspected, specific functional analysis may focus on particular areas. Here are some examples of different areas that can be focused on and the kinds of questions that can be used: 

  • Time, date, location and direction
  • The place where you live, type of building you are in, city and country you are in
  • Your name, age, and interests



Your ability to complete a thought. This may be evident through conversation, or you may be asked to follow a series of directions in order to base conclusions on your performance.


The memory of people, places, and events that have recently been involved in your life. You may be asked questions related to recent events in your life or the world around you.

REMOTE (long term) MEMORY

The memory of people, places, and events that occurred earlier in your life. You may be asked about your childhood or events that occurred earlier in your life.


Assessments documenting memory loss in detail may include the following:

* Type

  • o Can the person remember recent events (is there impaired short-term memory)?
  • o Can the person remember events from further in the past (is there impaired long-term memory)?
  • o Is there a loss of memory about events that occurred prior to a specific experience (retrograde amnesia)?
  • o Is there a loss of memory about events that occurred soon after a specific experience (anterograde amnesia)?
  • o Is there only a minimal loss of memory?
  • o Does the person unknowingly make up stories to cover gaps in memory (confabulation)?
  • o Is the person suffering from low moods that impair concentration?


* Time Pattern

  • o Has the memory loss been getting worse over years?
  • o Has the memory loss been developing over weeks or months?
  • o Is the memory loss present all the time or are there distinct episodes of amnesia?
  • o If there are amnesia episodes, how long do they last?


* Aggravating or Triggering Factors

  • o Has there been a head injury in the recent past?
  • o Has the person experienced an event that was emotionally traumatic?
  • o Has there been a surgery or procedure requiring a general anesthetic?
  • o Does the person use drugs, including medications or alcohol? What type? How much?


* Other Symptoms

  • o What other symptoms are present?
  • o Is the person confused or disoriented?
  • o Can they independently eat, dress, and perform similar self-care activities?
  • o Have they had seizures?

Word comprehension tests your knowledge of common items. Your tester will point to everyday items in the room and have you name them.


To test your judgment and ability to exercise alternative solutions to a given problem or situation, your tester might ask, "What would you do if a police officer approached from behind in a car with lights flashing?" or "If you found a snake on the ground, what would you do?"


No preparation is necessary for these tests. All responses should be natural, spontaneous, and honest. Preparation, especially by a highly intelligent person, could distort the results of the test by making it appear that cognitive function has not diminished when, in fact, it actually has.


What 'Abnormal' Results Mean

Each test can identify different possible problems, as described below.


Typically, orientation to time is first to be lost, then orientation to place, then to person. There are many possible causes for disorientation:

  • * Alcohol intoxication
  • * Low blood sugar
  • * Head trauma or concussion
  • * Fluid and electrolyte imbalance
  • * Nutritional deficiencies -- particularly lack of niacin, thiamine, vitamin C, or vitamin B-12
  • * Hyperthermia (fever)
  • * Hypothermia -- a drop in body temperature can cause sudden confusion
  • * Hypoxemia -- chronic pulmonary disorders can produce persistent confusion
  • * Environmental (such as heat stroke, heavy metal poisoning, hypothermia, or methanol intoxication)
  • * Drugs (such as atropine, chloroquine, cimetidine, CNS depressants in large doses, cycloserine, oral digitalis
  • medicines, indomethacin, lidocaine, withdrawal from narcotics and barbiturates)
  • * Organic brain disease



If you are unable to complete a thought, or are easily distracted by other stimuli, you may have an abnormal attention span. This may have a number of causes. A few examples are:

  • * Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
  • * Confusion
  • * Manic depressive illness
  • * Histrionic personality disorder
  • * Schizophrenia



Organic syndromes are indicated if there is a loss of recent memory, but remote memory remains intact. Remote memory is lost when there is damage to the upper part of the brain as occurs in Alzheimer's disease. See also memory loss.


These tests screen for aphasia. Some causes for aphasia include:

  • * Head trauma
  • * Senile dementia (Alzheimer's type)
  • * Stroke
  • * Transient ischemic attack



We exercise judgment in all of our daily activities, and the ability to determine an appropriate course of action is vital to survival in many situations. The following are some causes of impaired judgment:

  • * Mental retardation
  • * Emotional dysfunction
  • * Schizophrenia
  • * Organic brain disease



Intelligence Assessment Where There Are No Clear Problems

The mental functions that we normally test for in FA are: memory, intellect and computational ability, an ability to concentrate and pay attention [alertness and orientation], clear perception and healthy senses, imaginative ability, association and strategy, creative problem solving, and emotional stability.

These are all considered essential in a healthy mind.

Nowadays, by performing them in sync with fMRI, we have been able to determine that there certainly are various individual networks in the brain whose functions correlate with high intelligence. We have also gotten a much clearer idea of how a reasonably healthy mind will be functioning overall, and which networks are essentially necessary for that to take place. Essentially, fMRI together with functional analysis has brought neuronal nets out of the black box closet and into the light.

Functional analysis is used in our neurohacking tutorials for self-assessment.


Older Tests

(most of these are only partially useful and many are now too out of date with new discovery to be of use).

  • The Rorschach consists of a set of ten card with an inkblot on each card. It was developed in 1910 The test is considered "projective" because the patient is supposed to project his or her real personality into the inkblot via the interpretation. [Update 1942] The reliability and validity of the Rorschach is highly controversial - especially with subjects who are resistant. Most professionals agree that using the Rorschach alone is probably pointless. The Rorschach can be rendered useless or invalid if a subject provides less than 10 responses or describes only one area per card. Some professionals consider the Rorschach to be unscientific.
  • The MMPI 1942 (see MMPI-2) is a true false questionnaire that has 556 questions
  • The DAS or dysfunctional attitude scale from Weissman (1980) is a questionnaire with 40 items with answers from "I totally agree" to "I totally disagree"
  • The MCMI / MCMI-II or Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory is a true false questionnaire that has 175 questions. First version was developed in the 1970's and was constructed with scales that represented personality disorders contained in DSM III. The original MCMI was highly controversial. The new version was released in 1987 and was based on DSM III-R but does not represent the current DSM-IV personality disorders. The attitude of the person taking the MCMI or MCMI-2 and context/circumstance in which the questionnaires are given can have a significant impact on the validity of the results.
  • The SAS or sociotropy autonomy scale from BECK is a questionnaire with 60 items with answers from "I totally agree" to "I totally disagree" (in %)
  • The MMPI-2 or Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. (60-90 minutes) Specialized study is recommended before using these questionnaires. Use of the MMPI or MMPI-2 and interpretation without training or without proper consideration is probably pointless. The attitude of the person taking the MMPI-2 and circumstance in which the questionnaires are given can have a significant impact on the results. The minimult is a summarized version of the MMPI with 172 questions.
  • The PDQ / PDQ-R / PDQ IV or personality diagnostic questionnaire from Dr. Steven Hyler is a true false questionnaire that has 163 questions (99 question for pdq4) (1994) It was constructed with scales that represented personality disorders. It takes approximately 10-20 minutes to complete.
  • The IPDE - International Personality Disorder Examination from Loranger and the WHO organization (1994)(french adaptation Dr Pull) is a semistructured clinical interview compatible with the ICD-10 and the DMS-IV (semi-strutured means that questions are completed by evaluator)(The IPDE exists in 2 versions, one 94 questions screening "yes / no" allowing to quickly have some idea about personality disorders and the full version with 100 questions allowing to make diagnosis but also to have dimensional score for each disorder). The IPDE is available in computer software.
  • The SIDP / SIDP IV or Structured Interview for DSM Personality Disorders from Bruce Pfohl, M.D (SIDP IV 1997) (semi-structured means that questions are completed by evaluator).


Interactional Analysis

An Interactional analysis is like a Functional analysis except it is aimed at situations, not people. We are analysing behavior to determine who is, and who is not, interacting, and what may be getting in the way of that. This enables us to see patterns of interaction that succeed, and patterns of action/reaction that don’t, and how much we or others are using of each.

The value of Interactional Analysis is this application of critical thought to our own behavior and that of others in social situations, and the unveiling of any hidden (or not so hidden) intentions within social as well as all other contexts (interpretations of assumptions, belief systems, etc.). Interactional Analysis can be applied to any person, problem or situation.

“Interaction” is the practice of certain core conditions in communication, relationships and behavior that result in a high degree of “changes for the better”.

The ‘core conditions’ are a guide for both practising and analysing attitude, communication and behavior. They were elucidated by psychologist Carl Rogers, whose work in implementing them in healthcare, education and international relations led to his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. (If you want to know more in-depth info about the background psychology , read the article “Biological psychology & personality theory: the basics” in the Basics section of the library.)

The core conditions are Empathy, Genuineness and Unconditional regard; skills that we aim to develop in ourselves to improve our ability to interact.

Rogers’ achievement was to state in clear definitive and measurable terms the psychological conditions which are necessary to bring about constructive (beneficial) personality change. By ‘beneficial personality change’ we mean “Change in the personality structure and behavior of people, at both conscious and unconscious levels, in a direction which produces greater integration, less internal and external conflict, more energy utilizable for effective living, and a change in behavior away from behaviors generally regarded as immature and towards behaviors generally regarded as mature.”

The purpose of Interactional Analysis is not to provide definite answers, but to expand our personal horizons and make us realize our own shortcomings and unacknowledged agendas/motivations - as well as those of others. In short, determining who is and who is not interacting as opposed to action/reaction reveals what is going on behind our backs and those of others and what is determining our own and other people's behaviors.


For more about Interactional Analysis and how to do it, read:

(Basics section):

Interaction and core conditions; the basics

Biological psychology & personality theory: the basics

Interactional analysis practice

Anxiety & input control: the basics


Introduction to Homeworld



Cognitive Methods

Particularly useful for 'front loaders' with weak rear networks, but should be avoided if you have wronguse in networks 1 & 5 (see tutorials).

Questionairres & Surveys

You start out with an hypothesis and you want some proof or disproof. For example, “I wonder if my diet could be responsible for my mood swings”. So you go look for evidence that this is possible. You might just look it up on the internet, or ask people, and you collect the evidence, but it’s about that one particular subject alone; not anything else. If a lot of people say your hypothesis is likely, you’re more likely to test it further. World mortality figures are another example of quantitative surveys.

Discourse Analysis

Discourse analysis (DA) is a method for analyzing written, spoken or signed language use, developed in the 1990's by Jonathon Potter and Derek Edwards. Language and discourse are not transparent or neutral means for describing or analysing things. Rather they effectively construct, regulate and control access to knowledge, the power of institutions, and interpersonal relationships. Discourse is studied as interactive, focusing on what people DO, attempt or achieve with words.

Analysing discourse as output enables us to see the underlying ontology (theory of being), behavior and attitudes a person is using. We use this skill in everyday awareness; for example if someone says, “I hate chinese people” we may fairly conclude that the person speaking is racist.

As a psychological technique, we can use the same method to determine any unhealthy habits of thought based on an underlying ontology and/or ideology that may indicate dysfunction.

Three main areas are analysed: power relations (inequalities including gender relations, social class, age prejudice, authoritarianism, victimization and racism); subject positioning (ways of understanding and experiencing the world, accounting for it and being positioned in it by self and others); and interpretative repertoires (how things become 'taken for granted', come to be considered 'common sense' regardless of their founding in (or refutation by) fact) and used as discursive resources).

Most importantly, discourse analysis reveals incongruity (see tutorials) via exposing ideological dilemmas, attribution errors and underlying false assumptions, and can also indicate our progress towards congruity over time.

The words we write or speak are an expression of our inner thoughts and personalities. Beyond the meaningful content of language, a wealth of unique insights into the speaker’s mind are hidden in the style of discourse —in such elements as how often certain words and word categories are used, regardless of context.

It is how a person expresses his or her thoughts that reveals the processes beneath. When people try to present themselves a certain way, they tend to select what they think are appropriate nouns and verbs, but they are unlikely to control their use of articles and pronouns. These small words create the style of a text, which is less subject to conscious manipulation.

Discourse analyses have shown that these small words may hint at the healing progress of patients and give us insight into the personalities and changing ideals of ourselves and others.

Discourse analysis is relatively new and even many psychologists have not yet realized that low-level words can give clues to large-scale behaviors, but there has been some progress; there is now a computer program that analyzes text, called Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC, pronounced “Luke”). The software has been used to examine other speech characteristics as well, tallying up nouns and verbs in hundreds of categories to expose buried patterns.

The software counts how many times a speaker or author uses words in specific categories, such as emotion or perception, and words that indicate complex cognitive processes. It also tallies up so-called function words such as pronouns, articles, numerals and conjunctions. Within each of these major categories are subsets: Are there more mentions of emotions or sentiments? Does the speaker prefer “I” and “me” to “us” and “we”? LIWC answers these quantitative questions; psychologists must then figure out what the numbers mean. Before LIWC was developed in the mid-1990s, years of psychological research in which people counted words by hand established robust connections between word usage and psychological states or underlying attitudes and beliefs behind overt behaviors.

Researchers are currently investigating many other patient groups, including those with cancer, mental illness and suicidal tendencies, using LIWC to uncover clues about their emotional well-being and their mental state.

Although it takes study to learn how to do an effective analysis, by enabling us to make our assumption explicit, Discourse Analysis aims at allowing us to view the "problem" from a higher stance and to gain a comprehensive view of the "problem" and ourselves in relation to that "problem". Discourse Analysis is meant to provide a higher awareness of the hidden motivations in others and ourselves and, therefore, enable us to solve concrete problems - not by providing unequivocal answers, but by making us ask ontological and epistemological questions.


Here is a sampling of the many variables that can be detected in discourse analysis: 

·        Higher rates of words related to sentiment correspond with feelings of insecurity, threat and defensive or aggressive behaviors.

·        Words that are used to express balance or nuance (“except,” “but,” and so on) are associated with higher cognitive complexity, better problem-solving skills and even the truthfulness with which facts are reported.

·        The factor that is most clearly associated with recovery is the use of pronouns. Patients whose writings change perspective from day to day are less likely to need further treatment during the follow-up period.

·        In general, rearloaders (see tutorials) tend to use more pronouns and references to other people. Frontloaders are more likely to use articles, prepositions and big words.

·        As people mature, they typically refer to themselves less, use more positive-emotion words and fewer negative-emotion words, and use more future-tense verbs and fewer past-tense verbs. In cognitive decline the opposite is true.

·        When telling the truth, people are more likely to use first-person singular pronouns such as “I.” They also use exclusive words such as “except” and “but.” These words may indicate that a person is making a distinction between what they did do and what they did not do—liars often do not deal well with such complex constructions.

·        People use a lot more first-person singular pronouns when they are depressed or suicidal, possibly indicating excessive self-absorption and social isolation.

·        In the days and weeks after a cultural upheaval, people use “I” less and “we” more, suggesting a social bonding effect.


Self Analysis, Reflexivity, Observation

Almost any method of analysis is applicable to the self. Self-observation and self analysis are of limited use to those with wronguse in networks 1, 3 & 5 (see tutorials). Those who are unhealthily obsessed by the self do not benefit from self-analysis, and those who are emotionally unstable cannot rely on their results (they tend to answer questionnaires dishonestly by accident; aiming for the 'ideal' responses they think others would most approve of).

For those with healthy frontal networks and good emotional stability self analysis can be an extremely useful tool. We do have to bear in mind the fallibility of memory in some methods. Studying interaction and the core conditions is an important first step.



Reflexivity is the deliberate exercise of the mental ability of considering ourselves and our behavior in relation to our cultural, social and environmental contexts, with the aim of spotting problematic areas that may encourage bad mental/cognitive habits.

Understanding how other people, contexts and events as well as beliefs and assumptions affect our cognition and behavior is a valuable skill because once aware of our current limitations, we can take steps to reduce them. If we KNOW that we cannot make good decisions when under the influence of anything, we can not only avoid making decisions when under its influence but also avoid it deliberately when decisions need to be made, or change the effect it has on us by various means.

A good analogy is finding out what our allergies are so that we can avoid substances that adversely affect us or take steps to prevent bad responses (for example antihistamine).

Reflexivity is also useful in written accounts of events or ideas. A good example of reflexivity used in research is the comment: “My interpretation of the data on the prevalence of racism in our community may be biased as I was frequently subjected to racial abuse as a child”. This researcher is aware of her own personal possibilities for prejudiced judgment.



Spiritual Methods


Some would count reflexivity as a spiritual method of diagnosis; allied to the tenet: “know thyself”, but a spiritually-induced sense of calm and centeredness that meditation can bring will be an advantage in any assessment of brain function or mind performance. Almost always as awareness increases, the feedback from meditation becomes a diagnostic instrument that allows us to understand exactly at which point of development or problem solving we are. So it is a good starting point.

There is more information about meditation in sections below.



Mindfulness meditation can teach us a lot about how we are functioning unconsciously as well as our conscious behavior. It is especially useful for those with nonuse in networks 1 or 5 (see tutorials).

As an exception, self-concentrative practices should be avoided by individuals whose reality-testing function is poor, who are strongly paranoid, suffer hallucinations, or who are likely to develop delusions of grandeur from the altered states of consciousness that these practices tend to produce. People with overwhelming anxiety should practice meditation for relaxation only and avoid insight meditations, in which the anxiety level could increase. If you have wronguse in networks 1 or 5, avoid mindfulness practices for the time being (see tutorials).

If you wish to learn basic meditation, consult the tutorials.



Can focus the mind, reduce anxiety and make it easier to see problems and make decisions. These are all of benefit in making a diagnosis.

Speaking about issue aloud will have this effect even if you are not religious as long as you can concentrate and try really hard to explain the problem. Some people use a diary for this or talk to an imaginary friend, but the deeper concentration that comes with prayer gives better results. If you have bad associations with the idea of praying, try imagining that you can ask the wisest, most intelligent wizard on earth about your problem. How would you explain it to them? Adopt the core conditions (an attitude of deep respect , genuineness and empathy) and go ahead -this will be just as effective as prayer at clarifying a problem.


Martial Arts, Yoga

Practices such as a martial art or yoga increase our awareness of our own bodies and sensitivity to changes as well as improving many functions.

If yoga is part of your lifestyle you may want to investigate Ayurvedic diagnosis. Diagnosis according to Ayurveda is to find out the root cause of a disease (Nidan) rather than the symptoms. It is not always necessary that the root cause is internal. Many times the cause may be external. To give permanent relief the root cause has to be removed. Ayurveda hypothesizes that all causative factors of disease internal or external, directly or indirectly create an imbalance (increase or decrease) in these doshas first, and only then do the symptoms of the disease manifest. The causative factors can be the food, lifestyle or other activities.

In Ayurveda, the diagnosis and treatment of disease is always individual to each patient. As Ayurveda treats according to the constitution of an individual, it is known as a highly accurate and personalized method of analyzing problems. 






Ways of Treating a Problem: Repair & Prevention


Body/Mind & Sensorimotor Methods

Body-mind therapy is a psychotherapeutic process that works on the relationship between the body and the emotional processes of the client, and is intended to address emotional concerns that are not as likely to be resolved through talk therapy alone. It is of great use for frontloaders or those with weak rear nets, but could be dangerous if you have wronguse in networks 1 or 5 (see tutorials).

Therapies are in alphabetical order.


Applied Relaxation Therapy

Teaches systematic approaches to relaxation, for example, progressive muscle relaxation, often combined with breathing techniques and/or meditation.



Is really a part of herbal therapy. Essential oils, ointments and sprays are (usually) plant-based preparations containing tiny aromatic molecules that are readily absorbed via the skin, and whilst breathing they enter the nose and lungs. They are used in several different ways:

Massage & bathing with essential oils is useful for aches & pains brought on by muscular tension. Some aromatics can act as rubefacients; drawing the circulation away from painful areas, others work as topical antibacterials (for example clove oil for a toothache). Their main use in NH is due to their ability to encourage the release of neurotransmitters and their role in memory adjustment.

Aromatic oil molecules come in different shapes & sizes, and the sensory detectors in the nose can differentiate between them. Each type triggers a different response in the brain. We can plot our own personal sensory association map and use this information for input control (see tutorials).

As with music, there will be a broad difference in the variety of individual odors that cause the desired response, but the broad categories of odor are universal (all humans like the smell of certain flowers and foods, and dislike the smell of vomit for example, although individually our favorite and least favorite smells will vary widely.)

Once you know which smells are most effective for you, you can employ them in input control.

You can easily make your own essential oils, the complicated way (using distillation) or the easy way -cold infusion: crush up the required herb or ingredient into a base oil such as olive oil, getting as much in as you can, in a clear glass container and leave it standing around in the sun or somewhere warm for three to six weeks, shaking daily. Then filter the liquid into a dark glass container and store in the dark. Don't use mineral oil as a base.

You can augment the effects of aromatherapy with herbal teas and dietary herbs.


Autogenic Training

Is often combined with relaxation methods to create a conditioned relaxation response to an internal stimulus, such as a word or phrase.

AT is a technique that teaches your body to respond to your verbal commands. These commands "tell" your body to relax and control breathing, blood pressure, heartbeat, and body temperature. The goal of AT is to achieve deep relaxation and reduce anxiety. After you learn the technique, you can use it whenever you need or want relief from symptoms of stress, or you can practice it regularly to enjoy the benefits of deep relaxation and prevent the effects of chronic stress.

It is a lot easier to learn this technique with biofeedback machines (see 'methods & tech part 2).



There are two hypotheses (called 'Central Ideas') behind Breath therapy. The first is this: In the average person, the breathing mechanism is functioning at only a fraction of its potential. The "normal" breathing system has been damaged, inhibited, due to a number of conditions and events, beginning at birth, and including family and cultural influences, as well as every physical and emotional trauma you have survived. The breathing system needs to be "healed," brought back up to the level that nature intended. The second is this: When full free breathing is restored, every system in the body begins to work better. We find that the breath itself naturally heals and renews the body, mind and spirit. "Conscious Breathing" becomes a very powerful self-directed healing process. The breath reveals itself to be an untapped natural resource, a therapeutic tool, for health, growth and change.


Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing

(EMDR) is a form of imaginal exposure treatment for post-traumatic conditions where the traumatic event is recalled whilst the client makes specific voluntary eye movements.

Further reading: Tutorial 6


Light therapy

Offers drug-free relief from many specific conditions such as PMS, migraine, depression, hayfever, insomnia, Seasonal Affective Disorder, jaundice, wound-healing, sleep disorders, skin problems, coldsores and some psychiatric disorders. The method consists of exposure to daylight or to specific wavelengths of light using lasers, LEDs, fluorescent lights, dichroic lamps or full-spectrum light from a 'light box'. The light is administered for a prescribed amount of time and, in some cases, at a specific time of day.

Modern phototherapy lamps used in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder and sleep disorders either filter out or do not emit ultraviolet light and are considered safe and effective for the intended purpose, as long as photosensitizing drugs are not being taken at the same time and in the absence of any existing eye conditions. Light therapy is a mood altering treatment, and just as with drug treatments, there is a possibility of triggering a manic state from a depressive state, causing anxiety and other side effects, although these side-effects are usually controllable.

In some circumstances caution is required using light therapy. These include when a person has a condition that might render their eyes more vulnerable to phototoxicity, has a tendency toward mania, has a photosensitive skin condition, is taking a photosensitizing herb (such as St John's Wort) or medication (such as methotrextate or chloroquine; as there is a chance that these drugs could cause porphyria). It is also reported that bright light therapy may activate the production of reproductive hormones.


Music therapy

Helps improve your observable level of functioning and self-reported quality of life in various domains (e.g., cognitive functioning, motor skills, emotional and affective development, behavior and social skills) by using music experiences (e.g., singing, playing, composing, listening to and discussing music, moving to music) to achieve measurable changes in healing or developmental goals and objectives.

We all associate different types of music with different types of mood and experience, and it is the types of music (these are universal) that are important rather than the choice of individual performers (these are highly individual). Different music types can be used to stimulate release of different neurotransmitters, so they are an important tool for intelligence development and adjustment as well as healing and recovery.

Most online groups insist on 'music therapists', but music therapy is perhaps the best kind of DIY intervention. It's easy to learn and can be fine-tuned, if you'll excuse the pun, to suit your personal optimal needs. It's a powerful method of input control. We'll be exploring music therapy in future tutorials.


Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

Based on mindfulness and body awareness tied to the tenets of co-counselling, SP is a body therapy that involves a broad repertoire of postures and movements designed to help people improve their awareness of their bodies.

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy hypothesizes two general kinds of interrelated psychological issues: developmental and traumatic. Developmental issues result from disturbed early attachment relationships that lead to limiting beliefs about oneself and the world, while post-traumatic stress disorder results from overwhelming experience that remains unintegrated. When combined with unresolved trauma, early attachment disturbances can lead to a wide variety of adult relational problems (identical to the co-counselling hypothesis on emotional processing).

SP makes it possible to discover the habitual and automatic attitudes and behavior, both physical and psychological, by which we generate patterns of experience. It advocates following the inherently intelligent processes of body and mind to promote healing, and is particularly helpful in working with the effects of trauma and abuse, emotional pain, and limiting belief systems. Through the use of simple experiments, unconscious attitudes are brought to consciousness where they can be examined, understood, and changed.

The body is viewed as a living source of intelligence, information and change. The body, its sensations, and direct sensory experience are referenced throughout the therapy process. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is based on and committed to principles of mindfulness, non-violence, organicity, unity, and mind/body holism. By proceeding slowly, gently, and non-violently, an atmosphere of safety is created in which our defences can be examined and willingly yielded, rather than confronted and overpowered and new resources, especially somatic resources, can be developed.

There are two problems with SP: One, it views all memory as somatic/emotional and can fail to address traumatic memories or aspects of experience that are not physically related; and two, it's not easy to do alone, as we need someone in the 'counsellor' role with whom to discuss the issues raised, and 'official' online groups cost money, but SP can be done like co counselling with a friend or small group, and books are available from libraries that explain the techniques. We'd recommend the Hakomi method:


We'll discuss SP further in future tutorials.



Behavioral Methods

Work well allied to psychological methods for an integrated approach.


Lifestyle Changes & Input Control

At different stages of development we adjust to change for the better in different ways. Sometimes it is better to make a selection of small changes all at once, sometimes one large factor at a time, and sometimes a series of changes one step at a time. We have to get to know ourselves and what stage we are in to progress optimally in NH, and lifestyle observations help us to do that and to estimate roughly how long we may need to work on any particular area. It can also be useful for assessment, prediction and prevention.

An important rule for dealing with bad habits permanently is: never give anything up unless you replace it with something better. If you do, results are likely to be short-term or the bad habit will be replaced with an equally harmful one.

In almost all circumstances, acute fundamental changes (for example binge workouts, crash diets, sudden detox, emetics etc.) are dangerous.

Similar approaches:

Anger Management

The goal of anger management is not to create guilt about experiencing anger, but to use the experience as a signal that there is a harmful habitual response going on that needs to be addressed. Individuals learn how to recognize the signal and slow down their arousal when it happens, so that situations can be processed and interacted with in a proper way, forming healthier habits. To succeed, people need to learn what anger is, how to recognize anger triggers, how to become aware of their own unconscious responses and how to control and change them.

Most official 'classes' are sadly out of date with current neurology & psychology.


Authentic Movement Therapy

Arose as a conjunction between Jung's concept of active imagination and modern dance movement improvisation. It is used for creative and integrative movement exploration in the contexts of dance movement therapy, meditation and contemporary dance movement improvisation and, spiritually, as a journey of discovery. Movers improvise and explore spontaneous gestures and movements with their eyes closed, following inner impulses in the present moment. Some times called a movement meditation, Authentic Movement cultivates a contemplative frame of mind, clarity of perception and responsive movement and stillness of body and mind. Authentic Movement is practiced individually or in a group.


Behavior Therapy

Is a structured therapy originally derived from learning theory, which seeks to solve problems and relieve symptoms by changing behavior and the environmental factors which control behavior. Graded exposure to feared situations is one of the commonest behavioral treatment methods and is used in a range of anxiety disorders.


Conflict Resolution Therapy

Rests on the hypothesis that negative feelings mainly emerge in response to situations of conflict. If effective conflict resolution skills move the triggering conflict to resolution, well-being resumes. If conflict resolution skills are insufficient however, negative feelings continue to fester and grow.

This premise applies to conflicts within a person--conflicts for instance between someone’s desires and what they feel they should do. It applies similarly to conflicts between people--such as between a couple, spouses, a parent and child, or co-workers--and to conflicts between people and difficult circumstances--such as illness or economic difficulties. Conflict resolution therapy methods therefore are applicable to treatment with distraught individuals, couples, and/or families.

Conflict resolution treatment methods utilize visualization techniques for rapid exploration of family of origin sources of dysfunctional patterns. The treatment focuses primarily though on learning the communication and conflict resolution skills that enable couples to sustain a positive relationship (e.g., interaction), and using these skills to resolve the issues that have been divisive.

Unfortunately many groups are out of date when dealing with emotion-labelling. If sentiments like anxiety, depression, or anger have been problematic in the relationship, these also are addressed early on in treatment but are referred to as 'negative emotions'.


Continuum Concept

Particularly good for nonuse in network 2 (see tutorials).

Continuum aims to produce an extraordinary awakening to the fullness of what it means to be alive. Continuum has pioneered and revolutionized the role of somatics in health, relationships, physical fitness, creativity and spirituality... Continuum uses movement, the dexterity of breath, the resonance of sound and the value of meaning to amplify and refine interaction within ourselves, with others and with our world.

According to author Jean Liedloff, the continuum concept is the idea that in order to achieve optimal physical, mental and emotional development, human beings — especially babies — require the kind of experience to which our species adapted during the long process of our evolution. For an infant, these include such experiences as:

• constant physical contact with the mother (or another familiar caregiver as needed) from birth;

• sleeping in the parents' bed, in constant physical contact, until they leave of their own volition (often about two years);

• breastfeeding "on cue" — nursing in response to their own body's signals;

• being constantly carried in arms or otherwise in contact with someone, usually the mother, and allowed to observe (or nurse, or sleep) while the person carrying him goes about their business — until the infant begins creeping, then crawling on its own impulse, usually at six to eight months;

• having caregivers immediately respond to their signals (squirming, crying, etc.), without judgment, displeasure, or invalidation of their needs, yet showing no undue concern nor making them the constant center of attention;

• sensing (and fulfilling) their elders' expectations that they are innately friendly and cooperative and have strong self-preservation instincts, and that they are welcome and worthy.


Further Reading:

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuum_(theory)

Continuum Concept Website:  http://www.continuum-concept.org/cc_defined.html

Continuum Movement: http://www.continuummovement.com/cm-overview2.htm


Dance Therapy

Particularly good for those with nonuse in network 2 (see tutorials).

Physically, dance therapy can provide exercise, improve mobility and muscle coordination, and reduce muscle tension. Emotionally, dance therapy is reported to improve self-awareness, self-confidence, and interpersonal interaction, and is an outlet for communicating feelings. Some promoters claim that dance therapy may strengthen the immune system through muscular action and physiological processes and even help prevent disease, but this is true of any therapy (and method or practice) that reduces anxiety.

Based on working with body and mind as interrelated, dance/movement therapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement as a process which furthers the emotional, cognitive and physical integration of the individual. It effects changes in feelings, cognition, physical functioning, and behavior.


Stress Inoculation Therapy

Is a type of behavior therapy that involves exposure to increasing levels of stress to practice coping more positively with stressful situations and preventing anxiety.


Chemical Methods

See: Drugs & chemicals section of the library, introduction



Methods Using Technology

See: “Methods & tech part 2: Tech” (in this section)



Psychological Methods

Psychological Therapies and Counselling; Evidence Based Guide


Types of Psychological Techniques

There are many types of psychological techniques and the range of different choices can be confusing. Whilst it is not practicable to give a full definition of every separate therapy, we have listed the main types of psychological therapies widely used. In addition, there are some therapies which, whilst not yet widely available, have been the subject of research, and these are also listed. Each of these can be practised with individuals, couples, families or groups, but most are impossible to do alone.


Treatment Length

A common therapy length is from eight to twenty sessions, although some therapies may need to be longer, for example, where there are complications of personality disorder or chronic relapsing depression. While there is little research evidence about the most effective pattern of delivery, there is some limited evidence of the benefit of extended follow up or ‘booster’ sessions for chronic disorders.

Therapies of fewer than eight sessions are unlikely to be optimally effective for most moderate to severe mental health problems. Often 16 sessions or more are required for symptomatic relief, and longer therapies may be required to achieve lasting change in social and personality functioning.

Specific phobias and uncomplicated panic disorder (without agoraphobic symptoms) can respond to brief interventions.


Eclectic Therapies

Many people formulate their program using more than one theoretical framework and choose a mix of techniques from more than one therapy approach. The resulting therapy is pragmatic, tailored to the individual. These generic therapies often emphasise important non-specific factors (such as building the therapeutic alliance and engendering confidence). By their nature, they are more idiosyncratic and difficult to standardise for the purposes of randomised controlled trials research to see how well they work, but this could be the most effective method of using therapies. There is an obvious split in therapy choice between front- and rearloaders (see tutorials); frontloaders emphasize cognitive solutions and rearloaders emphasize emotional/ or body-oriented healing. In reality both are important.


Integrative Therapy

Refers similarly to a formal theoretical and methodological integration of, for example, behavioral, cognitive, humanistic or psychodynamic approaches.


Supportive Psychotherapy

Refers to any psychotherapeutic approach that supports existing ways of coping with problems rather than challenges and attempts to change ways of thinking and responding.



Common Factors of All Successful Therapies

There are a handful of common denominators present in all forms of successful therapy. These elements are described below:


Unconditional Regard

Viewing a person with unconditional regard achieves two goals; first we treat the person (or ourselves) as greater than the problems. This is the hallmark of non-pathologizing therapy. It does not mean the problems do not exist, it means NOT viewing the problems as the whole person or the whole person as the problems. Working nonpathologically does not negate pathology, it depathologizes it. So for example, rather than labeling a person who's angry as an angry person, non-pathologizing therapy views one's anger as the malfunction of a system; not intrinsic to who the person is. We do justice to a person's true nature when we remember that behind the layers of anxiety-based protection, no matter how confused or indoctrinated or lost one has been, there is a loveable and intelligent person at the very core who is seeking help to get back out.

Second, this attitude empowers the person. Empowering therapists maintain the belief that people can continue to develop; to grow, heal, and transform. This belief is held no matter how intense someone's defenses and wounds are. People can heal if they want to and if they can contribute to their own growth by learning whatever is sufficient and necessary to that end.

It is a bad therapist who views a person as fundamentally flawed or incapable of change, because we now know that in those circumstances that person is more likely to feel and become flawed. We are far more likely to discover our true nature when therapy sees beyond wounds, problems and defenses and focuses on what we have in common -how the brain works.



We are at our best when we give the intelligence that resides within each person (or ourselves) a chance to go to work. Good empathy can be established when a therapist or counsellor encourages a client to become the co-therapist or co-counsellor.

If you are working alone, empathy means 'knowing yourself'. Therapists who work collaboratively trust people to know themselves (or have the potential to learn about themselves) better than anyone else, to access their own intelligence, and to attend to their own problems. This orientation puts the 'client' in the driver's seat of therapy, and empathy-based therapies are known as 'collaberative therapy'. Collaboration is not directionless nor does it put the client at risk of further trauma.

The empathic relationship allows one to more fully and completely feel the presence of Self as your own intelligence while in the presence of another. A therapist or spiritual master who embodies intelligence as Self and feels unconditional positive regard in the face of whatever the client may be experiencing, nurtures the beneficial relationship. Without a beneficial relationship there is no benefit.



Being your natural responsive self is a state of being that a therapist can embody when with clients or that you can invoke in yourself. It's a state of calm, curiosity, friendliness, creativity, confidence, courage, connectedness, honesty and clarity. It is this state that allows a therapist to work collaboratively without pushing, without pathologizing, and without retraumatizing.



Glossary of Psychological Therapies in Alphabetical Order

Note: We only include therapies that have scientific proof or beneficial results. We do not insist on proof of background theory. In other words if a method shows clear evidence of working, we'll include it even if we don't know why.

Many therapies that work well have dodgy or out of date background 'theories', and we should always remember not to attribute results to unproven hypotheses. Some website might SAY that Aspirin kills pain because it is full of tiny warriors that attack pain goblins on horseback, so if you want to understand and get the best out of therapy you should learn as much about the brain as you can and make your OWN mind up why things work.


Adlerian Psychology

Particularly useful for those with nonuse in network 1 (see tutorials) because this approach focuses on people's efforts to compensate for their self-perceived inferiority to others. AP hypothesizes that these feelings of inferiority may derive from one's position in the family constellation, particularly if early experiences of humiliation occurred; a specific physical condition or defect existed; or a general lack of social feeling for others was present.

Consequently Adlerians are concerned with understanding the unique and private beliefs and strategies (one's life style) that each individual creates in childhood. This cognitive schema and life style serve as the individual's reference for attitudes, behaviors, and one's private view of self, others, and the world. AP claims that when we have looked at our early life experiences, examined the patterns of behavior that repeat themselves in our lives, and the methods by which we go about trying to gain significance and belonging, then healing, growth, and change can occur.


Art Therapy

Uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals. It is based on the hypothesis that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce anxiety, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight. Art therapy integrates the fields of human development, visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture, and other art forms), and the creative process with models of counseling and psychotherapy. It is used to assess and treat the following: anxiety, depression, and other mental and emotional problems and disorders; substance abuse and other addictions; family and relationship issues; abuse and domestic violence; social and emotional difficulties related to disability and illness; trauma and loss; physical, cognitive, and neurological problems; and psychosocial difficulties related to medical illness.



Is a systematic process which gives individuals an opportunity to explore, discover and clarify ways of living more resourcefully, with a greater sense of well being. Counselling may be concerned with addressing and resolving specific problems, making decisions, coping with crises, working through conflict, or improving relationships with others. Counsellors therefore focus on client choices in their life circumstances, as a basis for their work. Counsellors may practice within any of the therapeutic approaches listed here, using psychodynamic counselling, cognitive behavioral counselling, systemic counselling and so on. However, most are currently influenced by humanistic, process-experiential and psychodynamic principles.


Co Counselling

Is a free interactional method of counselling done with a partner or group. Each participant takes equal time in the role of 'counsellor' and 'client'.

In the counsellor role we are expected to be attentive and to listen. In most cases there is no discussion and the counsellor gives no prompting; the aim is to support the person in the client role to work through their own issues in an autonomous, self-directed way.

Background theory:

The theory of co-counselling centers around what are called distress patterns. Distress patterns are patterns of behavior that tend to be repeated in a particular type of circumstance, that are irrational, unhelpful or compulsive. In other words they are harmful, either in themselves, or in the results they lead to, and usually both.

CC theory says these patterns are driven by the accumulated consequences in the mind of (currently unconscious) memories of past events in which the person was unable to express or discharge the emotion appropriate to the event. That means events and experiences in the past that we were unable to properly process at the time, that have left us with unsolved problems or issues we’re not comfortable with. It becomes a sort of a habit to run around these issues –often unconsciously-we get anxious and we get stuck.

Co-counselling enables release from these repetitive patterns by allowing "emotional discharge" of the past unresolved experiences. Methods of release used are called catharsis, and include things like crying, warm perspiration, trembling, yawning, laughing and relaxed, non-repetitive talking.

These are ways of processing an event that society represses, and it may be good for outward appearances not to cry in public but it’s not good for biology.

Co-counselling in general takes a positive view of the person (i.e. we are all essentially good), and considers the mind and body as an integrated whole (it is partly holistic. Fully holistic ontologies include the natural environment and all life).

While we do not recommend the 'official' co counselling institutions that apply restrictions and cost money, DIY co-counselling using Rogers' core conditions has the best results of any kind of counselling therapy.

Further reading:

“Interaction and core conditions: the basics” (Basics section of the library).

Intal tutorials


Drama Therapy

Is the intentional use of drama and/or theater processes to achieve therapeutic goals. Drama Therapy is active and experiential. This approach is good for those with nonuse in network 4 (see tutorials).

Drama therapy can provide the context for participants to tell their stories, set goals, and solve problems, express feelings, or achieve catharsis. Through drama, the depth and breadth of inner experience can be actively explored and interpersonal relationship (interactive) skills can be enhanced. Participants can expand their repertoire of dramatic roles to find that their own life roles have been strengthened. Behavior change, skill-building, emotional and physical integration, and personal growth can be achieved through drama therapy in prevention, intervention, and therapeutic settings.


Dreamwork & Dream Analysis

Is an area so contaminated with nonsense that it is difficult to find a practical method that makes sense. Ignoring dreamwork altogether would mean we miss out on a marvellous opportunity to develop unconscious awareness and sensitivity as well as coherent association skills, so we use dreamwork techniques in some later tutorials with interpretation based on the memory's own eidetic archetypes (themselves based on our biology), ignoring all other interpretation systems.


Emotional Transformation Therapy

(ETT). Useful for those with nonuse in network 3 (see tutorials); uses light & color therapy for input control to assist in the transformation of sentiment to healthy emotion, although it calls all feelings 'emotional states'. This means a thorough and rapid progression through an 'emotional state' that is likely to change a sentiment into a healthier, more functional and productive emotion. For example, hopelessness often transforms into empowerment, sadness into love, fear into confidence, anger into peace, etc. The strategy involves the person briefly facing the challenging sentiment in such a way that it facilitates a reduction of anxiety and then a new 'emotional state' (a genuine emotion) emerges. Before exploring this therapy it is useful to read: “Emotion and sentiment; the basics” in the basics section of the library.


Focal Psychodynamic Therapy

Identifies a central conflict arising from early experience that is being re-enacted in adult life producing mental health problems. It aims to resolve this through the vehicle of the relationship with the therapist giving new opportunities for emotional assimilation and insight. This form of therapy may be offered in a time-limited format, with anxiety aroused by the ending of therapy being used to illustrate how re-awakened feelings about earlier losses, separations and disappointments may be experienced differently.


Gestalt Therapy

Useful for those with nonuse in networks 1, 3 or 4 (see tutorials), Gestalt therapy hypothesizes two ideas. The first is that the proper focus of psychology is the experiential present moment. In contrast to approaches which look at the unknown and even unknowable, the perspective is the here and now of living. The second idea is that we are inextricably caught in a web of relationships and interaction with all things. It is only possible to truly know ourselves as we exist in relation to other things. These two ideas, here-and-now awareness and the interactive field, define the subject matter of Gestalt therapy. It provides a system of concepts describing the structure and organization of living in terms of aware relations.



See: sensorimotor psychotherapy (above)


Hypnotherapy, Hypnosis & Self-Hypnosis

Refers to any therapeutic approach using hypnosis as a main technique, for example, to promote imaginal re-exposure or relaxation.

Hypnosis is suggestion or self-suggestion.  The approaches discussed on this site are all based on proven psychological principles to give you what you need, quickly and comfortably.

You may have heard that some people can't be hypnotized. The ability to go into hypnosis is just that -an ability, and like all others it can be learned or improved.

If you couldn't go into hypnosis at all, you wouldn't be able to learn, to sleep, or to get yourself nervous by doing 'negative self hypnosis'. (You know when you imagine things going wrong and it makes you feel anxious? Well that's hypnosis!)

When well developed, hypnosis is a very powerful tool for improved performance and change.

At last, hypnosis is moving out of the realm of woo woo, magicians and stage performers and into the clear light of modern science - exactly where it belongs. Crazy news stories, stage hypnotists and gossip has led many people to believe that when you are in hypnosis, you are under someone else's control. Nothing could be further from the truth. When you are hypnotized, you are just really relaxed and focused - in fact, the most common comment is "Was I hypnotized?". It is a little like meditation –you may be aware of your state of mind changing but any time you want to, you can get up and walk away.

Hypnosis isn't like being asleep - you can be aware of everything around you, just like when you meditate. In hypnosis, you simply have a stronger focus internally, plus wonderful deep relaxation.


Further reading:

Hypnosis for beginners (methods & tech section of the library)



Image Therapy / Therapeutic Imagery

Therapeutic Imagery is a type of input control (see tutorials) that applies imagery; the eidetic language of unconscious memory, in overcoming conflicts or blocks in our behavioral motivation. Similarly, imagery can assist in healing the physical body by improving the immune system, leading to faster recovery and rehabilitation.

Through subtly inducing relaxation, therapeutic imagery enables us to bypass the conscious mind and begin accessing our feelings more quickly, working indirectly with hidden issues and distorted belief systems.

A problem with guided therapeutic imagery is that not all practitioners know what sort of imagery is therapeutic! The only methods with proof to support them use images of the natural world, and results are still not as good as those achieved by actually going outside in natural surroundings.

This is however a powerful method of input control, so if you have space to hang pictures or you'd like a pictorial desktop, why not choose images that have been proven to improve your health?


Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

Not good if you have wronguse in networks 4 or 5 (see tutorials). A structured, supportive therapy linking recent interpersonal events to mood or other problems, paying systematic attention to current personal relationships, life transitions, role conflicts and losses.


Narrative Therapy

(NT) is particularly useful if you have nonuse in network 3 (see tutorials). It is used popularly as an approach to counseling and community work. It views people as the experts in their own lives and views problems as separate from people. Narrative therapy assumes that people have many skills, competencies, beliefs, values, commitments and abilities that will assist them to reduce the influence of problems in their lives.

It focuses on the stories of people’s lives and is based on the hypothesis that problems are manufactured in social, cultural and political contexts; each person producing the meaning of their life from the stories that are available in these contexts.

Narrative therapy is sadly behind the times but its efficacy is greatly improved when the stories or narratives it is using reflect the natural associations in memory; e.g., they are congruent. With this in mind we explore NT in future tutorials.


Problem-Solving Therapy

Good if you have nonuse in front networks, not good if you have wronguse in frontal nets (see tutorials). Systematically teaches generic skills in active problem-solving, helping individuals to clarify and formulate their life difficulties and apply principles of problem solving to reduce anxiety and enhance self-efficacy.


Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

Is a long-term process (usually a year or more) of allowing unconscious conflicts opportunity to be re-enacted in the relationship with the therapist and, through interpretation, worked through in a developmental process.


Psychodynamic-Interpersonal Therapy (formerly known as the Conversational Model of Therapy)

Assumes that symptoms and problems arise from, or are exacerbated by, disturbances of significant personal relationships. It explores feelings using cue-based responses and metaphor; links distress to specific interpersonal problems and uses the therapeutic relationship to test out solutions in the ‘here and now’.


Rogerian or Person Centered Therapy

Currently has the most proof for overall beneficial results and coherent background theory. Best integrated with co counselling (see above).

Person-centered therapy moved psychology in general away from the idea that the therapist was the expert and towards a theory that trusted our intent ('innate tendency') towards entelechy or optimal function (known as the actualising tendency). It stresses the natural intent of all healthy human beings to strive towards fulfilment of their personal potentials.

Rogers stated that 'Individuals have within themselves vast resources for self-understanding and for altering their self-concepts, basic attitudes, and self-directed behavior; these resources can be tapped if a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes can be provided.' He pointed to three core conditions as providing a growth-promoting climate. These core conditions are: genuineness (congruence or congruity), unconditional positive regard and empathy. Evidence is mounting that when these core conditions are provided, development in a constructive, healthy direction will occur in the person receiving these conditions.

Further reading:

Biological psychology & personality theory: the basics (basics section)

Interaction & core conditions (basics section)


Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Person_centered_counselling?new_sess=1


Social Skills Training

Is a form of behavior therapy in which people learn and practice skills in social and interpersonal relationships.


Systemic Therapy

Systemic therapy (whether treating individuals, couples or families) focuses on the relational context, addresses patterns of interaction and meaning, and aims to facilitate personal and interpersonal resources within a system as a whole. Therapeutic work may include consultation to wider networks such as other people or groups working with the individual or the family. Therapy aims to identify and explore patterns of belief and behavior in roles and relationships. Therapists actively intervene to enable people to decide where change would be desirable and to facilitate the process of establishing new, more fulfilling and useful patterns.


Therapeutic Community

Refers to a residential treatment in which people learn to understand their problems and to change through their interactions with other clients and staff throughout the 24 hours of community life.



Cognitive Methods

Useful for those with weak rear nets, not so useful if you have wronguse in networks 1 or 5 (see tutorials).


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, problems are tackled head-on in a practical intellectual manner. CBT hypothesizes on the connection between thoughts and beliefs and their impact on behavior. How a person thinks about problems determines the way in which they respond to various issues. It's believed to be the manner of thinking about life's issues that steers the person's way of behaving, and discussing this is believed to facilitate change.

A good therapist will take as much time as is needed to truly, deeply, and respectfully understand and appreciate the source of a belief and will view you as the expert on yourself and your inner world of feelings. Bear this in mind, because CBT attracts more than its fair share of authoritarian characters.


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Is a longer term cognitive behavioral treatment devised for borderline personality disorder which teaches patients skills for regulating and accepting emotions and increasing interpersonal effectiveness.


Rational Emotive Therapy

Is a form of cognitive therapy that identifies underlying assumptions and patterns of thinking linked to negative unwanted emotions and challenges these.


Schema-Focused Cognitive Therapy

Is an integrative, long-term form of cognitive therapy, which addresses the deeply held, enduring beliefs (schemas) found in personality disorders.


NLP, Assertiveness Training, Self-Improvement

Neuro linguistic programming (NLP) has been called a hybrid of CBT, discourse analysis and self-suggestion. It was designed in the 70s by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, and is based on the belief in a connection between neurological processes ('neuro'), language ('linguistic') and behavioral patterns that have been learned through experience ('programming') and that can be organized to achieve specific goals in life.

NLP does not define causes but concentrates on treating problems, and unfortunately considers under- or overactive networks as 'normal', or 'different ways of thinking'. This limits its effectiveness in the long term and in those susceptible it can even make a problem worse. But NLP can be of great help if you have nonuse in networks 1, 3 or 5 (see tutorials).

Unfortunately, the method is easily adapted for (and too often openly recommended for) non-beneficial purposes; such as getting rich at others' expense or learning how to effectively coerce or control people, and this has given the method itself an undeserved bad name. In reality, almost ANY method can be abused or used for harmful purposes.

We quote from a typical site: “NLP teaches a series of linguistic and behavioral patterns that have proved highly effective in enabling people to change the beliefs and behaviors of other people”.

This blatantly opposes our principles of 'no coercion' and we do not recommend any practice that encourages it.

While we do not recommend the 'official' NLP institutions that approve of coercion and cost money, DIY NLP can be a beneficial technique for changing ourselves. We will cover this type of NLP in future tutorials, as it is not a technique that should be used until rear networks are in balance. You should not use NLP at all if you have wronguse in networks 1, 3 or 5 (see tutorials) because it could impede your progress.


Assertiveness Training

Has suffered in similar ways to NLP, but not so extensively. Assertiveness training can be a great help when it is directed at weak rear networks (see tutorials) but can hold back your progress if you have wronguse in network 5. If you find yourself doing things you don't want to do all the time because you feel you can't say 'no', assertiveness training is a really good option. Be very careful of sources though -some groups interpret assertiveness as aggression and arrogance, and merely train people how to be rude and inconsiderate in a variety of ways.

More sensible groups really do help the timid to build up confidence and improve communication. Consequently you can develop the ability to resist or sidestep being manuvered into doing something you really don't want to do, without being rude or in any way aggressive.

Most groups unfortunately go for the 'aggressive' approach, although this has been changing more recently. So take care to find a group with the right attitude. We explore assertiveness training in more depth in future tutorials.


Transactional Analysis

Do not use if you have wronguse in network 5 (see tutorials).

TA is a form of cognitive interactional analysis that uses the terms 'Parent, adult and child' for 'Authoritarian, mature and victim' (or 'action, interaction, reaction'). Those using the mental habits of authoritarian parents and those using the mental habits of timid children are taught how to move their state of mind into the 'adult' space of mature interaction.

Transactional analysis utilizes a 'contract' for specific changes desired and involves the "Adult" (mature intelligence) in both the client and the therapist to sort out behaviors, emotions and thoughts that are seen to prevent the development of full human potential.


Self-Help or Self-Improvement Groups

A complication about definitions is that the term 'self help' is at times used to refer to individual self-management of specific conditions, rather than mutual support among people who share common experiences - the latter meaning is used here.

The key characteristics of self-help groups as derived from a brief literature review are outlined below. Research suggests that the core values and principles of groups may be more important to their members than professional involvement in the group.



The benefits of self-help groups are:

  • feeling less isolated

  • accessing relevant information

  • sharing common experiences

  • gaining empowerment over one's own health

  • increasing self-esteem

  • finding inspiration from others

  • being able to help others

  • learning new skills.

Successful group facilitators tend to have:

  • clear roles

  • considerate attitudes

  • good listening skills

  • conflict management skills

  • capacity to make people feel safe

  • ability to empower the group.

Successful self-help groups tend to have:

  • agreed ground rules and clear aims

  • good morale

  • consistent attendance

  • accessibility

  • welcoming atmosphere

  • suitable venue

Groups are likely to fail if:

  • there is lack of support for facilitators

  • ground rules or boundaries are unclear

  • the target group is inadequately defined

  • facilitators lack sufficient listening or coping skills or facilitators are not consistently available.



Research Study

The fieldwork was carried out over the winter and spring of 2005-2006, and included both qualitative and quantitative methods.

Questionnaire Surveys

Questionnaire data were gained from 20 current self-help group attenders, and these were amalgamated with data from previous surveys. Almost one third of group members had attended a prior group at some point, and nearly 90% reported some benefit, but only two per cent were still attending prior groups. The main reasons for leaving were recovery, closure of a group in their area, or the group's failure to meet their needs. Lack of confidence to attend meetings on their own was also a recurring theme. Suggestions for improvements included more structure and leadership, more suitable times and venues, and better publicity about the groups.

Most members attended a group for a year or less. They generally reported benefits from attendance, and rated most facilitators well. They also reported small improvements in their depression and their life problems. Aspects of the self-help groups that they found especially helpful included understanding better how they felt than most mental health professionals; being caring; helping them to think for themselves; understanding their problem without the need to explain, and reducing their isolation.



Online Help/Support Groups and the Role They Play

In recent times we have seen a significant rise in the number of individuals living with chronic illness turning to the Internet for information, advice and support. In particular, more and more people are joining online support groups to discuss their experience of their illness and seek information and advice from fellow sufferers.

Key factors associated with use of online support sites include availability of resources, convenience, access to good advice, and the lack of embarrassment when dealing with personal issues. Intensity of participation in online support activities is associated with improved quality of life, but not necessarily with improvements in specific conditions (lack of exercise, for example, will not be helped by sitting around chatting online).

A major problem with online support is that much of the information may be out of date, misleading or outright nonsense! Always check site owners or sources, because many health chat sites are set up by medical companies to promote their products, or other individuals seeking financial gain. Even sites run by charities may be sponsored by drug companies, so beware.

Bear this idea in mind: no intelligent person will ask for money from those who want to improve their intelligence. To do so would be as illogical as refusing free gold unless someone pays you to accept it.



Spiritual Methods

Contemplative Psychotherapy

Focuses on how you relate to yourself first and foremost, then moves on to how you relate to others keeping in mind your self awareness, strengths, needs and desires. Contemplative psychotherapy bases its methods on the philosophy and mindfulness/awareness practices of Buddhism that have clinically proven beneficial effects on mental well being.

It is an intensive practice that allows us to delve deep into the human experience of mind and stay present. This is important because Buddhist thought on suffering is that the individual creates distractions to avoid the full reality of our experience. In other words, we learn at an early age to filter out aspects of our authentic experience in order to conform to some sort of expected and imposed status quo. A contemplative therapist is trained in helping the client achieve a more accurate picture of their experience.



There is plentiful scientific proof of the benefits of meditation, and it is gaining mainstream acceptance as a beneficial preventative health program. More and more doctors are recommending meditation as an effective anxiety buster and useful support for patients with many types of chronic and acute conditions. Some of the documented benefits of meditation are discussed below:

The effectiveness of meditation comes from the fact that you can achieve a state of deep relaxation in just a few minutes. When you settle down into the relaxation response, the body and mind can eliminate anxiety hormones, upgrade the immune system, and are refreshed and revitalized. This gives you many good effects that are both immediate and long lasting.

Research has clearly shown that meditation lowers levels of anxiety hormones. In particular, while meditating, your cortisol level drops and stays low for hours afterward. High quantities of cortisol produces unhealthy and unpleasant effects. Getting it out of your blood stream, in contrast, has beneficial and positive effects.

Meditation boosts the intensity of alpha and delta brainwaves – associated with quiet, receptive states. Practice leads to greater self-esteem, self-confidence and inner peace. You're able to concentrate more easily and and your ability to learn and remember improves.

Meditation helps you to feel less anxious about issues that previously caused you high (conscious or unconscious) anxiety, you become a better listener and exhibit greater empathy, which in turn leads to closer and more fulfilling relationships. Calmness brings with it the capacity for more accurate judgement and enhances problem-solving skills. Being calm results in having greater patience and tolerance and gives you the composure to act in considered and constructive ways.

Meditation produces definite comprehensive measurable improvements in mental health, enhancing positive features and reducing various forms of psychological distress. It is markedly more effective in reducing anxiety than most other techniques. It has also consistently been found to reduce depression, hostility, and emotional instability, indicating the growth of a more stable, balanced, and resilient personality.

Meditation has been proven to be effective in increasing self-actualization; an overall measure of positive mental health and personal development. It is exceptionally effective in developing three independent components of this dimension: emotional maturity, a resilient sense of self, and a positive, integrated perspective on ourselves and the real world. There is evidence that psychiatric hospital admissions are much less common amongst people practicing meditation than in the general population.


The Relaxation Response (basic meditation)

The “relaxation response” is the ‘fulfilment’ half of the brain’s pleasure system. It occurs when your brain chemistry changes in response to assimilation, success, satisfaction, fulfilment or understanding. During this response, heart rate and blood pressure slow, and cortisol (anxiety hormone) production is turned off. Natural opioids and serotonin are released in the brain, making us feel very comfortable and satisfied, yet still ready to interact.

During natural learning, this response occurs naturally. When there is too much cortisol present in the bloodstream, it can’t. Effectively the response is turned off. We have to hack in there, and turn it back on, because it reduces anxiety levels faster than anything else.

To keep cortisol levels healthy and under control, the body’s relaxation response should always be activated after the stress response occurs. You can learn the relaxation response with various techniques (see below), and you can learn control in order to keep your mind from habitually reacting with anxiety in the first place.  

The Relaxation Response is something some people find very easy and, unfairly, others may find really difficult! A lot will depend on where you’re starting from and what sort of methods you feel attracted to. The relaxation response is something that has to be experienced to be properly understood, and is often only understood in retrospect. Once you can make the response happen on purpose you will become more conscious of the change of mood and understand what it is doing to your body and mind.

 Here is one simple method: 

Lie down somewhere comfortable and relax. Turn off the phone, radio and/or TV. 

Close your eyes. Pay attention to any areas of your body that are tense. Breathe calmly and as you breathe naturally out, deliberately relax the tense areas, beginning at your feet and progressing up to your face.

Go over them all again and keep them relaxed.

Breathe through your nose if you can, unless it is blocked. Become aware of and listen to your breathing. Each time you breathe out, it may help you focus if you silently say the word, "ONE" to yourself.

Breathe easily and naturally.

Continue for 10 to 20 minutes. You may open your eyes to check the time, but do not use an alarm. Do not worry about whether you are successful in achieving a deep level of relaxation. Maintain a passive attitude and permit relaxation to occur at its own pace.

When distracting thoughts occur, try to ignore them by not dwelling upon them and return to repeating "ONE" silently to yourself.

When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes, at first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes opened. Do not stand up for a few minutes.


Shamanic Journeying / Psycho Shamanic

For thousands of years, Shamans have hypothesized that most of our problems can be solved by contacting one's “higher self” (intelligence). A trained Shaman can “move into parallel worlds” (view a situation from different worldviews) to achieve full understanding and empathy to help with specific problems and develop the mind. This may sound off the wall in our society. The key is: It's just another map for describing reality.

I should say maps, as there are as many different shamanic paths as there are languages. If you have spent much of your life living in or studying one particular culture, traditions relevant to the history of that culture will be relevant to you.

No genuine shaman will charge money for help or tuition, but it is traditional to take a gift or help with chores.



Guide to Using Therapies

Development of the Guideline we use in this section was led by the British Psychological Society Centre for Outcomes Research and Effectiveness, with the support and participation of the following organisations:

  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • British Confederation of Psychotherapists
  • British Psychological Society
  • Depression Alliance
  • Mind
  • Royal College of General Practitioners
  • Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • UK Advocacy Network
  • UK Council for Psychotherapy


These guidelines are based on current evidence for who is likely to benefit from what kinds of psychological techniques, and which of the main therapies currently available is most appropriate for which situations. The recommendations are therefore an aid to your informed consent and decision-making. Psychological therapies have an important role to play in helping with mental health problems, and everyone should have access to effective therapy, both physical and psychological.

There is no doubt that these techniques can have demonstrable benefit, for example in reducing distress, symptoms, risk of harm to self or others, health related quality of life and interaction. However, everyone is different, and not all methods are effective for all people.


Terminology in this field can be confusing. Within the diversity of therapies, there are two main traditions, psychotherapy and counselling. The distinction between the two is blurred, as they lie on a continuum, such that for each type of psychological therapy there is a corresponding form of counselling (psychodynamic psychotherapy – psychodynamic counselling, cognitive behavior therapy – cognitive behavioral counselling, etc.). In essence, different forms of psychotherapy have evolved to offer remediation of mental health problems and symptoms by structured interventions. Different forms of counselling emphasise the individual’s resources rather than psychopathology, with a focus on a reflective, experiential process. Here the person’s concerns are rephrased and clarified in order that they may develop a greater sense of well being and cope with life difficulties differently. In the 21st century therapy places more emphasis on mental health promotion rather than ‘treating disorders’. The terminological confusion is exacerbated by the common practice of denoting all psychological therapy delivered in healthcare as ‘counselling’. In fact, a number of ‘counsellors’ employed in primary care are qualified psychotherapists.


Medication may be the most popular option for problems, but it should not be the only option considered. The value of a pharmacological treatment, whether as an alternative to, or additional to, psychological therapy, should be considered separately. (For medication options, see Drugs & chemicals section of the library).

The evidence on whether the combined effects of medication and psychological treatment are greater than singly is complex, but in general, drugs are not a contraindication to psychological therapy, or vice versa. 

Panellists were asked to make the following assumptions in rating the appropriateness of each form of therapy:

  • a) there is equal access to all therapies, e.g. waiting time before treatment is not a factor.
  • b) all therapies are delivered by competent persons to a reasonable standard for their level of experience.
  • c) any medical management is optimal.



Anxiety Disorders

There is a wide evidence base from meta-analytic reviews supporting exposure-based behavioral treatments and cognitive behavior therapy, including panic control therapy. The demonstrated effectiveness of exposure based methods for a variety of anxiety disorders suggests they should be tried first for people who can tolerate them, and this was also the expert consensus. However, the lack of evidence on other therapies does not mean they are ineffective.

Anxiety disorders with marked symptomatic anxiety (panic disorder, agoraphobia, social

phobia, obsessive compulsive disorders, simple phobias and generalised anxiety disorders) are

likely to benefit from cognitive behavior therapy.


Depressive Disorders

Psychological therapy has been shown effective in the treatment of depression in general adult populations. The best evidence is for cognitive behavior therapy and interpersonal therapy. However, a number of other approaches have shown some evidence of effectiveness. These include behavioral therapy, problem-solving therapy, group therapy, systemic therapy, non-directive counselling in primary care, marital and family interventions and psychodynamic interpersonal therapy have all shown some evidence of efficacy.

This recommendation reflects a large body of research, considered in eight high quality reviews and two Cochrane reviews.


Eating Disorders

For the treatment of bulimia, a recent Cochrane review found most evidence for cognitive behavior therapy. Other evidence suggests that psychological therapy, interpersonal therapy and family therapy are effective, the latter particularly where the patient is under 18. The efficacy of cognitive/cognitive-behavioral therapy has been established; less research has been carried out on other forms of therapy, but there are indications that family therapy and interpersonal approaches may be effective. Focus on relationships in therapy has been associated with good outcome.

There was little evidence available from high-quality research reviews on the effectiveness of treatments for anorexia nervosa. In the absence of grade I evidence, best evidence for anorexia nervosa is for family therapy and broadly based individual therapy for patients with early onset and late onset of illness respectively


Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Cognitive and behavioral therapies are effective in treating GAD. Other psychotherapeutic approaches have not been systematically reviewed/evaluated.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Behavior therapy (or exposure with response prevention) and cognitive therapy appear to be efficacious in the treatment of OCD (Ia), although there is disagreement over which is more effective according to the available evidence. These psychological treatments appear to produce results similar to those achieved by drug treatments. Behavioral treatment may be less effective in treating depressive symptoms than anxiety symptoms in OCD.


Panic Disorder and/or Agoraphobia

Exposure-based treatment and CBT have shown efficacy in the treatment of agoraphobia, although exposure may be less effective on measures of panic. Applied relaxation may also be effective.

Other psychotherapeutic approaches have not been systematically reviewed.


Personality Disorders

Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, panic, eating disorders and self-harm often co-exist with severe difficulties in relationships and self-management. The latter problems sometimes begin in childhood and are severe and repetitive enough to meet diagnostic criteria for personality disorder. In such situations, recommended psychological therapies for common mental health problems such as depression may still be worthwhile. In particular, there is evidence that anxiety disorders can be treated successfully in this group. However, other evidence and a strong clinical consensus indicates that for many patients, therapy for common mental health problems in this group are likely to take longer and the outcome may be attenuated.

Psychological treatment of personality disorders themselves, rather than the co-existing mental health problems, has been the focus of intense development in recent years. A recent meta-analysis found that a number of therapy approaches, both individual, group and milieu show some success with personality disorders. Available therapies include dialectical behavior therapy, psycho-analytic day hospital programme, therapeutic communities, cognitive analytic therapy, schema-focused cognitive therapy and psychoanalytic therapy. We located controlled trial evidence to support the first three of these, and research is underway or planned in other approaches.

There is little comparative outcome research on the treatment of personality disorders with psychotherapy, and no high quality reviews were identified. One medium quality review suggested that behavior therapy in avoidant and borderline disorders and psychodynamic approaches in a variety of personality disorders may be useful. There are promising developments in psychotherapeutic treatment in this field, but most results are from cohort studies. Another review suggests the potential value of longer term, integrated, theoretically coherent approaches which focus on compliance and target problems in relationships.


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Psychological treatment may have an impact on PTSD; review evidence suggests that this may be limited, and may reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety more than primary PTSD symptoms, with best evidence for cognitive behavioral methods, even in the absence of a complete cure. The differential effectiveness of different types of treatment has not been established, with best evidence for the benefit of systematic desensitisation (graded exposure) and related approaches (stress inoculation therapy, and eye movement desensitisation). Psychodynamic therapy and hypnotherapy have also shown benefit. Prolonged re-exposure (flooding) may exacerbate some symptoms (depression, anger alcohol use), and graded re-exposure is generally more acceptable to clients.



A Cochrane review found some evidence of efficacy in reducing self-harm for problem-solving therapy, for the provision of an emergency card, and from a single study of dialectical behavior therapy. However, the authors concluded that there were too few studies to make firm recommendations. A trial of psychoanalytically informed partial hospitalisation compared with standard psychiatric care showed reduction in self harm and suicide attempts in patients with personality disorder after 6 months treatment, maintained until the end of treatment at 18 months.


Social Phobia

Exposure and cognitive therapy are effective for the treatment of social phobia . Other psychotherapeutic modalities have not been systematically reviewed/evaluated.



Somatic Complaints


 There is some evidence of the efficacy of family and marital therapies in the treatment of psychosomatic disorders and physical illness. Patients with functional somatic symptoms, in the initial acute phase may respond to individual therapy if they are willing to participate.


Chronic fatigue

 There is little high quality research on treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome. One Cochrane review indicates that CBT is more effective than controls in improving physical functioning and experience of fatigue. Other psychological treatments have not been reviewed. Randomised controlled trial evidence shows benefits of behavior therapy (including graded exercise therapy) and some evidence for cognitive therapy. Other modalities have not been subject to outcome research.


Chronic Pain

 Cognitive and behavioral therapies, hypnosis and bio- /neurofeedback show evidence of being effective in the treatment of chronic pain.




 Methods for Intelligence Augmentation & Exploration



Many of the methods used for repair and maintenance can also be used for augmentation, some are outlined below. A selection of augmentation techniques are also included in the tutorials. They should not be used by complete beginners and in the interests of your own safety, not until you have a reliable functional analysis.

Most successful augmentation is a conglomerate of techniques, all working together to achieve specific goals; for example to boost intellect or creativity or memory Nhers might use any combination of exercise, diet, drugs, meditation, biofeedback, input control, mind machines, association aids, and so on. People who want to augment tend to go for it in as many ways as possible.


Physical & Sensory Methods

One of the simplest ways of augmenting the system with exercise is perhaps the 'endorphin rush' well known to athletes.

If you don't exercise very often, doing so will get you slightly 'high' at first in any case, because of the sudden increase in oxygen to your brain and bodily systems (remember to eat your antioxidants!) But sustained exercise (over 30 minutes) does cause the release of several neurotransmitters, two of the main ones being serotonin and endorphins. Exercise can therefore be used as part of input control to adjust these transmitters. Both help improve the relaxation response and self care, confidence and decision making.

Facial expression and posture are also strongly tied to neurotransmitter release and can be used in input control. Laughter is a good serotonin-increaser and vice versa, as many people eating magic mushrooms with bananas have no doubt discovered.



Sensory Deprivation

Almost all kinds of sensory input can be used to enhance any hack, and so can a total lack of it.

There are two main methods of sensory deprivation used popularly and a couple of other methods used by dodgy intelligence agencies (fortunately the methods themselves are not dodgy).

Just 15 minutes of near-total sensory deprivation can bring on hallucinations in many individuals. Short periods of SD can be good for relaxation.

Hallucinations happen when the brain misidentifies the source of what it is experiencing, a concept researchers call faulty source monitoring.

Why would anyone want to induce hallucinations on purpose? Astronauts do SD as part of their training, because one thing about SD is that it takes longer and longer to have an effect the more often you do it, and for astronauts it's essential practice for spacewalk conditions where total darkness, absolute silence and isolation are everyday facts of life. People doing exposure therapy to overcome phobias might choose SD as a way to confront claustrophobia, one minute at a time. People doing creativity or imagination enhancement might use it for achieving altered states, inspiration and ideas, or spiritual seekers might use it for interpreting the contents of the unconscious. Most users do so for relaxation and anxiety reduction.


REST Chambers & Float Tanks

There are two basic methods of restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST): chamber REST and flotation REST.

In chamber REST, subjects lie on a comfortable bed in a completely dark and sound reducing room or small enclosure. In flotation REST, the room contains (or consists of) a tank or pool. The flotation medium consists of a skin-temperature solution of water and epsom salts at a specific gravity that allows for the person to float supine freely without worry of safety.

There is more information about both of these in “Methods & tech part 2: Tech” (this section)


Other Methods

The requirements for SD are simply blocking input, and any means from a padded chair in a warm dark soundproof room to a blindfold and headphones provide some method of this. Ideally the room temperature is at the same temperature as the person, complete darkness and silence are achieved, motion is restricted and there are no peripherals such as strong odors or vibrations that might serve as input.



Behavioral Methods


Learning to play a musical instrument and swimming are two activities known to improve overall mental function. An enriched environment containing plenty to do makes brains more resilient against anxiety and neurotoxins.

A popular form of cognitive enhancement software consists of learned association strategies to memorize information. One of the most effective of such methods is “the method of loci”. The user visualizes a building, either real or imaginary, and in imagination walks from room to room, depositing imaginary objects that evoke natural associations to the subject matter being memorized. During retrieval, the user retraces their imaginary steps, and the sequence of memorized information is recalled when they “see” the objects they placed along the route. 

This technique harnesses the brain’s spatial navigation system to remember objects or propositional contents. Other memory techniques make use of rhyming or weighting (the fact that one more easily recalls dramatic, colorful, or emotional scenes, which can serve as representations for items that are more difficult to retain, such as numbers or letters).


Mind Maps

Mind Mapping is an important NH technique that improves learning speed and supports and enhances creative problem solving. By using Mind Maps, you can quickly identify and understand the structure of a subject and the way that pieces of information fit together, as well as recording the raw facts contained in normal notes. More than this, Mind Maps provide a structure which encourages creative problem solving, and they hold information in a format that your mind will find easy to remember and quick to review.

Popularized by Tony Buzan, Mind Maps abandon the list format of conventional note taking. They do this in favor of a semi-graphic structure. The brain works by association; not separated, disconnected lines A good Mind Map shows the 'shape' of the subject, the relative importance of individual points, and the way in which ideas associate or relate to one another. Mind Maps are more compact than conventional notes, often taking up only one side of A4 paper. Their spatial qualities help you to make associations and remember more easily. If you find out more information after you have drawn the main Mind Map, you can also easily integrate it with little disruption.

The method for mind mapping is given in tutorial 6.


Input Control for Genome Hacking

You will need to know:


Your target system or function.

What input produces what neurotransmitters in you personally. The more kinds you can combine, the easier the change will be.

The current state of your networks



What gene transcription factors are involved

The duration and frequency of input (epigenetic factors) necessary to cause genome expression alteration in the area of your choice.

Any genetic limitations.


If you have the essential requirements, the method sounds as straightforward as taking a course of pills; you simply apply the required epigenetic factors for the required duration at the required frequency and the genome will change all by itself, regardless of whether or not you know the science. However, if you really know what you're doing, during any advanced hack you will be using exercises for the brain networks involved and keeping neurotransmitters balanced on the fly as dynamic changes progress, as well as monitoring & controlling input 24/7, and you can end up feeling like you're flying through an asteroid field by the seat of your pants; i.e., it's not easy even if you've done it before.

Popular target systems in genome hacking are metabolism & body fat control, hair loss & hair color, physical appearance, and reversing aging processes.

The NH golden rule 'know yourself' comes into play bigtime here because if you don't get the epigenetic factors correct for you personally, your genome will ignore you, or worse; you could trigger a response you really didn't want. Accidentally changing your hair color or metabolism may not be fun at all. Don't underestimate the power of what you are playing with just because it seems so easy, because wrong association can have unpleasant consequences.

Being aware of your limitations saves a lot of time that you could otherwise waste trying to trigger a gene that you do not actually have! We all have different DNA, so although there are some basic things that we can all change, there are also specialist things that only some of us can change, and there may be one or two things that only you personally can change.

A general rule for genome hacking via input control seems to be 'frequency rather than duration'. Something done more often seems to affect changes faster than something done constantly for a long time. We also know that parallel input (a variety of different epigenetic factors associated with the same thing) works faster than just one kind of input. Ideally you need to control or modulate input for all senses and the mind, brain & body overall, which includes pretty tight control of your immediate environment and likely events.


To learn more about input control for genome hacking, read:

Plasticity & epigenetics; the basics (basics section)

Optimal nutrition for beginners (nutrition section)




Is one of the most powerful forms of input control (see tutorials) allied to directed behavior. The method makes use of a role model (someone who demonstrates the abilities you desire), whom you then copy, or 'model' as closely as you can.

Anyone who practises a martial art under tuition will know that every master expects their moves to be copied, but a truly exceptional master will find the best students imitating their habits, dress, way of speaking, hobbies, diets, likes and dislikes etc as well as their moves.

The golden rule 'you will become more like whatever you are surrounded by' sums up the reasons for employing input control, although it takes a little real experience and experimentation to get the hang of what it can do. When you find a healthy role model you will notice the changes in yourself.

Role models may be real live people, they may be fictional characters in movies, they may be imagined characters from our own minds or from the past or from our favorite comic books; depending on how good our imagination is (with a developed imagination, we can use all these sources).

Modeling is not merely copying someone; the method has two parts; 'cut' and 'paste'. During the 'cut' phase you pay close attention to the model and concentrate on imagining yourself doing what they are doing, as you are seeing them do it. Imagine how it feels to be inside their body and mind; to be the person experiencing the doing. The second phase transfers these basics to your own body and mind -you behave as though you were the person. This does not mean you copy their behavior like some kind of mirror, it means you go off by yourself and pretend to be that person getting on with life.

A part of learning anything well is learning the state of mind that is appropriate for the circumstances. To get into the state of mind of the master, one must empathize so well that one can 'become' the master; i.e. we initiate a process of circular feedback: when we can think like the master thinks, we behave like the master behaves, and if we behave like the master behaves, we will begin to think like the master thinks.

For those who like it to sound less cosmic, any aspect of intelligence upgraded will upgrade all other aspects (but note 'upgraded' means better quality; not greater density or dominance).

There is a great deal of misunderstanding about modeling as a learning aid because some of the techniques that are normal and healthy in modeling become distorted into hero-worship, blind imitation, dependence and stalking in the not-so-healthy. But we only have to look at animal behavior to see plainly how important the ability to copy is to learning and survival, and how guilelessly animals are able to mimic each other. This is the spirit in which we should imitate our heroes: from an urge to improve ourselves, to become competent, autonomous people like them and provide what we need for ourselves, not from an urge to get something from them that we need.



Methods Using Drugs / Chemicals 

See Drugs & chemicals section



Methods Using Technology

See Methods & tech part 2 (this section)



Psychological Methods

Interaction and Working with Groups

Group work is more challenging than working alone but can bring greater benefits and faster development.

Groups should have clear goals (for example, memory improvement, imagination exercises, improving emotional stability in relationships); and a clearly defined method or context (for example, mutual testing, storytelling, co counselling). Learning about methods will help you match methods to goals, and almost any therapy can be used in group context for enhancement as well as repair.

Groups should keep records of their activities to avoid misunderstandings, assess their developmental progress and maintain objectivity. Practicing interaction with core conditions (see tutorials) in a well organized group is one of the fastest ways to speed up personal development.

If you want to learn more about core conditions, read:

Interaction & core conditions: the basics (basics section)



Memory Adjusting

Most advanced memory work combines psychological with other methods.

You will need to know how memory works at a chemical and cellular level and what type of memory (and hence what networks) you are dealing with, in order to make the most of available techniques.

Memory adjusting includes enhancing overall or specifics, reformatting or removing (for example in anxiety disorders or PTSD) and complicated fun stuff in psychological games such as space/time overlaying, parallel reality perception and artificial constructs.


Overall & Specific Memory Enhancement

Methods include anxiety reduction, association, physical exercise, nutrition and similar factors. Meditation gives memory extra 'defragging' time (you make associations faster and so learn faster.) There are plenty of exercises for improving overall memory and enhancing different kinds of memory in the tutorials.


Reformatting or Removing Memory

There are around 120 different molecules involved in memory processing, and most enhancement or alteration uses chemical means. (See: Drugs & chemicals section introduction).

The main psychological method used with or without drugs is summarized below:

The act of recalling makes memory vulnerable until it is re-stored again (a process called reconsolidation). During this unstable 'window', new information can be incorporated into the old memory.

Reactivating traumatic memories in humans allows them to be updated with a lower weighing. As a result, traumatic memories no longer invoke high anxiety.

In order to initially measure memory weighting, often a GSR machine (see tech section) is used to measure skin conductance in response to individual memories.

Once the target memory is selected, it is deliberately reinvoked 24 hours later (this reactivation of the memory initiates the reconsolidation process). During this process, information that the same event is now "safe" is provided through recordings or an assistant. Presenting this new "safe" information during reconsolidation is designed to incorporate it into the initial traumatic memory associations.

This method on its own leads to the temporary reduction of anxiety. When drugs are also given to block effective reconsolidation the effect is permanent.

However, the method on its own is now known to be permanently sufficient as long as the healthy input occurs during the 'reconsolidation window'; when the memory is temporarily unstable.

Reweighting of the traumatic memory as safe is specific to the memory that was reactivated prior to adding good input. Other traumatic memories remain following recall, suggesting that the method is selective and targets individual memory rather than having a general effect on memory.



Play should be a constant ongoing factor in the life of anyone who wants to maintain good mental health or further develop their intelligence.

Play serves as the grounding core of learning and helps shape the developing nervous systems of mammals. Through play we build our basic ontology for reality which bridges the concrete physical, mechanical, analogical, metaphoric, digital and abstract information we need to learn and be able to communicate.

Play is absolutely necessary for the development of imagination, perception, empathy, and interaction behaviors needed to handle stress without anxiety. Evolutionarily, the smarter, more flexible and adaptive the creature, the more they play. Play movements are recognized across species lines, and play signals, such as a relaxed open mouth expression, (the "play face") can be seen in both mammals and birds and is understood by both to mean - no harm will come to you - what follows is play. Thus play has established a language which forms the basis for trust of others and forms an action pattern of beginning integrity.

For humans, play is also catalytic in the shaping of one's own inner awareness (actual sense of self), and thus is directly related to mental health and plasticity. It is also the means by which we shape imagination.

Real playing is how real learning takes place. You can force 'parrot-fashion' declarative recall through coercion, via conditioning or behavior modification or programming or brainwashing, but it's not learning; it's indoctrination.

Play is a major NH method for achieving all sorts of enhancements in various different functions, notably in network 3 but applicable to all networks. Above all else play will help you rediscover the lighthearted playful and childlike genius of your own innate intelligence.


Psychological Gaming

In psychological gaming and other areas of advanced NH, various combined methods are used to achieve a variety of goals (see therapeutic imagery, above) usually including chemicals, self suggestion and/or other methods. The aim is an 'altered state' called gamespace, in which we exercise the ability to change reality including ourselves. The goal is developmental and experiential, and Gamespace is a state of body and mind free from the boundaries, limitations and categories imposed by social conditioning; a state Rogerians would call Congruence or Congruity.

Research shows that the "state" athletes call the Zone, what researchers and professionals call Flow and what children call Play share the basic characteristics of complete selfless absorption and engagement in the moment. This "state" of complete unconflicted (congruent) behavior is nature's baseline, biology's expectation, for optimum learning, performance and well-being.

Some of the basic methods in psychological gaming are outlined below. However, just as most people cannot play with hard drugs safely and competently, most people cannot play hard games competently (which is often a frustration to those who can). It's therefore a minority area and we won't go fully into it here. Future tutorials, very possibly.


Imagery and Visualization Overlay

This technique demands good control and direction of network 3; in particular the mirror neuron system. It enables you to do things like replace dodgy input with useful input in real time, explore the creative possibilities of perception, put up 'firewalls' against coercion and achieve changes of mood swiftly and effectively.

Mental training and visualization techniques are widely practised in NH, with apparently best

effects on performance on factors associated with most networks (see tutorials).

The method is the first half of 'modelling' with or without the model (see above). Users vividly imagine themselves performing a task, repeatedly imagining every movement and how it would feel. A likely explanation for the efficacy of such exercises is that they activate the neural networks involved in executing a skill in real life at the same time as the performance criteria for the task is held in close attention, optimizing neural plasticity and appropriate neural reorganization.


Memory Overlay

Is a method of restructuring long term memories or current memories that normally uses chemicals and self hypnosis. It requires detailed knowledge of imagination, perception and the nature of memory and should be avoided by anyone with wronguse in networks 3 4 or 5, or anyone susceptible to hallucination or emotional instability.


Placebos and Self-Suggestion

Spiritual practices and psychological gaming work because they change brain chemistry, and suggestion is a self-hypnotic tool for optimal results. Going through the motions with no underlying belief at all is often enough, but belief also changes neurochemistry too. We can learn to use belief itself as a powerful ability.



Cognitive Methods

'Brain Training'

Do 'brain training' games really work?

Whether something works and what it achieves when 'working' are two different questions. The beneficial outcome required is all important here. Brain training games can increase your declarative memory and improve your reflexes and intellect. They will not augment your intelligence, and they could even slow it down in you have wronguse in network 5 (see tutorials).

If you have nonuse in network 5, braintraining games are a good way to encourage development and improve cognitive skills. The ones available free online are just as effective as those for specific consoles that you have to buy. They are also available to borrow from many libraries.

For more about brain training games, see “methods & tech part 2: tech” (this section).


Discourse Programming

Is an extended method of discourse analysis and a form of input control, aimed at maintaining emotional stability by interrupting the onset of harmful sentiments and replacing them with healthy emotional responses (see tutorials). The method requires discourse analysis and spotting of danger keywords, then self-programming to replace the words used in speech as a mnemonic to alter the associated thought patterns. Once the mind is distracted from a habit, a healthy habit can be introduced.


Self-Analysis & Assessment

Is an invaluable tool in intelligence enhancement. Keeping track of your progress prevents anxiety tying to con you into thinking there's been no improvement. The proof is there in front of you, to feel good about. You get to know your own mind in depth and understand better how to enhance your abilities. You can also spot any potential problems before they develop, adjust your program dynamically as required, and maintain a healthy balanced brain.

In NH the more accurate you are about pinpointing your current limitations, the more and faster progress you will make. Assessing yourself should be a regular good habit, whatever your stage of development or level of NH you are at.



Spiritual Methods

The Spiritual Path as a Development Map

You will need to know:

Nothing to start, as long as you are willing to learn and aim to improve yourself.

To progress optimally, especially if you are working by yourself, you will need to learn all the basics of NH and have a firm clear background theory of development itself, your own current level of development and the nature of intelligence in general. If you fully understand what a spiritual journey IS, you'll realize are already upon one, in learning what you have learned you have taken the first steps...


In other words, to navigate such a journey you will need:

Input control and access to prepared input for all stages.

Genuine resolve/motivation/energy and staying power.

And a safe place to start from (your 'map' or foundation of background knowledge, awareness and ability).

A spiritual path seeks answers to the most important questions of reality: what are we, what is the nature of the conceptual structures which we experience as divine, what is the relationship between human and divine, what is the meaning of our lives, how can we realize our full potential and assist others to do the same, how to live, adapt and thrive in peace and harmony?

There many different spiritual paths but genuine ones all have one thing in common -they are attempts to understand reality, our lives in relation to it, and how to live beneficially. They all attempt to answer these questions.

In advanced NH, shamanic or spiritual journeying has been described variously as playing the mind like an instrument which requires much practice to be mastered, performing an ever-changing complex dance, or flying a starship into new frontiers.

Regardless of what path they follow, many NH students end up designing their own 'spiritual or shamanic journey' and all of these will be unique, but the above descriptions are all ways of saying the same thing -exploring and adapting to interact with something whose variety and complexity is ever-expanding. This is what life itself does, it is what evolution does, and it is also what intelligence does.

Even Nhers with no religious beliefs whatsoever use 'the journey' as a series of hacks that catalyses development, for the simple reason that they work; they achieve the desired results, just as meditation works regardless of whether you believe that you are initiating the relaxation response to change your neurochemistry or becoming one with Buddha nature or invoking the spirits to get rid of a headache. Your hardware brain cannot itself think, so it doesn't care about your reasons; it only cares about what chemicals it's getting. What your mind thinks can deliberately alter that.

There are a number of presentations of 'the hero's journey' online. Unfortunately each type works only for a limited number of people -those whose neural association aligns with that particular map. So you may have to do some searching to find one that works for you, or design your own by putting together useful parts of other paths or improvising links from your own eidetic association.

If you want to learn more about the possibilities of a spiritual path in NH, read:


Spirituality section of the library



Last Updated on Friday, 14 December 2012 11:50