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Transforming the Mind ~ by Peter Shepherd


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State-dependent Memory


There is another important factor that may make it difficult to access the memories of early childhood. The dominant brain wave activity of children under the age of six is in the four to eight hertz range associated with Theta, bridging into Alpha, in adults. These lower frequency brain-waves in adults are usually associated with reverie and dreaming, and usually occur only in the transition from wakefulness into sleep. As Dr. Thomas Budzynski and others have shown in recent years, however, Theta and Alpha brain-wave production in adults is a vital component of learning and memory encoding.

Clinical results at several centers have indicated that EEG brain-wave training can provide reliable access to the Alpha-Theta consciousness states of early childhood. This suggests a physical basis for the "inner child" metaphor. The surfacing of early childhood memories during Theta brain-wave entrainment (through EEG biofeedback or binaural entrainment) also fits Charles Tart's observations of "state-dependent memory", i.e. that information learned while in an altered state of consciousness is more difficult to access when in another state of consciousness. This equally applies to dreams, past life, between-lives or out-of-body experiences.

“Facilitating access to the consciousness state of early childhood, where rapid learning was easy, also increases access to the right-brain non-verbal holistic awareness described as enlightening by mystics of all religions.”
The natural shift in dominant brain-wave frequencies during maturation could therefore result in disturbing childhood experience being preserved in the unconscious - because the adult cannot access the state required to re-assess them - and reactivated reactively in adult life, causing dysfunctional behavior. It is effectively "unexperienced experience" as far as the adult is concerned, and the brain-wave frequencies associated with the painful experience are henceforth unconsciously avoided or repressed, the material only resurfacing in the context of dreaming. Censoring or suppressing these "child-like" frequencies also denies access to the positive capabilities associated with them, such as intuitive and holistic insight and the ability to freely visualise, which are closely linked to psychic ability and spiritual awareness.

Furthermore, the moments of insight in therapy occur when dominant brain-wave frequencies are near the interface of adult Alpha and Theta rhythms, i.e. the 7-8 Hz range. To facilitate access to the consciousness state of early childhood, where rapid learning was easy, also increases access to the right-brain non-verbal holistic awareness described as enlightening by mystics of all religions.

To achieve this in the context of a therapy session, it is first necessary for the client to be relaxed and thoroughly involved in the session. It helps to use a comfortable reclining chair with head support. Secondly, the client may listen to an appropriate binaural signal through stereo headphones, which entrains brain-waves towards the desired frequency. The headphones should be of the transparent type so that the client can still hear the therapist easily; alternatively, with closed headphones, the therapist can use a microphone to communicate to the client, mixed with the binaural signal.

Also, when running incidents, the eyes should be closed. The binaural signal generator produces a supplementary Beta (high frequency) signal that keeps the client alert and prevents the drowsiness that tends to occur automatically when the eyes are closed.

Because of the efficacy of such methods, binaural stimulation as an adjunct to therapy should only be administered by a therapist with considerable experience of successfully running traumatic experiences without binaural stimulation, and then only when the more straightforward approach of rational emotive therapy is not appropriate.

The binaural method should not be used with clients who are neurotic or highly anxious; such persons should be brought into normal stability with more objective methods. Psychotic persons should not be run on any traumatic handlings but should only examine pleasurable experiences or the wrong indications about themselves (given by others or as a result of their own distorted thinking) that caused them to introspect compulsively.


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