Discussion in 'Phoenix Rising Articles' started by Phoenix Rising Team, Mar 7, 2010.
You can view the page at http://forums.aboutmecfs.org/content.php?71-Lightning-Strikes-a-CFS-Patient
The Lightening Process is controversial, to put it mildly.
This is an amazing recovery story and I am so happy for Berit! I have always hoped (and still hope!) for such a complete turnaround in my own health.
However, I am rather concerned that this is not the greatest time to appear to be promoting the Lightning Process in a high profile manner, because a study is apparently in the works in the UK that will test the efficacy of the Lightning Process on school children. I find this to be an unethical proposal in a number of ways, and at this point I would hope that even LP advocates should protest the use of children as subjects in research trials of this (or any) behavioral modification process, especially if the LP claims of (astonishingly) fast neural plasticity modification are accurate.
Please (if you haven't seen it yet) check out this thread, including post #8 by islandfinn:
I agree that the use of children in any study of this kind is astonishing - particularly if it hasn't been tested in adults first. I can't imagine what UK Review boards are thinking - I can't imagine that that would occur in the US (?); it just highlights what a different world people with CFS live in over there.
I didn't know about the study and I understand your concern. I do think anyone reading the give and take on this issue would approach LP with some caution - as they should with any treatment.
For me, I simply feel obligated to publish any recovery story that appears to be legitimate in hopes that it will help someone. Berit and I were in contact before she tried LP and I believe her story. Some of the comments about the program are eye-openers and I wish we had her here to give her perspective.
I certainly derive benefit, not a cure, from similar techniques. I believe anything that helps turn down the 'stress response' and sympathetic nervous system functioning can be helpful.. Unfortunately 'cures' using any type of therapy - behavioral or otherwise - appear to be all too rare in CFS.
You certainly have raised some interesting issues with this thought provoking piece. You and I have very similar concerns about the effects of the stress response. It is one of the few things I can control so control it I do. I am so very grateful to have learned techniques which allow me to do this and posted, just today, that I believe these techniques allow me to stabilize my health in a vital way.
What worries me most about LP is the intense marketing combined with almost cult-like secrecy and contractual control of what clients may and may not say.
I would be so much more open to this story if the teller did not stand to benefit financially from my belief. But, as a current LP practitioner, she is now providing this service and has even managed to link Phil Parker LP promotion to your blog.
I have too much respect for you to see you exploited. I can't know for sure that you are being exploited but surely she could have simply written her story without the necessity of linking to the Phil Parker empire.
As a health journalist, your impartiality and objectivity are essential to your reputation. I would hate to see anyone taint what you have worked so long to establish.
Seeing LP effectively promoted in such a prominent position on the aboutmecfs.org site disappoints me.
It will do nothing to encourage me and imagine many others to want to financially support the site (or aboutmecfs if you become a Non-profit). I don't have the time to enter into detailed discussions at this time - it has been discussed in depth on UK lists and forums for a few years now.
recovery stories as encouragement
Cort, I for one am thankful for any recovery story you publish here. It is encouraging to know that some people do get better and hearing about what treatment they used is interesting too, even if it's not my cup of tea. Please continue to post these stories!
HI Zona and all, the difference with LP is that they claim that we are choosing to "do" ME/CFS (rather than that we are suffering from a biological illness) and that we can get better through thinking positive, and basically shouting stop to ourselves every time we experience a symptoms/have a negative though (pretty much one and the same thing in this therapy). It is also part of the process to say one is better even if one is not.
In the UK and Norway LP has been very aggressively marketed, and people end up both with members of the geneal public thinking there is a 3 day cure for ME/CFS (so no need for research or long-term assistance) and patients can be under pressure from their families to do i even if they don't want to. There is another discussion here on Cort's blog http://www.forums.aboutmecfs.org/entry.php?273-Lightning-Strikes-a-CFS-Patient and here is an interesting website which I put a link to in the discussion there, which has stories from peope who did LP:
LP DOESN'T WORK FOR ME
Some extracts from stories on that website:
and from another participant:
There is more information is you go to this link http://www.sayer.abel.co.uk/LP.html
Here are some letters which were published in a UK newspaper in respons to a Lightning Process "cure" story.
What the LP actually is. Description from someone who did it. There is a diagram that goes with this but I cannot figure out how to upload it.
For the process you have these cards with things writtten on them on the floor. Written on them is: Pit, Choice, Stop, Coach, Present Moment, and Life Health etc. You stand on these square while doing the process.
How to do the LP
Mark a rectangle out on the floor or stand on a rectangular doormat.
Note that it has four edges and four corners.
The far left edge is THE PIT - this is where we go when we are 'doing' ME..
So the first step in the process is to recognise when youre in THE PIT. Maybe sometimes or all the time
Its important to recognise what you say to yourself as you go into the pit. For example Im feeling really ill this morning, if I do this, then Ill get exhausted, last time I did this I got really ill for days, I can never eat this etc.
This takes some practice but we were assured that you always say something in your head as you go into the pit. [Orla - basically LP is saying we cause our symptoms through negative thinking]
As soon as you spot one of your pit phrases you want to STOP yourself right away.
So imagine youre on the mat and you start to say I feel really ill today. Before you get to the end of this phrase you will interrupt with a very firm, loud STOP (yes, talk out loud to yourself!) and jump into the STOP position as described above. So you jump outside the mat, to your left.
Now youre here you have interrupted your bad thought patterns. In NLP terms (this wasnt taught in the LP course) I think this is called breaking state.
Now you move to the choice position (as above). So you move slightly to your left. Stand as if youre weighing two things up in your hands. To your right is the pit and to your left is the coachs position. So what choice will you make? Will you go into the pit and carry on with your old thinking? Will you do something different and move to the coachs position.
Of course the idea is that you will do something different. Its pretty important to be very firm about this choice and not just move on without thinking. You need to really mean it when you say you are going to avoid the pit. Uncertainly at the choice position can lead to you looping round the process without too much effect.
Once youve decided to do something different then step into the coachs position. Now you imagine you are coaching yourself. So a version of you is in the middle of the mat and the coach (whose part you will play) stands directly in front of you and coaches you.
You need to write this in permanent ink on your mind: the first thing the coach always says is well done! He/she says it in a very enthusiastic and genuine way.
The point is that you have made the choice to do something different and that is a big achievement and you should be praised for it.
Now step back onto the mat as yourself (i.e. facing the coach) and say, thank you to the coach and fully accept his/her praises.
Now back to the coachs position and give yourself a little motivational speech. It can be something along these lines: Im here for you every step of the way, Im going to coach you all you need and Ill never let you feel alone. Ill be here to kick your backside when you need it, because Im your coach. Youre doing really really well. Hang in there youre great! [Orla - you are saying this to yourself]
Then as the coach you ask yourself what would you like?
Now step back into yourself and answer the question. This could be one of a few things: energy, a comfortable back , to 'do' calm. Theres an endless list and youll choose the right thing for you at the time. It could be something very simple like to go and chat with a friend.
Then get back to the coachs position and ask how are you going to do that?
The answer might be simple, like phone up my friend Fred or something. But lets take the example of energy.
Heres what you do
Give your energy right now a rating out of ten.
You remember a time when you had lots of energy (if you cant remember then imagine). Get really into this memory and make sure you remember it in minute detail totally recreate it in your mind. What did you feel? Where were you? Who were you with? What did you see? Shut your eyes and totally transport yourself to that time. Feel that energy you felt then. Now when youve really got that feeling: imagine taking it and pouring it into yourself as you stand on the mat in the present time.
Remember also to position your body as you would if you had energy. (Poised and upright with shoulder back etc)
Now rate your energy again.
Anyway, thats an illustration of the process.
One thing to point out is that the STOP at the beginning must be very firm. We had to do a hand signal (a bit like a policemen) to emphasise it.
The idea is that using the LP, we constantly start accessing good memories and then these become more easily accessible and the bad ones start to fade.
Were kind of wiring up our brains to access positive things. Imagine that its like walking through a field of golden grasses. Our pathways to the bad memories (feeling sick and tired) are well worn but we need to let those grow over and walk some new pathways to more deeply buried good memories.
If we imagine things vividly enough then the subconscious cannot tell the difference between our imagination and real memories (apparently) so if we havent got the memories we need, then we just imagine them for the purpose of the process.
Gradually this process interrupts our stressful negative thoughts and the idea is that it breaks the adrenalin loop and adrenalin levels start to fall.
The key thing is that you must be totally consistent. You have to jump on every single negative thought and LP it right away. I think people can end up saying STOPs 30-40 times even in one morning. Its the consistency that creates success with LP according to Phil.
A comment from a mother of someone who did LP
I wonder how this differs from Dr. Amen's program on killing the Ants. Automatic negative thought patterns and neural plasticity? Won't this give the CBT people fodder for awhile! :worried:
Dissertation waiting to happen?
Thanks for posting this, Cort! It's always heartening to hear of a recovery, whether it occurred spontaneously or through medical treatment.
A side note: Has anyone noticed how many psychologically-based treatments for ME/CFS have developed in the UK? Off the top of my head, I can think of Mickel Therapy, Reverse Therapy, Amygdala Retraining Therapy, now Lightning Process--and of course, CBT, which is distinct from the therapy of the same name created at U Penn in the '60s and '70s. But I can't think of any similar therapies developed in North America, aside from the Wessely version of CBT that was borrowed by Reeves.
I'm really curious about why the UK has been such a hotbed of psychological treatments. It would make a great PhD dissertation for a student of sociology or anthropology. You could tease out the various factors--sociological? economic? what?--that gave rise to all these treatments in a short period of time in a relatively small geographic area. Try this for a timeline of causation:
Psychoanalysis shown to be rubbish for treating depression and anxiety --->
NHS only pays for (true) CBT for depression and anxiety --->
Wessely & Co. co-opt CBT, pervert into "CB'T'" for "treating" ME/CFS --->
NHS only pays for "CB'T'", GE"T", etc. for ME/CFS --->
Large market for psychological treatments for ME/CFS evident --->
Number of psychological treatments spring up, many sharing common features like exhorting pts to change "false beliefs" and ignore "body sensations" (which also overlaps mainstream psychiatry's concern with "somatization")
For the dissertation you could also look at possibly parallel situations, like how "est" spawned Scientology and Landmark Education.* And of course, you'd want to closely examine where the money goes. I think it would be fascinating reading!
*Note to Self: Remove this sentence within 12 hours, before Tom Cruise's lawyers come after you.
I also don't agree with expanding popularity of a form of CBT to the detriment of our ME/CFS population.
Cancer patients are not being told to get Lightning process in order to get rid of their tumors. Diabetics are not told to get LP in order to control their blood sugars. MS patients are not told to do LP. Are Me/CFS patients any different?
It is very scary to promote alternatives when scientists are just learning the basics of ME/CFS. It will get them confused, and prevent research dollars to be allocated in the right places.
Thanks Orla for sharing the LP 'process'. I think this sort of evidence is vital when analysing developments like funding for LP trials on children etc.
Where is the 'process' from? Is it Parker's website?
By the way- I'm having MASSIVE problems with my Internet provision, so have not been able to post here at all in recent days. (I need an angry frustrated emoticon)...
Hi Angela, sorry I didn't see your question until now. No I didn't get any of those pieces of info from offical LP sites. Not a hope! They have traditionally been very reluctant to explain exactly what was involved. In the past at least, patients seemed to be under pressure not to discuss it, and sometimes were told that it wouldn't work if they discussed it! I am not sure if it is still like this.
Personally I think the reason for this was partly because it sounds so crazy that once people know what was actually involved that it would put people off trying it. Also if people knew what was involved they could do a free version of it themselves at home (strictly speaking it wouldn't be exactly the same as I think this process involves a degree of hypnotising patients, which might be why people are so sort of hyped up after doing it).
I have some notes from an interview which was on Irish national radio 2 years ago. The patient there gave some information on what was involved consistent with the above. He was obviously unaware that the practioners didn't want specifics discussed (the interviewer pushed the practitioner to explain what was involved and the LP practitioner waffled and avoided answering the question). Anyway I will post it once i checked some relevant old e-mails for any useful information.
I am going to post notes below from an interview that was on Irish national radio (RTE 1) in January 2008. They are incomplete, though I think the most interesting stuff is there. The promo's for the show first said that they would be covering a cure for ME. Later, after people wrote in to complain, they stopped referring to it as a cure. They also had Charles Shepherd on live the following day for balance. The initial show with the patient who did LP and the practitioner was pre-recorded, so no live debate.
After listening to the first show it transpired that the patient that was supposed to be cured of ME didn't even have a diagnosis of ME or CFS. It is possible that he had ME/CFS, but he didn't sound like an average patient from the interview (though he could just have been inarticulate about his symptoms). He sounded maybe more burnout/depressed. As well as this he had only been doing LP for 3 weeks, which really wouldn't be enough time to assess any long-term effects. I heard recently that this patient had a relapse and went back again to do the course again. So even for this guy it was obviously not a cure.
A few things worth noting from the interview is the LP practitioners (Alastair Gibson's) avoidance of explaining what LP involved. He is asked a few times specifically what the process involves and he avoids answering properly. (You don't get the tone of voice from reading the notes, but the interviewer was being pretty persistent in trying to find out exactly what was involved, and Gibson was just avoiding answering). Funnily enough the patient spills the beans. At the time it was the first time I had heard someone speak openly about what was involved while using their own name, and knowing their trainer would know they had said it.
Another thing worth noting is that the LP practitioner mentions that they have a restrictive policy about who they let do LP. If you look at their application forms (you have to apply to do it) you can see that they would tend to select people to do it who were not going to be very questioning, and who thought their symptoms had a major (or solely) mental component. (Though obviously some other people might slip through the net if they were desperate to try it and they just answered the questions the way they thought the practitioner wanted them to answer the questions).
Here are some notes from the interview (RTE 1, January 2008). They are not complete. The beginning is a bit rough but it gets more interesting after that. I have put some comments I thought interesting in bold.
People involved in the interview: Interviewer Derek Mooney; LP practitioner: Alastair Gibson; Patient: Pat; Patients Wife: Mary
Derek asked what triggered it what made you feel the way you did, were you going through a rough time was business bad was everything ok at home, was there any trigger?
Pat (patient): Business was flying, i was working around the clock then in the morning time I was staying in bed I was tired I just didn’t want to get up I just didn’t want to get out of bed. The kids were around so instead of staying on the couch he stayed in bed and that was the start of it
Mary: went from being energetic to being exhausted you don’t want to know about the world or your partner because you are physically not able to cope and its not depression, your just so exhausted ....getting a hoover and sucking every ounce of energy out of their body
..Gibson (LP practitioner): chronic fatigue is a terrible illness and classified as a neurological illness. Sheppard calculated that between 0.1 and 0. 2% of the population have it and if that was true over here an enormous amount of people can have it, real and debilitating illness, many different disguises, seen thousands of people and not one person has the same? Illness
Says phil parker is an oesteopathist (meant an osteopath) . Licensed and trained by Phil Parker. Like acupuncture we are coming from the holistic side. Its not specifically designed for cf but they are in a dire situation. He wanted to bring it into sport and business performance because its a fantastic technique. It works particularly well with cf because those people are in dire straights
First time Derek asked him what it was: Hard to explain. Uses techniques from NLP life coaching and hypnotherapy (stopped half way though saying hypnotherapy), osteopathy. 3,000 already through it and have had incredible results
Second time Derek asked: how mind and body work together and how it influences the symptoms, recognise the helpful (transcriberI assume he meant unhelpful) patterns they are going through and apply effective ways to stop those processes and patterns that he is doing and teach him a new system altogether. The reason why (mumbles but means the reason i cant tell you) is that its a leap of faith like starting a business, university or you get married so if people have an inkling they are interested they can look at the website and then fill in an application form and then they are assessed
Third time Derek asked, but I’m still not sure what happens when he gets into the room, do you chat to him (gibbons says “yes” but not sure if he is answering or acknowledging question) about his life history, does he have any problems any worries then do you talk them through is that what happens.
Derek do you administer any drugs.
Gibson: no i must stress there are no drugs involved and we don’t spend too much time talking about where they are because its a case of them moving forward so its for them to realise certain patterns they are running and actually link in how important the mind and body work together and then we teach them a new process on how to change their makeup and how they actually do things, its a response system that has incredibly quick responses so although its a really long living illness and I’ve known people have it over thirty years and people as short as 6 months, it takes an awful long time to diagnose it is very difficult in the medical profession here and in Britain and even in Canada to pinpoint it and it takes 6 months to diagnose
Fourth time Derek asked: I’m still not sure though if I had it and I came through your door what would be the first thing you would do to me.
Gibson: Right well first of all before you come through the door you have to fill in an application form
Derek: and what does it ask me.
Gibson: its primarily to make sure they are ready to make the change Because to do the lightning process its a very simple technique, over we actually break down how they have taken certain information on. Most people who get this horrible illness, some people get it after a virus that is not uncommon whether its glandular fever or? That sort of thing could be an ear infection, for some people it can come on gradually as well, most people who get it tend to be very hard workers, have an element of perfectionism and so there is a common thing there. People don’t know how people get this but its just there and this particular process LP has had fantastic with it as well. But LP can be used for other things as well
Derek: pat will you come over and tell me some of your experiences and what kind of things happened to you when you were there
Pat: the first day we were there we started off doing exercises saying to yourself "I want to live a life of love" and just to get that through to you and we kept at that a good bit
Derek: you were just saying this to yourself all the time
Pat: no your not saying it to yourself all the time, when we were doing the course we had little cards that we could stand on and they were all placed around in the room we were in bit I can do them without the cards now, I do them in a little quiet place on my own and no one knows I am doing them so I take a little corner in the bedroom I just do my little exercise and that helps me
Derek: so what was on the cards you were standing on
Pat: the first card you stand on has the way you are the sickness you had (Derek :right now, Pat :yes) and you just want to get that stopped and you say stop and stand on the stop card and then you look at the pit and say I don’t want to go to that pit, that dirty oul sickness, you don’t want to go there and the next one is choice and you say well what do I want and you say "I want a life of love to live" and then you stand on the coach one and you just say "Well done you are on the right track, you’re a fantastic genius and I’m with you every step of the way" and then you come back to the choice and go back to the coach ask "Well what do you want, I want to live a life of love" and the coach says "Well how are you going to achieve, to get that?" and you say "by having no negative thoughts emotions symptoms" (transcriber: could be emotional symptoms) And you do it three or four times in the morning and it helps you and you do it nice and quietly to yourself and thats all I’ve done in Bournemouth
Derek: and it gets you out
Pat: and it gets me out
Derek: so basically I’m listening to this and it sounds like the power of positive thought
Gibson: well its more than that because positive thinking as we know new year thinking about giving up smoking and chocolate that in itself doesn’t work so what we have done with the LP we’ve taken different parts from lots of different places, from osteopathy, from NLP, from life coaching that particularly work and it works particularly to break the symptoms that somebody is running sometimes for ten years three years thirty years or three months and one of the things we refer to is the rubber duck, if it was under water for twenty meters whether it was there for three days or three hours and if you let that go it will just bounce back, we believe that we have well being inside us and if you can cut some? Of the symptoms you can bounce back quite quickly so despite this fella having the illness for seven yrs you might think it will take him a long time to recover you can bounce back very quickly as he has done and this is a very very common results we’ve been having in England Australia Norway and now over three thousand people have gone through the process and having the most fantastic results like we’ve had here with Pat.
Derek: does it work for everybody
Gibbons: Really good question and now we are very strict about how we vet people to do it. People have to do the work, its not like to take a tablet you go to the doctor and take a tablet and just wait for it to happen, you have to do the work and do the process so just like if you were doing an addition 2+2+2 is always six, if you use the process it will work, however if you do 2+2-1 you haven’t done that process and you get different results. If you do the process consistently we’ve been able to show we’ve had fantastic results and what we also do is once we’ve done the course we follow up with a cd and I also do some phone ups and follow up sessions just to make sure they are on track
Derek: presumably it comes at a cost
Gibbons: yes certainly, in England to do the training costs between 650 to 1000 and 1300 pounds. We probably would imagine the cost to bring it to Ireland obviously the cost of distance would probably be about just over 1000 pounds but there is a cost to it, the results as you can see have been life changing for so many people
Derek: Pat you had already spent a lot of money and have gone to everybody and anybody to get you help, it worked for you so far it seems, how many weeks are you since the course
Pat: three weeks now and I’m flyin it. It cost me 580 sterling about 2000 sterling for the five days I was there
Derek: so its not cheap
Pat No its not.....it is cheap, I was spending when I was going to germany it was costing me 7 or 8000 euro and I went 5 times there and what it cost in the hospital and they didn’t find anything wrong with me in the hospital and it was 580 sterling it is cheap to get my life back. The way I’m feeling now and the way I was feeling I’d just like to thank mary for standing beside me.... he starts crying.
Derek: needless to say we are not endorsing the LP we are just bringing it to your attention and one mans story of how he feels he is better as a result of doing that course.
Oh well, Orla, it's "magical". It's the faeries! That's alright then.
Where's the bloody faerie emoticom?!
Here you go:
You can also try a Google Site Search
Separate names with a comma.