Friday, February 9, 2018

ME/CFS, NLP and the Lightning Process™ in the Looking Glass

ME/CFS, NLP and the Lightning Process™ in the Looking Glass
by Nancy Blake
Positive Health issue 244 - February 2018

Some extracts:

"Now suppose you have a broken leg, and I am so good at NLP trance
induction that I can stop you feeling the pain.

If I do this, so you start walking on it and don't bother to get it
set and in a cast, you are going to end up with a terribly deformed
and constantly painful leg. Ethical?"


"If you use NLP techniques to get rid of a headache that is caused by
a brain tumour, your 'help' may mean the patient doesn't bother to get
it properly diagnosed, and could cost him his life."


"The judgement about the use of NLP for the treatment of ME/CFS hinges
on whether we believe the psychiatric model…that the original viral
illness is completely over, and exercise is avoided because of
irrational fears…or the medical model which observes the continuing
relapses following exertion and concludes that this is evidence of a
continuing latent infection."


The presuppositions of the Lightning Process™ are the ones which
underpin Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Graded Exercise Therapy: that
ME/CFS involves only thoughts and beliefs which, if changed, can
result in recovery. The patients' belief that there is an underlying
physical cause, and that exertion can do actual damage is considered
to be false. Treatment, therefore, can be successful if (and only if)
this belief can be eradicated.

The Lightning Process differs from CBT/GET in that adds the use of NLP
techniques to change beliefs and encourage the patient to give up his
protective energy-conserving behaviour, his physical aids, and
enthusiastically engage in exercise.

This would make it very effective indeed if the patient's symptoms
were caused only by unhelpful thought processes.

It makes it potentially harmful if the patient's problems are in fact
caused by a pathogen which is stimulated by exertion, and which the
immune system can only fight effectively if the patient rests so that
all his physical energy is available for the immune system.


In relation to ME/CFS, what are the 'impossible things' one must
believe (and what must one refuse to believe) in order to maintain the
view that ME/CFS is, in Simon Wessely's words, "nothing more than the
belief that one has (ME)"?[4]


You have to believe that people with no previous history of a mental
health problem or of undue complaining about their health, and no
preceding traumatic event other than a mild flu can become completely
incapacitated within days, and continue to be so, simply because of
negative thought patterns about minor symptoms.

You have to believe that intelligent, highly educated, successful
professional people, including professional athletes, can suddenly,
for no apparent reason, become extreme hypochondriacs, whose reports
about their illness are either false or exaggerated.

You have to believe that for such people, the 'secondary gains' of
assuming the role of invalid are somehow greater than loss of their
profession, their income, their home, and often their families.

You have to disbelieve what patients report about their experience,
even though patient descriptions of this very complex disease are
similar across historical periods and disparate geographical
locations. Patient experience, although varied in some ways,
consistently reports that exertion brings on worsening symptoms, and
that continued exertion brings on more permanent and serious relapse.

You have to believe that encouraging or coercing patients into doing
something which is known to make them worse is a 'safe and effective'
way to cure their illness.

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