Schizophrenia - A Theory of Cause and Possible Cure
by Alfred A. Barrios, Ph.D
In my book Understanding Hypnosis: Theory, Scope and Potential [Barrios, 2009], I present an explanation for the cause of schizophrenia that derived from my theory of hypnosis [Barrios, 2001]. Based on this explanation, I also present a possible cure for schizophrenia using hypnosis. This article will be a presentation of these very same ideas.Hypnosis
I would like to begin by giving you a brief overview of my theory of hypnosis, focusing especially on how the theory explains hypnotic phenomena such as hallucinations and delusions. I define hypnosis as a state of heightened belief produced by a series of positively-responded-to-suggestions. With each positive response the belief factor is increased (belief in what the hypnotist is suggesting). And I define belief as concentration on a thought to the exclusion of anything that would contradict that thought. Thus, in a state of heightened belief, any stimuli either sensory or cognitive that might contradict the suggestion given by the hypnotist are automatically blocked off. This highly focused state of mind then is capable of amplifying images to the point of becoming hallucinations, and amplifying thoughts to where they can become delusions.
All hallucinations and delusions can be explained in a very similar way: An image or thought can become highly amplified as a result of the blocking of any contradictory thoughts or stimuli. This blocking can be accomplished in a number of different ways. As pointed out in my theory explaining the behavioral and therapeutic effects of the hallucinogens [Barrios, 1965], it was pointed out that this “blocking” results from the inhibitory aspects of these drugs.Schizophrenia
In the case of schizophrenics, this “blocking” is as a result of the hyper-suggestible state (heightened state of belief) they are in. The psychotic breakdown occurs when these individuals begin to think that the hallucinations and strange thoughts or voices are due to some “outside” sources, not realizing that they are self-induced. They believe that they have no control over what is happening and what’s worse they believe that this will become permanent. And because of the heightened state of belief they are in, it can become permanent. As pointed out in my theory of hypnosis, in the state of heightened belief, higher-order conditioning can be exponentially enhanced thus allowing for this belief to become permanently entrenched.
This explanation of schizophrenic psychotic breakdowns is supported by the fact that there have been numerous cases of psychotic breakdowns in people taking hallucinogenic drugs. Just as in the case of schizophrenics not realizing that the hallucinations they are experiencing are self-induced, the people who have the drug-induced breakdowns are the ones who think that the this state is due to “outside forces” that they have “no control” over, and what‘s worse, they believe that this state will be permanent. As pointed out above, because of the state of heightened belief, this belief can actually become permanent.
The following excerpt from Understanding Hypnosis will expand further on this:
One of the most phenomenal hypnotherapy cases I have worked on was that of a paranoid schizophrenic whom I cured in one three-hour session by making use of the hypnotic state of heightened belief to reverse the negative thinking, the negative beliefs underlying her paranoia. The following excerpt from my book Towards Greater Freedom and Happiness [Barrios, 1985] describes the case. (Please note that in my writings I often refer to my hypnosis techniques as SPC, or Self-Programmed Control techniques.):
A Possible Explanation and Cure for Bipolar Disorder
Could it be that an explanations for bipolar disorder (once referred to manic-depressive disorder) lies along similar lines? If in a state of hyper-suggestibility, a state of hyper-responsiveness, cognitive stimuli can be amplified to cause psychotic delusions or hallucinations, why not the possibility of manic and depressive thoughts or behavior also being magnified in a similar uncontrolled hyper-responsive state leading to a state of hyper-mania or hyper-depression? And if so, then one can see the possible use of hypnosis to also helping one regain control and toning down or reversing these hyper states as well as getting rid of any underlying negative states of mind adding to the problem.
Abrams, S. (1963) Short-term hypnotherapy of a schizophrenic patient,
American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 5,237-247.
Abrams, S. (1964) The use of hypnotic techniques with psychotics. A critical review,
American Journal of Psychotherapy, pp. 79-94.
Barrios, A.A. (1965) An explanation of the behavioral and therapeutic effects
of the hallucinogens. International Journal of Neuropsychiatry 1: 574-92.
Barrios, A.A. (1985)Towards Greater Freedom and Happiness. Los Angeles, SPC Press.
Barrios, A.A. (2001) A theory of hypnosis based on principles of conditioning and inhibition.
Contemporary Hypnosis 18: 163-203.
Barrios, A.A. (2009) Understanding Hypnosis: Theory, Scope and Potential.
New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Biddle, W.E. (1967) Hypnosis in the Psychoses. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C. Thomas.
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