Author Topic: Reversing Operant Conditioning?  (Read 9028 times)

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Offline asha-kun

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Reversing Operant Conditioning?
« on: September 27, 2010, 12:36:34 AM »
What operant conditioning is: (POTENTIALLY TRIGGERING...well, it was for me) http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operant_conditioning

Are there ways to undo the effects of operant conditioning?  Better yet, are there ways to undo the effects without the same methods used in the first place?  The bits of advice I've been able to find all point back to more behaviorism, more shrinks, more medication and more of everything that I'm not going near again.  If there is a way for people to rid themselves of the effects, will doing the things they were conditioned against be just fine/enjoyable again, or will it always have a subtle uncomfortable tinge to it?
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Offline Inculcated

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Re: Reversing Operant Conditioning?
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2010, 01:47:01 AM »
Asha-kun, you’ve asked a great question. It’s one I’ve spent the better part of almost two years returning to from time to time and from different angles… and I don’t know.

I have looked into the broader scope of treatment trauma and have turned up very little, most of what I’ve come across or have been directed to have been limited to exposés and statistical research. Much of that research doesn’t go beyond much beyond that of inappropriate contact, institutionalization and increasingly vociferous backlash against overmedication.

I’ve been able to find among the scant papers of what’s currently termed as “Sanctuary trauma” and among the reams of cult recovery ephemera very little.I’ve found that while there is some acknowledgement and “uncovering” of treatment abuses, there seems to be an unsurprising dearth of those professionals who have developed much beyond that.

The closest I’ve found to being recovery related are relevant to PTSD and cultic studies. Nothing that I have been able to find comes close to broaching the topic of treatment protocols in the wake of treatment abuses. SEKTO might have some better recommended reading for you than I could offer.

I wholly relate to you about that “subtle uncomfortable tinge” and I regret to say that I don’t think there is any way to ever fully supplant that.

I hope someone has a better answer to your question than mine.
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Offline Froderik

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Re: Reversing Operant Conditioning?
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2010, 08:25:09 AM »
Interesting thread.

I was in a program over 20 years ago.

However I don't have any noticeable problems enjoying sex, drugs, or certain types of rock music...(those were the things I was conditioned against.)

But, certain odd things will trigger an 'uncomfortable tinge' ...

I figure there is nothing I can do about it but die or live alone.
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Offline SEKTO

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Re: Reversing Operant Conditioning?
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2010, 06:38:54 PM »
Are there ways to reverse the effects of operant and instrumental conditioning?  Yes.  

Are there ways that do not involve doctors, legitimate and scientifically-studied psychotherapeutic modalites,  and/or medications?  None that I know of, or would recommend to anybody.

The short answer to asha-kun's question is that the therapeutic process along the road to recovery and self-autonomy will seldom be comfortable.  There are no simple solutions for quick fixes in that domain.  It's not easy to get better.

In general, I am not comfortable with the use of B-mod techniques on anybody, but especially children, those with various developmental disabilities, or those who are bound by the constraints of the criminal-justice system.

On the topic of thought reform as it relates to the TTI:  I refer you to an old post of mine that I made while in MeadowHaven.  I hope it helps.

viewtopic.php?f=31&t=26260&p=333203&hilit=+Bite+Model+#p333203

http://www.freedomofmind.com/resourcece ... s/BITE.htm

The tactics of a thought-reform program like DAYTOP are organized to destabilize a person's sense of self, get the person to drastically reinterpret his or her life's history and radically alter his or her worldview and accept a new version of reality and causality, and then develop in the person a dependence on the organization, thereby turning the person into a deployable agent of the organization.

Think of the DAYTOP conditioning process in the light of Hassan's BITE model of explaining thought reform environments. Do you think it fits like a hand in a glove? I do.

The thought-reform process begins with isolation  of the individual (whether in a physical or psychological sense), then proceeds to a gradual manipulation of the physyical environment in which that person is isolated. Then gradual control is exerted over the individual's behavior, the flow of information into and out of the envirnment restricts the individual's thinking, those very thoughts are retrained and controlled, and emotional range and repsonses are controlled as well.

Basically, what is commonly called "brainwashing" is a process that is mainly physically coercive in nature, and the conditioning usually reverses itself on itys own once one exits the physically coercive situation or environment. "Thought reform," "mind control," or "coercive persuation" is more subtle a process, it is psychologically coercive in nature, and the psychological conditioning is more lasting after the individual leaves the thought-reform environment.

I used to think that DAYTOP "wasn't all that bad" and that in my mind I was somehow exaggerating its coercive nature, as well as the conditioning's effects on my mentality. I used to think of DAYTOP, "Well, at least it's not Straight." But now I see that DAYTOPian coercion is n my opinion in many ways even more damaging to the individual than the blunt force applied in Straight, which is the most egregious and prominent example of an overtly abusive TC for youths in our times. The DAYTOP mind control is more subtly applied and more rigidly reinforced. Very sophisticated B-Mod stuff going down in DAYTOP. Very effective and very subtle mind-manipulation and encouragement of "right thinking" in DAYTOP. It's a thought-reform environment. You know?

If you're being forced to the ground and bound up in restraints, or if you are being subjected to food and sleep deprivation, then you KNOW that that's wrong; nobody has to tell you that it's abusive. But if you're getting screamed at during encounter group or a haircut as a part of a body of people that you are supposed to think of as "the family," and there's this groupthink going on, then there's this element of "it's for your own good" to it, and it's not so readily seen as abusive and coercive in or out of the immediate context in which it's taking place. Therefore, the conditioning is more lasting, more pervasive in a person's psyche, more personalized.

Here's a genius video on cults and thought reform/mind control. Check this out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnNSe5XYp6E

Individuals in a cult context are constrained not only by a bounded reality-one product of the self-sealing system-but also by bounded choice. This occurs when the individual reaches what Lifton described as a state of personal closure. ("Closure" in this sense does not mean completion, as it is sometimes used, but a turning inward and refusal to look at other ideas, belifs, or options.) I suggest that a state of person closure should be considered the individualized version of the larger self-sealing system. Thus, as a person identifies and unites with the bounded reality of the group and its belief system, becoming a devotee by making that charismatic commitment to the self-sealing worldview, another process begins to take place. That is, individual perspective and personal decision making become limited and constrained, and that restritction comes as much from within as from without. In the context of closure and constraint, choices may exist, but they are severely limited. In such situations, the person can be described as being in a state of bounded choice.


http://books.google.com/books?id=p2Udi3 ... &q&f=false

The interaction between the individual and the charismatic system is the key to understanding bounded choice theory. The believer responds to the intellectual and emotional pull of the group with commitment that is renewed through ongoing interaction, and in the process develops a new self. The leader’s vision of the path to salvation has transformational power.


http://www.icsahome.com/infoserv_bookre ... choice.htm
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Offline SEKTO

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Re: Reversing Operant Conditioning?
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2010, 07:32:12 PM »
It's funny that the subject comes up...right now, this semester, I am taking an entire course on classical and instrumental/operant conditioning, and how they operate in terms of learning and memory processes.  Right now I am studying this stuff in-depth.  So I'll get back with you later with what I've learned from this class.  

Reading Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman may be useful to you, as well.
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Offline asha-kun

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Re: Reversing Operant Conditioning?
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2010, 08:57:31 PM »
Quote
Are there ways to reverse the effects of operant and instrumental conditioning? Yes.

Are there ways that do not involve doctors, legitimate and scientifically-studied psychotherapeutic modalites, and/or medications? None that I know of, or would recommend to anybody.

This is good to know, but...that in itself is the problem.  Psychotherapists won't take me seriously if I say I've been harmfully conditioned by a residential treatment center, or worse, they'll think what happened was for my own good and the good of society and I'm just a resentful crazy.  Even some of my friends have told me "it could have been worse, at least they didn't beat or starve you."  While I know this is a fallacy, as you mentioned in your re-post, it shows the common attitude towards the situation.  My most recent therapist, for another example, often downplayed the effects of what happened as my own oversensitivity.

Quote
The short answer to asha-kun's question is that the therapeutic process along the road to recovery and self-autonomy will seldom be comfortable. There are no simple solutions for quick fixes in that domain. It's not easy to get better.

I know this.  Quick fixes don't exist for these sorts of things.  However, there's another problem--the way I define "getting better," to many of the therapists I've known, means "getting worse."  What I define as "free and happy," most of them define as "unhealthy and out of control."  I have no plans to hurt anyone who doesn't consent or threaten me, but even so, almost all therapists nearly worship stability.  Stability of emotion, thought, action, everything--and I don't value it at all, as long as I'm happy.  If I'm "unstable" and unhappy, attempting to stabilize me makes things worse, if that makes any sense.
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Offline Inculcated

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Re: Reversing Operant Conditioning?
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2010, 12:26:44 AM »
Asha-Kun,
Well, I don’t doubt that a therapist or twenty will misunderstand your experience of the TC you were in. Many of these might say they understand, but sit there contemplating you as you relate this as if you were a histrionic borderline. This would not be helped by the fact that the anxiety produced by simply being in that context will likely invoke many of the feelings you have that are associated with your time in program, even though those are not the totality of your life experience and frame of reference. At least yours was upfront enough about their judgment to tip you off and you were able to remove yourself from the situation.

As Ursus once advised me “even a well meaning therapist may be ill equipped to deal…” The best I can say is that understanding is rare. If you feel that you’re not getting much more than tension and contention then it is time to get up and walk away. That said, there are some good therapists on this weird ass planet. This is largely owing to patience, compassion and knowledgebase as well as their ability to learn from their clients' ranges of experiences.  It is daunting, if you’re not ready to sift through the clusterfuck of idiots, psychos and asses who were for whatever reason also drawn to the profession, don’t go. Sometimes they're off and sometimes it's just the timing.Wait until you’ve found your own equilibrium…a far better vantage point than the breaking point. If you find you have mustered enough tolerance to go looking, you can be clear at the outset about your boundaries and goals and ask for coping skills. Be willing to negotiate. If you aren’t coming away with tools to help you manage or you feel there is an impasse between you and them about what “shoulds” are—leave.

The second portion of your response intrigues me, in particular the statement “What I define as "free and happy," most of them define as "unhealthy and out of control." I have no plans to hurt anyone who doesn't consent or threaten me, but even so, almost all therapists nearly worship stability.” Would you elaborate on this and the “stabilizing” recommendations that have been put to you in these cases? Are you speaking of med prescribing or lifestyle changes?

As for Trauma and Recovery, I agree that it is a good reference for someone looking to be introduced in a very informative way to the various aspects of PTSD. It is Judith Herman who first proposed a distinction for the category that is known as C-PTSD. For its' clear and concise presentation, it is of value. However, it’s twenty years old, others (and Herman) have since expanded on the topic. A word of caution if one is offended by DSM labels (although she does within the book give consideration to the misuse and inappropriate use of these).The reader can expect her to go on to use some of these terms in IMO an oddly blithe way that is incongruous with her previously stated acknowledgments. Much of that book is interspersed with amalgamated accounts written in the first person. While T&R does touch upon a few different examples, by and large the greater portion dwells on sexual trauma.
Another drier (albeit more dense) option is Traumatic Stress- The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body and Society.

I was almost certain that SEKTO would include among his recommendations Steve Hassan’s Releasing the Bonds.It is informative and includes self-help options. Chapter ten “Unlocking Phobias” may be of particular interest, considering your OP.
Edited many many typos
« Last Edit: September 28, 2010, 07:21:11 PM by Inculcated »
“A person needs a little madness, or else they never dare cut the rope and be free”  Nikos Kazantzakis

Offline Samara

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Re: Reversing Operant Conditioning?
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2010, 12:39:03 AM »
When I describe the "therapy" at CEDU -and there was no physical harm except some medical neglect - the mental shit alone is shocking to friends, educators,and counselors. And they all think LGAT for kids is BS. No need for "OMG" istrionics. Just describe a rap, the anxiety of waiting for a rap, the contents of a rap, the propheets steps, the lack of transparency and the insularity etc. and that is enough for them.

I have discussed it with a professional, but not as a client. It was obvious to them from the attack therapy and total lack of boundaries it was therapeutically unethical.
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Offline Inculcated

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Re: Reversing Operant Conditioning?
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2010, 12:58:08 AM »
Samara,
That’s wonderful, but it’s not always the case. Believe me.
The perspective of discussing it with friends and colleagues who know you outside of the limited context of patient affords a frame of reference to those you tell this to, that therapists don’t have with their clients.
Even with that there are posters who have described difficulty being understood by friends to the point that after a few attempts they no longer try.
Such biases and disbelief are not exclusive to treatment abuses, one can find similar reaction to all kinds of atrocities and it is exactly that which inhibits change and perpetuates the abuses.
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“A person needs a little madness, or else they never dare cut the rope and be free”  Nikos Kazantzakis

Offline Froderik

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Re: Reversing Operant Conditioning?
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2010, 11:04:45 AM »
So we have a lot of talk about the effectiveness or ineffectiveness in treating program fallout effects. (under the fancy words "Operant Conditioning")
Bunch of damn eggheads with your fancy scientific terms.... lol. What are we left with? Sifting through this back and forth would be frustrating for someone seeking immediate help with these things. There should be therapists whose sole purpose is to help people who have been subjected to "Operant Conditioning" and other atrocities directly related to having been in programs.

Sometimes I am tired of even thinking about this crap... maybe i should have never tried to find out (sometimes i think this to myself.) But then there was that "anniversary" of the day i was taken away...i just had to look and see what was out there, if anything....

God this shit disgusts me, that's all for now.
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: Reversing Operant Conditioning?
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2010, 12:17:41 PM »
Therapists don't care about you, only the check you hand them after they spend an hour pretending to listen and care about what you told them. Therapists exist because people like to talk about themselves, and are willing to pay someone to sit there and listen to them. It's considered rude to talk to people about yourself for such lengths of time, and friends and family are usually unwilling to sit through such a self indulgence. I'm surprised how much education is required to basically sit there in an office and nod and say, why do you think that is?

I helped get over my own PTSD from the program by finding a local support group of survivors. We meet every week at the local church, and it has done wonders to help me get back to being normal. When I got out of the program I was telling everybody how great it felt to be sober and not have to be the same troubled person I was, but eventually I realized this was brainwashing and so I went back to my old ways of using drugs and not giving a shit about anything, and things have been better ever since.
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Offline Anne Bonney

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Re: Reversing Operant Conditioning?
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2010, 12:22:46 PM »
Quote from: "Maximilian"
Therapists don't care about you, only the check you hand them after they spend an hour pretending to listen and care about what you told them. Therapists exist because people like to talk about themselves, and are willing to pay someone to sit there and listen to them. It's considered rude to talk to people about yourself for such lengths of time, and friends and family are usually unwilling to sit through such a self indulgence. I'm surprised how much education is required to basically sit there in an office and nod and say, why do you think that is?

And that's different from programs.......how?

Oh, wait.   Therapy is voluntary and patients have rights.  Programs are forced and kids have no rights.  Got it.
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Offline Inculcated

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Re: Reversing Operant Conditioning?
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2010, 12:45:39 PM »
@Frod,
Perhaps you missed the details within Asha-Kun’s posts about how their last therapist was blatantly judgmental about how their program experience was. Or perhaps you missed the reading recommendations (ie Knowledge is power) or perhaps you missed the later developing subtler theme of getting loved ones to appreciate the effects of program abuses that aren’t as readily understood as say violence, rape or death. What is that which causes some of those lasting effects? Oh, right among them operant conditioning.
Hasn’t it been you who I have seen post from time to time about PTSD? You could try some of the reading recommendations such as T&R.  "Getting some understanding of how they work has been helpful” is a good approximation of advice Psy had to offer me some time ago, and it’s been helpful. You could try reading Releasing the Bonds and come away with a lot, though not all of it would pertain to you…That would however briefly cut in to your time of tossing about Jim Jones quotes and chiming in when thread participants somehow fail to impress you/ entertain you. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
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Offline Froderik

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Re: Reversing Operant Conditioning?
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2010, 02:49:56 PM »
Quote from: "Inculcated"
What is that which causes some of those lasting effects? Oh, right among them operant conditioning

Well, duh...I guess.

Quote
Hasn’t it been you who I have seen post from time to time about PTSD? You could try some of the reading recommendations such as T&R. "Getting some understanding of how they work has been helpful” is a good approximation of advice Psy had to offer me some time ago, and it’s been helpful. You could try reading Releasing the Bonds and come away with a lot, though not all of it would pertain to you…

Yes, that would be me.

What is T&R? (In the blowgram, that stood for "talk and responsibilites.")

I may check out Releasing The Bonds, thanks for the recommendation.
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Offline Samara

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Re: Reversing Operant Conditioning?
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2010, 06:35:30 PM »
Inculcated ~ I think I overstated my post.  I can't say they totally related - they were horrified. I only discussed it with people who have a little more depth or morbid curiosity than the average person.  I was very selective in who I told.

I do not believe most therapists are equipped to deal with issues, such as TBS related trauma. We're still in the dark ages.
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