General Interest > Thought Reform

Reversing Operant Conditioning?

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What operant conditioning is: (POTENTIALLY TRIGGERING...well, it was for me) http://

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?

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.

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.

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 ... 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.

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. ... &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. ... choice.htm

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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