General Interest > Thought Reform

Reversing Operant Conditioning?

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--- 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.

--- End quote ---

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.
--- End quote ---

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.

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

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.

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.

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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