Whoops – here we go again!

This article was prompted from a comment by a reader of the article: Sunlight

Another training programme to rival Phil Parker’s Lightning Process.

Ashok Gupta is a Stress Management consultant at The Harley Street Stress Management Clinic which he established, he has produced a DVD on a programme he has designed called the Gupta Amygdala Retraining. His qualifications apart from a science masters is NLP and Clinical Hypnotherapy. Although the websites both state that he has had papers published in medical journals, it doesn’t state which journals. The Harley Street Stress Clinic website also states that he has conducted much research on the brain neurology of stress.

There are two opposing fields to consider:
Psychiatry and Faith

1) Pyschiatry is an interesting field of study and numerous therapies have resulted from Psychiatry. Therapies such as Hypnotherapy, NLP and non-medical Psychology and Psychotherapy. However Ashok Gupta isn’t a Pyschiatrist, Psychotherapist or Psychologist and neither is Phil Parker designer of the Lightning Process. Both Phil Parker and Ashok Gupta are trained in NLP and Hypnotherapy.

2) Having a faith is many people’s Psychiatrist. For example I find that God and the Bible help me understand myself and my behaviour. I have found myself perceiving a mode of my behaviour and wondering why and looking at ways to change it. I am sure there are others who don’t have a faith, who are able to consider their behaviour and want to change without having to resort to retraining programmes. Retraining programmes smack of brain-washing.

As a Christian I am not opposed to seeing a Psychiatrist or Counsellor for example. But I am opposed to seeing anyone who wants to retrain my brain for me using one of their training programmes. NLP and Hypnotherapy seem to involve a lack of control on my part and an aspect of control over me on the Therapist’s part.

I do think that the Lightning Process and now the Gupta Amygdala Retraining programme suggest a type of brain-washing and retraining of the brain on the Therapists part and therefore out of the individual’s control. I am sure that this is why Phil Parker designer of the Lightning Process and Ashok Gupta designer of the Gupta Amygdala Retraining programme both say that unless you are prepared to undergo the full training then do not consider their programme.

Now here’s FOOD for THOUGHT ( food+thought = brain – perceive the connection?):
Patrick Holford stated at a course I attended in about 1994 that he is a Psychologist (apparently his qualification is Experimental Psychology from the University of York and yet he is more famously known as a Nutritionist (although even this qualification is in doubt as apparently he was conferred an Honory Title by his own Institute and this is the man who also advised on his 3 day course back in 1994 that before research is accepted one needs to look at the money behind it) so what does that tell you about the above mentioned Retraining Programmes if a ‘trained?’ Experimental Psychologist prefers to use Nutrition to help his patients? All the aspects such as CBT, NLP, Hypnotherapy, Lightning Process and now Gupta Amygdala RETRAINING all feed from Psychiatry but as far as Patrick Holford – so called Psychologist, Scientist, Researcher and Nutritionist, is concerned it is Nutrition that plays a vital most essential role in being well. Guess what? It is healthy eating that is a part of Phil Parker’s Lightning Process too.

(Has anyone ever attended any of Patrick Holford’s courses, workshops, talks? Notice the way he speaks and delivers his talk – is he using a psychological technique? It intrigued me that he was staring at each participant in turn looking up under his eyebrows and using a pushing/nodding movement with his head. I thought at the time that he is ‘pushing’ his words into our minds. I looked away and concentrated on the notes I was making. When I and my friend left the seminar we stopped on the way home and had something to eat. We both gave the same meal choice to the waiter. We laughed at each other and then I asked why she had chosen the meal. My friend said: “It was the only one with anything healthy in it!” I said that I had had exactly the same thoughts and then remembered what I had thought about Patrick’s body language when speaking – “I think we have been brain-washed.” I said.)

Hipocrates said: Let food be your medicine and medicine your food. So perhaps Patrick is adopting Hipocrates’ Philosophy when he decided to call himself a Nutritionist.

Anyway I do agree that a certain amount of re-evaluating your life may help too. But is it a chicken and egg thing? As Michael Angelo said: A healthy mind in a healthy body – Mens sana in corpore sano. In other words if the body is healthy then the mind is. I found that supplementing calcium helped relieve not only my muscle cramps and spasms but also my negativity. I became far more positive. And that was without any retraining programme.

So if you want someone else, something else to control you and automate you then see Ashok Gupta or Phil Parker. But if you want to keep the gift of free-will you were born with, look inside yourself and to that part of you, that still small voice telling you gently the best plan for you and your life.

Being ill is the most frustrating thing for me. I can’t tell you how fed up I am with it. But being ill has been the best thing for me because I have rediscovered myself and who and what I am. I am doing the things that I want to do. I am doing things I have only dreamt about and hoped that one day I would. Now at long last I am listening more to that still small voice, the essential part of me that I recognise as God.

I would love to be well one day and I actively do my best to be positive from within myself but I do wonder at why human beings seek perfect health as if it is their right? What does that philosophy say about those who can’t be well? Those who are paraplegics or quadraplegics? Those with terminal illnesses. Those who die?

14 thoughts on “Whoops – here we go again!

  1. I listened to that still small voice deep inside myself and it said ” I think the very best thing you could do right now, would be to try the Lightning Process” So I did, and now I am well again! And yes, it had everything to do with brain washing – it taught me how to clean all the muck out of my brain which was toxifying my whole being. The Lightning Process taught me how to be in control of myself, rather than be a victim of my own wrong-thinking persuasion. There was nothing in it to do with trances or hypnotic control by someone else. The part which involves hypnosis is merely ourselves positively changing the unhealthy hypnotic states of our unconscious mind – the ways in which we have convinced ourselves of untrue, self-limiting beliefs. This is done merely by convincing ourselves of the opposite.

    Would you think that if I read one of your articles and was influenced by it, that you had brainwashed me? I don’t really know what you mean by the word.

  2. This is what I mean by Brainwashing (taken from the Word Program research facility):

    “Conditioning to different behaviour
    The inducing of somebody to believe or do something, e.g. to buy a new product, especially by means of constant repetition or constant advertising.”

    I agree with you, reading anything, beit an article or a book, does not constitute brainwashing.

    The point of my articles is not actually against any therapies but about the frustration that some therapies do not fully explain what they are. If you understand what you will be undertaking when you take a therapy on board then that is fine and if it helps that is fantastic. Phil Parker is being more explicit about his process than he was before and that is good but his practitioners (according to his website) are taught to use tarot cards etc, which if this isn’t a problem to you then there is no problem, is there? But for those who prefer to make informed decisions it makes that impossible if Phil Parker and others are not clear about their practices.

    I am sincerely pleased for you that you are well again. Keep listening to that still small voice. God bless.

  3. Hello Marianne!

    thanks for your definition of brainwashing. Yes, certainly the Lightning Process teaches us to condition ourselves to different behaviour. That is the whole point. Having already conditioned ourselves, as we all do, to certain unhelpful behaviours, we merely undo that conditioning, replacing it with more helpful and healthy behaviours.

    Our minds are constantly brainwashing us one way or the other, using repetition and reinforcement techniques. We tell ourselves over and over that “I’m no good at this”, or “I’m ugly” or “I’m scared of spiders” and we end up believing it. All this takes place at a subconscious level usually, so we’re not very aware of it. The LP shows us how to spot these catch-phrases and behaviours and how to change them. We are only doing what our minds do anyway, only more consciously.

    I’d love to know where you read that Phil Parker teaches his practitioners to use Tarot cards and also what you mean by the etc.! I would be very surprised if that were true. The LP practitioners I’ve met have been robustly practical and down to earth people. And never was tarot or any kind of psychic stuff mentioned. I would have run a mile if it had been!

  4. Dear Suzannah

    The following link was pointed out to me by a concerned reader of my articles about the Lightning Process. I am in the process of asking Phil Parker about his therapy and have been awaiting a reply to my email.

    Click this link: Phil Parker

    It opens a pdf file concerning the ECHM Healing course, scroll down to Page 6 and to section 9 on Meditation and Dowsing. It reads: “Module 9 concentrates on Dowsing (making predictions based on the spinning of a pendulum) using a pendulum in healing can focus your attention on the area of the client’s body that needs healing as its usage relies on energy and changes in the energy fields,” …….. “The practical section of this module combines the use of tarot/medicine cards and the use of dowsing to practically analyse the needs of a client.”
    Scroll to Page 2 to the section on teachers and Phil Parker and this will also help you understand him and his approach.

    Phil Parker2 this link opens the course details to become an NLP Hypnotherapy and Life Coaching and NLP practitioner and if you scroll down you will see that the course content includes the Healing package described in the pdf file above.

    This is not to criticise Phil Parker or his therapy but to enlighten people of his approach and that of his trained practitioners so that potential clients can make an informed decision of the route to their own health issues.

    For you personally as you were unaware of the full impact of the training of his practitioners then they may not have used the dowsing or tarot cards at your sessions. If you are concerned about the route you have taken and your own healing then pray about it and listen to that still small voice of yours. My personal stance is that it is Jesus Christ who heals so if it was me I would ask Jesus to cover any healing I have received.

    I am concerned that this information may have upset you, please email back or speak to someone if you have a concern about anything I have said here.

  5. Dear Marianne,
    thank you for your further reply. I read the link you gave me to Phil Parker’s course on Healing. This isn’t the same course that his Lightning Process practitioners take; it looks like something quite different. Actually, it doesn’t disturb me in the least the Phil Parker uses Tarot and divination – that’s his business! The fact is that on the Lightning Process courses for M.E., none of these methods are used. I took the training course with three other people with M.E. and there was certainly no tarot or divination with any of us. Also I have met at least 12 other people who have recovered from M.E. through the LP, and none of them heard any whisper of either of these practices. It just doesn’t form any part of the Lightning Process, which is all about learning how to manage your own brain – not getting someone else to heal you, or chanelling weird forces or anything like that. I think it is unfair to accuse Phil Parker of not being upfront about his methods.

    I read his website, spoke on the phone for half an hour with one of the LP practitioners, and also talked to two people who had undergone LP training, before making up my mind to take the course. Based on all of these, I felt it likely that the LP would help my condition; already I was convinced that my hyperalert state of mind and body, was keeping me ill, and if they had worked out a way to change this, I was eager to find out about it. And when I did, I found it all to be a matter of common sense; I felt foolish that I hadn’t been able to work it out for myself. So I really would like to stress, that there is nothing at all ‘esoteric’ about the Lightning Process – it’s quite scientific and straightforward.

    Thank you for your kindness and concern.

  6. Dear Marianne,
    My name is Ashok Gupta from Gupta Amygdala Retraining, and after having read the article, I would like to clear up a few points here. Firstly I am very open about the medical paper which I wrote, and it is published on my website here:

    Secondly, let me clear up the idea of “mind retraining”. I can’t speak on behalf of the Lightning Process, but in the processes in my DVD programme, I want to make it absolutely clear that the only person doing the retraining, is the person who has the condition. There is no hypnotherapy involved in the programme, and instead it is about the patient becoming more aware of the patterns which keep their body in an imbalanced state.

    You clearly state in your article that: ”…I find that God and the Bible help me understand myself and my behaviour. I have found myself perceiving a mode of my behaviour and wondering why and looking at ways to change it.” This could not be a better description of my DVD recovery programme. I help people understand the modes of brain activity which are keeping the body ill, and once that awareness has dawned, it is up to the patient to “look at ways to change it.” I offer examples and tools to be able to retrain it which can be edited by the patient to suit their own needs, but they are always in control, and the therapist is not brain washing the person – nothing could be further from the truth – that is an old view of these therapies. If it was that easy we wouldn’t need therapy anymore – it’s always the patient that is making the changes.

    I agree with you Marianne, that people can become aware of their own patterns and change them themselves. However, wouldn’t it be nice if a person got a helping hand in this regard, especially from a former sufferer? So many of my patients, once they get well, say to me, “I can’t believe I didn’t figure this out before, now I’m better it seems so obvious! I wish I hadn’t wasted those years not knowing about this.”

    None of my patients have ever felt they have been brainwashed, because it doesn’t work like that. The therapist has no control over the patient, it is more about educating the patient, like a training programme. In a job, you would go on a training programme to learn about how you could improve something about your behaviour, or do something in a better way. No-one would ever say that is brainwashing, the trainer doesn’t control your mind. It is helping you to do something better through educating and retraining your own mind through what you have learnt.

    I hope that clears up the situation concerning my programme, and that it is very different to how you are phrasing it within your article,

    Warm regards
    Ashok Gupta

  7. Dear Marianne,
    As a sufferer of ME/CFS and trained biological researcher your reports come across as biased and lacking in objectivity (the same thing really). While you are happy to dismiss The Lightning Process and Gupta technique because Patrick Holford (a psychologist) uses nutrition to treat his patients there is no such discrediting of the Perrin Technique who likewise suggests the use of vegEPA supplementation. Now, I have no idae of whether any or all of these treatments work but I would not seek guidance from someone who is so obviously subjective in their reviews of different treatments.
    Please, if you are going to look at different treatments for CFS/ME try and apply the same criteris for your treatment of each rather than being so blatantly pro physical treatments and anti those which have a more NLP/psychological aspect.

  8. Dear Andy
    You said:

    “Dear Marianne,
    As a sufferer of ME/CFS and trained biological researcher your reports come across as biased and lacking in objectivity (the same thing really).”

    I am so sorry you have CFS/ME, I hope you are not too badly afflicted with it. You must understand more than most, being a Researcher, that to maintain objectivity on a subject you are emotionally involved in is almost impossible. I have never suggested objectivity on this website only my opinion and I know it can be biased, it can’t be helped – I’m honest about that.

    You said:

    “While you are happy to dismiss The Lightning Process and Gupta technique because Patrick Holford (a psychologist) uses nutrition to treat his patients … ”

    I do not dismiss the Lightning Process or the Gupta technique because Patrick Holford uses nutrition. I don’t understand how you made that connection. I don’t dismiss the Lightning Process or the Gupta training either. I personally think that the Gupta training sounds very good but I don’t feel the need to get involved in a therapy of the mind for a physical condition.

    ” … there is no such discrediting of the Perrin Technique who likewise suggests the use of vegEPA supplementation.”

    I wonder if you are assuming that because a therapy purporting to help CFS/ME uses nutrition then it must be acceptable to me? The Lightning Process supports good nutrition. So where does that leave your theorising?

    I am a physical therapist and a fan of science. I personally prefer physical therapies but have always maintained that a certain amount of counselling or psychiatry or NLP will always help anyone whether they have CFS/ME or not.

    You said:

    “Now, I have no idae of whether any or all of these treatments work but I would not seek guidance from someone who is so obviously subjective in their reviews of different treatments.”

    I’m allowed to be subjective that is the point of my website. This website is about my thoughts and to offer some information and for others to make their own discoveries. By discussing our thoughts and our own opinions and experiences perhaps a common thread will show itself and a ‘cure’ for CFS/ME found.

    You said:

    “Please, if you are going to look at different treatments for CFS/ME try and apply the same criteris for your treatment of each rather than being so blatantly pro physical treatments and anti those which have a more NLP/psychological aspect.”

    You have completely the wrong impression of my website. I am not a researcher, please see: About which explains that any information on this website is there for the reader to consider and collate his own research. I can be blatantly biased if I so choose. Most people suffering with CFS/ME are adamant that CFS/ME is not a psychological condition. Phil Parker is at pains to get it across that his Lightning Process is not treating a psychological problem even though his website is full of programmes to help psychological conditions. I have been merely pointing out the differences between psychiatric treatments and physical. Yes I am totally biased towards the Perrin Treatment because I understand the science of the diagnosis, the treatment and the fact that Dr Perrin has conducted clinical trials, written a book and submitted papers and presentations to Scientists and I am doing the treatment myself and finding benefits.

    Phil Parker on the other hand can only quote from his patients (he calls them trainees) in Norway who represent apparently according to him 70% of his total trainees. The Norwegian Doctor Phil Parker quotes/works with is not recognised by the ME community in Norway as understanding CFS/ME because he uses CBT and GET as his models and has only submitted papers on adolescents.

    I will never blindly accept something because someone tells me it is good and I wouldn’t expect someone to accept my thoughts either but to check it out for themselves. So a therapy for whatever purpose has to make sense to me and be fit for purpose. The Lightning Process despite all Phil Parker’s answers does not make sense and I am not the only person to suggest that either – emminent personnages have also stated that Phil Parker does not make sense. The Gupta Amygdala Retraining although sounds excellent does not fit what I feel I need to get well.

    I get the feeling that you are searching for something. What is it you feel I might have been able to help you with which is what led you to my site? Ask me questions – I will be honest and if I don’t know will say so.

    Please keep in touch. I hope you find what you are looking for. God bless. Marianne

  9. I´m using the Ashok Gupta retraining for CFS & so far i feel much better and only been using it a short time for me it is really excellent – you say you you are a Christian but to me then you are brain controlled by your own faith please try to look outside you box , I certainly would not worry about being so called brain washed as you put it as the Ashok Gupta retraining for CFS the it has nothing to do with brain washing. i would say you are resisting something that may help you. get well .

  10. Dear Linton
    When something works for us we want to shout it from the rooftops and share it with everyone. That is how I feel about Omega Fish oils, Calcium supplements, Eucalyptus oil and the Perrin Technique.
    I shouldn’t have used the word Brainwashing it has upset everyone.
    Read this article that I hope clarifies the point: Help!
    I am sincerely pleased for you that you are getting better. Please give my regards to Ashok Gupta, I hope he has enjoyed all the free advertising he has gained from my site.

  11. My dear Marianne

    I have read your article & it does not make sense trying to justify yourself as you offended me and others in your very silly brainwashing comments. Just try to realise we are not brainwashed by anything just better from CFS .
    By the way my dear i don´t know Ashok Gupta personally just bought his dvds thats all . Much cheaper than going to see him or anyone else and he offers 100% money back guarantee if it did not work so what have i had to lose – nothing .
    The Perrin Technique did not work for me and was far too expensive for me btw .
    And i do use Vegepa which combines the benefits of ultra-pure EPA from marine fish oil and GLA from organic virgin evening primrose oil, providing a highly concentrated source of omega-3 and omega-6 long-chain fatty acids and botanical triterpenes. Molecularly distilled for optimum purity, Vegepa is endorsed by medical professionals for a variety of conditions.
    omega-3 fatty acid EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) derives from fish. Although it can be obtained by eating oily types like mackerel and salmon, one would have to consume huge quantities to acquire the amounts of EPA needed for a sustained health benefit. Unfortunately this could also mean exposure to pollutants, dioxins and PCBs. all on the
    Get well
    ps i don´t think it matters whether Ashok Gupta gains advertising from your site as he is helping people.

  12. Dear Marianne

    Thank you so for your kind words but I think it´s you that now really need Gods help not me as I have all but recovered for CFS after years of being bed bound & house bound thanks mainly to Ashok Gupta ’s Amygdala Retraining .
    I know it may be very hard for you to understand about the Amygdala retraining but it may really help you my dear as it is helping many others .
    I send lots of hugs and best wishes to you , may God really help you to see your path clearly to recovery & of course i do forgive you for your brain washing comments.

  13. I have been doing the Gupta Programme for about four months now and just want to say that it definitely has got totally nothing to do with brain washing! It’s sad that this conclusion gets drawn if you haven’t watched the programme yourself and thus do not know what it is about.
    The programme is more like holding a mirror in front of you to become more aware of your thought patterns and ways of thinking which keep you ill (mr. Gupta’s explanation for why this is keeping you ill is the most logical explanation of m.e. I’ve seen so far), then training yourself to think in a more positive / healthy way while calming the mind at the same time. It sounds simple but I couldn’t have done it without the dvd programme.

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