In essence PSTEC is a 10 minute audio track which can quickly turn down a bad feeling towards whatever a person is focusing on. Imagine for example that a child is anxious about an upcoming exam. Their job is to allow the bad feeling to come up as much as they can. Doing so creates the state that they wish to change whilst their mind is focused on a specific event.
Once the track begins the listener must follow the instructions and try to hold onto the bad feeling as much as possible whilst focusing on the target thought/memory. Often after just one or two listens the feeling evaporates leaving a person much calmer and happier.
Although the track might seem quite magical and even strange on first impression, it is simply using cognitive processes that our brains use constantly on a day to day basis. These processes are:
Classical Conditioning: Ivan Pavlov won the Nobel Prize for an accidental discovery early in the 20th Century. During an unrelated experiment he observed that dogs would salivate when he merely rang a bell. This was because the dog’s brains linked two previously unrelated stimuli – the bell ringing and salivation – because their brain repeatedly noticed the pattern of being fed whenever the bell was rung. This function of the mind is utilised throughout the track with certain key words being split second timed to correspond with certain key words inducing feelings of calm.
Advertisers constantly exploit this with commercials which link their brand or product with attractive models in the viewers mind. Over time, repeated exposure of images of the product alongside feel good music and people having fun, evoke pleasant feelings in a person making them more likely to purchase their products in the future.
Similarly it is a very common occurrence for us to be transported back in time when we hear a particular piece of music that we heard a lot at a certain time in our lives. Our brains have a link between those memories/feelings with that piece of music which was probably played a lot over a particular summer or holiday. Again this is another naturally occurring example of classical conditioning happening spontaneously in our minds.
Linguistic Compression: Throughout the track the listener hears a voice persuading the listener to let go of the feeling and to think about whatever has happened in a calmer way. Very clever language patterns and a lot of repetition is used which make the message very persuasive to the listener. We are all exposed to language all day every day. Great advertisers, sales people and politicians all know how to use language to influence the way people think and feel very effectively.
Unlike these other examples in which you have an external person or organisation trying to influence you through language to further their own needs, PSTEC makes intelligent use of persuasive language purely to help you feel calmer and happier.
Pattern Interrupts/Dissociative Conditioning: Often if a person thinks of a painful memory or thought there is an automatic negative emotional response. Think of this as a pattern in the mind. Throughout the track this pattern is interrupted repeatedly, thereby weakening it more and more as the track continues.
Pattern interrupts have been used for decades by psychologists to interrupt bad habits. For example, in some cases a person is instructed to wear a rubber hand on their wrist. Every time they get an urge to eat chocolate (or whatever habit they wish to stop) they are instructed the flick the band against their wrist which can help break down the link between the trigger thought and corresponding action.
These three techniques combine to have a very powerful calming effect on a person. As you can see from the above explanation, the principles involved are in constant use by our minds on a daily basis albeit not in a particularly well directed manner.
PSTEC gathers these three functions of the mind and utilises them to quickly change the way a person feels for the better. It is also the first time a therapy has managed to allow people to utilise all three in a quick and convenient way.
So why has it taken so long for something like PSTEC to spring into existence? It began as a thought experiment in the mind of British therapist, Tim Phizackerley. After coming to the conclusion that combining these three cast iron psychological principles could be very powerful he set about figuring out the easiest way of doing this. Without Tim’s genius and foresight we would still be scrambling around for a solution.
Here is a complicated solution which is completely impractical but does utilise these three principles simultaneously. Imagine a person is told to think about a problem and he is to juggle two balls – one red and one yellow. They must juggle continuously but whenever they hear a bell being rung, they must alter the direction they are juggling in – from clockwise to anti clockwise and vice versa. Then a very clever sales man is told to try and sell the idea of letting go of the bad feeling. He is also told to time some of the words he uses which denote relaxation at the exact moment the red ball is caught by the left hand.
Of course this is completely impractical but if the timings could be perfected and a person could juggle sufficiently, follow the instructions and that the salesman/therapist was able to split second time his words as per the instructions above, the same processes as used in PSTEC would be evoked.
The problem of combining these is solved very elegantly via the structure of the PSTEC tracks allowing anyone to make use of these processes for natural healing at any time.
Linguistic Compression – the language used is designed to be very generic so that it can apply to almost any problem or memory. There is a lot of repetition in there and clever language patterns to get the biggest impact.
Classical Conditioning is carried out by having the client listen out for three tapping noises. A different hand is to tap along depending on what noise they hear and both hands must be tapped simultaneously when they hear a constant tone. Certain hand taps are split second timed to correspond with certain key words throughout the track which allows the benefits of rapid classical conditioning to be employed.
Pattern Interrupts are utilised throughout the track by repeatedly requesting that the listener try to bring up the feelings but then immediately have to determine what the change in tapping noise designates in terms of hand tapping. In other words the existing pattern isn’t allowed to fully form and more neutral cognitive functions take their place.
There is an aspect of our minds which psychologists call the critical faculty. Its job is to decide whether to accept or reject incoming information becoming part of our internal understanding of the world. For example imagine if you went into the local market and the owner of one of the stalls told you that if you take a specific herbal tablet once a day, that you could expect to live 50 years longer than you would otherwise. Understandably your critical faculty would likely outright reject this claim and your understanding of longevity in humans would likely remain as it is.
Your critical faculty would refer back to previous memories and note that this type of claim has never been made by any scientist before; let alone a local shop keeper with no obvious credentials as an expert in this field. It might also take into account that no mention of this has been made on the news or by scientists.
However imagine 2 years on and there is a claim made in the national news that scientists have discovered a new herb which when taken daily has a huge impact on your body’s ability to repair itself. A top human longevity scientist then goes on the explain that the herb causes the body to weed out any cancerous cells that may be lying dormant in a person’s body and also heals and clears all arteries and veins.
Next there is a news report that an isolated Amazonian tribe had been taking the herb daily for the last 80 years and after careful monitoring by western scientists, their average life expectancy has gone up from 50 years to 120 years old. Of course your critical faculty may require further evidence and proof before it fully accepts such an outlandish claim. However with each additional piece of information, as well as the high reputation of those making the claims and the reasoning they give, the power of the idea grows in the person’s mind as the critical faculty allows it to pass through.
Similarly, we have a product called Fly and Be Calm which is aimed at fearful flyers. For many, just one or two listens to the fear eraser is enough to remove all of their fear forever. Again this sounds quite outlandish and this information alone is likely to be rejected by most people’s critical faculty if given in isolation. However we are backed by most of the major UK airports as well as the biggest airline in the UK and there is a video of people having their fear removed on the website – see www.flyandbecalm.co.uk.
The combination of video evidence of the technique in action along with backing by some major players in the industry adds more weight to our claim. Despite all of this, because the technique is relatively new there may still be doubt in some people’s minds. Because we offer a money back guarantee of success many people do give it a try. Once their fear is removed, this again is good evidence for the person’s critical faculty that there is something definitely happening in the technique but even then, their critical faculty may not fully accept this new information into their internal understanding of the world.
This is because they may need to fly and be fearless a few times before they truly believe their phobia is gone. At this point their critical faculty fully accepts the new information and their understanding of reality is updated.
In many scenarios it is simply a case of the person using their ability to reason alongside comparisons with past experiences/perceptions which determines if a change in understanding passes through the critical faculty and enters their model of reality.
The situation is more complex whenever a person’s understanding in a particular context has a lot of emotion holding it in place. For example imagine a 5 year old child called Holly who is waiting for her mother to pick her up from school. All of the other children get picked up but time ticks on and still neither of her parents turns up. Due to a miscommunication both parents think the other is going to collect Holly and neither have their phone switched on so they are oblivious to school trying to get in touch with them.
Ten years later Holly’s mother has to go away for the night and Holly is shocked at how upset and anxious she feels at this prospect. She has no recollection of the event that occurred when she was 5; she just thinks she will miss her mum and feels as though she might never see her again. Her parents and the school counsellor may try to use logic and try to reassure her that she is safe. She is a very bright young girl and understands completely that she shouldn’t be feeling the way she does but has no control over it.
In this situation an upsetting event concerning the concept of abandonment occurred early on which formed a strong link in her mind and was locked in place by strong emotions. Once an idea or perception is locked in place by strong emotions, very often attempts at using logic or reasoning fail dismally. The easiest way to think of this is of the critical faculty becoming much fussier about what information it chooses to let into the persons model of reality. From a survival perspective the anxiety is a protective mechanism which kicks in when perceived danger is present.
The subconscious mind processes reality primarily through pattern matching rather than logic. This has both benefits and consequences. The benefits are very quick responses to situations which could be lifesaving. Sadly it is very easy for a negative response to be applied in error through a misinterpretation and to remain locked in place for years.
An extremely powerful component of PSTEC is its ability to bypass these barriers to change and undo problematic subconscious constructs. A key benefit of having to follow along with certain hand taps whilst listening to useful suggestions is that the ability of the critical faculty is greatly hindered. This is because it is too busy trying to figure out which hand to tap at any given moment and whilst this is happening the person is very suggestible to whatever information is fired at them.
In our early years our ability to reason and use logic is limited and in addition to this we have limited life experiences. In other words our critical faculty is either weak or non-existent at this point. This is why a small child will believe you if you told them that there is a monster under the bed. In a sense the distraction technique temporarily turns down your critical faculty so you become more suggestible in the way that a small child is.
So how does this apply to the specific kinds of problems which occur in schools? Take a look at the next section AREAS OF DISTRESS for school specific applications of this process.
PSTEC positive is a 5 minute audio track which is quite different from the core track. Rather than turning down emotions it is used to embed certain useful mindsets, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours
Typically a problem emotion will be removed using the core track to begin with, which will leave a person feeling calmer and happier. Even if that person is going through a very turbulent period they will likely deal with it far better than they would if the emotion had remained. PSTEC positive is excellent at locking in place those feelings of calm as well as engendering a positive expectation of success.
It involves choosing a statement of belief such as “from now on I shall be calm and confident in exams”. It must be a statement that the pupil feels good about and determining what the statement will be, is often a joint decision between the therapist and the student. Statements about new ways of behaving and new habits can also be administered.
In some ways they are similar to affirmations but way more powerful because of the additional critical faculty bypass. Also the ongoing suggestions serve to ramp up the new way of thinking in the person’s mind.
Another particularly powerful way of using PSTEC positive is to choose statements which engender resilience and an expectation that they will survive whatever life throws at them. These are often used if the child is going through a turbulent period with lots of uncertainty involved. A statement such as “no matter what happens, everything will be OK” is a good example and very often leaves a person feeling calmer and better able to deal with whatever they are going through.