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Venture Inward September/October 1996
Journal of the Association for Research & Enlightenment


By Henry Reed
excerpted with permission

Ever since the discovery of the subconscious, people have been concerned with ridding themselves of negative ideas lurking within. Psychoanalysis developed the "talking cure," using free association to detect disruptions in the flow of thought. Psychoanalyst Carl Jung researched the use of a prototype lie detector to check a patient's reactions to various words. Ron Hubbard later adapted Jung's technique to determine when students had become clear of blockages.

The approach (to change the inner mind) most popular with folks today originated within the various "new thought" movements. Taking inspiration from hypnosis, they deal with negativity by supplanting it with positive thinking and affirmations. The person who is sick affirms, "I am the expression of perfect health." One drawback is that the affirmations have to overcome the perception that they are not currently true. When I am feeling sick it is hard to affirm health, even though I might wish for it.

Recently, however, I encountered a provocative innovation in the treatment of detrimental ideas. It involves a self-care program called Response Therapy: The Cameron Method. The book, Designing Your Heart's Desire: The Releasing Strategy for Personal Power and Peace of Mind (Watershed Books: 408-978-3006) by psychotherapist Sharon Marshall Cameron, describes the process she and her husband, Dr. Clark Cameron have developed for discovering and eliminating unwanted beliefs. They propose that it is more direct simply to release detrimental ideas than to affirm positive beliefs that contradict intact negative thinking.

At the gym, for example, I find pumping iron is like using affirmations. "I can do it!" I silently shout as I force the barbell heavenward. Weight lifting certainly increases my confidence. As I overcome the resistance of the weight, I overcome the resistance of my self-doubt. But it sure wears me out.

On the other hand, when I sit in the steam room, I stop working against resistance. Resisting the heat makes it harder to stay in the room. The steam forces me to surrender. When I do, it feels great to let go.

The Cameron Releasing Strategy contains something of the healing ability of the steam room. It is a cleansing by surrendering the toxic beliefs, allowing them to fall away. When I do one of their releasing practices, I can feel a shift in perception that makes a whole new world possible.

To make this process more concrete, the method has been translated into a computer program (running under Microsoft Windows) called CompuMindTM. It includes a mechanical device, called the "Response Indicator." Together they create a fascinating interactive experience that is an opportunity for self-exploration, self-change, and observable results.

Here's how it works: The computer program presents a series of belief statements, organized under various topical areas. Using the Response Indicator the user can determine to what extent a presented belief is unconsciously active. Feed the results back to the computer, and it uses this data to indicate a personal releasing strategy. After repeating the prescribed Releasing statements, reevaluate using the Indicator, give the computer the results, see your progress graphed, and receive your next releasing strategy. Under the topic of "Your Underlying Self-Image," for example, the computer presents for assessment, inner beliefs such as "What are your negative feelings about your personal integrity?"

To assess your unconscious belief, hold the Response Indicator and watch its movements. This mechanical device is sensitive to "Ideomotor activity," which are slight muscle movements occurring outside conscious awareness. They reflect concordance, or discordance, and intensity of a particular idea or belief. This biofeedback tool is used to really know your own mind. As you hold it, your own internal subconscious reaction to the presented statement will create an ideomotor response which it will detect, magnify, and measure by the direction of its swing.

Input the Indicator results to the computer. After receiving your response to a dozen or so presented belief statements, the computer evaluates the results. It then asks you to state aloud various Releasing Statements, such as "I release my belief, perception, and judgment that anything I've done has destroyed my good character." You can imagine what it feels like to make such a statement and allow yourself to release accordingly.

When you return to the computer's assessment area to reevaluate yourself on the beliefs, you will be amazed to find that the Response Indicator now shows the detrimental ideas have lost their power. Something has changed.

Although I realize that the guiding light of affirmative ideals still has a constructive place in self-development, I have enjoyed observing the effect of practicing the Camerons' Releasing Strategy. I suspect forgiveness plays a role. I'm the sort of person who enjoys sitting in the steam room more than pumping iron.

Henry Reed is an author, lecturer, psychologist, and teacher who lives in Virginia Beach.

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