A conversation with Dr Henry Grayson
: Dr. Henry Grayson Ph.D - Use Your Body to Heal Your Mind
You have a new book and it's "Using your body to heal your mind." I read it and it's a very beautiful book. It's definitely going against the grain of where most people who are therapists are going. It's based on the way of being in a somatic based in connecting to your body, connecting deeply to your feelings and I very much appreciate you sitting and talking to me today, so let's get into your book. What was your motivation for writing this book? Your other book was Mindful Loving.
"Mindful loving" so this has basically a lot to do with your work, of what you have been doing in the last recent years.
Well both have to do with my work but I recognized that all of us have a lot of physical symptoms, some are simple and some are quite serious and of course if they're quite serious, we certainly don't want to avoid medical treatment if necessary, we prefer to live rather than to die. But I think what's really important is to see that there often other reasons behind all of our symptoms. It's by body that speaking a language that needs to be interpreted, needs to be translated and so whatever is going on in my body, instead of just seeing it as a symptom to get rid of, we need to see it as something that needs to be translated. For example I learned many years ago, actually started back when I was in graduate school, when I first used these questions I'd had severe sore throats and colds every winter, 4-5 times that were quite debilitating and this had gone on incessantly and I just learned something about mind, body connection and I was about to take my comprehensive exams and I was preparing fence... repairing a fence in my backyard in Massachusetts and 20 mile-an-hour wind and 20-degree temperature and it's snowing like crazy, and I started to get my sore throat and that sore throat said to me, "oh my god, I won't be able to do much for my exam," but instead I thought, "well there is a mind-body connection, what might be going on here."
So I asked myself some questions, why might I need this symptom? And why might I need it right now? What would it get for me? What would it get me out of? What emotion might it be expressing that I have not dealt with directly? Or is there some metaphor involved here that I haven’t really looked at? And of course the first thought occurred to me, maybe I want to get out taking those exams and when I thought of that I realized, no I didn't really want that because I was ninety-five percent prepared and I didn't want to give up all the weekends to study. And I thought it's gotta be something else and so I asked myself questions again. Why might I need it? Why might I need it now? What would it get from me? What would it get me out of doing and what emotion might it be expressing? And with that, I felt a pang of guilt; I saw my neighbor looking out of her kitchen window over my yard and I felt guilty. And with that I realized something's going on, what could this be? Then I realized I promised to do something for her aged father, but I knew I would do it as soon as my exams are over but I projected onto her, a different motive that I had no idea that she might be thinking like we human beings all the time are projecting.
And so I projected onto her that she was thinking some critical thoughts about me that here I was doing something with my dog when I'm not doing what I was going to do for her father and I was feeling guilty.
So in essence of what you're saying, with all the projecting of what you were doing and trying to talk yourself out of doing what you knew was best for you to do, you're basically telling your mind is telling your body to go into a sick mode or a shutdown mode, it's affecting so your mind-body coordination is listening. Your body is listening to your mind meaning if you're telling it to be sick, it's going to become sick.
And especially guilt is a prominent factor quite often and if I felt guilty then which I did for that moment that was really an attack upon the cells in my body. Guilt always demands punishment, and punishment to be to the body.
Yeah absolutely how did you start to have the sensitivity and awareness that this was actually happening to you?
I think just having studied something about that there is a connection of mind-body caused me to think of that because I really didn't want to get sick when I had exams coming up, I really liked to be free of it and I thought if it applies to things like asthma and skin disorders and variety of other things like that, why wouldn't it apply to colds and sore throats too? And so that started me thinking about that.
So this was the beginning of you...
That was the beginning of that then and then maybe 20 years later I discovered I had such a severely degenerated disc in my back that I wouldn't walk again, the doctor said without back surgery. Instead I asked myself these questions. I came up with some answers of several things I needed to deal with in my life differently. I made a clear decision, I was going to do those that I knew I would keep, that's an important part of the process I find too; not just saying oh I better start exercising or I need to meditate to bring my stress level down but unless I know I absolutely am going to keep those commitments it doesn't really work. And so when I made those commitments, I knew I would keep to deal with an issue with a couple of people that I need to work out things with. Then I began to get better and two months later I was skiing in Colorado.
So it sounds to me what you're saying is that you need a true pathway of communication between your body.
And your mind and the thoughts need to be of a healing, rejuvenating, natural way of being in balance and if they're not that, if they're the opposite, that goes right into every cell too. Like if I did muscle testing with you, hold your arm out and push down on the arm and if you thought a negative thought, a fear thought, a worry thought, guilt thought, angry thought; no matter how much you resist, I could just push it down with one finger. In fact I can even demonstrate if you want?
Well that would be... explain muscle testing for those who don't know what it is?
Well just simply the way I'm using just a simple thing is to show without even going into the whole field of applied kinesiology and muscle testing, it's just to show that anytime I'm having a negative thought, a weakening thought, a guilt thought, an angry thought, resentful thought; instantly no matter how much I resist my arm, my muscles become weak.
So the negativity in thought and the vibration is affected in the body so therefore the body is is equally weekend by this negativity and that's where you say muscle testing...
It just reveals that so quickly and if you're thinking a compassionate or loving thought, a joyful thought and you extend your arm it becomes very strong. I can have trouble pushing it down as hard as I can impress with both hands. Now we know how that works now a little bit better after Candice Perts work when she was at Johns Hopkins; she's the one who discovered how the mind body connection takes place and that's the role of what you call the neuropeptides. So I have a thought, this negative or positive it's really an instant messaging system; in my body those neuropeptides go quickly to all the cells and produce a result. So if I'm thinking a negative thought or if I am thinking a positive thought, it immediately starts to affect the cells in my body.
So if i allow those thoughts to stay, then that are negative I'm going to be causing some disturbance in my body. If I get them out of here, if I say I'm not going to focus on those, I changed my thoughts to something else then in a more positive way, my body becomes more resilient and more strong almost instantly.
So the opposite of that is, you choose to take a walk in a beautiful sunshine and you choose to have happy thoughts and then you start feeling all the serotonin and all of the brain chemistry being released so you have this feel-good, incredible walking experience. So basically, it's showing us that we need to be very aware and very mindful of our thinking.
Yeah we have a huge amount of thoughts every day, some studies say as many as 70-75 thousand thoughts and those thoughts are all having an effect. There's no such thing as an idle thought. I'm thinking a thought; it's being an active creation. It is a much better way to think of our thoughts, there are not so much observations or facts, as they are acts of creation and the creation starts first and foremost right here in my body.
So the mind maybe having a thought and the mind may not even be believing that thought but it is the body believing that thought, so let's say that for example, let's say the mind is having a thought of wretched hatred towards oneself and wretched jealousy but then the mind is saying, "well I really don't believe that. I kind of believe it, I don't know if I believe it." But what is the body doing there with that? Is the body taking it for baiting him that, that is actually happening or is it able to censor what the body and what the mind maybe believing?
Well if it knows what we really believe and what we think in what we are thinking is true, then it's what's going to resonate. We can have the thought but the key part is, we are all going to be having some negative thoughts as part of the human condition. We all have an ego and ego mind is always thinking negative thoughts on almost every situation, it comes up first but the key part is do I just catch the thought and let it go or do I invited it in for tea. Do I it in to stay for dinner, do I invite it in as an overnight guest, do I invited it to move into my house and live there, and which is what we often do with our negative thoughts. We allow them to linger but instead I think when the first Indian Yogi who came to this country was Yogananda - Paramahansa Yogananda who I think has a center out here in California. He did it before he died.
He made a statement that I think is so poignant and relevant to this. He says "I never allow any thought to linger in my mind without my express permission." And I thought boy that is certainly something I aspire to. I can't do it that way, sometimes I don't catch it but I certainly catch them much better now than I did 10 years ago, a way lot better than 20 years ago and then it's like eons better than 30 years ago and it's something the next year I expect to be still better at it, because I'm so much more aware that my thoughts are actual creation and they're creating results in my body, in my life, in my relationships and every aspect of my life actually.
Right, well Eleanor Roosevelt said something similar to that too: "others cannot hurt us without our permission."
Yeah without our express permission and therefore I'm allowing it in, I'm taking it in and dwelling on it rather just hearing that seeing it from a different perspective and letting it go like water off a duck's back.
Right so it's important to be very aware of our thoughts and to know that the thoughts are affecting and they are not just random, idle thoughts that we need to be taking accountability and responsibility for what we are thinking at every moment.
Exactly and then we need to recognize too that sometimes it's hard for us to really stop those negative thoughts and we might wonder why, why it's so hard to let go of some and not of others and if we look back, we have to go back upstream and we realize that stopping those thoughts is not so easy if it's like stopping a train at the same time you got four diesel engines pushing as hard as they can, trying to push the train. So what are those diesel engines inside us that might be pushing those thoughts and several things are a part of that, but one is any negative experiences we had as we were little. Painful experiences, traumatic experiences, upsetting, disturbing, experiences of deprivation, experiences of being criticized, experience of being neglected, you name it.
Any of those negative experiences we had, they become a part of our memory bank in our survival brain back here or the old reptilian brain just above the brainstem. And according to the neuroscientists, some have put it to me that, that part of our brain now is way too active for our stage of evolution; maybe about 15 to 18 times too active. In fact one even put it so interesting that he says that part of the brain is like Velcro to the negative experiences and like Teflon to the positive ones. That means we have to be extra conscious to not let that part of the brain move us. We have to be extra careful. Some systems of thought would say it's we are of being careful to catch the ego thoughts. It doesn't matter which language we use, whether we call it the ego, whether we call it the survival brain, the limbic system but either way we need to be much more conscious using tools to catch it. Now what these negative experiences are, are encodings of information, back in this part of the brain and they give off a signal or interpretation of something as being dangerous or safe. When it gives off a signal of danger, that's based on a past experience or something that we experience is frightening or upsetting or dangerous and anything that resembles it, triggers it again and so we all have that experience of something triggering and so wonder why at given moment, why do I react so strongly to this or why this other person react so strongly, and it's because that part of the limbic system has been activated.
But now we know that there are methods we can use where we can do the equivalent of like pressing delete button on our computer for all programs and we can do that equivalent thing for this information that's encoded in our brains. So even if I was not very well taken care of say when I was a baby and I didn't get fed when I was hungry, I was left to cry in the crab for hours, I was not changed when I was wet; those experiences get imprinted in my limbic system and then they cause me to react to situations where I'm not being attended to, I'm not cared for, I am being neglected, I'm not loved and out of those experiences as they continue then I'll draw conclusions from that too and those conclusions are called negative core beliefs. And we draw those beliefs that may I must not be lovable, I'm no good, I'm not deserving, I'm not adequate, I'm not sufficient or I've been bad. We all have some of those kind of beliefs and we have those in place that are kind of rehearsing the negative painful experiences.
So what does one do with those beliefs now that they find that they are there and their unwanted beliefs and they're very aware of these beliefs, but they no longer serve their purpose?
Well now there are methods we can use actually to change those. We can actually delete that information.
Is that in your book?
That's described in the book, I described a process in there that is based on what we call meridian stimulation. It is based on the Chinese system of acupuncture but we don't use needles, we just have a person touch or tap on some acupressure points and they do that with the statement of intentionality about what they're releasing. They will bring themselves to focus by focusing on this part of the brain, you know where we often focus where the frontal lobes are and we'll recall the scenes or images where that disturbance occurred. We'll see where we feel that emotion in our body and then we'll release the emotion connected with each of those acupressure points. And so what happens is that each one is attached to a meridian attached to a different organ in the body and that negative emotion, if you stimulate it according to that system, it releases a negative emotion and allows the opposite positive one to come in.
Well you're a perfect person to talk to about this because in science they're going to say that this is Pluto science and it's not proven. So therefore you have a practice in New York City where you see patients, ongoing basis for many years. So what results have you seen? What would be your data to show that this is actual proof that this is happening, this body-mind connection.
I see it repeatedly in all sorts of things. Several come to my mind that I could mention. One that comes to mind now is a person who had experienced anxiety reactions all of her life and she had been through years of talking therapy, many years of it and had no success with it. And then she learned that I did this other kind of work and she came in and we discovered that she had a lot of painful experiences very early in her life. And we then went through a number of rounds of this and she comes back saying, I just don't have any anxiety anymore. It's just gone, it's just not there.
And that is the meridian tapping?
So you are basically reinforcing something else of thoughts and changing the inner tapes of her mind with something else; something positive.
Yeah and you can even do it for things, now we know that when we are in the uterus we can experience traumas. They put little cameras in the uterus that can photograph the baby reacting to different situations and if mom is all disturbed, then there's just going to be a lot of adrenaline and cortisol flowing which goes in through the umbilical cord; if they have negative music like a hard asset rock or rap music, there's negative playing, the baby feels that and it's whole body just reacts like this. You have the photograph of that and if the mother and father are being loving together or they're having a happy time or a joyful time or mother's listening to nice melodic music, little baby is just all peaceful and laid-back, just relaxed and it's amazing; that gets programmed into the developing nervous system and so that becomes part of a predisposition in our lives what we got there. That means it's something we have to attend to, but the good news is from a quantum physics perspective; everything is just encoding of information and energy and all our bodies are this really energy and information. In fact our bodies are 99.999% empty space if you can believe that.
Over what period of time the patient who had anxiety did you start to see positive results and how long did it take from beginning to the end?
Well this varies from person to person.
But this particular patient for example?
Now this particular one, there were some significant things in early childhood that were very relevant to this particular problem. And so in just a handful of sessions, we've cleared those and then she felt the results. On the other hand there are some people, I think of one person for example who was in Poland during the Second World War. Her mother died when she was about one-and-a-half, she was farmed out to relatives to take care of her. Her father worked for the underground and he was never there, finally he got himself killed when she was about four or five. So she lost both of her parents, things went such turmoil in Poland at that time that everybody was upset and so it was hard for her to have even the relatives taking care of her, have the time or energy to give very much to her.
So she described her life as being very depressed all of her life. She married and had two children and describe herself as being a horrible mother to them and saw her kids growing up with severe problems and felt bad about that. She said her marriage was horrendous as a result of all that and she came into therapy in her late 50s and did this kind of work. For her it was a gradual process, in fact what happened I should say too before I mention that, finally she was taken into a home by a woman who had lost her daughter in the war and one another daughter but because when it happened she was totally overprotective and then there was also the problem because the Russians were coming in hauling people off of the work camps. It was not just the Nazis coming in, but the Russians were there in Poland as well and if a truck stopped in front of the house, you didn't know it was a delivery truck there for it's regular purpose or if it was the Russian truck coming to haul off you to the work camps in Siberia.
So those constant pain and stress throughout her whole growing-up years and she did this work cumulatively and it took several months of this actually until we got out through clearing everything, that all part of the experience to hit about age 13 or 14. Then I walk out to the waiting room and I see her, she greets me with a smile on her face, the first time I've ever seen her smile. And so she comes into the office and I say well how are you feeling today? And she says, why I'm happy? Because it's the first time I remember being happy and of course I was just touched the core of my being that this had work for her. That these processes worked that way and then we proceeded to keep doing to work and she had moved out of her depression whereas nothing at work for her, she tried every medication, she tried every alternative means and she had been severely depressed all of her life. Now for the first time, she was not depressed. Then when something what happened that was a disturbance, she'd be disturbed for maybe a few hours are for a day but she was resilient now, she bounded right back. Then she learned to use the tools on herself, so she could sustain this as she went on. So that was a very powerful.
I think of someone else who just recently came to me, who had stage four cancer; stomach cancer. Her cancer markers were about 2275 or something like that which were very powerful and it was a huge tumor in her stomach. We started doing this work, clearing out the traumas in her background and negative belief she carried about herself. We started coming up with some other work of imagery that would help focus support of her healing and she brought her cancer markers down to about a 178 from 2200 and then she was supposed to have surgery to have it removed and also she was doing chemotherapy but the doctor said wow! this is unusual to have this much progress because I worked with her to do some imagery to make the chemotherapy just work positively and not have negative side effects. Because if we can tell it what to do in the body, we harness the famous placebo effect.
Yes well they seem to be doing studies today that the people who are doing the visualization and prayer connecting to the kindness, the gentleness within them, as opposed to the fear and the anger and the doubt and when they change that, they seem to be charting that there is definitely an effect going on there. They don't quite know why they haven't, because they can't draft it or chart it well. So they are yet to say that this is actually happening.
But they know that there's something going on there.
Well when they finally decided to do surgery on her and said let's remove the rest of the tumor even though that had shrunk somewhat, they opened her up, found nothing there but dead cancer cells. Tumor was totally gone. The doctors were gassed that this is not supposed to happen, this is a miracle, this doesn't happen and so of course we both believed it because we believe this can happen. So for her one thing I'd add too is that she also had some people praying for her and she believed that, that could help. So it was a combination I think of the distance healing with prayer, combination of the clearing of the traumas, the clearing of the negative beliefs that combined with her mental imagery that supported her healing and you put all that together, it was a very powerful package and now she's totally cancer-free. So I don't give myself credit for that but what I give the credit is her willingness to use these various tools to deal with the things upstream, that had help to cause that problem because our illnesses don't just suddenly occur; cancer just doesn't suddenly occur, it's something that we all have some cancer cells now and most of the time, but why do they multiply one time and not another and of course when we are in stress, which comes from a lot of trauma and negative beliefs and negative thoughts that creates flow of stress, that stress weekends are immune system, our weakened immune system allows the cancer cells to multiply and cumulatively began to grow, then at some point it's big enough to be diagnosed.
Right, Dr. Grayson, let's get back to when you mentioned that you had the degenerative disc and it must have been very painful to go through that...
So actually it was in an x-ray and MRI that there was a diagnosis and what did you do with that and over what period of time would you get a different outcome of a more favorable outcome and what did you do to get that favorable outcome?
Well there were two different kind of outcomes. One was my ability to function well without pain, then later I found out just about seven or eight years ago actually when I did a routine physical exam, for just to show the doctor how healthy I am that's why I go for physical exam that way, took a routine chest x-ray and he came back saying your lungs are fine Henry but that something that's not supposed to happen, that degenerated disc of yours has regenerated. And I said I believe it, because I've been pain free for all those years.
What I'd done, you were asking about is when I was told that I would not walk again without back surgery, I knew I did not want back surgery because it was sixty-eight percent of the time you're worse off afterward at that time. So I knew I didn't want to risk that, I like being active, I like doing sports, I like just being active in general. And so, I asked myself those questions, I came up with about three or four things I needed to deal with differently in my life. One was a person I felt betrayed by and I needed to deal with that issue with that person. Somebody who'd been a friend, another issue was a conflict with a colleague about an issue that I need to talk out with. I needed to make some lifestyle changes. One was I'd been doing sports all my life and I never done any stretching, so I made a vow to start doing yoga. I had never done anything about stress and handling stress and tension in my life, so I made a vow with myself, I will start an active practice of meditation daily. I made a commitment to myself, I would do those that I knew absolutely, I will keep. Then I began to get better, within a week I was able to get out of the bed, within another couple days, I was able to get back to my office to see my patients. And as I said before within two months, I was skiing in Colorado and I had a little pain there but I used my skiing as a kind of a physical therapy. I would imagine my hips being loose and I move and the whole thing was just loosening and being good physical therapy making my back healthier. And so I used that thought as I would ski. Then I became pain-free within about I guess another two or three weeks, I was totally pain-free and remained that for now it's been 25 years but as I said about six or eight years ago I discovered the disk was regenerated.
Now what would happen there'll be sometimes through those years when I would have a slight pain starting in my back or down in my sciatica but instead of letting it, "oh my god, here it comes again." I would say, no let me ask myself those questions again. Why might I need this? What's the emotion being expressed through it? What would it get for me? What would it get me out of? And I asked myself those questions with real sincerity and a willingness to allow any kind of most irrational answers to come in. But I find that just getting the answer doesn't solve the problem, I have to make a firm commitment to an alternative way of dealing with that, other than paying the price of being sick. And if I come up with an alternative way and commit myself to it, I found that the pain will go away within a half hour and it'd be gone. It wouldn't develop into this real back... debilitating back problem.
So it makes me think that for people who are having a lot of physical pain... extreme pain, severe pain, that their thinking is going to make it worse. If they are all tensed up from their thoughts and they're all stressed out and they're really contributing to their fear and the more they contribute to that, the more the pain that they are having as a result of whatever, then it's going to start to heighten. So therefore, it's actually taking the opposite, calming down and just being at peace with that and being quiet with it ...
And what a difference that makes because those neural peptides communicate that instant messaging system. And that different way of peace rather than tension, conflict, stress, anger, resentment.
It must be a feeling of being a real pioneer that you are one amongst many. Today, turn on the television, it's all about pharmaceutical and one ad after another showing you that if you want to get rid of this, then take this pill for that. Written in Zoloft it's all about quieting yourself down in a way of a pharmaceutical and dumbing yourself down, a way of turning your feelings off and then comes you - a person who is working with your patients and has lived a life of saying, "no that is not the way that you want to go" or way that you would treat your patients. You are doing quite the opposite, it's about embracing those thoughts and these feelings.
Well even more, it's importance or the bottom line piece of embracing the incredible power we have inside ourselves. We mostly as human beings deny and disown the power we have. But our intrinsic power is really quite immense. If every thought we have is having an effect on all the cells in our bodies and there's so much evidence that shows that now. Like this one study out here in California that occurred with HIV patients. And they had two different groups just do a simple exercise. One just to sit down and write for a half-hour about anything and the other group was to sit down and write about loving or compassionate thoughts towards somebody. Then they went back and took their blood tests again and they found that those who had the, just a normal writing about whatever their immune system remained at the same level but they found those that wrote about love or compassion during that time, their immune system jumped up about 200% stronger against the HIV virus. Really quite amazing in just a short period of time.
Where was this study done?
It was I think that USC if I'm not mistaken, down in Los Angeles. USC. And there was some amazing kind of outcome with it and then we go back to this whole idea of embracing our power, what we do when we often take medication, is that we're seeing the source of the problem first of all outside then we're seeing the solution is outside. We're saying I hurt my back because I bent the wrong way, but we don't see is, I bent that same way a hundred times in the last week and nothing happened, why did something happen this time? Or I got the cold because somebody sneezed on me or because it's a virus going around, is what we'll say in the sense I make myself a victim; instead of saying there's always some bacteria around, there's always some kind of virus, it's always happening around us. Why now did I invite it in?
And why is that at that particular moment...
So I have to ask myself the question, why did I need it right now? Why would I think it would get for me, what would it get me out of doing, what emotion might be expressed and so on. What the metaphor is or what's the tribal belief system in my mind. It might be simply that, that I believe that I'm going to get that because it's going around and I have to catch it and if I simply believe that, that's going to make it happen too. And so what I'm concerned with is helping people become aware of the immense power they have inside themselves to maintain their health and to bring about healing and health. And that's why a lot of times we don't... there also we need to look at too is why we don't do things that would enhance our health. We say we're going to meditate, we say we're going to exercise, we say we're going to eat more healthily, we say we're going to get adequate rest but so many people don't keep that vow. They don't keep it all and they wonder why? What stops them from doing it? They had the best of intentions. Then there are others who will do these things and then they'll still get sick but that takes us to then what are the traumas that they did not clear? What are the negative beliefs that are not being cleared? What are the thoughts systems that are not been changed? Those all have to be attended to. Then the amazing thing is, when we take care of this larger picture, that's why we sustain our health and our happiness and our productivity and our abundance in the whole works.
When you were studying to be a psychologist many years ago what form of psychology did you ascribe to and what was your interests at that time? Was that the Freudian for the Carl Jung, for the DreamWorks? Was it more of a somatic or was it more of talk therapy of the conventional?
Well mine has been something with the journey because when I was in graduate school I had primarily emphasis on Carl Rogers approach where they just reflect back what the person is feeling to help them get in touch with it but then I had the great experience of having Viktor Frankl as a visiting professor at Boston University at that time and he was the one who was the Jewish psychiatrist, he was in a concentration camp in Dachau, and he wrote his books about his experience which has been widely read and still classic reading in many schools and universities today. And he have been telling about his experiences in the camps that he saw that why people got sick and died, why they sometimes would stay there or they run into electric wiring and electrocute themselves or some others be offended or abused by the guards instead of befriended by them. He began to observe a lot of the things about this and he began to see that a lot of it has to do with what the person is thinking and believing. What kind of attitude they carried about themselves, about life, about their future and he would conclude, I remember him saying this over and over again in one class and maybe it was my best class in graduate school, better than all the required courses.
He made an incredible impression on you.
He made an incredible impression on that shaped my life. He says: "In the concentration camp where all of our human freedoms are stripped away, he says the one thing I learned is that they could not take away from me is what the power to think what I think in my mind." And that he says made the difference of life and death for so many people. The ones who thought thoughts that would support their happiness and well-being and health and ones who thought negative thoughts. He says for example: "One day the guards bring us a watery soup out and they might bring a crusty moldy piece of bread with it. One person to say those stupid guards they think this is food, this is not food, there's mold all over this bread and stuff like that and another one person would say boy I'm so thankful, I have a piece of bread with my watery soup today." Just that simple difference in attitude, he thought was characteristic of a larger pattern of the way we think and how many of us go around finding criticisms of everybody and everything most of the time. And how many of us go around criticizing ourselves over and over again all the time. It's no wonder we then get sick. It's no wonder then we get an autoimmune disease which is my body attacking itself, because I've been attacking myself in my mind over and over and over and over again.
Did you practice a different type of way of treating your patients in a way of a conventional way and then you changed at a certain point in time during your practice? Did it evolve over a period of time?
It's been a big evolution. When I finished graduate school, I thought jeez psychoanalysis is a be-all end-all. I'll go to New York and I'll get psychoanalytic training. I did that, I went there and got the training and I was about in my third year of training and I had a good training analyst and so on, those have a lot of value here, some very good things for all Freudian psychoanalysis. But I realized it didn't cover all problem areas, it didn't cover even all the ones for me. I knew I grew up in a household where nobody expressed any emotions and I needed to learn to do that, so I went into encounter groups where I pounded pillows and screamed and then I hit them with tennis rackets and I yelled as loud as I could, open up those feelings, I learned to practice emotions through bioenergetics analysis. I learned it through Gestalt therapy, I learned some other behavior therapy systems at that point and later. I began to explore all other modalities which is what led me to found the national institute for the psychotherapist in New York; it's because I felt there should be a place that will bring... be a more integrative approach and draw the best from these various systems to help us learn.
And what happens there at this center? This institute.
Well it went along for a while being that and then some of the students were having difficulty absorbing diverse things and then they did a reactionary movement and moved back to be more of a psychoanalytic program, but then more recently we developed this different center within the trauma center which is teaching and training people to work with trauma with much of the newer methods. And it's evolving more back to that direction again, finally; which I'm happy about. But what I found though about 10-12 years ago, there are a bunch of other new methods that have emerged, that are so much more effective for clearing these traumas and beliefs, much more than talk therapy. And that's, originally it was the EMDR that I learned about, the eye movement, desensitization and reprocessing. In fact all these methods originated out in California. So it's interesting. And Francine Shapiro's did that and she was a professor in a graduate school and one thing that caused it to take off was she had a lot of her students do research for their dissertations and that research story then popularize and spread to other universities and more research and that made it known.
Give me an example of the eye movement?
Well now... it was originally was to look back and forth, left and right left, what that does it's stimulates the bilateral stimulation of the brain. It helps the corpus callosum which connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain to communicate more fully and it seems to have an effect.
Essentially it is bringing balance.
It brings in a balance and she learned that, that would help clear out the traumas. Then they learned that you could do bilateral stimulation by tapping on opposite shoulders or opposite knees are probable clickers that's ones in your ears; and that would work. And then I learned after that, the meridian stimulation work based on that described before about the acupoint stimulation and I found in my experience, that works even better, that I've developed a form of that myself that's described in the book and actually it's on my website too. People can just download it and use it, where you put your fingers and just touch on these acupressure points and you state what emotion you're releasing, like if I'm clearing a trauma of something that happened say last week, I had an automobile accident that I was really shaken up by and some somebody got hurt in that accident and I'm still carrying that trauma; I bring my fingers to the eyebrow and say I release all fear related to this problem and then take a slow deep breath afterward.
I release all anger, resentment and rage and I proceed around all the different acupressure points and by the time I've done that, once, twice or three rounds, I find it's just totally cleared.
Do you have to know which meridian coordinates with which question and which emotion?
No actually, I described in the book which emotion for each acupressure point but I do it in this comprehensive way because it covers all the different basis because what I find in doing this, sometimes people will think, well this thing had happened, you know, I'm not angry at all about that you know I was scared but I never was angry and they say I release all fear and then they get over here at the side suddenly they just feel this surge of anger inside them, they didn't know they had. As part of the unconscious recording and if what we know to be true now is 95 percent of our behaviors are all unconscious and so it's not that we are bad that way, it's just the way human beings are structured and so there's a lot that we are not aware of and if we're not aware how to deal with it, it goes into the body and causes sicknesses.
So when you say unconscious, it's our patterns and basically it the when were numbed up to are basically feelings and thoughts of what actually is happening, and for a lot of people who do not do therapy and have not had the opportunity to do therapy, they're walking this perpetual pattern state of just reactive mind.
Reactive and we also get attached to our suffering too. We really get attached to that because it becomes a part of who we are. And we identify it and then we call it my thing and the whole system now looks at the way the doctor says, "you have an ulcer" or "you have this kind of problem" or "you have a virus", then we walk away saying, yes I have this and I own it is as my possession. I have allergies and so I can go around with that and then I noticed too the power of suggestion.
It was back in the nineties after the first Bush administration allowed us to advertise drugs or medicine. We are only two countries in the world that can advertise drugs or medicines and so when we started doing that there were ads along with the traffic and weather report and there was an allergy report sponsored by a drug company. And the count would say "oh high allergy count today at such-and-such, you know all you allergy sufferers beware." And I would realize twice as many people were coming to my office with allergies, after those ads started because the power of suggestion, there are allergies there, there's a pollen you're going to be victimized by that pollen and lo and behold, they were. It sold a lot of drugs though.
So instead of subscribing to that what would one do?
We know we have a tendency towards an allergy so you would give in to the thoughts that you are ok, you are balanced. This is not going to affect me, I am powerful over this matter. Yeah we need to see that it's really a misinformation system encoded in my brain. The way the limbic system works to protect us is like if you're bitten by a snake then you walk along at dusk and you see something looks like one you run the other way or you grab a club but it might just be a limb that fell from the tree. Our immune system works the same way. It has an encoding of information, this is something, its dangers. Ok the immune system fights it. And so somehow they got encoded in my brain, there's danger out there, even though it's not a dangerous substance and so now we have people allergic to all sorts of things that are not at all dangerous. It's a miscommunication system that's gotten programmed in. Often it comes from being around people who say "oh I have this allergy or this thing is hurting you, or this thing is going to get to you, this going to harm you. Often we have parents who are very frightened about the world. We are programmed and in the end it helps us even be more prone to have allergies. And so the whole system goes in programming ourselves to react to something as dangerous even when it's not.
Yes. Let's talk about projections when other people are projecting their thought, their feelings, their negativity onto you and one takes that literally as being truthful because they're used to being in an established relationship and that marriage and that friendship. So what does one do; this is a constant and they want to turn this around but yet there is a firm established pattern that they've allowed this for many years.
Well I think first of all, I may need to make sure I don't have unclear traumas in my history that are similar to this kind of experience because of if I have traumas that are similar to this not being heard, not being listened to or being criticized or being judged, I'm going to be 10 times or 20 times more sensitive to it. Now I'm going to take it much more personally, so I may need in order to handle it, to go back upstream again do some clearing on those like even I do as they spread methods on myself and if something occurs to me and I over reacted in a situation, I'll ask myself, where did I experience something like that when I was a kid? Was that something that was bothersome to me? Did it something that caused me pain, I'll identify, I'll do the clearing on myself to release it or touch these points and release it. That's the preparation for letting it all go and so I think the same thing is true for us about any kind of symptoms that we have; that we can see what's behind it, what's firing it up. Then I can see what I could clear about that; then I can see how it can change my thoughts now and look at it differently.
So it's like decoding the story and allowing the source to come through of exactly what actually happened and how to open up to that to neutralize it, to balance it?
That's the part when you asked about my different training, that support where psychoanalysis helped me because I learned to go back and looking for what the origin of something was. Unfortunately the techniques of psychoanalysis didn't work very well and Freud himself didn't see them working very well, he even concluded that, the most you can expect from a successful psychoanalysis is just to be relieved of some of the worst of your human suffering. But the brilliant part about him was the curious part. He kept being curious in trying to find ways that would work. He kept exploring them and if he lived longer, he probably would have come up with a lot of other things. Unfortunately he was made into a doctrine and kept where it was as things happen in so many religions and so many schools of psychology, schools of medicine and so on; we got attached to the doctrines that have been there in the past.
Yes and the Freudian way was to isolate that there were symptoms and find out the cause and the symptoms and then just to leave it there.
But then just to talk about it or to do dream analysis or free association which would help some people. But it didn't often get to those things, in fact the brain scan studies now say that if you're talking about your trauma a lot of times it just reactivates that limbic brain and tends to rehearse it and so talking for some people might work but talking for others can just make it worse and we need to have some other means to get beyond that.
And so what's will make it worse one would think that you need to be perhaps talking about it but releasing it with actualization and awareness at the same time?
Yeah, we use a bilateral stimulation or use the meridian stimulation with conscious intent then we can release it. And it's effective. I think a larger percentage of time than any of the therapies, I've studied and I studied most of them.
What final thoughts do you have that you would really like to share with others and the readers of your book and others that are very curious to contact you and do you also... you're New York city, so people are listening to the show here and they would like to contact you, do they have to be in New York City or do you do skype sessions or over the phone sessions?
Sometimes when I have the time but also there are people that I've trained around different cities that do some of this work that I can refer people to as well. But one thing, I think too that they read the book they'll find these tools described but also I demonstrate them, they can go to my website and HenryGrayson.com and they can go there and download demonstrations of these tools and they can follow them, follow along with them and use them on themselves, because my goal is just to help people be free of their suffering.
And the main part that I really feel underneath it all is helps us not just remember our intrinsic power but it's remembering who I truly am as a human being. That I'm not a powerless victim and so the goal of healing is not just to heal the body but it's to heal the mind, so that the body just naturally follows suit and heals. And it's really, to heal the mind they about it needed to be sick and if I can do that, I take back my power, I take back my strength. I'm no longer a victim. I don't have to think of things that are happening to me, I don't have to attribute bad motives to different parts of my body like some people do; my head is killing me. You know as if my head had a motive or my back is killing me. No it's not doing that.
So I don't have to put bad motives on my body or on to people are the environment or germs around me. I need to embrace my own power to see my own strength, my own resilience and to know that I move to a peaceful state and especially a state of love and compassion, my whole immune system becomes stronger. I'm not affected by other people and their negativity.
We were talking before about that, you know somebody who's criticizing you and you might feel attached to it. If I can just see them as coming out of fear and not being loving and I can have a compassionate thought for them, I'm not affected at all by their criticism. I can consider and see, oh does that apply? Did I do actually do that? Oh let me consider it. But I'm not making myself wrong.
One could think that their relationship with a negative person is projecting all of this fear and anger onto another that, that is the way to be in a relationship with that person, that they accepted the fact that the anger and the fear is the person and is the relationship, but they do not see that they can affect that other person by changing it into something else by helping themselves and helping the other person.
That's absolutely right and there is another fact or two though, unless we clear our childhood traumas and our negative beliefs, we are very likely to pick a person who will help confirm those and who will abuse us in the same way we were abused, who will give maltreatment the same way we had it before, will confirm our beliefs about what we don't deserve and will keep picking partner after partner after partner, who reinforce that until we get that stuff cleared. It's amazing how often a woman who's beaten up by her father will pick a guy who will beat her up. And we all see that you know repeatedly from time to time. We've seen evidence of it all over the place. It doesn't make them bad people, it's just the way the limbic system works and so what we now know that you'll find freedom from that by using these tools and that's the part that I'm excited about, that we're not in bondage anymore. We're not in bondage to the environment, we're not in bondage to other people. We're not even in bondage to our own thoughts because we can actually change them all. And that's the way we take our power back and realize that we are more than just those powerless human beings we often think of ourselves as being.
Well thank you for writing this book; this amazing book "Using your body to heal your mind" and thank you for all your incredible work that you do and I look forward to speaking with you in the future.
Thank you Henry.
And I thank you for the work you're doing.
Have a blessed day.