Psychological Research and CRST (Part One)

Causal Release System Training (CRST) is a self-administered and/or peer-facilitated system of desensitizing fear-based psychogenic disorders. Successful outcomes have been anecdotally reported by practitioners of the system for the following disorders: anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, cannabis-related disorders, specific and social phobias, panic disorders, obsessive- compulsive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, somatoform disorders, adjustment disorders, depressive disorders, bipolar disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Although the system has not been subjected to rigorous experimental examination, there are elements of the system that are incidentally being tested in the research on Eye Movement Desensitization (EMD) and discussed in peer reviewed journals relating to the relationship of hermeneutics and psychoanalytically- oriented psychotherapy.

CRST was developed by James M. Price, MSW, MPA, (1), a clinical social worker, who worked for many years in the field of community mental health services. The system is built upon the work of Roger LaChance, MA, a hypnotherapist that developed the French Release System approximately ten years ago. (2). CRST has it philosophical roots in transpersonal philosophy, particularly as expressed by Ken Wilber (3).

CRST is based upon the following principles:

1. Experiences that create joyful responses or fearful flight-or-fight general adaptation responses are stored by the subconscious mind in a single trial. These memories are never forgotten; they are simply stored out of awareness. The memories are stored much like a computer in a file or folder. That folder includes the original stimulus conditions, the responses and the outcome of those responses.

The subject will continue to respond to similar stimulus conditions (trigger stimuli) with the original recorded responses until the folder is erased or eradicated through desensitization or the occurrence of a new adaptation. All folders are stored under the original designation unless the current responses include significantly new data, and then they will be filed under a new folder and cross-referenced to the other similar folders, including the root folder.

Often the old behavior is no longer desirable or adaptive under the new situation conditions and leads to seemingly irrational, inexplicable, out of context behavior and psychogenic physical symptoms. The conscious mind is seldom in touch with the trigger stimuli or originating experience and tends to fabricate reasonable sounding explanations about the origin of the presenting problem. It utilizes many strategies to keep the original emotional responses out of awareness. The most common of these are dissociation, displacement, projection, denial and anger. Consequently, it is our experience that it is not very productive to communicate with the conscious mind in the attempt to desensitize maladaptive response patterns, since you are mostly engaging defense mechanisms and fabricated explanations. It is faster and easier to go to the subconscious mind which can access the appropriate folder directly.

2. The most practical ways to access subconscious memories is through altering the normal, waking consciousness utilizing the techniques of hypnosis, rapid breathing, entrainment, music or meditation.

In CRST, several of these techniques are utilized. Entrainment is a phenomenon that is demonstrated when the brain's average EEG recorded frequency follows or mimics any regularly oscillating sound, light, or magnetic field in the same frequency range. This phenomenon can be utilized to quickly alter consciousness. It is accomplished by lightly tapping on the area of sterno-manubrial junction (sternal angle) at 2 to 4 cycles per second.

Subjects and facilitators working with CRST are taught and encouraged to meditate, as this greatly facilitates accessing the subconscious mind. Hypnotic/guided meditation techniques are utilized to assist the subconscious in locating the memories related to presenting problems.

The tapping, combined with hypnotic induction and instructions to reply quickly to yes-or-no questions with the first response to come to mind, rapidly introduces a light trance state in which both the conscious and the subconscious mind are accessible to the subject.

3. When directly asked, the subconscious will choose to bring up a memory that it considers the most important for the person in-the-moment or one related to the issue being examined. Usually these memories include a strong emotional component. There may be resistance to re- experiencing the original trauma (usually expressed as a fear), but CRST has developed effective techniques for overcoming that resistance.

4. All folders were originally opened in the presence of strong emotional arousal and other physiological responses associated with the general adaptation syndrome. To successfully erase or alter the original file you must add new energy (analogous to the original emotional energy) to the system.

5. To alter or change the original folder the subject must be re-experiencing the emotional content of the originating experience. Many similar experiences occurring after the original experience may be also be filed in the folder. The folder cannot be completely erased until the original (first) experience is desensitized. This principle is the origin of the name of the system "Causal Release." Although removing some of the later experiences will decrease the level of emotional response to the trigger (folder name), the originating experience will always call up the old response pattern. Conversely, if you clear the originating experience, it will close the file and all of the experiences occurring later. It should be noted that the cognitive memory of the experience is not erased, it is simply not filed under the trigger emotion anymore. It can be accessed, if necessary, but in our experience there never seems to be sufficient cause to do so.

While experiencing the emotional content, the originating experience must be desensitized through the addition of additional energy administered in the area of the chakras. Although the chakras are based upon the Indian Yogic medicine system of nadis, much like the acupuncture system of the Chinese, they are not yet recognized by mainstream western medicine, although acupuncture is licensed by most states. Although chakras are intimately associated with major neural plexuses and endocrine glands in the physical system, they are subtle energy systems. They are "subtle" in that we have not yet developed the means necessary to make these fields visible or measurable, although biological systems can easily detect and modify these fields with simple training. They have been described for thousands of years in the same terms and by thousands of independent observers in many cultures. We are in an evolutionary stage; these subtle fields are much like radio waves were in the 18th century, inconceivable to the average observer, without the technology to observe them. Folk wisdom, however, constantly refers to these subtle energy centers in such emotional phrases as "venting the spleen", "bilious" , "heartfelt", heartbroken", "choked with anger", "opening the third eye", etc.

Western culture does not recognize this phenomenon and consequently has no word for this subtle energy, but most other cultures of the world do have a name for this phenomenon. In India it is called "prana", in Japan "Ki", in China "Chi", in Hawaii "mana", etc. It is recognized by all cultures that accept the subtle energy body. Acceptance of the reality of this phenomenon is also accompanied by the idea that it can be manipulated by consciousness and focused through the biological system, most often the hands. This is the theoretical basis for some Pentacostal Christians' belief in healing being affected by the laying-on of hands and channeling "the Holy Spirit", the closest description of subtle energy we find in the west.

Continued in Part Two

Written by James M. Price and Elizabeth Z. Coleman, MD


One Response to “Psychological Research and CRST (Part One)”

  1. Psychological Research and CRST (Part Two) | Healing Base on December 25th, 2011 11:34

    […] Psychological Research and CRST (Part Two) var addthis_product = 'wpp-262'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true,"data_track_addressbar":false};if (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = [];}Continued from Part One […]

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