What does the future hold for Twilight Learning? An important goal will be to enhance the incorporation of goal images into the twilight state. Perhaps this could be facilitated by conditioning an aroma to the goal scenes. Here is a procedure that will be explored in the near future:
1. The goal images are developed by the client and therapist.
2. The images are checked for appropriateness by client and therapist, i.e., the client “tries on” the image to see if it feels good in a variety of imagined situations.
3. The first scene is then imagined by the client and when clearly in mind, the client signals the therapist.
4. A fan is blowing across the client’s face as the scent is then brought close to the client’s nose. The aroma is held there until the client signals the scene fading or changing, at which point the scent is removed. The fan evacuates the aroma immediately. This is repeated at least five times so that the conditioning of the scent to the scene is strengthened.
5. It is hypothesised that during the “theta state” the presentation of the conditioned scent will facilitate the incorporation of the goal image. Thus, when the therapist sees that the client’s EEG is showing primarily theta rhythms the scent is presented. It is removed if the client increases cortical arousal as signalled on the theta/alpha meter.
Certain scents, such as Johnson’s baby powder, Crayola crayons, etc. presented during the T-L theta states might also facilitate the recovery of early memories, especially since theta is the dominant frequency during the early childhood.
Note: One could also think of these procedures as examples of state dependent learning.
Visual Imagery Incorporated into Twilight States through Verbal Suggestion?
Another way that goal images may be able to be taken into the twilight state is simply by the use of suggestions on the T-L audiotape to visualise the goal image. This has never been explored in a systematic way and may be included in the aroma paradigm to act synergistically.
Subliminal Messaging in the T-L Audiotapes
Rita Sullivan’s dissertation indicated that subliminal messaging presented in a twilight state might affect positive changes in cases of alcohol addiction in only 6 sessions. Recent careful research by reputable investigators (Swingle, 1992) lends new positive evidence that subliminal stimulation may affect food addiction, obesessive-compulsive disorder and even systemic lupus erythematosus. Subliminal messages can be combined with supraliminal suggestions on the T-L tape. We hope to test the efficacy of this approach in the near future.
An Ideal Goal Programming State?
Some clinicians feel that the “Peniston-type” protocol works best if the client can be kept conscious but deeply relaxed. For example, Wuttke encourages his patients to remain as alert as possible as they train through alpha and progress to theta (Wuttke, 1992). If the state of “theta with awareness” is characterised by one’s being conscious of what is usually unconscious, and the detachment means that critical screening is “lowered,” we would agree that this would be the physiological end-goal of the technique. On the other hand, if the detachment is not secured, than the theta witness state could mean that the critical screening is intact, or if not, would instantly spring into place if emotional memories were tapped. In this case the goal imaging may be no more effective than someone relaxing and visualising the images with full consciousness. The T-L system can be adjusted to allow varying degrees of “leakage” by which is meant that some alpha energy can occur without turning off the theta message. It could also be adjusted to accommodate even some degree of beta energy, but this almost ensures that critical screening will pop up soon after emotionally toned memories arise, unless the client is trained in “detachment” beforehand.
Our early thinking about T-L and the brain postulated that each trauma experienced by an individual results in a change in the brain’s defensive structure. The more trauma, the more the defenses are hardened. Stronger defenses mean more rigid critical screening. The degree of critical screening would be inversely related to the acceptance of change messaging. Thus, those individuals who are most in need of a change in belief systems concerning themselves were the most resistant to suggestions for change. If this model is correct it would suggest that clients with less severe trauma histories could accept positive change messaging while in a more conscious state, whereas those unfortunate clients who experienced more severe trauma in their early lives would require a greater degree of lowering of cortical arousal (or critical screening) before the messaging would be accepted. Twilight Learning can require that all conscious screening be lowered (a “pure” theta state) before messaging is presented or, by changing the settings of the filters, the T-L can present the change messaging with some degree of alpha/beta consciousness. If the degree of defending could be determined before the T-L training then the filter adjustments could be made accordingly. Future research may incorporate such testing of defenses prior to T-L.
T-L as a Medium for Physical Healing?
Another area of T-L exploration will be its possibility as a technique for aiding in the healing of physical disorders, an example of which was the case described above of the overweight scientist with the low back pain. The question is: Do T-L suggestions and/or images have a more positive effect on the healing process than the same suggestions and/or images presented in the waking state? The ancient healers would no doubt argue for the former.
Source: Budzynski, T.H. (in press). Twilight learning revisited. In R. Kall, J. Kamiya, & G.E. Schwartz (Eds.).
Applied Neurophysiology and Brainwave Biofeedback. Bensalem, PA: Futurehealth, Inc.