4.7 Personality Change

As a rule, psychologists are taught that adult personality traits are stable over the adult lifespan and very difficult to change, even by small amounts. Personality
therapy through traditional counseling is often lengthy, expensive, and only partially successful. Pharmaceutical drugs used to treat anxiety, depression, and other mental
conditions may suppress symptoms. Still, side effects are sometimes worse than the disease, and a cure is not the outcome when using such drugs. However, my
experience with thousands of trainees and research subjects has shown that when people achieve the type of emotional or thinking patterns required for significant alpha enhancement, this results in the normalization of disordered personalities. These brain wave patterns are not temporary; instead, they become the norm and increase in power and durability over time, even without further training.

MMPI:

In one of my early research studies (1978), I selected eight subjects out of 100 volunteers who showed the highest scores relating to anxiety on the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory). These anxious subjects trained for seven consecutive days using a protocol that is the ‘grandfather’ of the one we use today at the Biocybernaut Institute. After their 7 days of Alpha Training, we re-tested the subjects with the MMPI. We had daily alpha increases for each subject, and we used the results of the last four days of training to give a number that reflected net alpha increases.

Then we looked at how the changes in personality scores were related to the increase in alpha. This study showed that the strongest effect was between alpha enhancement and reduction of what was called Psychasthenia. Psychasthenia is characterized by phobias, compulsions, obsessions, and the inability to resolve doubts. The alpha enhancement also increased self-control and abated psychotic tendencies. When alpha increased in the central region of the brain, we saw reduced Paranoia. When alpha increased in the occipital region, we saw reduced Schizophrenia.

However, alpha increases do not magically change personality.

To increase alpha, the trainee is required to adopt different modes and styles of acquiring knowledge and feeling or emotion. They also must sustain these new patterns for several hours at least. If these new patterns are experienced as pleasant, useful, or adaptive by the trainee, they may be adopted by the trainee. They may become habitual, thus becoming part of the individual’s new self-concept. As Bem (1970) observed, ‘Changing an individual’s behavior provides a [new] source [of experiential data] from which he draws a new set of inferences about what he feels and believes.’ The alpha feedback setting provided an opportunity for the trainee to
change his cognitive, conceptual, and affective behavior. A new personality may evolve rather quickly from such changes, especially if the old personality is uncomfortable or maladaptive.

The results of this study were groundbreaking and controversial, shaking the core of the academic psychiatric world. And they were largely ignored since they would have radically shifted the course of psychiatric medicine from the administration of drugs and long-term talk therapy to a focused short course of alpha feedback training! To understand how academic psychiatry viewed this technology, I can tell you a story from my academic career in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF, the Medical Center.

When I was awarded my large Federal Grant, I was promoted from a Research Psychologist to Assistant Adjunct Professor of Medical Psychology in Psychiatry.
Department. Several years later, the psychiatry department Chairman decreed that there was to be an annual Faculty retreat, and attendance was mandatory. Each Professor was allotted 10 minutes to talk about his or her research. When my turn came, I happily began talking about my alpha feedback training and results that
showed dramatic changes in core dimensions of personality in just 7 days. I naively thought the senior Professors would be excited at this news.

About halfway through my 10-minute talk, two senior Professors jumped up out of their seats and literally shouted me down so that I had to stop talking. No one rose to my defense. Even the Chairman said nothing about this breach of protocol and violation of professional courtesy and academic freedom. Later it dawned on me
that my work threatened careers and a whole profession dedicated to the near impossibility of profound personality changes. They were also committed to
methods that took years, cost vast sums of money, and produced minimal results. In subsequent years I ignored the Chairman’s invitations to attend the annual Faculty.
Retreats.

Some years later a new Chairman came into the department and organized the firing of all non-tenured professors who were not oriented toward biological and drug approaches to Psychiatry. That is when I left the ivory towers of Higher Learning and went exclusively into private practice at the Biocybernaut Institute.

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