4 Concentration First series of graphic exercises

These concentration exercises are mental. You will have to reproduce the following graphic figures in your mind - in other words you will have to visualize them. You can create a mental support for yourself in the form of a blackboard on which you write with chalk, or a computer screen or a TV screen, or any other device which will make visualizing easier. If you find visualizing too difficult, don't persist. Remember that these exercises should be treated like games - they are not meant to...

5Lack of compassion

In the passive state, patients are usually preoccupied with their own sensations, and don't give much thought to others. The state brings on a kind of inertia, with thoughts being limited to the past and future (and which therefore do not require any immediate action). The feeling of non-control also creates a sense of inferiority, which distances patients from their peers, so that they separate themselves more and more from the life going on around them, perceiving people and events through a...

Physiological effects of concentration

The ultimate aim of concentration is to regularize what we call cerebral emissions which are continually disturbed in the non-controlled state. Regular cerebral emissions are necessary to concentrate thoughts on a given object, and to digest or classify that object without regular emissions, no useful work can be done, since the mind wanders aimlessly, and is disturbed by all kinds of distractions. Concentration directs the thought process, and is the antidote for fighting obsessions and...

Insomnia

Insomnia is one of the most persistent and depressing symptoms of psychasthenia. Patients suffer through sleepless nights, followed by bad days, and are so tired they don't have the courage or will to react - their constant fatigue gives them an excuse to succumb to their illness. They place so much importance on sleep, and especially on how long they sleep, that sleep itself often becomes the main symptom of their disease. We've heard so many patients say, If only I could sleep, I'd get...

Normal or abnormal vibrations

As we have just seen, different abnormal states of the brain produce different sensations, which can be detected through hand contact. To make this more clear, let's look at the most typical kinds of vibrations we are likely to encounter - this will make it easier for those who wish to try the experiment themselves. First, let's look at the vibrations produced by a normal brain. In these cases, you will perceive a kind of pulsing, which varies in speed, depending on the state of the brain, from...

Complete insomnia

This is very often caused by a fear of not being able to sleep. This fear is so strong it can remain impervious to the most powerful sleeping pills. The best method we have found may seem a little strange, but it does produce results. It consists of getting patients to promise that they will resist falling asleep for a set period of time. They soon become aware that if this instruction is really carried out, their anxiety disappears, and they feel they can sleep. It is essential that patients...

Partial insomnia

Partial insomnia is characterized by a kind of light somnolence which unfortunately does not give patients the feeling that have slept well. In such cases, we advise patients to wake up completely, even a few times a night if necessary, and then to try and fall into true, deep sleep by practicing the exercises we will describe a little later on. Another form of partial insomnia is when patients sleep deeply for one or more hours, but then wake up suddenly for no reason, and remain awake for a...

How to make the Vittoz method a part of your daily life

The exercises that comprise the Vittoz method should be practiced while sitting down on a comfortable chair or couch, with your back towards the light source, and your eyes closed. However, you must not allow yourself to doze off, and good muscle tone must be maintained. Ideally, two sessions of twenty minutes each will enable you to benefit fully from the method. But if you don't have the time, remember that three minutes of exercise done properly is worth ten minutes of exercise done in...

2 Conscious breathing

Whenever you feel stressed or start thinking negative thoughts, your respiratory rhythm changes you take shorter breaths, leaving some of the tainted air in your lungs, thus providing your body with less oxygen, which in turn makes you even more tense. As you can see, the effect is very much a vicious circle. By becoming conscious of your breathing, you can control your respiration and free yourself from this harmful cycle, so that your lungs expand more fully and remain more flexible....

Psychological causes

Intense emotional shocks are not as often a cause of relapse as might be expected. Generally speaking, patients react well to such situations. Although they may become sad or depressed, they do not fall back into their old defeatist state. However, post operative shock due to narcosis can easily lead to a relapse which, however, usually doesn't last very long. A more common cause is lassitude patients who have constantly to struggle against various kinds of problems may give up the fight, and...

Symptoms during the latent phase

During the latent period, symptoms are not pathognomonic (pathognostic) they are therefore often difficult to detect. Doctors have little opportunity to observe them, since patients hardly have anything to complain about, nor do they seek treatment. They are only potentially psychasthenic, and since this period may last for years without becoming aggravated, it is very rare for them to be in the care of medical professionals. However, it is of the utmost importance that patients at this stage...

How to modify an abnormal vibration

If we accept the fact that abnormal vibrations, which correspond to particular states of cerebral non-control, exist, then we can conclude that any insufficiency modifies brain function. When treating neurasthenia, we will have to take this new element into account, since it guides us towards the development of an effective training program the re-education of cerebral control cannot be considered complete until the abnormal brain function has been replaced, and abnormal vibrations are replaced...

Intermittent or periodic form

We are including this third form because it is relatively common. The onset of the disorder occurs fairly rapidly in just a few weeks, and for no apparent reason, patients exhibit serious symptoms which last for weeks or months. Then, suddenly, the symptoms disappear and patients think they are cured. They go back to work, and resume a normal lifestyle. This period of remission may last for several months, or even years then once again, patients undergo another crisis, with little or no warning...

Definition of cerebral control

We can define cerebral control as an inherent faculty of normal persons to balance the functions of the conscious and subconscious parts of the brain. By normal cerebral balance we mean that each sensation, impression or idea can be controlled by reason, judgment and willpower, i.e. that it can be judged, modified or rejected. This faculty is partly unconscious in normal persons they may well have the feeling of being in control, but the mechanism whereby this control is exercised is completely...

Anxiety

A direct result of feeling inferior is continual anxiety. The state is very hard on patients, and has the same cause as feeling inferior -patients see their lives as a series of tragedies. They are never calm, never happy they live in continual fear of the present and of the future. When things are going relatively well, they still feel worried and agitated they don't know what they want, nor what they should do. If they do something, they regret it, and if they do nothing, they feel even...

Accidental form

Here the onset of the illness occurs suddenly patients who appear in perfect health suddenly become completely prostrate. The transformation can take place overnight, or at least in a very short period of time. There is no progressive development often the most severe symptoms are immediately apparent. This form of neurosis is often the result of some emotional or moral shock, which is why it appears so suddenly. When caused by overwork, it may take a little longer to develop.

3 The joy of living

An accurate measure of your progress is simply the way you feel about life. You may suffer setbacks or relapses during your treatment, but on the whole you should feel better and better about yourself and about life in general. What does joy of living mean A text found in an old Baltimore church in 1692 may shed some light on the question In addition to maintaining a healthy discipline, you have to be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars...

Cerebral control and psychoneurosis

We have determined what we mean by cerebral control, how it can be defective, and the results produced by insufficient control. We will now apply this information to the treatment of psycho-neurosis. If we are reserving our application to include only this class of illness, it is because the various forms of psychoneurosis seem to exemplify what happens when there is insufficient cerebral control, since these cases respond better than any other form of illness to the process of re-education. We...

Willpower

Willpower is the crucial point of the training, since it is the force which will allow neurasthenic patients to regain the faculties which their illness has caused them to lose. The first thing we notice is that a kind of intrinsic willpower exists as a force in all individuals, whether normal or neurasthenic, and even in persons suffering from abulia. Therefore, it is not actually willpower that these people lack, but the ability and knowledge to use it correctly. We will first define what...

Length of treatment

The length of treatment varies, of course, but we estimate that two or three months are sufficient to teach patients to carry on by themselves. Less serious cases may require only three to six weeks, while in more serious cases it is preferable to check up on patients after a few months, in order to see how far they have come on their own. This follow-up treatment is meant to rectify errors which patients can develop during the course of their struggle, and usually lasts for a short time.

Patients need to understand what is wrong

At the outset of treatment, patients need to know and understand what is wrong with them. They will only have confidence in the treatment if they can be shown why they are sick, what the causes of their symptoms are, and how they can be cured. This is not the usual kind of diagnosis, limited to a vague explanation like It's a nervous disorder which has so often discouraged them in the past. Patients feel very encouraged when they are helped to understand what they could not figure out for...

Concentrating on the number

This is one of the most difficult exercises in the Vittoz Method, which is why we saved it for last. Write and repeat the number 1 in your mind three times in succession, without thinking of anything else. Empty your mind for a moment before each repetition. If you find this difficult, start by actually writing the number 1 three times on a piece of paper, with your eyes open. Use a lead pencil if necessary, so that you can erase the numbers afterwards. With some practice, you will be able to...

Insufficiency or instability of control

In cases of insufficiency, control exists as a faculty, but either it has not reached full development, or it is defective in some way, or its influence is not adequate. In such cases we can see that some of the ideas or impressions experienced by the patient do not pass through the filter of the conscious brain. These persons may be able to reason or judge in a normal way, yet remain dominated by ideas or impressions which they know are absurd or exaggerated, but over which their willpower has...

Control of movement and perceptions

Vittoz recommended doing exercises on movement control throughout the course of a normal day. For example - Instead of thinking about something else while brushing your teeth, feel the effect of the bristles as they brush over your gums and teeth. - When you take a shower, concentrate on the water pouring down, on its temperature, how the droplets feel as they hit your skin, the sensation of soap sliding over your body. and so on. - When you open a door, feel the cold metal of the doorknob,...

Functional treatment

We have stated that all cases of instability or insufficiency of control are characterized not only by psychological modifications, but also by functional changes. It is therefore quite natural to try and adjust the brain's abnormal functioning, just as we try to adjust a patienf s Patients find this material approach to their illness very useful they need some kind of concrete representation, something more tangible than simply dealing with thought processes, since they know that these are...

The role of willpower in treating insufficient control

Willpower plays a capital role in the re-education of cerebral control. When used properly, it can make all the difference. The exercise of willpower instills patients with a sense of self mastery, and forces their subconscious to remain within normal limits. It inspires confidence and courage. In short, almost anything can be accomplished through a concentrated effort of will, including the re-establishment of cerebral control. Psychologically speaking, all passive and uncontrolled thoughts...

Preface

In today's modern world, most human societies are rapidly evolving. This evolution goes hand in hand with scientific discoveries being made in the areas of technology, sociology, human behavior, and medicine. An unfortunate side effect of all this progress is a marked increase in the level of STRESS. Stress has almost become a dirty word nowadays Hans Selye, who coined the term, used it to describe the psychological reactions of an organism when adapting to all forms of aggression. He hardly...

Calm

Now try and remember a time when you felt agitated, hurried, pressured, etc. Experience the feelings of tension this situation produced in you. Write the word agitation under the arc of the curved line Now erase the word agitation and reject the feelings associated with it completely. Recall the state of calm, and make it your own through concentration and assimilation of the feelings associated with it. Reject the negative idea. Recall the state of calm and possess it. You can now use the same...

Physiological organic symptoms resulting from insufficient control

Aside from the psychological symptoms we have described above, patients can develop a whole range of physiological symptoms, which are the direct result of the lack of cerebral control. It could be said that the affected organ often mirrors the state of the brain so well that it develops its own phobias, anxieties and abulia. We will not attempt to describe all possible symptoms which can affect the various organs, since they are not uniquely caused by non-control, but can also be the result of...

Effect of insufficient control on ideas sensations and actions

Now let's try to determine what effect insufficient control has on ideas, sensations and actions. To do this, we must look at what happens in an individual's brain to mix up ideas and controlled or uncontrolled sensations. It seems that even if the insufficiency is only slight, patients feel a vague sense of unease that some of their ideas are escaping them, or cannot be sufficiently defined. They are also often troubled by a feeling of being only half awake, as if they were living in a kind of...

Active state

By this we mean the brain in its normal state, which can also exist in psychasthenics. A hand, placed on a patient's forehead, will detect a regular, rhythmic vibration without bursts or lulls of activity psychologically speaking, this state represents the brain in its conscious and controlled state, subject to the person's will. We can also call this the positive state patients have better comprehension they are aware of what they are thinking and doing, and know what they want to do the brain...

Sincerity and truth of wanting

Of the three psychological conditions involved in making an effort of will, it is most often this last which is defective, and I believe I am not exaggerating when I say that it is due to a lack of sincerity that most efforts of will fail. The causes are numerous first there is paralyzing doubt, the fear of making any kind of effort, which can even be seen as a form of self-imposed suffering for daring to want something. Then we have the class of persons (and there are many) who lie to...

Sensation of fatigue

Neurasthenic fatigue is the first result of the lack of cerebral control. This is because the mind is constantly active, with no rest or respite. It is also symptomatic for cerebral activity to be more intense in the morning than at night, when hyperactive thinking is replaced by the sensation of being overexcited, which is less severe. This does not mean that the brain is less tired, but it does indicate at least some degree of control. Proof that the sensation of fatigue is caused by a lack...

Abnormal cerebral function

Thoughts are rarely sustained and carried through to their logical conclusion instead, patients get caught up in any thought that arises these supplant the original thought, and are in turn supplanted by new distractions, and so on. The original thought or idea is completely forgotten, or recalled with difficulty. Normal persons can easily follow the progression of their thoughts. In the non-controlled state, a part of the mind is usually unconscious, and patients draw conclusions which are...

Voluntary acts

We consider voluntary acts as a special class, slightly apart from other actions, and very useful as far as training is concerned. We naturally agree that all conscious acts are at the same time voluntary, since they are carried out by choice, but we do make the following distinction. When we ask patients to perform an act consciously, we are asking them to simply concentrate on the sensations produced by the act, for example the sensation of bending an arm or touching a light switch. In acts...

Sincere

You are not doing these exercises to please me or anyone else, but for yourself. No one but you knows what is going on in your brain. Therefore, it is essential that you be sincere with yourself. Don't cheat during the exercises. Don't take short cuts. Do them sincerely, and they will work for you. The more sincere you are with yourself, the more you will be sincere with others. And you'll soon realize that sincerity makes for much more solid and true relationships than those based on lies and...

Exercise No

Concentration on a point in the body in this exercise, patients are asked to mentally determine the exact sensations they are experiencing, first in their right hand, then the left hand, then the right foot, left foot, and so on. When this becomes fairly easy, move on to the elbows, knees, ears, various fingers, etc. What happens is that in order to specify the various sensations coming from different parts of the body, patients are forced to concentrate on those points. The advantage of this...

Taste

You may have heard the story about the two writers who were able to procure a can of sardines for themselves during the second world war, an occurrence which was extremely rare at the time. They opened it, began feasting on the fish, and started talking excitedly. Suddenly, one of them cried, My God I swallowed without tasting it Caught up in the discussion, he had swallowed his portion without even feeling what he was doing. This is exactly what you should not do. Take some food that is salty...

Conclusion

After a few weeks of practicing these exercises, you will find you have developed a powerful tool for maintaining cerebral control, which you can use under any circumstances. Stress, problems, setbacks, and many kinds of psychosomatic illnesses will no longer affect you. Don't stop halfway - even if some of the exercises seem very simple at first, they are designed to mobilize extremely powerful inner forces, and their simplicity in no way alters their effectiveness. When you have attained...

1 Unity

The preceding exercises aim to restore your sense of unity, which your mental wandering or dispersion has eroded. Feeling at one with yourself opens the door to all kinds of possibilities, and prevents you from hiding behind excuses and irresolute thinking. If you are at one with yourself, your will belongs to you, and is not imposed on you from outside. Many people believe they have willpower, but in reality they have simply assumed the will of their parents, teachers, peers etc. All these...

Ks

We should not place to much emphasis on visualization of the number 1 some patients never succeed in doing it. The effort to visualize can be useful at first, but it can be dropped later on, and replaced by concentrating on the sensation of writing, mentally speaking and hearing. Of course, any other number can be used, as well as grammatical symbols like dashes or periods. We chose the number 1 because it gets patients used to the idea of concentrating, which, in fact, means fixing the mind on...

Touch

Find someone to assist you, and ask them to place an object in your right hand, while you keep your eyes closed. Keep them closed throughout the exercise, in order to concentrate on your sense of touch. Perceive the whole range of sensations you experience through touching first, hot or cold, hard or soft, moist or dry then the texture of the material - smooth, rough, soft, etc. Don't try to attach words to what you feel. Don't try to determine what the object is. - Next, do the same exercise...

3 Voluntary acts

It's too much for me Have you ever felt like that Chances are you have. You may even go through periods where you feel you have absolutely no willpower left, and can't seem to deal with anything at all. Willpower can be re-educated. Dr. Vittoz advises practicing control on little everyday activities. If these activities are really well done, patients will feel more in control, calmer and more rational. Since the brain is always occupied with something definite, persons...

Abnormal thoughts abnormal cerebral functions

In this section, we will try to determine what constitutes an abnormal vibration from a psychological point of view, i.e. what peculiarities can be associated with thoughts, sensations and emotions emitted in a non-controlled or passive state. We call these thoughts, sensations and emotions abnormal, in the same sense that we call the functioning of a non-controlled or insufficiently conscious brain abnormal. There are no thoughts which are uniquely the result of a passive state. Therefore,...

Exercise 5 Eliminating letters

Visualize a series of letters that have no special significance. Write them on your mental screen, then erase the last letter, the next to last letter, and so on. This is an example. You can start with upper case letters, and then use lower case ones. Do the exercise again, after changing the order in which you elimi-

Reeducating willpower

The first step consists of getting patients to experience the actual sensation of making an effort of will. To do this, we take the simplest kind of action, one which requires a minimum of movement and expenditure of energy, for example wanting to get up, walk, bend an arm, etc. As in the exercises on control, patients must be made aware that it is really their own willpower which sets off the impulse to get up, or to walk. This point must be firmly established, since however feeble the...

Concentrating on ideas

In this exercise, patients are asked to develop an idea in their minds. For example, they may try to resolve a problem, or prepare a written summary of something they read, or listen to a conversation or lecture for a predetermined period of time, without allowing them selves to get distracted. To do this they must instantly stop all other thoughts from entering their mind, except those which are directly related to the subject at hand. Patients will start to see practical results only...

Necessity for reeducating cerebral control

We have seen in the preceding chapters that the essential cause of most cases of psychoneurosis is an instability or insufficiency of what we call cerebral control. We feel we have sufficient evidence to be able to use this information as a basis for treating psychasthenia. Except in cases of emergency, drugs are of little help in recovering a lost cerebral faculty, or of completing a faculty that is underdeveloped in such cases, we must turn to psychotherapeutic methods for results. We will...

Influence of insufficient control on the organs

We said earlier that cerebral control dominates an individual's psychology, and also his or her physiology. This statement is supported by the fact that neurasthenics suffer from all kinds of organic problems, which demonstrates that the superior (or cerebral) functions directly influence so-called psychosomatic pathologies. It is quite natural to accept the fact that organic and cerebral equilibrium are united, or that they are at least interdependent. It is also certain that a mechanism...

Contents

CHAPTER 1 - Cerebral CHAPTER 2 - CHAPTER 3 - Psychological CHAPTER 4 - Necessity for re-educating cerebral control 31 CHAPTER 5 - CHAPTER 6 - Controlling CHAPTER 7 - Controlling CHAPTER 8 - CHAPTER 9 - Elimination, CHAPTER 10 - CHAPTER 11 - Psychological CHAPTER 12 - CHAPTER 13 - Treatment Table of

Hearing

The same goes for hearing you have to allow the sound you're listening to to penetrate you, and learn to open your ears without making any forced effort. You could listen to the ticking of a clock for a moment, or the noise of a moving tram, to reinforce your awareness of hearing. Perceiving sounds in this way makes patients less irritable, since they can become indifferent even to unpleasant noises, when they perceive them consciously. This simple procedure works very well when treating...

1 Conscious walking

Start the exercise by concentrating on your right foot, the way it touches the ground, the sensation you feel as it supports your weight. Then do the same with your left foot. Become aware of your ankles, your knees, your thighs, your hips, the way your spine moves, the way your arms swing and balance, the way you hold your head. Feel your entire body in perfect balance and control. Feel the amazing mechanism that is your body as it moves in perfect harmony, on a simple command from your brain....

Experiment

The simplest training procedure is the following Patients choose 3 to 5 objects and place them on a white sheet of paper. After studying the objects, they are asked to eliminate one by taking it off the paper and putting it aside. They are then told to close their eyes and to make sure they can mentally eliminate the object in question. This is the main part of the exercise. A second and third object are eliminated in turn, until all objects are gone. If the exercise was done correctly, the...

Elimination deconcentration

We teach patients how to concentrate and how they should centre their thoughts or ideas. We also teach them how to do the opposite, i.e. how to get a thought out of their mind. The usual way to do this would simply be to think of something else. However, what seems simple to normal people is all but impossible for neurasthenics. All they seem to be able to do is concentrate even more on the undesired thought. They must be taught to eliminate such thoughts, by attacking them directly.

Sight

Let the waves simply penetrate your consciousness. Instead of focusing your gaze and moving from one point to another, embrace the totality of an object, with all its nuances and colors. Then close your eyes. Visualize the image in your mind, but without thinking about it. Recall just the image, the visual impression it made on your retina. Then start again. Look at a detail, a fragment of the object. Then close your eyes and visualize it, this time making it grow...

Introduction

Over the last few years, a number of works of this kind have appeared, and my adding a stone to the edifice was above all a response to the needs of my patients I also wished to enlighten people as to the cause of these nervous disorders, known under various names such as neurasthenia, psychoneurosis or psychasthenia and finally to develop my personal point of view on the subject of treatment. So it is above all the patients, suffering from these disorders, whom I am addressing, and that is why...

How to control the brain

In demonstrating the necessity for the re-training of cerebral control, we said that patients must be shown what to do. How to achieve this is, in fact, the tricky part of the problem, and will be of special interest to physicians who are directly involved in treatment. However, before beginning our study of the training itself, we should ex plain the procedure we will be using, i.e. how we will show patients precisely what they should do. Direct control of the brain, at the present stage of...

Causes of insomnia

The basic, primordial cause is most often insufficient control, which takes on different aspects. Some patients can't stop the flow of their thoughts others suffer from some kind of phobia, for example an exaggerated sensitivity to noise, or even a fear of not being able to sleep. Clich s are also a common cause. These do not prevent patients from falling asleep, but instead wake them up in the middle of the night, interrupting their sleep. We have seen patients suffer attacks of palpitations...

Abnormal states of the brain

In the context of non-control, we find three main types of abnormalities 1. The state of torpor is characterized by a reduction of sensation perceived by the hand reactions are slower and more irregular it feels as if the brain is less active, heavy, and lacking energy. 2. The state of hyperactivity, on the other hand, is accompanied by very strong, but disorganized sensations, which differ from normal agitation which always present a certain regularity of vibration. 3. The state of tension...

Walking

Walking merits special attention because it allows for the frequent application of conscious activity, despite the complexity of the movement involved. Conscious walking usually creates an impression of suppleness and certainty it does not occur until coordination of the various sensations involved in the act of walking has been achieved by the brain. To do this, you must proceed in successive stages. First instruct patients to perceive the sensation of their foot touching the ground, then the...

Treatment summary

In this chapter we will present readers with a general view of the way in which we treat patients. We will try to make our description as concise as possible. Case histories must be carefully studied, of course, even though this may be time consuming, since it helps physicians determine special areas of treatment, for example by finding various clich s, and by classifying patients into one of the two following categories 1. Predominantly psychological cases. 2. Predominantly organic cases. In...

Desire

The difference between desire and real willpower is particularly subtle, since for many persons desire is the only reason for wanting something. This confusion is so deeply ingrained that patients often object to the distinction, saying something like Well how do you expect me to want something if I don't desire it This confusion usually prevents patients from making an effort of will. However, it can be avoided by making them aware of the difference between desire and willpower. Only willpower...

Causes of relapse

The preceding section called attention to the kinds of errors we should look for as being the main causes of relapse, based on what we have observed in our patients. We are not referring to relapses which occur in patients who are not completely cured, since these are not real relapses, but only to those which occur in patients who have re-established normal control. The disappearance of symptoms may be temporary, and cannot be considered as absolute proof of recovery. We can see how, in cases...

Faulty mechanism

Most patients who come back to us have not fully recovered because they have not fully integrated the laws of control into their lives. Treatment usually stops when symptoms have disappeared, or when patients feel able to control them. But this is not enough for a complete cure. Awareness, concentration and the exercise of willpower must become habitual. This does not always happen during the few weeks of therapy. Patients must therefore remain attentive and con tinue the work on their own,...

Passive state

The passive state refers to all varieties of cerebral non-control. The mind may be conscious, but it is never voluntary, i.e. it is not directed by the person's will. Psychologically speaking, this state is characterized by extreme receptivity, as if the mind were exposed to all kinds of deficiencies, obsessions and phobias. These psychological symptoms only arise in the passive state, which is therefore perfectly representative of a pathological state of the mind. To give patients an idea of...

Abulia

We can say that all psychasthenic patients suffer from abulia, and in fact there is a large grey area between what can be considered simple indecision and complete abulia. However, as we will see later on, the absence of willpower is more apparent than real, and is due rather to its misguided application. Be that as it may, the result is the same. Every thought or idea, every act requiring some measure of willpower, will evoke feelings of fear in these persons' minds they are incapable of...

Controlling actions

Learning to control actions is the first step in re-educating the brain it the simplest way to achieve this and, although it may often seem almost childish at first, it does provide appreciable results. If we observe the way psychasthenic patients carry out their daily activities, we notice a remarkable lack of clarity and precision. It is as if their thoughts were elsewhere most of the time, or they were incapable of thinking about what they are doing while doing it. This makes their actions...

Symptoms during the active phase

It is easy to understand how, during the active phase, one symptom leads to another, this being nothing more than the result of the progression of unstable control towards permanent insufficiency. There is, in addition, an added phenomenon, one which differenti ates the first phase from the second, which is that patients become more and more aware of their mental state the feeling, which is often hard to define, causes patients to exhibit very characteristic signs of fear and anxiety. This...

Clichs

All psychasthenic patients exhibit, at some time or other, certain symptoms which appear suddenly, under certain conditions, and which seem, at first to be completely inexplicable. The symptom may take the form of general discomfort, fear or anxiety, or be more physical - pain, dizziness, nausea, palpitations, etc. The inexplicable cause of such a symptom is actually an ancient impression, crystallized in the brain so to speak, which always produces the same symptom through an unconscious...

Intention

Intention, even more than desire, misleads patients. Isn't intending to do the right thing enough Well, no it isn't, since almost all intentions remain just that - an intention -instead being transformed into action. Persons who rely on this false conception of willpower quickly run out of steam and rarely achieve their objectives. Intention is all the more dangerous in that it satisfies a person's conscience to some extent - people are content with defining an objective, but do not make any...

Primary cause

We are referring here to heredity since, in almost all cases, we find the same problems or nervous symptoms in a patient's progenitors, to a more or less pronounced degree. Note that heredity, above all, creates an environment propitious for the development of the disease, rather than creating the disease itself. From a cerebral point of view, we can say that the effect of heredity is either to inhibit the progressive development of cerebral control, which would otherwise occur completely...

Pain

Pain is a common symptom of neurasthenia, and can be easily influenced by nervous currents. We might conclude, at first, that it would seem inappropriate to call a patient's attention to his or her pain. But this view is mistaken, since concentration, directed at the point of pain, results in a normal nervous influx which neutralizes and modifies the current of pain perceived by the brain. This can be proved by the following simple experiment Pinch a person's body hard, and ask the person to...

Anguish

It's only a short step from constant anxiety to a state of total anguish or depression, which is one of the most typical symptoms of non-control. It is also the most violent, and can have very extreme results, often for no apparent reason. This may take the form of physical pain and or mental suffering, the specifics of which differ from case to case. On a mental level, patients may suffer because they feel inadequate, and incapable of attaining what they desire, which in turn both terrifies...

Simple

The main advantage of the Vittoz method - and the main complaint made by intellectuals who seem to enjoy complicating things -is that it is so simple. The exercises are simple. The philosophy is simple. The images and designs it uses are simple. The more you practice this method, the simpler your life will become. You reduce complicated issues to their essential simplicity. Due to your improved perception, you discern the truth behind appearances. You will be able to accept criticism without...

Knowing what you want

No effort of will is possible without definitive thought. We have to be precise about the nature and the goal of wanting. We often believe we know what we want, without realizing that the idea we have in mind is too vague and imprecise. In such cases, the mind cannot concentrate on the idea, which has no substance, and nothing is achieved. We must get into the habit of accurately formulating exactly what we want, in a clear sentence. We often realize how vague our desires are when we try to...

The effort of will

The effort of will, which can also be called an expansion of willpower, can be compared to opening the tap of an energy reserve the energy that flows out can be applied to an action, or to a thought or feeling. This is the simplest way of describing how willpower works. The force of willpower acts like a whip. It is temporary, but can be renewed. Its intensity is regulated by a normal individual's need at the moment it is brought into play, since an individual can control his her emission of...

Results of treatment

The more progress we make, the more we are convinced that insufficient control can, and must be cured, even in cases which seem hopeless, and even for people who have been sick for years. It would be difficult to come up with valid statistics concerning the number of cases who are completely cured, since we would have to see all our patients one or two years after their treatment ended, which rarely happens. In any case, the results we do know about have far exceeded our expectations, and are...

Concentration on the idea of control

This exercise is the natural progression of the two preceding ones, and requires a simple process of deduction. In fact, as soon as patients are able to remain calm or summon their energy at will, they are capable of self control. They will, therefore, not have much difficulty in defining the sensation of control. They simply have to be persuaded that, during those moments of voluntary tranquility or energy, they really are in control, in order for them to gradually develop the faculty of real...

State of consciousness

To help patients get used to being conscious of their own thought processes, we ask them to perform a quick examination of everything they are feeling and thinking, of any ideas they might have, a number of times a day. This self examination may be carried out mentally or, in some cases, written down so that it can be analyzed by the treating physician. A written report has the added advantage of forcing patients to formulate their thoughts more precisely. Awareness is equivalent to the gnoti...

Physical effect of controlling actions

Now let's look at how controlled action affects psychasthenics. At first, it may seem as if this constant effort to concentrate and act attentively is completely abnormal, placing an added strain on patients and adding yet another unhealthy symptom to the list. However, what may be true for a balanced mind is not necessarily true for a non-controlled mind. Psychasthenic patients, therefore, can develop very useful habits through voluntary action. If their actions are carried out properly, they...

Reduction of reactive faculties

In normal persons, the brain is constructed in a way that allows it to react against any exterior influences that may disturb its functioning. Psychasthenic persons, on the other hand, are exaggeratedly impressionable. This condition is, relatively speaking, more pronounced when dealing with minor external influences than with major ones. We have, in fact, observed that these people seem able to bear the brunt of an intense psychological trauma, while becoming completely unbalanced by some...

The duality of the brain

Before beginning our study of cerebral control, it is very important that you understand how the brain functions, as far as perception, developing ideas, sensations and actions are concerned. There are a number of modern theories, but let's look at the simplest one, which accepts the existence of two different functional centers, called the conscious or objective brain, and the unconscious or subjective brain. We will use the former terms, with the understanding that neither provides a perfect...