By Glen Martin (Part III of III)
If I had chosen the route of medical referral for my son for his bipolar behaviour, or the medical recommendation for my father for his dementia, the outcomes would have been dramatically different. Over the years I saw hundreds of children whose medications activated a genetic predisposition for a mood disorder. Understand that a genetic predisposition does not necessitate that a particular condition will develop. Proper preventive measures (e.g. diet, exercise, supplements, stress management and neurofeedback) are often effective in keeping a condition from ever being activated. Recent research in gene mapping has shown that genes can even be turned on and turned off. A genetic predisposition can therefore be modulated in its gene expression. Medical interventions and especially EEG biofeedback can be effective in deactivating or moderating many conditions, and they can do so synergistically. They naturally complement each other. But inappropriate medical remedies can also exacerbate latent vulnerabilities, as the following anecdote will illustrate.
I would like to share a surreal telephone conversation I had with a client’s doctor. A preteen client diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder came in not functioning well on multiple psychiatric medications. Over time the child’s medication were reduced and eliminated with improved functioning through the neurofeedback. Even though the client functioning was noticeably improved (and the testing supported this observation), his doctor called and was clearly upset that his patient was off his medications. I explained to the physician that my medical director had tapered the child off all of his psychiatric meds with excellent results, as explained in the letter that had been sent to him.
The irate physician said he knew that stimulants may uncover depression in some children and antidepressants can activate bipolar and he used this knowledge as a diagnostic technique so these children could be put on medications and get proper treatment for their disorders while they were still young. I was utterly speechless. This doctor apparently thought it wise to precipitate depression and Bipolar Disorder—to expose the vulnerability—in order that it could be dealt with pro-actively sooner rather than later. I was also glad that I had a medical director who did not share this perspective.
Please note that the younger the child that exhibits bipolar features, the more severe the disorder and the worse the prognosis. During a ten-year rapid escalation in the use of psychiatric medications with children, there was also a sixty-fold increase in the diagnoses of Bipolar Disorder in children. Over the twelve years I was offering EEG biofeedback the number of children I saw being put on multiple medications increased geometrically.
There was yet another case that bears mention. I was working with an ADHD child to get him off stimulants, when the mother, inspired by the progress her child was making, told her pediatrician about the neurofeedback. He cautioned her sternly, to the point where the mother, now frightened out of her wits, withdrew her child from the training. A year or so later, I encountered the mother in the local grocery store and asked about her son. As it happens, soon after he was back in this doctor’s care, anti-depressants were added to his regimen. Then with worsening behavioral problems, anti-convulsants (called mood stabilizers in this case) were added, and then finally, anti-psychotics. And with all of that, the child was not doing well at all.
After eleven years of seeing more and more children, and ever younger children, on multiple psychiatric medications, I made the decision to close my practice and focus on writing a parenting book. I wanted to help as many children as I could and I decided that instead of helping hundreds of children I could help many more with a parenting book. To reduce my long hours I took a forty-hour-a-week job as an EEG biofeedback therapist with a physician interested in homeopathic medicine. With the help of a professional writer we put together a parenting book.
After the book was written and we had a small print run under the title “By Law or by Grace,” it was clear that a more comprehensive treatment was needed, so I quit my job doing biofeedback and moved to India to write the aspirational ‘definitive’ parenting book. I decided to look at parenting historically, culturally, psychologically, developmentally, biologically and eventually from seven other domains. After triangulating the twelve domains not only did I come up with the definitive parenting book that I aspired to, but an encompassing meta-theory as well. This meta-theory, called Conscious Template, is explained in the recently released book titled The Universe Within. With this meta-theory, I started looking at other domains. When applied to a particular domain it is easier to see the truths and falsehoods of any domain. Learning this meta-theory will provide insights and understanding into any related subject or domain.
Only a brief general outline can be presented in this newsletter. Piaget’s brilliant insight that intelligence is qualitatively rather than merely quantitatively different in the developmental stages of children was a crucial insight. These developmental stages in children I realized also applied to adults and cultures. Individuals and entire cultures often become stuck in the earlier developmental stages. For most of the population reaching the later stages is only a possibility, not an inevitability. Even if the potential (i.e. nature/genetics) is there, it will also depend on nurture/environment for one to reach the later stages. These developmental stages are literally different stages of consciousness, not only with a qualitatively different intelligence but, depending on the activation and organization of different brain structures, also a qualitatively different curiosity, perspective and motivating drive as well.
Seeing the developmental stages in children allows one to see the stages uncontaminated by down-loading (i.e. a permanent partial access to characteristics of a later stage of consciousness) or streaming (i.e. a temporary partial access to characteristics of a later stage of consciousness). In children downloading or streaming isn’t possible because the biological maturation to support access to these characteristics simply isn’t there.
The first two stages (i.e. sensate Survival and emotional Pleasure Consciousness) are pre-mind. The first three stages (i.e. Survival, Pleasure and Power Consciousness) are pre-logical. The third, fourth and fifth stages (i.e. Power, Social and Understanding Consciousness) are mind-based. The last two stages (i.e. Self-Realization and Integration Consciousness) are post-mind. The stages of consciousness are named after the motivating drive that is the defining characteristic of a specific stage of consciousness. These stages of consciousness can be seen not only developmentally but historically, biologically, culturally, spiritually, religiously, psychologically and sexually as well.
In pre-mind sensate Survival Consciousness between birth and six months the infant’s only (predominant?) drive is survival, i.e. seeking a status of safety, security, and satiety. The reptilian sensate base(?) brain is dominant. At six months with the increased activation of the emotional mammalian limbic system the child shifts into Pleasure Consciousness. The earlier stages of consciousness are embedded. Between birth and two years of age the only motivating drive is survival and pleasure. Our ancestors in the prehistorical past in survival clans were in Survival Consciousness. Prehistorical matriarchal cultures reflect the collective consciousness of Pleasure Consciousness.
Around the age of two the increased activation of the thinking cerebral cortex awakens ego. The evolution of the brain is from bottom to top and from front to back. Initially the right cerebral cortex is more active. Thinking creates time and the eternal here and now is displaced by the there and then. The wants of pre-logical Power Consciousness are added to the preferences of Pleasure Consciousness and the needs of Survival Consciousness. The developmental stage of Power Consciousness is unable to see another’s point of view and, therefore, lacks empathy. Hierarchal Power Consciousness has sympathy (social cognition?) but is devoid of empathy. Patriarchal cultures are the collective manifestation of Power Consciousness.
Increased activation of the left cerebral cortex, changes in brain structures and increased integration of these structures facilitates a shift into Social Consciousness. Depending on nurture, the environment and parenting this shift is only a possibility, and is not guaranteed. Unless a child is civilized in Power Consciousness it is difficult to be socialized in Social Consciousness. The defining motivating drive is an awakening of a social interest in others. Guilt as an internal locus of regulation in Social Consciousness replaces shame as an external locus of regulation in Power Consciousness. The conditioned immutable beliefs of Power Consciousness can now be altered by one’s concrete experiences and inductive reasoning. Guilt-based Western cultures have more individuals in Social Consciousness and shame-based patriarchal cultures have their center of gravity in Power Consciousness.
The increased activation of the frontal cortex and further changes and integration of brain structures around puberty makes abstract thought and deductive reasoning possible. Again this is only a possibility. The potential (i.e. nature/genes) may not be there or the nurture/environment may be lacking. If nurture supports the necessary nature, however, one shifts into Understanding Consciousness. Very few if any countries have a center of gravity above Social Consciousness. A secular country like England or Germany may qualify for a center of gravity in Understanding Consciousness.
Self-Realization and Integration Consciousness is post-mind. Additional integration and reorganization of the brain is responsible for the manifestation of these two stages of consciousness. While Survival Consciousness is identified with sensations and Pleasure Consciousness with emotions, Power, Social and Understanding Consciousness is identified with (rational?) thought. “I think therefore I am.” (Do you want to mention the Enlightenment period?)
As one shifts into Self-Realization Consciousness one begins to identify with consciousness itself. There is the realization that sensations, feelings and thoughts are the content of consciousness, and the referent for the declaration ‘I am’ is really consciousness itself. Due to the Internet and smartphones, Integration Consciousness has only recently been emerging at the collective level. Previously with each shift into the next stage of consciousness, one becomes identified with that stage of consciousness and sees it as superior to the prior stages of consciousness. As Integration Consciousness awakens there is the awareness that all stages of consciousness are important in their uniqueness and none are superior. Every stage of consciousness has its dark, dysfunctional, unhealthy side and its light, functional, healthy side.
By reading The Universe Within you may gain a deeper understanding of whatever domain you may be interested in. The meta-theory Conscious Template has provided me insights and a deeper understanding of biology, psychology, history, cultures, relationships, parenting and a host of other domains—including biofeedback. For additional information on this innovative ground-breaking paradigm of paradigms, go to conscioustemplate.com.