This page features comments about scams such as the Lightning process, Reverse therapy, Mickel therapy, Gupta retraining, EFT and so on.
Psychologically based ‘treatments’ touted by some groups as being very beneficial or even curative for ‘chronic fatigue’ (a term used interchangeably with CFS and M.E. by these groups) such as ‘Reverse Therapy,’ ‘Mickel Therapy,’ ‘Emotional Freedom Techniques’ (EFT) and the ‘Lightning Process,' may or may not be useful for those with fatigue caused by various emotional or behavioural problems, but they simply cannot improve authentic M.E.
As with similar therapies such as CBT however, the severely affected in particular (but also those with moderate M.E.) may also be made considerably more ill short- or long-term by these inappropriate and (physically and mentally) cruel interventions. They can often cause very severe relapse. If these treatments don’t work, the victim is blamed for ‘not trying hard enough.’ So there can also be a huge emotional cost from being subjected to what amounts to serious emotional abuse.
These money-making scams are dangerous, and will never help genuine M.E. patients. Media reports of recovery of some individuals with this 'treatment' is dubious at best, but even where claims are genuine, these are NOT in any way M.E. patients. It is cruel and unhelpful to recommend or badger M.E. patients about trying such pseudo-treatments; please don't do it!
Segments on this page so far include:
Background: the Support Group recently had a talk about the Lighting Process (LP). The account of the talk in the following newsletter appeared to endorse LP as a treatment for ME. I am very concerned by this. Endorsement of LP damages the interests of ME patients.
The biomedical reality of ME is under ruthless attack. A campaign has been fought for many years to rename ME as ‘CFS’ and to define ‘CFS’ as a psychosocial illness. This campaign has been fought by insurance companies and government in the
Whether people with ME are aware of this history or not, they are adversely affected by it. The NHS has been influenced to the extent that, advised by an officer of a large insurance company, government guidelines describe ‘CFS’ or ‘ME/CFS’ as a psychiatric illness involving ‘erroneous illness beliefs’ and recommend psychological treatment such as CBT. Also advised by an insurance company officer, the DWP’s ‘Welfare Reform’ has adopted the practices of the insurance industry and slashed the welfare budget by discrediting legitimate claims. Caught between the pincers of the NHS and the DWP, life has become very much harder for people with ME.
The campaign to discredit ME and characterise it (usually under the misnomer ‘CFS’) as a psychiatric illness, depends on denying the following facts:
- ME is a neurological illness, recognised by the World Health Organisation (classification ICD-10 G.93.3)
- ME is not a psychiatric or psychosocial illness, and it does not involven ‘erroneous illness beliefs’
- Psychiatric intervention cannot cure ME.
Given this context, I feel we must be very careful in considering the effects of a ‘talking cure’ on ME.
Positive thinking, empowerment, the creation of helpful new neuronal pathways and so on may be helpful to all people who are seriously ill. There is certainly a feedback mechanism between the mind and body.
However, if recovery can be achieved by changing the ill person’s beliefs and curing the body via the mind-body link, then the illness was not ME. In such a case the illness was psychosomatic and involved those ‘erroneous illness beliefs’ beloved of the psychiatric lobby.
(Similarly, if regulating adrenaline via the mind-body link effects a cure, then the illness was not ME but adrenal dysfunction. It should not need saying that ME involves dysfunction of many systems besides adrenal regulation)
To claim that LP can cure ME is offensive. It implies that the illness is psychiatric, either in its origin or in its perpetuation mechanism. (Strangely, LP practitioners deny this; using doublethink and doublespeak that Orwell would have marvelled at, they state that the illness is physical while claiming that it can be cured by psychological methods.)
To claim that LP can cure ME is politically harmful. As above, LP practitioners appease patients by stating that the illness is physical, while playing into the hands of the psychiatric lobby by seeking to demonstrate that it is in fact psychological in that it can be cured by a ‘talking therapy.’
To claim that LP can cure ME is dangerous. It is crucial that people with ME do not push themselves beyond their physical limits. Study after study has proved that Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) has been proven to be damaging for this reason. LP suggests that people with ME are ‘stuck’ and do not challenge themselves, possibly due to fear of the consequences of exertion. The opposite is true: most people with ME tend to overdo it, and only by bitter experience learn the terrible consequences of doing so. While there is no cure yet for ME, the most important thing sufferers can do to help themselves is not to go beyond their limits. If encouraged to disregard their limits by LP, ME sufferers may do themselves irreparable harm.
Follow-up on the Lightning Process and Emotional Freedom Technique
Background: I recently wrote to the committee outlining my concerns about the seeming endorsement of the Lightning Process. I am writing again because I remain worried about an apparent bias in favour of psychological or emotional ‘treatments’ for ME. I am concerned about the forthcoming talk on the Emotional Freedom Technique.
The Support Group may have influence on members who are desperate and vulnerable. When a treatment is controversial and, according to studies, potentially harmful, group members should be made aware of the issues.
The Lighting Process (LP) treats ME as an illness with a psychological cause and physical manifestations.
People with ME should be warned that while LP involves changing patients’ beliefs about how much they can do, the scientific view supported by numerous studies is that overexertion can be very damaging for ME patients.
The issues are similar with the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). I’m sure that all people, ill or well, can benefit from relief from emotional blockages. However, EFT should not be presented as a cure or treatment for ME. An EFT practitioner is quoted as saying ‘EFT offers relief from… major, life affecting conditions.’ Is the claim that ME is such a condition? This is the implication. Of course, the EFT practitioner is free to hold whatever personal views he pleases. However, Support Group should not seem to make the same claim by stating ‘Once learned you have the tools to clear any emotional blockage which in turn triggers the symptoms causing so much distress.’ Does this refer to ME? Again, that is the implication.
The reason why it is important to be clear on this issue is the fact that there is a campaign to denigrate ME as a psychosomatic illness. This harms the interests of sufferers in many ways. It affects their medical treatment and eligibility for benefits. It affects the perception of ME by Government, the medical profession and the general public. It obscures research into the illness and blocks research funding.
It is in the financial interests of governments, pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies to discredit the biomedical reality of ME and to push the view that it is a psychosocial illness. ME sufferers and their friends must resist this as strenuously as possible.
Unfortunately, the charities which should be representing ME sufferers have betrayed them on issue. Both the ME Association and Action for ME collaborate with the psychological lobby. There has been debate over controversial actions by these charities such as:
- endorsing CBT as a treatment for ME
- collaborating in government trials and research aimed at substantiating the psychological approach
- referring to the illness ‘ME/CFS’ or ‘CFS/ME’ rather than ME
Because of this context, support groups which represent the interests of people with ME should be aware of possible ‘slippage’ in the message given when discussing emotional therapies. Support groups should be very careful not to give the appearance of endorsing the psychological view of ME, or of being unclear on the issue.
ME is a biomedical illness, as classified by the World Health Organisation (ICD-10 G93.3). It is a neurological illness which involves dysregulation to many of the body’s systems. It is not a psychosomatic illness.
We are all emotional beings with a psychological dimension. We may or may not have psychological issues which trouble us or affect our lives. This is as true of people with ME as it is of people without ME. People with ME have the same range of mental health, from fine to not-so-fine, as the rest of the population. There is no correlation between ME and mental health as far as aetiology goes. The patient’s mental state neither causes nor perpetuates ME. (The experience of appalling abuse and the harrowing hardships of life with ME may well affect a sufferer’s mental well-being. However, many ME patient cope remarkably well with the challenges they face. In any case, this is not the psychological reality with which LP and EFT are concerned.)
I am not against emotional techniques; I believe they might well be helpful. What I am against is the claim that they are a cure or treatment for ME. This claim is insulting, politically damaging and medically dangerous.
Esther Ranzten writes:
'But would I ever be able to control my hysteria? Neuro-linguistic programming may be the answer. That's a way of using your brain to re-programme the gusts of adrenaline in order to control terror so it doesn't turn into panic. I'd never tried it myself, but I have great faith in The Lightning Process, whose inventor, Phil Parker, cured my daughter of the chronic fatigue that had engulfed her for 14 years.
Last month I joined his class, and learned the techniques. If I remember to apply them when the moment arises, perhaps they will protect me from making a fool of myself when I'm thrown off a cliff on the end of a piece of elastic. Perhaps.'
So there we have it: Esther Ranzten's daughter didn't have M.E. after all - she'd been suffering from chronic fatigue for 14 years.
(One assumes LP is going to help Esther survive the new series of "I'm A Celebrity...")
LP DOESN'T WORK FOR ME
This web page has been created as a place for people to record, in the public interest, their misgivings about LP and/or its failure to 'cure' them.
Contributions should be e-mailed to: email@example.com
Please contribute if you have relevant information.
To read contrubutions made so far see: http://www.sayer.abel.co.uk/LP.html
M.E. and the ethics of testing on sick kids on Indigo Joe Blogs
A step by step account of what happens on the Lightning Process (and why it doesn't work) by Sally
A comment from Lesley: We already know the Lightning Process is rubbish, but just in case we need some 'authority' on this, Neil Abbott of MERUK said that there is no evidence that it helps ME patients.
'Dr Neil Abbot, director of operations at ME Research UK, is sceptical
about adrenaline playing a role in the condition. 'We should like to
see some evidence that there is an adrenaline rise in ME sufferers,
and if there is, whether lowering adrenaline induces a "lightning"
cure,' he says.'
(In other words, he's saying there's no evidence for the scientific claims of LP.)
This quote by Abbot has been given in many places.
Close your eyes and choose from:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
The Perrin Technique
Just look at all those cookies to choose from.
All based on 'I believe' not 'Biomedical research has established'