Judging from those hoaky commercials, some products will transform you from a jellyfish into a superhero in a jiffy. But what about the mantra we're hearing that aggressive weight loss is hopeless, because it results in rebound weight gain? Our brain's reward centers, our hormones, and our psyches simply can't resist the evolutionary forces unleashed by artificial famine conditions, they say.
New insights into memory are helping to explain treatments for serious problems, and guide us to making them better. Many psychotherapies use the one-two punch of targeting (focusing on a memory or other source of anxiety, flash backs, or related symptoms) and state change (the best-known being relaxation, as in systematic desensitization, and bilateral stimulation in EMDR). Now, researchers are exploring other ways to accomplish this, and they are being guided by new insights into how memory works.
When one of my duties was handling complaints about clinicians in our managed care network, I got the most complaints about psychiatrists. Sorry, docs, but it wasn't because they thought you were projecting thoughts into their toasters. The biggest piece of the pie was problems with appropriate communication. These tended to boil down to neglect of what most folks would consider to be the basic stuff of humanity.
If there is anything I know a lot about, it’s persuasion. I don’t mean to say that I am a genius sales person or politician, but I had a big lesson about psychotherapy some years ago. I edited a book about persuasion and did a lot of literature research in the process. I realized just how many persuasion techniques I was using as a therapist—in addition to those that I (and many other therapists) were aware of (e.g., Ericksonian hypnotic language and motivational interviewing in particular). Of the previously unconscious (on my part) techniques, one of the most important is priming, which means activating implicit (unconscious, basically) memory, so that the person is more likely to experience a particular state, or evince a particular kind of behavior.