This mini ebook was sent in by a supporter of the Aftermath Foundation accompanied by the following thoughts.
It contains some thought-provoking ideas that are anathema to anyone who subscribes to the principles expounded by L. Ron Hubbard. But there are a lot of things in this world that help people that he derided. Perhaps you will find something that provides some relief/assistance to you in these ideas. They are certainly offered with the best intentions.
I am a Certified Neurosculpting Facilitator at the Neurosculpting Institute in Denver, and I have something for you.
I teach classes in basic neuroscience and, after watching the Scientology and the Aftermath TV show, felt utterly compelled to help by contributing the basics of what I know.
I was devastated time and again when the people you’re helping would say something like “how could I still think that?” or “am I a bad person for still thinking xyz sometimes?” I saw people feeling heartbroken, ashamed, or even evil because of the thoughts that still pop up for them after a lifetime of being involved in Scientology. I was so devastated that these people were beating themselves up over questions whose answers lie in very basic neuroscience: the science of neuroplasticity (which I’m sure you’ve heard of at this point.)
I am also a ghostwriter for the Neurosculpting Institute and, shortly after finishing the tv series, was asked to write a whitepaper on neuroplasticity. I very excitedly wrote this short “mini ebook” as NSI calls it (10-15 pages) specifically with the people of Scientology and the Aftermath in mind. Now that it is published, I would like to share it with you. I hope that the people of your organization benefit from the easy-to-grasp info in this paper. This is not intended to sell anything at all or convince any potentially emotional or psychologically vulnerable people of anything they should or should not do. I wrote this because I was highly motivated to help these amazing people in the way I knew how. I hope it is helpful and useful to them and to you.
If you would like any information, education, or involvement from me outside of this, I am so so happy to provide that (for free because I’d just like to help). Thank you so much! I hope this goes somewhere with you. It was largely written with your particular audience in mind.
If you find this interesting and would like more information, you can contact the Neuroscuplting Institute at www.neurosculptinginstitute.com, or if you would like to directly contact the author of this piece, go to the Aftermath Foundation website and click on “Requesting Help” at the top of the home page.
Steve Wood says
Please keep up the great work you do
Raphael Franchi says
Before leaving completely Scientology I worked very hard for 10 years to stop those automatic thought patterns builded by that crazy cult. It has been hard, I was already in Scientology since 26 years… This article made understand why is soo hard to get rid of all that junk. Now I understand my friends that do not go to Scientology organizations since 10 years and still belive in it. Scientology ruined my life as well as many others and today it still have some effect on my mind/brain. A cult that works with such a totalitarian way as Scientology trains your barin without you even noticing it how diabolic.
Robert King says
I was in the $Scientology cult for 30 yrs. I know exactly what Mike and Leah mean when you have the Scientology way of thinking about and looking at things, which is not always a bad thing because of the Ethics and various other things your taught to do good, help others …. So as much as I want to disassociate myself from everything of Hubbard’s, you can’t 100% .
Try to find Yourself.
Therese Grant says
As a never in this program worries me, to me it sounds like a smoker giving up the cigarettes for chewing gum they are effectively swapping one addiction for another. This program sound like swapping mind manipulation by Scientology for perhaps a less toxic form of control but the manipulation and ultimately the dependence on the program seems to remain. I am not a psychologist but I am a mother of three children and I taught my children to question things that made them uncomfortable to look to the consequences of their actions and not to be swayed by peer pressure and I would say that the way Mike and Leah both described the pause when they asked themselves is this my thought or a scientology taught thought is the only way to break the programming. Question everything, question your responses, question your reactions watch how other people respond to a situation. My big worry is that having been controlled in the past it would be very easy to fall into another group especially if the new group are promising a quick fix (slimming pills anyone) no one should allow any group however well intentioned to exert any form of control on your thought process. Trust yourself ,eventually you will sort it out ,don’t swap one addiction for another.
If you are given the chance to be treated like a human beings not be lied to and the info to try out what suits us best would be a start
From a mother of two to a mother of three:It is great that you iniciate your kids in an advance subject as it is critical thinking.I humbly beg you,don’t only train your kids to question things that make then uncomfortable,train them even more to question things that make them comfortable.Example:candies give kids sweet momentarily comfort but we all know how bad candies are for tooth and for overall wellness. Many things in our societies work in that way. They are highly appealing and make us feel good instantly when we indulge in their moment gratification effects, but deceptively, under the surface ,produce long term damage to our lives.Ultimately,it is easy to manipulate your mind with pleasure than with pain.
Thank you Mike,
My wife and I are familiar with this subject. PBS has had a special on it a while back. But this writer was brilliant. My wife and I loved the article. The yogis have been talking about retraining the brain for centuries.
These two studies are interactive no doubt.
In Hubbard’s egotistical view of body/mind soul connection he denigrated the value of the brain because Mr. Delusional Smarty Pants had no idea what he was talking about. That is why he died a madman. His brain was fried by all of the lies and deception.
Thank you Mike, that is important stuff for people.
jere lull (38years recovering) says
“That is why he died a madman. His brain was fried by all of the lies and deception.”
I suspect the frequent use of brain-altering drugs contributed to its being fried.
Well Brain, I mean Brian, or do I mean Brain – this is now becoming a brain teaser, I’m getting all my synapses snapped in.
You are so very clever Eff Pee. I’d venture you only have one, maybe two of those thingys snapped in cause dave runs yer puppet show.
FoolProof Get Them BT Clusters Off Ya says
Hey whar’s That FoolProof OT XVIII Solo Neds Golden Age Of Tech Maximus Donatus idiot gone to. Ain’t he gonna post some more? Damn we had some fun with him two blog posts back. Guess he had to go do him some Purification Rundowns and beat off to a poster of L Ron Hubbard in his bedroom.
Nice to see I am appreciated. Mike, you really seem to be letting any old riff-raff trailer trash post here now.
Mike Rinder says
I have never referred to you as riff raff or trailer trash. A fundamentalist scientologist, yes. But I have no idea if you are trailer trash or riff raff.
LOL!!!!!!!!!!! Nice one.
Has Eff Pee completed his GAG II training and full basics completion? Get him on it, he needs something to do.
Marie Guerin says
I don’t think anybody is asking anybody to “join” anything.
The point is ,as a scientologist I got sold on “ the brain is just a piece of meat , at best a conduit for the spirit to operate the body “ but no specifics.
I have been promising myself to study the latest research on the brain and didn’t get to it .
This mini book was a big help , gives me a window into the possibilities and the workings of this very important piece of meat and how I can keep it in good shape.
Even after 5 years out , I still had this knee jerk of dismissal reaction at the mere mention of the brain as a major player. Kept it secret , but it was there.
jere lull (38years recovering) says
As I’ve direct experience with operating with a ‘defective’ brain, having suffered a stroke, I offer the internal perception that the brain IS a perfectly good conduit for the spirit to operate the body and thence the physical universe through. At least I can definitely declare that there’s NO operating the body without a functioning brain, and that what I’ve heard called a “mind” has very close ties with the brain & associated Central Nervous System (CNS). It might not BE the mind, but I can’t tell there’s a practical difference. All you have to do is observe someone under the influence of mind-altering drugs or other substances or influences. Their “minds” alter along with their brains. Who’s to chart exactly where/if one leaves off and the other begins.
Dr. Phil McGraw has had Dr. Lawlis on his show multiple times.
Dr. Phil is a television entertainer. (And has no active license to practice.)
“McGraw graduated in 1975 (…) with a B.A. in psychology. He went on to earn an M.A. in experimental psychology in 1976, and a Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology in 1979 at the University of North Texas, (…) McGraw was guided through the doctoral program by Frank Lawlis, who later became the primary contributing psychologist for the Dr. Phil television show.”
Also a forensic psychologist…….& a mandated reporter to CPS….
I find it somewhat amusing when he “counsels” married couples who are having problems in their marriage, telling the how THEY should straighten out the problems within their marriage.
He is always saying how long he & Robyn McGraw are married. He NEVER talks about his FIRST FAILED MARRAIGE & HIS OWN DIVORCE.
jere lull (38years recovering) says
“He is always saying how long he & Robyn McGraw are married. He NEVER talks about his FIRST FAILED MARRAIGE & HIS OWN DIVORCE.”
SO? Are you saying he didn’t learn from the 1st one?
I mistakenly called my current wife by the Exes’ name — THAT got her attention, and a thousand deserved apologies. Discussing where Ex- and I didn’t match up is a never-ending conversation/monolog, ultimately fruitless & useless.
The second has been a real “keeper” from Day 1. After 27 years, She still gets a cheery “G’Morning Gorgeous” each morning and as much flirtatiousness as she’ll stand/sit/lie there for through the day/night.
I don’t blame Phil for not bringing up the failure(s), as concentrating on what WORKING is more likely to continue to work. Leave failure in the dusty past. Don’t beat yourself or her/him up over it after it ceases to matter.
Instead of Dr Phil calling everyone ELSE out on THEIR marital problems wouldn’t it be nice if he did ADMIT while on air ….”Yes, I was married young and I (we) made mistakes/had issues/had problems so I fully understand where you’re coming from”, I myself was and am not perfect.
Nothing wrong with a divorce of course, but Dr Phil seems to live in a bubble where all he talks about is his “successful marriage to Robyn” negating his FIRST marriage as if it never happened. Most people learn by their mistakes, some don’t….nothing wrong with admitting the first marriage didn’t work out.
Dr Phil will talk about his love for Robyn, but also indicates that Robyn is more or less a tough cookie & won’t take any guff…..now that’s funny.
George M White says
Once met a lady who tried meditation with us but could never advance. She eventually started Reiki which is a technique of energy transfer through the palms. She reported back and said that it helped her. We wished her well but never saw her again.
Hubbard kept us out of dreams but I have recently discovered that he was wrong as usual. Hubbard had no clue about the importance of meditation either. Hubbard never let me explore and his closely taped path of implants ended as just narrative. Bye bye Ronnie
Hi George – After I blew Scn I had two or three sessions with another ex Scio who had some kind of a healing technique which might have been similar to Reiki. He had a portable table which you would lay on and he would pass his hands over your body maybe four or five inches above and “shake out” his hands frequently which he said was shaking off “charge”. In one of the sessions I was feeling this great flow in my body. I said, “Steve, I’m feeling this great flow.” He replied, “Yes, it’s light red and flowing from your head through your feet.” That was exactly what I was experiencing. A friend of mine tried him out and didn’t think it was of any benefit. I guess Steve and I were on the same wavelength or something and my friend wasn’t.
That and a few other things prevent me from becoming an atheist scientific materialist which an easily defensible position. Too bad Scn didn’t deliver on its promise of developing extrasensory and paranormal abilities. Maybe a few people got a few by chance.
George M White says
I have weakened on the subject of science in the last few years as I have seen the bad studies by the drug companies. I took some medication about ten years ago which has been recently been declared worthless. I continue to believe in a “para normal’ range but there is very little reported on the subject today. Maybe I need to get back into the Occult.
Laughter – Too bad Madame Blavatsky isn’t still around. We both would show up to see what was going on and get to meet each other in person. It might even become a reunion of a bunch of Exes.
George I think you would appreciate The Brain That Changes Itself by Dr. Norman Doidge. The growing pains that this science went through were quite painful, suppression was attempted, et al.
Mind control is the dark side of neuroplasticity.
I think many healing techniques can be applied to neuroplasticity. Including the off-the-beaten-path ones, which some find a little woo.
Earlier than, or around the same time, is Chakra healing. Hand chakra healing and Reiki are parallel IMO. Red is associated with Chakra 1, the base, and is connected to the earth. Steve was shaking out the corrupted energy from around your body and disposing of it.
So much that Hubbard never knew.
Calli. I loved the book “The brain that changes itself’
Thanks, Jim. That’s interesting to know (after all these years – haha)
Hubbard wrote a lot about “flows and ridges” but it wasn’t necessary to have an in depth understanding of whatever he was talking about in order to give or receive auditing. Likewise with Steve’s healing technique when receiving it.
jere lull (38years recovering) says
“Hubbard wrote a lot about “flows and ridges” but it wasn’t necessary to have an in depth understanding of whatever he was talking about in order to give or receive auditing.”
HE didn’t have much of an understanding of them, either, IMO. All I got from his “explanations” was gobbly-gook. I understood what he SAID, but it didn’t add up to anything that was in alignment with the rest of the article/lecture.
George M White says
Very true. Hubbard’s lectures did not fit a pattern. He seemed to just go where he was on a specific day.
George – P.S.
Above you mention dreams. Is that something you’re experimenting with? I once did some study of an Objectivism type philosophy. The author looked at dreams as the mind dumping garbage, ridding itself of disconnected thoughts and making room for more rational thinking. He probably never experimented with directed or creative dreaming if that’s what it’s called. I’m guessing that some prolific writers keep a notebook at bedside to jot down any dream sequences that might develop into a storyline.
George M White says
Yes My wife and I studied a few new sources and had some insights. There was one in particular that was interesting. I do not remember the authors by name but we have his book in a pile. When we sleep, the brain goes into a state where it is attempting to solve problems but it has sort of relaxed its restrictions. This is why you get these odd patterns in a dream. Maybe I should look at this again.
jere lull (38years recovering) says
“I’m guessing that some prolific writers keep a notebook at bedside to jot down any dream sequences that might develop into a storyline.”
No guessing needed; I’ve seen a couple of authors state that a bedside notebook and writing implement was part of their “method”. Personally, I use my computer, which boots in 30 seconds these days and has a couple of useful note-jotting apps only a click away. I also use it as a check on my memory, journalizing events just after they happened; people seen, met, etc. Later, I can go back and refresh those neuro pathways to keep them alive. I’ve also been noting interesting mental items since my stroke to keep note of anything obviously changing. At my age, ‘Senior moments’ are likely to become the norm. As an added benefit, when I wake up to look something up on the ‘net, I note what I *wanted* to do first, just in case I forget once I get to the search engine or whatever. “No, I HAVEN’T lost my mind: It’s backed up on disk, somewhere.” (Now, WHERE did I put that note? Mac OS’s “Spotlight” finds it for me WHEREVER I put it if I can think of a key word — SUCH a godsend. Windoze, up through XP, at least, had nothing comparable.
Jere – That sounds like an excellent use for a computer when recovering from a stroke or a brain injury. Regarding normal senior moments I’m willing to let nature take its course without using a computer for a backup.
Anyhow, thanks for sharing that, Gary.
George, I suspect that Hubbard avoided dealing with dreams because he could not control them as a tool like the auditing process with its covert directions and manipulated regression, and also because recognition of the imaginative processes of the brain would have cast doubt on past life “memories.”
I think Hubbard had similar considerations about meditation. He wanted a process like auditing that could be directed – and sold.
George M White says
I think you are correct. good points.
Here is more information about the author. Just FYI.
This reminds me that one of the reasons that Scientology is dying out, is that it seems so behind the times. And I think there’s a good chance that in the next decade or so, some real advances in brain research and neurochemistry will leave Hubbard’s theories and practices completely disproved by actual science, and totally eclipsed by new therapeutic approaches particularly in addiction treatment. The failing indies, while in some cases having a bit more flexibility than the CofS, don’t seem to have any ability to really adapt to any of the changes and advances, either.
It looks like a potentially useful resource. However, I’d want to have have someone who had a lot of experience working with people coming out of high control groups or cults, whether or not this was an appropriate approach.
I Yawnalot says
If it isn’t booby trapped and gives the user/reader/practitioner a benefit they know they are getting and it’s under their control, doesn’t require a never ending adherence to anothers interpretation of how you should feel or act, it’s a good thing imo. If money is the hidden underlying pitch… well, we all know how that turns out in the mental racket.
Feeling good with a personal desires mandate of when you want to be so without drugs, an evil or dominating agendas for others to do what they are told, or without a worship/faith factor being the only motivation – gee… now that would be something. Good luck and hope it works for you if you decide to get into it. Complex thing – putting desires under control.
Mat Pesch says
Kat LaRue says
Neuroplasticity is a very valid branch of psychology/psychology, and has been proven to have very good results in specific areas such as thought processes and other areas impacted by thinking. It has been around for a long while and has gained popularity in the past decade or so (the advances in technology actually helped visualize how the process works) . And it does work, depending on the type of behavior or thought process that needs to be altered (its not a cure for some mental illness, but it is very, very effective in changing how we think). It is also sometimes paired with other methods to help in anxiety or depression, as well as in controlling behaviors associated with thought patterns.
I think that “neurosculpting” is a proprietary method of delivery and is specific to this institute. (I am not familiar with them) That doesn’t necessarily make it suspect, and the process could be very, very helpful to people needing to be “deprogrammed”. If she is offering help, and I think she is sincere in the offer, it could be a great resource for the Aftermath foundation -although it may need to be re-worked to assist people with a deep mistrust of psychology and psychiatry. That could be a huge stumbling block in delivery to people first coming out. As long as they are not asking for money, and the service isn’t coming with strings attached, it could be helpful.
Ammo Alamo says
“Neuroplasticity is a very valid branch of psychology/psychology, and has been proven to have very good results in specific areas such as thought processes and other areas impacted by thinking.”
I searched earlier today and did not come up with anything from peer-reviewed science that would support your statement. But I do have an open mind, if you have a reference or three I will read it.
The Brain That Changes Itself is a good reference. By Dr. Norman Doidge, it recounts a couple of decades of research and amazing successes. 428 pages. I just finished it and it’s a riveting read.
Kat LaRue says
I am going to give you the APA citations- not sure if they are available online unless you have access to the journals and text books, but here are a few. If you want more, please let me know. (there are plenty out there….)
Shaffer J. (2016). Neuroplasticity and Clinical Practice: Building Brain Power for Health. Frontiers in psychology, 7, 1118. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01118
Chun, H., An, H., Lim, J., Woo, J., Lee, J., Ryu, H., & Lee, C. J. (2018). Astrocytic proBDNF and Tonic GABA Distinguish Active versus Reactive Astrocytes in Hippocampus. Experimental neurobiology, 27(3), 155–170. doi:10.5607/en.2018.27.3.155
Seifert F.; Maihöfner C. (2011). “Functional and structural imaging of pain-induced neuroplasticity”. Current Opinion in Anesthesiology. 24 (5): 515–523. doi:10.1097/aco.0b013e32834a1079. PMID 21822136.
**Maihöfner did a series on pain and neuroplasticity.
Maihöfner C.; Handwerker H.O.; Neundorfer B.; Birklein F. (2003). “Patterns of cortical reorganization in complex regional pain syndrome”. Neurology. 61 (12): 1707–1715. doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000098939.02752.8e.
Azar, S.; Kerr, C.; Wasserman, R.; Gray, J.; Greve, D.; Treadway, Michael T.; McGarvey, Metta; Quinn, Brian T.; et al. (28 November 2005). “Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness”. NeuroReport. 16 (17): 1893–97. doi:10.1097/01.wnr.0000186598.66243.19. PMC 1361002. PMID
Davidson, Richard; Lutz, Antoine (January 2008). “Buddha’s Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation” (PDF). IEEE Signal Processing Magazine. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 January 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
Doidge, Norman (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the frontiers of brain science. New York: Viking. ISBN 978-0-670-03830-5.
Olotla, Victor A.; Bach-y-Rita, Paul (2002). “Shepherd Ivory Franz: His contributions to neuropsychology and rehabilitation” (PDF). Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience. 2 (2): 141–148. doi:10.3758/CABN.2.2.141. Archived from the original on 1 March 2012.
Maguire, E. A.; Frackowiak, R. S.; Frith, C. D. (1997). “Recalling routes around london: Activation of the right hippocampus in taxi drivers”. The Journal of Neuroscience. 17 (18): 7103–7110. PMID 9278544.
If you want to learn more, please let me know!! I actually love this subject.
Kat – Great references. Thanks!
Ammo Alamo says
Mike, pardon me, but I have to rain on this parade, though it looks like I’m not the first. First of all, I know there has been research into basic neuroplasticity, which in simplest terms is the re-wiring of parts of the central nervous system after injury. Think of people re-learning how to read or walk after a brain injury. I don’t know if the research has extended itself into the “5-step program of meditation” that is the Neurosculpting®’s website; if there are peer-reviewed sources, I did not find them in the pamphlet, nor on the website.
What I did find is that Lisa Wimberger, the founder of Neurosculpting® has no credentials listed, not even a two-year community college degree, much less a BA, MA, or Ph.D. Lack of credentials or licensing is a big red flag, at least to me.
The following info comes from the founder herself, Lisa Wimberger. She recounts medical problems which got worse after being hit by lightning at age 15, blackouts and seizures, which were either undiagnosed, untreated or untreatable – she doesn’t detail her medical treatments. She probably did some reading and came up with this concept, which she claims is “outside of dogma and institutional influence.” Maybe that explains why there are no degrees or licenses or credentials – she made it all up, with a nod here and there to real science. Then there is the basic claim that it is all about repetition – like the TR’s?
A person with no formal education, who made it all up “outside of dogma and institutional influence”, with not even a single formal mention of the hard-working researchers in the field, who then insists on repetition to change thinking and behavior – where have we heard that before?
I also found that the author of the pamphlet, who so generously offered some sort of free assistance, could also be drumming up business for her own for-profit operation. Neurosculpting® offers franchise opportunities. After buying a certain number of their courses, one becomes (as the author claims) a “Certified Neurosculpting® Facilitator”, authorized to sell the services learned, for profit. Again, there is no official licensing or credentialing process, just buy enough courses and bingo, you are certified.
As the website advertises: “Become a Certified Neurosculpting® Facilitator and Own Your Own Franchise.”
Becoming a “Certified Neurosculpting® Facilitator” is “an unconventional franchise opportunity.” They list benefits, one of which is “access to three live events a month with Founder Lisa Wimberger…” including a “live best business practices call.” Founder starts with a capital letter, same as Source.
To put it in terms a former Scientologist might understand, this lady, so eager to help, might actually be a sort of FSM, or indy auditor for hire, under the umbrella of the for-profit home-brewed organization invented by Lisa Wimberger called Neurosculpting®.
I was turned off by the pamphlet – it looks just like any other advertising piece for a “Free Oil Change” that goes straight into my round file. I neither need nor desire to have my reading comprehension influenced by stock photos. The graphics comprise over 50% of the so-called ‘mini ebook.’ It is not a book, it is a pamphlet, different in content but not format from The Way To Happiness. It excites the reader, but that is necessary when selling something. It has no references to peer-reviewed science, or any licensing or credentialing organization.
The link goes to the website of “The Neurosculpting® Institute,” where one can get “20% OFF ALL NEW MEMBERSHIPS!” The caps and exclamation point are theirs, not mine. The memberships range from Bronze, now only $175, to Silver at $375, to Gold at $775, and the all-important Platinum at $1,275. Remember, these prices are 20% off! Compared to Scientology, the cost is cheap.
Before anyone gets on my case for being too critical of someone just trying to help, let me list the claimed benefits, as Hubbard did, but in this case the benefits are claims made by Neurosculpting®, as stated on their own website. “Neurosculpting® is a 5-step meditation process” for which “Anecdotal evidence suggests …” and “Additional testimonial feedback…” gives rise to these claims:
• mitigation of anxiety and depression symptoms,
• mitigation of migraines,
• reduction in OCD episodes,
• support for substance addiction,
• increased mobility with RA and other chronic pain diseases and
• even increased mobility in spinal cord injury.
Mitigation: the action of reducing the severity, seriousness, or painfulness of something.
Reduction: the action or fact of making a specified thing smaller or less in amount, degree, or size.
Support: I’m not sure how one provides ‘support for substance addiction.” Would that be financial aid, provide a home for, give comfort or approval or encouragement…?
The increased mobility no doubt refers to the in-depth therapeutic activities involved in re-learning physical and mental behaviors after a brain or spinal cord injury. I doubt meditation, even a “5-Step Meditation” is the sole factor.
I’m not a big fan of “Anecdotal evidence…” and “testimonial feedback…” There are probably some peer-reviewed article(s) that support these claims to some degree. However, without a bibliography, one must wonder if the meditation is a minor or a major part of these claims, or is it a re-wording of well-known techniques commonly used in modern medicine and psychology.
But wait! There’s more! They even have a Neurosculpting® Kids Camp! They will “learn the ABCs of mindfulness!” One of the facilitators proudly announces her credentials: Certified Neurosculpting® Facilitator and Tier 2 Fellow, Certified Vedic Astrologer, 200 hour Certified Yoga Instructor and Certified Reiki Master. The other instructor of the kids has all the corporate buzz words: strategic planning, human capital assessment, training program design and delivery, execution-focused project management, results-oriented skills development, and resilient, focused, and effective workforce. Sounds like just the thing kids need.
To me, there are some huge red flags both in this advertising pamphlet masquerading as a “mini ebook,” and the website itself. I’m not afraid to say this advertising piece, and Neurosculpting® itself, do not deserve a place on the Aftermath Foundation website. It’s just another one-person money-making scheme, not matter how well it clothes itself in “helpfulness” it’s just another unproven outfit not a lot different from a host of MLM organizations.
But people interested in new age woo-woo with a touch of scientificity might feel differently.
Their street address is a little business center: 1245 E Colfax Ave #207, Denver, CO 80218. It’s upstairs, between the Inno-Vapor Store and Probiotic Dentistry. Across from Alfani’s Barber Shop and D.P. Dough’s Pizza Delivery.
Sorry I don’t have time to really research this, other priorities intrude. My Vedic Astrologer told me it was my lucky day, so I’m headed off to buy a lottery ticket. Again.
Kat LaRue says
Good catch! I know about neuroplasticity, and I know that it does work, but I am unfamiliar with Neurosclupting- I made an assumption that it was just a delivery method that they had developed. It looks like it may need to be investigated a little more closely!!
I totally get what you’re saying. Though it did sound like the author offered assistance for free of any charge just from a place of wanting to help.
I do know the clinician my brother (veteran of military special forces) sees who practices Cognitive Behavioral Therapy describes neuroplasticity similarly. I know nothing about the meditation the above group is offering, but I do know CBT has a LOT of clinical study behind it with proven benefits. My brother (due to work w/explosives) has evidence of TBI & PTSD on a brain scan so he wanted to work on that before it became an issue once he became an instructor. He’s NEVER been a big fan/proponent of therapy but has not only been surprised how much CBT helped him, we’ve all been shocked by the positive changes in his communication, willingness and ability to process and express his feelings/emotions…
So while I can’t say much about what that group offers, the information may help lift a weight for many. And I do hope more will look into CBT if they need help. I’d actually heard about CBT through exes here on Mike’s blog & some at Tony’s (Underground Bunker) a couple years before my brother checked it out. Seems like it’s helped a lot of people.
But I’m glad you put this out there, as yeah… definitely don’t need another means of people getting involved with something that costs money and may be of questionable efficacy. I definitely appreciate the laymen’s description of Neuroplasticity though.
PS – My cousin is a Clinical Neuropsychologist (PhD) who helped my brother find a reputable, licensed CBT therapist… so I’m def a fan of tested and proven therapies. He did say there are many books and exercises out there for people to try to make some of these changes on their own if CBT isn’t available nearby or cost prohibitive and “Neurosculpting” wasn’t something he mentioned – all titles he sent were by licensed practitioners and based on extensive trial and study.
Ammo, good research – and good questions. When I was in Colorado for a while, I knew some of the people involved in the Institute – and definitely one of the current facilitators – if not Lisa herself, and remember their incessant pitches.
I never had any dealings with the Institute itself. But my impression was that they were enthusiastic amateurs, perhaps onto something with some merits, but definitely heavily into promoting it like a business (and, according to their website, franchising). The person I knew has no background I’m aware of in psychology, counseling, or anything relevant – and I don’t think Lisa does, either; checking quickly, I found this biography on her Amazon author page:
About Lisa Wimberger
Lisa Wimberger is the founder of the Neurosculpting® Institute. She holds a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Stonybrook, NY and a Foundations Certification in NeuroLeadership*. Lisa holds additional certificates in Neurobiology, The Study of Neurons, Brains and Synapses, and Medical Neuroscience. As the Founder of the Neurosculpting® modality Lisa runs a private meditation practice in Colorado teaching clients who suffer from stress disorders, and she is a faculty member of Kripalu Yoga and Meditation Center, Omega Institute, 1440 Multiversity and the Law Enforcement Survival Institute.
* Googling that leads to an institute in New York run by a couple whose background is “leadership development and executive coaching”
Thank you Ammo Alamo!
I didn’t make anything like the effort you did but I had the exact same critical thoughts while looking it over. Including “WTF is this doing on Mike Rinder’s Blog”? It reads like an advertisement for a holistic, non-professional, extraordinary claims healing enterprise.
And LOL: “Sorry I don’t have time to really research this” … I think you have already invested sufficient time for a useful overview of this highly dubious subject.
Thank you A Alamo. I thought your comments were valid.
Ammo – When I started reading the promo I was thinking it could be altered into a Scn promo piece since a lot of the claims and buzzwords are similar.
Speaking of Astrology, my grandmother was a devout Christian and also gave astrology readings. I was just a boy when she was living with me and my parents so I don’t know if it was Vedic astrology. Her viewpoint was something like, “God created the heavens so we can admire and interpret them.”
(I realize you were joking AA – haha)
Anyhow, grandma also told me that angels helped her and they would help me too if I asked them. I was a natural for scientology – runs in the blood.
Around 1970 I lived in NYC for a year. Someone handed me a pamphlet about Scientology which I read and found interesting but I didn’t participate at that time. Six years later I was living in Salt Lake City and discovered there was a Scientology mission there. I walked in and decided to “sign up”. Sometimes well written promo sticks.
Fantastic insight and thoughtful analysis.
Cat W. says
I had a similar reaction. Some of the claims about the science are accurate and possibly helpful to people trying to deprogram their brains from Scientology. However, if the intention was really to offer free help, the promotion of a paid program would not be included. That makes it promotional material. To send promotional material as free help to people trying to get out of Scientology is self-interested at best, exploitative at worst. If they want to help, then write a shorter blurb without the advertising and marketing-speak. Don’t use already-exploited people as a target market. Not saying that to you, Mike, but to the writer and “donor” of the pamphlet. To me it came across like an ambulance-chaser.
I found this topic through a Canadian organization that turned out to be exorbitantly expensive trainings and four hour a day practice. That was a turn off. But after reading Dr. Norman Doidge’s book and a few hours of video, I could see the application can be learned otherwise.
This is an amazing field to read about, and the neuroplasticity of the brain is a fact.
While this lady’s business may not be the best for delivery, it is good for an awareness of the science to be made, especially hear.
Thank you for sharing this and for your desire to help. I hope the blog readers can benefit from some of the ideas presented here, particularly for re-programming troubling “reflex” thought patterns.
Lisa, thank you very much for giving us this new perspective on how to improve our brain, activities, ways of thought and so son.
For me it makes sense and it has truth in it. I had an uncle that was a Doctor. He was trained the old way, while having a band around his eyes, he was trained to feel only, with his hands, the muscles, bones, organs and so on. He was always accurate and precise in his diagnostics after he had only touch your organs, etc.
But reading your article actually reminded me of what this uncle doctor told us many times: you have to use your brain, to train them, specially if your body is growing old. Do new things, keep adding numbers in your mind, not with a mechanical calculator, do puzzles, painting, whatever.
I have experienced some of this, but with the data you kindly gave us I have a new way to approach the old school teachings my uncle taught us and I am sure many of us will benefit from your help. Thank you again and do well.
Wow! What an incredible gift! That will be so helpful to people trying to break free. Many, many thanks to the author
Rip Van Winkle says
This is indeed helpful.
This is exactly what I need to hear today.
Rip Van Winkle says
I’m going to use this like crazy. I’ve already begun… I’m so hopeful… this aligns with some common sense thoughts I’ve had about consciously making new “thoughts” about myself and how I’m doing.
and I’m going to BE OK.
and this information above is going to be USED!
I’ll read more on it too.
I’m so thankful.
Ammo Alamo says
I like the old saying “I’m OK, you’re so-so.”
It touches on reality.
Mary Kahn says
Thank you Lisa Wemberger for writing and publishing this. I haven’t had a chance to read it (but I will) except for the intro here but I can’t believe how thoughtful and lovely it was for you to write it because you wanted to help. I am very touched by your kindness.
What an incredible resource! This was very interesting to read and heartfelt thanks to the author for sharing and offering help!
Neuroplasticity is the primary reason that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is so helpful and produces long-lasting results. It really helps one “get out of our own way” and change long-standing patterns we’ve had little success changing ourselves. This mini book is by far the best/easiest to understand resource I’ve seen on the subject.
I hope this helps many people realize why much of scientology feels hard to purge from ones head. All that repetition for so long is very impactful! But not impossible to get rid of!
Zee Moo says
a Certified Neurosculpting Facilitator? What, and give up Rolfing certificate? While the author may be well meaning, I smell something fishy.
I agree with some of the premise, some brain ‘habits’ need to be stretched or broken, but all the rest looks too culty to me.
Kat LaRue says
I understand that some people may be hesitant about this, but it is entirely legitimate. The brain connections that we make need to be ‘pruned’ sometimes, and also need to be ‘trained’. Plasticity has proven results and is completely workable. It may also be paired with biofeedback for anxiety and other aspects, and this looks like it may be combining some of the elements. I hope that the others who were indoctrinated to be leery of psychology and psychology don’t dismiss this out of hand. The ‘neurosculpting’ is obviously a trademark that covers a proprietary method of delivering the method, but the basis is sound and proven very effective. Hope this helps.
I was waiting for your feedback on this! Good to know as the layman’s description above sounded excellent and very much how my cousin (Clin Neuropsychologist) described it to us. I know some biofeedback practitioners get into areas of woo, but I’m also aware of a lot of PTSD therapies that utilize it. (I volunteered to try it via Sonoma State University’s post-grad program back when I was in college – was definitely interesting and helped me apply relaxation/anti-anxiety techniques.)
Kat LaRue says
I am not familiar with the ‘neurosculpting’ company, so I cannot speak to it. It looks like AA may have gone honey badger on them, so its helpful to know what they are about.
I just dont want people to dismiss neuroplasticity as a therapeutic option- it DOES work. and if it is used correctly, it can help a lot of people learn a different way to ‘think’ now that they are out of the cult.
Xactly ma thots
I guess I may be too suspicious in my old age. But anytime I’m introduced to some new company or corporation or facility that I’ve never heard of, I like to search out whatever info I can using the net.
So, I Googled “Neuroplasticity”, “Certified Neurosculpting Facilitator”,
and most importantly “Neurosculpting Institute” (in Denver). I was looking to see if this was some big corporation or a small group of ex-hippies working out of a commune or …
In the end, I can’t make any kind of judgement about this facility. But I’d like to share the links I found with you. By the way, it takes only a very small effort to be able to identify the person who wrote this item from the group of their staff members below:
Neurosculpting Institute – Meet our Team
I started off looking for some city called “Neuroplast City” but I was on the wrong track entirely with that. I would expect people reading this to check it out and come to their own opinions – meaning, what do they think about this concept and this facility.
Ammo Alamo says
I wonder if there is a common idea that neuroplasticity is the same as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. That’s like saying an oil change is the same as the oil. CBT may take advantage of the plasticity of the brain, as do other therapies such as bio-feedback.
Both are useful for those trying to re-learn body functions after a brain impairment.
CBT is well researched, and results of properly conducted double-blind studies have shown it has a better-than-placebo effect on treatment populations. The franchise business of Neurosculpting® does not even give a nod to science, relates no studies of any kind, and has nothing but anecdotal evidence. This is stated by them, and on their own website. That puts Neurosculpting® right in the basket with other forms of new agey woo-woo, MLMs, and franchises/businesses/get-rich-quick schemes.
I like the MedicineNet.com definition:
Neuroplasticity: The brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.
Note that neuroplasticity is not a therapy, it is an innate physical ability of the brain, especially useful to compensate for injury or disease to the brain’s neural connections. Trying to get healing effects from the brain’s neuroplasticity is one of the things that the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation has funded, in particular something called Locomotion Training, using a treadmill to help some people to re-learn how to walk after a spinal cord injury.
Neuroplasticity is a feature of the human brain, and the benefits, or detriments of it, occur to everyone to some degree, whether they do the repetitive hypnotic TRs for hours on end, practice guided imagery/meditation, attend a seminar, read a book, watch TV, go to a church, or have a horoscope read by a Vedic Astrologer. The hypnotic and repetitive nature of Hubbard’s scam made for a powerful and lasting re-alignment of something, whether it was neurons, or personality, or habits, or something else I must leave to the scientists.
I would say the brain’s neuroplasticity creates the opportunity to become what we do. It follows that it is important to choose wisely what we do in our daily life.
What was explained to me was that much of the reason CBT is one of the most effective forms or therapy was that it incorporates (the behavioral portion) repetitive practice that effects cognitive (neuroplasticity being the primary area of impact) support if you will… so you’re learning new behaviors, tools and ways of thinking, but the way CBT is delivered also works on neuroplasticity, making it “easier” to effect and sustain lasting change in areas we’ve previously found hard to change ourselves (the getting out of our own way, part).
But definitely not that they’re the same (your oil/oil change analogy was spot on) by any means. Just that, unlike just talk therapy, CBT incorporates what is understood about NeuroP… to help one make those changes more quickly in such a way that they last. I’ve also heard that’s why it’s one of the few therapeutic methods that’s effective in battling the thought blocking the TR’s cause.
But yeah – the “sculpting” via meditation, yoga, etc… reminds me of the less expensive (but still $$$) methods advertised everywhere in lieu of liposuction or EXERCISE… where people will attach a glorified TENS unit to contract muscles/burn calories or apply extreme cold to freeze fat so it’s broken down/absorbed vs true surgical removal or doing the work of exercise… (watered-down results without the required hard work)
Hope that better clarifies what I said above. I just really liked the description of NP itself in the mini book as that was accurate/helpful. As for their process for changing those pathways? No clue and I’d rather see people use something proven like CBT.
I have to read her mini book more in depth. I just finished a 427 page book about it and would hate to see this topic shot down and killed here.
It is beyond proven, just hasn’t had the public attention, nor been as accessible as CBT.