Cognitive-Behavioral Cybernetics of Symptoms, Dreams, Lateralization

Theory, Interpretation, Therapy

by Altan Loker



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 2/26/2007

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 7x10
Page Count : 312
ISBN : 9781553697053

About the Book

This book deals with automatic responses such as pain, fear, anxiety, the symptoms of primary mental disorders, dreams, repression, hypnosis, laughter, tears, response to stage and screen plays, structural responses such as cerebral lateralization, and so forth. The reason why all those phenomena are studied together is that, according to the theory presented in this book, all such automatic responses have adaptive, self-protective functions that contribute to the realization of survival, and that most of them seek to protect not only all sorts of interests and the physical health of the person but also, and primarily, his or her mental health. In reality, this statement about the general function of automatic responses is almost a tautology, because they all are created by evolution, and evolution is directed to realize adaptation, success, and survival; moreover, proper mental functioning is necessary for realizing survival. Therefore the real problem is to understand the particular self-protective functions of particular automatisms and how they discharge those functions, not that they have such functions. Despite this fact, for example, the symptoms of primary mental disorders are considered by the authors of the DSM and by everyone else as harmful manifestations of unknown dysfunctions, and their self-protective functions are totally ignored. It is shown in this book that the harmfulness of symptoms is due to their side effects.

Mental disorders, dreams, and other automatic responses are insufficiently, or even not at all, understood, because (1) mental processes cannot be observed and are even unconscious to a great extent, (2) the experimental causation of mental disorders is ethically unfeasible, and (3) psychologists do not try to construct theories because they do not know how to do it and are also discouraged by the fact that Freud's theories turned out to be unscientific.

Newton explained the method that he used in constructing his theory of mechanics thus: "Propositions [that constitute the basic principles of theories] are deduced from the phenomena and made general through induction." He integrated such "propositions" with empirical and semi-empirical knowledge to explain and predict many mechanical phenomena and thus proved that his propositions were correct. This is the method used in this book to construct a theory of automatic responses and to test it.

A theory is empirically proved to be correct, or viable, by its usefulness in explaining, predicting, and controlling the phenomena in its field of validity. In this book, (a) the functions of several automatisms that are either discovered through research or are considered normal components of everyday behavior are explained on the basis of the theory, (b) the meanings and functions of about 500 symptoms and 200 dreams are likewise explained in detail, (c) the life experiences of those who produced them are predicted in general terms, (d) the particulars of those experiences are exposed, (e) the causal relations between those experiences and the resulting automatisms are explained, and (f) many examples of eliminating the symptoms and their harmful side consequences are presented, which constitute successful cases of psychotherapy. All these detailed explanations, predictions, and controls of particular phenomena constitute more than 2000 empirical proofs of the theory about the general function of automatisms. No other theory in the history of science has been put forth with so many empirical proofs. Future generations will have difficulty in understanding why the functions of automatic responses have not been understood earlier.

About the Author

The origin of my ideas
When I was a high school student, first my grandmother and then my elder brother were hospitalized at the Bakirköy Mental Hospital in Istanbul, the largest in Turkey. My uncle was working there as a psychiatrist together with Mazhar Osman who was a legendary figure. I went to the hospital several times and observed the behaviors of many mental patients. I also listened to the explanations of my uncle but did not believe them, because especially my brother's symptoms looked to me like they were understandable defensive responses to some old events that had hurt him much. I did not dare to mention such petit events to my uncle who was expressing very clever views, which were mostly psychoanalytic as I later understood. Today I know that a response that looks inadequate in the current situation is most probably a response to an old event that had hurt the person very much, and that such responses serve, or at least seek, to prevent the harm that might be caused by the repetition of that old event. Freud too noticed this phenomenon and talked about it in his lecture The Etiology of Hysteria, which he delivered before he switched to the fantasy theory. He said that the symptoms of hysterical patients, who were sexually abused in childhood according to him, become "understandable" (meaning defensive and more or less rational) when the circumstances in which they were initially produced were discovered. Freud abandoned this line of thought after he switched to the fantasy theory.

Being motivated probably by the above-mentioned experiences, I read in the high school (Lycée de Galatasaray) books by Descartes, Kant, Pascal, Bergson, Rousseau, James, Dirac, Poincaré, and others. I studied Freud, Jung and Adler much later because their books were not to be found in the school library. I later found time also to study Shakespeare and Hitchcock and wrote and produced films, because I consider the theater a psychology laboratory where the most instructive and expensive experiments of certain types can be performed. I found out that the processes that Freud described as taking place in the minds of neurotics occur in reality in some measure in the minds of healthy persons under certain conditions, and that this is especially true concerning the drama spectators.

I studied electrical engineering and received an MS degree because I wished an occupation that produced concrete, useful results and was also close to theory. I later studied physics in USA and received a second MS degree, because my theoretical curiosity was not satisfied. I learned automatic controls from electrical engineering and had much professional experience in this field working as engineer, project manager, and contractor. As a consequence of this work, I acquired the habit of seeing cybernetic systems everywhere. This helped me to understand the automatic self-protection responses of mental patients, which are called symptoms, having also in view the behaviors of my brother, grandmother, and film spectators and the ideas of Freud and Jung. From physics, I learned theory construction and the part it plays in the progress of science. The most recent result of all these chance occurrences has been my book Cognitive-Behavioral Cybernetics of Symptoms, Dreams, Lateralization, which contains The CBC Theory and a very effective and fast method of psychotherapy based on it. I cured more than 100 migraine and tension headache patients, some of whom presented also symptoms of other types of mental disorder.