Where do the symptoms of psychological illness come from?

To understand the cause of the symptoms, we should turn to the ideas of Academician P. Anokhin, who believed that any purposeful activity is the result of decision-making through the analysis and synthesis of afferent (perceived) information. Receiving such information occurs through four channels – through instinctual needs, which are based on biological motivation, based on environmental conditions (situation afferentation), through a direct push of reaction (launch afferentation), through access to information recorded by life experience, that is, memory. As a result of the generalization of all the received information, a definite program of action is formed, including two components – an efferent program of action (response program), that is, a set of sequential nervous commands applied to executive apparatus – effectors – muscles, glands, internal organs, and acceptor of the result of action representing the informational equivalent of the result obtained through the mechanism of prediction and evaluation of the possible outcome of such an action. Thus, the model of interaction with the stimulus consists of two parts – afferent (perceiving) and efferent (reactive) systems. Afferent synthesis performs the functions of selection, comparison and generalization in the nervous system of information coming from the stimulus. The efferent mechanism is the result of decision making in the system based on the data of afferent synthesis and represents a response to the acting stimulus, which manifests itself in the form of excitation of the nervous system.

314-800x400When we talk about nervous system excitation, we mean a reciprocal emotional reaction that can manifest like any emotional shade.

For example, irritation or aggression. It is the stable emotional reaction that creates the mood. Mood is an emotional state.

Let’s start from the very beginning. With any intense stimulus, the afferent-efferent system tries to maintain equilibrium, that is, the so-called homeostasis. In this case, the hypothalamus generates a portion of Beta-endorphins (a hormone of joy) and serotonin (a sleep hormone) to maintain a calm state. If the stress factor is intense and prolonged, then the opioid mechanism is overloaded, and the person experiences the so-called endorphic famine.

The result is an increased level of irritability, anxiety, fear and other emotional shades. Over time, the intensity of these emotional shades increases, and the efferent mechanism gets used to new conditions, to a new reaction. Here we are already talking about chronic conditions.

There is another reason for unexplained emotional reactions. For example, let’s take a reaction, the consequence of which is seemingly uncontrolled tears. Do they arise without a reason? Of course not. Nevertheless, these reasons can be hidden or depressed and located in the reactive part of the subconscious memory. Tears in this case are a reaction of one of the four main vectors of emotional states: fear, sadness, anger or joy. Why vectors? Because the vector form easily shows gradation of emotions or their shades. For example, if you carefully consider the components of the vector of fear, you can see that at first a person can feel worry, then anxiety, fear and so on. Sometimes a person passes so quickly through all shades of emotion that he just does not notice them, and the person immediately gets into a state of fear. Using a vector form, it is possible to easily define the tendency to some state of the client.

psihicheskie-rasstroystva-tyulpin-40297-large-800x400If he keeps repeating that he is scared, and after receiving a course of treatment his complaints are limited to anxiety, this does not mean that he is in a new state. This, on the contrary, means that the level of the mercury column of the intensity of the state fell. Hence, there is a result.

On the vector of the main emotional state are gradative emotional states (shades) – from the least emotionally charged to the most.

And here is an example of an escalation of emotional shades from the least to the most common:


discomfort >> worrying >> anxiety >> fear >> panic >> horror


melancholy >> nostalgia >> sadness >> despondency >> depression >> apathy >> tragedy >> grief


disappointment >> insult >> irritation >> anger >> aggression >> rage


excitement >> joy >> pleasure >> happiness >> delight >> euphoria >> ecstasy

Some people are constantly in a state of anxiety. And there are those who live in despondency. They are in a state, that is, without any action. This state is passive, consisting of the expectation of something (in this example, the expectation of anxiety).

They got to this state because of some feeling. Therefore, it can be said that the emotional state is a consequence of sensation or sensory perception of stimulus. At first, a person experiences a feeling that throws him into a certain emotional state. Sensation, in turn, is a consequence of afferent perception. It is afferent synthesis that creates a certain sensation, which then sends a person into an emotional state. Hence, tears are a consequence of some emotional state, which, in turn, is the consequence of certain sensations. 

Man is a tangle of desires. If any desire is not fulfilled, he experiences disappointment – irritation – anger and then, perhaps, aggression (see table above). Frustration, irritation, anger and aggression are emotional shades on the emotional scale of Anger.

Let’s talk a little about emotional states such as worry and anxiety. According to the information above, we see that anxiety happens after worrying, and fear – after anxiety. The “mercury column” of the intensity of the state rises, indicating that the state is injected, becomes more charged. Of course, there are natural states of worry and anxiety. Mother naturally worries about her child if he comes home later than usual or refuses to eat. But as soon as he came, the anxiety goes away. Normal states are episodic. But if there are no visible causes for worrying, and you are still worried and cannot do anything about it, then this condition is already pathological. With a sufficiently long stay in it, it is injected and turns into anxiety, then into fear. And notice it is not natural fear, having a specific cause, but fear which is pathogenic, causeless, paralyzing. These painful conditions can eventually create a physiological response of the body, known as the term “psychosomatic disorders.” Some form of this state is panic attacks, which are characterized by a number of somatic sensations against a background of severe pathological fear. Somatic sensations are different. It can be a lump in the throat (difficult to swallow), spontaneous eructation, rashes on the body, high blood pressure and many others. In this case, with a somatic (physiological) symptom, there is always accompanying and triggers emotions. They are the cause of a physiological painful symptom or pain. Determining them and removing them from emotional charge is a psychotherapeutic (rather hypnotherapeutic in our case) way of treating psychosomatic symptoms.


The purpose of our work is to remove the charge of emotional pain. It is the sensation of emotional pain that is the cause of the emotional state that thickens the energy, turning this clot into a so-called engram (a memory cell modulated with pain). That is, when a person feels pain (physical pain, emotional, psychological), the memory of this event, charged with pain, remains in the reactive part of the subconscious and поэтому therefore reacts to similar events. Here is an example.

The girl came to us with a symptom of increased and unreasonable tearfulness. Here is her story of the last incident:

I went with my boyfriend, his friend and a friend’s girlfriend to a picnic. There, during my conversation with my boyfriend, his friend and girlfriend came, and they began a conversation with the three of them. I was just standing there not participating in this conversation. And then suddenly I felt tears coming up. There was no reason. No one hurt me, did not say offensive words. I just started to cry.

During the hypnotherapy sessions we found out that when she was three years old her mother went out shopping in the evening, leaving the child alone. It was winter and there was ice on the road. Returning home, she slipped, dislocated her leg and got to the hospital. The child spent the night alone. An engram was created. Subsequently, under similar circumstances, that is, when there is a risk that she will be left alone, the engram began to react, throwing her into an emotional state of fear. Her efferent reaction manifested it in the form of tears.

Engram can become an emotional block (“I do not want to hear it, because it hurts,” or “I do not want to participate in it, because it can be painful”), and the reason for phobias, complexes or any manifestations of psychological disorders.

Having found the engram with hypnotherapy, we, using special techniques, remove from it an emotional charge, thereby transferring it to the category of ordinary memory. Engram goes into the analytic part of the subconscious and ceases to react to stimulus.

At the same time, it is important to understand that when a person is already under the influence of an emotional state, the mechanism of projecting emotional states onto external objects is used by the mind in order to keep the true causes of emotions out of consciousness. Projection is superimposed on events or on other people to identify the culprits of a definite emotional state. The man sees himself as a victim.

A girl of 23 years saw herself from the position of the victim of her mother, who used excessive criticism towards her. All she remembers about the relationship between her mother and her are constant situations, where she was limited in anything. Subconsciously, she got used to these limitations and began to blame the world around herself, calling it too controlling and limiting. Her victim’s position was justified by excessive aggression – from the young people she was trying to date with, from her boss at work (she changed 4 jobs for a year), from her friends. She preferred not to have any friends, not to date with anyone, not to work. As a result, she developed a strongly-expressed agoraphobia, which allowed her to be at home all the time.

Suppressed emotions are another reason for the development of complexes, neuroses and other psychological disorders. Sooner or later, suppressed emotions will lead to psychosomatic disorders. The clenched back is the consequence of fear of being rejected. In the third grade the boy gets up and publicly says about the incompetence of a classmate. He already had a set of inferiority complexes and, perhaps, it was a decisive blow. According to what he said, being already clenched and hunched, he crouches even lower, trying to become invisible. Since then, he develops a fear of rejection, which first of all accumulates and manifests itself in the back, every time when the only thing appears about the possibility of being rejected. Over the years, this fear strengthens, becomes stronger and more manifested. Up to 32 years old he tries to struggle with his clenched back, not realizing that the real reason is fear, which had already descended to vegetative processes.

With positive emotions, it’s not so easy either. Sometimes you have to suppress emotions such as joy and love, and their suppression does not lead to anything good.

A young man met a girl a little younger than him. They had an affair. They fell in love, but he was married. And although the relationship with his wife was on the verge of collapse, he suppressed his new love because of a sense of duty to his wife. The suppressed love resulted in buying a dog, to which he paid more attention and time than to his own children. Eventually his wife took the children and left him. After a while his dog died, car accident. He developed the clinical form of depression during the next two years.

With unnecessary tension of suppressed feelings, the mind creates such events, to which these feelings, these emotions can be transferred. The man transferred his depressed love to the dog, and when the events developed so that the dog died, he was already unable to maintain a balance with the external environment. That’s why people with depressed sorrow create and attract sad events, a person living with fears attracts frightening events to himself, a proud person attracts all the time someone who insults him and so on.

But there is no more dangerous emotion than insult. Resentment can be considered as one of the most dangerous emotions. Being depressed, it gnaws us from the inside and often limits our ability to happiness and joy. Resentment occurs when a person believes that he was treated unfairly. Resentment is the emotional consequence of disappointment in the behavior of another. Offended person knows how the other person has to behave and if it does not happen, he takes offense. The root of resentment is pride and the desire to subordinate the behavior of another.

We are familiar with a more scientific explanation of the causes of psychological disorders, especially when we are talking about panic attacks.

What is a neural network?

FV6N2VWxv9gd9UQbVUiAQuite recently (2015), an amazing discovery was made by scientists from Stanford. At first, they assumed that the whole emotional experience is fixed in the form of neural formations recorded on the subcortex. In a while this assumption was confirmed. These formations are a complex of neural structures that encode all perceived information.

But its not as easy. If a certain line of behavior of parents towards their child or a simple phrase like “Do not stick out, or …” is repeated many times, then the accompanying threat of punishment is the reason for creating an atypical emotionally charged neuro-chain. We can call it a setting. For analogy, we can imagine a recorded song on an old vinyl plate. This phrase turns into a conscious conviction and the child KNOWs that if he goes from the opposite, that is, to stick out, then he will surely be punished. Over time, there forms a whole stack of these identical plates. The setting turns into a conscious program that directs and controls the choices of this child’s decisions. The child already lives as this (and other) program prompts. He is no longer free in his choice. After many years, the program descends to the level of the subconscious. We call this unconscious program a pattern.

Typical neural networks order all received information, coordinating it with the existing ones. In the case of a traumatic-emotional event, it receives additional processing, in the nucleus of which lies the neurological basis.

The reason for the development of panic attacks is a malfunction in the operation of neural networks.

When neural networks function normally, the nervous system adapts to new information and to new conditions. But if the event is accompanied by some strong emotion, and at the same time the person experiences endorphin famine, the neural network becomes too voluminous and cannot be integrated into the already existing database. Then this atypical neural network, that is, the recorded emotionally charged event, is isolated and begins to react to those events that can trigger the same emotions. The reaction of such a person occurs spontaneously, uncontrollably. That is, the traumatic event of time-from-time emerges as an emotional stimulus, changing the emotional background of a person. Man experiences the same emotions anew, although he may not remember the primary event, which in fact causes him to react. Repeated response with time is fixated in the form of a habit and we get what psychotherapists call a chronic disorder.

How the hypnogestal works with atypical neural networks

29First of all, it is necessary to determine the right emotion accompanying the event. The work should be conducted in the state of Esdale, although in the process the client’s consciousness can be activated several times. The hypnogestalt method works mainly with two emotionally charged events: the very last and the very first. Having found them, the hypnotherapist, through certain questions (dialogical model), works them out, removing emotional stress from the event. When changing the plot of the event, the emotional significance decreases or disappears completely. With successful removal of emotional charge, the entire chain (all atypical neural networks) between the first event and the last loses its emotional charge.

Now we need to take off the nervous system from the usual reaction to such stimulus. This is the essence of multiple sessions – when repeating the same type of actions, a new reaction is fixated.

As for the neurophysiological explanation, some scientists come to this conclusion: – When the plot of an emotionally charged event changes, both hemispheres of the brain are synchronized. This, in turn, causes a more holistic response to the recalled event, which leads to a return to normal brain work that has been disturbed by psychological trauma.

More details about therapeutic hypnosis and hypnotherapy can be found here.

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Yuri Medvin,
Doctor of Science in Medical Psychology, Professor, Hypnotherapist