Nov 29, 2015
Current Safety Bulletins
Background - The risks with using powerful therapies: Unfortunately, powerful trauma therapies can uncover trauma, especially prenatal trauma, that can activate severe psychological or physical distress, up to and including overwhelming suicidal actions.
Warning - time jumping: This problem can be unwittingly activated, causing mild to major depression. For most people the problem appears to be permanent if unhealed. We have a way to heal it, and if you have taken our training, you need to be aware of the problem, how to identify it, and our latest technique (Rev 1.1) on how to eliminate it.
Warning - spiral developmental stage: Accessing the end of the body brain (egg or sperm) spiral developmental event can trigger irreversible multiple sclerosis symptoms in susceptible individuals. This event was used in the Beauty Way Process in Revision 0.6 and 0.7 of the Peak States Therapist Manual. Be sure to remove this process from your copy of the manual if you have it.
Warning - Suicide: We've found that the cause of suicidal action is triggering of placental death trauma memories from birth. This problem can be activated by life circumstances and accidentally by most therapies.
Research Risk Management Strategies at the Institute
The development of new, more effective trauma-healing techniques, peak state processes, or disease treatment involves explorations into previously undiscovered areas of the psyche and biology of consciousness. Thus, there can be hazards and problems that have never been encountered before (or if encountered, had remained unrecognized as to cause).
In addition, peak states processes that work by using powerful trauma healing techniques can also suffer from the potential problems associated with these same trauma techniques - problems that do occasionally occur with the latest generation of 'power therapies' (such as WHH, EMDR, TIR, etc.)
Testing Protocols at the ISPS
To help minimize the risks associated with investigating and creating new processes and techniques, the Institute for the Study of Peak States has several layers of precautions in effect. These precautions can be divided up into three different degrees of risk depending on your involvement with the Institute - research, professional training, or clients. New material is first developed and tested in the small Institute research group, with special attention on finding any safety problems. Then the new process is tested on a larger number of highly trained Institute clinic therapists, increasing the likelihood of finding any problems due to unusual situations in rare people. Given effectiveness and a lack of problems, the process is then cautiously tested on volunteer therapist trainees (or, in the case of uncommon diseases, on volunteer patients working directly with the research staff). This testing structure can be visualized as concentric rings, with the research team in the smallest center ring, then a larger surrounding ring of therapists, and finally clients in the largest, outermost ring. On average, the safety testing procedure takes 2 years after the process has been developed and considered effective and safe by the research group. Only then is the process released to private therapists (who are trained and certified by the Institute) to use with clients.
- Institute Research Staff (Very high risk): The Institute research staff explore entirely new phenomenon. These phenomenon can be deadly - over the last ten years, the average death rate for people investigating peak states has been about 1 in 5 (i.e., it is slightly safer to play Russian Roulette than it is to work on the research). Worse, if one includes long term mental or physical problems that become activated by the research, the long term probability that one will be killed or injured by this research work becomes 1 in 2. Obviously, this means that only volunteers who feel strongly about the benefits of this work to mankind should be involved at this level.
- Institute Clinic Therapists (High to moderate risk): This next level of testing involves our advanced-level Institute clinic therapists, who are highly trained and skilled (their training typically takes 2 years) but are not part of the research group. Since only a few people in research have previously tested the material, the risk level of triggering something completely unknown is still significant as more people are tested. However, their level of training and experience makes it very likely that they will notice any problems if they occur, and be able to deal with them with the help of the research staff.
- Professional Training (Low risk): The material that we teach our students is both restricted to material we believe is relatively safe (i.e., either no known risks, or risks are identified and ways to minimize or avoid them are taught as part of the training). Our students become, in effect, the 'beta' testers for new processes. They are required to sign liability and consent forms before starting the training; and are informed about any new processes, so they can volunteer for testing if they choose to. However, as the number of people who use a procedure increases, the chance that some unusual problem might be encountered also increases (a problem well known in the testing of new drugs or medical procedures). Since trainings are held in a month-long residential setting, any problems become immediately apparent; and since we only permit advanced clinic and research staff to teach, on the remote chance that intervention is needed, they have the skill. As an added precaution, we also do long-term followups after trainings; have an email group to act as a safety announcement mechanism; and post any safety warnings on this website to inform students that are no longer in contact with us.
- Private Practice Certified Therapists (Lower risk): Essentially, certification means that we've verified that they understand the problems of working with a variety of clients, know what to do when things go wrong, know what clients exceed their training level, have legal approval for working with clients, and have liability insurance. Most of these requirements are met by professional psychological training who have a specialization in trauma, with a few additional courses involving the specialized nature of peak states work (such as spiritual emergency, etc.) Risk is lower for this group than that for our regular trainees for several reasons: they are already trained and practiced in handling unusual problems; and the new techniques have previously been tested in residential, month-long training settings.
- Clients (Least risk): After this multi-year process of testing, we finally release the new process or technique to Institute certified therapists for use with clients. Some of these new techniques eventually get released to the public and are published; some continue to remain restricted for various reasons (such as improving effectiveness, further testing, and so on). Since certified therapist use a large range of techniques, both from the Institute and from other sources, risk is hard to evaluate. However, it is only prudent to assume that in some people unusual problems will still occur. As this can happen with any therapy, it is legally required in most countries that clients understand and sign liability and informed consent waivers before starting therapy. But risk management does not end here - all certified therapists have 24/7 backup support from our worldwide clinics for their difficult cases (something unique in the field of therapy, as far as we know). Finally, there is another distinct category of clients, since Institute certified therapists also offer peak states processes. As these processes target areas of the psyche that aren't normally accessible, we assume risk to be higher to some degree than for standard trauma therapy. Thus as a precaution, most of these processes are restricted to mentally healthy people.
Risk Management for ISPS Clinical Research Project Volunteers
The patients who volunteer to test new clinical projects treatments for specific diseases (autism, diabetes, etc.) have their own individualized liability and risk forms depending on the condition we're working with. We use the Stanford University format for the disclosure of risk form as modified to our procedures (non-physically invasive, no drugs, etc.) The risk to the clients doing the work is relatively minimal, as we are applying (in most cases) techniques that we've worked out in other settings; and the clinic therapists are very highly trained, with advanced skills, and work directly with the research team. Empirically, after about 10 clients have been treated without any problems, we usually release the given process to the Institute clinics as a product. Usually after about 2 to 4 years of in-house experience with a process, we release it to our private practice certified therapists.
Other Safety Concerns: Non-Institute Techniques
In addition, because the Institute also acts as a clearing house for other's peak states processes, we occasionally encounter problems that occur with these processes that the creators did not realize were problems. Because our students might use these processes in the course of their work, we feel obligated to post any safety concerns that we encounter.
Over time, we occasionally find that a process that had no problems during in-house testing can have a problem for some individuals when larger groups are tested. To address this, in 2006 we established an email group so that safety announcements could be made. Over the following years, we had three safety alerts issued for processes that were taught to therapist trainees. In 2012 we switched to an online forum format for safety announcements. If you are a past or present student of the ISPS, and are continuing to use the material you were taught, we highly recommend you stay signed up on the Institute's practitioner forum.
Practitioner Support Forum
If you are a graduate of our basic Whole-Hearted Healing® therapy or PeakStates® training, we highly recommend that you sign up for our practitioner-only support discussion forum. It gives us a way to send out any new safety alerts, let you know about updates in technique or process changes, receive new information, ask questions or share experiences, and will help increase your professional skills. (Note, this group is only for people who have taken our courses.) The public forum also contains current information and is searchable on the webpage.
Nov 29, 2015: Deleted the signup for the WHH e-group, and replaced it with the forum information.
Jan 25, 2014: Re-wrote some material that was not clear. Added a link to the new suicide information page.
Sept 16, 2008: Deleted references to 'level 1' training and replaced it with 'basic' training.