By Scott Kiloby
At the Kiloby Center for Recovery and here on our site, www.naturalrestforaddiction.com, we have a firm conviction that we are on the cutting edge of addiction treatment. The facilitators of Scott Kiloby’s Living Inquiries employ several tools designed to dismantle what Scott calls “The Velcro Effect,” which is the combination of mostly unconscious words, mental pictures and bodily energy that arise together in the moment someone experiences an addictive craving.
With the Compulsion Inquiry (“CI”), which is one of the Living Inquiries, facilitators teach clients how to spot an unconscious mental picture that arises immediately before reaching for an addictive substance or activity and then help them dismantle the urge that arises through this Velcro Effect. This reduces or eliminates the craving. We believe that current scientific and psychological research and studies support our new way of treating addiction.
In an article entitled “Conscious and Unconscious Processes in Human Desire,” the authors stated, “Desire is a complex mixture of images and thoughts combined with positive and negative emotions. The precursors of desire are usually unconscious. Mental imagery of a desired activity triggers immediate feelings. . . . We predict that this experience entails activation of the unconscious “liking” pathways as well as cortically-based emotional circuits. We also predict that the interaction is two-way, with activation of unconscious “wanting” circuits stimulating imagery, and desire generally, via projections to prefrontal cortex. Imagery is a central feature of desire and predictor of desire strength and . . . selectively blocking the cognitive processes needed for imagery leads to reduced desire.” Conscious and Unconscious Processes in Human Desire, Jackie Andrade, Jon May, University of Plymouth, UK School of Psychology, David Kavanagh, Queensland University of Technology, Institute of Health & Biomedical Innovation”
A team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, led by Dr. Anna Rose Childress and Dr. Charles O’Brien, showed cocaine patients photos of drug-related cues like crack pipes and chunks of cocaine. The images flashed by in just 33 milliseconds — so quickly that the patients were not consciously aware of seeing them. Nonetheless, the unseen images stimulated activity in the limbic system, a brain network involved in emotion and reward, which has been implicated in drug-seeking and craving.
Childress’s findings are supported by Harvard Medical School, which stated in a 2004 Mental Health Letter that “the brain creates unconscious memories that make addicts susceptible to relapse.” After conducting tests on rats, Dorit Ron, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco, found that directly targeting drinking-associated memories helps those with alcohol problems to stay sober. Helen Shen, Nature Magazine, reprinted in Scientific American, June 24, 2013.
Researchers at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at UC San Francisco found that certain memories are linked to cravings. “One of the main causes of relapse is craving, triggered by the memory by certain cues,” said lead author Segev Barak, PhD. He further stated that there is “a small window of opportunity” to target the memory of the craving and to weaken or even erase the memory, and thus the craving.
Some of the studies above promoted the use of drug interventions to help stop these memories. However, Barry Everitt of the University of Cambridge, an expert in drug abuse research, has stated that “Non-drug interventions would be an enormous step forward in drug abuse treatment, which currently relies on replacing one drug with another and has an extremely high rate of relapse.”
At the Kiloby Center and www.naturalrestforaddiction.com, our techniques are “non-drug interventions.” We seize the “small window of opportunity” illuminated by Dr. Barak by inducing clients to want the addictive substance or activity and then we dismantle the urge by undoing the Velcro Effect.