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Revolutionary Form of Grief Therapy

Discussion in 'News, Politics & Debates' started by map9, Aug 17, 2007.

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  1. map9

    map9 Active Member

    As a helicopter gunship pilot, a man I'll call “Mark,” as he prefers to remain anonymous, killed many people during his 18 months in Vietnam, but the confrontation that bothered him the most involved four boats filled with Vietnamese soldiers. Unmarked and without flags, the boats had trespassed into a military canal. Mark and the four other gunships under his command attacked the boats and “blew them out of the water.” He recalls seeing bodies flying in the air. Two weeks later, he was informed that they were friendly troops. “It stays in your mind and really weighs on you,” Mark told me in an interview for NEXUS Magazine, adding that he was shot down seven times and wounded twice.

    In 2002, Mark sought treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at a veteran's hospital. When the therapist explained a new therapy called Induced After Death Communication (IADC) to him, Mark said he was willing to give it a try. After the therapist administered some eye movements, Mark was asked to focus on boat mishap. “What happened then is that I saw a formation of Vietnamese coming at me,” Mark relates, the memory still very vivid in his mind. “What was interesting is that they were in a Russian formation, not a U.S. formation. Two of the commanders stepped forward and began talking to me in Vietnamese.” Mark didn't understand them until another eye movement was administered. They continued speaking in Vietnamese, but Mark somehow telepathically knew what they were saying. “They said that they understood that I did what I had to do and they had no grudge against me, that they are in a better place, and not to worry about it. Then they marched off. It was really cool and a big load off my shoulders.”

    At another IADC session, Mark saw a woman holding his first son, who had died as an infant in 1978. As his focus was on the boy, he didn't immediately recognize the woman as his deceased mother. In that session, the child did not speak, but in subsequent sessions, the boy appeared again, first as a teenagers and then as a young adult. “My son says to me, ‘Don't worry, Dad, I'm okay. I'm going to see you soon.' I didn't know what to make of that, if I'm going to die soon, or what, but it was very soothing.”

    Mark also reviewed one of his helicopter crashes, including the pain and the intensity of the pain. He struggles to explain the images. “The quality and clarity of the images are much greater than in dreams,” he explains, “They are absolutely three dimensional and they stay with you. You have to experience it to know what it's like. It's not like hypnotism. It'll spook you, but it is really something. The main thing is that it gives you closure and life has more meaning after you have experienced these things. There is a sense of continuity. It's very comforting.”

    IADC is a revolutionary new form of grief therapy discovered by Dr. Allan Botkin, a clinical psychologist practicing in Libertyville, Illinois. Botkin is reasonably certain that the many patients who have benefited from the therapy are not dreaming, imagining, fantasizing, or otherwise hallucinating, but he prefers to not speculate as to whether patients are actually in touch with the spirit world. Whatever the explanation, it works, according to Botkin, at least 70 percent of the time. “As a psychologist who is primarily interested in healing people who suffer so profoundly, I have taken the strategy not to engage in arguments about beliefs,” he explains his position. “Believers and skeptics have been waging this battle for some time. I believe that if I take a side, and get placed in one camp, it will be more difficult for me to get help to those who need it.” Moreover, Botkin points out that his neutral position allows the patient to interpret the experience without being influenced by the therapist's beliefs.

    Ivan Rupert, another veteran, was bothered for many years by a memory of carnage in Vietnam. As a combat photographer, he was called upon early one morning to take photos of a Vietnamese bus that had been blown up. “There were bodies and body parts all over the place,” he recalls, “but the one that really stuck in my mind was that of a young pregnant woman. You could see the baby and umbilical cord connecting them.”

    The scene came back to Rupert over and over again in his dreams for many years until undergoing IADC with Botkin. What especially bothered him was that he was more intent on getting some good photos than feeling bad about what he was witnessing. During the IADC, the Vietnamese woman communicated with him. “She told me she was in a much better place and helped me understand that I was not the monster I thought I was. She said she didn't blame me for any of it.”

    Rupert can't say for sure whether the woman spoke in Vietnamese or in English. “It was sort of mind to mind, heart to heart,” he explains, adding that he no longer has the awful dreams relating to that scene.

    There is no doubt in Rupert's mind that he was actually communicating with the Vietnamese woman. “I was very skeptical when it was initially explained to me,” he says. “It sounded like a lot of mumbo jumbo, hocus pocus, but it was the real thing. I'm certain that I was not hallucinating and I was not hypnotized. I wish the VA (Veterans Administration) would get on board with this and offer it. It would give a lot of peace to many veterans.”

    Hania Stromberg, an Albuquerque, NM therapist, has done around 30 IADC sessions with only three that she would consider failures. “They didn't really want to apply themselves,” she explains the failures. “I guess their fears got in the way, even though they made the initial decision to give it a try.” Stromberg laments the fact that many grieving people are not availing themselves of this dynamic therapy. “There are many people I know for whom it would be so appropriate, and I would imagine they would jump at it, but they don't. Mainstream thought is just not really open to it. In general, people do not believe that the dead are still around and have an impact on us. I have attempted to interest some of my therapist friends, but I get only silence from them when I bring it up. The scientific mind is very closed when it comes to this type of thing.”

    Stromberg apparently has clairvoyant and clairaudient abilities as she has been able to share in some of the experiences. In one such shared experience, a client was grieving the death of her mother and felt much guilt about having not fulfilled certain obligations. As she was administering the eye movement, Stromberg felt a “presence” entering the room and then saw a woman in colorful dress and high heels. The woman, the client's deceased mother, addressed the client by a special name of endearment and began discussing problems the client was having. After the session, Stromberg compared her notes with what the client related and all were confirmed - the colorful dress, the high heels, the special term of endearment, the subject of the conversation.

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