ICARUS Online


As there has been a lot of work, conversations, research and thought gone into the free helpline that we set up in January, and with our efforts to reform the military charities sector and close the excessively large gaps in the system, I thought an update was in order to let everyone know  what’s going on.

I had a great conversation with Lord Dannatt last month and he is in full agreement with our purpose in setting up the free helpline (which has morphed into a treatment line, more on that shortly) and what we are doing and has kindly given his full support and backing ongoing.

Meanwhile my friend and colleague David Bellamy has been communicating with General Peter Currie, General Andrew Graham, General Sir John McColl, chariman of COBSEO and Colonel David Richmond, chairman of the Contact Group set up by Prince Harry, they too are in agreement that the militray charities sector needs shaking up, tightening up and reforming which is now beginning to happen.

David Bellamy is an extraordinary man with one hell of a life behind him. He was in the British Army and served in Dhofar in the 70’s during the Secret War. He has worked as a commercial diver, worked for Lloyds of London and was instrumental in setting up their first Kidnap and ransom insurance package. David, like myself was trained by Stephen Brooks, the founder of British Hypnosis Research and Training Institute and is the worlds best teacher of Ericksonian Hypnosis and Psychotherapy.

It has lead to a slight adjustment in our plan and the development of a name for this not for profit organisation we have created. So we are now called ICARUS, which stands for Immediate Care, Assessment and Rehabilitaion for Uniformed Services, which means we cover all branches of the military and emergency services because there are many veterans working in the civilian uniformed services that deal with horrendous situations on a regular basis and also may well need our help.

The history behind ICARUS is the ancient Greek story of Icarus and his father Daedalus who told his son not to fly too close to the sun with his homemade wings of feathers and wax as the heat from the sun would melt the wax and he would fall into the sea and drown. So the story is about high flying ambition, which is what we have for the accessibility of the best treatment for all uniformed services and veterans. The psychological element of it, the Icarus Complex, which is about the highs and lows of what used to be called Manic Depression and is now Bipolar Disorder, our aim is to help anyone in the uniformed services with a mental illness to learn to deal with it and live a full, happy and successful life for them.

Screenshot 2018-03-02 15.32.53

We wanted to be a not for profit becasue there are already 350 plus military charities in a system that is unregulated, poorly structured at present, and with no standards required to be fulfilled and is in desperate need of an overhaul. This is by no means meant to undermine the extraordinary and excellent work being done by so many in this sector, purely that it can be tightened up and improved so that people do not fall through the net, are not turned away or dropped because they are unable to commit to systems that are far too rigid for people with mental illness. And yes this does happen because these are precisely the people I have been treating for over ten years now.

The helpline is now a treatment line to fit with our new name and purpose, although we will provide any help we can in the process. We offer virtual treatment via phone, skype or any other form of video call to speed up access to help, as well as face to face treatment where possible. We are currently working on building a national network of therapists to assist us so if you are interested in getting involved or know someone who might be then please get in touch with me on simon@simonmaryan.com 

Access to our services is open to anyone. In principle, no one will be refused. There will be no discrimination on grounds of length of service, reason for discharge, medical condition or disability, age, physical disability, gender, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, political or other opinion. This is a free service open to all service personnel as set out in our constitution which you can find below.

ICARUS Constitution 28.02.18

The phone number stays the same 0800 689 0864

We are also having a website designed that will list all our therapists, each with a personal bio explaining what they do and how they work. All our therapists will be associates, they will be vetted and cleared by us to ensure that they have the appropriate insurance etc for the therapies they provide. The website is being designed by David Bellamy’s wife Mishi who is an amazing artist, so we are extremely fortunate to have this wonderful lady helping us out. Take a look at her fantastic work here: https://www.mishibellamy.net

We also have a gentleman called Stephen Finlayson who is coming on board to help us promote our services, reach more people and deliver what is needed to those that need. Stephen showed his huge heart and compassion a few years ago when he helped a homeless guy in his hometown of Carlisle, this man, Phil,  turned out to be a veteran as well and Stephen helped him find somewhere to stay, put him in touch with the Royal British Legion and thankfully he is back on his feet, has a home, a job and a girflriend. Phil now helps veterans and is paying back in his own way. This story was covered in a documentary by the BBC and is quite emotional viewing.

Thanks to David Bellamy, we have one very interested coroporate sponsor who is keen to help us deliver our services and we are obviously looking for more to make sure that this not for profit can provide as much assisstance to those serving and veterans struggling with any form of mental illness, to live their lives to their fullest and be happy, functional and succeed. Another part of what we provide is ongoing coaching and mentoring for those that receive treatment from us for as long as they need, and also training those that are interested in becoming a qualified therapist, coach and mentor so that they are then capable of helping others that are in the same situation they used to be in.

If you are interested in helping us with sponsorship, donations or have any suggestions about people, organisations to speak to then please get in touch either through the phone number 0800 689 0864 or by email simon@simonmaryan.com

We are also approaching a few universities with the aim of having our program of treatment as a whole, independently monitored and assessed in order to garner external verification that what we do works. We know it does yet it is hugely beneficial to have that independant review and reassuring for those we help.

So lots has been done, lots is happening and lots still to do. Keep your eyes peeled for more updates as we make more and more progress.

Please like, share and comment with your thoughts and any ideas you have for us.

Thanks

Simon

 

Mind-Body Matters Series #6: Full Body Scan


This a wonderfully simple and effective exercise that really connects mind and body.

Remember to begin with at least 3 big, deep breaths and use this deep breathing as you visualise breathing out through those areas of tension and discomfort and melting them away.

Make a note of the areas of the deepest tension and discomfort and then once you have completed one full scan, go back and pay special attention to the areas of tension you need to focus on the most. Keep repeating this process until you have eased all the areas of tension and discomfort and feel relaxed and at ease.

You will find that through the deep breathing, the visualisations and the easing of tension you will strengthen your mind-body connection, awareness and communication and feel so much better for it.

I recommend doing this at least twice a day, once first thing in the morning before you go to work and once before you get home at the end of each day.

Have fun exploring with this exercise and as always let me know how you get on.

Simon

Mind-Body Matters Series Video #2: The Power of a Smile


Smiling is simple, it’s free, there’s no equipment needed yet we often overlook it’s value in terms of our physical and psychological health.

Smiling changes your physiology; posture, your body language. It reduces stress, it leads to laughter and makes you feel good because it stimulates the release of your feel good hormones. So do it and fake that smile to start with until it just happens.

I’ve put together this short little video to get you started, have fun with it and let me know how you get on.

 

 

Here’s a list of hormones that make you happy and a few other ideas to get you going.

Serotonin:
Serotonin is sometimes called the happiness hormone. Serotonin regulates the mood, prevents depression and makes you feel happy. Serotonin can be released by getting exposed to sunlight, by eating foods rich in carbohydrates and by exercising.

Endorphins:
Endorphins can make you feel good, reduce your anxiety and your sensitivity to pain. Endorphins are released by exercising.

Dopamine:
Dopamine helps you to feel mentally alert. The lack of it might cause lack of attention, lack of concentration and bad moods. Dopamine can be released by eating foods that are rich in protein.

Phenylethamine:
Phenylethamine is the hormone that results in the feelings we get in the early stages of a relationship. Cocoa beans contain Phenylethamine. eating chocolate might be helpful too.

Ghrelin:
Gherlin is a hormone that reduces stress and can help you become more relaxed. Ghrelin is released when we become hungry that’s why eating too much is not always a good idea. Just eat according to your body’s needs and never fill your stomach completely in order to maintain good Ghrelin levels.

Free Videos


 

As I am now beginning to sort through and upload my new video series, Mind-Body Matters, I wanted to remind you that the videos page on my website is completely free and is about to expand rapidly with even more free training and educational videos on a variety of topics.

If there’s anything that you liked in particular let me know what it was that struck a chord with you, and if there is any subject that you would like me to cover let me know what it is and I will do my best to put something together for you.

In the meantime enjoy the videos and keep your eyes peeled for updates on the new ones.

Click here to access the Free Videos

Simon

 

What is Consciousness?


I have been fascinated by the human mind for as long as I can remember and in particular, what constitutes consciousness and how does it vary? How does this create and alter our reality? What influences our consciousness and how? There are so many questions that grabbed me early on and lead me to self study at first and then fall into formal learning of the subject.

The study of consciousness can be quite hard work, be it from either psychological or philosophical perspectives. The scientific consideration of states of consciousness that differ from ordinary waking consciousness is a path filled with hazards and booby traps. Tart’s (1975) publication of States of Consciousness was a game changer of the application of the philosophy and the discipline of science itself to a topic too often treated as an outcast within psychological science: Altered states of consciousness. It was Tart who created this term and applied a rigorous discipline of study for many phenomena of consciousness. Although States of Consciousness is widely cited in authoritative studies of consciousness such as that by Farthing (1992), as well as in current examinations of hypnosis and meditation phenomena of consciousness (Holroyd, 2003), unfortunately, the original publication has been out of print. The current edition was produced to provide the need for access to the original work.

In the Introduction Tart describes his book as “transitional” in several ways. One is social. This is because concepts of consciousness (like those of science itself) are based on consensus. We are living in an age in which standards and mores are rapidly shifting, and the process of consensus (as well as its value) is being questioned. A second transition is within the field of psychology itself which has alternated from the study of mind to the study of behavior and may be returning to the study of mind again. Tart’s book may also represent a transition for the author in the sense that in it he reaches out as a theoretician instead of as an experimentalist.

In Chapter One Tart orients the reader to a systems approach to considering states of consciousness. he theorises the necessity of basic awareness and structure in what he calls “discrete states of consciousness (d-SoC)” and identifies processes that are necessary for their stabilisation. he also defines the “discrete altered states of consciousness (d-ASC)” which are different from various baselines of consciousness. Their differences can be identified via ten sub-systems that show variations in d-ASC’s. These are: (1) Exteroception; (2) Interoception; (3) Input-Processing; (4) Memory; (5) Subconscious; (6) Emotions; (7) Evaluation and Decision Making; (8) Space/Time Sense; (9) Sense of Identity; and (10) Motor Output. Tart explains how one transitions from a discrete state to consciousness to an altered state through an interaction of disrupting forces and patterning forces.

In Chapter Two he focuses on the components of Consciousness which are Awareness, Energy, and Structure, and painstakingly sets up experiential criteria for detecting an altered state of consciousness. he reminds the reader that many structures interact simultaneously in the human being. The third chapter is devoted to examining conservative and radical views of the mind, with the former dedicated to the proposition that all mental activity is generated by the brains activity, while the latter admits to other influences upon the brain that come from outside the organism. Tart, the scientist, tells us: “I do not like the radical view” (p. 32). The radical view of consciousness runs contrary to all of what has been considered rational in nineteenth and twentieth century empirical science. The scientist who questions it faces the risk of being discredited within the field. Chapter Four examines ordinary states of consciousness in great detail, and Chapter Five defines discrete states of consciousness, explores how they may be mapped, and ties them to Tart’s operational concepts of ego states.

In Chapter Six the author explains how states of consciousness are stabilised, and in Chapter Seven he examines the induction of the altered states of going to sleep, hypnosis, and meditation. A very lengthy Chapter Eight scrutinises each of the subsystems set up in Chapter One in great detail, and Chapter Nine treats the topic of individual differences. Tart regards their inadequate recognition as a methodological deficiency that has retarded the progress of psychological science.

In the tenth chapter the use of drugs to induce altered states of consciousness is introduced, and in Chapter Eleven the author concentrates in the observation of internal states and introduces his operational concept of the Observer. This Observer is not a hidden one at all. It sounds very much like the rational, observing ego, postulated by Sterba (1934), that arises in the development of a therapeutic alliance. The next chapter expands on the complexity of consciousness states by dealing with various Identity States and considering how important they can be as adaptive, stabilising factors for discrete states of consciousness and ultimately, for the organism. Chapter Thirteen re-visits the systems approach in greater depth and presents certain useful strategies such as merging two discrete states of consciousness.

In Chapter Fourteen the author introduces measurements of the depth of states of consciousness; in Chapter Fifteen, State Specific Communication, and in the final chapters of the book discusses State Specific Science, and Higher States of Consciousness.

It is in the Chapters Eighteen, Nineteen, and Twenty, which comprise section Two of this book, that the author speculates on the implications of the five basic principles held in common by Physics and Psychology. This leads to a serious consideration of how our beliefs may alter reality. Tart confronts us with the proposition, held by so many religions and spiritual practices, that ordinary consciousness is a state of illusion, and he asks whether there may be some way “out of it” for us; that is, some way to live within the conflicting worlds and paradigms of our states of consciousness without reducing our own sense of being to the limits of the ordinary states. he explains that the experiences of altered states of consciousness, the dismantling of some of our cherished structures, and the practice of non-attachment can be helpful. Tart ends this book with the statement of the challenge that Western psychology faces: “…to apply the immense power of science and our other spiritual traditions, East and West, to search for a way out” (p. 286).

Are there any drawbacks to this book? The fact that it is information dense and requires close reading and reflection will make this quite heavy reading for anyone looking for “sound bites for the mind.” However, this is not a book intended for those who are not serious students of states of consciousness. Tart has used both acronyms and diagrams in his attempts to convey his complex concepts. At times I found it more difficult to keep track of the acronyms than it would have been to simply see the words spelled out in full, and quite a challenge at times to decipher the diagrams over and above understanding the text itself.

The re-publication of this classic work fills a genuine need in the scientific community. We live in the world of alternative therapies and shifting paradigms. Tart offers genuine ways for studying consciousness. he weds rigorous science and good logic in a systematised examination of consciousness and altered states of consciousness that is now a standard reference in studies. Studies of Consciousness remains a seminal source for those who scientifically study altered states of consciousness such as hypnosis, meditative states, mystical experiences, sleep, dreaming, non-local phenomena, Ego State Therapy, dissociative phenomena, and peak performance. It is a fascinating read and is a must for anyone studying consciousness and the varying fields allied to it.

References

  • Farthing, G. W. (1992). The psychology of consciousness. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • Holroyd, J. (2003). The science of meditation and the state of hypnosis. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 46(2), 109-128.
  • Sterba, R.F. (1934). The fate of the ego in analytic therapy. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 15, 1 17-126
  • Tart, C. T. (1975). States of consciousness. New York: Dutton.

PTSD Treatment Research Project


As you may well know, I am a therapist, coach and trainer based up in the North east of Scotland and run a private clinic that specialises in trauma and PTSD. I have worked with people from all walks of life and helped them move beyond the PTSD and onto a happy and satisfying life again. PTSD is not restricted to purely the military, it affects anyone that has experienced one or more traumatic events regardless of who you are or what you do and the great thing is that it does not have to last forever, there are ways to resolve the trauma and live a normal life. It is through retraining your brain to process these memories differently that dissolves the physical and psychological symptoms that are caused by the psychological injury that results from the traumatic event/s.

I am now in the final stages of designing a PTSD Research Project up in Aberdeenshire to document the treatment method that I have been developing based on the outstanding work of various leaders in the fields of psychology, psychotherapy, NLP and Neuroscience. My ultimate aim is to have the project independently assessed and use the evidence to generate funding locally in order that the project can then be replicated around the region and help as many people as possible.

I am now starting to look for volunteers for this project and keen for a wide spectrum of volunteers from military and civilian populations. I am very keen for volunteers from all emergency services, however, if you or someone you know would like to participate and receive free treatment for existing PTSD, this needs to have been diagnosed, and I will need your permission to discuss this with your GP and mental health professional if you are currently in their care.

Please email me at simon@simonmaryan.com to arrange an initial meeting to assess whether your participation is beneficial for you or if there are any contraindications that could exclude you from the project.

I will update again when the project is ready to start and provide dates etc.

Simon

Life Design


For a long time I thought I was happy with my job, I was doing what I’d set to do in joining the Royal Marines. I worked with like-minded people, got paid to stay exceptionally fit, got fed four times a day and was provided with a roof over my head. The trade-off was that I was expected to do what I was told do whether I liked it or not and, some of the things I was asked to do I really didn’t like. However I was still happy living my dream.

Or so I thought.

Continue reading Life Design

Hypnosis and the Brain – Body Connection


I found this article on research at Stanford University School of Medicine that has identified three specific areas of the brain that are altered by hypnosis. It goes on to explain how effective hypnosis can be in using our minds to control our perception and our bodies and also, that there is a brain-body connection that helps the brain process and control what’s going on in the body.

So many benefits to using hypnosis to your advantage.

http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2016/07/study-identifies-brain-areas-altered-during-hypnotic-trances.html

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