Subliminal Therapy

Using the mind to heal

By: Edwin K. Yager, PhD


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Size: 152mm x 229mm
Pages : 288
ISBN : 9781845907280
Format: Paperback
Published: September 2011

Subliminal Therapy is a technique by which hypnotic phenomena can be used for therapeutic purposes without the need for formal trance induction and can be used either on its own or in addition to other treatment. In this book readers are introduced to the concepts and applications of Subliminal Therapy and are taught how to use it.

Subliminal Therapy engages the unconscious to uncover the causes of clients’ problems, whether manifesting physically, emotionally, intellectually or behaviourally, and then to resolve those problems through re-framing and re-conditioning. It provides a practical, efficient and logical way to identify the causes of psychogenic problems and to resolve their influence.

Although Subliminal Therapy may be a new concept for professionals it has evolved over the past thirty years into a highly efficient form of treatment. The technique has proved especially effective in the treatment of anxiety and the effects of early abuse such as sexual dysfunction, unresolved anger and psychogenic medical problems.

Picture for author Edwin K. Yager, PhD

Edwin K. Yager, PhD

Edwin K. Yager, PhD was a clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry, UCSD School of Medicine and a staff psychologist for the UCSD Medical Group. He was a certified consultant in hypnosis by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and was also a president, board member and fellow of the San Diego Society of Clinical Hypnosis. In the course of his private psychology practice, using Subliminal Therapy and hypnosis, Dr Yager successfully treated thousands of patients.


  1. A title making some readers curious and others rather suspicious stimulated me to find out what kind of method the author would introduce. First chapters on background and concepts, where the specificity of the method is pointed out, couldn't convince me that it really was something -˜new'. Working with subliminal therapy reminds of ego-state therapy or other uncovering methods commonly used in hypnosis, and I see it as -˜old wine in new bags', the author exhausting himself in finding evidence for the specificity.
    To work with ST therapists need to accept the four assumptions on which it's based and educate clients about them: intelligent, subconscious capability exists, subconscious domain can communicate with the conscious mind, subconscious domain consists of subsystems (parts) which may function autonomously, and “there is a -˜higher intelligence', an entity that is not well defined, which I have named the Centrum” (p 17) In ST conscious involvement in therapy can be minimized, and therapeutic work is done by the Centrum.
    All exploratory questions are addressed to -˜Centrum', being the part that communicates with therapist, and with other inner parts. Answers appear as words written on a chalkboard, an imagined computer screen, or as ideo-motor responses. Style used by the author sounds rather persuasive, to the point, not letting digress the client. “Any time I preface a question with the name “Centrum”, the next word I hope to hear from you will be words that are written on the chalkboard, as opposed to what you might think should be written there. I cannot see your chalkboard and if you fill in a blank or change an answer we will go down the wrong road, wasting my time and your money” (p 38)
    In the Process of ST, communication is established with Centrum, by posing questions as for example “Centrum, are you aware of your conscious concern about this problem” “ Centrum are you willing to cooperate-¦?” “Centrum, do you have the ability to look at memories of events that have happened in the past? ““Centrum, do you have the ability to communicate with other parts of the mind?” (p.40)
    Questions follow a logical decision- tree format: Flow Charts, available in Appendix A, are very useful to make therapists familiar with the method and to continue the process where it risks to get stuck. It gives proof of the author's personal experience with the method and the development he gave it since 1974, more than enough to assess possible obstacles for the process. The method allows the author to work on a problem, without knowing the (full) content, and even more surprising “the patient may not be consciously aware of the mental processes engaged or of the factors and influences addressed-¦” (p. 21)
    The book is logically constructed and an excellent didactic tool where the process of subliminal therapy is clearly outlined, as it defines roles of therapist and clients, how to do the psycho-education, how to deal with resistance.
    Clinical examples as the complete transcription of the session with Barbara (p 62-99), also available on a DVD clearly illustrates de process. After having client read and having explained the method, he teaches the client self-hypnosis and introduces the ST with a hypnotic induction and deepening, making use of direct suggestions as -˜when centrum wrote on the chalkboard, you can't erase it'. Questions are addressed to the centrum as -˜Are you willing to cooperate?' -˜Do you have the ability to access memories of events-¦?' -˜I ask that you conduct an investigation-¦.into the roots of the anxiety' -˜Centrum, identify those parts of your mind that are causing you to feel anxious' (p. 74) -˜Select one of those parts-¦.' -˜Find out from the part what it believes-¦' -˜-¦Centrum-¦educate that part-¦'persuade that part to your way of thinking' (p.75)
    As convincing or motivating for wider use of his method, you find an extra chapter VII -˜Research and the Efficacy of Subliminal Therapy'. (p.169) Evaluations were done since 1977 with different research methods, and let him come up with a very optimistic conclusion as a result of the study of efficacy of ST “according to personal research data overall effect size of 2.11 showing it being significantly more efficacious than CBT and EMDR in terms of effectiveness, and efficiency as well”. (p. 178)
    After reading, studying the book seasoned psychotherapists can feel ready to do the work, provided they have the experience in working with hypnosis and -” or ego-state therapy and - or other exploratory and treatment methods.
    An important merit of the work is to re-validate the earlier teachings on ego-state therapy which are rephrased, renamed (talking about parts), put in another context with emphasis on -˜Centrum' and addressing all questions to Centrum, the therapeutic work done on a subliminal level without interference of consciousness.
    The writing style sounds like a teaching seminar, summing up guidelines or principles. Case reports are given by complete transcripts of sessions. Because of this, the reading of the entire book sometimes is rather boring. Selecting parts of the sessions to illustrate or highlight some aspects could contribute to a more easy-going-reading.
    One could question if it's an advantage to circumvent or avoid the concept -˜hypnosis' in the title? Why now feeling like doing a one-man's therapy, lonely in experiencing a disconnection from the larger hypnosis community, organizing specific ST trainings? Or is it rather on purpose, he finds an entry or invitation to learn hypnosis by offering it in a different concept? Or is he offering -˜old wine in new bags', further worked out by a personal and logically constructed style?
    The title might attract people with interest in the field of -˜subliminal therapy'. Subtitle -˜using the Mind to Heal could reach out more people interested in mind-body interactions and sound more convincing for the professionals working with hypnosis.
  2. An interesting read and certainly worth persevering with even if it isn't your cup of tea. It is certainly written in clear and concise detail. It has a client centred feel to it and includes genuine case studies to highlight the efficacy of subliminal therapy. I am sure that therapists from all disciplines will find it very appealing.

  3. Highly recommended for Advance Students of Hypnotherapy
  4. As Edwin K. Yager says, “humanity is conditioned by life-experiences”. In 1974 Dr Yager, Clinical Professor in the Dept of Psychiatry at UCSD School of Medicine, conceived a theory of the mind and a treatment technique named Subliminal Therapy based on the premise that it is mental illness that causes chemical imbalances in the brain and not the other way round. Subliminal Therapy accesses and uses subconscious cognitive abilities to find the cause of a patient's problems. According to Yager, different -˜parts' of the subconscious mind are created through either positive or negative experiences, and these influence a person's self image, behaviour and physical state. An -˜extra-conscious' higher domain exists which is the self-aware and unifying faculty that Yager labels the Centrum.
    The book details the step-by-step processes by which Subliminal Therapy is applied so as to induce a hypnotic state without formal induction in reconditioning past experiences. Yager offers a flowchart to aid the therapist in the process of communicating with subconscious -˜parts' and the Centrum in a logical, sequential way. In a global sense the technique is very similar to Bandler and Grinder's reframing technique, though Yager emphasises the unifying domain (Centrum) acts as the key active agent, rather than just the -˜parts' of the subconscious as such. The interesting element in Yager's approach is that he believes the Centrum to be a separate entity that communicates with the patient's consciousness, and considers it may have a personality tÂ'¬hat usually, but not always, conforms with the personality of the patient.
    The book demonstrates the success of this non-formal hypnotic technique, and details case histories where apparently intractable disorders were successfully ameliorated or cured through Subliminal Therapy. The scripts and dialogue between the therapist and the patient are reproduced fully, with annotations about each session, and this can be helpful and instructive to all those who use indirect hypnotic or reframing techniques, and especially to those who want to explore the concept of Centrum and Subliminal Therapy more fully. In Appendix B, Yager provides concise explanatory patient information notes on typical issues arising in the course of treatment, which can be given to the patient. In summary, this is a practical -˜how to' guide for hypnotherapists and psychotherapists keen to hone their reframing and reconditioning skills through a different approach.
  5. The process of therapy presented by Dr. Yager is not to be confused with subliminal messages of old. It appears to result in a hypnotic state without a formal induction or use of typical hypnotic suggestions. Instead, the person is guided through a step-by-step process that is modifiable for use for many differing conditions. The process is -˜client-centered' with a strong reliance on the patient's own resources. Without the included case illustrations and results from evaluations, the technique might seem preposterous, particularly to those well-entrenched in a mental health practice based on better known principles and methods.

    The book will challenge your beliefs about the basis of mental and physical behavior and dysfunctional conditions with findings and principles that are thought-provoking, if not convincing. This work of innovation and devotion will help you learn a technique, supported by evidence of rather remarkable benefit for several conditions. It would seem only a matter of time before treatment of many medical disorders is based on the principles and techniques proposed here, aiming more directly at the cause and with more use of the person's own resources.
  6. Dr Yager's Subliminal Therapy presents a fresh challenge to conventional theories of disturbance. His understanding of the concept of a divided mind that incorporates a higher intelligence called Centrum is intriguing and will spark interest in anyone involved in the psychotherapeutic treatment of psychological, psychogenic and physical conditions. The refreshingly liberal use of case histories throughout gives the reader a true taste for, and confidence in the clear and rational structured approach that is Subliminal Therapy.
  7. This book is dedicated to those clinicians, both established and new to the field, who have the intellectual curiosity to seek improved ways to help people, the openness to consider that which is truly new and the willingness to test the effectiveness of the techniques they use. Edwin Yager

    From the outset of his career as a psychotherapist in the early 1970s Dr Yager spent much of his time trying to discover why some of the behaviours that he witnessed in his clients might actually be happening. What were the root causes? How could he best get to the central cause of the problem and then eradicate it?

    Much research and consideration led him to developing a theory which grew and become a technique that he named Subliminal Therapy. He has promoted this therapy consistently as the most effective and efficient means of accomplishing real change in his patients. Many fellow therapists raised eyebrows and questioned what was being done but research has very much confirmed the thesis that Dr Yager was putting forward.

    On reading the initial sentence that I quoted at the beginning of this review I felt that a gauntlet was being thrown down by the author to all and sundry to try and disprove his claims. I did not feel at all enthusiastic about it at all in the first instance. I felt that I was going to be faced with dull, dry, academic argument and would be egocentric into the bargain.

    Thank goodness my fears were unfounded. I will be honest. To begin with I did not find the book the easiest to read although this did improve as I was drawn deeper and deeper into the text. At the end I felt stimulated by what I had read so the journey was worthwhile and I invite you, as potential readers, to take the journey for yourselves and discover the power of this new technique for working with patients.

    So what is Subliminal Therapy ? In brief it is an code of communication with the unconscious mind. The point is to revise and review old memories, examine the responses to carefully selected questions and aiming to be able to relate cause and effect. It is through this that the therapist is then able to derive solutions and execute decisions with considerable precision. There is no formal hypnotic trance required but it is noted that many clients drift naturally into trance as the session continues.

    Whereas in hypnotherapy the therapist normally addresses the patient by his or her preferred name, in Subliminal Therapy the therapist addresses a specific part of the patient's mind. The part he communicates with throughout he has named Centrum. This is acknowledges to be a part of the client's consciousness that is happy to be helpful and is also wise. It is that part of the conscious mind that can have free communication with all other parts of the consciousness. To begin with the whole idea seems somewhat strange and detached from normal practice but then one begins to see very definite links with Parts Therapy and also Egos State Therapy too.

    I take issue with the title of the book. To me the word subliminal makes me think back to the times when public advertising had subliminal messages contained within them sounds or visual effects which were affecting people's minds and therefore their choices without them being aware of it in any way at all.

    As therapists we continually say to peopleyou will be aware'. I think that is important. It has a certain security in it. For some reason the word subliminal suggests outside of control and awareness and I feel unless very well explained to patients and let's face it not all patients have the greatest power of comprehension then the therapy being outlined sounds somewhat threatening rather than dramatically beneficial.

    AddressingCentrum' too adds to this feeling of strangeness and even initial distrust of the whole business.It has an almost alien touch.

    The important thing is am I won over my Dr Yager's arguments ? Am I comfortable with the description and explanation of his methodology ?

    The Subliminal Therapy Institute writes :

    Over the years, patients have presented a wide variety of problems. Some of the presenting symptoms have been strictly psychological, such as phobias and obsessions; however, most have had a physical component, such as insomnia, asthma, pain, or dermatological, sexual or gastro-intestinal components, that allopathic medical treatment has not been effective in eliminating. It is entirely possible that the common denominator of all of these problems is conditioning; they were -˜learned' at some previous time. Essentially without exception, the -˜problem' of today was a -˜solution' when it began. When past circumstances are understood in the light of current knowledge, a problematic consequence can be re-interpreted (re-framed) in a manner that is consistent with current life needs and values, thereby eliminating the symptom/s.

    Subliminal Therapy is a highly efficient, hypnotic technique of psychotherapy that utilizes subconscious abilities to achieve consciously desired change by enabling that understanding. This is accomplished in a logical sequence of steps: Identify that part of the mind that was formed at the time the (current) dysfunction was learned; Establish communications with that part; and then Educate the part about current reality, thereby persuading it to accommodate the beliefs and values held consciously. All this while concurrently ensuring conscious awareness of, and concurrence with, the work as it progresses.

    Through a wide variety of detailed case studies Dr Yager goes through his treatment of patients presenting a variety of problems from Pain to Quitting Smoking, from Anxiety to Alcohol Abuse A basic transcript and analysis is given of Dr Yager's communication with Centrum in the various patients. He carefully outlines the instructions to give, the questions to ask, the way to evaluate the communication so best to lead it forward to creating the cure he seeks.

    After initial awkwardness in entering the patient/therapist flow of communication the book gives a detailed and fascinating introduction and insight into what it, without any doubt, a powerful therapeutic tool. It is not a therapeutic procedure that can be rushed and some patients quoted have seen the Dr for an extended period of time.

    After reading the book I am more inclined to believe that Subliminal Therapy is an unquestionably highly efficient psychotherapeutic tool. It achieves its results by using subconscious abilities to achieve consciously desired change through bringing about a state of understanding within the patient.

    It is a very logical approach.

    1 Identify the part of the mind that was formed at the very time that the dysfunction under review was first learned.

    2 Open a channel of communication with that part we call the Centrum with carefully crafted questions.

    3 Educate that part about the reality of the situation as it is now. The therapist aims to guide it towards accommodating the values and the beliefs that are held consciously by the patient. So the conscious and subconscious feature together with the emphasis being on

    4 Ensuring conscious awareness of and concurrence with the whole therapeutic process as it unravels and progresses.

    In the book we are taught that Subliminal Therapy is an efficient and effective way of accomplishing reconditioning through guiding the patient towards an understanding of the deep causes of the problem from its very outset, the cause of the problem being presented, from the perspective of the present moment. The early experience that set off the whole problem is given a full airing and , when understood in the light of present knowledge, the influence of the past time can be set aside allowing current judgement to prevail allowing a healing, reprogramming to take place.

    A lot to take in, I feel. This book merits more than one reading. It deserves that attention as I think we have much to learn. Subliminal Therapy is a formidable tool in our armoury of techniques to help our patients more forwards.
  8. I recently had the pleasure of reading Subliminal Therapy by Edwin Yager, PhD (Crown House Publishing, 2011). This book grabbed my attention in the very first paragraph of the Prologue by mentioning how two sessions of subliminal therapy resulted in a client's asthma ceasing, with no recurring symptoms after 39 months. The author's work developing Subliminal Therapy (or -˜ST') is innovative and brilliant, and it spans almost four decades.

    Since much of health care today helps patients and/or clients deal with the effects of physical or mental problems, it is very significant that the author resolves causes rather than just treating the symptoms. On page 52 he states: -˜Resolve the CAUSE and the problem goes away, not just temporarily, it goes away, period.'

    Actual case histories are presented to document the results. Examples include smoking cessation, anxiety, pain reduction, anger management, alcohol abuse, panic attacks, and more. Success rates were measured. The overall success rate for ST averages more than 80%, with a profound success rate of 94% for addictions. One category with a lower success, pain reduction, still reflects an impressive 75% success rate.

    The author works on the concept that the mind contains a conscious, subconscious, and a higher level of unconscious functioning that he calls -˜Centrum.' This extra-consciousness is aware of various parts of the mind (also called ego states, or selves); and awareness of the subconscious parts is employed during the sessions. However, ST differs from both ego state therapy and parts therapy, because the facilitator communicates with Centrum rather than with the parts. Centrum then communicates directly with the parts at the facilitator's request, educating and/or persuading the client's parts, and indicating when the work is complete.

    Flowcharts appear in the text to ensure certain protocols are employed by anyone using ST. Additionally, in order to provide proper training in ST to health care professionals, the author offers training and certification through the Subliminal Therapy Institute, Inc., in Southern California.

    Whether or not one wishes to use Subliminal Therapy, I recommend that health care professionals and hypnotherapists alike read this book.
  9. The dedication in Professor Yager's -˜Subliminal Therapy' is telling: ' those clinicians ...who have the intellectual curiosity to seek improved ways to help people, the openness to consider that which is truly new and the willingness to test the effectiveness of the techniques they use.'

    As indicated in the dedication, this is a book which ticks many boxes: being truly ground-breaking, yet highly practical; imaginative, yet rigorously researched; and accessible, yet intellectually satisfying.

    Drawing on forty years' experience of employing hypnotic procedures in psychotherapy, Yager clearly demonstrates how the methods and protocols of subliminal therapy utilising hypnotic techniques without requiring a formal trance induction can be used to facilitate both psychological and physical healing.

    Theoretical material is well-supported by extensive case material, which demonstrates Yager's pioneering work in the application of the psychology of mind-body healing.

    In common with Griffin and Tyrrell's Human Givens, this is a book which expands its readers' understanding of the enormous potential of trance-work and re-framing for achieving therapeutic ends in their broadest sense.

    I highly recommend it.
  10. Edwin Yager is a highly respected clinical hypnotherapist and this excellent book describes subliminal techniques which can be used with or without normal trance induction to help in discovering the roots of present-day presenting problems where those suffering have been unable to uncover their cause. The book is written with great clarity and detail and will, I am certain, be of enormous benefit to practising therapists whether or not they have already been contemplating the use of subliminal therapy in the treatment of those who consult them.

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