M. Garyaeva, «Soviet Woman», 1989, № 9
What did I see? My eyes were shut, but floating before me were vivid pictures evoked by the doctor’s voice: now a sunny clearing in the wood, now a play of all hues of red, now a shimmering mist enveloping me in which my arms, legs and my whole body seemed to dissolve.
Seeing is believing, they say. so there I was sitting in one of the chairs lining the consulting room of the psychotherapy cooperative.
What have I heard about it?
That It has been incredibly successful in combating alcoholism: here, the percentage of cures is six times higher than average.
What did I see? My eyes were shut, but floating before me were vivid pictures evoked by the doctor’s voice: now a sunny clearing in the wood, now a play of all hues of red, now a shimmering mist enveloping me in which my arms, legs and my whole body seemed to dissolve. I felt light, almost weightless. Obeying the voice. I found myself in outer space, with huge heavenly bodies charging past and stars shining on so brightly. I was aware of myself both as a tiny particle and an indispensable part of this beautiful, boundless universe. The visions were followed by the conviction, roused by the doctor’s words, that I. a human being, can shape my life so as to make the best possible use of the talents, powers and reason given me by nature.
The voice belonged to Yuri Vialbe, head of the cooperative. That was an ordinary treatment session, and the doctor himself does not lay claim to any special abilities. He states that very many people could heal others just as successfully, after mastering the psychosomatic correction method suggested by psychologist Vladimir Kucherenko, who is now also on the staff of the cooperative.
“Well, and how do you feel?” the doctor asked me.
“Fine!” I said. “Still floating. Is this normal?”
“Depends on the purpose of the session. Sometimes, the sensations we want to evoke are not as pleasant. It may be disgust at the hangover or fear of destroying one’s own nerve cells by drink. The changes occur not only at the sensory level. The functioning of the organs also changes, and that is reflected by the cardiogram and the biochemical blood test.”
“So a person is not only set free from his addiction but gets back his health, which alcohol undermined?”
Vladimir Kucherenko, who has developed the cure, corrected me:
“It is more accurate to say that we help the patient to mobilize his own organism. A person who has become aware of the danger is our ally; he willingly cooperates. At the sessions we help him reach a state he would not be able to attain in the absence of training. It is akin to inspiration. The cerebral cortex relaxes its controlling function. The doctor’s ‘incantations’ provoke the desired processes in the body: if we suggest to the patient that he is feeling warmth in the area of the liver, he does. Blood is released from the depot and circulation is stimulated. If the patient conjures up a vivid picture of the disintegration of his dead nerve cells, the fear hormone is discharged, a process that restores the self-preservation instinct lost by the alcoholic. In such a state, the brain is active and acts in an unusual capacity — as an inner healer, first finding the weak spots, the diseased organs, and then curing them. How strong the effect is can be judged from the fact that the eight sessions making up the treatment heal alcoholic psoriasis, hepatitis and gastritis. A patient of ours, in the last stage of alcoholism, with 2 cm of vacuum under his skull, was already finding it difficult to walk, and no one seemed able to help him. After 24 sessions, he is no longer an alcoholic, and he walks: his blood vessels have come back into action.”
It was explained to me that psychological correction boils down to replacing a sick mentality with a healthy one. It is known that chronic illnesses such as stenocardia, gastritis, alcoholism themselves leave a stamp on the human mentality. The traditional methods of treating alcoholism do not include psychological help (medicine has no theory of the personality and is not concerned with the characteristics of a normal personality), while here, it is a major target to enhance the best personal traits, to rebuild a harmonious, integral personality from the fragments. As a result, the person loses the abnormal aggressiveness and insecurity that prompt him to go looking for respect among his drinking companions, and regains his self-respect. People often begin to drink against a background of constant stress and discomfort stemming from a certain set of circumstances. The medics are powerless to change the situation that has made an alcoholic out of a person, but they are able to change his attitude to this situation, to give him at least a measure of strength and energy to combat it. If they succeed, the patient will never try to dislodge the capsule implanted under his skin. The complete independence from alcohol that the cooperative helps its “customers” to attain gives good grounds for hope.
The method was first tested at a drug-treatment centre in Moscow, under the supervision of Eduard Drozdov, head doctor of the hospital where the centre is situated. The new treatment was the result of the allied efforts of psychologist Vladimir Kucherenko and physician Yuri Vialbe.
Healers of the distant past regarded treatment “with the word” as the most consummate skill. It was considered magic and was surrounded with an aura of mysticism. But modern psychology has found it can employ the experience in this kind of treatment accumulated over the centuries and in different parts of the world.
At first, there were just Kucherenko and Vialbe but recently several followers have been trained to conduct group sessions. But it is still impossible to help all those who need it, so there is a two-year waiting list for free treatment in hospital, and a one-year list at the cooperative if the patient is willing to pay. The work load is huge, as most of the staff are engaged at the hospital in the mornings and afternoons and at the cooperative in the evenings. But these people have no intention of relaxing yet. The treatment methods are being improved all the time. Now, both before and after the treatment, the patients are examined by psychologists and are put through tests which reveal the changes that the treatment has effected.