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Is Psycho-Cybernetics still a good read, or pseudoscience & outdated?

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Black_Dragon43

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Hi,

I've heard this book recommended very often in the mindset category, and not sure if it's worth being my next choice to read. What do those of you who have read it think?
 

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It's a great book. I would recommend reading it thoroughly and taking notes because it is a lot to take in at once if you're new to mindset stuff.
 

Ismails

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It’s Highly recommend.

The book is about reprogramming the subconscious mind.
 

JamesQB8

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There's this general consensus that new is always improved/better. However great books can be timeless. Look at the great philosophers and stoics for example, they had shit figured out and we are experiencing a lot the same problems just repackaged in modern times.

Psycho cybernetics is one of my favourite books and a lot of the newer books in that field are based off those writings. The human mind hasn't changed since the 60s and everything is still very applicable. I highly recommend and gift it to most of my clients.
 

MitchC

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I’d go a step further and say it’s actually probably the best book you could read on mindset and changing your mindset.

Just like breakthrough advertising which was written in the 50s or something is probably still the best book ever written on advertising and creating products.
 

ChrisV

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Pseudoscience. His claims are totally wrong.

"21 days to form a habit" has been thoroughly trashed and debunked, and the idea of positive visualization is thought to be counterproductive and harmful.

He was a plastic surgeon, not a psychologist. I've never seen a real psychologist recommend his work.

Sorry to those who like it, but my scientific perspective is that it's poppycock.
 

lowtek

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Pseudoscience. His claims are totally wrong.

"21 days to form a habit" has been thoroughly trashed and debunked, and the idea of positive visualization is thought to be counterproductive and harmful.

He was a plastic surgeon, not a psychologist. I've never seen a real psychologist recommend his work.

Sorry to those who like it, but my scientific perspective is that it's poppycock.
Malt didn't say 21 days exactly.

The link you provide on 21 days backs up Malt's original claims of at least 21 days. The study in the article says 18 to 250 something, so pretty consistent with 21 days at minimum.
 

ChrisV

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Malt didn't say 21 days exactly.

The link you provide on 21 days backs up Malt's original claims of at least 21 days. The study in the article says 18 to 250 something, so pretty consistent with 21 days at minimum.
It's been a while since I read it, but I remember him making a number of wacky claims.

He makes claims of people under hypnosis actually developing physical burn marks just because he suggested they were poked with a hot poker.

What I do know is that while Maltz's work made a massive impact on the Self-Help industry, it made almost no impact on the field of psychology. Psychologists don't cite him; and if his work were so profound and held up to scientific scrutiny, I feel like it would have had an impact on the field. I've never seen anything in a mainstream psychology textbook that was similar to his thermostat, self-correcting model of the self-image.

Instead it's had an impact on the work of say Bob Proctor (Law of Attraction teacher)

I know that doesn't prove his theories wrong, but I've never seen any evidence that visualizing success actually makes you more successful. In fact there have been some studies showing it's harmful

 
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Black_Dragon43

Black_Dragon43

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Thanks for all the answers so far! Seems to have people on both sides...

Pseudoscience. His claims are totally wrong.

"21 days to form a habit" has been thoroughly trashed and debunked, and the idea of positive visualization is thought to be counterproductive and harmful.

He was a plastic surgeon, not a psychologist. I've never seen a real psychologist recommend his work.

Sorry to those who like it, but my scientific perspective is that it's poppycock.
This is somewhat worrying, I don't want to spend the time reading something that won't be helpful...

Do you have any alternative recommendations that I can look into @ChrisV ?

Do any of you (@TTG SS , @JamesQB8 , @Ismails , @MitchC ) know something that Chris is missing?
 

Dmorr

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I have it on audio books on my phone. I listen to it at least two or three times a year. It has been instrumental for me and my business
 

ReeZ

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It's real.

From mental power to muscle power--gaining strength by using the mind. - PubMed - NCBI
Fruitful plans: adding targeted mental imagery to implementation intentions increases fruit consumption. - PubMed - NCBI
Here's The Trick Olympic Athletes Use To Achieve Their Goals
https://digitalcommons.brockport.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1049&context=pes_synthesis
Seeing Is Believing: The Power of Visualization
https://digital.library.txstate.edu/bitstream/handle/10877/5548/EKEOCHA-THESIS-2015.pdf?sequence=1

While I don't know about the specific instance that Chris is referring to (burn marks) a part of why psychologists haven't dealt with Maltz's work is simply because it's not their area.

In Tal Ben Shahar's happiness course at Harvard back in 2006 (Positive Psychology 1504), he talks slightly about this. Most studies done on people are in a "negative" view. People experience negative things - Psychologists research this, and it goes in a circle.

During the 2nd lecture, Dr. Shahar mentions these numbers;
During 1967 - 2000 we had 5k studies on anger, 41k studies on anxiety and 54k studies on depression.
So what about "positive studies"?
Joy - 415 studies
Happiness - 1,7k studies
Life-satisfaction - 2.5k studies

This is a ratio of 21-1.
Now, this was between 1967-2000, but I don't believe the ratio has changed drastically. Now I don't have any sources backing me up on that :)
 

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ChrisV

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Do you have any alternative recommendations that I can look into @ChrisV ?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

31615

Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT)

31616

Also, our brain chemistry has a huge effect on how successful we are. I wrote a long thread on it a while ago.

The idea behind 'visualize success' seems to be flawed. What appears to happen is people visualize success, get those good feelings, then they have nothing to work for.

You don't want to release satisfaction chemicals (endogenous opioids) without earning them. It's almost the same way people on heroin just sit around in this perpetual state of contentment while their life is systematically destroyed around them. Visualizing success releases feel-good hormones (endogenous opioids) that sends the body a 'it's okay to relax.. we have everything we need' signal. Let's say you visualize having a Ferrari (or whatever)... just like they say 'the brain can't tell the difference between an real and imagined event.' So the brain says "okay! we've achieved our goal! no need to expend extra energy on this!" whereas if you have a goal, your brain releases dopamine (a sort of fight-or-flight chemical,) which motivates you to take action. In short, if you already have your reward, why take action?

There was a technique called Mental Contrasting by researcher Gabriele Oettingen that many people swear by.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaeE7W0IWnk
 

ChrisV

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While I don't know about the specific instance that Chris is referring to (burn marks) a part of why psychologists haven't dealt with Maltz's work is simply because it's not their area.
31618
 

lowtek

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Interesting tangential discussion to be had, does something have to be scientific to be useful?

I would argue no. Utility and scientific truth are independent concepts. In fact, scientists routinely use incorrect mental models just to wrap their minds around something. The model of atoms as large balls in the middle with a bunch of smaller orbiting balls, kind of like a planetary system, is patently false. Yet it is incredibly useful in getting a feel for many physical phenomena. Atomic scattering and the transitions of electrons from one energy state to another can be easily understood within that (incorrect) mental model. The mental model has high utility, despite being quite low on the scale of objective reality.

When you read something, it should always be read critically. Yes, the idea that a person develops burn marks under hypnosis is most likely on shaky ground. I certainly wouldn't want to die on the hill of defending that.

That doesn't invalidate the idea that the power of belief is quite real. It's so real, in fact, that pharmaceutical drugs are measured relative to the success of a sugar pill with no other power than that of the belief of receiving legitimate medicine. So, belief in something is sufficient to get some kind of results, even if that something isn't objectively true.

Some here have stated that the book helped them immensely, and hordes of others have sworn by the utility of derivative works (Tony Robbins' tribe in particular). This leads me to believe it has utility, and shouldn't be discarded simply because it's not scientifically rigorous. If you read the book and believe the exercises are going to be helpful, then there is some good chance they will indeed be useful.

Of course, given the nature of placebo, it (the book and its ideas) may very well do nothing for you as well.
 

Martin.G

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I read it a long time ago, and I really enjoyed. Maybe there are a things that are not so recently, but it is a good read.
 

ChrisV

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does something have to be scientific to be useful?
No.. I don't think so, but when you test a hypothesis it should show positive results if the idea is sound.

I think that the power of belief is undeniable; and the therapies I mentioned like CBT and REBT are actually all about changing beliefs and perceptions

31622

31623


I think the individual claims of Psycho-cybernetics need to be unpacked.

Do beliefs create your reality? Of course.
Does visualization help? No evidence (I've seen) to support that.

So there are many individual claims put forth in Psycho-cybernetics. I don't think that all of them are false, I just think there are better, more accurate methods out there that have actually shown success in controlled studies.
 
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TTG SS

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Me personally, I don't' understand the science behind mindset. I'm not that smart LOL

What matters to me is I can easily adjust my paradigm and control my character to become whoever I need to be to meet my goal. Obviously, it is a constant evolution.

Things that I've put in place to do that: A 10+ page mindset journal I read every single morning as soon as getting out of bed, daily meditation & visualization. Another thing I do is view myself in the 3rd person from time to time and act as if I'm playing a video game and control my character. Especially when I don't want to do something or am being lazy.

Being aware of your patterns of existence, thought patterns, feedback loops, etc have all helped me become a better, more successful, more productive person.

I also make sure to hard, difficult and sometimes miserable things as much as possible.
 

MitchC

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Thanks for all the answers so far! Seems to have people on both sides...


This is somewhat worrying, I don't want to spend the time reading something that won't be helpful...

Do you have any alternative recommendations that I can look into @ChrisV ?

Do any of you (@TTG SS , @JamesQB8 , @Ismails , @MitchC ) know something that Chris is missing?
All those mindset books are the same. This is just the best one. So if you want to read one this is the one to read.

As mentioned above it doesn’t have to be scientific to work for you. The brain is complicated and there’s no way we understand everything about it.

The type of visualisation is different to what Chris is talking about which is mentioned in other books.

He specifically says to visualise how you want to be not what you want to have.

I don’t even think the visualisation part is the good part of the book. The way he talks about goal striving mechanisms and how we are not a machine we have a machine and how F*cking powerful our brain is builds so much confidence and direction just reading it.

Like any book, just read it and take a few ideas that you like from it and ignore the ones you don’t need or like or agree with. I don’t even do visualisation at all (I know I should though) and I still think it’s worth reading.

You can find something wrong with any book, especially the best ones, it doesn’t mean they are worthless and that everything else in them is wrong too.
 
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Ismails

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Thanks for all the answers so far! Seems to have people on both sides...


This is somewhat worrying, I don't want to spend the time reading something that won't be helpful...

Do you have any alternative recommendations that I can look into @ChrisV ?

Do any of you (@TTG SS , @JamesQB8 , @Ismails , @MitchC ) know something that Chris is missing?

I won't go against @ChrisV. He made a good point though. Since the study & field test materials = all are from 60s. It was suppose to be old school effective fashion and @ChrisV argument is on point.
I think its a time for me to refresh my mind by re-reading again and come up with my own argument.
 

Bruno Calisso

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Absolutely pseudoscience. I'm not able nor willing to justify myself, I can only tell you that I've been reading dozens of books and blogs on the psychology field regarding several aspects of our mindset and the field that talks about "reprogramming" your brain is quite outdated and BS.

Reeducating our beliefs and healthy philosophies are our best path to a successful mindset.
 

ChrisV

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The type of visualisation is different to what Chris is talking about which is mentioned in other books.

He specifically says to visualise how you want to be not what you want to have.
Yea.. fair enough. Sorry a lot of those positive thinking books blend together for me.

So actually process-related visualization does work. Outcome-related visualization is the one there's no evidence for.

The difference:

Visualizing the process, meanwhile, helps you plan a path to your goals, reduces anxiety and increases confidence. So, instead of visualizing yourself sitting on the beach with money raining down from the sky, think about the steps that you’d need to take to get there (like renting a helicopter).
And that actually is scientifically validated


Also this post:
I don’t even think the visualisation part is the good part of the book. The way he talks about goal striving mechanisms and how we are not a machine we have a machine and how F*cking powerful our brain is builds so much confidence and direction just reading it.
That's also scientifically validated. Look into the work of Colin DeYoung for more information. I think Jordan Peterson discusses is a bit in this interview as well.
 

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Joost11

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It is a fantastic book. But in order to get the most out of it you just have to let your guard down and just believe in the stuff it says in the book. If you are going to be an egghead scientist about it, dont bother it will not help you. Also please take notes while reading
 

Nekoemon

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Absolutely pseudoscience. I'm not able nor willing to justify myself, I can only tell you that I've been reading dozens of books and blogs on the psychology field regarding several aspects of our mindset and the field that talks about "reprogramming" your brain is quite outdated and BS.

Reeducating our beliefs and healthy philosophies are our best path to a successful mindset.
BS? Not so. Most of things related to hypnosis are metaphors, including the image of 'rewiring', 'reprogramming', etc... Any hypnotherapist will be the first to admit it, including when it comes to the notions of 'conscious' and 'subconscious'. It doesn't have to be scientifically validated to work, as long as you can make an efficient use of metaphors.
Once someone accepts the fact, hypnotherapy can work wonders, and this includes Psycho-cybernetics or any NLP book.
 
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Black_Dragon43

Black_Dragon43

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WOW! I've proceeded to get the Kindle version and actually start reading...

At first, I found a few things which raised my suspicions and almost made me put the book down and agree with @ChrisV . For example, to prove his point that to revolutionize a field, it generally takes someone who is not an authority, Maltz gave the example of Albert Einstein, who, he claimed, was a mathematician who revolutionised physics (of course, that is patently false. Einstein studied physics, not mathematics). Then there was the hot poker issue too + the outdated language.

Nevertheless, I pressed on. And I'm glad I did!

This is actually one of the best mindset books that I've ever read. Contrary to what @ChrisV critiques above, the author does NOT actually encourage positive thinking (he makes it clear that it is forming a realistic self-image that is the point, not an embellished, imaginary one) NOR for the matter does he promote the kind of visualization mentioned.

In fact, visualisation isn't even that important in the book. All that Maltz says is that basically you have to visualise where you want to get to, and how to get there, rather than visualise all the reasons why you can't get there and other negative things.

But what is truly amazing about the book is how ahead of its times it is. It basically is CBT before CBT became mainstream. It teaches how our thoughts create our behaviours and our feelings, and how feelings can reinforce thoughts. The method he advises isn't just to change your thinking (though that is certainly part of the story), it is to change your thinking and associate POSITIVE emotions with the new thinking and NEGATIVE emotions with the old one. Maltz knows that if you just change your thinking, but do NOT create the emotional associations necessary to reinforce it, then it will not stick.

This is where visualization comes in.

Maltz explains why goals are essential to our nature as human beings, and why we need to pursue goals in order to have a well-developed self-image. Furthermore, the point is made that we will, subconsciously, sabotage ourselves if we do NOT have a strong, sturdy, realistic self-image without even knowing. So we will be destroying our own success, making our worst fears into self-fulfilling prophecies.

Maltz discovered advanced CBT methods, which, for example, are rehashed in the Chimp Paradox. The Chimp Paradox actually builds exactly the same model that Maltz does, but it uses different metaphors. For example, the "human" is your forebrain, your conscious mind. Its goal is to feed stuff to the computer. The "computer" is your subconscious, mechanical brain. It just pursues the goals, and develops the beliefs fed to it by the human. And the "chimp" is the collection of your negative habits and negative thought patterns that you must overcome.

Way ahead of its time! Not to mention that, if you're Christian, then it's a wonderful explanation of how your religious beliefs can actually help you develop a better self-image and become a stronger person. It shows you how FAITH is central to your mindset, and creates a nice link between faith and religion.

I still have 3 chapters to go, but definitely impressed so far. Highly recommended!
 

gryfny

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I've read it. And didn't implement any of what I've learned. Going through my notes again today, and I will implement the positive thinking in my daily life.
 

Kid

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I'm 50% with Chris here and 0% with those who will advise to read those scammers.

The fact that it feels good and the illusion of solving problems by providing totally madeup techniques should make such books illegal and authors sued.

If you apply those techniques you'll end up in worse place than before.

For those reasons, I'm out.
 

VicFountain

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Psychocybernetics is definitely the best "self-help" book on the human brain ever made.
Most of these gurus in today's age are just rebranding Maltz's concepts (look at Tony Robbins, for example).
 
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Black_Dragon43

Black_Dragon43

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Psychocybernetics is definitely the best "self-help" book on the human brain ever made.
Most of these gurus in today's age are just rebranding Maltz's concepts (look at Tony Robbins, for example).
After having read it, and as someone who has taken Tony programs in the past, I quite agree with you. The way I see things, Psycho-cybernetics is effectively practical CBT that involves both a relaxation technique so that you can break the negative loop, coupled with reframing and changing limiting beliefs.

One thing that some would say is missing from Psycho-Cybernetics is mindfulness. I was having a discussion here, on whether mindfulness is even helpful.
 

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