The Lightning Process Didn't Work for Me
Shedding light on the lightning Process
PHIL PARKER’S LIGHTNING PROCESS DIDN’T WORK FOR ME.
The Lightning Process is the latest 'miracle' cure for M.E and Chronic Fatigue. It is shrouded in mystery because they drill it into participants that if they tell anyone about it it won't work.. It has worked for some people but not for others. It is based on affirmations and counteracting negative thoughts if you are already familiar with such things it will not be anything new for you. I paid £550 to go on the course because I couldn't find out what it was really about. This is why I have written this.
There were four of us on the course. The morning of the first day was spent ‘proving’ mind over matter by showing us DVD’s interspersed with talks from the tutor, a stout woman in her late fifties, telling us about people who had being wrongly diagnosed with cancer and then died anyway.
‘That’s how powerful your mind is,’ she trilled and didn’t cite the many cases of people wrongly diagnosed with cancer who gave away all their money only to find themselves still alive and then sue the NHS - as was on the radio recently. We were shown optical illusions, pictures where one way it looks like an old woman, one way a young one and another one of an elephant with varying numbers of legs depending on how you looked at it. She kept pointing to her large sofas and telling us stories about people who had lain there unable to move at the start of the course and were walking again by the third day and then back at work/school by the following Monday (the course was mid week). I liked this bit. Before the course I could already walk, I could even work part time, but I still slept afternoons, travel exhausted me and nights out left me sleepless and overwrought. If others went from nothing to being able to work in four days I was sure to get well. I believed it could work. My basic attitude was I have paid £550 for this (borrowed money) I am going to do what they say.
The first thing was to take responsibility for our illness. I had to stop saying I had M.E. Instead I have to say I am ‘doing M.E’, I wasn’t tired, I was ‘doing tired and doing muscle aches’. The implication being if I am doing it I can stop doing it. I wasn’t sure what I thought about this, but it didn’t matter because I didn’t get to put it into practice much on the course as you are not encouraged to talk about how you are. This was because we are going to concentrate on the positive which at the time seemed fair enough. The facilitator was telling us more and more stories about the people she had cured. One of them even phoned up while we were having lunch and the phone was passed round the table so we could all talk to her. By that time I was up really up for it, we all were, whatever the process was, I was going to do it with all my heart.
In the afternoon session we were told that the reason we had M.E is that we have negative thoughts. Every time we have them our adrenal glands give us ‘a squirt of adrenaline’ this builds up and stops your body functioning properly.
The Lightening Process would stop this happening. This was a miracle. The five hundred and fifty pound wonder.
The tutor stood up. ‘To stop this you have to get up and say ‘Stop’ make a physical movement, step back or cross your wrists in a pushing away movement.’ And she did the movement for us. Then she showed us how to go through an affirmation/self-coaching process, which I think is copy righted so I’ll paraphrase. You ask yourself if you want to choose happiness. Which you obviously do and then you say how fantastic you are to have stopped the negativity thought. You ask yourself what you really want, then you answer yourself, and again ask yourself how you are going to get there. The answer of course is to keep doing the process, getting rid of those negative thoughts. Then you tell yourself how great you are again and maybe have a bit of a hug with yourself, then…….. no nothing, that’s it.
Kerching. Five hundred and Fifty pounds please.
I was a bit perturbed at this point because I have been doing affirmations and therapy for many years so I am not blighted by the kind of negativity that can be emotionally crippling, and when I first discovered that it was wonderful. But I discovered it in a book that cost £3.50 now I it seemed I had paid £550 for the same lesson.
However the mere fact I had paid so much money meant I was going to do exactly as they told me, it had worked for others and it could work for me. We were told to do The Process thirty times that evening. I went back to my guest house and did as I was told. I spoke to my loved ones but when they asked how it went I was reluctant to talk about it. The tutor said that if we tell people about the process if won’t work. That’s right, to talk about the process means it can’t work for you. She also told had told us no matter how she feels she tells everyone she ‘feels fabulous’. I wasn’t quite ready to tell people I felt fabulous but equally I didn’t tell anyone how much the first day had tired me because that is a negative thought and that must be countered, so I did my thirty processes, went for a walk and then to bed.
The second day when I turned up there was three big posters saying, ‘DON’T TALK ABOUT HOW YOU ARE UNTIL THE SESSION STARTS’. I soon realised once it did start that is so the tutor can control everything. She didn’t ask me if I felt better she asked what I did the night before, I said, ‘I did the Process and I went for a walk’ she said, ‘Sally, went for a walk, hooray’ like it was a victory for the Lightning process but as I said my M.E is moderate and I go for a walk everyday, but no-one would have known.
As the day went on I was getting more and more tired. By mid-afternoon I was slumped in my seat watching yet another video about how the brain makes us over-produce adrenaline and how The Process can stop it. But I had been doing the process and it hadn’t stopped it. All the tutor’s happy chat about even more people she had cured were starting to sound stale.
I was not the only one who looked knackered. One of the blokes started asking questions about why he doesn’t feel what they say on the DVD.
‘It’s a three day process’ she snaps and makes him do the Process.
Any awkward question for the rest of the session was answered with ‘It’s a three day process,’ or anything even more awkward she says we can ask in the individual sessions we are having the next day.
If anyone says anything she thinks is negative we are interrupted and corrected.
At one point she left the room. It felt very naughty but I whispered to one of the woman sitting next to me ‘how are you, is this working for you?’. She was reluctant to answer, to say anything but that she was doing well would be to go against the process because that is a negative thought. It was pointless asking really.
Still I wanted it to work, but I was starting to worry about the fact that I was not only not feeling any better the effort of doing the course, not getting my normal rest was making me feel worse.
But these were negative thoughts. I started to ruthlessly suppress them like I had been shown.
Yes by that evening I was doing the Lightning Process to counteract my thoughts about the Lightning Process itself.
The next day I still felt no different. I went and had my one to one session and when I told her that she said I was being negative (of course) and that I must keep doing the process at home and it would work. But on the course I was told that the reason it was called 'lightning process' was that because it worked liked lightning (they even produced diagram with a graphic of some lightning in case we didn't get it. I got the concept, it just wasn't happening.) From all the literature I was sent prior to parting with borrowed money to go on the course, were testimonials saying how fast it had worked. No body said it didn't work on the course but it did later. Also I realised when you fill in the form you have to say whether you question things, this is because they don’t want anyone on the course who does. They need to control everything. You are not allowed to talk about how you are because that is being negative. In the session anything I even hinted to this effect was countered with that I was being negative. So we moved on to what else she could do for me. I said one of my biggest problems was being exhausted but unable to sleep. So we did a visualisation that involved a pressure point on my hand and she said whenever I couldn’t sleep I could just rub that point.
‘There you are you are cured,’ she said so happily that I could see in her mind where no negative thoughts ever creep, I was. She was clearly thrilled with herself. I wanted to believe her and tried it for the next few nights, of course to no avail.
The lightning process is supposed to be NLP and osteopathy. I could see no osteopathy, the only movement on the course I attended was the stop movement and the pressure point on my hand I mentioned above. The woman who ran the process had been cured herself so maybe they have got something. I didn’t disbelieve he, she had a large house with a spare flat that she no longer needed to rent out due to how much she was making from peddling the lightning process to desperate people like me.
To give her her due she did drive me to and from the station and after the course offered to work with me for free on the phone. So I accepted that but found out that working with me involved her telling me to keep working the process because it worked and arguing with my objections saying I hadn't given it time and that I was being negative.
She kept saying 'keep doing it cos it works,' and had nothing to say when I said I had kept 'doing it'. She said I had given up so soon. I was told it had a 93 % success rate. On my course of four it seemed to work for one person and had an impact on another, but for two of us it failed completely. I contacted everyone six months after the course. NONE of them were well.
Phil Parker who invented this process charges £1000 for his three day courses and has over 20 people per course. He should put some of that money into doing a proper clinical trial. It must be easy to wire people up to see if they get a squirt of adrenaline when they have negative thoughts. Maybe that does happen for some people but not all. Some people do get cured but not me.
I wished they asked on the application form if I was plagued with negative thoughts and whether I had worked with affirmations before, that would have given me the hint that this was nothing new. Instead they advertise it as a miracle cure - although I understand the Advertising Standard Authority have stopped that now - which is something.