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IntroductionFor centuries, mankind has tried to overcome stress. A result of this effort have been different techniques that enable access to new sources of energy so that any person can become a whole, relaxed and efficient human being.In the search for procedures that may foster in any individual an awareness of his inner processes, the objective has been to develop creativity, intelligence and energy, by means of a state of relaxation in which the mind stays alert, accumulated tension and fatigue are dissolved, and greater inner stability is acquired. These elements constitute the bases for a new dimension in psychology: the systematization of the objective study and subjective experience of the development of consciousness and the integration of personality.For modern man, the way of living does not facilitate the growth of his inner potential, limits his aspirations, and generates dissatisfaction which, in turn, has a bearing on physical and mental balance. Our civilization s technical progress keeps man alienated from himself, fostering a deep disorientation in life, and exposing him at all times to an excessive stress to adapt himself to the demands of an ever changing environment.A constant concern in the history of psychology has been the possibility to modify pathological or maladjusted behavior. In recent years, this aspiration has become stronger as evidence points to the ineffectiveness of the theoretical schemes that had been put into practice. This has made the science of behavior to turn towards explanations of a much general nature, without neglecting the scientific character of its research.After half a century of fruitless efforts to arrive to a psychology with no inner awareness, the incidence of consciousness in behavior has had to be accepted and, in consequence, had led this science to a deeper level of knowledge of the neurophysiological aspects of behavior; and it is this crossing of psychology with neurophysiology that has produced the interrelationship of mental and physical levels. Nonetheless, consciousness is not only an aspect of behavior, but rather the substantive property of the human being.Experience of the inner self and the mental concepts that represent it, constitute one of the major concerns of contemporary psychology, since this very awareness fulfills a decisive function in the life of man: it is the "awareness of himself" that gives a sense of responsibility to the human being and enables him to modify his behavior. It could be asked, then, what is the point in talking about the power of the mind if it is not put into practice? The potential of the human mind can be increased whenever it is stimulated by the adequate methods, though only some techniques, when adequately and consistently performed, and validated by experience, can guarantee success in this respect. Under these conditions, its influence is shown with the consequent modification in the behavior of subjects who put it to practice.Today there is an endless array of theories and techniques offering access to a better and happier life. In these methods, it is of prime importance to acquire, through a learning process, new global attitudes. The possibility to change attitudes and to increase the use of the individual potential is attainable through learning.Having knowledge of the Silva Mind Control Method as a means to reach a better understanding of one s own self and to transcend many limitations, we considered of interest to carry out experimental work with individuals who have access to deeper mental levels, and, as a challenge, to study the Silva Method and its "effect on personality."We set out to study the Silva Method in a systematc and analytic fashion, and to evaluate its techniques with a rigorous, scientific methodology. From our perspective, it is methodologically licit to make an effort to enrich psychological theory with original hypotheses from which empirically verifiable data are deducted.In the Silva Method the learning process is structured according to well-defined stages, that progressively spread out the possibility of autonomous regulation and self-control. The command of the techniques, along with the attainment of their corresponding level of knowledge, demands constant practice and interest on the part of the subject. It could be conjectured that, in consciously provoking the production of Alpha frequencies in brain activity, SMC increases receptiveness in the individual who practices this method, as well as the characteristics that Maslow describes as self-realization index.When consciously using the Alpha "dimension," the individual receives information that could not be accessible to him in Beta; therefore, when using both dimensions, he is able to function within a broader perspective, have more data available, and to have at his disposal more real and accurate conceptual values.The Silva Method promotes the integration of the self, and opens new dimensions in human communication. It leads to the conscious utilization of deep mental levels, and to the control of brain frequencies that constitute the starting point for self control and regulation.Then, this method tends to put into highest effect the potential of the human being, developing all his capabilities, teaching him how to control and revitalize his imagination, to use with wisdom his intellectual capacity, and to go from intellectual to intuitive comprehension.At this point it could be asked if it is possible to talk about definite changes - in the subjects that practice the Silva Method - as a result of a different perception of the environment and oneself. The value of lucubrations depends on the systematic experimental verification of the predictions that result from them.The nature of the subject we have presented ourselves with: The effect of the Silva Method on personality, suggests the adoption of a scientific research procedure. The work, that has been carried out on the basis of the most orthodox scientific postulates, has been oriented as required to show observed results in the application of the Silva Method techniques; with an understanding that the progress of science consists in moving into disciplines heretofore regarded as non-scientific, by applying to their study the use of the scientific method.Preliminary InformationThe purpose of this research is to show the effect of the Silva Method on some personality factors. Within a broader perspective, this study could be considered as a means to attain a better understanding of the behavior of the human being, in a specific dimension: The connection between the mind and its potential for self-control. In view of the difficulty to explain every human behavior in terms of Beta variables, the present study focused on the study of mental processes and to demonstrate, empirically, some of the phenomena that a subject can produce when working in low brain frequencies consciously; what is known as Alpha level in the Silva Method.Taking as starting point the hypothesis that "the Silva Method and the practice of its techniques have a significant effect on certain personality factors," and the above stated theoretical reflection on the method, we considered that the factors or traits modified as a result of the practice of mind control, ought to be the ones implying anxiety, communication problems, physical concern (psychogenic aches), excessive dependence, as well as the different variables that make up these factors.In order to verify this hypotheses, the work was organized as follows: Comparison of two groups, experimental (with subjects practicing the Silva Method) and Control (with subjects that, for the time being, were not doing the course). The total sample was of 200 subjects, homogeneous in age, sex and level of studies. All of the subjects answered psychological tests in three different occasions:Pretest (prior to the (course), in order to analyze the presence of differences between groups.-Post-test (after the course, to immediately verify its efficiency.-And, four months after the course, as follow up. Its purpose was to observe whether or not the effects of the course are stable.The 200 subjects who participated in this study were from the cities of Leon, Madrid and Salamanca, in Spain. They were men and women in the ages between 15 and 68 years, and their level of studies was equivalent to university, vocational and technical education, and people with general culture.In the follow up phase (the third measurement performed four months after the course), only an 18 percent of the participating subjects was not available for testing. This is a relevant datum, since in most research studies the usual figure for subjects not available for follow up is 33 percent of the original total.The tests that were used were selected according to the number of personality traits (within the context of a general personality theory) they made readily available to the researcher, since the object was to obtain a global vision of the participant s personality. The series of tests that were use comprised:•The EN-36 questionnaire, that measures extroversion and neuroticism.•The 16PF, that evaluates 20 psychologically significant personality traits, plus the sincerity level of the subject s answers.•And the BELL adaptation questionnaire, that offers six different measures of personal or social adaptation.Besides, to the subjects in the experimental group -— the ones who were taking the Silva course -- a survey was presented to them in the follow up phase in order to determine their opinion about the course, how much they continued to practice the techniques, and their personal evaluation regarding the results obtained with the method to that date. With this outline and the design of the work, the object was to measure changes in the subjects that had taken place after the course, if there were any, and to evaluate if they were compatible with the theory and claims of the Silva Method. In the final phase, the analysis of results, significant differences were observed after the Silva Method course between the two groups. While with the subjects in the experimental group there were important changes as a result of the practice of the Silva Method, with the subjects in the control group there was no change in their characteristics. That is to say, the hypothesis of the favorable effect of the Silva Method on subjects who practice it, is confirmed.Discussion of results and important observationsIntroversionPrior to the Silva Method, and as expected, there were no differences between the experimental and the control group.-After the Silva Method there were significant differences: The subjects who took the course were more open and communicative than those who didn t.Four months after the Silva Method course, in the follow up phase, the difference between the two groups was greater.Neuroticism: In my opinion, the difference in this variable is twice as significant.If before the Silva Method course the subjects in the experimental group had shown a high index of neuroticism.After the course it decreases noticeably.And this difference is maintained, at least, four months. There is a publication titled "Mind Control and personality," in which the graphs and measurements of this study are presented in detail, along with a comparative analysis of the Silva Method with other disciplines and systems.Adaptation to health: In this case the hypothesis on the effect of the Silva Method on subjects who practice it, is also confirmed.Before the course the subjects show psychogenic aches; they appear as hypochondriacs.After the course they project a fine health index that is maintained in the follow up phase. Total adaptationThere are also significant differences between the two groups of subjects, experimental and control, in this personality factor as well. (Prior to the course, the subjects appear to be distant and withdrawn, with little capacity to adjust to the environment.In the Post-test phase, the subjects who had completed the course were more communicative in their interpersonal relationships, more open to social life.The difference between the experimental and the control group increased considerably four months after the course, in the follow up evaluation.Ego powerThere are no differences between the two groups; and, there is no reason why there should be any before the Silva Method course, either.In the Post-test evaluation, there is a favorable change in those subjects who took the course. Due to an increase in their ego power, they appear to be more stable emotionally, more at peace, and more mature to face reality.These characteristics, acquired through the practice of the Silva Method techniques, are maintained in the follow up phase.Tecma-parmia: After the course there are significant differences between the subjects who took it and those who didn’t. The former are more spontaneous, energetic willing to undertake and experiment new things), showing more self-confidence.Spontaneity - Slyness: In this variable, the change observed in the subjects of the experimental group, which was also maintained to the moment of the follow up evaluation, is quite significant. Even four months after the course, subjects are more spontaneous and easygoing.Inclination to guilt: While with the control group the same characteristics that were present in the pretest evaluation were maintained throughout the study, the experimental group did show favorable changes: with the Silva Method techniques they became mild, serene, and their approach to life is more mature and less anxious.Conservatism - radicalism: the Silva Method has an effect only on those personality traits where a modification would be desirable, and not in others that ought to be maintained. To be conservative or liberal, respectful of established ideas or analytic-critical the two poles or designations of this personality factor), does not imply, in any event, that these characteristics have to be modified.Adherence to a group - self-sufficiency: The experimental group improved significantly after the Silva Method, since it surpassed the original difference it had with respect to the control group.Stress: While the control group maintained its characteristics throughout the experiment, the experimental group showed significant changes. After the Silva Method, the subjects were more relaxed, calm and reassured (not frustrated); less tense and over-excited. This favorable change was maintained even in the follow up evaluation.Adjustment - anxiety: The difference between the two groups in this personality trait is twice as significant. If before the Silva Method the control group appears to be the most adjusted and least anxious of the two; in the post-test measurement the experimental group is actually the one with the lowest anxiety and the most satisfied, with more possibilities of responding adequately to problematic situations. And this favorable change is maintained in the follow up phase.Controlled socialization: The change in behavior shown by the experimental group after the Silva Method was a more responsible and organized attitude.Dependence - independence: In the follow up evaluation, the subjects in the experimental group were less dependent and passive, whereas the ones in the control group -- the people who did not attend the the Silva Method course -- maintained the same characteristics of the first pretest measurement, with no modifications in their behavior.The fact that favorable personality changes were maintained at least four months after the Silva Method course, makes it possible to infer generalized effects as a result of the course. As regards the continuance of effects, it seems to have been produced by the constant practice of the Silva Method techniques. It should be noted that some personality factors or characteristics maintained their indexes with relative stability after the course. The marks obtained by the subjects in such factors define them as having a clear understanding as to the way things ought to be done, and also regarding their personal opinions; these are desirable traits complemented with characteristics such as perseverance, reliability, good judgment, respectfulness, and tolerance. In this respect, the the Silva Method course did not modify these personality traits that, on the other hand, can be considered as desirable.For the subjects who did not take the course - the control group of the study - there were no changes in the above mentioned factors in connection with the experimental variable -- the the Silva Method course -- as expected. In the survey that was presented to the subjects in the experimental group in the follow up phase of the study, the information that was obtained served as basis for complementary analysis. The questions asked in this case were: If during the four months that followed the Silva Method course they had practiced the techniques taught in the course; if affirmative, how often did they practiced them, at what time and for how long during each day. Which of the many and various Silva Method techniques they had learned were the ones they had practiced the most. Their opinion on the course was also asked for; we wanted to know if they regarded it as useful, and if so, for what purpose. In what aspects of their life had the Silva Method had a greater effect. And, if during the four months that followed the course a significant event had taken place in their life; if so, in which way did it influence their state of mind.The survey s results pointed out that the technique that was used the most was the one involved with relaxation. In a decreasing order of preference it was followed by: entering Alpha level, the Three-Fingers Technique, Glove Anesthesia, Mental Screen, Glass of Water, and Mirror of the Mind techniques. It should be mentioned that, according to the subjects, all programming techniques were used.Of the experimental group - which was the one that answered the survey - all of the women claim to have practiced the techniques in the four-month period; while in the case of the men, a 15 percent of the total stopped practicing. The women practiced the Silva Method techniques twice a day, and men only once. The amount of time alloted for daily practice by both men and women is equivalent to a mean of 15 minutes; and all the group considers nighttime as the best moment to exercise the techniques.The answers to the question "Was the course useful to you, and if so, why?" support the results obtained in the previous measurements; and in this respect the surveys answers back up the conclusions of this study, since the subjects acknowledge feeling more relaxed, serene, self-confident, positive, and with less physical aches. They also state that the course has been useful to them for "problem solving," to convince themselves that the mind "works," to achieve social and emotional adaptability, to understand themselves better and to gain an understanding of others along with a feeling of solidarity towards them.To only 2 percent of the women and 6 percent of the men did some important event take place in their lives during the four-month period following the course; and in the cases where such events were stressful or difficult, the subjects state the Silva Method helped them to overcome those instances.ConclusionsThe hypotheses that were formulated at the beginning of the study were all verified by it. The effect of the Silva Method on personality was approached from two perspectives: One, theoretical, descriptive, and philosopical-humanistic; and the other, methodological, empirical and mathematical, in order to experimentally verify the forecasts that were made. The object in both perspectives was to deepen our knowledge of the subject matter in an effective and systematic way, with as much rigor as possible. This is feasible due to the fact that psychology, the science of behavior, currently has resort to observable data concerning both behavior and subjective experiences. As any other science, psychology requires the experimental verification of phenomena, consequently, the present study has implemented a rigorous methodology -- within the most orthodox scientific assumptions -- to approach a subject matter regarded by many as esoteric. Also, mentalistic hypotheses have gained acceptance in experimental psychology in the sense that "reality" forms and transforms itself depending on the states of consciousness and their respective fluctuations, and thus, without having recourse to mental phenomena, the explanation of human behavior is now more than ever attainable. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the subject matter set forward in this study, we approached it from psychological perspective and complemented it with neurophysiological and philosophical views.In the struggle - as old as humankind - between reason and emotion, the Silva Method seeks to increase communication and integration between the two brain hemispheres and thus make its contribution to the long awaited "wholeness of man." In the world of today, options are dichotomizing: To be controlled by others or by oneself. To put off making a decision with this regard has as consequence to be under the control of others. In this sense, not taking action is also a form of election.To consider the Silva Method as a therapeutic instrument may yet seem to many as a challenge, and a question of whether the Silva Method has a place in the psychotherapy that is being practiced today. In connection with this, recent studies confirm that the Silva Method decreases and counteracts excessive activity in the sympathetic nervous system (SNC) that accompanies stress, emphasizing that the method ought to be used as preventive against illnesses resulting from an excessive activity in the SNC or in which the latter produces undesirable side effects.An analysis of the systematic relationship between the Silva Method and physiological, psychological as well as pedagogical factors, with special emphasis on the acquisition, through a learning process, of new holistic attitudes, would be desirable at this point. And this can be in fact implemented given the philosophical and psychological foundations of the method, and the physiological processes that are involved. Through introspection, the Silva Method aims at promoting effective and durable changes in personality that can and do result from a combination of new attitudes, acquired by learning and practicing the Silva Method techniques, and a new way of behaving. It seems therefore true that supporting therapy (i.e., the motivational attitude of the instructor of the Silva Method course) cannot explain by itself the significant changes that are observed in the results of this study.An explanation of human behavior should not be exclusively based on physical reality, since the mind -- understood as a human faculty to tune in with different levels of consciousness -- enriches reality. The contribution of the Silva Method can, with this understanding, be used as reference in the search for a broader approach in the quest for a better understanding of human behavior; being noted also that this frame of reference is not incompatible with the contributions of other theories -- considered to be more orthodox -- for a clear and deeper comprehension of man s behavior. On the other hand, if we take into consideration the psychological marvel that intent is, the attitude inherent to the potential of any human mind can be affected positively by stimulating the said potential by means of an adequate method.It is a widely known fact today that all functional aspects, external and internal, can be influenced by the psyche; and this constitutes a significant step forward in the acceptance and valuation of the Silva Method techniques.In my view, the Silva Method should not only be regarded as conditioning, but also as cognitive therapy; since by leading to a comprehension of mental processes and to problem solving, this method conveys the most valued element in today s psychology which is the said therapy. It must be noted, though, that only the continued practice of the Silva Method techniques guarantees progress in the learned patterns of behavior and attitudes, with a durable result. When this condition is met, the Silva Method can truly be considered as a method that exerts a modifying influence on human behavior.The skilled use of the Silva Method techniques, acquired through practical learning, implies the education of will through programming; and the achievement of positive results acts as reinforcement, in this case. The results are less spectacular in people whose characteristics or traits approximate the standard mean. Also, the results become trustworthy as training increases. It is therefore interesting to point out that the Silva Method and the constant practice of its techniques had a favorable effect in the promotion of a significant and durable change in the personality traits that required to be modified, and not in the ones that were desirable to maintain. The Silva Method decreases the anxiety index of subjects, and makes them more "independent." It is worth mentioning, though, that the variations or changes in introversion-extroversion and controlled socialization do not reach the same level of significance (it should be pointed out that positive or negative designations in these latter factors do not imply a need for modification).Through practice, the Silva Method subjects results move away from the extreme marks, getting closer to the mean; and since the real change is produced four months after the course was over, reinforces the importance of the constant practice of techniques.Comparing sex, age and level of studies of the subjects, results show that the Silva Method had a higher incidence on women than on men; on people under 25 years and over 50; and on individuals whose educational level is equivalent to general culture.The Silva Method increases ego power. It is with subjects having weak ego power marks in the pretest measurements, that a significant change is observed after the course; and even if their ego power increased significantly, they maintained an optimal level of sincerity, contradicting former conclusions in the sense that subjects distorted ego power marks by manipulating the answers. In those studies, the subjects were not reinforcing the power of their ego through the Silva Method techniques .Besides promoting emotional stability of subjects, the Silva Method and the constant practice of its techniques, reinforces their level of sincerity.Subjects with higher strength in their Super-Ego maintain this characteristic also; nonetheless, in subjects with low Super-Ego strength a highly significant change took place in the follow up phase:Socialization regarding obligations and rules increases, and a positive level of sincerity is maintained.The Silva Method and the constant practice of its techniques promotes a change in attitude in subjects, as reflected by a more persistent and conscious behavior; reinforcing at the same time the level of sincerity in their answers.Finally, we considered it would be interesting to study the characteristics of the subjects who did not answer the follow up evaluation, and we arrived to the following conclusions:Before the course, their pretest answers show they are psychologically adjusted, slightly introverted individuals, with balanced socialization and independence. This suggests that, at least in the case of the subjects who attended the course, when they did not obtain the spectacular results they expected with the Silva Method, they were not sufficiently motivated to participate in the follow up evaluation four months after they had taken the course. In the case of the subjects that delayed taking the course in order to participate as volunteers in the control group of the study, they maintained their expectations for the most part.In general terms, it cannot be easily concluded that the Silva Method transforms subjects definitively. Nevertheless, based on the results obtained in this study, it can be concluded that the the Silva Method course and the constant practice of its techniques have a significant bearing on subjects, as follows:Freeing subjects from anxiety 2.Making them less introverted 3.Increasing their socialization 4.Eliminating their passiveness, and transforming them into more independent and creative individuals 2.These modifications or changes promoted by the Silva Method are only significant and lasting in the personality traits that apparently would be desirable to modify, and not in the characteristics that would be desirable to maintain.Changes take place only in the cases of subjects requiring them, and exclusively in those traits that would seem pertinent to modify. Simultaneously, the level of sincerity in these subjects is being reinforced.The influence of the Silva Method is evident in subjects that practice it, since it provides them with more enthusiasm, and with an increasingly positive perspective on their future; they learn to rely on their own inner resources to understand, face and solve problems. In turn, being able to do so promotes self-confidence and an efficient creative activity.It is important to acquire the habit of practicing the Silva Method frequently. In the cases of subjects that continued to practice after the course, they were able to bring about significant changes in their lives. The same is true with subjects that, even though they did not practice frequently, used the techniques in moments of personal crisis. And most of them considered the Silva Method course as a revealing experience that showed them they could use their minds in new and more effective ways.Is it possible to talk about definitive changes? The subjects that attended the the Silva Method course are "programming" themselves in a more positive way, at least four months after the course, based on our follow up evaluation; therefore it would be too bold to talk about a generalization of the effects of the Silva Method.Based on the results of this study it can be stated, though, that the Silva Method develops self-confidence and, therefore, can be considered as a program for helping oneself to gain self-reliance.We may only have had access to the weakest indications of what is actually real. What we perceive is adjusted, for the most part, to our advantage, and it would be therefore recommendable to perform a deep and all-encompassing evaluation of creative alternatives pointing towards a comprehensive self-renovation. Our final desire is that these hypotheses and conclusions can serve as a valid guide and stimulus for new field work and research, with the certainty that this task benefits us all.
Silva Mind Control and PersonalityThis research was done to measure the influence of the Silva Method in personality variables.Complutense University, Madrid, Spain 1981Pilar Usanos Tamayo, Psy.D.Translation by Martha C. Saldana