CONSULTATIONS FOR LEARNING BLOCKS
Logic Access Difficulties
Gestalt Access Difficulties
or perhaps some combination of the two?
These are indicators of learning difficulties & often lead to -
· Lack of self confidence
· Giving up
· Behaviour problems
· Performance anxiety (tests)
· Daydreaming or Hyperactivity
The IHK Programme Brings Together Four Separate Disciplines –
Learning blocks can be a problem for anyone and are not related to overall intelligence. Frequently we will see children who are very “street smart” but unable to function academically at school. At the other end of the spectrum, we see gifted learning-disabled children, who have gifted abilities in certain areas, and learning blocks in others. Some children will have globall developmental delay (problems in most areas) compared to delay in specific areas (such as speech and language).
The IHK programme for Overcoming Learning Blocks is a 3-stage process –
Micro-skills of learning: This consists of 1-1¼ hours of testing the micro-skills of learning and assessing brain function and behaviour. These micro-skills of learning, such as eye movement, memory and coordination, make up the macro-skills of reading, writing, spelling and numeracy (which we also assess). During the assessment, we use three separate types of testing to do this –
(i) Muscle Response Testing or Kinesiology – This is pushing gently on an outstretched arm (typically while lying), while addressing a possible problem area. This gives feedback from the body about what is causing stress and what is not.
- muscles go “weak” under stress (like going weak at the knees on hearing bad news).
- using muscle response testing we can test the micro-skills of learning, for example eye movement, tracking across the page and recognising letters, which are all important skills for reading. If the arm goes “weak” during any of these tasks, we know the person is experiencing stress even if he or she appears to be doing the task quite well! Children will avoid these stressful tasks and it is often where the label “lazy” is used quite unfairly.
(ii) Psychometric Tests – These are not full psychological assessments but rather practical tests drawn from standard psychological tests for visual and auditory memory. For example, Digit Span, which is testing the child’s ability to repeat back a sequence of numbers and then reverse them. How well this is done, compared with children of the same age, indicates the child’s ability to take in what is heard and then make pictures of it (tested through reversing the digits). These memory skills are vital for learning times tables, remembering spelling, doing maths and for following instructions.
(iii) Neurological Tests – This is not a full medical neurological examination either but uses standard neurological tests for balance, co-ordination and integration of brain functions. For example, balance tells us how the head on neck reflexes are going, which is important for eye movement when reading. Marching ability, on the other hand, tells us how well both sides of the brain are working together.
At the end of the assessment, we can give an indication of how many treatment sessions will be requires - usually a further 5-10 one hour sessions.
Brain formatting: Through mainstream research in anatomy and physiology, we know a lot about which parts of the brain control different functions in the body. Acupuncture research has linked these brain areas to specific acupuncture points. By testing these acupuncture points using muscle response testing, we can tell which brain areas need to be worked on. This process is called “brain formatting” and is the basis of the LEAP program.
Working through the hierarchy of brain areas: We work systematically through brain areas testing to find those that are contributing to the presenting problems. We start with checking communication between large areas of the brain – like the two brain hemispheres. Problems in these areas relate to global learning difficulties. We then move to smaller and smaller areas of the brain that have quite specific functions. For example, the hippocampus is a small region of the brain which controls the laying down and retrieval of memory.
Specific senses: After working with the brain areas, we move on to the specific senses such as problems with the eyes (e.g. eye-tracking), hearing (e.g. locating sounds in space), balance (e.g. balancing on one leg) and co-ordination (e.g. marching).
Higher learning functions: Finally, we test and correct stress related to the higher brain functions that are still showing problems, such as letter and number recognition, numeracy skills, spelling, writing and reading. We also work with residual behaviour problems.
Reassessing as we go: The nature of kinesiology is very direct. After we work on a function, we can reassess it directly to see if further work needs to be done. At the end of the 4th session, for example, we reassess digit span to check that it has improved, and then set spelling and times-tables homework using the newly acquired skills.
How we do the correcting: After identify area that needs to be worked on, by using muscle response testing (as described above); we correct the problem with a combination of one or more of the following techniques.
(i) Correcting confusion in the nervous system: A global example of confusion in the nervous system is saying to a person to “turn left”, and he or she turns right. The reason for this type of confusion is that the messages do not go to the most efficient part of the brain for processing directly, or the messages from the brain affecting the body get confused. An example of confusion in the nervous system affecting the ability to learn to read is when the muscles of the eyes pull against each other rather than working together, so that the eyes move in a jerky motion and miss words or jump lines.
- we fix confusion in the nervous system by administering gentle painless acupressure to a sequence of acupuncture points with a small implement called a “tei shin” (we don’t use needles), which effectively “turns on” the nerves related to this function.
- this is a bit like recovery from spinal shock where the nervous system shuts down. After a car accident, you may be paralysed for 6-8 weeks, but after the bruising clears, the nerves start to “turn on” again, and feeling and movement begin to return to the affected limbs. After trauma, such as concussion or closed head injury, however, the nerves in the brain may not turn back on. We use the acupressure techniques to turn them back on.
(ii) Correcting Emotional Stress (Emotional De-Stressing) see also Counselling Kinesiology™: Emotional stress can become associated or “coupled” with a learning task. For example, you might have tried to spell your name and been laughed at when you made a mistake. From then on, you remember this bad experience every time you go to spell. This restricts your fledgling spelling ability and you get a real “thing” about spelling – performing far below your actual ability.
It may be a family or social problem that gets locked in with the learning task e.g. just learning to spell when there is a death, separation, moving of house or change in schools.
Frequently learning problems lead to low self-esteem and behavioural problems e.g. disturbing the class rather than being shown up for what you can’t do.
- To correct these emotional stresses we use muscle response testing with “time-tracking”, a kinesiology technique that allows us to identify an “emotional reference” in the past. An “emotional reference” is a real experience or impression from the past, where there was trauma or unpleasant feelings. It maintains the current negative feelings in similar situations. We can gently address these memories or impressions of critical incidents in the past with the child, and work through the issues, while holding special “brain emotional de-stressing points”. These points change blood flow in the brain and allow the stressful memories to be re-processed and lose their controlling hold. We combine this with positive visualisations and counselling skills (see Counselling Kinesiology™).
(iii) Structure: Frequently spinal misalignment and jamming of the bones of the skull can interfere with nerves, affecting brain function. Even the shape of the roof of the mouth and he teeth can cause problems (e.g. glue ear from a highly arched palette causing hearing problems and speech delays).
- since bones are held in place by muscles, correcting muscle imbalances will frequently fix structural problems. Kinesiology is used to test virtually any muscle in the body, and reflex points are used to strengthen the muscles that test “weak”. If this does not correct the structural problem, we refer on to Chiropractors or Osteopaths.
- sometimes the structural corrections such as the N.O.T. procedures (mentioned above) can be very helpful with attention problems where the child is locked into fight or flight responses and over responds to classroom stimuli.
(iv) Nutrition: Even if the diet is good, poor digestion or absorption problems can mean a child misses out on nutrients that are vital for effective brain function and growth. The most common nutrients required are omega 3 fatty acids (fish oils), amino acids that make brain neurotransmitters, digestive enzymes to aid poor digestion and tissue salts for minerals
Sugar or carbohydrate cravings can result from huge rises and falls in blood sugar. Since the brain runs on blood sugar, grumpiness, aggressiveness and hyperactivity, or sleepiness and poor concentration, can result. These symptoms can often seesaw between opposite extremes. While dietary modification may be required, frequently an underlying problem with adrenal, pancreas and liver function needs to be corrected. We use specific nutritional supplements along with kinesiology balancing techniques to address these problem.
Frequently food intolerances, even to quite healthy foods, can cause problems with brain function. Common intolerances causing these problems include food additives (artificial colourings, flavourings & preservatives), wheat and salicylates (found in red apples).
Vaccination stress and emotional issues (especially depression) often respond well to nutritional supplementation such as with St. Johns Wort or with homoeopathics.
- We correct this nutritional area by using muscle response testing and nutritional test kits to identify the missing nutrients, and give them as supplements or recommend dietary modification (Gordon is also a Naturopath). We test food intolerances directly using the suspect foods and muscle response testing. Problem foods are then eliminated from the diet (or in some cases balanced to). Parents occasionally need to bring in a pile of samples from the refrigerator and the larder to identify the offending food substance. That said, with the exception of sugar and carbohydrates, this is a minor area in most cases.
A combination of techniques: Usually we need to use a combination of techniques to fix each of the particular problem areas we go through. It is like peeling layers off an onion to get to the underlying root cause. The most common techniques we use are the acupressure and emotional de-stressing techniques
In the final stages of the programme, exercises are given to reinforce the corrections that have been made (e.g. exercises to improve marching, spelling, writing and balance).
After the programme has finished, a catch-up period is required with parents, a tutor or additional support at school. This is because the child has fallen behind the class and needs to catch up on what has been missed due to the learning blocks. Fortunately, this typically happens quite quickly now that the learning blocks have been largely overcome.
2-3 months after the programme has finished we recommend that the child be brought back for reassessment, to see that all is going well, and that the corrections have held. This is usually the case. Occasionally we may need to repeat some of the corrections but usually only a single session is required. New issues may need to be addressed at this time, for example problems in maths when algebra is introduced.
Q. “Does the programme work for children and adults of all ages?”
Yes. The problems don’t go away, the compensations just get better. We frequently work with parents who recognise that they still have problems similar to their children. Even very young children and infants, who cannot be tested directly, can be tested indirectly with muscle response testing on a surrogate (e.g. parent).
Q. “What about tutoring during the programme?”
It will not hurt but it may not be helpful and it might be frustrating. A crude analogy would be like trying to make a broken machine work harder. It is far better to fix the machine first and then get it to do new work. Our programme fixes the underlying problem and tutoring does the retraining.
Several tutors we work in with will asses the children first, and if appropriate, refer them on to us for treatment. We then refer them back for the catch-up when we are finished. Tutors report that this reduces frustration on both sides, and makes their tutoring easier and more effective.
Q. “Does this work last or will I need to keep coming back again and again?”
Our aim is to go to the root cause of the problem and correct it at this level. If this is done, the problem is resolved and the end of the programme there is no need for further consultations (although we recommend a follow-up to check that all is still going well).
A concussion, major illness, toxins or emotional trauma can cause problems to reappear. Usually this can be corrected in a single session. You will not have to come back and repeat all the sessions again.
Q. “We have been a few times and I haven’t seen any changes yet. Is that normal?”
The programme works with the hierarchy of brain functions starting with communication between large areas of the brain. Problems in these areas relate to global learning difficulties. We then move to smaller and smaller areas of the brain that have quite specific functions. If the child has problems in the large brain areas, dramatic results can often be observed in the first or second session. If the problem is with a specific small area of the brain, then this may not be addressed directly until later sessions, with major changes only being noticed at this time. Usually significant changes will have been made by the end of the 4th session (when spelling homework is given) but they may not happen until close to the final session when marching and brain integration have been completed.
Q. “Does it work with everyone?”
While nothing works 100% for everyone all of the time, we have an extremely high rate of success and achieve significant changes in virtually every case. The large number of word-of-mouth referrals we get from past clients, tutors and health professionals is a strong affirmation of this.
Q. “How long does it take and do we have to book in for a whole programme?”
After the initial assessment we make and estimate of how many sessions are required. This is 6 sessions for mild cases and 10 sessions for severe cases. 90% of our clients come 7 or 8 times. It is pay-as-you go and there are no up front fees. Since we frequently get booked out many weeks in advance, it is wise to book in for the whole programme and we are happy to change appointments provided we get 24 hours notice. A cancellation fee may apply for non-emergency cancellations without 24 hours notice, where the appointment time cannot be filled.
Q. “How frequently should we come?”
This depends on time and budget. Typically, people come once a week, once a fortnight or even once a month. It is just as effective no matter what the spacing between sessions. Larger spacing just means that the programme takes longer - months rather than weeks. Since we are going to the root cause of the issues, and fixing problems but not actually “teaching” anything, longer breaks are fine.
Appointments can be booked Monday 1pm-5.30pm, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9.30am-5.30pm and Saturday 9.30-1.00. Our fees are $110/hr (1/7/'17). We accept cheques and have credit card and EFT facilities. Our fees are GST exempt since our services are provided under naturopathy. You can claim rebates from all health insurance providers that cover naturopathy. We are not subsidised for pensioner or other discounts but do offer time payment for needy cases.
Q. “What causes learning blocks and related behaviour difficulties?”
In the history taking, we ask about the following areas that have all been linked to learning blocks and behavioural difficulties.
· Pregnancy - complications, medication side effects, accidents, major traumas, poor maternal diet (including excess alcohol consumption and smoking)
· Foetal distress and birth traumas (forceps or oxygen required)
· Accidents, falls or blows to the head resulting in concussion
· General anaesthetics
· Febrile or other convulsions
· Major illnesses or infections (including Glue ear)
· Problems with palette or dental formation
· Vaccination reactions
· Poor diet or food sensitivities
· Eyesight and hearing problems
· Emotional trauma or upsets (moving house, separation, parental mental health problems, teasing)
· History of learning or behavioural problems in the extended family (i.e. genetic or congenital problems)
Gordon has a very varied background (B.Eng(hon), Dip.A(mus), ND, ATMS, AKA, AIK). He has been practising Kinesiology professionally since 1986. His clinic, formerly in Melbourne and now on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, specialises in Counselling (Counselling Kinesiology™) and Learning Difficulties.
An experienced relationship, crisis and debriefing counsellor, Gordon developed Counselling Kinesiology™ with his wife Debra, and they have been teaching their courses throughout Australia since 1990.
Gordon is a qualified Naturopath and introduced the Certificate in Kinesiology at the Melbourne College of Naturopathy in 1990, and at the Australian College of Natural Medicine in Brisbane, in 1995. He was senior lecturer and supervisor of the student kinesiology clinic until 2002.
His background in counselling, naturopathy, music teaching and many years as a professional clarinet player, has led to a very effective way of working with children – especially those with behavioural difficulties. An initial qualification as an electrical engineer ensured a thorough understanding of arithmetic and advanced maths concepts when dealing with learning difficulties.
Gordon collaborated with Dr. Charles Krebs for several years in extending the Learning Enhancement Acupressure Program (LEAP™), and working in his clinic. Further studies in the Neural Organisation Technique (N.O.T.) proved very valuable for his work with Attention Deficit Disorder problems.
Gordon has written several books and training manuals on Kinesiology, drawing on his extensive background in this field. These include “What is Kinesiology?” (1990) and “The Kinesiology Companion” (1998).
- for Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties
Developed by Gordon and Debra Dickson, Counselling Kinesiology™ is a synthesis of mainstream counselling techniques combined with kinesiology (i.e. muscle testing to identify emotional stress). It is a systematic approach to identify the emotional issues that cause unwanted feelings to persist, and is aimed at helping adults and children find long-term solutions to emotionally stressful issues.
It is designed to help individuals, couples and families with –
And with parent / children relationships in the areas -
Frequently parents bring their children hoping some miraculous change will occur so that the “problem” will go away. Fortunately, this is often the case. However, the testing will frequently show that there is a problem in the whole family or relating to the parenting approaches. A thorough understanding of parenting approaches with some positive guidelines to offer parents is an indispensable asset when working with parent / children relationships.
Sometimes it is most helpful to place the parent on the table and work on his or her unresolved issues. At other times it may involve a family therapy approach. It is always important to understand the full biopsychological context, always looking beyond the obvious.
With children it is often important to combine Counselling Kinesiology with the LEAP program as there are often several contributing factors (for example learning issues contributing to behavioural problems and vice versa).. It is important to allow them to understand their feelings (even being able to give names to then), open up, talk about them, and feel supported when tackling difficult issues. The advantage of muscle testing is that we can find the “emotional references” – past experiences that are dictating current behaviour, even if the children are not consciously aware of what is driving them to behave in unproductive and upsetting ways. De-stressing techniques involving acupressure, visualisation and specific kinesiology techniques are then used. We also go over Change Techniques for modelling, practising & implementing new behaviours. This is very affective for assertiveness training and working with fears and phobias..
Change Techniques for modelling, practising & implementing new behaviours. For example the “high five“ of assertiveness training-
1. Please don’t do that.
2. Stop it, I don’t like it!
4. Walk away.
5. Report to teacher or parent.
For adults, where in depth approaches are more appropriate, we use a three stage approach.
STAGE 1: Talk therapy is used to establish rapport and explore at a cognitive level, the issues that cause the feeling of having lost control of some area of life. Unlike many other approaches, the intention is not to resolve the issue in this phase. Counselling Kinesiology uses this stage to open up the problem areas, identify goals, investigate past attempts to solve these problems and look at what is sabotaging these goals from being achieved.
STAGE 2: The first stage leads into a second stage Psychodynamic approach using the Counselling Kinesiology "Emotional Stress Circuit". Regression is used to connect the person at a feeling level with their inner child. Rather than being free regression to what material spontaneously comes up, Counselling Kinesiology uses muscle testing to test for emotional stress and pinpoint the critical emotional references which are causing the person to maintain the current problem emotions. This usually goes back to a symbolic time in the person's early childhood where decisions about how one can and cannot behave have been internalised and dictate subsequent behaviour.
Unique to Counselling Kinesiology are the "Developmental Directory" and "Grief Gauge" emotional states charts. These are used with muscle testing to directly identify the critical emotional states that have been internalised. The "Developmental Directory" is based on the psychosocial developmental stages. It identifies unmet emotional needs which prevented the development of emotional strengths and appropriate coping skills at particular phases of life. This lack of coping skills will continue to cause problems throughout a person's life until they are addressed. The "Grief Gauge™" tracks the natural way a person comes to terms with any unwanted loss or change, including the specific tasks of grieving, to arrive at some type of narrative resolution. Muscle testing, using the "Grief Gauge", quickly identifies where this process has become stuck and what is preventing the person satisfactorily coming to terms with the pain of the unwanted loss or change.
By additionally testing for flower essences and ego defence behaviours at both the reference age and for the present time issue, the practitioner has a clear window into the psychodynamics of the person's individual emotional pattern. The practitioner is then in a unique position to help guide the client through the grieving process, to help the client connect with the emotional strengths needing to be developed and to empower the client to feel totally different about the issue. This process includes many specific techniques such as gestalt role reversal and cognitive reprocessing. In a very safe and supportive way the client learns to nurture the inner child and become self-validating.
STAGE 3: The insight and emotional resolution from the second phase is translated into practical changes in behaviour at the third Behavioural phase. Counselling Kinesiology assists the client in using modelling techniques with clever ways of isolating effective behaviours from seemingly inappropriate role models. It links these effective new behaviours to powerful emotional anchors from the second phase and uses emotional coaching with rehearsal and confrontation, so that the client really masters new ways of behaving. It allows people to see the sabotaging behaviours of stage one in a totally new light and appreciate why they felt they could never use more effective behaviours. They experience overcoming their limitations and using powerful and effective new ways of being in day to day life. Typically they report experiencing more emotional connection and more awareness than they have ever had before in their lives.
Counselling Kinesiology is an educational model helping clients to recognise generational patterns and make changes that can not only transform their own lives, but also pass on an enduring heritage to their children and the following generations.