From International Viewpoints (IVy) Issue 11 - April 1993
See Home Page at http://www.ivymag.org/
The Importance of Drills
By Gregory Mitchell,(1), Belgium
Today, 1992, most students and indeed some supervisors and auditors
are unable to understand the importance of drills. Many in this present
generation are motivated to get that, which can be obtained without
effort: they are looking for a prepackaged off-the-shelf therapy:
the Emotional Nirvana of the Single Solution.
I am informed by students that there are courses which can pin-point
your problem in half an hour and give you enlightenment in a weekend.
They ask me: Why are you still presenting courses in the 1990's that
require hundreds of hours of drills?
Authentic mind Therapies can and do make changes. The best of the
recently invented Mental Therapies can increase your ability to remember,
to know, and to change the things that you desire. But they do not,
to any large extent, change your behaviour, i.e. what you can do.
Such a therapy may change the tone of your voice and your emotional
sensitivity, but it will not enable you to sing, unless you can do
so already. These therapies remove emotional and mental blocks, but
they do not produce positive gains or gain in ability.
To learn to sing, play an instrument or think with a trained mind,
and do this with above average ability, requires hundreds of hours
of practice, much of which is in the form of drills. This requirement
for drills cannot be by-passed today, anymore than it could 20 years
Modern education neglects drills. Mostly it consists of something
grasped in a stumbling sort of way. This becomes the foundation of
the next thing to be learned, which is also often learned in the same
stumbling sort of way. Drills, as such, form little or no part in
modern education, outside of music, sports and the military: the concept
of overlearning has been all but lost.
In the army, a lot of time is spent taking your gun to pieces and
putting it back together again and similar types of activity. This
is an example of overlearning. Likewise, in singing there is practice,
practice, practice. This is another example.
When a behaviour or skill is overlearned, it tends to become automatic:
it cannot be easily disrupted under stressful situations. The gunner
will be able to repair his gun under the stress of battle and the
singer will not be put off her stroke, by anything that happens in
The human mind consists of layers of programs (a special kind of habit),
all of which have been overlearned until they are automatic. A small
part of mental development consists of adding new layers of programming
and programs of greater effectiveness. These programs must be overlearned,
if they are to become automatic, and the vehicles for doing this are
called 'drills', and the activity of using drills is called
Divisions of psychotherapy
Psychotherapy may be broken into three dimensions: Cognitive, Emotional
and Behavioral. The first two dimensions, the cognitive and the emotional,
are predominantly aspects of the mind, whereas behaviour is mostly
an aspect of the brain, as indeed are many of the automatic parts
of Mental life, such as e.g. habits.
A mental block is a counter-intention to the activity of the mental
process being blocked. Removal of a mental block or more accurately,
facilitating a student to let go of a mental block, can have sudden
and dramatic results. A student is lightened, as if a large burden
has been taken away. He/she can confront a task with enthusiasm and
courage, rather than the negative emotions of fear, anger or grief.
A release of emotion may occur, and there may be an insight, as to
how the mental block got there in the first place; yet in many cases,
behaviour remains unchanged and performance, in relation to a skill,
changes but very little. The simple answer is, that the dimension
of behaviour has been left unaddressed.
Results of releasing a block
Through psychotherapy, a student may have been released from a communication
block, e.g. a fear of speaking in public. At the end of the therapy
session, the room will look brighter and the student will feel good
about the idea of speaking in public. At the moment of release, the
conscious mind will have become unhindered by the counter-intention
of the unconscious mind, and the original fixed idea or decision,
which gave the mental block force and life will have come to light.
Whether or not the above student quits therapy or continues therapy,
to handle the next mental block on the list, there will be little
change of a permanent nature. If change is to be permanent, the student
must change his/her behaviour in the world outside the therapy room.
Part of the force of the unconscious mind comes from habit patterns,
recorded at the level of brain, and these habits, for the most part,
are derived from and reenforced by a student's typical lifestyle.
A student's typical lifestyle is the way in which he/she confronts
and handles the problems and challenges of life.
Whithin days to weeks, the mental block, released in therapy, will
start to re-assert itself. Habitual ways or being and doing in the
world will act as a form of autohypnosis and before long, the student
will be right back where he/she started form.
Argument for drills
Were he/she to take some time out from therapy and exercise this new
freedom, give some talks or lectures or join an amateur dramatics
group, a new set of habits - a new way of being and doing would
he established. The old habit would be disengaged, or set aside: The
mental block would not re-assert itself. Then and only then, would
be the time to handle the next mental block on the list. Here then,
is the argument for drills. Personal development consists of 5%
and 90% drills and exercises to establish new skills and patterns
Humanistic (emotional) psychotherapy works from the premise that mental
flows of energy, particularly emotional energy, are blocked, as the
result of traumatic injuries of the psyche, usually in early childhood.
Cognitive psychology, e.g. Rational-Emotive-Therapy, starts from the
following premise: we do not suffer from the shock of our experiences
- but instead we make out of them, whatever suits our purposes.
We are not determined by our experiences, but we are self-determined
by the meaning we give to them.
Both approaches, in therapy, are partially correct. Even a planarium
worm can be traumatised. I doubt that a worm has the power to conceptualise
and add meaning to traumatic experience. However, higher animals,
especially humans, do add a further cognitive dimension and they do
this either for better, or for worse.
The true situation is more complex, than allowed for in either the
Humanistic or the Cognitive psychologist's model. Unless a problem
is addressed emotionally, cognitively and at the level of behaviour,
there will only be a partial resolution of a problem, at best. Although
the humanistic-emotional aspect may contain elements of Classical
Conditioning (a part of brain function), both the humanistic and cognitive
aspects are, by-and-large, aspects of mind. Mind consists of viewpoints,
beliefs, ideas, memories, decisions and goals. Mindstuff is not the
same as material stuff. If the correct fixed idea or wrong goal is
discovered, or the correct memory of a traumatic event is brought
back into consciousness, the mental block, being worked on, will usually
Changing behaviour or improving the performance of a skill is another
matter. When we are working on the dimension of behaviour, we are
working at the level of brain. Old habits have to be extinguished
and new habits, more effective habits, have to be learned. New habits
require new connections in the brain and this requires work in the
forms of excercises and drills. These drills rely on the principle
of overlearning for their force.
A drill or an exercise is first learned until it can be demonstrated,
then practice continues, i.e. the drill or exercise is over-learned
until the new skill or behaviour displaces the old. The new skill
or behaviour is practised until it is assimilated. Once assimilated,
it cannot then be distinguised from our first nature and the new behaviour
or skill operates automatically in the appropriate situation. A new
skill or behaviour may be said to be fully assimilated when it can
be demonstrated effortlessly, i.e. it can be demonstrated without
the counter-effort of reactive restimulation.
Work is the purely mental dimension that may appear to produce sudden
results; work at the mental level is directed towards getting a student
to change his mind. Once a student has let go of a fixed viewpoint,
he has changed his mind, and if the correct fixed viewpoint has been
discovered, the mental block would dissolve away. It can happen suddenly,
because all the student has to do, is change his/her mind, and do
so in the correct kind of way. That is all there is, to work at a
mental level: a change of mind.
Working on the level of mind will handle attitudes, emotions and unwanted
sensations and pains, it can improve certain types of memory, particularly
long-term memory of personal experience. Forgotten skills and languages
can be recovered, but these are rapidly lost unless an educational
stage is applied, as soon as possible, after the release. Much behaviour
will be left unchanged, as behaviour is given force by habit. With
the exception of reading speed(2), the performance
of the student's current repertoire of skills, may change hardly at
all. These are the limitations of all therapies which work at the
level of mind and ignore the dimension of behaviour. Unless the dimension
of behaviour is addressed, case gain will be subjective, only.
Working at mind level
Working at the level of mind tends to change what we are able to know,
whereas working at the level of brain, tends to change what we can
do. It is easy to demonstrate, that we know more than we are aware
of knowing. What is apparently unknown to a subject can, under appropriate
circumstances, be brought back to consciousness.
One of the commonest examples is hypnosis. An adult may be asked what
he received for his 12th birthday and be unable to answer, but under
hypnosis, this data may be easily retrieved: the use of hypnosis has
caused a change of context.
A change of mood is a change of context. In one context a person will
remember differently to another. Many of the methods that are used
at the level of mind are methods to create a change of context. To
change context without addressing the dimension of behaviour will
increase the size of a person's mind without increasing the power.
A person will have a better long-term memory, thus greater access
to his/her database without the concommittant increase in powers of
reasoning and understanding
Brain, servant of mind
The brain is the servant of the mind. Pathology has shown cases where
an individual has lost the ability by training other parts of the
brain to take over this function. (3)
This fact is important. The mind can influence the brain, and the
brain is only a tool of the mind - its most important tool, but
only a tool nevertheless. We can improve the tool and enhance this
By and large, therapies operating at the level of mind, produce effects
at that level. To produce change at the level of brain (behaviour
and performance change) requires appropriate exercises and drills,
and the amount of change is directly proportional to the frequency,
duration and intensity with which these drills are applied. 'The
only way out is the way through'. These tasks cannot be by-passed
and above all, supervisors and auditors should know this and make
this real to their students.
(1) Gregory Unsworth-Mitchell was born in
1947. In early childhood, he was strongly influenced by both Grandfathers,
who were inventors and innovators, and his mother, Irene Mumford,
who was among the founding members of Scientology. At school, he became
convinced that an unintelligent person was only unintelligent, because
he had a bad script, and that he could learn to throw away that script
and expand both intelligence and the power of mind. Gregory Mitchell
proceeded to change his own script by graduating as a professional
actor, managing a business supplying theatre lighting and special
effects. At the same time he qualified as a Scientology auditor. In
1967, he qualified as an electronics engineer. Soon after, he quit
Scientology and started a Biofeedback laboratory. He organized successful
studies and training sessions with many clients, who after this lapse
of time still retain the enhanced abilities he taught them. Between
1972 and 1975 he continued his work in Spain, conducting into new
methods of solo-auditing and used the EEG [EEG is the accepted abbreviation
for electroencephalograph, a device that measures and displays the
electronic patterns of the brain] to conduct researches into Zen meditation
techniques, so these techniques could be applied to the Western mind.
He returned to England and was invited back into Scientology under
an amnesty. In 1977 he founded Biofeedback Workshops (a company making
biogfeedback equipment). In 1981 he was declared, and quit Scientology.
Soon after, he formed another company. Mental Development Ltd., a
company specialising in mind development courses. In 1986, he joined
forces with his mother in the management of Dianasis. In 1992, he
resigned as senior psychological advisor to Mental Development Ltd.
and moved to Belgium. Currently, he is researching into the upper
levels of Dianasis and promoting his version of mind development in
the Benelux countries [Aug 2001. Gregory is now retired.]
(2) Note: certain depressive types have unnaturally slowed-down brain
rhythms; when a release occurs these rhythms speed up, sometimes
by as much as 30%. This in conjunction with improved perceptions
can improve a student's reading speed by 50-100%. However, this new
ability would quickly disappear, unless it were re-enforced by appropriate
exercises and practice.
(3) [written Aug 2001] It appears that the original IVy was not adequately
proofread. Apparently this sentence does not make sense, and we do not
have the original papers.
Tue Jul 11 19:04:24 EDT 2006