Personality Modification:
Technique #1, verbal self-programming

By Midnight Writer


Okay - I've had it with the angst.

I've gotten a lot of email on this topic - mostly, requests for the techniques, all promising to be careful with them. Some of the email was giving me different POVs on the ethics involved in making these techniques public.

Many thanks to the person who asked me how I'd feel if I'd heard that someone was trying to keep, say, an unusual flogger technique under wraps, because it took moderate skill to keep it from being dangerous.

I've been focused on freedom of information for a long time - I just had to have someone point out to me that it means me, too.

So, I'll be posting on the techniques - from easy/safe onward to the difficult/can easily be misused. First, however, I'll have my say on the ethics and morality of psychological manipulation of others.

  1. It happens daily, often without clear informed consent. Madison Avenue is probably the worst offender - much more effective than most governments. Governments come in second place - and they're usually targeting their own citizens, not the neighbors. (Yes, I know about Radio Free Europe and the many other times that Gov'ts use propaganda on non-residents, but that's nothing compared to what gov'ts do to their own citizens.)
  2. With informed consent, anything fits within my ethics. To be extreme, if I negotiate with someone for a scene that's likely to leave them a cooling corpse, and they're clearly informed, and consent to this - it's ethical. Not my kink, but it'd be ethical.
  3. The mind is a murky place, with lots of subsurface issues and attitudes that can really screw you up. An ethical dom can be tremendously cautious, carefully tailoring a training program to do no damage, and still trip over a landmine that was never visible before - leaving them to put the pieces back together as best they can. Rest assured - this one will bite you on the ass at least once, if you use personality/response modification to even a moderate extent. Usually, the bites will be (relatively) minor - but not always, and there's no way to predict it.
  4. Life is uncertain - if you program someone to need you in order to live life happily, you've fucked them over when you get hit by that bus. Yes, it's hot, it's sexy - and almost certain to cause damage. Programming someone to orgasm (or anything else) only on command can only be done responsibly if you can guarantee that you'll always be there to give the command when appropriate - and you can't. So don't.

If you read these warnings, and work with these techniques anyway, and screw somebody (or yourself) over, it's your own damn fault.

I am not a Doctor of any sort - not a medical professional, not a psychiactric professional. I've been a student of the mind for most of my life, but I am not qualified to give psychiactric treatment. Nobody, to the best of my knowledge, is qualified to prescribe psychiactric treatment over Usenet.

That said, on to the techniques.

The first technique I'll discuss here is very difficult to use on someone without them being aware of it - in fact, it requires their concious participation. When I've taught this in the past, my focus has been on self-programming. In a D/s relationship, though, one may command another to self-program using this technique.

It's squicksome to some - in fact, Babalon hates it. It seems silly, like one of those things you'd read about in 'Grow Success and Make Millions of Friends, Too' or some such drivel. In fact, it's a technique often suggested in such books.

But it works.

It has a lot in common with NLP, and it's widely used in therapy. It's usually called 'affirmations'.

What it looks like: The subject (one's self, or one's sub) stands in front of the bathroom mirror three times a day, and reads aloud from a list, often feeling silly for doing this dumb stuff.

Why it works: The subconcious mind has no "true/false" evaluation ability. Tell it something, and it'll believe it. Tell it that the floor is up and the sky is down, and after a while you'll have a very disoriented person. Madison Ave. uses this technique a lot - and it sells carbonated sugar water, bottled tap water, colored plastic that people call "cheese" with a straight face, soap, and politicians.

Now, most (if not all) of you have heard that the most important sexual organ (and the biggest, for you size queens) is the mind. Interest, excitement, and orgasms all happen in the mind first, or they don't happen at all. This technique has been used successfully in therapy to enable people with no feeling below the waist to have orgasm. It can be used to "grow" an erogoneous zone anywhere - it can be used to make the little finger as sensitive as a clitoris.

Since the subconcious actually does most of the driving on everybody's bus, convincing it that X is really true tends to make X true.

How it works: The key, of course, is in the wording of the list of statements. The list should be somewhere between 10 and 20 items long, each item being one or two sentences. The sentences should reflect gradual changes in the reality that the person reading them is experiencing, as if those changes are already happening - because they are.

The phrasing should reflect positive changes, not negative changes. "I'm no longer craving cigarettes" is not going to be nearly as effective as "I'm better able to resist my craving for cigarettes". What works best in altering behavior is either instilling new behavior, or writing new behaviors over old behaviors - simply erasing old behaviors doesn't work well.

Note that it's important for these to be read aloud. The subconcious doesn't pick up concious thought - it picks up what is heard, seen, and experienced by the other senses. It's recommended that it be read in front of a mirror because that reinforces the message - the subconcious not only hears it said, but sees it being said.

If you're working heavily on one aspect, you can set up all of the items to relate to that issue, and you'll get quicker results. If you want to work simultaneously on several fronts, you can do that too - but each front will progress more slowly than if it were the sole focus of the programming.

Having at least 10 items in the list seems (for some reason I'm not certain of) to be important - fewer items in the list isn't nearly as effective.

Having more than 20 items in the list is counter-productive, too. The subject will tend to zip through the list without paying much attention to what is read, if it gets too long. Boring one's subconcious to inattention isn't helpful.

Of course, working on drastically altering someone on 15 fronts at once is risking a crisis - they'll wake up one day and have no idea of who they really are. People don't accept change readily, even changes they're happy about. I tend to use this technique to work on 1 or 2 fronts at once, both for safety and for focus on the new change. It'll work on more fronts, but I really don't recommend it, unless they're mostly minor or very gradual changes.

For example, the domme who wrote to me about her partner's inability to retain an erection during intercourse (it'd been checked by the medicos, who diagnosed "it's all in his head") may want her sub to read a line like this in their list:

"Every time I attempt intercourse, I will last a little longer before my erection wilts. Every day, my erection becomes just a little more immune to fear."

After a week or two of 3x daily repetitions, when results are becoming obvious, it can change to:

"Every time I try intercourse, my erection lasts twice as long as it did the last time. I'm beginning to look forward to intercourse."

"Every time I get inside a woman [1], my erection will last twice as long as it did the time before. I'll soon be able to keep that erection as long as I want to."

[1] - Note that phrasing: not "my Domme", but "a woman". IMO, such a thing should not be keyed to any one person. See warning above about life being uncertain.

Now, nobody needs to *believe* that this'll work - just like gravity, it works whether you believe in it or not. But the phrases must be crafted to reflect confidence, even if no confidence in the technique is felt. The phrases must be phrased to reflect *gradual* changes at first, and once those gradual changes are experienced (lending confidence in the technique, which does help accelerate things), the changes can be accelerated. Don't be too ambitious here - gradual, constant change is most effective in the long run.

(It does, however, help if the changes are being given a chance to show themselves regularly. In the example above, it'll work much better if he's given an opportunity to try intercourse frequently than if he were forbidden intercourse while doing the programming. This one will work *much* better if intercourse is tried for the sole purpose of seeing how much longer his erection lasts each time, rather than trying for "successful" intercourse - until, of course, the erection lasts long enough to please all concerned.)

Yes, this technique can and does alter the physical body's workings. If, for example, someone has a problem with high blood pressure, they can use this to heal themselves.

"Every day, my blood pressure is gradually lowering."

Of course, the results of this should be monitored closely before blood pressure medication is reduced or withdrawn. Monitoring the results with a blood pressure cuff at home, 2x daily, will give good feedback on how well it's working - and once it starts working, the change will be accelerated.

To use this to "grow" an area of erotic response where none was before, you can keep the phrase the same for quite some time:

"Every day, the patch of skin just over my left eyebrow feels more erotic when stroked than it ever did before."

After a week or so, another phrase can be added:

"Every day, the patch of skin just over my left eyebrow feels more erotic when stroked than it ever did before. I am better able to be excited when it is stroked than I was yesterday."

For use with the example at hand, orgasm on command, a good starting place would be:

"Every time my dom(me) orders me to orgasm, I get more and more excited. I want to please my dom(me) by orgasming when they want me to."

Of course, there's a lot more to the techniques than this - in fact, I didn't use this on Babalon until after she'd become able to orgasm at my command. But it's a good starting point, and will work all on its own.

If anyone wants me to review their command list and make suggestions, I'll be happy to. Please post 'em here, though - the feedback I give will likely be valuable to more than one person. If you want to get feedback anonymously, send 'em to me in email, and I'll post them and my responses publicly, after filing all of the serial numbers off.

Next technique: Key modification.


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This essay is the property and copyright 1998, of Midnight Writer all rights reserved. Please don't repost or make this essay publicly accessible via FTP, mail server, or archive site without explicit permission. Permission is granted for one hard copy for personal use.