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Deep State Training

An Introduction to Alpha-Theta

Deep State Mandala 1This protocol guides users into a deep, trancelike state where alpha waves and theta waves, which signify deep relaxation, are elevated; frequencies found to promote a healing state that could be used to treat many things, from alcoholism to drug addiction to depression and anxiety. Clients allow a therapist's voice and sounds from a neurofeedback instrument to guide them into a deeply relaxed "alpha-theta crossover" state in the alpha (8-12 hertz) and the theta (4-8 hertz) range, right on the edge of sleep. The active ingredient of the training, many believe, is the imagery of painful, repressed memories that the client has suffered with for years, which surface and are then resolved in this state. The name comes from the behavior of the brain waves being shown on the screen. Alpha waves are usually higher in amplitude, or more powerful, than theta. When, during this therapy, the amplitude of the alpha waves drops and the theta amplitude rises to the point where it crosses over the alpha waves -which means it has become more powerful - it is called alpha-theta crossover. It is a specific state that is associated with the resolution of traumatic memories. They often initiate deep psychological experiences that can be powerful and transformative. This brain wave training allows the repressed events that have caused the PTSD to surface to consciousness and be processed out, ending the grip they once held on clients.

The alpha-theta protocol apparently takes the client to a very specific frequency portal --4 to 12 hertz - through which emotionally painful events are easily accessed. A key difference between talk therapies and the alpha-theta protocol is that in alpha-theta the subject does not have to physically relive the trauma to exorcise it. Because the client's physiology is extremely quiet during an alpha-theta session, painful memories bubble gently to the surface; rather than re-experiencing it, clients in the alpha-theta state feel as if they are watching the trauma play out in front of them as on a television or movie screen, which is called the "witness state." A re-experience in such a witness state allow the event to become part of one's historical, narrative memory, rater than remaining emotionally reactive in the present. While the exact physiological mechanism of the protocol remains undiscovered, repressed memories and unresolved traumas apparently exert a stress on the brain that interferes with normal operation. Traumatic events seem to block one's ability to generate enough alpha, sometimes referred to as an "internal anesthetic."

NeurofeedbackDeep State Mandala 3
Alpha-Theta Training

Suggested Uses for Alpha-Theta Training

  • Family changes: divorce, death of loved ones, birth, marriage
  • Preparation for death
  • Psychological integration
  • Unresolved emotional issues
  • Deepening religious experience
  • Deepening meditation and prayer
  • Transcendent experience
  • Choice points in life
  • Non-responders to other treatments, especially psychotherapy


  • consciousness - “the quality or state of being aware, especially of something within oneself. The state of being characterized by sensation, emotion, volition, and thought”
  • spiritual - “of the spirit or the soul; not corporeal; religious, sacred"
  • mystical - “spiritually significant or symbolic; pertaining to belief in direct or intuitive attainment of communion with God or of spiritual truths”
    *Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary
  • consciousness - That annoying state between naps

Common Experiences During A/T Training

  • Floating
  • Falling
  • Numbness
  • Heat or cold
  • Bright lights, shapes
  • Flashing scenes
  • Vibrations
  • Losing time
  • Intense emotions
  • Feeling a “bump”
  • Encountering wise beings, spirits, God
  • Encountering deceased loved ones
  • Hearing sounds, voices, music
  • Seeing one’s own birth, death
  • Balls or blobs of light
  • Being somewhere else
  • Old memories resurfacing
  • Rotation or rocking motions
  • Sudden, profound “knowing”
  • Sudden loss of false belief

Typical Transformational Experiences

  • A radically changed view of some aspect of self or of life
  • An insight into interconnectedness with all other beings and things
  • An upsurge of boundless, unconditional love that spreads throughout the body
  • A pleasurable stream of grace or blessings or illumination from above
  • A direct perception of the empty, insubstantial, or impermanent nature of everything
  • A current of energy up the spine through the energy centers that leaves the person feeling more expanded or in touch with spirit
  • An experience of subtle inner sounds, colors, or shapes that have spiritual significance
  • An experience of the body dissolving into light or expanding its boundaries and dissolving into space
  • A shift in identity from being the body-mind to being the space or awareness in which the body-mind exists
  • A deep and certain knowing, beyond the mind, of a sacred presence that exists both within and beyond space and time
  • Visions of angels and other spiritual beings
  • A direct awareness of the presence of the divine
  • The inner experience of being loved by, or even one with God

Four Characteristics of Mystical ExperiencesDeep State Mandala 3

  • Ineffability: They can’t be adequately expressed in words but must be experienced directly
  • Insight: They generally involve discovery of deep, important truths that initially can’t be understood by the rational mind
  • Impermanence: They last for a limited period of time but may recur, and their meanings may continue to reveal themselves, even though the experiences themselves have faded from memory
  • Passivity: You can prepare for spiritual experiences, but once they occur, you receive them passively. They unfold in your awareness with a power of their own.

~The Varieties of Religious Experience,
William James

Impediments to Successful Deep State Training

  • Insufficient client preparation
  • Dietary considerations: meals – quantity and timing
  • Prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, nicotine, caffeine
  • Fatigue
  • Fear of contact with higher power
  • Fear of disloyalty to one’s religion or deity
  • Fear of “the dark place”
  • Attachment to euphoria, rapture, ego release
  • Acting out temporary distress via food, sex, drugs, frenetic activity, excess exercise, focus of physical pain, etc. Remember that chaos or disorganization often precedes reorganization. This can produce temporary discomfort.
  • Insufficient time for consolidation/integration after training period Meditators: using customary meditation technique
  • Using a familiar prayer during the training
  • Focusing on imagery
  • Arousal problems from unfinished SMR/beta training



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