Gary 'Smiler' Turner's Blog

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Friday, 24 May 2013

Photo reading and speed reading – how to do them, and how to use them within a structure for learning!

I devour books. I am constantly reading. I am looking to absorb the information as quickly as possible. To do this I utilise photo reading and speed reading inside of a larger methodology for learning. Here is how I do it, and along the way, you’ll learn the ‘bare bones’ of photo reading and speed reading too.

Photo reading is very misunderstood. Photo reading does not give the detail yet instead gives the overall context. It will give you the ‘gist’ of a book. I will know where to turn to find the detail. I utilise this to absorb 700+ page detailed degree course texts in under an hour. I don’t get the detail; yet, I get a fantastic broad over-view and generalised information. 

Speed reading provides the detail. It enables you to absorb a great deal of information very quickly and in detail. I cannot understand why this is not taught in schools.

I can explain all the processes I am using here in fine neurological detail. I could talk about the neurological processes for memory storage and retrieval; give understanding as to how we take short term memory into long-term potentiation, and so on. Yet this is just a blog post - the idea here is to give you the ‘bare bones’ to get you up and running and taking in information more quickly than before.

I will start with the structure that I use to learn and absorb the information from a book. I will then go through the process of photo reading followed by the process for speed reading. This is the process that I use to devour degree level texts in very short periods of time, such as this highly recommended text:

  1. Photo read the book;
  2. Speed read marking specific areas for detail reading;
  3. Detail read specific areas of interest underlining and annotating, making notes in the margins;
  4. Speed read again identifying further areas for detail reading;
  5. Detail read this further areas underlining and annotating once more;
  6. Utilise my imagination, looking for as many applications as possible to put the knowledge into practice, or see where the knowledge is applicable;
  7. Cross reference other areas of learning to understand where I may get serendipity.
 Photo read
  1. Read the front and back covers;
  2. Read the contents and acknowledgements;
  3. Speed read the first and last paragraphs of every chapter;
  4. Carry out ‘photo-reading’:

    - Defocus eyes (imagine looking at a point several inches beneath the book
    - Align your finger at the centre top of the page
    - Let your eyes (still defocussed) follow just above the tip of your finger as you run your finger down the page. Don’t try and read. Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind your teeth to turn off yourself talk. An A4 page should take no more than a couple of seconds.
    - Turn to next page and repeat until the book is complete
    - Carry out mind-mapping exercise from memory (Google ‘mind mapping’ for the process)
    - Carry out a light physical activity for at least 10 minutes
To store this information in your memory repeat this process for three times the first day, once the second day, then once every three days, then once the week after, then once the next month. To retain the information and maintain the quality repeat once every six months or so.

Speed Reading

Turn off sub vocalisation. (Do not ‘read’ the words in your mind.) Place your tongue firmly on the roof of your mouth just behind your teeth;
  1. Align your finger under the first line, look at the word just above your finger, and sweep your finger quickly to the right, following the words just above your finger.  You are taking in the ‘image’ of the words and using the finger prevents ‘back-skipping’;
  2. Repeat for the next lines all the way down the page and continue.
 (With practice you will learn to not need the tongue or the finger movement. Practice also increases speed. Make sure your practice is ‘deliberate’, ensuring that you get the process right!)

As I have explained, this is just a bare bones blog post. I hope you find it of interest. If you do, please read my other blog posts and let me know what you think! I regularly give workshops and talks on elements of performance, such as the information contained in this blog. I often work with businesses helping them deliver performance, or working with particular psychological approaches to their staff. Should you wish to talk about the services I can offer, and the benefits that I can give please get in touch!

As always with my blog posts, your feedback is appreciated!

This is me at Change Phenomena, the National Hypnotism Conference, explaining photo and speed reading to some of my friends. I also have a nice black eye as a result from heavy kickboxing sparring the day before! (Photo by Paul Friend)

Monday, 20 May 2013

Hypnotherapy, what treatments is it good for - what do the studies say?

On Saturday I attended Change Phenomena – the National Hypnotism Conference. Last year I was a speaker, this year I got to sit in the audience and learn. Some amazing speakers and I learnt some amazing things. The first speaker was my friend Adam Eason, who presented on ‘Evidence Based Practice’, putting forward a strong case for all hypnotherapists to work towards a science based model. I fully agree. 

As part of his brilliant presentation he put forward findings from Wark, David M. “What we can do with hypnosis: a brief note”, American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, July 2008. The ratings used those devised by Chamless and Hollon (1998). This was a systematic review of ‘proper’ peer reviewed scientific studies into the efficacy of hypnotherapy as various treatments. More studies are obviously required, yet, this puts forward a useful list of treatments with proven empirical effectiveness. 

Hypnotherapy as Empirically-Supported Treatments:

"Specific" empirically supported treatments:

  • Anxiety and asthma attack
  • Headaches and migraines
"Effective" empiracally supported treatments:

  • Cancer pain
  • Distress during surgery
  • Surgery pain (adult)
  • Surgery pain (child)
  • Weight reduction
"Possible" empirically supported treatments

  • Acute pain (adult)
  • Acute pain (children)
  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety about public speaking
  • Anxiety about taking a test
  • Asthma
  • Bed wetting
  • Bulimia
  • Chemotherapy distress
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Depression
  • Duodenal ulcer relapse
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Haemorrhage
  • High blood pressure
  • Hip and knee osteoarthritis pain
  • Insomnia (primary)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Nausea and hyperemesis
  • Obstetrics Apgar score
  • Obstetrics pain
  • Smoking cessation
  • Trauma recovery
  • Wart removal
 I hope you found this interesting – it presents some good scientific evidence as to the effectiveness and efficacy of hypnotherapy with particular treatments. 

Also speaking at Change Phenomena was Steve Murray. Steve is a Consultant Cardiologist and utilises hypnotherapy in his work with his clients. An important quote from Steve was “My dream – hypnotherapists attached to every cardiology unit.” When medical practitioners speak in this way you know that hypnosis has its place in helping people to become better. 

As thanks to Adam for his presentation, and also providing us with the list of references to support each of the treatments above, please take a look at his latest book Hypnosis for Running. I was lucky enough to write the foreword, and find the contents of the book invaluable in my day to day running. Please take a look!