by Alfred A. Barrios, PhD.


There are several key aims and concerns of this chapter. The main aim is to introduce a unique and highly effective program - the Self-Programmed Control (SPC) program (see - for increasing Emotional Intelligence (EI). In so doing, the first step will be to present a proper definition of EI, a definition that revolves around the main purpose for developing such a measure - to provide a measure of one's ability to to control one's emotions; and from this definition propose an appropriate measure of EI. The next step will be to point out an important factor that seems to have been overlooked in attempts to increase EI - the fact that it is hard for most people to change - and the reasons why. This will then lead into the how and the why the SPC program is so effective for raising EI. Finally, there will be presented the positive results achieved in several areas where the SPC program has been applied. This will include education, industry, work incentive programs, medicine, and addiction rehabilitation [Barrios, 1985, 2007 & 2011].

Definition of Emotional Intelligence

Since it is felt that the main purpose of EI is to provide a measure of one's ability to control one's emotions, EI should then be defined as "A measure of one's ability to control one's emotions". This measure could then be used to determine how effective a particular treatment or program was in increasing EI as well as how effective is as a predictor of success in various areas of life.

The word "control" here also has to be properly defined as well. I would define control of emotions to mean minimizing the negative and maximizing the positive aspects of emotions, and not just suppression of emotions as some would do. And the word "intelligence" here would stand for the ability or skill in controlling one's emotions. A common criticism of current measures of EI is that they are not really measuring actual ability to deal with emotional problems.

In my attempt to measure the effectiveness of the SPC program to measure improvement in a person's emotional stability I have relied on a test that has been around for some time - The Willoughby Questionnaire used by Joseph Wolpe [1958] and his associates to measure neuroticism or emotional stability. So I would like to propose that until a better measure comes along that the Willoughby be used as a measure of EI.

The Willoughby Questionnaire

Instructions: The questions in this schedule are intended to indicate various emotional personality traits. It is not a test in any sense because there are no right nor wrong answers to any of the questions. After each question you will find a row of numbers whose meaning is given below. All you have to do is to draw a ring around the number that describes you best:

    0 means “No,” “never,” “not at all,” etc.
    1 means “Somewhat,” “sometimes,” “a little,” etc.
    2 means “About as often as not,” “an average amount,” etc.
    3 means “Usually,” “a good deal,” “rather often,” etc.
    4 means “Practically always,” “entirely,” etc.

  1. Do you get anxious if you have to speak or perform in any way in front of a group of strangers? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  2. Do you worry if you make a fool of yourself, or feel you have been made to look foolish? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  3. Are you afraid of falling when you are on a high place from which there is no real danger of falling –
    for example, looking down from a balcony on the tenth floor? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  4. Are you easily hurt by what other people do or say to you? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  5. Do you keep in the background on social occasions? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  6. Do you have changes of mood that you cannot explain? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  7. Do you feel uncomfortable when you meet new people? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  8. Do you day-dream frequently, i.e., indulge in fantasies not involving concrete situations? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  9. Do you get discouraged easily, e.g., by failure or criticism? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  10. Do you say things in haste and then regret them? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  11. Are you ever disturbed by the mere presence of other people? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  12. Do you cry easily? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  13. Does it bother you to have people watch you work even when you do it well? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  14. Does criticism hurt you badly? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  15. Do you cross the street to avoid meeting someone? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  16. At a reception or tea do you go out of your way to avoid meeting the important person present? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  17. Do you often feel just miserable? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  18. Do you hesitate to volunteer in a discussion or debate with a group of people whom you know more or less? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  19. Do you have a sense of isolation, either when alone or among people? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  20. Are you self-conscious before ‘superiors’ (teachers, employers, authorities)? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  21. Do you lack confidence in your general ability to do things and to cope with situations? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  22. Are you self-conscious about your appearance even when you are well-dressed and groomed? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  23. Are you scared at the sight of blood, injuries, and destruction even though there is no danger to you? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  24. Do you feel that other people are better than you? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
  25. Is it hard for you to make up your mind? [ 0 1 2 3 4 ]
How to Use the Willoughby Test

Test yourself at the start of the SPC program. Then test yourself at the end of the program to see your progress. Your raw score is determined simply by adding up your total number of points. Maximum possible is 100. Minimum possible is 0. A score of 20 or less is considered good. The lower the score, the better. However, you must be completely honest when answering.

Willoughby Test Percentiles Table

The following percentiles table tells you what percentage of people scored better than you did. For example, if you scored 20 on the test, only 23% scored better. If, on the other hand you scored 60, then 94% scored better.

    Raw Score vs.
    1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10
    1.0   2.0   3.5   4.0   4.5   5.0   6.0   7.0   8.0   9.0
    11    12    13    14    15    16    17    18    19    20
    10.0  12.0  13.0  15.0  16.0  17.0  19.0  20.0  22.0  23.0
    21    22    23    24    25    26    27    28    29    30
    25.0  27.0  30.0  34.0  36.0  38.0  40.0  41.0  45.0  50.0
    31    32    33    34    35    36    37    38    39    40    
    52.0  53.0  57.0  60.0  62.0  63.0  65.0  68.0  70.0  72.0
    41    42    43    44    45    46    47    48    49    50
    73.0  75.0  77.0  78.0  81.0  82.0  82.5  83.0  85.0  86.0
    51    52    53    54    55    56    57    58    59    60
    87.0  87.5  88.0  89.0  90.0  91.5  92.0  92.5  93.0  94.0
    61    62    63    64    65    66    67    68    69    70
    95.0  96.0  96.3  96.6  97.0  97.5  98.0  98.5  99.4  99.5
The Biggest Obstacle to Increasing Emotional Intelligence

The biggest obstacle to raising one's EI is simply that it is not that easy for most people to change. We hear many a self-help guru tell us that the way to achieving positive changes in our lives is to simply "change our thinking" or to exercise our free will and "make the right choices in life". They then give us excellent advice on how to best conduct our lives including how to control our emotions. But few people seem that capable of making the changes adviced. Why is this? Or to put the question differently, do we really have the ability to choose new paths. DO WE REALLY HAVE FREE WILL?. This is a question I believe I answered in my recent article, "Is there free will? Finally an answer" [Barrios, 2011]:

Do we really have free will? Do we really have control over our own destiny? Can we change our behaviors at will if we see that they are detrimental to us? Or is everything set in stone, predetermined? In order to finally answer this question, we must first properly define our terms. Although there are currently many definitions of free will, I believe the most correct one is:

Free will is the ability to control our automatic side, our subconscious behavior, by means of the power of sufficiently concentrated thought. And by concentrated thought I mean the ability to block the interference from any negative automatic behavior or thought that would tend to contradict the action or change we wish to empower.

If you stop to think about it, most people's behavior is of an automatic nature: habits, attitudes and beliefs that have been so deeply programmed in over the years as to be so automatic that they are very hard to change. In this sense then you could say that many people are automatons, governed and slaves to this automatic (subconscious) behavior. [The "subconscious" is to be differentiated from the "unconscious" here. I define the subconscious as behavior that has been so deeply programmed as to occur automatically, below conscious awareness and often beyond conscious control. The unconscious can be defined as engrams or memories beyond immediate conscious recall.]

So from this definition of free will we can see that the answer to the question of whether there is free will or not is that all humans have the POTENTIAL for free will because all humans have the potential to enter this state of concentrated thought and thus have the potential to re-program themselves at will (an ability that differentiates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom). But not everyone has learned how to do this. Consequently, people differ from one another in the amount of free will they have.

However, there is a way of achieving this state of sufficiently concentrated thought and that is by developing a heightened state of belief in the outcome or change you are trying to program in; for I define belief as concentration on a thought to the exclusion of anything that would contradict that thought. Or another way of putting it: a state of heightened belief includes a strong inhibitory set which can suppress the existing negative program you are trying to replace sufficiently so as to keep it from interfering with the re-programming you are attempting.

This is why hypnosis is such a powerful tool for facilitating change since I define hypnosis (as did B.F. Skinner) as a heightened state of belief. This is strongly supported by the evidence showing that hypnotherapy is the most effective form of psychotherapy. I refer the reader to the review of the literature I presented in my article "Hypnotherapy: A Reappraisal" [Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 1970]. It was found that the average success rate for hypnotherapy was 93% after an average of 6 sessions; this compared to 72% after an average of 22 sessions for behavior therapy, and 38% after an average of 600 sessions for psychoanalysis [Barrios, 2011] - which brings us to to the way the SPC program facilitates re-programming and guides us to a higher level of EI.

How SPC Facilitates Reprogramming and Raises EI

The greater effectiveness in reprogramming is due to the use of some highly effective hypnotic techniques (refered to as the SPC techniques) which evolved from my theory of hypnosis [Barrios, 1969, 2001, 2007 & 2009]. These techniques are used to to develop a heightened state of belief in the power of one's mind to control the subconscious, with belief defined as concentration on a thought to the exclusion of anything that would contradict it. Thus we see why hypnosis is such a powerful tool for facilitating change - the inhibitory set aspect of heightened belief keeps previous negative programming at bay so that the new programming can proceed. The SPC techniques are presented audio-visually in my digital book Break Free With SPC: The Road to Self-Actualization [Barrios, 2011]. The book presents the enitre SPC program which combines the SPC techniques for facilitating positive change with the road map to self-actualization (the positive direction component of the SPC program) which includes the path to raising levels of EI. The latter includes Chapter IV which presents a set of nine positive mental attitudes that play a key role in developing a more positive emotional state of mind. They are as follows:


Much anxiety, stress and depression can be traced to low self-esteem. One of the main results of SPC training is a building of self-confidence or belief in oneself which automatically leads to greater self-esteem.


Anger is a common emotion in people who have not learned to assert themselves. Becoming more assertive, but in a non-aggressive way, is a great way to make sure this anger does not build up to explosive levels. It is also supportive of greater self-esteem.


Much of the bitterness, hatred and tension associated with interpersonal relations could be avoided if we developed this positive attitude of looking for the good in people. Understanding and forgiveness are variations of this positive attitude. Also, if you expect the best from people the best is more likely to come out. And if you expect the worst, you can be sure the worst is more likely to come out.


Tragedy and bad luck is bound to hit people at one time or another. Why wallow in misery. This is a great way to ease the pain of even natural disasters. There's always a silver lining if you look for it. It can ease a lot of pain in life. A classic example of how this attitude helped ease the pain of the tragic loss of Cindy Leitner's 13 year old daughter - killed by a drunk driver. Instead of pining away, cursing her fate and being eaten away by bitterness, Cindy converted all this negative energy into the powerful force that helped her form MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers).


Yes, you should feel bad if you've made a mistake. The problem is too many people go much too far in deprecating themselves after making a mistake.


Fear of failure is definitely a negative emotion, one that can deprive a person of much success and happiness. One has to learn to look at failure as a stepping stone to success. People have to realize that the most successfull people are usually the ones that have had the most failures - because they weren't afraid to try. A perfect example of how adopting this attitude can lead to success is the story of Sandy Gooch. We all know how millions of people NOW shop at a chain of stores called Whole Foods Market. Well, back in 1976, before Whole Foods ever existed, there was this substitute school teacher by the name of Sandy Gooch who took my SPC class for teachers at Cal State Los Angeles. Sandy for the previous two years had had the dream of opening a health food store but had never followed through because of her fear of failure. Well two weeks into my class a fire was lit inside her. With this new positve attitude she soon opened her first store, Mrs. Gooch's Natural Foods Market, in Mar Vista, California. Soon there was a second, third and fourth Mrs. Gooch's. In 1993 she sold her chain of seven stores to Whole Foods Market for 56 million dollars. She wasn't the first to benefit from this positive attitude. Edison went through thousands of failures before he finally achieved success.


If you constantly go into things with the attitude that you will fail, your life will be full of failures and the misery that accompanies such failures. But with this new more positve attitude you can begin to turn your life around.


Everyone experiences a certain amount of "hard knocks" in life. The fool is the person who becomes completely enmeshed in these down periods with feeelings of self-pity and a myriad of negative thoughts and accompanying negative emotions; with these negative thoughts keeping him down; bemoaning his "bad luck"; not realizing he has the power to turn things around.


No one is perfect. We all at one point or another have our faults and shortcomings. Unfortunately many people just wallow in their misery, often thrashing out in anger and bitterness, not realizing that before they can move forward they have to first be strong enough to admit their faults.

Thanks to the SPC techniques the individual can now much more effectively program in these positive attitudes using the visualization programming techniques outlined in the book. Visualization alone can be effective up to a point but with the heightened state of belief produced by SPC, it becomes 100 time more effective.

In addition to the chapter on positive attitudes there are four chapter devoted to giving similar positive advice on how to maximize the positive and minimize the negative aspects of various emotions. This includes joy, depression, love (including sex), anger, fear, and guilt. And, again, the reader is encouraged to systematically program in all this good advice using the same above approach used to program in the positive attitudes.

The Stress Control Biofeedback Card

Another important part of the SPC program for raising the level of EI is the use of my invention, the Stress Control Biofeedback Card [Barrios, 1983]. It is a very valuable training tool for helping individuals gain control over stress and anxieties. Although some people might mistakenly classify the card as a novelty - some even refer to it as the "mood card" since it works on principles similar to the mood ring - it is actually a bonafide thermal biofeedback device. And is in fact more valuable than electronic biofeedback devices costing in the thousands of dollars because it is portable and can be used anywhere and anytime a person is under stress. In addition, the card has four highly effective shortcut relaxation techniques on the back. The card is purposely set to turn blue (indicating most relaxed) when the fingertip temperature reaches 95°F., which biofeedback studies have shown to be the criterion fingertip temperature indicating being free of stress-related problems. The person is encouraged to use the card whenever stressed - not just to meassure stess level but to control it. By testing oneself before and after going through one of the relaxation techniques on the back one can see the effectiveness of the techniques. Seeing this positive result each time then acts as a reinforcement of the conditioning in of the relaxation response in times of stress.



The main goal of the SPC program for education was to help reduce the dropout problem, which it did admirably. In its first application at East Los Angeles Junior College, it reduced the dropout rate of 105 Mexican-American students-at-risk on scholastic probation from 56% to 16% and increased the average grade points (units completed x GPA) a total of 9.25 points. The program focused on three major areas felt to be the most important factors for student success: self-efficacy or belief in one's capabilities, EI, and learning skills. Additional applications in other colleges as well as schools ranging from K through 12th grade, where the course was taught by teachers that I taught the program to, yielded similar positive results in academic abilities. But that was not all. Apparently there were also great benefits in terms of significant increases in EI. This was indicated in several ways in addition to the dramatic improvements in academic abilities. For one, there were significant increases in Willoughby scores.

Corroborating the results at East Los Angeles Junior College were the results at UCLA with 372 entering minority students (both Mexican-American and African-American). Their average Study Habits Inventory scores (which correlate considerable with grades) rose from 11.92 to 73.42 where 15 is the median score for a standard group of college freshmen. And their average Willoughby scores improved from the 63rd to the 25th percentiles. Results from SPC classes held at Santa Monica and Southwest Colleges with 63 and 14 regular students respectively were in the same direction. At Santa Monica College the average Study Habits Inventory scores went up from -12.43 to +35.0 and their Willoughby scores improved from the 82nd to the 51st percentile. At Southwest College the average Study Habits Inventory scores went up from -2.92 to + 64.77 and their Willoughby scores improved from the 65th to the 23rd percentile.

In addition to all these positive improvements was another startling observation. Even though there was no direct focus on the students reducing substance abuse the following success rates were achieved with regards to eliminating substance abuse based on a questionnaire given at the end of the class where the students were first asked to indicate substances that they had been abusing or using to excess prior to the class and then to indicate if they had elliminated the abuse.

                    East Los Angeles    Santa Monica College and
                    Junior College      Southwest College
    food             72% (65 of 90)	     90% (35 of 39)
    alcohol          91% (48 of 53)     100% (11 of 11)
    TV watching      82% (84 of 102)     95% (36 of 38)
    uppers & downers 83% (10 of 12)      86% (6 of 7)
    cigarettes       70% (37 of 53)      83% (15 of 18)
    marijuana        69% (22 of 32)      82% (9 of 11)
    LSD             100% (7 of 7)
    gambling         75% (9 of 12)

It is interesting to note that the improvement in eliminating excesses figures for the Santa Monica and Southwest College students are even better than those of the East Los Angeles Junior College students, which might be indicative of the improvements in the program since it was first applied at East Los Angeles Junior College. For one thing, the Stress Card was not incorporated into the program until the Santa Monica and Southwest classes.

Part of the students' assignments was to also keep a Progress Report notebook summarizing each week their progress with the program. To give you a more intimate view of the results with students I have included three typical Progress Reports:

Rob N. (Santa Monica College)

First Week:

"The real main objective in taking this course is 2-pronged. One - to learn to relax my mind and gain control over my thoughts. Two - to achive the highest scores possible on tests that I know I am capable of. At the end of the first week noticeable changes have occurred. I've been using the 20-10 countdown [one of the relaxation techniques on the back of the Stress Card] just prior to going to sleep. I am completely relaxed on the 10th count and sleep soundly. I have noticed no longer waking up with a start when the alarm goes off. Just waking calmly. My ability to study has also increased."

Second Week:

"After only two weeks in this class I quit smoking, drinking and use of any dope of any kind. This was after a steady use in all three areas for over five years."

Eighth Week:

"I am now experimenting with the Spiral technique without the aid of the record. This is helping my concentration immensely. For my summary of the course, I would like to offer these personal results: I no longer get high on a day to day basis. I am carrying high B, borderline A's in 3 of my 4 classes (planning on A's for the finals). I have been accepted to UCLA and plan to begin upper division work toward a degree in my major. There are also the positive results of being more confident in myself and more in control of my emotions."
Maria B (East Los Angeles Junior College)

Third week:

"I found that I could talk to people easier when I went out last Saturday and therefore I had more fun. I enjoyed studying for a history test nore than ever before. I also used a shortcut relaxation technique before the test - got an A on it."

Fourth Week:

"I am beginning to use the techniques to program in goals on a daily basis."

Fifth Week:

"I used to be very depressed most of the time; now I program in that I'm going to be happy every day and it's becoming a habit. I feel so much better and I find myself accomplishing much more.

Sixth Week:

"Last Monday I started a diet and I have not gone away from it even once, and before it was very hard for me to keep a diet. I program in the thought that I'll keep the diet by using the Negative-Positive Method or just by using the shortcut relaxation technique daily."

Seventh Week:

"I used the flash cards method to study for the vocabulary quiz in this class and got 93% corrrect. I feel that I'm losing some of my inhibitions; I program in every night that I'm going to be happy the next day and most of the time I am. I'm also beginning to live in the present, not in the future or past as I used to. I used to be very afraid when I thought about the future, but now I'm realizing the future is what you make of it. I still have so many goals to work toward but somehow I know I'm going to make it."

Eighth Week:

"I used the SQ3R method to study for a Psych test and I got an "A" on the test. I feel more ambitious now and much more enthusiastic about life, and I feel I'm going to accomplish everything I set my mind to, whereas before I was getting to the point where I didn't see any purpose to life."
Jose C (Santa Monica College)

"The major problems I want to work on are:

(1) I tend to daydream a lot during my classes.
(2) I get very nervous in front of a group.
(3) I have an inferiority complex (lack of confidence).
(4) I'm very self-conscious.
(5) I always seem to be worrying about small things.
(6) Overeating."

First Week:

"By using your pendulum Technique I am able to go into a deep stage of relaxation. During this stage of deep relaxation I am programming myself to break down my problems. But at this stage I have not seen any type of results yet."

Second Week:

"I am using both the Countdown and the Pendulum Technique to help me get into a relaxed state of mind. When in this deep stage of relaxation I clear my mind of the many little problems bothering me and I concentrate on one or two of my goals. But at this stage I have not really seen any results although my mind is more at ease since I am not letting those litle problems amount to anything. I don't let them worry me as much."

Third Week:

"I have been using your techniques daily for 3 weeks now and I am noticing that my mind is more clear of little problems. Now I don't let them get to me like they used to. I have noticed that I tend to be less self-conscious than I used to be. I also feel more confident in myself to a slight degree."

Fourth Week:

"So far I have noticed that I am losing little by little my self-consciousness and feel I am tending not to daydream in my clases. And I am feeling more confident in myself. I was appointed Chairman in Communications of M.E.C.H.A. today and I feel I can do a good job but I need a lot of confidence in myself in order to do a good job."

Fifth Week:

"This week has gone by and I have really noticed that I feel much more confident of myself. I was appointed co-chairman of MECHA's Culture Faire, and I feel very confident that I'll pull through with "flying colors". But there is one problem in all of this and that is that I have to talk in front of large groups and I feel very nervous to talk to a large group."

Sixth Week:

"By using your Light Bulb Technique I don't seem to reach the same level of relaxation as I do using the Pendulum, Spiral, or 20-10 countdown. But my goals are slowly being met. I am able to speak more freely in front of people without too much fear. I have lost some of my self-consciosness and I am more confident of myself."

Seventh Week:

"I have been showing your techniques to my girl friend and she seems to be enjoying our little sessions of relaxation. She tells me she has seen some results. The one problem I am concentrating on now is over-eating and I notice I don't care for the foods I shouldn't eat."

Eighth Week:

"I have noticed a great improvement in my eating habits. And I have also improved on my self-consciousness quite a bit. I feel very confident of myself and I really enjoy using your techniques with my girlfriend and others."

Ninth Week:

"Your program is wonderful, for I have met all my goals. I feel confident of myself and feel I can try ANYTHING and do a good job. As a matter of fact I am even running for MECHA Chairman for the next Fall semester. I have lost most of my self-consciousness, for now I don't really care what other people are saying or doing for I feel that whatever I do or however I dress is right and I don't worry about it anymore. I am able to handle one problem at a time instead of trying to handle all at once, and I do better for I concentrate on only one and I don't let the rest bother me as much. I have really found your class fascinating and I will strongly recommend it to my friends. I hope that you someday teach an extension to this course."

[Please note: Jose did run for MECHA Chairman AND WON!!!! And speaking of politics, one of the students in the UCLA class, a High School dropout before he took my SPC class, not only went on to go on to get his law degree but he is now the Mayor of Los Angeles - Antonio Villaraigosa!!!!]

Welfare and Work Incentive Programs:

The SPC program has achieved success in work incentive programs like WIN and CETA which were aimed at helping people get off of welfare by preparing them to get jobs. The main aim of the SPC program here was to raise levels of self-efficacy and EI which was felt to be necessary for helping not only to get jobs but to keep them as well. The essence of what the program can do for these people was captured very nicely in a letter written by Suzanne Bourg, CETA counselor to Lloyd E. Thornhill, Career Services Administrator, regarding a class I held for CETA (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act) trainees in Pasadena:

"As educational counselor to Pasadena City College CETA students, I have been privileged to attend a series of 18 lectures by Dr. Alfred Barrios on 'Motivation Through Self-Program Control'. The ultimate purpose of the lectures is to increase the number of job placements of our CETA trainees. These students of economically and educationally disadvantaged backrounds are taught simple but profound techniques which free an individual from his negative self-image, attitudes and emotions. His vitality and energy is then redirected towards a more positive and productive philosophy of life.

"Dr. Barrios' course emphasizes relaxation techniques which the student learns to apply in anxiety-arousing situations such as job interviews and test-taking. These methods combined with auto-suggestion enable a person to 'program' himself to be happy, productive, get to work on time, not let life get him down, to picture success in one's mind and eventually achieve it. Most importantly, it teaches a person to rebound quickly from mistakes or failures and try harder the second or third time.

"After seeing the response of the students and hearing examples of their applications of Dr. Barrios's concepts and techniques, I feel strongly that this is an important part of job training that has never been previously recognized. CETA can train a person to obtain job skills but if he has no self confidence, no sense of control over his own destiny, no previous pattern of success, he has great diffficultly getting and holding down a job. It is this strategic area of Dr. Barrios' course which applies so directly to our CETA trainees."

In further support of the value of SPC for the CETA program is the following letter from Maria-Luisa Lopez, Chairman of the Multi-Clerical Department at the East Los Angeles Skill Center. This instructor of the difficult-to-employ in the CETA Manpower training program who I taught the SPC program, stated that after much searching she had at last found a means of dealing with the all-important attitudes and fears of her students that had continued to plague her ability to really get through to them:

"In the past (prior to my SPC exposure) many of our trainees who were sent out on interviews by the staff Job Developer would not even show up, or if they did, they projected a negative or insecure attitude and were rejected in many instances.

"Since SPC exposure, all have acquired a more positive, self-confident attitude which has helped them during the interviews and subsequently while learning their duties as new employees. Of the 18 trainees I had in my class when I started using SPC, ALL have found jobs, TEN OF THEM COMPLETELY ON THEIR OWN - something unheard of before as in the past those who have found work found it as a result of the Job Developer's efforts.

"Needless to say, I am completely sold on the SPC concept"


One can also expect great benefits from SPC's application in industry in terms of increased efficiency, reduced absenteeism due to illness and lessening of friction amongst personnel. That such results are possible was borne out in a study done at Rockwell International and reported in the Journal of Employee Recreation, Health and Education [Barrios, 1975]: As a result of a six week SPC class Willoughby scores were considerably improved, going from an average percentile ranking of 75 before to 47 after. The following are three typical summary Progress Reports:


"I am convinced now I have made relaxation a habit. I am confident, too, that my new positive, winning attitude can accomplish the results I need to meet all my realistic goals. This is true even though my age (around 60) is such that it is easy to have serious doubts if I were to allow them to develop. At work SPC has helped by teaching me to take a more deliberate and analytical approach and therefore achieve more reasonable solutions to my problems. I think an SPC program is absolutely essential in a corporate organization in order to develop maximum performance and output among its members. Corporation work programs such as North American Rockwell have impossible schedules, almost impossible goal requirements and a need for maximum coopertion between all members. Almost all workers in such a situation will develop an extremely tense personality where their creative output reaches minimum because of the impossible schedules and goals. SPC will develop a calmness in these individuals so that their efficiency is increased tremendously and their awareness of the other person's point of view and his requirements are greatly enhanced to the point where cooperation and efficiency of the overall program results in a much better end result."


"In the past, under pressure, I'd run. Now I don't. Example - In a night class I am taking I have noticed a complete change of attitude. Before I would easily become discouraged and be quick to give up and drop the class. Now I find myself sticking to it and no longer so afraid of the teacher. I find that SPC has also helped with my job - because I can keep calm long enough to learn it. Previously I would be so upset during the learning period it took twice as long. I use the quick count-down when I get in a tight spot and it seems to help quite a bit. Also, there is an annoying person whom I work with - I can for the most part, with the countdown, keep my feelings in control so as not to upset the entire office."


"I thought the course was well presented. I have obtained positive results in my blood pressure reduction goal and find I am more relaxed now. I have also made some slight progress in my weight reduction goal. Thanks to the short-cut techniques I can automatically relax when problems come up at work and find I can deal with others more easily."


The goal of SPC's application in medicine has been to prevent and cure diseases caused in great part due to emotional problems. Illnesses where positive results with SPC have been achieved include stress-induced illnesses such as headaches, asthma, insomnia, intractible pain, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease as well as addictions such as cigarettes, alcohol, overeating and drugs. This also includes diseases such as cancer, which are enhanced by a weakened immune system caused by a deep sense of hopelessness. Many examples of these successes with SPC are given in my book Toward Greater Freedom and Happiness [Barrios 1985] and its updated and digital version Break Free With SPC: The Road to Self-Actualization [Barrios 2011]. The following are a few examples of some of these many successes:

Ralph Mallen, a nurse:

The following is an excerpt from a letter I received from Ralph some time after he had participated in one of the many workshops I put on for medical personnel:

"Your SPC techniques helped me to cure my Hypertension, Diabetes, lose weight and control Arthritic Pain and Headaches... I just can't tell you how busy I've been telling all about what you have been doing or rather the help you gave me. My doctor who has treated me for six years - half believes in the power of the mind. He states 'You must be doing something right', when I lowered my blood pressure in front of him and when I put the Diabetes under control and when I used to suffer from Gouty Arthritis badly in the left knee and now jog and play tennis. Also, when I used to weigh 287 pounds and now am down to 238 and a loss of ten inches on the waist."

Ralph also told me of a friend of his who was scheduled for surgery to remove a badly swollen prostate gland in three weeks. Ralph worked with him during those three weeks starting with the Lemon Demonstraton and then having him go through the Pendulum, Garden and Spiral techniques as well as the 20-10 countdown. After each technique he would have him visualize the prostate slowly shrinking. He also had his friend use the techniques for combatting the extreme stress he had been under recently. Positive results began to occur almost immediately. One of the first things to go - after just one session - was the pain accompanying the swelling. When this person returned for the final checkup prior to surgery, the doctor was amazed to find the swelling had disappeared and surgery was no longer necessary.

Susan McCormack, also a nurse:

Sue had come to me for help because she could not shake the fear of impending death. She sufferred from angina pectoris caused by spasms of the heart with resulting cutting off of 30-70% of the left anterior descending coronary artery. So debilitated was she by her illness that she hadn't been able to work for over a year. The change that took place in her was almost miraculous. Within a week after seeing me she was back at work and has been carrying a full load ever since. And as the hospital's nursing care coordinator (all around trouble-shooter) the pressures are tremendous. How did she do it? Thanks to SPC she was able to develop a feeling of confidence, a feeling of being able to control the spasms and the pain. This then eliminated the fear and broke the viscious cycle she was in. She now knows that should the pain start again she can cut it off immediately by means of the deep breath shortcut. She also uses the longer SPC techniques twice daily to unwind, using as many techniques as necessary. Usually the Spiral is sufficient but if not, she follows with the Garden. So impressed was Sue with her own results that she immediately began to use the same techniques with some of her patients and began to produce equally miraculous results.

John Roswick:

John had been given radiation treatment for cancer of the tongue. However, he refused the recommended follow up radical surgery. At this point he discovered SPC. The following letter was written in August of 1985 upon my request for him to summarize for me what had happened:

"Dear Dr. Barrios,

  "Almost 6 years ago on Oct. 19, 1979 I was told I had cancer of the tongue and had a year or less to live. I hit the bottom of the pit. I started praying. Knew nothing of God or Jesus, never read the bible, but I started. I received 35 massive radiation treatments in the neck. I said to the doctors "am I healed". They said we now have to do surgery. I said What surgery? They were going to take out half my neck. I said no. I contacted you in the summer of 1980. You agreed to see me once a week for 8 or 9 weeks, instructed me on SPC techniques and other counselling on belief and visualization. I used your Garden technique and visualizing myself 'well' on a mountain top. During my first visit with you, you gave me your book 'Towards Greater Freedom and Happiness'. You said you now have two good books (meaning yours and the Bible) and told me to read them both. I thank God for you and your book, you strengthened my belief in what Jesus said in Mark II:23 ['Believe and all things are possible'].

   "Dr. Barrios, in my opinion your program is bridging the gap between the mind, and the spirit then the body. Your program SPC was the beginning in my healing, reinforcing my belief in Jesus' teachings, ridding myself of all pent up fear, especially fear, guilt, doubts, anger, unforgiveness, and a bringing together of the Mind, Spirit and Body. It is sad to note that medical doctors don't or won't advise patients on positive principles laid down in your book or the bible. I would urge anyone who has an illness of any nature to seek out the SPC program. It works. It puts you in tune with the real you, the spirit. It has for me and I know it will for others. I firmly believe you are an instrument of God's. And I thank him for you. I am not the same person you first met, frightened, confused, oh yes confused! My condition is healed. Your holistic approach is a blessing."
Drug Rehabilitaion:

The SPC program has proven to be highly effective in helping people break free of substance abuse and addictions as was indicated in the above-mentioned positive results with students. But to give you a flavor of how powerful this program can be for helping even hard-core addicts I refer you to the results I was able to achieve with the residents of Bridgeback and The House of Uhuru in the predominantly African-American area of Los Angeles. Both are rehabilitative centers for hard-core alcoholics and drug addicts that had been sent to prison for drug-related crimes. Please especially read the two letters expressing gratefullness written by two of the people who took part in my SPC class in 1975 (pages 214-217 of Towards Greater Freedom and Happiness). The following are some excerpts from these two letters: The first written by a resident of Bridgeback:

"For many years (since 1959) I had been a drug addict. Now I am a resident at Bridgeback. For a long time I thought there was no hope. I had been told that once a dope-fiend always a dope fiend. Not having too much on the ball, as far as a future, I let this make a nest in my subconscious. Because of this I would not deal with anything. Through the years I tried several times to break the habit but each time would go back... I signed up for the Bridgeback Drug Program. There I thought I could get help by just grouping [the predominaant therapy used at Bridgeback] but I couldn't. Then along came Dr. A.A. Barrios. He had a unique program called SPC (self-program control)... I started out using the Spiral Mind technique. I began getting so involved, I purchased a kit. Every morning I would use it. Then it started taking effect. The next thing I know I had no desire whatsoever to use or even be around dope. Then I had this Mural to paint, 75 feet long and 25 feet high. I just knew I couldn't finish it. So I programmed in that I would complete the Mural, and now it's one of the best in the city of L.A. and I'm always getting recognition for it. Now, still using Dr. A.A. Barrios' SPC program, I'm enjoying life in a much more rewarding way. I attend L.A. Business College where I'm studying accounting. Upon completion, I hope to become an accounting clerk. Next, I applied for a job for the State of California as a claim's assistant. My appllication was accepted. I took the test and I found it was so easy, it was as if I had taken it before. It's really something to see how these techniques work. I just know I did well because I got under the Spiral that morning. Oh yes, let me include this short story of my changed life style. My grades in high school were C's and D'c; now they are, believe it or not, A's and B's. I'm going to close with these last few words. There was this young lady that came to the program. I saw where I could help her with this new program. She was like me at first, skeptical; now she's getting involved and she's really doing fine now."

The second letter was written to the Director of the House of Uhuru by one of the peer-couselors that had taken part in the pilot SPC study there:

"I am writing concerning a program I feel would be of great interest to you and which I highly recommend for incorporation into the House of Uhuru. First of all Mr. Anderson, allow me to state that this program, Self-Program Control (SPC), works! It is a truth, in that by means of it one can be in control of his life and destiny. Unhealthy habits, such as over-eating, excessive smoking and drinking, drug taking and abuse and countless others can be minimized and eventually alleviated by applying the techniques acquired and practiced until they become second nature by believing you can do it. I know this is possible because I've seen the program work not only with me but many others as well, thanks to being in the SPC class Dr. Barrios taught here this past semester... I have also seen that we ourselves could easily teach it to others in turn. During the last four classes ten clients participated who were from the residential component. These ten clients were taught SPC by us without Dr. Barrios. We, the class, introduced to them a few of the SPC techniques that were ideal for tension control and relaxation. At the end of the very first session, all of the residential clients were very enthused and expressed a desire to attend and learn more from additional sessions. At the end of the fourth session, clients were relating to me how they had used the deep Breating Technique to relax and had as a result stopped taking sinnequans, a tranquilizing medication. Also while participating in the regular intensive grouping sessions, by using the 20 to 10 Countdown Technique the clients were able to control their tempers and display a more positive attitude and behavior pattern. Many of the clients also reported that they were now able to go to sleep at night without the aid of medication simply by using the techniques learned in SPC. One client especially stated that she had gotten so upset one day that her blood pressure went up high enough for our doctor to feel medication was necessary to restore it to normal. At this time the client went through the techniques learned in SPC, and as a result her blood pressure returned to normal without her having to be administered medication. Each day SPC is being heralded by these ten residents who were fortunate enough to be included in the SPC class, and they themselves are now teaching the techniques of SPC to new residents".

The above letter illustrates once again a major advantage of the SPC program - how easy it is to teach. AND PLEASE ALSO NOTE THE CHAIN REACTION EFFECT. The students I taught in turn taught the program to ten other residents who in turn started teaching the program to others... I believe we need this chain reaction effect if we are going to turn this world around in time. As I alluded to in the beginning of my book TGFH we are currentlly in a life or death race "...for at the phenomenally fast rate at which technology has advanced during the past century, man now has the means to totally destroy himself, and will unless we can get to him first."


Barrios, A.A. (1961, 1973): "Hypnosis as a possible means of curing cancer." Paper first written in 1961 and then presented at the International Congress of Hypnosis, Upsala, Sweden, 1973.

Barrios, A.A. (1969): "Undrstanding the Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy: A Combined Clinical, Theoretical and Experimental Approach." Ph.D. Dissertation UCLA Dept. of Psychology

Barrios, A.A. (1975): "Self-Programmed Control: Towards greater health, happiness and productivity." Recreation Management: The Journal of Recreation, Health and Education, 18-21.

Barrios, A.A. (1983): "The Stress Test: Stress Control Handbook and Stress Control Biofeedback Card." Los Angeles, SPC Press.

Barrios, A.A. (1985): "Towards Greater Freedom and Happiness." Los Angeles, SPC Press.

Barrios, A.A. (2001): "A theory of hypnosis based on principles of conditioning and inhibition." Contemporary Hypnosis 18: 163-203.

Barrios, A.A. (2007): "Commentarty on a theory of hypnosis based on principles of conditioning and inhibition." Contemporary Hypnosis 24: 123-138.

Barrios, A.A. (2009): "Understanding Hypnosis: Theory, Scope and Potential." Nova Science Publishers, New York.

Barrios, A.A. (2011): "Is there free will? Finally an answer." Also

Barrios, A.A. (2011): "Break Free With SPC: The Road to Self-Actualization." NXTGEN Publishing, Minnesota.

Wolpe, J. (1958): "Psychotherapy By Reciprocal Inhibition." Stanford University Press.

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