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Maxwell Maltz,
Inventor of Psycho Cybernetics

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Maxwell Maltz is often credited with discovering the incredible power of personal self-image. In his seminal research into peoples' psyches, Maltz realized that most peoples' problems are not borne of outward situation, but rather their own ideas about themselves.

A brilliant plastic surgeon, Maltz noticed that, even after reconstructing or beautifying a person's face, that person did not seem to feel any better about themselves. He determined that his ultimate goal as a plastic surgeon was not to merely make people outwardly attractive, but also make them feel attractive. And as he delved into causes peoples' insecurities and psyches, he discovered that hypnosis was the best way of reprogramming the mind to rid itself of deeply held feelings of low self-esteem.

After years of research into the human self-image, during which he tested his theories on athletes and salespeople, Maxwell Maltz produced the book Psycho Cybernetics. This seminal work in the field of human self-image paved the way for hypnosis as a method of improving self-image.

The techniques Maltz described were a combination of relaxation and visualization that produced a hypnotic state which would then allow a person to heal the "inner scars" of a negative self-image. He describes this as "dehypnotizing", or removing the mental constructs that prevented a person from having a positive self-image. To Maltz, these constructs were the main barriers to success. People who did not feel good about themselves did not feel good about their chances of success in their chosen endeavors. Essentially, to paraphrase Sun Tzu, the battle was lost before it was even fought. However, by using self-hypnosis techniques and his so-called "Theater of the Mind", Maltz attempted to show how people could alter their own self-image.

In Maltz's Theater of the Mind model, a person replays bad memories and stepping out of them and watching them in such a way that the feelings associated with them fell away into obscurity, unpleasant, unresolved issues related to these recollections could be resolved. Likewise, by stepping into pleasant memories and re-feeling them as though they were happening all over again, a person could remind themselves of experiences they wish they could recapture. With daily repetition of these exercises, the psyche could repair its wounds and build a stronger base from which to work toward the life that a person desires.

Maxwell Maltz's work in the field of self-hypnosis and the self-image were remarkable for their day. After Psycho Cybernetics hit the best-seller lists, Maltz became a highly sought after author and motivational speaker.

Although Maxwell Maltz has passed away, his main Psycho Cybernetics work has been updated and enhanced by Dan Kennedy and is highly recommended. I find it easier to get to grips with than Neuro Linguistic Programming books, even though much of the material is similar in outlook.

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