No Trauma is Immune – the Emotional Treatment that Saves Skeptics (interview) - מרכז אורה גולן

No Trauma is Immune – the Emotional Treatment that Saves Skeptics (interview)

Do Ora Golan’s methods really work? Professional cynic and skeptic Assaf Voll visited the Ora Golan Center with the aim of undergoing treatment of emotional blocks in order to see what it was all about. So, do muscles really store trauma? How are emotional blocks transformed into something visible? Why do patients forget what their original complaint was? And how does the treatment work even on those who do not believe in it?

“Tell me Niels, do you really believe in that?” a colleague asked Prof. Niels Bohr, a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics and a member of the Danish national soccer team, after noticing a horseshoe hanging above Boher’s office.

“Of course I don’t believe in it,” answered Boher, a Jewish scholar and skeptic who was one of Albert Einstein’s prominent students. “But I heard it brings you luck whether you believe in it or not.”

טיפול רגשי בחסמים רגשיים

Ora Golan treating a patient in her clinic on Kibbutz Nachsholim

This anecdote about Prof. Niels Bohr, one of the most fascinating characters in the history of science, came to mind with regard to a visit I made to the Ora Golan Center on Kibbutz Nachsholim. But before I begin talking about the Center, like any respectable Israeli, I’d like to talk a bit about myself. I am a skeptic, an extreme skeptic, I would even say. Degrees in philosophy and psychology and a doctorate in religious affairs did not provide fertile ground for belief. Even the yeshiva I studied in as a teenager failed to keep down my inner spirit of rationalism. I also raised my children based on the principle: “If you can’t prove it through experimentation, then toss it out to sea.”

For this reason, the invitation I received to write about the Center caused me to raise a brow… “Are you certain that’s what you want?” I ask the man who had contacted me. I ask the same question of Ora Golan herself, as I have no interest in doing a host a disservice.

“Actually, I want just a man like you to write about us,” she answers. “I want to speak with the people who are most critical. After all, critical people suffer too, and my method also works on those who do not believe in it.”

Those who know me know that I am an impulsive person who lacks patience for tall tales. “So explain it to me,” I say. “On what basis do you claim to resolve anxiety issues that have existed for many years, couple-relationship problems, and lack of self-confidence apparently rooted in childhood? Can the age-old tradition of Freudian psychoanalysis be discarded in favor of a process consisting of four short treatments?”

Here, I would like to point out that Ora appeared to show no signs of discomfort with the question. Indeed, on the whole, she displayed no signs of anything except peace of mind. My experience had made me accustomed to charismatic therapists, exalted gurus, and rabbis with sparks in their eyes. Ora, however, is a regular, calm woman, responding with eloquent patience.

“Every person has an emotional system that incorporates and files away everything it experiences from its surroundings. It differs from the system of rational logic and stores extremely early memories. One example is babies who are born without knowledge of the fact that they were born into a state of war or peace.” As someone who was born into the Yom Kippur War, I agreed with her. I truly did not know. “The emotional information is absorbed from our surroundings. If people around him were living in an atmosphere of fear or extremely tense couple-relations, the child absorbs it and it has a significant affect on his emotional resilience. This is how the emotional blocks, on which our treatment focuses, are formed.”
טיפול רגשי

Up to this point, everything sounded logical. “And what is its affect?” I ask.

“I do not analyze the parents,” Ora continues. “I check the applicant himself using a series of questions and muscle tests. Muscle resistance to a question regarding a specific issue can be easily tested – the emotional load that was absorbed, at what stage of life, and under what circumstances.”

And people have no influence on muscle tone or tension?

“No,” she explains. “The method is not dependent on the therapist or the patient or on what they think. In contrast to what we think and say during emotional treatment, the body always provides accurate, authentic information. We also take measurements using the same method at the end of the treatment in order to assess whether there has been any improvement.”

Here I was suspicious. “The patients don’t know if there has been an improvement in their condition?”

“You know, it often happens that patients forget what their complaint had been, because it simply ceases to trouble them. Like a stone in your shoe – a few minutes after you get rid of it, you no longer think about it.”

“OK, Ora. Give me the three most common issues that are brought to you by patients, with which you achieve visible success.”

“Couple-relations, anxiety, and self-confidence. There are also many other issues, such as attention disorders, separation anxiety, and the like. But the first three I listed undoubtedly account for a significant share of our work.”

טיפול רגשי

“OK. Let’s talk for a moment about couple-relations. What successes can you show for someone who has been looking for a long time but has had no success?”

“Couple-relations are a subject about which I have a great deal to say,” she responds. “But at the moment, I’ll limit myself to the simple fact that more than ten of our employees who were previously not in a relationship, or who were in a relationship in crisis, are now in satisfying couple-relationships. It even caused us some problems, because some moved to where their partners were living, making work too far away for them.”

True to my practice of going on about subjects that particularly interest me, I promised Ora to check the couple-relations’ statistics of the employees of the Center and to devote a special column solely to the issue of couple-relations.

To wrap up, here are my conclusions. Ora Golan’s treatment method is assessed through detailed evaluation at the end of the treatment about which I was provided with information. I must be honest here and say that I still don’t know how the method works beyond the information with which I was provided. Nonetheless, I heard a significant number of testimonies of success from patients and from employees who underwent treatment themselves. Would I try it? Certainly. Why? Because what’s being offered here is not some shady theory. In actuality, the method is based on an idea that sounds more logical than most alternative therapies, and even many psychological approaches.

As someone who has studied and experimented with a fair number of such psychological methods, I am convinced that in a cost-benefit analysis, Ora Golan’s method has a substantial advantage over extended psychological treatment, and even over the short-term CBT treatments that are so fashionable today. And when I say “cost,” I am referring not only to financial expenditure but also to the immense mental resources that must be invested in such psychological treatment. I believe that if someone is suffering from an issue that is limiting his life, it would be worth his while to come in and investigate the effectiveness of the method himself, especially if it is someone who has already tried psychological treatment and is still not satisfied with his life.

פרופ' נילס בוהר

Prof. Niels Bohr – He does what is necessary even without believing in it.

What about Niels Bohr? Did the horseshoe help him? Bohr managed to escape the Nazis and is the namesake of a physics institute in Copenhagen and of a chemical element in the Periodic Table: Bohrium. In addition, his son Aage Bohr also received the Nobel Prize in Physics. As it turns out, the right action sometimes helps even those who don’t believe in it.


פברואר 4, 2016

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