†††††††††††† These articles were originally first published as a column in L.A. Health Magazine,
†††††††††††† under the title, A Hypnotherapist's Casebook.
A Hypnotherapist's Casebook. No 1.† Hypnotherapy for Healing.
A little over ten years ago I was between jobs. I had been working in Psychiatric Hospitals and other Institutions, as an Admissions Counselor, Chemical Dependency Counselor, Case manager and Discharge Planner. I was attending some college courses, hoping eventually to obtain a Psychology degree, when a friend of mine suggested, "Why don't you study hypnotism, you could help people stop smoking and make some money." It seemed like a good idea, so I ended up attending classes at the world renowned Gil Boyne Hypnotism Training Institute, in Glendale.
As soon as I saw on the first video what Mr. Boyne was able to achieve with hypnosis I exclaimed to him, "You are getting people to give you information in a few minutes that would take six months to a year in therapy, because consciously they don't know these things!" I knew I had encountered something I had always wanted, a means to make my work as a counselor more effective and economical in terms of both time and money. As yet I was not aware of the possible depth, speed and range of change available through hypnosis and hypnotherapy.
I have since discovered that hypnotherapy can be divided into two aspects. 1). "Putting in the good stuff," or suggestion therapy. To most people this is the most familiar, planting suggestions in a clients mind of a beneficial nature, such as, "You will act on the powerful desire you discover today to stop smoking for good." etc., while a person is in a hypnotic trance. The other aspect could be described as, 2). "Taking out the bad stuff," by altering and/or releasing historical causations of difficulties. This trance-pires by entering the subconscious mind, the other seven eighths of our mind we have little awareness of, and relieving difficulties in hypnotic trance. Of course, both aspects may well be implemented concurrently, (at least by me), with any client.
The effectiveness can be astonishing. One client returned after the first session and stated. "I stopped drinking coffee, watching soap operas, and have emerged from a low grade depression of many years duration." As a bonus, this man had a thyroid condition called "Bright's Disease," which caused his eyes to be permanently popped out, so he looked angry or scared all the time. It was now only barely visible around one eye. In addition, three quarters of the anxiety, regarding supervisory duties at work, which initiated his visit, had vanished. Though hypnotherapy is not always so dramatically effective as this, I inform prospective clients that eighty percent of those I work with usually see major positive changes within four sessions. I have seen the client's blood pressure go down from regular use of one of my self-hypnosis tapes. Persons have obtained rapid healing with little pain from invasive medical procedures and surgeries. Young persons, (around fourteen to twenty one years,) if willing, can often gain astonishing progress, due to being so open, and mentally fluid.
My process produces all kinds of general positive change, then I also work on the specifics. I help a person gain access to inner resources and increased self-esteem, while removing blocks that are keeping them stuck, so they can resume personal growth without me. Naturally, the amount of time and work necessary to obtain relief from any difficulty is related to it's prior nature, duration, intensity and severity, and the available inner and outer resources.
What kind of problems is hypnotherapy useful for? Traditionally it has been successful, with habit control, smoking, weight, bedwetting, nail biting, stuttering, and so forth. Also to increase self confidence, motivation, memory, concentration, creativity, productivity and self esteem. For reducing anxiety, releasing fears, phobias, headaches and nightmares. Sexual problems of both sexes may be amenable to hypnotic methods. The rapid release of grief is often very easy to facilitate, and unresolved grief from past losses is a significant contributor to more difficulties than is generally known. I have found that even the death of a beloved animal can leave a person in a state of frozen mourning. I use Hypnosis as an adjunct to treating drug and alcohol problems.. I receive referrals from Psychiatrists, Doctors, Psychotherapists, Chiropractors, Osteopaths and Alternative/ Complementary Medicine practitioners, to assist clients who may be stuck in some way, or have a problem, such as mental and physical tension, that the referring party does not treat.
Correction of many obstinate physical/mental/emotional situations can be initiated. In fact, the holistic hypnotherapeutic process is as unlimited as the boundless Shaman's Imagination of the practitioner, and to the extent that he can utilize his Wizard Words to conjure up Magical Image Processes that heal, as becomes a Charm-ing Mage. Hypnosis then works in the I of the mind, as an Alchemical Philosopher's Stone, trance-muting the unknown into the golden healing known. Now I will close with the words of Tiny Tim, from a Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens,
"God bless us all, each and every one."††††††† Till the next time, Brian.
A Hypnotherapist's Casebook. No 2.† Releasing Past Grief.
One of the most useful aspects of hypnosis is that in trance, a person's emotional defenses are softened or lowered. This allows for the release of previously submerged and trapped emotions. A heightened awareness of thoughts and feelings also trance-pires. This combination allows the possibility of resolution of difficulties following the rapid location of their deeper source.
This is especially relevant for the release of blocked or frozen grief. A significant number of my clients suffer from this as a major component of their difficulties. It contributes to poor concentration, irritability, feeling "down", physical and psychosomatic problems, and accentuates any other problem a person might have. This may be despite a person's belief that they mourned the loss. Over many years with many clients, when probed in a relaxed trance state, only two had no residual pain regarding a major loss. For most, rapidly obtaining complete relief is a relatively simple matter. After the release, remarks such as, "I never knew that was there.. still bothering me so much," etc. are made. One female, having dinner with a friend after a session, was told, "The look of pain that was always in your eyes has gone." This was after the release of grief entangled with guilt, as is often the case, subsequent to an abortion.
Grief is not restricted to the death of a loved one or family member. Miscarriages as well as abortions. The loss of a beloved pet animal can be agonizing, especially for those who have fewer deep connections to other human animals. The end of a long-term relationship is often like a death. As an addictions professional, I am aware that saying goodbye and mourning the loss of the "old friend" that could always be "depended on", whether it be alcohol, cigarettes, or whatever, is a sometimes a necessary step along the road to abstinence.
To close, I will detail these simple easy cases where the release was a mini-miracle, immediate and complete. The first was a lady who had lost a baby due to a miscarriage a year before she came to see me. After assisting her to enter a relaxed state I began, "You mentioned the loss of your baby... " At these words, her head went back, and a wordless howl of agony emerged, on, and on, and on.. finished at last.. no words.. that was it, all of it.
While on vacation, a man's long term pet, his dog, had died. Somebody remarked, "You have to take them on a last walk before they die," and he had become deeply guilt stricken, feeling he had failed his old pal, and had sunk into a deep depression. In trance, I pointed out to him that he had taken the dog for his last walk, before he departed on vacation. The guilt resolved, with further grieving he came to peace, and laid his canine friend to final rest.
A young woman had had an emotional breakdown, after rejecting her partner for being a womanizer, with no interest in changing. She was hardly eating or sleeping, barely living, going to work like a zombie. Coming out of the first trance, after grief release she said, "I'm hungry!" Returning for the second session she said, "When he calls me on the phone, instead of feeling so desperately awful, I see myself saying goodbye to him as I visualized in trance, and I'm O.K." Aligning her head and heart while releasing the tears of grief was all it took. Because she had no other problems to complicate matters, only one session was needed to initiate her recovery process. Though not always this simple, healing is always a possibility.
Till the next time, Brian.
A Hypnotherapist's Casebook No. 3.† Working With Young People.
Hypnotherapy with young persons, from the ages of approximately 13 to 21 years old, can often produce extraordinarily powerful results. One reason is that their minds are so open and flexible, so that the process of change is easily assimilated into their own current growth and development. In addition, their personality and self esteem are still being formed by incorporating the "messages" conveyed by the words and behavior of family, authority figures and peers. Positive suggestions absorbed in trance give them the necessary emotional support and nurturing that they need.
The common antecedent to many problems is parental conflict, especially separation and divorce. Adults usually have little idea how these events devastate a child's sense of security. A rapid drop in academic levels, or sudden negative behavioral changes, (if not the result of alcohol/drug problems, another common cause), frequently indicates a problem at home. Remarriage often brings on or further aggravates difficulties. Much of the time the child is classed as either mad or bad, when in fact they are caught in emotional traps. Because young people are very in touch with their situations and emotions, especially in trance, it is often quite a simple process to assist them obtain relief. Many require no more than four or five sessions, of two hours plus, for virtual elimination of their troubles. Simultaneous initiation of ongoing emotional improvement processes adds many more benefits. Realizing that a person's life may be radically improved for fifty or more years is personally very rewarding to me. Also, my own adolescence was so disastrous, agonizing and bereft, that I have a deep compassion and understanding of troubled teenagers, and love to provide them with the assistance I never knew I needed, and of course did not get.
Serious problems such as trichonomania, (compulsively pulling out of hair and eyelashes), obsessive hand washing, night terrors, and so forth, have also yielded to my hypnotic ministrations. I have helped a succession of young males reverse declining grades and other unacceptable behavior problems at school, by resolving resentment regarding a stepfather, especially if the stepfather is "mistreating" a mother the son is very close to. Unfortunately, when a young person gets poor grades, not knowing this is the result of emotional stress, they may conclude they are stupid and may begin to regard themselves as a failure. In fact, I have retroactively dealt with these issues in adults, still carrying scars to their self-esteem from precisely this sequence.