Hypnotherapy intervention is effective to facilitating progress in the lives of clients, especially those who have been suffering from anxiety, depression, a lack of self-confidence, stress, addictions, and even pain.
More frequent than we would like to admit, we experience feelings or emotions that are not positive or enjoyable, and our first response may be to brush them aside. There are various ways on how we can do so. For example, we can choose to ignore or avoid those feelings by distracting ourselves with external activities. Else, we can rationalize with logical arguments and render those emotions as irrational and invalid. And then move on with our daily lives.
Unfortunately, feelings or emotions do not dissipate just because we ignore, avoid or repress. They form our perceptions as they lie dormant in the core of our volcanic unconscious mind. Its volcanic lava can once in a while flow out into our daily lives unexpectedly, and we find ourselves in situations whereby we surprise ourselves with our reactions that we consider unacceptable or regrettable. If continued to be ignored, the heat and intensity of the dormant volcano can multiply and magnify, and eventually a volcanic eruption of the unconscious happens, in the various forms of psychological break down.
Although many other techniques can also be utilized to uncover the repressed emotions in an individual, hypnotherapy can do so effectively into the innermost depth of the individual. This is because, hypnosis targets at the bull’s eye, the unconscious mind, the storage database of the repressed information. This means, when you allow the unconscious mind to be the guide in therapy, you can potentially access to the most comprehensive data that is necessary for you to access in order to understand and progress from whatever form of psychological turmoil you are experiencing to a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
When hypnotherapy intervenes, the therapist elicits the feelings and emotions when this person is experiencing a specific event. And through these deeper emotions, the person can go deep into the core of his own volcano to uncover the boiling lava, and resolve the related issues there, and inactivate the living volcano, and eventually allowing living plants to grow on it as it has now become a fertile ground for living things to flourish.
To give you a clearer picture of what hypnotherapy can do: imagine a person who is highly anxious whenever he has to present an idea in a meeting. The anxiety is so strong that sometimes he is unable to present and this hurts his performance evaluation in his career.
Given the scene above, should the person come in for therapy, the therapist might utilize techniques to help this person overcome his anxiety, such as identifying and correcting erroneous cognitive thoughts, inserting positive self-talk to reduce anxiety or even create a kind of anchor to associate with confidence. This may well assist him, but not for the long-term. With time, he might realize that although his performance has improved, the feeling of anxiety can still very much be dominating his consciousness.
Through his discussion with the therapist, this person might even realize that his anxiety though most prominent at work, has actually permeated other parts of his life. And such is common with emotions – they are seldom contained to one area of our lives. They usually permeate and leak into all other parts of our lives, consciously or unconsciously.
So in the subsequent therapy session, the therapist might want to employ “Age Regression” technique to provide an opportunity for this person to go within himself and discover the possible root cause(s) of his anxiety.
If we believe that who we are is an accumulation of our past moments, then this technique can provide an avenue for us to recover what those moments, which led us to this moment, could be. When a person regresses back in time, into past events, he can uncover events related to the anxiety that he has been experiencing. And the client can understand how those events might have had a negative impact in his perception formation, which can unconsciously be exhibited in anxiety. Furthermore, client can also have an understanding of the underlying turmoil that could have created various coping mechanisms in his life, such as avoidance, anger or isolation.
There are many reasons for anxiety, and there are many different expressions of anxiety, such as general anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive tendencies, and phobias. So, treatment for specific case and person will be augmented accordingly from the generic procedures above.
The common denominator in hypnosis is the feelings that are elicited, because they are effective guiding posts for the unconscious mind to refer to, which also means that hypnosis is not dependent on memory, but is dependent on consciousness of the unconscious mind. In other words, the unconscious mind can show the person what he need to know and learn with regards to the specific feelings, through the events that the unconscious mind is showing in Age Regression.
This powerful tool also has its limitations. Firstly, Age Regression is not meant for memory retrieval or reconstruction, cautionary stance must be taken when client and therapist discuss the events that are created during the age regression session. Events or images elicited during the regression can be due to the following reasons: (1) actual memory (2) genetic memory (3) created memory by the mind. Actual memory is straightforward, because the person can either remember the event or can verify with someone else. Genetic memory is memory that is passed on to the person from his ancestors through DNA.
Both genetic and created memory most likely, cannot be verified. In situations whereby verification cannot be done, then greater caution must be taken during the discussion between the therapist and the client who has just experienced regression. When the unconscious mind reveals events, they can be metaphors to communicate specific messages to the client. Or, the events can also be borrowed memory from the client’s daily life whereby he might have seen/heard/experienced such an event prior to the session – just like when we take what we watch on the media into the dreams we experience on the same night.
The vastness of the unconscious mind cannot be fully construed by the logical mind; thus, utmost caution must be exercised when one tries to interpret and make meaning of the experience. Therefore, events that are brought to the conscious realm through age regression are never meant for reconstruction of past childhood memories.
Secondly, therapists have voiced out concerns that because this technique encourages clients to re-visit emotionally challenging situations of the past that can be related to their present challenge, so it can possibly evoke a re-traumatization in the clients, especially if they have had traumatic past events such as abuse or war. Thirdly, other therapists also argued that revisiting the past is not a necessary step to resolve present challenges, including anxiety issue mentioned above. In fact, many challenges can be resolved by focusing on the present and future situations, and can be resolved through the alteration of thoughts and behaviours. Finally, clients who suffer from heart conditions or personality disorders are not advised to perform this technique, as it might worsen their conditions.
Age regression is only the starting point to unravel the past experiences that have impacted the client in such a way that they are affecting him negatively in the present. And the awareness and understanding of these emotionally hurtful events, can bring insights for the client to understand his present emotional and cognitive processes. And with additional therapeutic work, the client can emerge out of the past with a sense of direction to progress his life forward and move beyond the past.
In conclusion, Age Regression in Hypnotherapy is a powerful and efficient tool for many clients who have suffered various psychological disturbances due to their past; however, caution must be exercised when deciding to use this method, and completion of the therapy process must be duly performed. At the end of the day, it is a collaboration effort between the client and the therapist, and only they would know which method can work best for the specific therapy session. My encouragement is for you to explore your options to mental health, and be open to the possible alternatives to healing and wholeness.
By Caroline Purnomo
TSPP Graduate, Diploma in Hypnotherapy & Counselling
Reblogged from Hypnothing.