I recently had a 32 yr old client, Bob who struggles to find a comfortable life path. His parents divorced when he was very young and since then he has always wrestled with an undercurrent of anxiety, stress and fear.
Bob is intelligent and well read and he has explored mindfulness, meditation and pursued formal hypnosis sessions on a couple of occasions, but has never been able to crack the code to contentment.
My initial observation of Bob was how he seemed to be trapped in this difficult cycle of thought, stuck in the battle, unable to break free. I see this frequently with clients and even experience it myself. We get tracked in emotional patterns and overtime they take on a life of their own. As years go by these patterns become deeply rooted, leading individuals to feeling powerless and trapped.
After giving Bob about 30 minutes to ‘off load’ his story, I explained my theory of patterns and roots, and suggested he view hypnosis as a relaxing way of doing some internal gardening. I told Bob the reason he has struggled for so long is because he was only trimming his problems at the ground level. Whatever approach he used offered a temporary reprieve, but the problems always popped through the surface again. I explained to Bob that this is why diets fail; they are temporary conscious level changes with problems on a much deeper level.
Bob’s previous hypnosis experience was a total failure. Unfortunately there are way too many hypnotic hacks in this field receiving exorbitant rates in exchange for substandard service. He was charged $150 to sit in a woman’s office and listen to a CD. After learning of his experience I was surprised and delighted that he chose to give hypnosis another try.
I assured Bob that not only would I be conducting a live session, but that we would record it so he could revisit his in-office experience at home. The session I chose employed deep trance hypnotic techniques, which enabled Bob to descend beneath the stress and worry. Once I was satisfied that Bob was sufficiently relaxed, I used some pretty simple release therapy techniques that offered him a way to free himself from the past.
Once he imagined the suggested freedom, he was then guided to envision a new future completely free of past difficulties. I suggested during the session that he was free to consider just how amazing his life could be. This is called future-pace technique, a very powerful way to give deep inner thoughts the new blue print of change.
At the conclusion of the session, Bob was smiling and seemed confidently calm. His demeanor was completely different; he seemed transformed from a stress-obsessed victim to a casually relaxed guy just hanging out with his hypnotist.
I asked Bob how the experience was for him, and he just shook his head in disbelief at how refreshed and liberated he felt. He remembered the past problem, but at that exact moment, it felt as though it was no longer part of who he was. The problem went from defining him, to becoming just a memory of a past difficulty.
I explained that with repetition, listening to his session daily for a couple of months, this feeling of relief goes from being the exception to becoming the rule. I also told Bob that research says that a little hypnosis goes a long way. Bob was exhilarated when he left the office and said he would be emailing me to schedule another appointment.
By: Paul Gustafson RN CH