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find past lives

Why people can’t find past lives

My reason for wanting to visit you is that I am interested in my past life regression (if any) and a stronger connection/understanding of Higher Power and Spiritual awareness.

This client seemed quite bubbly and outgoing. She was very well dressed. Actually dressed very young. I was much surprised later when she said that she was 50 years old. I got the impression later that it was all a façade.

She put out this image of being up, and alert, and outgoing but in fact she felt quite differently inside. She feels disconnected from everything and everybody. That longing for connection is why she thought it might be good to find past lives.

Hypnosis Childhood Regression

I was not at all sure that she was a candidate for past life regression. Nothing in what she told me about herself and her feelings seem to have anything to do with the standard past life regression requests.

I decided to do the regression with her anyway. I took her into trance using a walk along a river. "You will find something significant from your younger life that has a bearing on what you are feeling today." After a long time, she told me that she was seeing a horse.

I questioned her about the horse. It was a horse that her parents had given her. I asked her how she felt about the horse, did she love the horse? "No, I just feel confused". She had no idea what to do with the horse. She could not ride it, she knew nothing about horses.

When she had been given this horse all she felt was confusion. Her parents had taken down to this place in the country and just said to her "this is your horse". No preparation, no training. no nothing. Apparently this was quite typical of her upbringing. Her parents really were quite clueless about children. Her parents were very cold and distant people.

Regression to past life

I tried to take her back to a time before this present life. She told me she was getting nothing, feeling nothing. I pressed on with finding a life.

Still nothing. Then I asked her what she was feeling. She told me she felt small and lonely. I used that feeling to start an Inner Child therapy. But part way through she said "I am not seeing any child" so I stopped that and deepened her again.
Since she was already in trance I decided to try to work on her feeling of loss of connection.

Parts therapy

I took her to a place where she was floating in a void. In that place a Presence told her that it was the part of her that controlled all the other parts. It showed her the part of her that was causing the connection problems.  She visualized getting other parts of her to repair the damaged part that could not connect.  She was able to repair the part of her that was causing the connection problems.
I then brought her out of trance we talked about her experience for a while.

Holding on to control

She described how as she was going into trance she felt herself constantly fighting against what I was saying. This matched what I observed as I was inducing her. I lead her into trace with my standard induction of  Breathing, Favorite place, Stairs. She seemed very susceptible, except that she was one of those people who keep moving around. After the stairs induction  I always test with an eye catalepsy. I suggested that she could not open her eyes, and then suggested that she test it. She was unable to open her eyes. But about 10 seconds later she did briefly open her eyes then close them again.

I then decided to be absolutely sure she was in trance, so I did a beach induction. I asked her to imagine lying on a beach somewhere comfortable, relaxed, nothing to do. Then I asked her to focus on the waves rolling up the beach and back down again. I suggested that as the waves pulled away she felt herself being pulled with them. But every wave was taking her deeper and deeper.

She told me that as I was saying that she could feel herself being pulled down by the waves but was frantically clawing back up again all the time I was talking to her. I then do the vanishing numbers induction and she did finally go into trance. She clearly does not like giving up control.

The real reason for lack of connection

Then I started asking about her own feelings. I asked her "would you say your mind is always busy?" She said, "oh yes".
I showed her the anxiety questionnaire and she agreed that she was all over it. I suggested to her that her feeling of disconnection was much more likely to be due to a mild form of depression, rather than having anything to do with a past life. I asked her "would your mother be on that list of symptoms?". At that point she told me "I was adopted".

We then talked about her relationships with her brother and the couple who brought them up. She said that she always felt quite distant as a child. I explained that this was a symptom of dysthymia. We then spent 30 minutes talking about how depression affects her.

Why people can't find past lives

I think that the undiagnosed depression completely explains her feelings of not belonging anywhere. It also explains her need to never give up control.

I have been doing quite a few past life regression is recently. Comparing my notes on each of them, I have come to the tentative conclusion that people who have no past life, or at least are not willing to allow themselves to submit to the idea of a past life, are actually people who are trying to keep control of their own consciousness. Their desire to stay in control is incompatible with letting go enough to experience past lives.

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super visualizer

Are you a super visualizer?

Are you a super visualizer?

This month's edition of Scientific American Mind deals with something which might be of interest to hypnotherapists. Recent research has shown that about 2% of the population are unable to visualize anything. When you ask them to recall say, what they had for breakfast this morning, they are incapable of picturing it in their mind's eye.

They are also unable to imagine the face of their children, or their kitchen, or the school they went to. Hypnotists have long known that some people do not respond well to hypnotic inductions that require them to visualise.

You don't have to be a super visualizer to go into trance

Hypnotists have also learned that you don't have to be able to visualise in order to be able to go into trance. Avoiding visualization words allows people to understand things in their own terms. You do not need to be able to see a picture of a staircase in order to imagine going deeper by going down one.

The new research has shown that people who cannot visualise are not handicapped. Many of these people have successful careers in design, programming and the arts. It appears that they have invented other ways of experiencing the world to make up for the fact that they cannot create a mental image.

In one test people were asked whether the grass was a darker or lighter green and a pine tree. Non-visualizes insisted that they were not seeing a pine tree grass, somehow they just knew that the pine tree was darker.

How to spot a Super Visualizer

The researchers developed a questionnaire which reliably classifies people who have aphantasia. MRI scans have shown that the brains of these people react differently when asked to visualize. The normal visual part of the brain shows almost no activity, but parts of the brain to do with decision-making and error prediction were busy.

It turns out that aphantasia has been known for more than 100 years but no one had ever bothered to look into it closely. Once it began to become widely known, hundreds of people came forward to say that they also could not visualise.

They had all assumed either that no one could, or that there were oddities. Most of them felt a great relief to know that there were actually thousands of people just like them.

Interestingly enough, at the other end of the scale there are people who are superbly good at visualising. This group has not been studied scientifically either.

Maybe this is something you should look out for in your clients?

 

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taste hallucinations

Why don’t you have Taste Hallucinations

Why don't you have taste hallucinations?

I had a client yesterday who told me that she cannot go to sleep without a radio playing or the TV on. This is a common behavior. Many people use music to drown out the sound of the voices in their head. Or more correctly, the feelings that they experience as if there were voices in their head.

And that got me thinking. Hearing sounds, words, or voices is very common. Visual hallucinations, seeing things or people who aren't there is the most common. They are not necessarily an indicator of a  serious mental condition.

But I have never come across an Oral hallucination. Why do people not get hallucinations of having a taste of banana in their mouth? Or curry, or any other taste? If the mind can produce the other types of hallucinations why not the taste one? In dreams we think we see and hear things, but I personally have never had a dream where I tasted something.

There is a condition called synesthesia where colors are experienced as smells, and noises as tastes. The various sensory pathways get switched over, but that is not really a hallucination. Tinnitus is an imagined roaring in your ears, but that also is not really a hallucination.

People with schizophrenia sometimes believe that they have an unpleasant smell in their nose, or a bad taste in their mouth. It seems never to be an actual food or a specific smell. These types of taste hallucinations are clearly associated with mental illness.

Can you hallucinate a strawberry?

I wonder if there has been any attempt to hypnotize people to experience tastes and smells? When stage hypnotists persuade people to eat an onion, is the subject just ignoring the taste of the onion? Could the hypnotist persuade the eater that the onion actually tastes of strawberry?

I personally can vividly picture a strawberry. I suppose I could imagine the sound of the food processor making a strawberry smoothie. But I cannot summon up a memory of what a strawberry smoothie tastes like. I recognize the taste, but I cannot recall it in advance.

Can other people summon up tastes on demand?

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website engaging

Is your website engaging?

Is your website engaging?

Telemedicine has been around for many years. But has not really been accepted by mainstream providers, or patients. We are actually behind developing countries, where it is sometimes the only thing available.

The problems are social, not technical. Providers are often not willing to invest in it. This is not just due to personal resistance. There are also problems with unfamiliarity, training, finding time, hardware and software needed. And structural constraints: liability, insurer regulations, professional body restraints of competition, problems with jurisdiction.

Patients have similar problems: access to suitable hardware and software, fear of the unknown, privacy issues, lack of support from insurers.

Making your website engaging

There is now an irresistible move  to connect caring professionals to their patients through online means. But before this can get started you have to have enough clients to make it worthwhile investing in the necessary infrastructure. This is not just having a computer and internet connection. Everyone has got that. You also need scheduling software, booking and payment methods. Many traditional doctors' methods are not easy to convert to something suitable for online intimacy.

Therefore, it is a chicken and egg thing. You need patients ready to sign up, but you need everything in place first before you can sign them up, and they won't sign up until they know you have everything ready for them.

Creating and engaging online presence

So the first move is for the providers to create an online presence, something that lets potential clients test the water so to speak. Each provider is setting out a welcome page designed to reassure the patient. This features a video profile of each health provider explaining who they are, their qualifications and outlining the sort oft thing they do. The patient can then shop around for someone they feel comfortable with, test out the connection quality and then make contact online when they are ready. At a minimum, every therapist should have a Skype or Zoom service.

For hypnotherapists the hardware and software already exists and is easy to use. Some hypnotists already use it, but few integrate it into their marketing plan. Maybe it is time for us to start to focus on creating a front page not as an internet business card, but as a website engaging with clients electronically?

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wearing your metaphor

Wearing your metaphor to hide your fears

Wearing your metaphor

It was a cold day earlier this week, and I had the heating in the office going full blast. I thought it was nice and warm, but my client came in and sat down in my big chair with a bulky coat on.

I invited her to hang it up, but she refused, saying she was feeling cold. It clearly wasn't cold and there was no logical reason to sit and get hypnotized wearing an overcoat.

But this client just sat there, all wrapped up. As we talked,  I asked her what she needed. She punctuated all her remarks by slapping the side of the chair as if batting away my inquiries.

I noticed from time to time she was swung her leg up as if kicking away some uncomfortable idea. She was pretty much refusing to reveal anything personal.

Signalling with clothes

Fortunately I had seen this before and I knew what to do. I have seen it at a dinner party in my house. One guest insisted she was cold and sat at the table eating dinner with her outside coat on.

She was later invited to other dinners with us. The next time did take her coat off, but wore a dress that came right up to her neck and covered her legs and arms completely.

At later dinners the dress became less severe. Her next dress had no arms, and then at the next dinner the dress was a bit shorter. Finally, she wore a dress that showed her shoulders but with a scarf there, just in case.

I am sure she was totally unaware of her own unconscious behavior. She was signalling that she was keeping all wrapped up in the presence of strangers, and only gradually let her guard down.

This was exactly what my client was doing: coming for help but keeping everything wrapped up, and slapping and kicking away all efforts to get her reveal anything. The metaphor couldn't have been more clear.

I was able to hypnotize her despite her reservations, and the session ended successfully.

But she still hadn't taken the coat off.

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professional development hypnotherapy

Professional Development Hypnotherapy Training

Professional Development Hypnotherapy Training

Recently I was a speaker at a training day for the members of the New Zealand Association of Professional Hypnotherapists. I am currently the Vice President nzaph.co.nz

The day was highly enjoyable and covered topics and techniques of interest to professional hypnotherapy.

After my presentation, the next speaker talked about a method of soul restatement, a therapy she has developed to deal with the sources of people's unhappiness. She outlined her theory. Then led everyone in the room on a journey of visualization. It is long time since I was on a guided visualization. I had forgotten how powerful it is. I enjoyed it immensely and learned a great deal.

Part of the membership requirements of NZAPH is to undertake professional supervision. The afternoon was given over to discussing the role of supervisors for practicing hypnotherapists.  It was good to learn from other supervisors about what they think the supervision relationship.

Professional development also includes marketing. One presenter talked about the role of social media in marketing for hypnotherapy businesses. Technology changes all the time. You need to keep up with how young people use the internet if you want to reach them.

Metaphor training

The final part trained us in the use of physical metaphor in therapy. In the first exercise we chose a toy from an assortment and then to justified the choice of that toy. We then tried to explain what it revealed about each person.

Then followed a fun exercise with playdough. The leader told each person to close their eyes and then model something out of the Playdough. The first task was  to represent an incident when they felt angry about something. Most people created something spiky.

Next, we had to model something that represented how we felt the last time our hearts were really touched by something wonderful. We created those models and discussed what they meant metaphorically.

Then we had to combine both models. The resulting change in feelings was quite spectacular.

Training days are often great fun. Make sure that you take every opportunity to attend anything on offer by your professional association.

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woebot

Woebots may be coming for your job

Woebots may be coming for your job

Woebots are artificial intelligence programs which advise  and counsel you. The best-known one is Siri. This is Apple's home assistant. You can ask it what the weather is going to be like this afternoon, you can ask who is going to win the big match, you can ask it where to get the cheapest curtains for your living room. You ask a question and it answers.

But almost half the conversations with Siri and Alexa, Amazon's equivalent, are actually conversations about emotions. People tell woebots like these about their stressful day, about how they feel about people at work, about how they really wish someone would phone them. More and more people live on their own, and have no one to talk to. So they talk to the woebots.

People will say, "I feel sad". Or "I am so lonely". And they expect the application to reply. It does reply. In fact all of this type of artificial intelligence conversational software has preprogrammed responses to questions like these. Google Assistant might reply to you "I wish I had arms to give you a hug". Or you might be told "Nobody said life was going to be easy. What do you think you could do?".

The arrival of the woebots

Talking to a machine has gone from seeming weird to being normal in many households. It is only a small step from telling Google Assistant "play me some upbeat music, I'm feeling down" to saying "I'm feeling down, how do I get out of this?".

And the machines are getting better and better at it. Artificial intelligence used to be about how to beat a chess grandmaster. The software learned from every game. It learned from its mistakes. Gradually, the software increased its playing skills until today chess programs are better than any human being.

Learning to play chess is different from learning how to counsel someone deep in grief. But the same basic principles apply. Do something, measure how well you did, change your next attempt, and see if it is better or worse.

This is not going to work terribly well between a machine and one person. But when the machine is learning from hundreds of thousands of people simultaneously it becomes a completely different situation.

Pretty much the same questions are being asked by hundreds of people at any one moment. The software understands multiple languages and is available in every country. Therefore the opportunities for learning are greatly increased. The software offers a response, and then analyses the reply. It does this over and over tirelessly, 24 hours a day. And it learns.

Your woebot counselor is here now

It is predicted that it will not be long before everyone has access to a conversational robot. Past experiments have shown that people will speak more freely to a machine than they will to a human being.  The machine doesn't judge you. The machine doesn't make you feel embarrassed. It has endless patience. It's always there for you. And it costs nothing.

That last point, that it is free and always there, is what should give concern to many in the caring professions. People go to counsellors very often just to have someone to listen to them. One of the primary benefits of counselling is just to allow people to unload how they feel.

If talking to a machine makes you feel good, then you will do more of it. The machines are getting better at giving helpful advice and encouragement. Why would someone go to a counsellor, if you can talk to a friendly understanding voice on your cell phone day or night?

Leave a comment
How could you convert this software into an asset in your practice?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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fetish shoes

Fetish Hypnosis Replacement

Can hypnosis be used to treat a fetish? A fetish is generally described as a sexual attraction towards an inanimate object or a particular, non-sexual part of the body. With a rubber fetish, a person gets sexually aroused by touching on wearing rubber garments. Leather fetish is very similar. One of the most common is a shoe fetish, getting sexual gratification from looking at shoes, handling shoes, smelling shoes.

Many years ago I had a client who had a fetish about rubber. The only thing he could remember that might account for this was a memory of having a tightly fitting rubber swimming cap when he was a child. At the time I was unable to help him, but I never forgot about him. I have always wondered at the origin of his problem.

Instant learning experience

I started thinking about this recently while I was telling someone about how I cleared phobias. He asked me where phobias came from. I explained that a phobia is an instant learning experience. An instant learning experience is something like touching a hot stove. You learn instantly that hot stoves burn and you never touch them again. However, some people don't just remember that they get burned, they get a lifelong fear of stoves. The exact mechanism of how this happens is not known.

Origins of a phobia

After many years of treating phobias it seems to me that there is a common element in acquiring a phobia. I think that the essential elements include an unexpected event, an intense feeling of threat, and the inability to get away or do anything about it. For example, bird phobia is very common.

It typically arises when a child is out with its mother, feeling safe enjoying themselves in some outdoor situation. And then suddenly they have a bird flying at them, wings flapping around them noisily, maybe even close on their hair. This generates an intense instant fear. When that is combined with the feeling of being unable to get away from the bird there is a potential to generate a phobia. The phobia is easily cleared by getting the person to experience the feeling of fear again, and then using metaphor replacement therapy to change the fear into something else.

Origins of a fetish

I believe that a fetish is simply the opposite of the phobia. Instead of experiencing an intense fear, I think the person gets a fetish by experiencing an intense sexual pleasure while doing something else, and the two things get linked.

Just as a phobia can be acquired from just about any random experience, so can a fetish. My old client with the rubber attraction probably at some point felt a strong sexual urge while simultaneously experiencing some rubber object. The two get linked in the brain in the same way that a phobia gets created. From then on any time the person experiences something made of rubber they are instantly reminded of the sexual feeling associated with it. I believe that this is the origin of a fetish.

Removing a fetish

If I am correct in this, then it suggests that a fetish can be removed in exactly the same way that a phobia is removed. Clinically, all one would have to do is to get the person to experience the positive feeling they get from their fetish object. Then apply metaphor replacement therapy to their representation of the feeling. Then change it from a positive feeling to a neutral feeling. That is exactly what hypnotherapists do with phobias. You take the negative feeling, represent it in some way, change the representation,  and the fear disappears. I see no reason why it should not work to change pleasurable feelings.

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Procrastination attention seeking

Procrastination attention seeking

Reports of the recent shooting death of the US rapper XXXTentacion revealed some significant detail about his tragic life. The BBC quoted his early life as "grim and confusing". According to the BBC, his mother was a teenager when he was born and she was absent for long periods when he was growing up. He was brought up mostly by his grandmother, family friends and babysitters.

This is a classic example of dysfunctional family circumstances which lead to antisocial behavior by the child. And sure enough, XXXTentacion had a long history of criminal behavior marked by violence. Various reports suggest that the success of his music career was partly the result of his ongoing violence. Being violent was part of his attraction to his fans.

Desperate for attention

But in his case, his violence may have been more than just random behavior. The BBC reports that he "once said that he used violence to make his mother pay attention". He used violence quite deliberately to deal with his own emotional needs. "I used to beat kids at school just to get her to talk to me, yell at me," he said.

It seems that that neglected little boy desperately wanted his mother's attention. And would do anything to get that attention. If the only way she would notice him was when he was violent, then that was what he would do. Bad behavior was his strategy to get noticed. It did not matter that it was "yell at me" attention: attention is attention. Any kind of attention is better than none.

This makes perfect sense from a behavioral psychology point of view. Children want their parents' attention and will do whatever it takes to get that attention if it is not freely offered.

Procrastination attention seeking

This is an extreme case of a child using extreme behavior to get what he wants. But I think it is actually much more common than we suppose. Not the violence, but the strategy of behaving badly to become the focus of a parent's attention.

For much of my own life, I have procrastinated. I would put off starting things, Or not finishing them. This applied to things that were important, valuable, that I was going to get into trouble for if I didn't do them. And that I suspect is a direct parallel between me and XXXTentacion.

I also grew up in a dysfunctional family. My father was usually away at work. My mother was distant and distracted and not the slightest interested in her children. From an early age, I was very aware that my family was different from other families.

It is only now, long after my mother has passed away, when I look back over the things I did not achieve in my life, when I look at the wasted opportunities, I can see the parallels.

Procrastination attention seeking and work

I suspect that the things I procrastinated about had a common factor. There were things that authority figures wanted me to do. Quite legitimately in most cases. Employers want you to work. They want their projects finished.

But I learned as a child that if I didn't do whatever my mother wanted me to do, at some point I too would get yelled at and perhaps beaten. But at least I was being noticed.

I think I have transferred that behavior to my adult life. Still seeking attention.

I wonder how much procrastination in other people reflects a similar need?

 

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yoga, meditation and hypnosis

Yoga, meditation and hypnosis

Yoga, meditation and hypnosis

The link between yoga, meditation and hypnosis is evident. All of these practices can make you feel better, quiet your mind, and improve your quality of life. Why they make you feel that way is a matter of belief.

Yoga and meditation are passive techniques. The basic intention, according to Buddhist beliefs, is to empty to your mind, to think of nothing, to experience a complete loss of self. The idea is that you just open yourself, the essence of who you are, to the universe. By connecting to the universe, you become one with it. You become aware of just how small and insignificant you are in comparison. In theory, this quiets the ego-self, and turns off all feelings of your own importance.

How does Yoga, meditation and hypnosis work

However, recent research shows quite the opposite. It has been known for more than a century than getting skilled at anything makes you more proud of yourself. This is the exact opposite of what yoga and meditation are supposed to do. Ironically, it seems that the better you get at meditation, the more impressed you are with yourself. This actually makes you focus more on yourself rather than less.

Researchers found that people who had done yoga in the previous hour felt higher self-esteem than equivalent people who had not. Similar results were found with meditation. Regular meditators who had meditated in the previous 24 hours scored more highly on measures of self-esteem than people who had not meditated.

Ego-quieting doesn't 

Ego-quieting is offered as the reason why yoga and meditation work. By quieting the chattering ego, by diminishing it, you make yourself feel better. But this study has shown a different mechanism. The study suggests that by being successful in your yoga meditation practice you actually boost your ego. It is the ego boost, not the lack of it, which increases well-being.

Presumably this is why self-hypnosis produces the same result?

 

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