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clearing childhood abuse

Clearing Childhood Abuse

Clearing Childhood Abuse

My client today told me that he had three things wrong with him. Fear of spiders. Loss of memory. And he couldn't remember the third thing (!). Later on he said the third thing was frightening dreams.

He was carrying a red-and-white tea-towel. He kept pushing it into his mouth and rubbing it around and pulling it out again. I had extreme difficulty understanding what he said.

I thought that he said that he had no tongue. But I thought that can't be right because how could he speak at all if he had no tongue?

He later told me that he had tongue cancer and eventually had to have his tongue removed. He showed me a patch on his forearm where surgeons had removed some skin and sewed it onto the stump of his tongue. To everyone's amazement he was able to speak after a fashion. It took a while to get my ear attuned to what he was saying. But eventually I could understand him quite well.

He has had a terrible life and what is most remarkable is that he is still quite cheerful about the whole thing. He said that he had a very bad childhood. His step father constantly beat him, terrorized him, made him fear for his life. Even though her father had died 20 years ago, he was still terrified by the thought of him.

Clearing Fear of Spiders

I really didn't know what to do with him. He had so many things going on, and he was so bad at speaking that I decided to go with the original thing, the fear of spiders. He wasn't just afraid of them, he was terrified of them.

"I have a memory that I think has  something to do with my fear of spiders." I told him to think about that fear of spiders that he gets. He immediately began to get a feeling. It was filling his chest. "What  is it like?" "Like a lot of spikes." It was black, rough, heavy, and hot. It seemed to be made of hard metal. He said that if it was put away he could be happy and he could do anything.

I got to think about what happens to metal over time. He said "it rusts". I developed the idea of rust and eventually the thing began to crumble. I got him to imagine stamping on it, and breaking it down into a pile of rust and he just swept that away.

Clearing Childhood Abuse

He was already in trance so I decided to keep going. I told him to remember his father's abuse. And how he felt about that. He immediately started exhibiting extreme distress. He was moving around in the chair, obviously frightened of getting a beating. I asked him what that feeling was like. He said "a ball of fire". This ball of fire was so troubling to him, so terrifying that he couldn't go near it, he couldn't see it, couldn't touch it, couldn't do anything.

Because he couldn't get near it, I told him to imagine a chair in front of him, and to put the ball of fire in the chair. He said it was black. A ball filled with much anger. It was red and black. It was hot. I suggested to him that there might be something else there something that he could use. Some asset. He said "my mother is there".

I asked him to imagine his mother standing next to a sink. My idea there was that she could use some water to put the burning ball out. I developed this idea and he was able to see his mother putting water on the ball  to get rid of the ball. She put it out. After that it became a fairly simple process to clear it. I gradually got him to allow the ball of fire to cool down and he started blowing it out. Eventually it was on the floor and it turned into a pile of ashes. He then scattered them into the water somewhere.

Outcome

He was very impressed by the process. He sat there almost stunned for a few minutes. And then he said "I don't know what it is, but something has changed. Something has really changed. For the first time in years I think we have got to the heart of it. All those other counselors and therapists were just going round the edges. You really got to it."

I had trouble getting him to leave.

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Clearing childhood anxiety

Clearing Childhood Anxiety

Clearing Childhood Anxiety

I saw a client last week who was always nervous and frightened. It clearly has something to do with her childhood anxiety. She could not identify anything in particular that she might feel anxious about. In fact she really couldn't remember much about her childhood at all. I hypnotized her and used a metaphor designed to help remove generalized anxiety. I told her to let me know how she felt in a week or so.

One morning this week she woke up suddenly with a great fear. She had no idea what was causing this, and began to go into a panic. Then she recognized it. It was something she has had all her life. But it was only after last week's session that she could isolate it from all the other things going on in her life.

She came to see me, still a little disturbed by the memory. I got her to relax and breathe deeply. She went into trance easily. In trance I encouraged her to be open to that feeling of 'great fear'. It was a feeling she now recognized, that she had had many times, so she quickly recalled it.

Transforming Childhood anxiety

When I was sure that she was experiencing the fear, I began the process to get her to transform the feeling into a object. I asked her "where are you feeling it?" This is the first stage of establishing the feeling as a 'thing' separate from herself. "What shape is it?" to get her to think about the nature of her 'thing'. Then I asked, "what object does this 'thing' most resemble? What is it like?". Once the client can think of it as an object, she can begin to make changes to it.

She told me that the feeling was "In my chest. like a black jelly fish". I got her to describe her jelly fish in more and more detail. It was " Sticky.  And filled with terror". Now that the fear was transformed into something else, she could think about the something else as something that could go away. If the feeling is part of you, you can't fix it. But if the feeling is separate from you, you can think of fixing it.

I asked her, " What do you want to have happen to that jelly fish?" She told me she "Want it to go away". I asked "And can it go away?"  "I don't think so". When the client cannot do what they want to do with the object, you need to help them. I asked "Can you imagine holding that jelly fish in your hands?" "No, it  just slips through my fingers". So to help her get it out of her body I suggested that she could put in a box. That worked. Then I suggested she might put the box with the jelly fish in  chair in front of her. This suggestion is designed to make her externalize the object completely.

Externalizing her Childhood Anxiety

She put the box in the chair. I asked "What do you think will happen to that jelly fish in the box?" This was to get her to think about ways to change the feeling. She said "I can't get it to do anything. It won't die". I asked "What might you use to kill it?" She said "I can stab it with knitting needles". She tried that, but said "it ate them". Then I asked "what happens to things that eat knitting needles?"

By thinking about what would be different she triggered a resource in her mind. She said it had turned into a paua (abalone)  stuck to the side of the box. Paua are large shellfish that stick immovably to rocks. In this kind of therapy, the client represents aspects of themselves as the metaphor objects. So the paua was her. It has a strong shell, and cannot be budged from where it is anchored. I asked her "what do you think that shellfish is thinking?" This was to get her to say what the paua represented for her. "It is for death". I told her "Ask the paua what it wants to do".  "It is trying to run away".

Regression for her Childhood anxiety

I felt that if the paua was about her sheltering, hiding from something, then  probably I shouldn't mess with it. This suggested that it might a job for regression. I asked her to think about what the paua might be feeling. She said it was fear. I developed the feeling of fear. "Think of the first time you ever had that fear". She came out with a memory where she was a little child running away from people trying to kill her. She had to hide away from the light.

I did INNER CHILD work with her. We found that frightened little girl and comforted her. Eventually I got her back to adult. She said that she felt the little girl merging with her, but just before that happened she and the girl, called Grace, smashed the paua with hammers.

Afterwards, we discussed what it all meant. She thought it was all about hiding in fear in a wardrobe when her dad was on a rampage.

She realized that it was real memory. Things at home changed. But she never let go of that fear. That was the basis of her lifetime anxiety.

 

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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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cannot visualize

Hypnosis for people who cannot visualize

Can't Let go of what she said

My client today discovered that his female partner was texting someone in Australia boasting that she was having sex with some other man. She explained to my client that she was actually winding up the other guy. He has accepted this explanation but cannot let it go. Every time they have an argument or disagreement he brings it up. She is now telling him to get over it, move on, or find somebody else.

He keeps thinking about the incident and can't let it go. The suggested to me that he has depression. I showed him my  dysthymia check sheet and he agreed that he is all over it. He told me that his sister is bipolar. I decided to teach him  some thinking exercises.

I started on the Tiger exercise. He immediately told me that he cannot visualise aTiger. In fact he cannot visualise anything. I tested with various things. He couldn't even visualise a circle. He said that when he thought about the Tiger what came to mind was his own cat. A fat and lazy cat. But he wasn't seeing the cat. He was experiencing the cat. He had no visual ability at all. I therefore could not use the thinking exercises. I didn't really know what to do.

Hypnosis for people who cannot visualize

I asked him what he gets when he thinks about the texting incident. He told me that he can remember the car, and her leaving her phone on charge, and him thinking there's something odd about the text he'd seen, and then checking again later. He could not visualise any of it. He was quite astonished that I could visualise things easily and clearly. He appeared quite worried by this as if there was some sort of deficit in him. But when he was talking about the incident he said "I can feel it now". I therefore decided to do metaphor replacement therapy on it.

I got him to think himself back to the incident and he quite quickly got the feeling. When he confirmed he had the feeling I asked him how big it was. "Massive". I asked them what colour it was. He said "maybe black?". He was not visualising it. I asked him "is it hot or cold?". He said it's cold. I asked him "what shape is it?". He said it's like the shape of a person, and outlined shoulders and a waist in the torso.

I asked him "can you make it a little bigger". He immediately said "no". I asked him if he could make a little bit smaller?. He immediately said "yes". Very quickly he made it so small it could fit in his hand. I asked him what would happen when it goes away. He said he could be free he could have a chance of getting her back again. He would be able to make good decisions again.
I then asked him what he wanted to happen to that thing. He said he wanted to throw it away. He imagined himself standing on a cliff and throwing this thing down. I then talked him through this thing going into the soil and rusting and turning into earth and being washed away.

I then tested him to go back to the incident and see if there was any feeling left. He could find no feeling. But he still wasn't convinced that it had gone. I talked about the process for a while and explained how it all worked.

Cannot visualize his second issue either

Eventually he said that he's got another issue. He has jealousy about an ex-partner of his wife's who in his opinion stands too close to her and is trying to upset him. He gets angry and jealous whenever he is near his wife. I asked him to go back into the feeling. He got that. I asked him "and what is it like?". He said "is like a sheet, a sheet enveloping me".

He then said that he could pull the sheet off and I got him to do that in detail. He said that he'd thrown the sheet down on the ground. I asked him to pick it up. He had it between his hands. And I then got him to do something to it. I suggested he could tear or shred it or set fire to it. He decided to set fire to it. It ended up as a small pile of ash very quickly. I got him to blow it away and sweep up whatever was left and it was over.

He agreed that the feelings had gone but was still quite skeptical about whether it would stay gone.

What I realized from this client is that I have found a way to deal with people who cannot visualize. I was really surprised at how well metaphor replacement therapy worked for someone who could not visualize at all.

How do you deal with non-visualizers?

 

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shape shifter

Shape shifter hypnotherapy technique

I had this enquiry from a therapist today:

I have a young man coming in who believes he’s a shape shifter and who has had a kind of paranormal experience with a green lizard/Shapeshifter. He wants me to regress him to that experience so that he can understand and remember more about it. He also has a lot of anger at this father, mother and grandfather. Today is the first session and I’ll simply be trying to understand more about this experience and having him experience hypnosis. I wonder if you have any suggestions that will help me at this point be the support he needs.

I replied:

It sounds like you have a very interesting client. It seems to me that he has two issues. He has fairly standard resentment and anger towards certain people, and he separately has experienced some sort of hallucination that he doesn't understand. The two may well be connected.

I would approach this by suggesting to your client that we treat it as an exploration. It would be useful to find out the exact circumstances of when he had this experience. He may have been having them for quite a long time. I suspect that if you put him into trance, and deepen him into somnambulism, he will spontaneously regress. When he is in the state of experiencing his shape shifting then you can guide him to a place in his mind where he can safely observe what is going on. The shape shifter imagery will most likely be a metaphor for his basic fears. You can use any of the metaphor transformation therapies as a way of getting rid of the shape shifter thing. Or if he wants to keep them, then you can suggest that he is able to transform them into a source of personal power.

I would go on with exploring his shape shifter experiences until he has either resolved them or come to some sort of understanding about what they mean for him.

I think you then have to address the issues of anger and resentment against his family. I'm sure you know how to deal with them so I won't comment further on that.

I think you have a very interesting case there. I wonder what will come out at future sessions?

 

How would you deal with this ? Share your ideas below.

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betrayed wife

The case of the betrayed wife

On New Year's Day this client discovered that her husband of many years had been unfaithful. He had been seeing other women, and had been consorting with prostitutes. She felt devastated, despairing, and depressed. She felt worthless. As soon as she sat down I asked "what would you like to have happen?". She started weeping. It was obvious she was in great distress. She told me briefly that her husband had betrayed her with other women.

Visualising her emotional distress

Since she was clearly suffering emotional pain the obvious therapy approach was to change that pain into something else. I told her to close her eyes and focus on the feeling. This immediately brought floods of tears.

However she was very cooperative and when I asked her to focus on the feeling and forget about everything else, she did so. I told her to isolate the feeling and think about it as an object.

She told me that the feeling was like some round shape. I started to develop the metaphor. She told me it was big, greyish white, hard, solid. Then she said it's a rock a stone. She said it was heavy. And it was the same all the way round. I asked her what she wanted to have happen to it. She said "I want it shattered."

I said "And what can you do when it his shattered?" She said "I wouldn't have to look at it, it wouldn't be there". More crying. I then suggested "you want it gone shattered, gone forever?". "Yes, that's right." "And what would that mean for you?" "It would be gone, I wouldn't have to see it, it wouldn't be there. " I was unable to get the usual link between the desired outcome and the emotion, but I decided to press on anyway.

Metaphor transformation therapy

By this point her eye lids were trembling and she had clearly gone into trance. I then repeated all the attributes of grey, hard solid, et cetera. I asked her if she could imagine it a little bit different. She said "yes it smaller, and it is pink". We then quite quickly developed it down into a little stone.

I said, "and what would you like to have happen to that little pink stone?" She said " throw it away." I asked her "and where would you throw it?" She said "into the water." So I asked, "what kind of water would that be? The sea, river, lake?" She said, "a river." So I talked her through what happens to stones that end up in rivers. I suggested that it would get bashed against other rocks, chips and ground down until it was like sand. I then suggested that the sand would end up on a beach and get washed clean by the waves.

Hypnotherapy for the betrayed wife

She was still in trance I decided not to take her out of it and ask her how she felt about the betrayal now. Up to this point the whole process had taken four minutes. I suspected that, based on experience from other cases, much of her problem would be based on her imagination of what other people would think of her. She was probably mortified at the thought that other people might in fact have known about her husband's behavior before she did. There is always a great deal of guilt and embarrassment in this sort of situation.

So I did a short session designed to reinforce her feelings of friendship with other people. I suggested that she was surrounded by all the people who know and love her. I suggested all these people were reaching out to her. I told her to hear them talking. There were all saying "it is not your fault. You didn't do anything wrong."

Connecting to others

I suggested that she imagine hugging all these people together and feeling all the good feelings, all their support for her. Then I suggested that she would notice different behavior from her friends. Some of them would be openly supportive, someone would feel bad about it and not know what to do. She just had to accept that different people react differently.

I emphasised that there would be a difficult few weeks ahead. But deep inside she knows that she is okay. And I repeated the mantra "you have done nothing wrong."

To reinforce the feeling of having banished the distress from the betrayal. I did a metaphor technique of getting her to visualise her distress, and then drain it away. I got her to fill the bad place where it had been with good things.

A reframing metaphor for the betrayed wife

Then I used the metaphor of being in a dark room. That new strength in her allowed her to find the door, and open it, and to get out of that dark place. When she left a dark place, I reframed it as being a new beginning. That she could now choose for herself, be herself do what is best for her.

I then linked relaxation with accepting things as they are. The more she relaxed, the deeper she went, the less value she gave all the things that had happened recently. Then I did a finger move confirmation. I used that to tell her that her own unconscious mind had heard what she wanted. Moving that finger was her guarantee that she had changed. Then I got her to send a message of gratitude to her mind. The whole session took less than 20 minutes.

I asked her how she felt about the events of New Year's Day now. She looks a little puzzled. And then she said "it really doesn't matter now."

How would you approach this case? Share your ideas below.

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bulimia hypnotherapy

Bulimia Hypnotherapy

This client asked me for bulimia hypnotherapy. I really wasn't sure what to do. Bulimia is known for being extraordinarily difficult to treat. I asked her about her history. She was very open and happy to talk about her condition. She said that at its height she would vomit three times a day. Pretty much after every meal. She ended up dangerously thin.

Her life has been dominated by bulimia. It started in her teenage years. She managed to stop on her own when she left university and had to get a new job. She felt that she would now be in control. And it worked.  When she got her first job she realized that she couldn't keep doing this and keep a job. Then she changed jobs. She had a week in between. This allowed her mind to begin to ask "what if?" And she just fell apart. She left the new job after two days and had three months off.

Bulimia Hypnotherapy

Right now she is worried that she is going back into it and vomits twice a week. I couldn't really find any one thing that triggered it or that she was worried about. Her parents had always been helpful and supportive. She could not think of anything in her childhood that might have set it off. She said in it was all about anxiety.

This gave me the idea that I might be able to deal with the anxiety directly through metaphor replacement. I asked her to think about the anxiety and what it was like just before she feels she has to vomit. She said is a mixture of anxiety and fear. I told her to focus on the fear. I got her to concentrate on the fear to allow it to come out to be aware of it. Fortunately for me it was right at the surface and she was able to latch onto the fear immediately.

I asked her where the fear was in her body. She said it was in her chest and in her head. Previous experience has shown that I cannot do anything when the client says the feeling is in the head. So I focused on the feeling in her chest. I asked her what it was like. After a while she said, "it's like a square". I said, "is it a square or a cube?" "It's a cube."

I then got her to describe the cube in increasing levels of detail. She said it had sharp edges. When I asked "how big is it?", She said "it's about the size" and gestured with her hands indicating was about the same width as her body. It was hard, cold, solid, heavy, and grey. When I asked, "and what else to know about this cube?" She said, "I have to carry it about with me."

Metaphor Replacement for Bulimia

Having established the fear as an object, it was just the case then of getting her to change it. I asked "can you imagine making it a little bit bigger?" She immediately said "yes". I asked, "and can you make a little bit bigger still?" "Yes." "And even bigger?" "Yes." "And can you make it a little smaller?" "Yes." And she proceeded to demonstrate that she could make it a little smaller.

I encouraged her to make it smaller and smaller until at some point she said "it's in my hand I can hold it". I asked her, "and what is it look like now? How has that thing changed?" She said, "has rounded edges, like a die". I then asked her what she would like to have happen to this thing. She said, "I would like to throw it away". I asked, "And where would you throw it?". "Into the ocean." I needed to make sure that she got rid of the thing completely. So I asked, "and where would you throw it into the ocean?" She said "from a clifftop".

I then said "now imagine yourself on that hilltop. Imagine you have that die in your hand, and you are throwing it off the cliff". To my surprise, she picked up a hand and made a throwing motion. I said to her, "describe what is happening as that thing goes into the ocean." She said "it's gone into the water with a splash". I wanted to be sure that the object was totally destroyed. So I said to her "what happens to things that went to the ocean?". She said "they settle on the bottom".

I could not get her to give any more detail, so I prompted her to begin thinking of how to destroy the object. I suggested that saltwater might have an effect on it. She said "is beginning to rust the surface is now mottled". I then went on to suggest that the rust would continue, it would flake off, that thing would break up into small parts. I then got her to agree that the thing would get rolled around in the waves and broken up into tiny pieces like sand. They would just be dispersed out and gone forever.

Then  I asked her to take three deep breaths and relax even more.

In that state, I asked her to become aware of her own body. I told her, "now check on around your body. Check your knees and your knuckles in your nose and everywhere. See if there's anything left of that old fear that needs to be dealt with. Or has it all gone?"

After a moment she said "it's all gone".

Her Experience of bulimia therapies

We then spent some time talking about bulimia and how it affected her life. It really is a devastating disease. She was a lovely young woman, and yet had never had a boyfriend. We talked about the various therapies that she had been involved with.

I asked her "what did you find most useful to you in those therapies?" She said "I found a form of group therapy very helpful. I met a lot of people, very ordinary looking people, who also had the same illness. That allowed me to believe that I actually was normal. There wasn't something weird about me. That I wasn't the only person in the world to do this. I also found some of the CBT exercises that I was given were useful in turning off the thoughts".

Then I asked her to check again about the fear that she had been talking about. I wanted to be sure that I had actually made a difference to her. She said, "no, it's really gone. I can feel it. I know that is just not there now."

How would you approach this case? Share your ideas below.

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Controlling Clients

Hypnotizing Controlling Clients

Hypnotizing Controlling Clients

Controlling Clients are always difficult. Today I saw what was perhaps the most difficult client I have ever had. She was not being deliberately difficult, but every techniques I tried just didn't seem to work. I first saw her last August. At that time I could not hypnotize her. She was constantly internally challenging everything I said. She analysed every word, doing everything except doing what I wanted her to. My policy in those cases is to send her home with some hypnotic CDs to listen to. Then come back when she has learned to let go enough to go into trance reliably.

Today she said the CDs annoyed her. The imagery did not suit her. She was constantly analyzing why I used certain words, and frankly the whole recording irritated her. The recordings might have made her a little more physically relaxed. But she was never hypnotized.

Anxiety and the need for control

She clearly has anxiety and hypervigilance but she was still unable to tell me what trauma she had. She said that there is nothing there to find. Her problem was a fear of earthquakes in high buildings. The obvious approach is to use regression. I thought that she might have had some effect from the CDs. So I again tried to hypnotize her, going very slowly and carefully. But as I approached the feeling the fear part she smugly told me that she wasn't feeling anything.

However,  I saw clear signs of trance. It seemed to me that she actually was going into trance, but as soon as she felt herself losing control she popped right out again. She could not reduce the rate of her breathing during the induction. She was breathing very shallow. This  was to me another indicator that she has some sort of chronic anxiety.

Controlling Clients means giving them control

So decided to approach hypnosis indirectly. We talked about our options and how I didn't have any. I told her I really didn't know what else to do. I explained the theory of hypnosis. The best I could do was to teach her self hypnosis, but  I warned her there was a danger of an abreaction.

She asked me how she would do that . So I proceeded to show her. I told her that I was going to take her through the steps of self hypnosis.  She should pay close attention because she needed to control the stages. That way she would be able to do it herself when she gets home.

I therefore started on physical relaxation, then breathing focus, then finding a safe place. Then told her to empty her mind, stack any stray thoughts over to one side, treat them like puppies and shoo them out the door. Then I suggested that now her body was relaxed and her mind was empty, she need to practice controlling her mind. I did a long series of suggestions about finding a color and shrinking it down to a point of light. Then I suggested she might find herself floating inside that light. Her head started to nod, and her eyes were moving under hey eyelids in response to my suggestions. She was clearly in trance.

Getting a Controlling Client into trance

I then led on a metaphoric journey with lots of symbolic interactions as a form of therapy. Then I got her to count herself out. The moment I suggested that she opened eyes she told me she hadn't been in trance!

Now she obviously had been, so I asked her to tell me what I had talked about. At that point she realized that in fact large chunks were missing. What she had done was to go deep into trance in some parts, and then start to come out of trance before I deepened her again. She was remembering only the times when she was in light trance. The times when she was in deep trance she had no memory of. She finally agreed that she had indeed been in trance.

The technique for hypnotizing controlling clients is to let them think that they are in control. Telling her that I was going to teach her self hypnosis by-passed all her defences. As she followed along with my instructions she naturally led herself  down into trance. All the same, I was very relieved when she finally did succumb.

What do you think?

I wonder what other hypnotists do to deal with clients who won't give up control? What do you think is the best technique?

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food aversion

Food Aversion removed in one session

Food Aversion

I had an interesting client this week, and a great result. The client was a young man with food aversion. He could only eat a limited range of foods, and hated trying anything new. The idea of eating something different raised powerful negative feelings and made him feel sick inside.

He had been like this for as long as he could remember. His mother told him that up to age two or thereabouts he would eat anything, but then one day he refused to eat something and it all got worse from there on. Now he is embarrassed to go out to a restaurant. If he does force himself to eat something new, even if he quietly spits it out, he feels sick for the rest of the meal and usually can't eat anything.

Indicators of Food Aversion

He had been dragged round nutritionists and doctors for most of his childhood, and nothing worked. He came to see me because his girlfriend was tired of uncomfortable social situations and thought that trying a hypnotist could not do any harm, and might possibly do some good.

When I saw him he was embarrassed and nervous, but open to new ideas and willing to give it a go. He described his condition to me and how he was trying to extend the range of things he could eat, with little success. He felt it was the texture in his mouth that he hated, rather than the flavor. I got him to describe in detail how he felt when he was faced with having to eat something different. He was a bit hesitant but said that he felt strong discomfort in his stomach at the thought of it.

I wanted to get as strong a feeling as possible for me to work with. My wife had been given a present of  halva, a middle eastern dessert. I got a piece of that, and placed it in front of him. It was unlikely that he would have eaten it before and it looked like an unappetizing lump of greyish stodge. I asked him to look at it and then asked him to eat it. He looked panicked and wanting to get away. I used this feeling to get him to explore his own reactions to it.

Working with his feelings

I asked him to close his eyes. Then I got him to describe out loud what he was feeling inside. It took quite a bit of encouraging and cajoling to get him start describing what he was feeling. He overcome his reluctance and described his feelings about it first as a big, messy bundle. On further pressing he said it was "darky, purply, gray" in color. Then that it felt light and not heavy. And round like a big round ball. It was made of stringy stuff all tied up together.

This was perfect material for Metaphor Replacement, so I tried getting him to imagine it shrinking. He couldn't do that. Then I asked him to imagine holding it in his hands, and to bring to mind the image of a potter moulding clay. He could do this, but the original big messy bundle just kept coming back.

That obviously wasn't working so I switched to the Attribute Reversal. I got him to name the opposite of big, the opposite or messy, the opposite of "darky purply gray", and so on. In a few minutes he had reversed every aspect of his feeling.

Removing the Food Aversion

I then tested him and asked what feeling he was getting now when he thought of eating the halva. He said 'Nothing much'.

This was exactly what I was looking for, so I asked him to open his eyes again. I asked him to look at the halva. I said "what do you feel about eating that now?" He said, 'Nothing'. Then I asked him to take a bite of the halva. To his surprise he picked it and ate a bit. He said he didn't like it, and wouldn't be eating it again, but there was no phobic reaction whatsoever.

I then called his girlfriend into the office and got him to demonstrate his new ability. He took another bite of the halva - and got a great big hug from the girlfriend.

An excellent result, no formal hypnosis at all, and the whole thing took less than thirty minutes.

A few days later I got this:

Hi David,

 I just want to thank you again for how you helped Bryan. 

After the session we went out for lunch and he had venison and red wine sausages, and has tried something new every day! Its amazing what you do 🙂

 Many thanks

It very gratifying to be able to help people get over their problems.  What do you feel when you know that you have helped someone? Or when you can't help?

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overeating loss of control

Overeating loss of control

Overeating loss of control

Many of my clients come for weight loss. The seem to be as many reasons for overeating as there are people who want to lose weight. This client was obese. She told me that she had  battled with weight all her life. The problem seems to center around issues of control. Right now she feels she is out of control. She just feels compelled to get into the cookie tin, even though she knows she shouldn't.

I asked her when all this had started. She said that it got worse six months ago. Previous to that she had lost 15 kg. Now she has put it all on again, plus more. I asked her "what happened six months ago?"

"Six months ago, one of my children dumped their four young children on me because they couldn't cope with them." I asked her why the children's parents couldn't cope. She said "The pair of them are into drugs and alcohol and just can't cope with the children."

The cause of the overeating

The result is that my client now feels imposed upon, but cannot do anything about it. She feels that this is so unfair. She brought up her own children and was looking forward to spending the next 10 years as an indulgent grandma to her grandchildren. And now she's back having a full-time job and looking after for young children. She sees no way out of it and no one else is offering to help.

She is beginning to resent the children and acting grumpy with them. These are classic depression symptoms.  I asked her how she felt about the children. She told me she loves them, but they're not her children. She is done with children. Her own children are all grown up and gone. She had 18 years of motherhood and all the hard work that goes along with that. As soon as they got married she expected to have a lovely retirement, and it hasn't happened.

Overeating, loss of control and resentment

She feels at everything she planned for and worked for has gone wrong. The dream was of taking the grandchildren to the park on a Sunday and buying them ice cream, having a lovely time, and then handing them back. But instead she is now feeding and dressing four young children full-time.

She feels resentful of the children and their parents. She feels helpless. The children can't just be put out on the street. Somehow, she has ended up being responsible for them. She feels that there is nothing she can do about it. No one is helping her. Social Security will not intervene because the children are in a safe environment as far as they are concerned. None of her sisters are lining up to help. It has all spiraled out of control.

Getting your weight under control

The classic response to lack of control is either anger or despair. In her case she has just given up.  She eats for comfort. And as soon as she's eaten it, she feels unhappy at putting on weight, gets resentful, and the whole cycle starts again. It's all getting too much for her and she is rapidly sinking into despair.

I investigated a bit more and confirmed that she has had symptoms of depression on and off most of her life. What was most apparent is that she has Categorical Thinking. People with categorical thinking believe that things should be a certain way, and if they are not then they reject them totally. In this case, her expectation was of an easy relaxed retirement, with the bonus of grand kids to play with. What she actually got was an endless amount of work, dealing with someone else's responsibility, and no way out of it. That triggered her categorical thinking, and so she has just given up. The weight gain is a direct consequence of the feeling of losing control.

She said that her weight had yo-yo'd up and down throughout her life. I think that a great many other people are similarly affected by loss of control issues.

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