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Recall a face

How to recall a face with Hypnosis

How to recall a face 

I have purchased your inductions and scripts but I have a client that is looking for help in remembering her fathers face. She was a child when he left the family home and she is desperate to be able to see his face.

I am not sure how to do this. Is it something you can help me with?

 

This is fairly straightforward.
Use a form of regression.
Put the client into trance using a countdown induction.
Then suggest that after the last number there is a corridor in front of her.
Along the corridor are doors.
As she drifts down the corridor she realises that behind the doors are scenes from her life.
As she goes deeper she is going back in time.
She can open each door and learn what is behind the door.
Take her back as far as she wants to go. At some point she will either find a scene with her father or not.
If so, good. Job done.

If not, then use a visualization metaphor.

Suggest she is in a warm bath, talk about relaxing, floating etc.
Then suggest she is now floating down a stream... continue with the floating and dissociation. Then suggest that she is a huge cave and away at the edges, miles away she can notice that there are aspects of her life but right here, right now, there is emptiness. But from far above something is trying to communicate. Get her to accept the communication, and suggest subtly that is is her father. He was been thinking of her always, and is now allowing her to become aware of his presence. Suggest peace, release, serenity etc. Encourage her to be open to the experience.

If she doesn't get anything then there is nothing there to find.

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Astral Travel

Astral Travel Astral Projection

I was asked about Astral Projection and how to do it. This is also known as Astral Travel, Lucid Dreaming, or Out-of-Body Experience. 

You might think it is a difficult thing to do, but anyone who can go into self hypnosis can do Astral Travel.

What is Astral Projection?

 The concept of out of body experiences is very ancient, and practiced world-wide by shamans and mystics. Astral Projection is the name given to a feeling of being able to move out of your body while in a deeply relaxed state. Some people believe that between life and death there exists an in-between state called the Astral Plane. This plane can be reached and explored by creating a special state of mind.

Astral Projection occurs when your spirit essence leaves your body and travels in that Astral Plane. You are aware of things in the astral plane because your mind is connected to your body by a kind of ethereal umbilical cord. The astral plane is said to be at place were time is an illusion. The astral traveller is simultaneously connected to the past and the future and the present. Astral travel also includes journeying deep into your own subconscious mind. Every person's experience is different.

How to do Astral Travel

To get to the right state requires you need to relax your body completely. Experts usually use a combination of Progressive Relaxation and Breathing Induction. Your body will then gradually descend into Sleep Paralysis. This is very similar to  deep meditation. Your body will be totally inert, your muscles utterly relaxed, but your mind will be crystal clear.  People report a sensation of resonating with their environment. They are totally in touch with what is going on all around them, in the room, in the street outside, high above and deep below.

Once that state is achieved, you focus your mind on one object or idea. This can be a mantra or an abstract concept such as "love" or "connect". Exclude all other thoughts that might come into your mind. At some point "things" will start to appear and disappear. These are flickers of astral contact touching your unconscious mind. You are then on the edge of the astral experience.

Then, allow your mind to dismiss your body totally, and you will enter into a state of 'no sensations'. Astral journeying should then start automatically. As you expand into the Astral Plane the powers in the astral plane will guide you. It needs no input from you, you are under the control of your Astral Guide. The guide will take you to wherever you're supposed to go.

There is a script for Astral Travel available on this site.

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smoking when drinking

Smoking when drinking with friends

Every client is different. I had a really interesting and different client for smoking today, and I thought that the approach to smoking that I came up with worth blogging. Her problem was smoking when drinking with friends

She said she had been able to give up in the past once for a year as a teenager. Then on another occasion for four years. But she started again when her ex-husband left. She said she smokes as a way to deal with stress. But her real problem is smoking when she goes out to socialize with friends.

I got her to close her eyes. Then I ask her the question: "What comes to mind when I say the phrase 'You will never smoke another cigarette again?' ".

Smoking when drinking with friends

She said she would feel a bit disappointed at not being able to socialize the way she used to. She said "when I start drinking with friends, it is like something comes over me. I start reaching for a cigarette."

I try to utilize whatever metaphors the client  uses. I asked "What is this something like? Some people feel it like a blanket, others like a teddy bear, some like a cloud. How does it seem to you?"

She said "It is more like a cloud. A dark cloud, like a foggy dark night."

I got her to develop this and she became aware that it came from the right, over her right shoulder. She said "I would like it to go away, because it makes me want to smoke." She had a clear conception of her own metaphor. I developed that.

I asked her to imagine something inside that cloud that would change it, like a lantern or fireworks or something like a pin point of light. She came up with a bright light shining through it from the bottom. A blue light that was turning it white. She said that it was just sitting there, not threatening, doing nothing. Then I got her to examine it further and she said that it was full of voices of her friends urging her to stop, encouraging her to give up.

Not Smoking when drinking with friends

I asked if she would like to move into that cloud, to try moving into that friendly cloud. She said it was like something wrapped around her supporting her.

To test whether it was working, I then got her to imagine being in a bar with friends and she said she felt protected, that she didn't need to smoke to enjoy their company. She was sitting there with her eyes closed, smiling, fully immersed in the metaphor feeling, having led herself into trance without any formal induction.

I finished with some direct suggestions. As a final test for successful change I did a finger lift. I asked her unconscious mind to signal to her by lifting a finger if she was a non smoker. One of her fingers moved. I told her that was her mind guaranteeing that she would never smoke again.

Every smoker is different: this is just another example of using what the client brings to you.

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Client won't give up control

Client won’t give up control

Client won't give up control

I had what I think must be my most difficult client the other day.

She was a young woman who came in because she has a fear of injections. However, that was only one of her multiple problems. She also has a fear that she will stop breathing when she is going to sleep. She has fear of losing control, she wants to have things remain the same, and hates change. For example rearranging the furniture at home sends her into a frenzy and she must move it back again. She is never on time and never seems to be able to get things finished on time.

All of these symptoms suggest someone with a touch of OCD. It seemed to me that these are all aspects of a collusive disorder. However, I am not a psychiatrist so I just deal with what is presented to me.

Why go to a hypnotist, if you don't want hypnosis?

She seemed very nervous, so I tried to create rapport and establish a common ground. Eventually she relaxed enough  to let down her guard and chatted in a friendly way until I brought up the idea of hypnosis. She was absolutely dead against it. She said she could never give up control and did not want to be hypnotized. I explained that hypnosis was natural and normal and that she went into hypnosis several times a day, and gave her examples of daydreaming etc. She agreed that she did all these things but still would not try formal hypnosis.

I explained what metaphor therapy was and she agreed that she could do that. So I moved her to the big comfy chair and said 'This is not hypnosis, I am just going to ask you to breathe.' This brought out an instant opposition. She was not going to focus on breathing because it would remind her of sleeping and the fear of stopping breathing. Ok, I said "just close your eyes". Again total opposition, not going to close her eyes, because it would be like losing control.

Progressing when the Client won't give up control

I then tried a simple relaxation routine. I asked her to raise her hands then then slowly let them down and feel the body relaxing as they are lowered.

Lowering her hands six inches took about five minutes. She was totally reluctant to do any thing that would make her relax because of the loss of control. So I abandoned that idea. I then asked her to imagine that her arms and legs were so tired that she couldn't move them. She said 'Oh yes, I know what that is like. I don't like it.' So that was out.

I then tried a progressive relaxation. I had her lift up her shoulders and let them slump. Then tense her arms and let go the tension. This generated lots of giggles, but eventually I persuaded her to tense and release her chest, tummy, hips etc all the way down to her feet. She was a bit less tense by the end, so I did it again. And after a third time she agreed that she did feel less tense, and would like to do the metaphor engineering to get rid of the needle phobia.

"Close your eyes." She still couldn't close her eyes. I therefore tried the oldest hypnotic trick in the book, a eye fixation induction. I told to keep relaxed in her body, but to fix her gaze on a spot somewhere. Then I did a long, gradual series of suggestions that her eyes were getting heavy and her eyelids wanted to close. This took so long that by the end,  my eyelids wanted to close! This was hard work.

How to give up control

Eventually she started flickering her eyelids. I then developed the safe place induction: imagine lying in some comfortable place etc. Her eyes finally closed and I could get on with the therapy.

I started with the therapy, and asked her to get the feeling she gets when she thinks about the needle. As might be predicted, even fully relaxed and with her eyes closed, she said could not get the feeling. More suggestions about relaxing and eventually she said that she could feel it. I was able to make some progress on the phobia and she agreed that it had been cleared.

I then gave her some general suggestions to help with the intrusive thoughts of the OCD pattern and brought her out. And the first thing she said was 'I just felt tired, that's why I had my eyes closed, it wasn't anything you did.'

I cannot recall ever having a client who was so unable to give up control.

 

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ask the expert

Ask the expert what to do

When I am working with a client, I am often not sure what to do next. Clients come to me with all sorts of problems, and expect me to know how to fix them. Quite often I don't know. Over the years I have come to realise that there are two sources you can go to for help. They both involve asking the expert. So who is this expert? Actually there are two. One is your own unconscious mind, and the other is the client.

Asking the expert - the client

Always bear in mind that the client comes to for a reason, and knows exactly what they want, even if you don't.  And the client is the expert. Nobody knows more about their problem than they do. So I ask the expert what to do.

The way I do this is to use the equivalent of the My Friend John induction as hypnotherapy.

I ask the client to tell me what they would do if they were in my seat.

I ask them 'How would you go about dealing with this problem?'. 'What would you able to try to make you feel better?'. 'How could the situation be seen differently if you took different perspectives?'

You can also ask the client the Miracle Question 'If everything you wanted happened to you overnight, what would be different when you woke up? What would see, what would you feel, how would you know that it had happened?'.

You will be surprised at how inventive your client can be. Even if they don't come up with a complete solution, they will often suggest a way forward that you haven't thought of.

Ask the expert - Your own subconscious

The other expert is you. At least the part of you that holds all your expertise and intuition. Part of hypnotherapy professional practice is being comfortable with ambiguity, and uncertainty. Therapists don't have all the answers. You sometimes have to wing it. And that is exactly what I do.

I listen to the client describe what they want, what they feel, what they have tried. Even if I'm not aware of it, my unconscious mind is thinking about this and assessing various possibilities. As the client talks, various words and phrases will strike you as being of particular interest and importance. When I consider how to go about the therapy part, I read over my notes. And I take a moment to think about those words and phrases. This primes my unconscious mind, and sets up images and associations at the unconscious level.

Then I start on the induction. I guide the client into trance, deepen, and tester make sure the client is somnambulistic. I find that by the time I put the client into trance, there is always something that occurs to me as a way forward. Something will suggest itself to me from the workings of my unconscious mind. It may be an image, and I was start describing the image. Usually this turns into a metaphor that I develop for the client. Sometimes I would just repeat the word or phrase, and again something will resonate with me and my unconscious mind will guide me in what to do.

It's always good to ask the expert in the room.

 

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After stopping smoking

What to do after stopping smoking?

After stopping smoking

Smokers who want to quit often do not really think through what they are going to do after stopping smoking. Smoking 20 a day at 5 to 8 minutes each takes up nearly two hours. That is a lot of time to fill. If you don't give them something to do after stopping smoking, they will start to think about cigarettes again.

Usually, the smoker needs to find something to substitute for the action of smoking, because the desire for a smoke is often triggered by outside circumstances. The external event can be anything. Smokers reward themselves with a cigarette when they finish something: when they get a coffee: and when they just need to get away from a situation. The substitute needs to be something that is socially acceptable, can be done almost anywhere, and takes about the same time as a smoke.

Design a substitute for after stopping smoking

They need some physical thing that can act as a substitute for a cigarette. Specifically, the smoker needs something that will give them a stimulus in their mouth, something to do with their hands, and something that lets them move physically to some other place. Their behaviour after stopping smoking needs to mimic what they did before stopping smoking.

The easiest thing to do is to get them to brush their teeth. The act of brushing their teeth means they have to put something in their mouth, and they get a tingle from the toothpaste. They also have to hold the toothbrush. This gives them something to do with their hands for a few minutes. They have to go to some place with water. This means that they are taken away from whatever trigger was reminding them to smoke.

For the more determined smoker, you can set them a challenge. Tell them that every occasion they used to smoke, what they now do is go outside and run around the block. This takes about the same length of time. This will really take their mind off it, and will remind them of why they want to stop.

You can think up other substitute activities to fit each individual smoker.

These simple techniques will help smokers get over the unfamiliarity of the first few days. And leave them fit or with lovely fresh breath as well!

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Boxes inside boxes

Boxes inside boxes: a metaphor therapy case

I had another very interesting client today. This client allowed me to get an insight into how the human mind works, and gave very clear metaphors of how she saw her problem.

 This client was a woman in late middle age who had suffered from anxiety most of her life. She came to see me because she is having trouble playing the card game Bridge. She is actually a good and skilled player. But whenever she has to partner with someone she does not know, her game falls apart. She is sure that her new bridge partner will be better than her. My client gets anxious at the thought of what the other person might think about her play. She then worries about this until by the time she gets to the card table she is a nervous wreck, and she plays terribly badly. This therefore fulfils her own prophecy and the whole cycle repeats with the next new player.

Metaphor therapy

 I decided to use metaphor therapy. I got her to take some deep breaths to calm herself. Then I asked her to think about the last bridge game she had when she felt she just could not deal with it. I got her to associate into the feeling. "Think about the shape of the feeling," I told her. "What shape is that feeling?"

She is one of those clients who fidgets a lot, and moves around in the chair. I began to wonder if this method was going to work. Then she surprised me by saying "it's ovalish.". So I asked, "How  big is it?" She guested with her hands to indicate that it was about the size of a dustbin lid. I asked some more clarifying questions and she told me "it's a big piece of coal."

I then started developing the metaphor of the "big piece of coal". She describes in detail has been black and shiny and heavy with lots of sharp angles. I then asked "can you make it a little bit bigger?" "Yes," she said. "And a little bit bigger still?" "Yes," she said. This told me that she actually had some control over it.

I then asked "can you make it a little smaller?" "And a little smaller still?" There was a period of silence until she said "no, it won't get any smaller. It is just getting more dense."

Changing the first mental block

She had now found her subconscious blockage. When a client says they cannot change a metaphor it means that there is something in their unconscious mind which is defending that. This is usually a fear of being unable to handle the change that might come afterwards.

So I changed my approach. I started to suggest to her ways that this thing could change. The idea was to keep suggesting things until I suggested something that her mind would accept. I tried suggesting hammers, drills, crushers, anything that would break up that "piece of coal".

Nothing seemed to work. She steadfastly refused to think of anything that could affect this "piece of coal". I was running out of ideas until remembered that it was actually a piece of coal. Coal burns! So I suggested it might go on fire. She immediately said "No. No, that can't happen."

I wasn't sure what to do next and just waited for her to say something else. And then she said "it could be heated, and give off gas." Somehow, this was acceptable to her mind. I told her to go ahead and heat it.

I then asked her "what is it like now?"

She said "it is grey and porous and quite weak."

I then went back to suggesting hammers, drills et cetera. And while I was going through the list of possible tools she said "It is all dust now."

And I thought to myself "Job done."

So I asked her to think back to the bridge game and the feeling she had about not being good enough for her partner. "How does that seem to you now?"

"Just the same," she said.

Changing the second mental block

Okay… I had seen this behaviour before. Her unconscious mind would not let me anywhere near the real problem. Instead it had offered me some minor metaphor and allowed her to work through that. Her unconscious mind knew that it was safe to change that.  But, it also means that her mind is now receptive to change, because it had experienced some change without any psychological kickback.

So I started the whole process again. I got her to associate back into the original problem, to imagine being in that situation where she was sure that she was going to disappoint the other person and feel embarrassed.

This time I had to work a lot harder to get past her defences. Eventually she told me "there is a big wooden box." Once again I got her to describe the object in detail. She told me that it was "very old, and very strong."

I then set about trying to find ways I could get her to destroy the box. Nothing seemed to work. I sensed that this time was up against a major piece of resistance. I suggested it might go transparent, that it might get wet and rot, it could get eaten by worms and fall apart. None of these produced any response.  

Boxes inside boxes

So I asked "what do you think might be in the box?"

After a long period she said "more boxes. There are more boxes inside."

"How many boxes?"

"There are five boxes", she said. I then got her to describe each of the boxes. She told me "the big one is made of cardboard. Then there's another one made of metal. And one made of glass. And another cardboard one. And a wooden one." It was now obvious from her demeanour, that she had gone deep into trance, and was actually experiencing these things directly.

And then she said "and there are papers, and files scattered around." I did not know quite what to make of that, so I decided to explore the five boxes.

"And what do you think is in those boxes?"

And one by one she began to tell me about the contents of each box. The wooden box contains soil. The glass box contained a red light. The small cardboard box contained a wooden puzzle. The metal box took a long time to uncover. It turned out to be in two sections. The top section has five compartments, and each compartment was filled with a liquid colour. Each colour was different. I asked, "what do you think the are for?" She said, "I don't know."

So I suggested, "perhaps you can make something out of those things?"

She said, "yes, I think I might."

She then said "those papers have all the things I have done wrong in my life written on them. They are all neatly organised into files."

Burning her old anxieties

I took a while to appreciate the startling development.

So I asked her "what would you like to have happen to those papers and files?"

She said "I suppose I could get rid of them?"

I asked her "what would you use to get rid of them?"

She said, " I could use the red light to burn them."

So I encouraged her, "and you can use the red light to burn them all up."

And a lovely smile came over her face. I asked "what's happening in that place now?"

She said, "they are all getting burned up, and I'm putting the ashes in the soil."

The time between her responses got longer and longer. And the smile on her face got broader and broader. She was clearly enjoying burning up all her old mistakes.

The time between responses got so long, that I went off and made a cup of tea.

When I came back she was sitting there with her eyes open, smiling.

She said, "I didn't want to come back. I was having such a good time playing with the red light and I can still feel it swirling around me."

I asked her, "And what about that old feeling of not being good enough?"

And she said, "well, actually I think it's gone."

 

I finished the session then. I felt that she had undergone a profound change

And on the way out she said, "I'm looking forward to finding what's in the other compartment of that metal box."

 

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Archimedes spiral induction

Archimedes spiral induction

Hypnosis is associated in the public's mind with two things: a swinging watch, and a rotating spiral. The hypnotic spiral is actually called an Archimedes spiral. Whether it actually has any connection to Archimedes is unknown. 

It is also known as Plateau's spiral, after the Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau (1801–1883.) Plateau published a description of its use in 1878. The spiral is generally mounted on a card about 15 cm in diameter, with a little motor behind it that causes it to rotate slowly. The original spiral, in the mid-19th century, was driven by a sort of windmill affair, by the hot air given off by a spirit lamp.

Archimedes spiral induction

The Archimedes spiral induction is quite  effective. It is caused by a physical effect called a "spiral motion after-effect". After staring at the spiral for a while, if you look at something stationary, it appears that the stationary object is actually turning. If you look at the hypnotist's face, it appears to expand or contract, depending on the direction the spiral was turning.

The Archimedes spiral induction uses this optical illusion to put people into trance. The hypnotist tells the person that what they are seeing is their mind taking them into trance. The hypnotist suggests that every time the face expands and contracts the person will go deeper into trance. The effect is quite strong, so the suggestions are easily believed. The listener cannot deny what they are seeing. Therefore the suggestion that "this means that you are going into trance" is accepted by the unconscious mind. Most people will sink into trance immediately.

The Archimedes spiral was an immensely popular scientific toy in the mid-19th century. This is probably why it was picked up by hypnotists. The spiral, and other mechanical aids, has fallen out of use. Those objects were associated with the "direct command" style of authoritarian hypnosis. That style has largely been replaced by more permissive styles of hypnosis.

 

 

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Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania and anxiety

Trichotillomania and anxiety

I had a very memorable client today. He told me that he had trichotillomania. He said that he was constantly pulling hairs out of his beard and picking at his nails. He couldn't stop and he needed to stop because it was threatening his job. From previous experience I know that hair pulling is associated with anxiety. I asked him when the anxiety had started. He told me that he had been anxious all his life. So I asked him to tell me about growing up. He had grown up in a religious family. His father was in the military. His father was strict and verbally abusive. He was a perfectionist for whom nothing was ever good enough.

My client described an upbringing of constant anxiety. He had been sexually abused by an older stepbrother. I asked him at what age this happened. He said that he was three years old when it was discovered. Eventually his stepbrother was institutionalised. I pointed out that at three years old you have no memories, and so the sexual abuse, if it actually happened, would not have affected his behaviour.

I said it was much more likely that his parents had told him about it and expected him to behave badly. He told me that he'd spent much of his childhood on Ritalin. He was forced to take various pharmaceuticals until he went to high school when he just refused to take any more.

Ineffective therapy

He described an endless round of psychotherapists, counselors, guides and advisers. Most of these were faith-based. A few helped, most did not. He had been to group therapy, face-to face therapy, art therapy, meditation: you name it, he's been to it. He had spent thousands of hours in therapy. And I said to him, "You've been to all this counselling, all this therapy, and yet you are still anxious?". He told me that he had tried everything. He actively tried to stop his racing thoughts and he got anxious when he was in crowds. He said "I feel that there is something still chasing me".

I asked him what he felt had helped him. He said that being taught how to go sleep was very useful. He slept badly and often woke during the night. Meditation was also useful. He meditated on a regular basis. I asked them how it was that he meditated a lot, but still had anxiety. He just looked even more unhappy.

I felt that it was a tragedy that this decent young man had been let down by the entire therapy profession. It seemed to me there was very little wrong with him apart from his anxiety. Looking back, it seemed that most of it was the result of his parents behaviour towards him. And all the nonsense labels that various therapists had tried to stick on to him.

Treating deep-seated anxiety

I felt that the best approach would be to tackle his anxiety head-on. Since he said that he had been meditating a lot, and was good at it, I asked him to put himself into trance. Just say the word "yes", when you are there.

He proceeded to put himself under. I got him to deepen the trance. Then I suggested that he focused on this feeling of "something still chasing me". His expression changed, and it became clear that he was actually experiencing that old anxiety. I kept on suggesting that he could go deeper into the anxiety, to become more aware of it, to allow it to come out fully. His whole body was showing signs of anxiety. I then suggested that he could become curious about that feeling. I asked him to consider its size, its colour, its shape and what object it most resembled.

Developing the metaphor

He said "it's a motor". This surprised me. Most people think of clouds or stones or something fairly general. I was quite happy to accept a motor, so I continue developing it. He said it was about the size of a basketball, it was black, it had moving parts, and it was dangerous. I asked "what else you know about it?". He told me it was a Langolier motor. This meant nothing to me, and I wasn't sure if I'd heard him correctly. He had a very clear image of the motor whatever it was, so I started on the next stage which is to change into something else.

I asked him "what would you like to have happen to this thing?". He said he wanted to stop it. Then he said he wanted to take it apart. I asked "and what would that mean for you, if it stopped and you took it apart?". He said "I could rebuild it". This wasn't what I expected, but I pressed on. "And what would it mean for you if you could rebuild it?". He said "then I would know how it worked". I asked again "and what would it mean for you when you know how it works?". He said "then I could be calm". This meant he had now established a link between changing the motor metaphor and his desired state. Changing the motor in any way would break him out of his anxiety state.

Changing the metaphor

So I asked him "what would have to happen for that motor to stop?". He said it couldn't stop. It was too dangerous. He couldn't even see it clearly, because it was moving so fast. Even going near it, things could fly off it and injure you. This was his unconscious mind's way of keeping away from the feeling. Most likely he had never really addressed the feeling at all at any time in his life, for fear of what might happen.

I then suggested, gently, that possibly some sort of wall, some sort of barrier could go around it. A moment later he said "Ah yes, there is a barrier around it". I asked him what it was made of. He said "glass". So I said, "just allow whatever wants to happen to happen". After a shot. He said "it's filled with water" with a sense of surprise in his voice. And then he said "it has frozen". And now I can see it clearly. "It's a very clever intricate machine". And he began to describe in some detail. He was clearly thinking of some real machine, and not some vague metaphor. This was very puzzling to me, but I kept on with the therapy.

I asked him what he would like to have happen to it. And he said again "I want to take it apart". So I gently suggested he begin taking apart. And he described in excruciating detail exactly what he was doing. He was taking tiny screwdrivers and removing the screws. Each screw was carefully bagged, colour-coded, labelled and laid out. He described taking each bit apart, laying it out, taking sketches and photographs so that he would know how to put back together again. And he was constantly remarking on how clever and intricate and well-designed it was. He was filled with admiration for the working of this machine.

Destroying the machine

This actually wasn't what I was trying to achieve. I needed him to destroy the machine, not follow in love with it. So I made more suggestions about what to do with the machine. Eventually he said " I could build something different with it". So I encourage them to think about using just a few parts to make something useful. He seemed very taken with this idea. He said he could make something for everyone and they would find it useful.

I said "and you can be proud of that, can't you?". "Oh yes," he said "but then everyone would start arguing about where the idea came from and try to patent it would cause a whole lot of arguments". So I then spent some time trying to assure him that it actually would work out well. I then checked to see if all the parts had been used. "And is there anything left of that machine?".

Destroying the dangerous part

He told me that there were many parts left. There were sharp and dangerous and couldn't be touched. I asked him what he was going to do with them. He said he would bag them up and put them away. This was not what I wanted. I wanted him to destroy those dangerous parts. Otherwise they might come back at some future time and ruin all the good work we had been  doing. I told him he had to get rid of them. And he said "okay, I will give them to some friends of mine". This would not at all what I had expected, but I figured  getting rid of them that way was as good as any other way.

So the machine had now been dismantled. I reminded him that this meant that he could now change. I asked him "how does that anxiety seem to you now?". He said "it all seems very distant". Job done.

Explaining the metaphor

I then brought out of trance and we chatted for a while. He said to me "did you notice that I called that a Langolier?". I said yes but I had no idea what what he meant by it. He told me that when he was a child he had watched the Stephen King movie with his father. It had frightened him at the time. The movie was about going to the edge of time and these machines called Langolier continually ate Time.

His young mind had associated these machines with some enormous monstrous power that consumed everything and could not be stopped. Somehow or other he had made a link between that and his childhood anxiety caused by things that he couldn't stop and had no control over. That was the metaphor that he brought up from the depths of his unconscious. By dismantling and disabling that machine metaphorically, he had dismantled his feelings of anxiety.

It is very seldom I get such a direct link back to the visualization of a childhood anxiety. But in this case it was very clear how his mind thought of his problems, and thought of them like this invincible machine. I made no attempt to address this trichotillomania as he had asked for. Instead, going after the source of the anxiety allowed him to take back control of his whole life. The hair pulling and nail picking will clear up by themselves now.

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Fear of dentists

Fear of dentists

A client phoned me and asked if I was able to help overcome a fear of dentists. This client has totally rotten teeth but just cannot bring himself to go near a dentist. Fear of dentists is basically a simple phobia. Phobias are created when something dramatic happens to you, that makes you experience a deep and sudden fear.

Your unconscious mind creates a powerful association between the event and that fear. And forever thereafter your unconscious mind does everything possible to keep you away from that situation, or anything that is similar to that situation. If it means that your unconscious gives you a terrifying fear of dentists, then that keeps you away from them, and your unconscious mind has done what it should do – it has kept you safe.

I have dealt successfully with many people with the fear of dentists. It is usually not a needle phobia, it is a generalised fear of being near a dentist at all. When I questioned the client about the origin of this fear in every case it can be traced back to a specific time in childhood. For some reason, the client was taken to the dentist and got spooked. The child did not want some stranger poking round his mouth, sticking needles in, giving him pain, whatever. The child just wanted to get out of there and go home with his mother.

The origin of the phobia

What actually happened next was that the child is forcibly restrained, held down and operated on. The result was a child who is frightened of a strange situation, by strange people, and a link to pain and the knowledge that he can't get away. It is the "can't get away" part which is most important. The phobia is a combination of feeling trapped and knowing that you are going to get hurt. Your mind knows that this is going to happen, and so does everything possible to stop you getting into that situation again.

It is no different from a fear of public speaking. Fear of public speaking can usually be traced back to an incident at school. The child was suddenly asked to say something, said what they thought was right, and then got humiliated by the teacher. The humiliation was totally unexpected, and undeserved, and every other member of the class laughed at them. It's the same combination of pain, unexpected, and being unable to get out of the situation.

The way to deal with the fear of dentists is to go back to the source. Using regression, or other techniques, you get the client to experience the fear in your chair. Then you lead the client through the situation again. But this time you allow the client to feel that they are in charge, that they can control it, that they decide what happens.
When you do that you get rid of the unconscious association and allow the client to react naturally and rationally. The phobia is then instantly cured.

Nothing to it really, when you know how to deal with it.

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