In hypnotherapy you never know what you are going to meet next. Today I had a case of loose bowels. The client was a lovely woman with a terrible secret. She has to go to the toilet every time she has to meet with another person. Her job involved constant meetings and briefings, so this really is a major problem.
She gets the squitters with stress. I dug into the cause of the stress and discovered it was really about the fear that she would have to leave the other person alone. In her mind this is unforgivably rude. If she was called away or something then the other person would be thinking bad thoughts about her due to her behavior. She had no problem with three people. She could meet three people, because if she had to leave then there would still be two people to talk to each other, and they would not condemn her for being rude.
I discussed this with her looking for the source. She said she had a great childhood. There was no reason for the anxiety.
When dealing with a specific stress like this my normal approach is relax the client. Then I get her to imagine the exact situation and feel the feeling she gets. The idea is to use the feelings as a bridge to the original event that was causing the stress. She tried but could not get the feeling without being there.
I therefor put her into trance. I did a general exploration of her subconscious using the Leaky Shoes script and she started crying. Crying is always an an indication of an emotion coming to the surface. She was now in the feeling that she said she could not find.
I got her to express the feeling as a metaphor. The feeling transformed into a brown ball full of moving clouds of black. I worked on changing this and got her to shrink it. It gradually got smaller and when it was a golf ball size she stopped. She couldn't shrink it any more. This kind of halt is common in metaphor therapy. So I asked her if she had ever sliced a tomato and that did it, the image of the tomato allowed her to start cutting into the ball. Then I got her to think of dicing something and she got rid of the thing completely.
Whatever the source of her stress was, it was now gone. I brought her out of trance and talked about what she had just done in her mind. The result was that she started talking about her upbringing. Somehow it was now something she could talk about. It turned that she in fact had not had a good childhood.
She had been bought up with an adopted older brother, her mother expected perfection, and there were constant arguments that she escaped by joining a girls' organisation and spending as much time as possible out of the house. Somewhere in all that mess was the source of her unique fear.
He is highly regarded in the hypnotherapy community. He is Vice President of the New Zealand Association of Professional Hypnotherapists (NZAPH).
He is regularly consulted for advice by other hypnotherapists around the world. He is known for the quality of his published scripts. He presents at international conferences and has published on hypnosis and advanced hypnotherapy.
He lives in Wellington New Zealand with his wife Trish and a cat called Parsnip.