Question about doing hypnotherapy with clients who are taking medications that affect mood.

Answered by Calvin D. Banyan, MA, CI, BCH

Question:

How do you handle people on medications such as Paxil and Prozac etc.? It is my belief (and Stephen Parkhill, author of Answer Cancer, seems to confirm this) that when you shut off the neural circuits-then the therapy has only a temporary effect & you must get them to keep lowering the dosages & then keep doing the therapy until you get them down to zero meds. Do you taper them off perhaps in conjunction with their physician or do you work with them entirely still on these medications?

Answer:

At first I was concerned about this, too. The main problem here is that if you are using affect bridge to conduct the age regression, you might not have much of an affect to regress on. (The drugs that you mentioned tend to dull emotions/affect.) But it hasn't been much of a problem for me in practice because of some techniques I use to get the client in touch with the feeling.

Secondly, and perhaps even more importantly, is the use of "chair therapy" to get forgiveness (Phase III & IV of 5-PATH). My forgiveness sessions are not for the faint of heart. I really have my clients express a great deal of anger when confronting the people who have hurt them in their life! I call it "filling up the platter of pain." If you get a real good expression of anger, you are going to be able to get a thorough forgiveness, which will lead to a long lasting result. This same expression of feeling can also provide you with the emotion needed to do an Affect Bridge Age Regression. It is an advanced technique but with some experience a well-trained hypnotherapist should be able to modulate from a forgiveness session into an age regression.

Note that Stephen Parkhill works with chronic illness such as cancer, and so his work must be exceptionally thorough. If you are doing work where you are trying to effect the client's behavior, such as eating, drinking, nail biting, etc. you may not have to be so thorough.

In summary, the problem is that if your client is on mind dulling or affect dulling medications, it can get in the way of the process. When you interview the client, as you talk with them, try to get a sense as to whether she is able to feel these emotions. If a client becomes emotional and cries during the pre-hypnosis interview, then this is a good sign, indicating that she can get in touch with the feelings that you need to work with. On the other hand, if all of your techniques are being applied properly, and you are not seeing the kind of results that you should be getting, then suggest that the client be taken off the medications by her doctor.