Fear, Anger and Guilt Drives Our Clients' Symptoms: Insight Therapy Neutralizes Them
Before I ever considered becoming a Hypnotherapist I was a dedicated psychotherapist. I used cognitive, behavioral and humanistic approaches to help my clients. But I was unsatisfied with the results; it took too long and was not sufficiently effective to suit me. Often it was a boring process in which I entered into a supporting role, in which I merely helped my clients cope with their everyday lives. I longed for a system that move my clients along more quickly by providing them the insights that they need to change rapidly.
Back then, when I thought of hypnosis, or hypnotherapy, I mostly thought of direct suggestion and visualization techniques. I had heard about hypnotic age regression, but knew little about it. Thanks to some great teachers, all of that has changed.
Now I understand something that my professors failed to teach me during my seven years of studying psychology. Our clients' problems are merely symptoms of underlying fears, anger and guilt. And, there is no better way to help them through these problems than hypnotic age regression and forgiveness therapy, two of the most powerful insight oriented techniques available to the hypnotherapist.
Many hypnotherapists are now using hypnotic age regression to help their clients overcome their problems, but few are successful at utilizing any form of forgiveness therapy as part of the process. I will discuss ways to do just that in this article and make the hypnotherapeutic process more powerful.
A few months back, I had the good fortune to visit with Gerald F. Kein at his home and chat with him about how he began integrating forgiveness therapy into his work. He told me about a particular client he had years ago. I don't remember what issue this client came in to see him about. The issue is irrelevant because what he learned generalizes to just about any case that a hypnotherapist sees. He told me that he was conducting an age regression and helping his client through a particular issue, but she was unable to rid herself of the problem in the age regression, when Mr. Kein asked (and I'm paraphrasing) "What do you need to get through this?" And his client responded, "Well, I suppose that I would have to forgive him." Mr. Kein then proceeded to help her through the forgiveness process and the client overcame her issue.
Forgiveness is the antidote to anger. Self-forgiveness is the antidote to guilt and anger directed at the self. A properly conducted age regression session removes erroneous fears held within the client, built upon erroneous beliefs.
After completing thousands of such sessions and training hundreds of hypnotherapists, I am convinced that, the power of a properly conducted age regression session along with complete forgiveness of the person or persons associated with the issue is the most powerful approach to overcoming the major issues that our clients come to see us about.
I have used this approach on everything from nail biting to alcoholism, and chronic pain to psychosomatic blindness. Mr. Kein calls it Universal Therapy ™, which blends the age regression process with forgiveness procedures. In my office, it is used in a highly systematic manner containing five phases which is called 5-PATH®. But the philosophy and effect is the same for the two systems are the same. Our clients' problems are driven by painful emotions and the wide range of self-destructive behaviors and chronic illnesses are creative ways to cope with those feelings. Neutralizing the emotions (fear, anger and guilt) eliminates the drive behind the illness, habit or addiction and so it collapses. Then, new behaviors can then be established through simple hypnotic suggestion.
At our Center we have worked with thousands of these cases using this approach and the results have been consistent. Here is a brief overview of what we do.
Prepare Your Client For Success
In the first phase of work, we carefully prepare our clients for hypnosis by providing a thorough pre-talk informing them about hypnosis. Our clients meet with a hypnotherapist and inform her of the history of their problem. An assessment of readiness for hypnosis is conducted and then the client is hypnotized using a rapid or instant induction. The client is deepened and tested for somnambulism (somnambulism is required for the rest of the work, i.e., age regression, etc.), initial suggestions for the issue are given and convincers supplied so that the client knows that she is hypnotized. The session is concluded with a post-hypnotic interview to discuss convincers and answer any questions that the client may have.
Remove Fear and Erroneous Beliefs Using Hypnotic Age Regression
In the second phase of the work, which may include one or more sessions, we use the affect bridge to uncover the cause of the problem, the Initial Sensitizing Event (ISE). It is at time of the ISE that she picked up the fear or erroneous belief about herself or the world. The client is then further regressed to just before the ISE, at which time the "Adult" client and the hypnotherapist work together to give that younger self whatever she needs in order to be able to get through the ISE without being negatively affected by it. By this, I mean without accepting the erroneous belief which generates the fear. Once that is done, she is similarly guided through the Subsequent Sensitizing Events (SSEs) that may have reinforced the fear or belief. SSEs are events that contain the same emotions and reinforce the same erroneous beliefs.
Remove Anger and Guilt with Forgiveness Therapies
In the third phase of the work we will neutralize any anger that is within the client with regard to the issues uncovered in the age regression, and perhaps other areas in the client's life. Anger like fear is a very painful emotion that drives our clients' negative behaviors. This emotional pain is being coped with by eating too much, drinking too much, working too much and so on. These "too much" behaviors are ways to distract themselves or even medicate themselves, so that they don't feel the emotions, or feel them as strongly.
Age regression in itself does not directly address the anger that our clients are feeling. This is why we need to provide our clients with a process in which they can completely neutralize it.
In this "Forgiveness of Others" phase, we help our clients to express the feelings they have about how this person has hurt them and guide them into a state of forgiveness. This is done by suggesting that they are with the "offender." And, the hypnotherapist facilitates the exchange between the two, with the client taking on both the role of the Self and the Offender. The somnambulistic client easily switches between the two roles through the suggestions made by the client. It is as simple as having the hypnotherapist say, "Now be the offender and respond."
For more detail about the tools that I use to accomplish this see my previous article Ten Keys To Forgiveness, in the Hypno-Gram (p. 6-7, April/May 2002). Below is a brief description of the "Ten Keys." Each "Key" in the list is a tool that, when used properly, increases your client's ability to forgive the offender. The more Keys that you are able to use in the hypnotherapy session the easier the forgiveness process will be for your client.
- Uncover any reasons for the offender's behavior then can lead to a sense of understanding.
- Uncover any pain that the offender may have experienced because of the thing he or she did.
- Uncover any regret that the offender may have over having hurt your client.
- If it is true, discuss how the intent was not to hurt the client, but rather the offender was trying to fulfill some need, want or desire. Your client's involvement was a side effect.
- If there was a positive intent behind the painful behavior, discuss what that was.
- If there is regret in the offender, then having the offender express it to your client in direct terms is very helpful. Have the offender say "I'm sorry."
- Have the offender ask for forgiveness directly, by saying, "Please forgive me."
- Let the client know that the forgiveness is not for the offender. The forgiveness is a gift that they are going to give themselves that will change how they feel inside, and set them free from the past for healing.
- Suggest that the offender will not be able to benefit from the forgiveness at all because she will forget everything that happens during the session.
- Let the client know that she does not have to forget. Forgetting is not required true forgiveness.
This session is concluded with the forgiveness of the offender, and a feeling of great relief in your client. Additional forgiveness work may have to be done depending on the nature of your client's history. Always check to make sure that the forgiveness is complete by having your client check for any feelings of anger left for this offender. Not until all anger is gone is the forgiveness process complete.
The fourth phase of the work is called "Forgiveness of Self." It is essentially the same as the previous phase but in this case the client is divided into two parts, the Self and the Mistake-Making Part. Then the hypnotherapist proceeds as was done in the previous phase, except that the Mistake-Making Part is renamed the Protective Part. Then a complete forgiveness of the Protective Part is accomplished and the two Parts are reintegrated. This Forgiveness of Self phase of the work is designed to remove any anger that your client may have for herself along with any guilt that she has been feeling.
This should provide some insight into why age regression therapy alone is often insufficient to remove an old pattern. Age regression deals mainly with fear, while forgiveness therapies remove anger and guilt, all of which can drive the behavior that your client has come to you to overcome.
The fifth phase is not routinely done. It is called Parts Mediation Therapy ™ and is designed to deal with any secondary gain issues that may be reinforcing or demand the old problematic behavior even after the cause of the problem has been removed. PMT is best understood and the application of mediation techniques to Parts Therapy. In this procedure the client is again divided into two Parts. The first Part is the Self and the second Part is the part of the client that wants to continue in the old way. This other Part may have labels such as the Continuing-To-Want-Drink Part or the Still-Wanting-To-Smoke Part. The benefits of both ways of behaving are uncovered and an agreement to behave in a new way that is beneficial to both Parts is established. I will go into more detail about PMT in a later article. It is an insight therapy that is designed to overcome secondary gain, and should not be used unless there is evidence that the issue of secondary gain exists (something in the present is reinforcing or demanding the old behavior).
Maximizing the Insights Gained During Age Regression and Forgiveness Therapy
In addition to neutralizing the painful emotions that drive our clients' behaviors, there is another largely unrecognized benefit of using age regression and forgiveness therapies. These techniques cause our clients to realize something new at both a conscious and subconscious levels of the mind. These realizations are called insights and they are life changing.
Insights do something that other forms of hypnotherapy do not do. They force the subconscious mind into a state of reorganization. Insights are instantly accepted as truth and begin a new belief that replaces the old one.
Normally, the subconscious mind is resistant to change. It is generating the old behavior for its own reasons, reasons that from the Subconcious Mind's point of view are good ones. The behaviors are protecting your client from pain and so without hypnotherapy and insight techniques, which provides an acceptable alternative belief, the old belief is difficult to give up, even though it was generating emotional and perhaps even physical pain or disability.
But when an insight is experienced during age regression or forgiveness therapies, especially insights that remove the emotional pain or fear, anger and guilt, the subconscious mind must rearrange your client's thinking processes to accommodate it. An old belief system is literally replaced by a new one. This causes profound and healthy changes at this deep level of consciousness. Furthermore, for a short period of time, your client will be highly suggestible for suggestions that are consistent with the insights just gained.
So, it is very important that when you use these insight techniques that you take full advantage of them by wrapping up those sessions with a few minutes of direct suggestion to reinforce and expand those insights. The subconscious mind will quickly return to its more solidified form, and when it does it will lock those insights into it along with the suggestions that you provided for your client.
If you have not used hypnotic age regression and forgiveness therapies you may want to consider getting additional training in these procedures. It is these techniques that can help your clients to overcome the most difficult issues. They also provide clients with long-lasting even permanent change. When using these insight hypnotic techniques take full advantage of the hyper-suggestibility that they can create by ending these sessions with clear hypnotic suggestions that are consistent with the insight they just experienced and the issue that they came in to see you about.
Caution to the hypnotherapist: be aware that some states or countries may have restrictions on who may use age regression and/or in what kind of cases it may be used. It is up to the practitioner to know the laws where he or she practices.