Questions about clients who have difficulty regressing and/or expressing emotions.

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


Dear Cal,

I am a 5-PATH™ Certified Hypnotist so I use age regression and forgiveness work extensively. Sometimes I have clients who won’t abreact or regress requires us to address each case individually./ (Sorry we lost this individual's name. Ooops! But since it was such a good question I wanted to post the answer for you all here.)

Answer 1:

  1. Regarding those who will not regress, or revivify (only experiencing hypermanesia).

    1. If they are deep enough into hypnosis (somnambulistic) they should regress and revivify the event. So in this case, they may be refusing to revivify in order to save themselves the discomfort of the emotional or physical pain associated with the event. Many mistake this kind of failure to revivify as being caused by not being deep enough, but in fact they are just protecting themselves.

    2. If they are not deep enough then you must deepen the hypnosis. You can do a quick check for depth by doing a covert test for somnambulism, or you can regress to a pleasant time and see if they will revivify the pleasant time. If they will revivify the pleasant time, it shows that they are indeed deep enough.

    3. If they are deep enough in hypnosis and refuse to regress, and they say something like, “I’m not going there,” then you need to have them open their eyes, remain in hypnosis, and have a talk with you.

      Here is where you give them a talk, “I don’t know what you have done in the past to address this problem, but it has not worked or you would not be here with me today. Now I want you to think about what you are going to do about this problem if you do not do this with me now. So, now you have to decide, if not this, then what? If not now, then when? I do know that if you want me to help you, you need to follow my instructions. Decide if you are willing to do that, and then we can proceed.”

      Then remain quiet. So far everyone who I have given this little speech to has decided to proceed. I cannot guarantee that it will work as well for you.

      You should leave them in hypnosis when you have this little talk with them. Your chances of gaining compliance is greater if they are in hypnosis.

      If they say, “I’ve already dealt with that, and I don't want to go there again,” then you can say that then it is obvious that although you have done some work on this issue, there is more work to be done or it would not have come up again. If they say something like, “I have already gone through hypnosis and that is behind me,” you can go on to say, I cannot be held responsible for what you did not accomplish in the hypnosis that you have done before, or the deficiencies of your hypnotist, I only know that your subconscious mind is telling us that there is still some important work to do here or we would not have found ourselves revisiting it once again.”

      If the client regresses but is apparently unwilling to revivify, it is important that you make it clear that you want them to go there and re-experience it. Sometimes when this is a problem, the client just didn't understand what you wanted him or her to do. This problem can be overcomed by saying something like, “I am going to count back from three to one, and when I get to one, I want you to be back at that situation, just as if it were happening all over again. Is that alright with you?” If you get a “Yes” response then proceed. But, if you get a “No” response, then explain to them that they need to follow your instructions, like I delineated above.

  2. Regarding those who will not express their emotions, there are basically two reasons: they just won't, and insignificant emotional charge. In the latter case, our clients have problems which are emotional in origin but the emotions were not strong enough to cause an abreaction, generally because the events associated with the problem were not traumatic. The original emotion generated by the ISE was never that strong, nor were the emotions which were generated by the SSEs. When this is the case, we cannot expect our clients to abreact during the FOO sessions. So, you have to take your client's whole history into account when doing an affect-based hypnosis.

  3. There are three main reasons why clients don’t abreact and what you can do about it:

    1. They may refuse. In this case you need to be more emphatic. Make sure that your tone is appropriate such that you are creating an atmosphere in which it is appropriate to abreact. You may also need to tell them directly something like, “That is all you got? Come on, all those feelings have been welled up for so long. It is time to let them out. You are going to feel so much better when you get them out, now do it!"

    2. They may not ever have been traumatized or may not have experienced strong painful emotions regarding the issue.

    3. We can’t expect our clients to express feelings which are not there. How do you know if the feelings are there? That is why we do AR first, that way we have been there in their past with them and have a very good idea of how much emotion is there. If the person whom the client has to forgive, and/or the history of the client with that individual is unknown, then you can regress the client back to the earliest time when the offender hurt them and then go to the most significant events, and so on. Then you will know how much anger, etc. there really is, furthermore it will help the client to dredge up those old feelings so that they can be expressed fully.

    4. They have a calm temperament, which is closely associated with point 2 above.

      Just like some animals can be bred for temperament, there is a variation in temperament in human beings as a result of genetic tendency. Some people are just not very expressive and don’t feel emotions as strongly as others. Most people are in the average range (plus or minus one standard deviation) and then there are those who are very expressive and feel their emotions more strongly. And, all of that difference is a factor of genetic variation.


      Amount of Expression

      Expressiveness Curve

      Minimal Average High
      Range of Feeling and Expressing

      If you get a client at the Minimal end of the scale (on the left) then they may experience the same kind of an event that another person would have found to be quite painful, and not feel it so strongly, and as a result, not express the same amount of emotion, because there simply was not as much emotion experienced as most people would in the same circumstances.

      Note that it would feel false or be artificial if the client was encouraged to express an intensity of feeling that is not really there.

      Those in the Average to High Range are very easy to work with, generally speaking, because they have a lot of emotion to express and will express it easily during AR, FOO and FOS.