A child scrapes their knee badly. An adult is driving a car in rush hour traffic and is rear-ended by a minivan. In these two instances, both the child and the adult driver feel acute pain. While the pain appears to be located in the child’s knee, and also in the adult’s spine, that’s not where the discomfort originates.
All pain sensations originate in the brain. If the pain is acute, the signal travels up the column to the top of the spine, and then travels back down the spine, before it dissipates. However, if the pain is chronic, the pain signal often continues to circulate throughout the spine. Let’s say the minivan driver continues to suffer injuries after his accident, which never appears to heal fully. The driver continues to experience chronic pain at different times of the day.
Why is Hypnosis Effective for Controlling Pain?
Since the imagination plays such a large role in your subconscious, hypnotic suggestions, metaphors, and stories can gradually be incorporated into a series of mini-stories that enable you to access a profound state of relaxation. As Carl Jung observed, metaphorical stories play into our innate, ancient desire to resolve emotional and physical conflicts around issues about our need to experience diminished pain.
Other factors contribute to being successful when working with a client with significant chronic pain issues. For example, the session might begin by giving the client a small hard rock. Allow them to feel the hard angles of the rock in their hand, saying, “perhaps your pain feels angular, just like this rock.” Then replace the rock with a soft, squishy ball in their hand. “How does it feel to squeeze this ball and realize you can learn how to diminish the discomfort you’re feeling?”
The famed Dr. Milton Erickson had a way of describing how we routinely put up with low levels of pain daily, such as when sitting around a campfire and feeling pine needles scratching our legs, yet we’re so enthralled with the fire we forget all about the pain.
While in hypnosis, exposing the client to a serene location such as a tropical pool, or lake is extremely calming. Visualizing helps to increase the production of calming neurochemicals such as serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. Mentioning soft textures, such as feeling a rose petal brushing against one’s skin, also takes the client one step deeper.
Some of my clients with severe pain fall asleep during the session, only to feel so much lighter afterward.
If you’ve ever spent time discussing education with friends who are teachers and principals, it’s no surprise to learn that the incidence of learning disabilities among children in the US is about 10%. The spectrum ranges from being dyslexic to having symptoms of ADD and ADHD as well as autism.
According to the psychologist, Susan Baum, Ph.D., “Everything in school is about reading and writing. This amounts to a kind of educational abuse of students whose talents are in other areas.” In other words, pay attention to what subjects really get your child excited about in school.
Children with learning disabilities have very special gifts
In many cases, children with learning disabilities have very special gifts, because they view the world from a different vantage point. My grandson, Jaivion, is ADHD, yet he’s very gifted as a drummer. A child with ADD may immerse themselves in a sophisticated design for towns with mega blocks for hours.
Many famous artists struggled with health issues or learning disabilities, only to create brilliant works of art. For example, Van Gogh was Bi-Polar while Michelangelo sculpted and painted despite having a painful gout condition.
Slow down the child’s thought process
I’ve used hypnotherapy with these talented children to empower them to slow down their thought processes as best as they can. Often, they fall asleep, and amidst the rhythm of hypnotic stories, they process the inner messages being transmitted. The increase in frontal lobe activity boosts their confidence, enabling them to be less angry, and think more calmly.
Meanwhile, new processes in BWRT are being developed for these kids, which I plan to utilize within the next year.
Throughout history, there have been those who have predicted the future. Though the list is long, amongst these brilliant souls were Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, and Nostradamus. Nostradamus’s credit is foreseeing the coming of the Black Plague in Europe.
Our habits are not so dissimilar from the Neanderthals
When I observe the habits of my friends and fellow human beings daily, I’m aware of how much we cherish spending “down-time” in front of our tv, watching movies or shows, sometimes for hours…distancing ourselves from the pressures of life. I can’t help but think back on my Neanderthal ancestors who gathered in their cave at night with flames from the fire dancing on its walls. Despite the many thousands of years since those primitive times, our habits are not so dissimilar.
Solving highly complex problems benefit from patiently contemplating multiple theories
Yet, solving highly complex problems benefit from patiently contemplating multiple theories and exploring new facets of a conundrum. Solving highly complex problems might take years to discern a new avenue which might yield a new perspective. After all, Einstein dedicated his entire life to understanding the Theory of Relativity.
You’ve probably heard me write previously about the hypnotic process called Future Pacing. In the same way, we can access vivid memories from our past in hypnosis, so are we capable of envisioning our future by bringing our beliefs into the Present Moment.
Future Pacing Example
Take the example of someone preparing to give a fifteen-minute speech in front of an audience of 300 people. While in hypnosis, they will project being able to see themselves on the stage, feeling comfortable in “their skin,” presenting a new approach towards creating a safer and healthy habitat for an endangered species of hawk.
In this state, they will be both in the present (i.e., observing themselves), while also introducing biological and environmental ideas for the future. Switching back and forth between being in the present and perceiving the future may feel slightly awkward at first, yet once you’re comfortable, your brain will make the transition back and forth seamlessly.
Future pacing can be amazingly effective
A teenager badly injured her right knee in an accident, yet she’s almost ready to get back in the gym. Hypnosis immediately heightens her confidence while helping her imagine she can slowly flex the knee forward and backward until she’s confident enough to put pressure on it safely.
Note that Mindfulness Hypnosis is another modality that causes an increased density of gray matter to the Anterior Cingulate Cortex. Mindfulness Hypnosis helps to purposely direct one’s attention and focus on a particular subject, without any judgment or emotional bias. Both future pacing and mindfulness hypnosis are methods I have used with great success with my clients.
I know you are receptive to making a change in your life; otherwise, you would have never sought out my services. That being said, we all hold different religious or spiritual beliefs. If what I’m about to say offends you in any way, I would completely respect your right to quit reading this particular newsletter.
On the other hand, you might be very intrigued…
Many of us believe we’re born, we go through life, perhaps we get married, have children (or not), and then we die. That’s our one and only life. And if we’ve treated others well, we ascend to heaven.
Others amongst us believe we’ve incarnated on this earth before. It may have been in a completely different country and a very different period. Some authors have written of these experiences, mentioning how deeply they were affected by what they learned about themselves in that life. Some claimed that the knowledge they gained actually changed how they behaved in this life.
Although I rarely discuss Past Life Regression with my clients, I’d like to share a true story concerning a client who spontaneously, while in hypnosis, went into another dimension of existence.
This client was at a crossroads both personally and professionally, which was making her sad.
One day she mentioned feeling very sad when she stood by the side of a river near her home, at the age of 4. Her parents stood beside her, and she had a very strong feeling of wanting to die.
Spontaneously, I asked her to take that feeling deeper into herself. “Perhaps that feeling would lead you somewhere,” I suggested. Suddenly she had a vision in her mind of being a girl around age 7, in the midst of a European village around the late 14th Century. The bubonic plague had swept through the village, taking all her family members. She was crying – desperate and alone. By this time, she was completely connected to this unsolicited memory.
Suddenly, out of the woods walked a wolf. The wolf stood beside her and coaxed her to follow him. He appeared to want to help this orphaned child, leading her into a wolf den in the backwoods, where she would have food, shelter, and safety from the plague. Several years went by in her life with the wolves.
One day, people began returning to the village to work and cultivate food. The elder wolf who had been her friend now encouraged her to return to her people in the village. Her life after being with her wolf family was still hard, yet she persisted and eventually got married. The wolves had literally saved her life. Years later, she became so tired she lay down next to the river in the village. She was ready to die, and an elder wolf came to the edge of the forest to see her off onto her journey.
After experiencing this most unusual memory, my client felt a deep sense of relief from the depression she had previously been feeling. A pack of wolves, in fact, had restored her hope and her belief in human nature.
Rowing Your Boat Doesn’t Always Float Gently Downstream
I’ve always loved sleep, partially because I look forward to experiencing my dreams. Yet they say it’s the deep, dreamless sleep that benefits you most.
When I was in college, I wrote papers well into the middle of the night and was still energetic the next day. I didn’t even worry about the lack of sleep. How little we knew then of all the new distractions that would eventually disturb our dream-states.
Insomnia is no one’s friend, and its causes are complex. That’s why I’d like to introduce you to Dr. Mathew Walker, a psychiatrist, and insomnia expert. He offered several thought-provoking insights:
Melatonin is triggered by sleeping in the dark for a few hours.
BE religious about getting 8 hours of sleep. It helps to prevent cancer and heart disease. Working night time shifts are now being categorized as carcinogenic.
Insufficient sleep is highly rated as a factor in dementia (i.e. Ronald Reagan).
Before sleeping, try to dim down the lights and lowerroom temperature.
Don’t stay in bed for too long. If you can’t sleep, go to another room and, in dim light, read a book until tired.
Does hypnosis help cure insomniacs? Yes, it can. In my process, I explore all aspects of my clients’ life which can play a role in feeling stressed prior to sleep. This also includes what medications they are currently using. Hypnosis can trigger neurochemicals stimulating the brain to relax deeply when approaching sleep. Meanwhile, BWRT helps lower the client’s anxiety level prior to sleeping.
A few years ago, a highly reputable, successful businessman in Portland came to see me. It had been years since he’d had a good night’s rest on a regular basis. In hypnotherapy for insomnia, I helped him return to an unresolved business conflict that had occurred years earlier, which churned in his mind ever since. The settlement of this dispute brought him immediate relief, and he promptly enjoyed the most relaxing night’s rest in years.
When it comes to exploring memories hidden deep within the subconscious mind, few techniques are more successful than “hypnotic regression.” Regression work is very precise. For that very reason, it cannot be explained in full detail here. The reason for this is because once you inform your conscious mind of a plan to access your subconscious, the conscious mind begins to preconceive the regression experience, thus making it more difficult to achieve successful results.
Early life experiences become deeply etched into your mind
Certainly, you could be taken back to your oldest memory of going to the circus; where you might have discovered it was magical, or, perhaps, frightening. Your subconscious may have focused on what it really felt like to be 8 years old and watch tigers jumping through hoops on fire or viewing daredevil trapeze artists from 300 feet above. These early life experiences become deeply etched into your mind. They might also awaken you to your first memory of how vulnerable people can be (as flying trapeze artists) or how courageous tigers can be (jumping through hoops on fire). These impressionable experiences may form the basis for creating core beliefs concerning vulnerability later on.
The regression process takes the client back to a specific memory
Regression is often helpful (and sometimes necessary) when a client has experienced a significant event such as emotional/physical trauma with a parent, a nasty divorce, or events leading to a sudden breakdown in one’s life. The actual regression process involves taking the client back to a specific memory, or to the first time a highly unusual, or even dangerous event occurred. While in the hypnotic state, specific questions are asked to enable the client to clearly recall and describe what happened at that moment in time. Quite a few clients have articulated to me that as children they suffered when a parent told them they weren’t smart enough, not beautiful enough, or would never be successful.
The hypnotist assists you in viewing events from a different perspective
Once the incident has been fully described and deeply experienced by the client, the hypnotist assists them into viewing the event from a fully different perspective, enabling them to feel they are in greater control of their life, and no longer prisoner to these painful, outdated beliefs.
Clients are likely to experience greater health
As a result of the regression work, clients are likely to experience greater health in the form of improved self-esteem, improved sleep, gradually losing weight and feeling diminished physical pain. Overall, a very high percentage of clients who received regression work reported feeling substantially clearer and more confident after their session.
Hypnotic regression has also been conducted in criminal cases, including murders, for quite some time. As a result, regression work conducted among criminal suspects has resulted in successfully solving the crime at hand.
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