Age Regression is one of the most powerful tools available to the hypnotherapist. Lately it has come under fire for creating false memories. The truth is that it does work, however, the hypnotherapist must be very careful when directing the regression.
Many therapies involving hypnosis take advantage of the mind’s ability to visualize. And this ability can be very useful when treating someone for overeating, or helping them achieve athletic and career goals. Combining age regression and visualization must be done very carefully.
The subconscious mind retains every bit of information that it receives. If someone is having trouble retrieving a memory, the hypnotherapist may suggest that they visualize something that will help them retrieve it. If the suggestion is not worded carefully, then the mind may confuse the image with the memory. For this reason it is very important to use Non-Directive Hypnotherapy.
A good example is the case of “Cathy.” She recently came to my office to discuss a personal development that she did not understand. As far back as she could remember, she had always felt a certain sadness when visitors left her home; and the situation was becoming increasingly troublesome. The emotional upsets were no longer limited to loved ones, but happened whenever anyone went out the door. The feelings were growing stronger, and now also resulted in tears and severe crying spells bordering on hysteria. The situation seemed to be out of control and she felt it demanded attention. A friend suggested she see me for hypnosis.
After interviewing her, and testing her for suggestibility, I decided that some event in her childhood had resulted in a psychological imprint that had either forgotten, or had not been consciously recognized as the cause.
I instructed her to go back to the time and place she first remembered the problem happening. I suggested that she view the event as if it were a television show and to describe what she saw.
“Cathy” explained that she was three years old, sitting on the stairs in her home, looking down into the living room. Her father just died and was lying in the living room. She was called down and instructed to kiss her father good-bye, which she did.
The well-meaning family wanted to avoid a situation where a child, not understanding what death was, would not constantly be expecting her father to return. They explained that when her father would be taken out through “the door,” he would be gone forever and never return.
Without realizing what they had done, they had created an association between death and doors that remained locked into her subconscious. To her three year old mind, there was no understanding, only an authoritative statement that going out the door would lead to something terrible.
As with most cases of this sort, understanding the cause was enough to solve the problem. While traditional psychoanalysis might have required years to discover the cause of the problem, as a hypnotherapist employing Non-Directive Hypnotherapy, it was solved in just two sessions.
Dr. Dave Hill, DCH
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