Question: You commented, “If you have time, you can amplify a negative feeling during a Future Pace and bridge back to where it’s coming from. If not, make a note of it for the next session.” Would you expand on that statement a bit? This sounds more detailed than what I have been doing. When future pacing, I usually have the client look back and see all the good decisions that they made in changing and then have them bring that knowledge back with them to the present. I have never amplified a negative feeling while placing them in the future. – Erick Lundin, CH
Everything we do after clearing an ISE is Future Pacing. Some call this Age Progression. We gather up all the changes that occurred in the Initial Sensitizing Event (ISE) and then pace these changes forward through each Subsequent Sensitizing Event (SSE).
This allows us to do two things.
- Test the results
- Integrate changes
Pacing forward from the ISE through the SSEs allows you to grow the Child up from the ISE while giving you a way to test the results of the changes that occurred in the causal event. It's important to make sure that nothing remains of the problem. Being thorough will result in lasting results for your clients and not merely temporary change.
If nothing remains of the problem, pacing forward through the SSEs encourages the subconscious mind to integrate all changes. This makes all the changes available to the adult consciousness of the client. This process happens naturally through the process of growing the Child up into adulthood having those changes. They become a part of the client’s life experience (which is where all our programming comes from).
What generally happens in a regression hypnotherapy session is as follows.
- Track back to the causal event (ISE).
- Resolve the negative thoughts and feelings trapped in the event.
- Test to ensure the event is clear.
- Gather up all the positive change that’s occurred.
- Future Pace, bringing all changes forward, testing and transforming SSEs.
- Integrate the accrued transformations into the client’s present self (identity, circumstances, actions, etc.)
- Future Pace to test the results and instill a positive expectation for future.
The causal event itself doesn’t change.
All we’re changing are the thoughts and feelings associated with the causal event so that the client is no longer bothered by it. The main difference that has occurred is that, subconsciously, that event is finally over. This means that the body-mind system can relax. The client made it through. They’re okay. So, there’s no further need for the subconscious ,ind to dwell on it and generate the unwanted symptoms.
When the client is able to move through the ISE, just as it happened the first time, without feeling any emotional distress, the next step is to pace the Child forward into the next subsequent event (SSE). So you’re moving the client forward in time along an imaginary set of tracks.
Linear time is a construct of the conscious mind, not the subconscious mind. We use a linear process because it makes sense to the conscious, thinking mind. That’s where the change needs to occur. So, you are Future Pacing from the ISE. As this happens, you are creating a new timeline. Some might say that you’re building new neural pathways.
Using a linear timeline provides a sense of order which allows the conscious mind to find new meanings and make new decisions. It also allows the client to transfer the benefits into their current life.
You can test the client’s responses, and make adjustments as needed, to ensure a complete resolution of the problem. This experience then compound all changes, making them more powerful.
When you pace forward from the ISE, the SSE should change.
This is a consequence of resolving the ISE. What’s changed in the ISE naturally ripples into subsequent events, changing them. As a result, those events will play out differently, i.e., the way they would have, based on how the ISE was experienced. Typically, what will happen is, either the situation in the SSE will play out the same way but the Child won’t get triggered, or the situation in the SSE will be different.
It’s possible that the SSE never would have happened, at all. Things can play out very differently than they did the first time. For example, kids in the school yard don’t reject the Child, like they did the first time, because the Child no longer perceives the situation as a threat. Or the bullies in the schoolyard are still there, but this time, instead of freezing, the Child walks away or gets help. Or the Child avoids a risky situation because she’s no longer vulnerable to those things. She’s “smarter” for having learned something in the ISE. Or the Child is simply disinterested in the whole scenario and goes off to play.
Any change of this nature indicates that the changes made in the ISE have taken effect. Yay! This is what would have happened, had the client been able to make sense of things at that time. Because the Child has changed, the Adult client has changed. As a result, s/he is now free to think, feel and act in a more resourceful way.
In a way, it’s as if the ISE never occurred.
While the initial sensitizing event happened, and the Client can still remember it, the “sensitizing” effect has been extinguished. The mis-perceptions and fears have been neutralized.
The way the client remembers it is different, now. There’s no longer any emotional charge around the memory. This allows the memory to be shifted into long-term memory as “completed.”
Memory is stored energetically, through emotion, and for the purpose of survival. Think pain-pleasure motivation. Over time, the memory will fade because it has no significance in the client’s present life. It no longer serves any purpose beyond what the client learned from it. And the SSE now reflects what would have happened had the client known, then, what she knows now. In this scenario, the test has been passed.
This is when you want to compound the daylights out of the newer, better, more empowering thoughts and feelings and insights. So, as you move through each subsequent event, continue to reinforce all the changes.
This approach to future pacing is a process of accruing change. The client is gathering experiences which reinforce a more resourceful state as they progress along their timeline, all the way up to being a Grownup in the chair. Think of this as “bringing home” all those changes to the Adult client.
Sometimes there’s a block.
When you pace forward from the ISE into a subsequent event, the client sometimes runs into difficulty. There’s a block. It might be some fear, or anxiety, or anger. But this is why we test. Testing will tell you when there is something still calling for resolution. If so, now you must decide.
Depending on what comes up in that situation, and how much time you have left in the session, you need to decide on a course of action. If the block is a recurrence of the original pattern, I would go back to the ISE and clear it there. That’s the seed-planting event.
If it’s a minor glitch, a little doubt, perhaps, I would address it in the SSE. I would then test the results in the next SSE. Sometimes, you can shift things simply by reminding the Child about what s/he learned in the ISE. This can be enough to bring these new resources forward into the current situation. Some new patterns just need to be practised a few times to truly be owned.
If it’s the same pattern, and there’s still intensity to it, there could be another ISE that’s feeding into the problem. In this case, I would bring up the feeling and bridge back to an earlier time.
If you’re short on time, wrap things up for next session. Button the client up so that you can come back to the same event in the next session. Then, in the next session, begin with a review of the event to bring up the next layer and proceed from there.
As you move through the SSEs you are Future Pacing the Child.
When the ISE is totally clear, each SSE acts to reinforce the better-informed decisions made in the ISE. As a result, the expectations for the future will change. That’s what’s responsible for the symptoms.
The expectation – of self, others, the world, God, etc. – is a result of decisions made in the ISE. Decisions form thoughts. And well-practiced thoughts become beliefs.
A belief says, “this is how things work – this is what to expect.” The emotion connected to that belief is what makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy (we call it programming.) As a result, the client thinks and feels and acts as if it were true because it has become a Subconscious “truth.”
Compounding through the SSEs acts as a Convincer.
As you move through the SSE’s you are compounding all the new responses. These are better thoughts and feelings. The client gets an experience that helps her to realize that she has changed, that she does feel better. NOW the client has proof that change has occurred.
This satisfies the Conscious Mind’s need for reason. That’s where the change needs to happen. As a result, she feels more confident about the process (which is kind of setting up for even more positive results in future regression hypnotherapy sessions.)
This is the perfect time to elicit a conscious decision to accept these changes. To keep them. The stronger the conviction, the more likely the client is to act in alignment with these newer, better decisions about how to be and do in her present living.
When you pace all the way up to the Adult in the chair, you have grown up the CHILD.
That Part of the client is no longer stuck in the past, crying out in distress through the symptoms. You want to integrate this change fully. Let the adult client in the chair have a felt-sense, in the body, of what it’s like to be healed of the past.
This is where you want to “load” the client up with expectations for the future. Here is where I give direct suggestions to tie the past to the presenting issue. For example, “Now you know, those things that happened, that caused you to feel so bad, caused all those symptoms. You changed that. YOU’VE changed. YOU’RE healed. You know this because X, Y, Z. As a result, you get to enjoy all the wonderful benefits of having made these changes.” (go through benefits list).
What this does is remind the client of all the reasons she wants to make this change (benefits list). And all the reasons she CAN change (i.e. she’s not a child anymore). If there is any Part of the client that objects to her having these changes, it will show up when you Future Pace.
The value of Future Pacing is primarily in testing the results.
You’re concerned with uncovering any objections that might be lurking in the background. Once we have tracked forward from the ISE through all the SSE’s, bringing home all the changes into the Adult client in the chair, we Future Pace the Adult.
The purpose for this is two-fold.
- To test the client’s expectations with respect to their waking life.
- To reinforce the positive expectation that the client is now living into this future.
The only true test of the results is in the client’s waking life.
All you can do in a session is test the client’s willingness to accept an imagined future. So, it’s important to be thorough and stack the deck in the client’s favour. Depending on the presenting issue, I might pace forward to a specific event which the client is planning to attend. For example, a weight loss client might be motivated to lose the weight by an upcoming event like a wedding or trip or family reunion.
Perhaps they’re challenged by going out to restaurants. That’s a scenario you can use as a test. The idea is to put them smack-dab in the middle of a situation which, in the past, was challenging, and see how they respond.
This tells you how they expect to be dealing with it in the future.
To test the results bring up the worst-case scenario and see if they can handle it. You can take them in a specific event that they’re anticipating. Or you can use a more general approach – a month, 6 months, a year, 5 years down the road – and have the client report to you what life is like.
When you follow the flow forward along the timeline, it can be very powerful. But you don’t always have time to do everything. If you’re short on time, or you know you haven’t completely resolved the issue, there’s no point in proceeding with the test. In this case, I would guide the client to imagine themselves, sometime in the future, doing things free of the past. Keep things very general; you’re just setting up for success by planting the seeds for a better future – the one the client wants.
Think of Pro-Regression as testing the cake before you take it out of the oven.
To test a cake to see if its done you insert a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out “gooey”, you know it’s not done. There’s a sticky feeling that needs to be processed. If it comes out clean you can mentally do a little Snoopy Dog dance and guide your client to celebrate success.
Help the client to acknowledge and appreciate that they’ve changed. Then, put the icing on the cake. Bring it all home, back from the future into present time. Bring all those changes back into your client who is relaxing in the chair, in your office in the here and now. That’s where you can anchor this future as the client’s new vision for their future.
So that’s it. Get to the root and resolve it there. This is the foundation for regression hypnotherapy – feelings have roots in the past. So, follow the feeling.
Get to the root of the problem and resolve it where it got started. That’s where the healing lies. You can do this at any time during the Future Pacing Process. You can do it when you’re pacing forward into an SSE. And you can do it when you’re pacing forward into an imagined future situation or event.
If you bump into an uncomfortable feeling, amplify and bridge back to the past.
This technique is called Pro-Regression. So, add it to your tool kit as a testing technique. As you can see, it’s very versatile.
You can use to:
- Test the results
- Compound changes
- Convince the client that change has occurred.
You can even use it as a stand-alone process to find a feeling for Affect Bridge.
- Guide the client into an imagined event that would normally trigger them.
- Find the feeling.
- Bridge back to the causal event.
If you’re pressed for time, the Future Pacing can be held over for a subsequent session. The key is to set up for it by buttoning things up before emerging the client. Then, begin the next session with a review of the events you visited in the previous session.
A lot of change can happen between sessions. So, this is an effective way to bring to light what has shifted and what, if anything, still needs to be addressed.
- Take a tour of the buttoned-up event.
- Move through it, chronologically.
- Notice what’s there or not there.
Doing another sweep through the event will allow the client to pick up on any new insights and realizations.
If it’s clear, you have a great opportunity to “find the good” in that situations.
Find the gifts in the garbage before pacing forward through the SSEs. And continue gathering up the insights and awareness of shifts toward the better. At any time, during this process, should the client bump into a negative feeling, there is something in the past that is still unresolved. Your options are then to either:
- Release the feeling or
- Bridge back to where that feeling is coming from.
For example, the client imagines herself in a situation which, in the past, would have triggered the feelings which are responsible for generating the symptoms. All seems to be going well when suddenly – dun-dun-dun – the client abreacts. Maybe it’s the same old feeling – nervous, anxious, scared, lonely, out-of-control, guilty, dread, excited, or whatever.
If it’s a strong feeling, bridge back! It might seem to be the same feeling when, in fact, it’s an entirely different thread. This could track back into a completely different ISE, which could be the key to resolving the whole problem.
You just won’t know until you bridge back. Just don’t try to suggest away the feeling. It’s amateur. And it won’t work.
But you knew that, right?