April 3

Changing States 3 – Release Emotions

Emotional Release Work


In Part 2, we looked at how to change a state of anxiety by changing the body.
The body wants to move - especially if it’s holding onto a lot of pent-up, unresolved emotional energy from the past.   That energy got trapped in the nervous system of the body and it’s uncomfortable. If you can find a way to get the body moving, it will let go of a lot of “stuff”, and the client will feel tremendously better, right away. Here's five ways to do that.

We move our feelings and emotions by moving the body.  That’s what we did as children until we learned to sit down and shut up.  So we started sucking it up, and holding it all in.  And that’s when a lot of problem got started. With nowhere for the feelings to go, those uncomfortable emotions got trapped inside.  

If the body wants to move – let it.  

For example, if you’re in an event where the Child wants to run away – give the client permission to do that.  Physically.   Get them moving their legs.  Satisfy that desire to get moving.  Let the body feel what it’s like to run.  Moving the legs will help discharge the trapped emotional energy in the nervous system of the body.

If they want to push away an offender give them something to push against.  Hold up a pillow and encourage the client to push.  This will restore to the Child a sense of power and help discharge the energy trapped in the arms and shoulders.

5 Ways to Move the Energy Out

There are lots of ways to help the client discharge pent-up emotional energy.   Here are just 5 that you can use very effectively in your hypnosis sessions

1. Talk it out

Give the feeling a voice.  And let the feeling express itself.  Ask your client, “If that feeling could talk what would it say?”   Then instruct the client to find the words.  And speak them out loud.  That’s what didn’t happen the first time.  So encourage them to say whatever it is they need to say.  This will help to bring that event to completion.

Suggested reading: Gestalt Therapy Verbatim.  Fritz Perls.

Another way to change a person’s state is by changing the things they’re telling themselves.  Change their self-talk.  Usually, it’s what they’re saying about themselves that’s causing them the most distress.

It’s said that we have approximately 80,000 thoughts a day.  The problem is that most of those thoughts aren’t new.   We thought them yesterday, and the day before that ....  and this can go on for years. These thoughts are what make up our belief system.

Abraham-Hicks states: “A belief is a well-practiced thought.”

Much of our thinking is unconscious and habitual.   And much of what we have to say to ourselves in the privacy of our own minds isn’t very nice.  In fact, some of it is downright nasty.  So, teach your clients to become more consciously aware of their internal dialogue.  A person can be triggering themselves with just a thought.

You can change the sound quality of a person’s self-talk by changing how it sounds.  So find out what it sounds like, then change it.  Take the voice of the angry Inner Critic and put it on helium.  Make it sound like Elmer Fudd.  Or Buggs Bunny.  Or Daffy Duck.  Or Edith Bunker.  Or Goofy.  Just make it sound funny.  Laughter releases the emotional charge.

You can change where the voice is coming from.  Then change the location.  Locate it.  Then move it somewhere else.  Is it inside?  Move it to their big toe or little finger.  Is it outside of them?  Move it into further away or into the next room. Changing the image changes how it feels.

2. Tap it out

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or tapping has been shown to be very effective in extinguishing trauma.  Tapping uses both talking and physical movement to release the trapped energy.  And it’s a very non-threatening way to express uncomfortable thoughts and feelings.  Get it out and it’s over.

Suggested reading: Emotional Freedom Technique for PTSD.  Gary Craig.

You can use tapping to change the image, change the body and change the self-talk simultaneously.  Meridian Tapping Techniques (MTT) uses three things we do naturally.  We feel our feelings in the body.  We touch the body to provide comfort.  And we talk to ourselves in the privacy of our own minds.

Tapping can be used to change a person’s state, very quickly, because you are simultaneously changing their self-image, their self-talk, and how those relate to how the body feels.  So, pay attention to where that feeling is expressing in the body.

Emotions express predominantly through the gut, chest and throat.  If you can target one of those areas you’ll get a more dramatic release.

If you’re not already incorporating tapping into your hypnotherapy sessions, this is a tool that can really help you to move get those trapped energies out.  You can get deeper, more lasting results in a much shorter period of time.

Tapping is also a way to get your clients participating in the healing process between sessions.  This can help them get quicker results and make your job easier.  It also gives your client a resource they can use on their own.

Tapping only takes a few minutes to teach.  It gives your clients a self-healing technique they can use that empowers them.   And it is always available - right there at their fingertips.  In fact, you can teach them covert tapping.   

Tapping helps to calm the nervous system of the body.  So, the client can be tapping on the finger points anytime, anywhere, and no one will ever know they’re doing it.

Tapping can also be used as a way to provide proof that change is possible.  It doesn’t take very long to show the client how quickly they can get relief.  This is often surprising for clients.  So you can use it as a Convincer to increase the client's hopefulness and motivation.

Where tapping is really powerful is in regression hypnotherapy sessions.  You can use it to release resistance to the process.  For example, fear about “going there,” facing the past, or feeling the feeling.

In regression, the younger the Child is the less capable they are of dealing with those uncomfortable feelings.  They don’t know what to do with those feelings.  You can use tapping to help the Child release the thoughts and feeling right in that traumatic experience. 

This will give the Child immediate relief which will help to release the blocks that are contributing the overall problem the client came to see you about.  Nice, right?

You can use tapping to keep things moving along in your sessions.  Whenever you run into a block in an event there’s no need to push through the resistance.  Just tap on it to release it.  Then, rewind the event a little and test to see if there’s any of that feeling left.  If there is still something left, release a little more.

When the feeling has been completely released, you can progress a little further into the event until the client bumps into another feeling.  Repeat the steps.  In this way you can reduce the overall charge of the event and make it safe for the client to move through it to resolution.

3. Shake it out

Sometimes the body will quiver or shake involuntarily.  This is called “myoclonic shaking.”  If it happens in your sessions it’s a sign that the nervous system is releasing the energy.  Let it.

When the body starts to quake, encourage the client to just let it complete.  The client can also purposefully shake it off.  Or shake it out.  It’s another way to release the pent-up energy.  And can quickly bring relief.

Suggested reading:  The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process. David Berceli.

4. Twist it out

Give them a towel or a pillow to twist.   And wring out that feeling. 

Better yet, twist and shout!

5. Pump it out

You can invite the client to pump the feeling into a pillow.   You can move a lot more energy out more quickly by using larger body movements.   Bigger emotions call for bigger movements. So Pillow Therapy is especially effective for releasing BIG emotions.

Pillow Therapy is a way for the client to safely express the feeling of emotion.  But some clients can feel threatened by it.  They interpret hitting the pillow as an act of violence. So make it very clear to the client that this is not about hitting someone.  

It’s not about being violent.  It’s about honoring the feeling inside by giving it a place to go.  We’re pumping it out and putting the feeling into the pillow. 

This is a safe way for the client to finally get it out so they won’t have to carry it around inside of them, day after day.  By expressing that feeling they can release and let go of all the internal pressure.  This is a way to finally get clear of old uncomfortable feelings.

Feelings Want to Move

The problem is always one of holding onto the feelings. This is what's keeping them trapped in the nervous system of the body.  Those feelings want to move.   When we stop the energy from moving it has nowhere to go and it starts to build up inside.  That’s a problem because now the feeling is trapped inside.  It can’t move.  This is why unresolved feelings tend to get worse over time.  So, get the energy in motion.  Give it a way out and the feeling will resolve itself.

No matter what issue your client is dealing with, the key to healing is always going to be the same.  Find out what the Subconscious Mind wants.  Then find a way to provide it. Emotional energy that's been trapped inside the Mind-Body system wants to move.  E-motion.  Energy in motion.  That's what it's supposed to do.  So, find a way to let it do that.

Ask the client, “What does that feeling want?  “Where does it want to go?” “What does it want to do?”  Then find an appropriate way to let that happen.

Behind Every Emotion is a Though

Emotions don't just come out of the blue. If your client is in an emotionally charged event from the past, that's the energy that has been trapped in that event.  Feelings and emotions don't come out of nowhere.  They are always the result of a life experience. And behind every emotion there's a thought. This is how memory is formed.  

The memory is made up of the thoughts and feelings connected to the image of what happened.  Because they're connected, changing the image will change how it feels.  Releasing the feeling will change the thought.  You can even change them together.  Link the thought and the feeling together.  Then release the thought-feeling combo.  For example:  “The thought (I can’t breathe( makes me feel (choked up).”  Or “The thought (I’m stuck) makes me feel (scared).”  This approach can yield quicker results because you’re processing and releasing more of the information from the event/image.

Provide Stress Release

The events that are calling for resolution are stressful.  Stress hormones inhibit cognition.  So, when a client is caught up in a stress-response they can’t think.  This can make it very difficult for you to uncover what’s happening in the event.   Releasing the internal stress will give you a client who is better able to report what’s happening.

Sometimes a client will start to abreact.  But you may not know what’s happening to cause that reaction.  That’s fine. You don’t need to know.  You can just get them tapping.  Ask the client, “Would you like to release that?”  Then guide them to tap through it.

Release some of the stress and pressure and the nervous system will calm down.  As they relax, they’ll be more able to tell you what’s happening in the event. Calming the energy system of the body will allow the client to feel more in control and, therefore, more safe. As a result, they’ll be able to report more of the details.  

This makes your job easier and allows you to be more thorough.  It's also a much more client-centred approach to healing.

Peel the Onion

You don’t have to push through anything. You just work with wherever the client is at.   Address whatever is coming up, in the moment, and it becomes very simple.  You just take things one step at a time.  Just peel through the ‘onion’ one layer at a time.  In this way, you can gently move a person through to get a more complete resolution of the problem.

So that's it. You now have 5 ways to release the energy that's been trapped in the body-mind system.

  1. Talk it out.
  2. Tap it out.
  3. Shake it out.
  4. Twist it out.
  5. Pump it out.

Get the body moving and you'll get a deeper level of healing and better results, overall.  So, think about how you can add body movement to your session work with clients.

About the author 

Wendie Webber

With over thirty years of experience as a healing practitioner, Wendie brings a broad range of skills to her approach to regression to cause hypnosis. She combines a gentle, yet commanding way of presenting with a thorough, clear and systematic approach to helping healing practitioners to make sense of regression hypnotherapy.