September 9

Hypnotherapy Techniques for Releasing Trapped Emotions

Emotional Release Work, Universal Healing Steps


The body naturally releases energy trapped in the nervous system.  Hypnosis is just one of those conditions where that can happen unexpectedly.  But if you don’t know how to manage the energy, it can be scary - for both you and your client. The 4 Universal Healing steps will make managing the process in hypnosis sessions much easier for you.

1. Find it

The first step is to calmly acknowledge that something is happening.   If the client is going into an abreaction calmly acknowledge it.  It might be the body shaking.  Or quivering.  Or quaking.  Might be much more.

What makes it frightening is that it’s involuntary.  And the more intensity there is the more frightening it can be for the client.  So, the first step is to acknowledge that it’s there.  Stephen Parkhill, author of Answer Cancer, says, “There’s the feeling” to acknowledge the feeling and give it permission to be there.

Recognize that this is just the body’s way of releasing the energy trapped from the nervous system.    Let your client know it won’t last very long if they just let the body do what it was naturally designed to do.

2. Feel it

The tendency is to try to shut down the uncomfortable feeling.  But this just holds onto the energy, keeping it trapped inside.  Keeping it trapped inside doesn’t feel good.  So, encourage the client to just let what’s happening happen.

Let the client know that the body knows exactly what it needs to do.  What’s happening is natural.  It’s the body’s way of releasing the feelings trapped in the nervous system.

Reassure the client that it’s safe to trust the body.  Feelings don’t last very long when we just let ourselves feel them.  Feelings naturally arise and pass away.  They only become a problem when we try to stop them from arising passing away.

When we put a lid on our feelings there’s no place for them to go.  As a result, they stay stuck in the body. And the pressure tends to build up over time.  So, let the client know that there’s only so much of it in there.   The feeling is finite.  Once it has been allowed to come to the surface it can be released.  And when it releases completely it’s over.

The body naturally releases feelings trapped in the energy system of the body - when we let it. But these feelings are often frightening for clients.  And the tighter the lid on the feelings the more pressure there will be inside.  

The goal is to get it out. When the body starts letting go of emotional energy, the pressure inside starts to diminish.  And the client begins to feel better right away.

Here are some ways you can help to accelerate the releasing process:

  • Tapping on the meridian points e.g. EFT
  • Bi-lateral tapping e.g. W.H.E.E.
  • Pumping the feeling into a pillow
  • Twisting a towel e.g. wring out the anxiety
  • Exaggerating the movement g. running, pushing away

3. Heal it

Once the quaking and shaking finishes have the client notice what has changed.  Guide the client to go inside and do a scan of the body.  Notice what’s there and what’s NOT there. This is important because, if you don’t bring your client’s attention to the fact that change is occurring, the client will tend to overlook it.

The moments immediately following a release can be rich with insight.  Stress and tension and pressure inhibit a person’s ability to think.  And releasing reduces the pressure to allow greater clarity.  

During the healing phase don’t be in a rush to move forward.   A great deal of learning can be occurring below the surface. Remember, the client is accustomed to focusing on the PAIN of the problem, not signs of improvement.  So, after every release, ask the client to check inside and see what’s there or not there.  This gives you an opportunity to help the client to discover, for themselves, that healing is happening.  

If the quaking has stopped, it means that they have let something go.  Validate that.  Then find out if there's anything left.

If there’s still something there, take a moment to bring the client’s awareness to any improvement.  Validate any change for the better before you proceed with releasing what’s left.   Sometimes the next layer or wave of feeling will find its way to the surface following a release.  That’s okay.  Just verify that it’s the same feeling and not a different feeling.  If it’s a new feeling, validate the change that has occurred before moving onto the next feeling.

Following a release a great deal of learning can be occurring below the surface.  Releasing forces the Subconscious Mind into a state of reorganization.  Don’t be in a rush to move forward.   Let the client realize it is okay to experience those feelings.  After all, nobody died.  They’re still here and they’re okay.

Give the Subconscious Mind the time it needs to accept and re-calibrate to these changes.  Encourage it to integrate these changes fully.  And give the client time to consciously realize that giving the feeling a way out is giving them a way out of the problem.

Validate every insight or improvement.  No matter how small the improvement, it’s a step in the direction of healing.  Encourage your client to notice when change is happening.   Help them to realize that it is okay to let those feelings come to the surface because, when they do, they feel better right away.  This helps to empower and encourage them to stay with the process long enough to get a complete release of the problem.

When the release is complete the client’s Subconscious Mind will naturally fill the void with the client’s Core Energy.  This restores well-being to the mind-body system.   So, wrap up your session with suggestions and imagery that reinforce all the positive shifts and insights that occurred during the session.

Encourage the client’s Subconscious to fill the client with energies that support life and growth, well-being, health and happiness.  Then, encourage more complete integration at a deeper level with suggestions and imagery that literally “bring home” all those wonderful changes.

4. Seal it

Human beings are hardwired for healing.  So, the body-mind knows how to heal.  As healing practitioners we just help it to do what it was designed to do by finding, feeling, and validating each shift toward a better feeling.

Our core energy support health and happiness.  This process of finding, feeling, and validating each emotion helps to create a void which the mind-body system will automatically fill.  And it will fill it with whatever is most needed by the client.   But, as a hypnotherapist, you have a technology that allows you to do much more. You can wrap up your session powerfully by using suggestions and imagery which encourage the mind-body to do what it was designed to do at Source.

You can encourage the Subconscious Mind to all the client’s own Core Energy to fill the void, and then generalize all the positive changes.  This will allow integration to occur at a deeper level.

You can fill the void with light and love.  That’s what the Child needs.  It’s what every human being needs.

In your wrap up, include anything that’s appropriate to the client based on what came up in the session.  You might also include suggestions for forgiveness, gratitude, or the rewards of having released the past. compound those suggestions.    Then, test the results.

Test the Results

Sometimes the client will report a feeling of emptiness or “nothing.”  This does not necessarily the feeling is gone.  Parkhill says, “Sometimes nothing is something.”  You need to test.   I know this because it happened to me.

In the regression session I went back to a scene where I was 1 year-old.  It was bath time and I was happily splashing in the tub while Mom bathed me.  I was unaware that my 12 year-old brother, Wayne, was sneaking into the room.

When he popped up behind me he was wearing a striped tee-shirt and an Indian Chief head-dress.  He said, “Boo!” and it startled me. I felt a shock.  Then, I felt scared.

This experience seeded a free-floating anxiety which I carried most of my life.  Behind this fear was the belief, “Nobody’s got my back.”  So, unconsciously I was always feeling vulnerable.  The problem was that releasing this lifelong fear left me feeling empty.  And for the next six weeks, following the session, I felt wonky.  Off.  Like something was missing. Then, I figured it out . . .

What was missing was the anxiety.  That anxious, vulnerable feeling had become so familiar that releasing it felt like losing a Part of myself.  Feeling “empty” can mean different things to different people.  So, when a client reports a feeling of emptiness,or “nothing”, following a release, validate the feeling.  

Let the client know that the feeling is allowed to be there.  Then, find out how that feeling is being interpreted.  You can do that by running the following diagnostic check.

#1. New or familiar?

First, ask the client - Is it a new feeling or a familiar feeling?

If it’s a new feeling, all that's required is to bring understanding.  The client is confused.  You can reframe "that feeling" as evidence of change. 

Ask the client, "True or false - you've let something go."  Once you have verification, you can celebrate success and reinforce how much better they do feel for having let all “that” go.

If the feeling is familiar, it could be that the next layer or wave is surfacing into awareness.  In this case, just increase the focus of attention on "that feeling." 

If there’s more of the feeling that’s needs to be cleared, it will begin to surface as the client increases attention on it.

#2.  Comfortable or uncomfortable?

Ask the client - Is that a comfortable feeling or an uncomfortable feeling?

If it’s an uncomfortable feeling take a Subjective Unit of Distress (SUD) on it.  A SUD allows you to quantify the feeling.   The way to perform a SUD is to ask the client, “On a scale of 1- 10, where 10 is the worst it has ever been, how strong is that feeling?”  

Anything over an 8 gives you sufficient intensity to bridge back into a past event.  Anything less and you’ll need to amplify the feeling to get a strong connection to the event.

Sometimes feeling empty is good.  It's a comfortable feeling because the uncomfortable feeling of fear, anger, guilt, sadness, or whatever you were releasing, was blocking the client from experiencing this better feeling.  This could indicate a complete release has occurred. 

That’s fantastic! But some clients can be tempted to interpret this sensation negatively because it feels like a loss.  So, it feels as if there is something missing.  Something is missing.  

What's missing is the “bad” feeling.  But if the client interprets this emptiness to mean they have lost something, it could just reinforce the underlying problem.  And that could make things worse.

Sometimes the empty feeling won’t find its way to the surface until after the session. The client will feel great following the releasing session but then between sessions this empty feeling of loss will creep in.  That’s what happened with me.  So, remember to do a check-in before diving into the next session.  

If this empty feeling has found its way to the surface between sessions, the next logical step would be to help the client integrate the change more fully.

So, that's it.

These four universal healing steps work with the Subconscious Mind.  

  1. Find it
  2. Feel it
  3. Heal it
  4. Seal it

These steps are truly universal.  Use them in your sessions to help the body-mind do what it was designed to do - heal.

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.