This discussion about the importance of the inner child work for the regression to cause hypnotherapy, with Jacquelyn Haley, Beryl Comar, Wendie Webber and Daniel Ghanime kicks off with an important question:
Why regress to cause?
Wendie addresses a common objection to regression hypnosis which has to do with a fear of retraumatizing the client. What do you need to know to facilitate regression safely and effectively?
What if the client is afraid to regress?
Beryl Comar shares how to encourage reluctant clients to be more open to doing the inner child work of regression hypnotherapy.
Jacquelyn recommends this interview with Alex Smith whose attitude toward regression hypnotherapy was changed as a result.
What is the reparenting of inner child work?
Inner Child work is not a technique. It is a therapy with a long history in psychology and philosophy. Daniel Ghanime speaks to reconnecting with the love embodied by the inner child. "The child has been locked in a prison for a crime it didn't commit . . . sometimes for thirty or forty years."
Daniel gives the example of clients who grow up in a warzone. Reparenting provides an eternal parent for the child who was traumatized and, of necessity, repressed. This puts an end to the retraumatizing the client experiences on a daily basis.
Beryl shares how effective inner child work was in helping an airline pilot who suffered panic attacks whenever he looked out of the window of the airplane.
- What was the triggering event?
- What was the cause?
- How was the underlying problem resolved?
Beliefs are just lies we tell ourselves. What are the lies we have been telling ourselves since we were a child? That's all we're changing. ~ Beryl Comar
When would you not use regression to cause?
Wendie points to the client's therapeutic goal as the guide to effective therapy. What issues respond best to surface techniques? What issues require regression? How does this relate to inner child work?
The inner child is a Part of the client. The three key Parts we work with in regression hypnosis sessions are the inner child, internalized parents, and the adult consciousness of the client. The client does the inner child work. The therapist merely guides the process. As a result, the first session is best used to assess and prepare the client for the work they will do on themselves.
Here's a link to the interview with Alex Smith who played "devil's advocate."
The why, the what and the how of inner child work.
The main problem in the causal event is that the child wasn't prepared for it. This creates a disruption in the nervous system and contributes to shaping identity. The key to understanding when to regress to cause and do the inner child work in a regression lies with the question - Are we dealing with an habituated, uncomfortable emotion?
Wendie reveals how to facilitate a regression without a formal induction.
- How do you know when a client has regressed?
- How can you use questions during the intake process to facilitate the induction?
- How do children process information at different ages?
- What tests can you use to ensure the client is ready to regress?
- Why are Subsequent Sensitizing Events important?
The Masked Man and the Outstanding Parking Ticket
Jacquelyn shares how she reacted to an intruder in her home who refused to leave. Just talking about it was making her heart pound.
Beryl talks about patterns of protection and how anger often steps in when we're feeling fear. Child/Victim, Parent/Judge, Adult/Assertive.
Wendie offers a reality-check: when the threat is real, the correct response is fear. Fear is a biological response to a perceived threat. How a person then reacts is based on their learned responses - run away or step forward assertively.
Daniel shares how the inner child was present in the situation in adult life. A child is either rebellious or submissive. Pay attention to tone of voice.
A memory is an event with an emotion. Every time the story is told, the emotion is re-experienced, and retraumatizing is occurring. Neutralizing the emotion attached to a memory from the past puts an end to the retraumatizing that occurs with a triggering event.
Past Life Regression
Past Life Regression is recreational. When you are regressing someone to a past life, and they experience a traumatic event that occurred sixteen thousand years ago, is that retraumatizing?
It's still regression! Sometimes a spontaneous regression can lead to a past life.
Three kinds of regression:
- Directed regression
- Spontaneous regression (non-directed)
- Past Life regression
What happens when you have a past life regressionist doing that work and it leads to a traumatic event? Will they be able to relieve that person of the effects of that trauma? Or will they just emerge the client and say, "You see? That's why you have the problem. You were hit on the head when you were King Tut and that's how you died."
It's never about the 'why.' It's always about the 'how.' "I'm not regressing someone to know why it is happening. I'm regressing them to find out how to get them out of it!" What inner children are playing parts in the problem? What inner child has been suppressed? How is that child expressing as symptoms?
- Panic attack
- Nail biting
- Migraine headache
These are abreactions. They are the habit the client developed. Every time it happens they are retraumatizing themselves.
A Wounded Child Needs to Be Heard
Tamsin's work with clients suffering from PTSD comments on how failing to prepare the adult client for the inner work can result in self-harming behaviors. Permission is critical to working with traumatic memories because protective Parts are there for a reason and can result in overwhelm or self-destructive behavior.
Beryl speaks about the fear people have about abreactions. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a highly effective tool for dealing with abreactions. Beryl shares how she used it to eliminate her migraine headaches.
Jacquelyn speaks about the creative nature of healing work and how many tools and techniques can be integrated into the work of regression hypnotherapy.
Referring back to Tamsin's introduction of PTSD into the conversation, Wendie agrees that the therapist brings their own authenticity and creativity into the therapeutic process, but being systematic in your approach is very important. PTSD is a very good model for studying the healing process. The protocol gives you the steps so that you know what to do next. For example, the Devil's Therapy is a three-phase, seven-step protocol. It's always the same seven steps no matter what you're dealing with.
It's always the same three phases. The first phase is set-up. You might do the first three steps, which make up the set-up phase, in the first session. You might even move into the second phase, which is the core work of regression hypnotherapy, release and regress. But it's all based on the client and their readiness for the next step. If you're working with a client who is suffering with PTSD, you could be working on the set-up phase for multiple sessions.
The client shows up with a box full of ingredients. Your job is to figure out how to use those ingredients to create the result they're after. If they're missing some essential ingredients, the first step is finding a way to provide that.
Safety is the Subconscious Mind's Prime Directive.
That needs to be our primary concern. All you ever need to do is make it safe for the client to take the next step. This takes all the pressure off of the therapist. You don't need to figure it all out. You just need to:
- What are the steps to get from A to Z?
- What's the next logical step?
- What does the client have that can help?
- What are they missing?
- What does the client need to safely take the next step?
Tapping has been shown to calm the nervous system of the body. This makes it a great trauma therapy. You don't need to know the whole EFT Recipe. Wendie shares several ways you can use tapping with clients and for yourself.
The Core Work is Regress/Release.
If the client has too much emotional stuff going on, release it. If they're afraid of their own feelings, teach them how they can release those feelings. Prove to them that they can feel better and they won't be resistant to their own emotional responses. Then when you regress them back into the ISE, you can use releasing techniques to discharge the internal pressure that's at the root of the client's issue.
The client's unwanted response is the inner child trying to get the attention of the Conscious Mind. Dr. John Sarno calls this the Symptom Imperative. When we don't listen to our emotions - we stuff them, repress them, ignore them, put a lid on them - we go to the doctor to get pills to put a better lid on them. The symptoms are the inner child tugging on the apron strings trying to get our attention.
What we want to do is tell that child, "I hear you. I'm listening. Show me."
That child will speak to you through the body. This is where tapping is so useful because it gives you a way to release trapped emotions through the body. Tapping also helps to keep the Conscious Mind from shutting down the process.
If the feeling is too big, get out your pillow and give "that feeling" a place to go. Put a nice firm pillow in the client's lap and say, "I'm going to teach you how to release that feeling in a safe way. Here's how we're going to do it."
If the client is in overwhelm, bring the intensity of feeling down by releasing it into the pillow. Give it a place to go.
What happened isn't the problem. The problem is that the client was "kindled" for those specific symptoms. Not everyone who gets in a car accident ends up with lifelong pain. Not everyone comes back from the battlefield with PTSD. There's a reason for this. To learn more about this read: The Body Bears the Burden, Dr. Robert Scaer.
Offering the client tissues is an act of kindness but it shuts down the feeling. If you try to teach the client techniques to "manage" their emotions, you communicate to the inner child that it's not okay to have those feelings.
What is an abreaction?
Beryl says it's the client's normal response. It's not an abreaction to them. It's just how they react to a specific situation. Most people don't want to learn how to relax. They want the problem gone - for good. Be a brave therapist! Let the client express and get it out.
Wendie agrees with Beryl that there's a time for the maternal approach and a time for the assertive approach. The maternal approach is especially helpful during the set up or the wrap up. The assertive tone is needed when you're dealing with strong emotions that the client just-doesn't-like. A maternal tone is highly effective when the client is experiencing tender emotions.
Daniel reminds the group of the power of giving permission. When the client feels stuck, asking the child what it needs can provide a key to getting them unstuck. An abreaction is the client's normal reaction. Their reaction is what is "normal" to them.
Hypnosis is an empty box. ~ Daniel Ghanime
You can do the work without an induction. What you need to understand is the components of therapy. There is no way you cannot hypnotize a client. Everyone is hypnotizable. Hypnosis on it's own is like a cardboard box with nothing inside. If you're using hypnosis to relax people, you're adding relaxation to hypnosis, but hypnosis on it's own is nothing.
People pay for results
Wendie offers a reminder, "People don't pay for hypnosis - they pay for results." Hypnosis gives us access to the part of the Mind that holds onto our memories and emotions. If you are only working with the conscious thinking Mind, you may have breakthroughs where the Subconscious Mind pokes its head up and says, "I need some help here!" But most of the time, the Conscious Mind is too conditioned to shoving it back down. So, the feeling will come up, the inner child will be screaming for help, and the Conscious Mind says, "Shut up, Kid. I'm not listening to you."
That is the coping strategy. Keep it down. Don't talk, don't think, don't feel . . . don't BE. What we do is by-pass the Critical Faculty, which is the thinking part of the Mind. We ask it to cooperate by taking a place in the background. We don't want it analyzing, and thinking, and trying to figure anything out. We want it to be passively there, as a spectator in the bleachers, watching what's going on. Then we invite the Subconscious Mind to play Show Me.
Show me what's really going on, here. And it will if you have sufficient rapport. That's the set up. That's the prep-work. That's making sure that you have sufficient trust in the therapeutic relationship. And ensuring that the client has the resources they need to be able to do the work because you can't do it for them. And that means ensuring that there is a readiness, willingness, and ability to go where you need to go to get the healing, so that you can deliver on the results that you're promising.
"My goal is to get a lasting result. I don't want to see a client over and over and over, again, for years on end. The world of full of people needing help. Get them in, get the work done, test the results to make sure that they're going to stick, and then move onto the next person who needs help. "