September 13

Resistance – If It Feels Like You’re Hammering …

Regression to Cause Hypnosis


Running into resistance in your hypnosis sessions?  Feel like you’re hammering away and nothing is working?  If so, you need a different approach.

My husband used to manage construction sites.  One day he arrived on the site to find the crew struggling to get a girder into place.  They were hammering away.  

Nothing was working.

The noise was deafening.  The girder wouldn’t budge.  So, Bob (hubby) started waving and yelling STOP-STOP-STOP!!!  He then sent the guys off to take a coffee break while he evaluated the situation.

When the crew came back Bob singled out one guy.  He told him to go to one end of the girder.  He then positioned himself at the other end.

He instructed the other worker to put away his framing hammer.  And just use his finishing hammer.  (A finishing hammer is much smaller and lighter than a framing hammer.)  Then, he instructed the guy to just tap a few times on his end.

Tap-tap-tap …  Nothing happened.

Then Bob tapped on his end a few times.  Tap-tap-tap …

Working back and forth in this way they set up a rhythm.   And gradually, the girder just … vibrated into place.  Hypnotherapy is a lot like that. 

Like a construction site – safety is Job 1.  

But when things aren't going well, too often, it's a temptation to try to hammer the client through.  The problem is that trying to hammer a client into going where we want them to go rarely works.  It just sets up more resistance.  

So, when what you’re doing isn’t working you need to find a different approach.

Yes, there are times for being authoritarian.  But you can’t make the client move if they’re not willing to be moved.  They’re not being difficult.  They do want to change.  It’s just that what you’re doing isn’t working.  And when the technique isn’t a match for the client they won’t go there.

The reason they won’t go there is it doesn’t feel safe.  That’s what resistance is.  It’s because it’s not safe to go there.   That’s just the Subconscious Mind stepping in.  

You must satisfy its Prime Directive to protect.

You have more than one tool in your tool box, right?  

Just find one that’s better suited to the client.  Get clear about what needs to happen next.   Then, set things up for it to happen.

Don’t just dive in and go to work.  Set the client up to be successful working with you.  Teach your client how to work with you.  Then, work incrementally.  Tap-tap-tap …

Don’t try to accomplish too much.  You don’t have to do it all at once.  If there's resistance, focus on achieving one small change.  Tap-tap-tap ...

Once small change will allow another small change to occur.  

And then another.  And another.  It doesn’t take long to create some momentum.  And things start to move on their own. In this way you can baby-step your client into where you want them to be.

This applies to virtually every phase of the therapeutic process.  A slam-dunk inductions might work well for one client.  For another, it feels too much like being bullied into hypnosis. 

It’s just the wrong approach.  But you can associate a client into hypnosis.  And they won’t even realize it happened.

You can pound through the pain. Or you can tap on it and release it.

You can bring on a big abreaction and bridge back powerfully.  Or you can associate the client into the feeling and just watch as their Subconscious mind regresses automatically.

Here's how ...

Use your ability to work with imagery to "create a dream."  I like to start with a path in nature.  Anywhere in nature that’s a safe place for the client to just be themselves is perfect for this process.

Let the client choose the place.  This isn’t about creative imagery.  Treat it as you would an event in a regression. Have the client create the images and then describe it to you.  

Just as you would in a regression session, use present-tense language.  So, it’s all happening now.  This helps the client to associate into the image.  Then, ask questions that help to build the image.  

For example ....

  • Where in nature do you find yourself on this path?
  • Would it be day time or night time?
  • What sort of path do you find yourself on – dirt, gravel, mulch, pavement, or something else?

Get the client feeding back information to you.  Interacting.  Then, as they create the image, find out how it feels.

Notice how you’re working with image and emotion?  That’s the language of the Subconscious Mind.

Use questions to get the client describing all the details of their image.  The colors.  The sounds.  Perhaps there’s even a smell to this place.  Be sure to include physical sensations.  And any emotions that may arise.

Tune into any associations that come to mind as they move along the path. This will help to amplify all the details.  

Remember, any image that contains emotion is a Subconscious Event whether real or imagined.  So, if you can bring up any emotion the mind is already associating to an actual event.  

They’re not making this up.  The image is coming out of experiences they already have in memory.   And that feeling is not coming out of this scene.  It’s coming out of their storehouse of memories.  That's where we work!

This is the Subconscious Mind's Story!

Whatever the client discovers in the image is part of their Story.  It’s their Dream.  It holds all the meaning they have given it. And their Subconscious Mind is telling it to you.   So ask, Where does your mind now have you?

What do you become aware of as you move along this path?

Notice how you feel as you become aware of that ….  

As the client gains access to more and more imagery, emotions will begin to surface.  When that happens, gently guide the client to connect with those feelings in the body.  Have them notice how it feels in the body.  This is a really natural process.  

If a strong feeling comes up in the body you now have a bridge to the past.  That’s a launch pad you can use to bridge back to the past.  And chances are good that the client will regress very easily.  When you have a strong bridge, regression happens very easily.

How do you know if the feeling is strong enough to regress?  

Ask.  Ask the client, On a scale of 1 – 10, where 10 is the strongest it’s ever been … how strong is it?  

If it’s more than a 7,  direct them to go back to an earlier time they felt that feeling.  

If it’s less than a 7, continue to amplify the details.  This will bring up more of the feeling.

As you can see, this is a very organic process.  And you can get a spontaneous regression out of it quite easily.

So, that's it.

If you've ever felt like you were hammering to get through a session, this is just one simple strategy you can use to get rid of the resistance.  

You can very gently and incrementally “tap” the client into where you want them to go, instead.  Cool, huh?

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.