When clients are dealing with shock, we work with them to create a situation in the present that supports them in exploring their shock in a “peeling the onion” approach, going back in time from the most recent shock to earlier experiences, and providing appropriate treatment for each situation. In the hypnotherapy as well as the psychodrama and breathwork, the first most important part of treatment for shock is resourcing. We always do that at the beginning of the session.
Some ways we resource the client are to establish:
- A strong adult ego state as a resource
- A spiritual connection for protection and resourcing
- A “1, 2, 3, stop” agreement or a hand signal if they need to take a break from the process
- Permission to touch them for support or to hold them for nurturing, or in some cases to shift their position out of the shock posture they are in
- Cold packs (BooBoo Buddies) and hot packs (Belly Buddies) to treat sympathetic as well as parasympathetic shock.
During resourcing with Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy, we always include the following for shock treatment:
- Reparenting, which we do in the regressed state so as to incorporate the loving nurturing parent, the spontaneous child, and the wise adult into the subconscious mind where state dependent learning actually occurs.
- Empowerment, developing appropriate (and healthier) defenses, and learning to fully express what could never be said in the shocked state. Going back and reprogramming the old dysfunctional rules and belief systems which have kept the person from expressing feelings so that they may now be empowered to have a full range of emotions.
- Interrupting and repatterning the shock physiology. You can do this by sitting the client up gently if they have been very far into shock and asking them to slowly take a drink of water. This will help them connect back with their body. You can also very gently ask them if you can move their foot. Or you can ask, “Which part of your body do you feel the most energy in? Please move that part of your body if you can.” As they move, have them begin to feel the energy coming slowly back into their body. Work slowly.
- Letting go of your agenda in order to build trust and safety. Because people who have been emotionally and/or physically shocked are deeply wounded around trust, the work proceeds slowly to allow genuine contact at those most wounded levels, which builds the resources so that the deeper healing can occur.
- Titration approach to accessing traumatic material and working with it cathartically. Titration allows for “dipping into” it and out again, gradually. This accomplishes essentially a gradual extinguishing of the deeply embedded wound.
- Containment of the person’s experience. We provide a “holding environment” for it, similar to the way a mother contains her baby’s experiences.