Health is crucial, but it can be elusive for many. So many of our clients come in complaining about their inability to overcome unhealthy behaviors and habits. From smoking and overeating to dangerous sexual behavior and street drug use, people often struggle to win the battle against urges to engage in behaviors that are risky and harmful.
Many forms of therapy address the issue of helping people handle various kinds of addictions. There is great value in bringing clients to the point where they see how their behavior is undermining their desire to live free and happy lives. Then, we can support them as they begin to make healthier choices, by designing treatment plans that help them make progress over a period of time. We might help a client to stick with a decision to quit drinking, for example,but without constant reinforcement, and perhaps the added support of a 12-step program, the client may still struggle. Unhealthy habits are hard for clients to give up, and often, the poor self esteem that comes with them is hard to let go of.
So, while we can potentially help people release unhealthy habits and choose new and more productive ones, this is not all there is to treating addiction. Unhealthy behavior is deeply rooted in the psyche, and clients are rarely aware of their underlying motivations.
There has been extensive research proving that living in a household where addiction and other behaviors that make parents unpredictable, unavailable, and potentially violent can contribute to a child’s behavior disorders, in later life as well as during childhood. Addiction is often one of these. This article from Psychology Today highlights the connection between childhood trauma and addiction. The article emphasizes the need for a trauma-informed approach to treating addiction.
However, being trauma-informed addresses only part of the problem. Where there is trauma, there is also a need to heal. Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy™ addresses this more fully. Here is how.
Hypnotherapy goes deeper
When a person habitually does things that harm the self, this is a sign that deeper issues need to be addressed. According to Wellness Institute founders Diane Zimberoff and David Hartman, addiction is an indication of a failed relationship with the self. The failure to connect with the self in healthy ways is often rooted in childhood. This poor relationship to self, and the addiction that can result, is almost always a response to trauma that may have been experienced at a very young age.
Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy™ uses age regression in order to allow the client to access subconscious memories, where traumatic events are stored. Once the client identifies the event, they are encouraged to have a corrective experience. For example, if I child was upset because of a parent’s drinking, they would be able to release their emotions surrounding this in the session.
While in regression, the client is encouraged to speak directly to the person responsible for creating the childhood trauma. “Why can’t you be here for me, Mom?” and “Why are you passed out again, Dad? Talk to me!” are examples of some of the ways emotions can be released verbally, safely and completely.
With emotions such as anger, hurt, and sadness, the client is encouraged to express the emotions fully. They may cry, yell, scream, or hit down on a safe surface while they speak the words that they couldn’t say at the time of the trauma.
With other emotions, such as fear, loneliness, shame, guilt, and feelings of being “not enough,” the therapist helps the client extinguish, or lessen the emotions through giving that child “part” the love that was needed at the time.
This method of healing the inner child is immensely more effective than merely addressing the behaviors exhibited in adulthood in isolation. When people understand why they seek to be soothed through addictive substances or behaviors by addressing and healing the original trauma, real progress can be made very rapidly.
Following up with collapsing anchors and titrating triggers
The healing that takes place makes a huge difference, but there still can be a lot of work needed to regulate urges and modulate behaviors. For this, Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy™ borrows techniques borrowed from Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) to “boost” the client’s progress.
The client can be trained, while in a light trance, to associate the behavior with the most abhorrent substances they can imagine. They are then instructed to bring this aversive association back any time the craving or temptation arises. This is called “collapsing anchors.” It enables clients to break any pleasant association with an unwanted behavior they may have experienced in the past.
Clients can also be taught to titrate the cravings, as well as the emotions that provoke them, through other suggestions administered while in the trance state. The client is instructed to use a hand gesture, such as operating a dial or a dimmer switch, to turn up or turn down the intensity of what is being felt. With this process, known as titration, clients are shown that they’re in control of their responses to stimuli, and able to bring down the craving or negative emotion.
Recordings of both these processes can be used by the client to remember what it was like to work with the therapist at the time of their session. They can also reinforce what they learned, and how they can use collapsing anchors and titration to manage their urges, feelings, and cravings. Clients report great success in using these techniques,to reinforce the healing ande insights gained through Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy™
The time for hypnotherapy training is now!
In these trying, confusing, and upsetting times, addiction is becoming more prevalent than ever in our society. You can help your patients reclaim their emotional stability by addressing their trauma and clearing the need to be soothed by unhealthy behaviors far more quickly with Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy™. Our training programs allow you not only to learn how to treat clients, but also give you the opportunity to achieve your own personal healing.
You can put Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy™ in your therapeutic tool box in fast order with the Six-Day Hypnotherapy Training and Certification Program at The Wellness Institute. Learn the basics, see how it’s used to treat different client issues, and experience being a therapist, client, and observer—twice in the six day period!
When you want to go even deeper, as many Six-Day graduates do, the Advanced Internship provides concentrated didactic and experiential learning in a community of like-minded colleagues. From there, join our PTIL Leadership program, and become licensed to teach Personal Transformation Intensive courses for your clients. Build your practice, generate more referrals, and see your clients make quantum leaps in their growth right before your eyes.
The Wellness Institute’s Mentorship program allows our most advanced students to dive deeply into Jungian psychology, to learn more about shadows, complexes, visioning, dreamwork, and more. Our teachers participate in this program, as they continue their personal transformation work throughout their careers at Wellness.
Our network of practitioners reaches all corners of the planet, and this amazing group of professionals is waiting for you to join us!