How to identify and resolve the causes of physical conditions
Suppose you have a client with a physical symptom such as psoriasis or a stomach ulcer. There’s no obvious emotion that you can easily regress on to arrive at the source of the issue – there’s just the symptom. So what do you do?
Somehow you have to get to the unresolved thought or emotion behind the symptom. When the link between the thought/emotion and the symptom is made conscious, it can be resolved and the reason for keeping the symptom will fall away.
Here is a general outline on how to elicit the thought/emotion and how to resolve it. Note: The procedure described here doesn’t depend on the initial sensitizing event, or ISE, being found. It’s good if you can find it and resolve it, but not absolutely necessary.
Step 1 – Establish the conscious history of the problem
Begin by asking the client, in normal awareness, for a general history of the problem:
- When did it begin?
- When did it become a problem?
- What makes it worse?
- What makes it better?
The answers to these questions will already give some clues to what the symptom is about.
Step 2 – Find the common thread
Now review several symptom producing events (SPEs) in hypnosis. A symptom producing event is simply an event that triggers the symptom, or an incidence when the symptom flared up. It can be especially effective to work with ideomotor signals for this. Simply ask the client to go back to a recent time when the symptom was a problem. Review what they were doing, what they were feeling, what started it.
Proceed to go further back in time, reviewing several more SPEs. At this stage you’re not really concerned with finding the ISE – all you need to do is find the common thread of events and emotions that trigger the problem. For example, in the case of someone who has flare-ups of psoriasis, you might find that they all occur when the person feels angry about being taken for granted.
Note: if you do continue all the way back to the ISE, you can resolve it, and then continue with Step 3 which will simply reinforce the release already achieved.
Step 3 – Releasing the negative emotions
Now that you’ve identified the link between the emotions and the symptom, you go through each of the SPEs again and ask the client, “Is it all right to let go of [negative emotion] in this situation?” If yes, review the situation again, but get the client to see themselves functioning in a healthy way. “See yourself painlessly handling the situation that ordinarily would have caused a flare-up of this condition.”
The aim of this positive image rehearsal of the past events is to demonstrate to the subconscious mind that there is an alternative way of reacting to the situation. The effect is to desensitize and decondition the client to the stimulus that used to trigger the symptom.
Step 4 – Future pace
Guide the client to review future situations that would have triggered the symptom, and let them rehearse the events without the habitual emotional response. When the emotion does not arise, the symptom will not arise.
This process should be enough to clear the symptoms. For more detail on this method, see Hypnosis: The mind-body connection, by Peter Mutke, which is reviewed on this site. As an alternative method, you can pinpoint the exact cause, or ISE, of a symptom using The 7 Keys of Psychosomatic Symptoms (an article on this will appear soon..)
Russel Brownlee – Expert hypnotherapy and life coaching.