Saturday, January 14, 2006

Emotional Clearing of Agoraphobia with Hypnotherapy

One of the primary goals of psychotherapy has been the healing of depression, anxiety, chronic anger, and other emotional disorders, as well as the alleviation of psychosomatic diseases whose source is in the client's suppressed emotions. As hypnotherapists, we are constantly encountering our clients' childhood pain and trauma while attempting to assist them in behavioral changes. Alchemical hypnotherapy offers revolutionary new technologies for the rapid healing of these childhood memories. This process is "Emotional Clearing Therapy." This article discusses how these new strategies of healing childhood traumas accelerates the solving of these emotional problems.

Psychological research has strongly indicated that our patterns of emotional health or weakness are often determined by childhood factors. Sigmond Freud was the first modern psychologist to suggest that trauma in the early years of childhood may be of supreme importance in determining an individual's emotional adjustment in later life.

More recent research by behavioral psychologists has indicated that the basic nurturing a child receives in its first six years of life provides the critical foundation for happiness, maturity and responsibility in later life. Serious traumas occurring in this time period can permanently cripple that child's maturing process.

The healing of these emotional traumas, however, has been an elusive goal for most psychotherapies. Freud used such techniques as free association and dream interpretation to reach an analysis of the client's subconscious material after 2-5 years of weekly therapy. The insight gained by the client into the childhood sources of his current neurosis would, theoretically, allow the client to let go of childish or irrational behavior. The client's logic might be as follows: "Well, I can see that these feelings or behaviors might have been appropriate at age 3, but are obviously unnecessary now!"

Since Freud's day, the science of insight therapy has come a long way, but is still based on Freud's basic principle that insight leads to recovery. However, a large percentage of clients have discovered that insight alone is not sufficient to relieve the emotional symptoms caused by childhood trauma.

More recently, therapy pioneers like Wilhelm Reich and Arthur Janov have developed a new form of therapy called "emotional release" to deal with early trauma. By taking the client back to the scene of these childhood experiences and reliving them in gory detail, it is thought that a client could release the emotional charge from the experience, often by kicking and screaming. This would relieve muscular tension, anxiety, and neurotic behavior. Wilhelm Reich's work involved forcing the emotional release through deep pressure on the body's muscles in which the repressed emotional charge had been stored.

Janov created a powerful group experience through psychodrama methods. These therapies are based on the concept that releasing locked-in emotion through acting out buried feelings in the context of being regressed to a childhood memory presented the long-sought solution for childhood trauma. Therefore, I call these methods "emotional release therapy."

Recently, some problems have become evident in this form of therapy as well. Many of my colleagues and students in this field have noticed that people who have done many months of emotional release become very adept at expressing feelings, but aren't necessarily feeling better. They often become fixated on acting out negative emotions. One client of mine who had worked with Janov for six months stated that asserting his feelings, crying, and being emotionally upset became a pattern for him and others in his group.

While getting in touch with his feelings felt good at first, getting stuck acting out his emotional pain all the time felt bad. His solution: he repressed his emotions and moved back into his intellect. Another friend found that Reichian therapy allowed her to open up all the anger inside, but her frequent fits of rage didn't make her very many friends or make her life easier.

Now a new style of therapy is emerging which utilizes an entirely new approach to dealing with childhood trauma. This therapy, which I call "emotional clearing", focuses on providing the client's Inner Child with an experience of being loved and nurtured by caring parents after being rescued from the trauma of childhood. This mode of therapy is especially effective because it provides the opportunity for the client to experience, in a childlike state, the fulfillment of emotional needs and completion of the emotional maturation which was blocked by traumatic experiences. Furthermore, while emotional release therapy may fixate the client in the expression of negative emotions, emotional clearing allows the client to experience profound states of bliss and joy which the therapist can then anchor (through post-hypnotic suggestion) to the client's daily stressful situations, replacing tension and fear with bliss and joy even in difficult crisis.

For example, one client who had a phobia of crowded supermarkets ("agoraphobia") entered a childhood trauma which connected to this phobic response. During the course of the session, we rescued her child from this traumatic scene by having the client visualize her adult self and other persons that she trusted enter into the hypnotically-induced scene. After rescuing this "inner child", I suggested that she become the rescued child. She felt this experience as waves of bliss and relief in her body. I then used post-hypnotic suggestion to anchor this bliss, stating, "Every time you enter a supermarket, you remember this wonderful feeling of being rescued."

This linking process is simply a teaching the subconscious mind to change its response pattern from (supermarket = childhood trauma = panic) to the new pattern (supermarket = childhood rescue = bliss).

After one session in this case, a one-year follow-up revealed a complete remission of symptoms.

About Alchemy Institute of Hypnosis: America's oldest spiritually oriented hypnotherapy training program has trained over 2000 hypnotherapists since 1983. The Alchemy Institute is approved by the state of California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPVE) and American Council of Hypnotists Examiners. Our website offers an extensive library of articles about hypnotherapy. If you're interested in making changes in your life through the techniques of hypnotherapy described here, call our office at 1-800-950-4984 or visit our website at

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