Many people have been through traumatic events, great loss, embarrassment, intense stress, or even distinct moments of failure that stay in their minds as images frozen in time. The problem is that even though these moments are no longer happening, the mind will continue to replay these images from the past as though they are still happening. This causes the person to re-live the past pain in the here and now, preventing them from letting go of the past and moving forward peacefully in their lives.
The subconscious mind controls 95% of our functioning and it records everything that ever happened to us as if we were under constant video surveillance. So, past traumas and painful events live in the subconscious mind and when brought into our conscious awareness, we re-live the pain all over again. There is a brilliant hypnosis exercise that combines Neuro-Linguistic Programming to help free us from our fearful memories – without having to re-live the painful details!
In hypnosis, we use deep relaxation, imagination and concentration at the same time to change the way that we perceive a situation or event. Once we see something in a new way, this creates a new set of thought patterns and feelings and we are able to act from a new place of possibility! NLP creates rapid and lasting change by incorporating our 5 senses and communication skills to create new patterns that move us toward the positive realities we which to experience. NLP and hypnosis used in conjunction allows us to connect the conscious and subconscious minds so that they can work powerfully together.
Certified Hypnotist & National Guild of Hypnotist Instructor, Don Mottin of Mottin & Johnson Institute of Hypnosis, teaches a visualization exercise that can be done with a certified hypnotherapist to help us remove fear from past experiences. This exercise was taken from his Gorilla NLP workbook that was included in his Hypnosis & NLP certified course. It has been modified for this article. Note: It is highly recommended that if you are dealing with a significant trauma that you do this exercise with a trained, therapeutic professional. If doing this exercise on your own to release self-doubt or fear, it is helpful to record yourself talking yourself through the steps so that you can listen to the play back rather than trying to read each step and visualize at the same time. Please consult a professional medical or healing practitioner if you experience discomfort as result of doing this exercise on your own.
- Ask yourself what specifically is the fear you are currently experiencing from this past event.
- Remind yourself: There was a moment when you were safe before the unpleasant experience occurred and there was a moment after the experience occurred where you were safe as well.
- Imagine yourself sitting in a movie theatre where the screen is a small, black and white screen like that of an old 1950s television set.
- Now, imagine floating out of the “you” that is sitting in the cinema seat and into the projection booth. You are disassociating yourself from the event. This is important because there is you and then there is what happened to you – they are separate entities. You are not your trauma. It’s vital to make this distinction.
- You can see yourself now in the projection booth, watching yourself in the seat, watching the film of you on the screen.
- Run the film in black and white on the very tiny screen, starting before you experienced the memory you wish to overcome and running it through until after the experience was over and you were once again safe.
- Now freeze the film or turn the screen completely white.
- Float out of the projection booth, float out of the seat in the theatre and float right into the screen and drop in at the end of the film where you were once again safe.
- Rewind the film rapidly. Take only a second or two to do this and imagine that the film you are rewinding is in full color. Rewind all the way back to the beginning when you were safe and see this moment of safety in full color. Make the screen larger and see the image of yourself feeling safe expanded and bright. Make this mental picture of the safe and sound you bigger and brighter. Feel how calm you are. Feel how safe you are. Amplify those feelings of safety and comfort!
- You can repeat steps 8 and 9 until you feel comfortable with the experience and no longer feel a negative, emotional charge when you think about it.
- Now, go into the future when you might be triggered to experience that old anxiety and test to see how you feel. If you feel anxious, repeat steps 8 and 9 until you feel calm.
Meridian tapping (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is another powerful way to release the energy of past trauma from the cells of the body. Emotions are energy, and our body is electromagnetic, so by releasing the blocked energy, we can re-set our bio-electrical state to neutral, allowing us to be free of the emotional charge that once weighed us down. Next week’s article will explain how to use this powerful technique to help you do just that!