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Hypnotic Regression to an Unbelievable Initial Event


GUEST ARTICLE: by Mark Johnson, CHt

In 2013 my wife and I had an opportunity to take Roy Hunter’s Parts Therapy class in Daytona Beach. In fact his class was the main reason we decided to attend the IACT/IMDHA Conference that year. When I returned home to Dallas I was excited to use what I had learned about Parts Therapy. I also felt that it was important to keep in mind what he shared about Client Centered Hypnotherapy as well.

I spent some time reviewing the Parts Therapy manual and my notes from class and felt that I was ready to use what I had learned. I got a call from a potential client and was looking forward to the session as I was convinced I’d have an opportunity to get some hands on experience working with parts therapy.
Once my client was in a good state of hypnosis, I used the ideomotor process that Roy shared with us during the class to determine the most appropriate modality to assist my client. Imagine my surprise when regression was indicated instead of parts therapy. In fact this happened 3 or 4 times before I finally had a chance to work with parts.

Regression therapy is a powerful way to work with clients to assist them in resolving their challenges and I’d like to share a case study that involved regression therapy. I enjoy working with both parts therapy and regression therapy, though I do feel it is important to work with your client in the most appropriate way based on their situation, not based on my personal preference. This is the heart and soul of client centered hypnotherapy.

My client, we’ll call him Adam, reported that he had problems with public speaking. He said he regularly had to present financial reports to a group that included the president and vice president of his company. It was becoming more and more difficult for him to effectively present his reports. He would get a queasy feeling in his stomach and the anxiety continued to grow as his time to present got closer.

He even told me when it all started, at least what he thought had created the problem. It was his wedding rehearsal and when he got up to introduce everyone in the wedding party, his mind went blank. He had been the high school class president and was comfortable speaking in front of people all his life. Once this happened at his rehearsal dinner, it continued to become increasingly difficult for him to talk in front of a group of people. When he came in for his session he said he was worried that it would affect his career so he was ready to move past this challenge.

I let him know that this might be the initial event, though there could be something else going on that actually created the problem. There is often an initial event that the client is not aware of consciously. I did not know this was the case in his situation, but my initial thought was that what he thought was the problem was likely the activating event.

I guided Adam into a good state of hypnosis and had him recall a time when he felt that feeling. I intensified the feeling then used that feeling to bridge him back to the initial event.

There he was at his wedding rehearsal dinner unable to even recall his best friend’s name, much less anything else about him. I asked him if this was the first time he had this feeling and he said no. So we went even further back to the event that initially triggered that same feeling.

When I asked him what do you notice he said “I am getting ready to jump out of an airplane.” My first thought was that I sure hoped he was wearing a parachute, but I just repeated what he said in the form of a question, “You’re getting ready to jump out of an airplane?”

He responded that he felt the same anxiety that he feels when he gets up in front of people to talk. He also said this was the first time he had packed his own parachute and it was just him, his buddy and the pilot. No teacher, coach or anyone else was there to assist him. He said he had jumped at least 20 times before and repeated that this was the first time he had packed his own parachute.

I realized he’d be fine, since he was there in the room with me, but he was not convinced at this point. When I checked his level of anxiety on a scale of 1 to 10 he said it was 9. I had him go ahead and jump and when he got to the ground he was excited, energized and ready to jump again. So I had him rewind back to the time when he was preparing to jump. This time his level of anxiety was 6, so I had him jump again.
We repeated this until his anxiety was 0 or 1. Next I set some anchors related to public speaking and we did some future pacing so he could see, feel and experience himself being calm and comfortable talking in front of people, especially the president and vice president at work. I received several emails from Adam over the next month or so. He offered his thanks for helping him get past this fear that was a threat to his career.

By working with Adam and his specific situation in the most appropriate way, in this case regression, we were able to quickly get to the root cause and resolve his fear of public speaking. You never know what is going happen when you get to the root cause of a problem. On the surface, his presenting challenge and the root cause seem to be totally unrelated. The connection between the 2 was the same feeling of anxiety in two different situations.
About the Author
Mark Johnson is a Second Generation Hypnotherapist from Dallas, Texas who teaches Basic and Advanced Hypnotherapy in Dallas, Phoenix, Houston, New Orleans and Atlanta. Mark is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with ACHE and a Certified Master Trainer with IACT.

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Article originally posted: February 8, 2016

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