First of all, no, you don’t cluck like a chicken. Though at one point in history hypnosis was more of a side show, getting people to do stupid things like clucking like chicken, that’s not what it’s about anymore. Instead, hypnotherapy is used for relieving addictions, anxiety, and chronic pain among other issues. I had been having trouble focusing and making decisions. I read about hypnotherapy and decided to give it a try.
The basics behind hypnotherapy are that if you are in a very relaxed state, your mind is susceptible to suggestion. During your therapy session, while you are in this relaxed state, your therapist will tell you things like you hate cigarettes or you have self confidence. Your mind will absorb these thoughts and take them as true.
Also during this state, you may be asked to remember past experiences in the hopes of discovering what thoughts you have buried that are blocking you today from moving forward. These thoughts are buried in your sub conscience. You do not realize they are even there until the therapy session reveals them. At this point, the therapist will help you get rid of the negative thoughts.
I went to visit Lexi Parrott in Portland, Oregon. First we talked about what I wanted to accomplish. She asked a lot of questions, then explained a little about what hypnotherapy was all about. She explained that I would be awake during the entire session and totally aware, just in a relaxed state. I had my choice of lying back on a chaise lounge or on a bed. I took her suggestion of the bed. She put headphones on me with meditation type music playing softly in the background. The headphones helped block out any outside noise. She also had me put on a sleeping mask, once again to block out any light.
She then started talking in a soothing voice about relaxing and breathing deeply. She had me visualize a nice place. She had me going down paths and then she did a countdown. She started with 25 and counted backwards. Now I was kinda in a “this is not going to work” state of mind. But when she got to that countdown, I visualized going down this swirling black hole. When I got to the bottom there was a pair of feet in ballet slippers up on her toes, spinning. We talked about what this represented. I decided it was about my mother who was a perfectionist. And to my astonishment, there I was at about age 5.
Lexi had me talk to the little girl. The little girl agreed to guide me. At this point, I had been under for nearly an hour. It was time to come back to reality. It was at this point that I realized how relaxed I had become. I couldn’t really feel any of my body parts, I was so focused on my visions. Lexi explained that it was while in this relaxed state that I finally was able to get into my subconscious. I had not been able to remember anything about my childhood beyond 6th grade before this point. Needless to say I went back. I needed to discover what this little girl (me) had to say.
The next couple of sessions were very emotional. I discovered my fear of my mother, of wanting so badly to be perfect for her. I also discovered that, though I knew deep down that she loved me, she never verbally expressed it. I never realized how much I needed that reassurance. I went away from these sessions feeling depressed for several days. This is normal as you are dredging up painful memories. But the depression would not last long, then I would feel much better as though something had been lifted off my shoulders.
I did a few more sessions to get me moving in the right direction for finding more self confidence and clarity. She had me find a “power animal” at one session. I have a very vivid imagination, so often came up with wild visions as distractions. The first animal that came up for me was a cow! I laughed. I did not want the cow as my power animal. But the cow flew away and I was guided by a dragonfly down my black hole before revealing my power animal as an elephant. As you are moving through your own meditations, you use your power animal as a guide, asking it to show you where to go. By focusing on a power animal, you are able to stay clear of distractions.
Since starting to see Lexi, I have added some of her therapy techniques on my own. With my vivid imagination, I often use visions to help me sleep, relax or get me out of a bad mood. Lexi taped a couple of my sessions. I play them when I’m feeling down and it picks me right up. I had tried going to some group therapy sessions with other women going through the whole empty nest issues, but had trouble telling my problems to others. With hypnotherapy, I did not have to face anybody except myself. It makes you find the negative thoughts you have been harboring, then you get rid of them. Best of all, no side effects.
For more information on hypnotherapy, check out my squidoo page.