Despite the controversy that remains with the phenomena of hypnosis, the research shows that hypnosis, particularly in the area of trauma and abuse, can be a productive tool in helping clients uncover and integrate blocked off memories. From a psychological perspective, the hypnotic/trance states are natural states of mind that connect us to our unconscious mind. Spiritually, it is the state of mind that taps us into all the power and resources we have in order to heal. It is the state of mind that allows the universe to bring things to us. Famous people like Einstein, Mozart, Edison, and Cayce tapped into their creative intelligence through the trance state. Trance is defined as focused attention. There are two hypnotic/trance states, Alpha and Theta. Alpha trance is the twilight state of mind we reach when we are half asleep on the sofa. Theta trance is not sleep but a suspended state of mind. When you take a twenty minute power nap and feel rejuvenated, you were probably in Theta trance. Both hypnotic/trance states are utilized in the healing process. In the healing of childhood wounds, my role as a therapist is to provide a safe setting that allows my client’s own guiding forces to help them heal and come into their power. Traditional Spiritual practices have always recognized hypnosis as an effective way of helping people release and resolve negative emotions from childhood traumas in order to restore inner harmony. We can no longer ignore the compelling psychological, scientific, and spiritual evidence that supports the use of hypnosis in the safe and tolerable recovery and resolution of traumatic memories. The mental health profession clearly needs to establish a dissociation/trauma/hypnosis model for the healing of childhood wounds.
Abreactions are the systematic release and reassociation of the dissociated feelings, thoughts, pictures, sensations and perceptions from overwhelming and traumatic childhood experiences. It involves bringing aspects of previous events to the conscious level while the client is in a hypnotic/trance state. The American Psychiatric Association* defines Abreaction as an emotional release or discharge after recalling a painful experience that has been repressed because it was consciously intolerable. As to avoid re-traumatization, fragments of the trauma are released safely and tolerably over time. During an abreaction, a client will feel fear or sadness without the pictures. A client may see themselves from a distance as the young child, observing an upsetting scene from their childhood. A client will experience the body sensations of being held down and feel as though they are physically five years old. The majority of abreactions involve the release of negative emotions. Many of my clients have cognitive memories of their early stressors and traumas. Some of my clients are completely amnestic for those experiences. It is the blocked off feelings that fuel the behavioral re-enactments, triggers, panic attacks, anxiety reactions, anger, and compulsions. The past is not the past. The blocked off material from childhood wounds will to continue to manifest in symptoms and interfere with your life. Once healed, the traumatic memories are stored as an event that occurred in the past. The uncovering and resolving of childhood wounds is a critical starting point for your journey toward wholeness.
*American Psychiatric Association (1980). A psychiatric glossary. Washington D.C. : Author.