Simply speaking hypnotherapy is hypnosis plus therapy. There are various therapeutic approaches which can be delivered and integrated in hypnosis framework. Until the end of 2001, I was mostly involved in hypnosis without any therapy component. Then with my involvement into past life regression, I largely began to use past life therapy as the primary treatment modality. Still I was looking for a comprehensive perspective of the breadth and depth of hypnotherapy. About three years back I began to search Google for “Hypnotherapy”. My intent was to understand what kind of therapies could be used with hypnosis. I came across some isolated hypnosis based approaches to healing, but I wanted to have a global idea of the field. Based on the available resource material on hypnotherapy, I organized the information and labeled it as “Models of Hypnotherapy”. I am presenting a brief account of various models which utilize hypnotic trance for healing.
Direct Suggestion Model: Hypnotherapy is an ancient treatment modality. For centuries it relied exclusively on direct suggestion model. In this model, a therapist gives direct suggestion to the subject related to his/her problems. One of my friends, had told me long back, that he had a teen age girl with a problem of bed wetting. She was available for treatment for a few hours only and won’t come even for follow up. He was requested to treat her. He opted for hypnotherapy and in deep hypnosis he suggested her that from today onwards she would never soil her bed. To his utter surprise, she stopped soiling the bed which was maintained on long term follow up. This is an example of a direct suggestion model, but this case is an exception as this sort of single suggestion therapy does not work in majority of the clients. Hypnotherapists have developed suggestion scripts which they deliver to their clients in hypnotic trance and also recommend the home work of listening to the audios of the suggestion scripts. There are guiding principles on how to develop a suggestion script. For example, the script should have emotional words, action verbs, present tense, words that create a mental picture, repetition of an idea by changing words and perspectives, addition of inspirational quotes and so on. A script may contain a few sentences to 100 or more sentences. Length of script is not as important as the concept that a script should serve its desired purpose. A subject is required to listen to the suggestion script for about one month in order to impress subconscious mind and get tangible benefits out of it. There are ready made texts and audio recorded scripts available on the web for free download as well as paid ones.
The direct suggestion model can be used as a standalone model or as an adjunct to other models of hypnotherapy. If used as an adjunct to other model, I use it after application of other models and before termination of hypnotic trance.
My clients give me feedback that while listening to the script audios they fall asleep and do not remember what were the instructions. It is natural. The feeling that one was asleep may not be true instead there might have been actual trance state coupled with amnesia interpreted as sleep by the subject. Also it is better not to remember the content of the suggestion script because the suggestions received by unconscious mind are superior to the suggestions received by conscious layers of the mind. To resolve the doubt of sleep vs. trance, I also recommend that the subject visits his/her therapist, listen to the audio in his/her office and request him/her to determine the trance level. He/she can conduct trance testing and give a feedback whether you actually pass into sleep or hypnotic trance in response to the audio suggestion script. In exceptional cases, even if it is sleep, direct suggestions can lead to positive results because some experiments demonstrate that auditory input during sleep leads to gains in new learning. A few subjects of mine reported irritability, sleep disturbance, excessive drowsiness in response to script audios, in these cases, I recommend to stop listening to the audios which result in removal of these symptoms. Such symptoms can happen because of some unconscious factors like incompatible suggestions, activation of a conflict or some kind of perceived threat in response to the content of the script or it could be a side effect of self-hypnosis itself.
The direct suggestion model utilizes enhanced suggestibility of a subject during hypnotic trance. For analytical or less suggestible subjects, I use an analytical vehicle to engage the conscious layers of the mind. For example, a subject is told to recall name of five cities for each alphabet, when he/she is engrossed in this covert activity of recalling names, I present suggestion script which bypass the critical faculty of the mind and directly access the unconscious layers.
To me, the direct suggestion model is good as an adjunct treatment modality. I mostly use it as add on to other hypnotherapy models. I rarely rely exclusively on this model because this model is resource hungry and requires a subject to listen to the audios for about one month almost daily. The home work demand is for about 40-50 minutes per day which results in poor compliance.
Metaphor Model: Metaphor is a figure of speech in which words or phrases have at least two meanings, one at its face value and the other one symbolic. It is used for its symbolic functions. Unconscious mind can easily grasp the symbolic meaning. Metaphors are used for healing both in the context of hypnosis or even without any formal attempts at hypnosis. There are good resources on the web for metaphor therapy. It requires a good understanding of various principles and guidelines for preparing and executing metaphor scripts.
Joseph Murphy Model: I had an opportunity to read “Power of Subconscious Mind” by Joseph Murphy and I recommend its reading to every interested person. Dr. Murphy spent many years in India and he was a research fellow in Andhra University, India. He was a world renowned authority on mysticism and mind dynamics. In this book, he elaborates upon the nature of subconscious mind and explains simple and proven techniques to utilize the power of subconscious mind.
Through this book I formulated that subconscious mind acts as a servant to the conscious mind which acts like a captain. Subconscious mind reacts habitually to the events in one’s life. If one can impress the subconscious mind in a certain way, one can achieve tangible results. Image is the language of the subconscious mind. Whatever, one wants to achieve in life, one need to create vivid mental pictures in present tense, and rehearse it every night when passing into sleep because at this time, subconscious mind remains most receptive. An ill person can create healthy images of oneself and feed to the subconscious mind for about one month about 5-10 minutes every day just prior to passing into sleep. The mental pictures then impress the subconscious mind and a process of creation/manifestation begins with.
I conceptualized following levels of mind in this framework – Conscious mind à Subconscious Mind (used interchangeably with unconscious mind) à Super-conscious Mind (also known as universal mind). All these minds are inter-connected. When sub-conscious mind is requested for any creation or manifestation, it assesses itself if it can execute the requested task; for example, asking it to get up at a defined time in the morning; or it needs to transfer the task to the super-conscious mind because it is beyond its power, for example, getting a specific car or a job. Upon taking up the task, the cosmic mind assesses the suitability of the requested goals for the host and evaluates if it is in his/her best interest. If it is in the interest of the host, a creative process will set in and the requested goal would be achieved by the host as desired. The e-groups and web pages are filled how people have manifested various objects in their life in this way. If super-conscious mind feels that the requested goal is not in the best interest of the host; either it would not be fulfilled or it would grant the better and the bigger goal to the host. I formulated that one has to impress the subconscious mind sufficient enough so that it can receive and execute the requested goal either directly or through the wisdom of the cosmic mind.
Louise Hay is an American who has authored several self-help books including ‘Heal Your Body’. She worked extensively and identified psychological issues involved in various physical and mental disorders. She also developed corresponding affirmations to clear up the involved psychological issues in a problem. For example, for Arthritis, the identified emotional issues are Feeling unloved, criticism, resentment, bitterness, feeling not good enough. The affirmation for these problems is “I am love. I now choose to love and approve of myself. I see others with love”. Such affirmations if regularly used in meditation can heal the emotional issues which in turn could possibly reverse the disorder.
Based on the work of Hay, I developed an experimental procedure combining the Joseph Murphy’s and Hay’s work. I observe that rarely a subject keeps up home work of the prescription of continued meditation, affirmation and the impressing of sub-conscious mind. To facilitate the entire home work; I thought it to weave within the context of a ‘post-hypnotic suggestion’. Now, I identify an affirmation in consultation with the client, and give following post-hypnotic suggestions in deep trance:
From today onwards, every night, when you are passing into sleep, following affirmation would keep on repeating by itself for about 5-10 minutes sub-vocally for a period of about one month and you would forget that I said it to you to do so. [Insert the affirmation here] For example, “I am love. I now choose to love and approve of myself. I see others with love”.
I am still working on this approach which I termed as Joseph Murphy Model. The initial feedback from the therapists is encouraging. I would be glad to have more feedback including follow up, from the readers on the usefulness of this model.
Five Phase Advanced Transformational Hypnosis (5-PATH): 5-PATH is a registered trademark of Calvin D. Banyan (http://www.hypnosiscenter.com). He developed a unique model of hypnotherapy which consists of five phases in the treatment. An abridged outline of five phases is provided here for orientation.
Phase-I: Direct Suggestion: This phase is devoted to applications like successful hypnotic induction with the use of covert tests, convincers, deepeners and direct suggestions. This phase enhances confidence of a client and prepares a base for future success.
Phase-II: Age Regression: In this phase, age regression is done to trace initial sensitizing event and undo its effects through well-defined procedures and techniques.
Phase-III: Forgiveness of Others: The goal of therapy in this phase is to develop forgiveness of other persons and offender involved in sensitizing events. Specific techniques and procedures are employed in this phase.
Phase-IV: Self-Forgiveness: The goal in this phase is to develop forgiveness of ‘Mistake-Making’ part of one’s self through specified techniques and procedures.
Phase-V: Parts Mediation Therapy: Only a few cases need this phase of therapy. Most of the clients show optimum improvements with first four phases only. This phase is a blend of Parts Therapy and Mediation. The goal is to build an agreement between parts of the self which are in conflict.
Life between Lives Regression Model: I became aware that there was something called regression to life between lives (LBL). This form of regression was developed by Dr. Michael Newton and I was desperately looking for his books titled ‘Journey of Souls’ and ‘Destiny of Souls’. I could get these books many years later in 2007. Prior to gaining knowledge of his work, I had vague concepts that it has to do with the living and the world of psychoplasm, may be in the form of ghosts. But LBL is a spiritual procedure which has potentials for producing powerful healing effects even in a single session.
In LBL, a person is regressed to the most recent past life and a regression is done to that life and continued until the point of death of the previous personality. The separated psychoplasm is then followed which usually enters a higher plane in spiritual world. A therapist may be interested to explore the nature of this world in greater details. Specifically, the psychoplasm is instructed to locate one’s spirit Guru in the spirit world; which invariably manifests itself. A therapist can creatively use this moment for enhancing understanding and healing of the subjects. The psychoplasm may be guided to describe its experiences to the spirit master and receive the feedback and reflections.
It is said that a soul reviews the lessons learned so far in all the lives; becomes aware of its strengths and weakness, identifies the area of learning in next birth, make a planning for next birth, searches parents and continues its journey. In this way, the psychoplasm is the eternal reality punctuated by the physical birth which facilitates the learning of the curriculum designed in the spirit world. The masters in the spirit world facilitate planning and curriculum for the next birth.
In a session of LBL, a subject is required to understand his/her designed curriculum for the current life. It can give a great relief to the subject when he/she comes to know that his/her current life experiences are integral part of the curriculum designed by him only.
A subject may be led to explore his/her journey from psychoplasm to the entering of the womb in the current life. A psychoplasm is enquired how it is locating it’s would be parents, what criteria it is following, what it is doing in the waiting period, at what point of time it is entering the womb, what thoughts and feelings it has just prior to entering the womb, what feelings and thoughts it has immediately after entering the womb and so on. A continued exploration after entering of the psychoplasm in the womb may constitute a pre-natal regression for the current life.
LBL does not evoke abreactions and the session frequency may be kept as low as one session per year because it is unlikely to add further to the understanding after review of the designed curriculum in the spirit world.
Future Life Progression: It was a pleasant surprise for me to learn about the concept of Future Life Progression through Past Lives, Future Lives by Dr. Bruce Goldberg (1982). It contains several fascinating progressions done by him. In Progression, a person is guided to future times under hypnotic trance. Theoretically, progression can be done both in the current life and the future lives. A progression to the current life is known as Age Progression and a progression to the future lives, other than the current one is known as Future Life Progression.
Age Progression: I personally do not perform age progression because of possible and obvious danger of viewing traumatic experiences which may or may not happen in reality; but can have potentials for getting hanged in the mind of the viewer. A subject of mine had spontaneously (without me explicitly doing so) viewed a corpse in age progression which produced tremendous distress in her which got settled after lots of counseling and confirmation by her about the wellbeing of her family. In general, my approach is to interrupt the age progression immediately and in particular when a subject tends to land on some traumatic experience. I remember of only one other instance of spontaneous age progression on 7th May 2005. The subject reported following sequence of events.
The year is 2023, many airplanes are flying… there is a war between America and China… India, Pakistan and Japan are with China… China wins the war… I am viewing it on TV at my home… the issue is some technical point or the moon…
Dr. Bruce Goldberg reported his observations of age progression in his book. He did age progression of a newsreader and asked him to describe what news he would be reading the next week and he then compared the reported news with the actual news read by the newsreader. He observed a correspondence between the reported and the actual news events.
Life Progression: The procedure of life progression is simple and straightforward. In hypnotic trance, I instruct a subject to move forward in any of his/her yet to come lives or skip forward to a time of more than 100 years from now. I would keep a close watch on the time period, if a subject reports an experience of current life; I would interrupt it immediately by reiterating that he is to jump to a time which is several hundred years beyond the present time.
I conducted limited number of progression sessions just to have an idea of its nature. A young adult progressed to a period of around 3300 and reported that he is on the moon; the houses are made of glass, people move from one place to the other by hopping. The wireless electricity is transmitted from earth to the moon through a conduit.
In order to corroborate the life during this era, I conducted a progression on 7th May 2005 on another subject by specifying the time of progression between 3300 to 3500 A.D. He reported that the year is 3414, there is a huge vehicle… it can accommodate 10,000 persons… this vehicle transports people to the moon… millions of people are living on moon… huge fiber buildings are erected on the moon… I live in a hotel… majority follow Buddhism… a Goddess temple is also there… people fly on their chair only… they fly in the air with the chair and reach other places… they have capacity to make a person lie down and transport to other places…
Based upon life progression reports, Dr. Bruce Goldberg reported that there would be reconfiguration of the earth planet in coming centuries. The diseases and negative emotions would be eradicated. There would be an increment in the average life span. Solar power would be incorporated into everyday life. Weather control devices would be developed. There would be life on other planets. He also reported that unlike past life regression, there is less emotional involvement of clients in the progression experience. He also demonstrated the power of life progression in healing present life illnesses. Dr. Brian Weiss (2004) presented his observations and healing power of life progression in his book ‘Same Soul, Many Bodies’.
The procedure of life progression raises the issue and controversy of free will. This procedure can be conceptualized as another set of healing techniques which may be useful in some cases where healing effects are not achieved by regression models.
There can be many other models of hypnotherapy as well including integration of Cognitive Therapy; Behavior Therapy in hypnosis based work up. I would be devoting one or more chapters to my following preferred models of hypnotherapy.
- Age Regression Model
- Past Life Regression Model
- Personification Model
- Remote Healing Model
- The Divine Jheel-Baba Model – The Most Powerful One.