“Positizing” Bad Memories!
All animals naturally dissociate into a “zone” of an altered state for rest and recovery. As a trained hypnotherapist, I believe that intentionally accessing The Zone stimulates higher levels of the brain. When a creature is entranced, there is a sense of calm focus and stillness in the body. Self-hypnosis or meditation helps to achieve The Zone on our own, and recorded, guiding processes help train and program the mind-body. Whichever method is used to stimulate the state, The Zone causes the top brain to come alive. Insight improves, the intuitive center turns on, and problem-solving is more efficient when we move into this type of natural altered state. The Zone is a form of deep relaxation, and it is restful. During the state, we can direct healing with our mind to any part of the mind-body that needs attention. We have special gifts when the primitive brain is calm.
In a general sense, a hypnotherapist produces an altered state in an individual to help change subconscious perceptions. Hypnotherapy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming help with all sorts of problems, such as bad habits, phobias, anxiety, low self-esteem, pain, and other health problems. It works because hypnotherapists help clients calm and quieten the conscious mind, allowing the subconscious mind to receive positive suggestions made by the therapist. When the client goes into “the zone,” the therapist can use "suggestions" to help the client overcome specific problems or make desired changes. In the case of trauma, hypnotherapists can help clients perceive their trauma as merely something that happened. The goal is to update encoded data and realize that the bad thing is over and has no power anymore.
Another way to calm and access deeper areas of the brain involves therapist-assisted horizontal eye movements (EMs). These rapid EMs are a powerful type of bilateral stimulation which accesses the subconscious mind and the calming part of the nervous system (parasympathetic). No one thoroughly understands the reason horizontal EMs reduce stress. Many researchers look to the action of rapid eye movements (REM) during sleep, which seems to be responsible for helping us feel emotionally stronger after sleeping. Since nighttime dreaming produces symbolic images during REM sleep, it is thought that the facilitated EMs open up a channel to the subconscious.
With the subconscious engaged with EMs, new insights and perceptions can change the emotional coding around a distressing event. Over eons of time, EMs have been used in various forms of therapy, such as yoga practices, hypnosis, and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). Emerging brain-based therapies using EMs include Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), Eye-Movement Reprocessing and Desensitization (EMDR), and Brainspotting.
Therapists can make adaptations for clients who can’t tolerate EMs or are blind. Eye muscular problems are sometimes an issue, or the rapid EMs may cause vertigo, nausea, or headaches. Although EMs seem to be the most effective, preferred treatment, other bilateral stimulation can be applied. For instance, I can alternately tap a client’s knees or thighs, or I can have them hold hand buzzers that alternately vibrate. Some devices introduce alternating sound stimulation in headphones. Therapists can even help children and nonhuman animals to resolve fears and negative behaviors by tracking toys and food with the eyes or by tapping. Contraindications exist with clients who have severe mental problems, concentration problems, or head injuries.
Until fairly recently, mental health didn't have suitable methods for resolving issues and trauma. In actuality, we sometimes made things worse by having clients review their trauma repeatedly, thinking that the distressing events would eventually be accepted and settled in the mind. The newly developed brain-based techniques evolving from our understanding of neuroscience, trauma, and memory enhance our ability to help clients dramatically. There are so many different approaches now that clients have choices in the type of therapy they employ. If one doesn't work well or resonate for some reason, there are other choices. It’s an exciting time to work in the mental health field.