Recently I was asked to help a young man with the night terrors that had been plaguing him for years. The terrors were frightening enough, particularly given the almost super-human strength he displayed in their grip, but understandably the fear of having the terrors was also seriously disturbing his sleeping patterns to such an extent that he would stay awake late at night until he effectively passed out – falling asleep in the early hours and sleeping until late in the morning – which had a knock on effect on his ability to keep sociable hours and get up in time for lectures.
We only had time for one session before he left for university, but he was very responsive and we unearthed the apparent reason for his trauma. After the event, his father reported that he had shared details of the session but wasn’t convinced that something so apparently minor (words heard when he was little) could have been responsible for so many years of disturbed sleep.
So often people question how hypnotherapy can possibly help them. When I explain about the power of the beliefs running in the subconscious mind and the fact that they are generally accrued in childhood, clients stare at me blankly and profess that it can’t apply to them – they had safe, happy childhoods.
And yet what people often fail to appreciate is their view of the world as a child is so different the one we hold as an adult. When my girls come home and say that “Olivia was mean to me this morning” part of me hurts for them, but part of me knows that today it’s Olivia and tomorrow it’s Mila and in a few years time, they won’t even remember who any of them are… I want to tell them not to worry, to shrug it off…. But of course, in their world, right now – pretty popular Livvy with the platinum blonde pigtails is very very important…. Maybe she’s central to the friendship groups in the year and maybe actually my daughter is telling me that she’s experiencing exclusion… maybe her subconscious is learning “I’m not likeable” or “I don’t make friends easily” or “it’s not safe for me to try to be popular”. In other words, at the time of the incidence (Olivia being mean) it’s a big deal…. And because it’s a big deal… my daughter’s subconscious will want to protect her from further pain and put in place strategies to avoid getting hurt.
In 15 years time, my daughter won’t remember Olivia – but her subconscious could still be using strategies that it set at 8 years old to avoid the possibility of her getting hurt.
Many clients are nervous about exploring the reasons that they behave in a particular way, but the reality is that it’s generally not a painful process. Most people will shed a tear or so as the original memory returns, because their psyche remembers the feelings experienced at the time… but it’s generally fleeting and with adult eyes, they question how something so simple could have impacted them so profoundly… but it can and equally the healing that transpires from resolving that simple issue… is often life-changing….