The client was a 20-year-old university student who had been raised in a community where hypnosis was seen as evil. Although he was open to it and desperate to change, his unconscious cues made it clear that I would have to do a lot more work around hypnosis if it were to overtly use it. This illustrates the point that reimprinting is not only conversational but allows easy elicitation of hypnotic phenomena in any depth of trance.
This client’s presenting issue was a fear of vomiting. He was the primary parent of a 2-year-old girl. He was afraid of the vomit and had created a meta-fear around not being able to take care of his child. He also worried that she would inherit his fear.
This transcript picks up after the initial intake.
Coach: So tell me, James, about the last time and place you experienced this fear.
Client: It was last week. I was at home taking care of my little girl.
Coach: What’s happening?
Client: She doesn’t feel well, and I’m afraid she might vomit. [The client’s physiology shows that he has fully associated into the moment.]
Coach: This is not the first time you have felt this fear, is it?
Coach: What is that earlier instance you are thinking about now?
Client: I’m in my dorm room, and my buddy had too much to drink last night. [At this point, the client is fully in the problem trance.]
Coach: This is not the first time you have had this feeling either, is it?
Coach: Allow the scene to fade and the emotion to take you even further back now. [The coach waits to see the unconscious cue that a memory has been found.]
Coach: Where are you?
Client: I’m in school.
Coach: What grade are you in?
Coach: What’s happening now?
Client: I don’t feel well. I’m scared I’ll be sick and everyone will laugh.
Coach: Is that the first time you felt that way? [The coach uses past tense language to begin dissociating the client.]
Coach: Drift back to that first time now. Put that memory on the ground. [Coach gestures to the client’s past.] Make it small and dim. You can see little James there in the memory. Does that James have a nickname?
Client: Yes, Jimmy.
Coach: As you see little Jimmy there, is he alone or with others?
[Client’s physiology shifts out of the regressed state and into his more neutral way of being.]
Client: He’s with his mom and aunt.
Coach: Is there anyone who should have been there who wasn’t?
Client: No one.
Coach: What’s happening in that scene down there? [The coach gestures to the same point on the floor keeping her gestures low to the ground.]
Client: I’m scared. [The client is trying to associate back into the memory.]
Coach: What was little Jimmy afraid of? [The coach helps him dissociate by referring to the memory in third person and mismatching the language.]
Client: He sees his aunt is sick and his mom is upset. He’s really worried about her.
Coach: Is this when little Jimmy learned to have that fear?
Coach: What an amazing little boy Jimmy is for caring so much about his family.
Client: Yes. [He smiles slightly as breathing relaxes signaling the unconscious mind’s acceptance of the reframe.]
Coach: Let’s help little Jimmy through this experience. What inner resources do you have now that little Jimmy could have used in that moment?
Client: Knowing that his aunt is going to be all right in a few hours.
Coach: And you have had a wealth of experiences with that aunt since that memory, correct? [The coach knew this to be true from the beginning of the session.]
Client: Yes. In fact, I saw her last week at a family party. [The client’s physiology moves from neutral to resourceful.]
Coach: How wonderful! I’d like you to send that knowledge into the memory over there. Let little Jimmy know that he is going to have so many good times with his aunt and she’ll feel better soon. I don’t know if you’ll send it energetically. Maybe you’ll whisper in little Jimmy’s ear, or your unconscious can find any other way to send this message that is appropriate for you. [Coach sees a head nod once the process is complete.] Now watch that memory and notice how it is different. How has it changed?
Client: Little Jimmy is not as afraid. He is still unsure, though, about what is happening.
Coach: What other resources do you have that little Jimmy could have used that will make the difference in that situation?
Coach: And you know what it’s like to be really calm, do you not? You could find many happy memories of being calm throughout your life and then begin to deepen your sense of calm. Or you could allow the deepening feeling of calmness to bring to mind many other memories of calm. And as you’re curious as to which way that will happen, calmness can grow in its own way for you.
[Client drifts into a closed-eye trance.]
And you may even get a sense of the color of calmness and allow that to flow into the memory. Now watch the memory again and notice how it has changed.
Client: It’s more distant and Jimmy is fine.
Coach: That’s right; he is fine, calm, and really knows that everything will be fine. Is there anything else he needs in order for you to be free?
Coach: Would you like to step back inside this memory and feel it from the inside out?
Coach: Go ahead and feel how this is different now. Be little Jimmy in that moment with the knowledge that everything is OK and feeling calm. [Coach waits a few moments.] And you can step out and open your eyes and see it back on the floor. How is it different now?
Client: It’s a little strange. It’s like I can see everything, but all of the old emotions are gone. I wasn’t expecting it to be like that!
Coach: Congratulations for making this powerful change in your life! Would you like to continue turning this memory into something you can really use to change your life?
Coach: How about those other people in that memory? What skills or resources do you have now that they could have used?
Client: My mom needs to not panic.
Coach: [Coach suspects that the client’s fear was learned from the mother.] When she’s not panicking, how is she being?
Client: She’s calm.
Coach: And I know you know what it’s like to be calm as you can recall those feelings you had just a moment ago as that calm deepens. And you know what to do.
Coach: And it’s interesting because little Jimmy knows a lot more about being calm too, so I wonder what will happen when this memory plays and Mom sees Jimmy being calm knowing that everything will be OK? I’m curious what Mom will learn. [Coach creates a loop by not only sending calmness to the mother but also has the mother learn from the little boy instead of the other way around as happened in the original imprinting.] What happens in that memory now?
Client: It’s very different. I’m not afraid anymore.
Coach: That’s right. I wonder how calming it can be to know that you are in control. Now, there is one other person in this memory who may need a resource you have. What does your aunt need? [The coach suggested the imprinting of the aunt because there may be a time in the future when the client or his daughter becomes ill, and reframing the aunt’s experience will be empowering for the client in those future situations.]
Client: She needs comfort and to be reassured.
Coach: And you know what comfort is like.
Coach: It’s interesting; there are two types of comfort. First, there is the physical experience of comfort where you can remember those instances where you feel comfort. Allow your mind to bring all of those memories of being comfortable forward because you can give your aunt the gift of comfort by reminding her what it is like to feel comfort. Now, the second type of comfort is on another level. It comes from kind words and brings about calm and peace. I wonder how you might now gift that to her. If you were to watch that memory now, how has it changed?
Client: It’s getting harder to see. I just feel calm and relaxed.
Coach: It really is getting harder to see. And as you are calm and relaxed, would you like to step into this one more tim
Coach: You can do that now as you integrate the new learning. And, of course, your unconscious mind can, outside of your conscious awareness, make changes to all of those other instances where you can now be calm, in control comforted by the knowledge that everything is OK. And as that happens, you can grow up through that experience, through your school days when you are calm and into your teenage years and through college until you are you are your full age. That was some experience!
Client: Yea, I wasn’t expecting that!
Coach: Isn’t it comforting to know that you can make changes like this easily and quickly? Now we can help to solidify the change even further by just closing your eyes for a moment and imagining you’re in a place that makes your feel safe and calm. It could be somewhere you know in your daily life or somewhere your mind creates. Either way is better because you are going to use this space to make lasting change on a deep level. It may be a weird thing to think about, but there were people in your past who were doing the best they could but may have helped to maintain those old emotions. For example: Your mom did the best she could, and yet there may be things that you would like to say to her in this space as you forgive anything that needs forgiving as you fully let go of that old issue. So take a moment and invite her into this space, saying whatever you need to say to her for you to move forward. … That’s right. Now there may be someone else such as your aunt. You can invite her in and say what needs to be said as your forgive her and let go. You may consciously think there is no forgiveness needed, and you would be right to rest assured knowing that this is an important step for you. … Very good. As she leaves this space, is there anyone else who needs to be forgiven for having any involvement with that old issue?
Client: Yes, the kids at school.
Coach: So invite them in one at a time and say whatever needs to be spoken for you to fully enjoy your new freedom. … That’s it. Is there anyone else?
Coach: Might I suggest one more person, the most important person?
Client: [Nods head.]
Coach: Little Jimmy. He did the best he could throughout your life to keep you safe and happy. He was so loving as a small boy that he reacted the only way he knew how in that moment. Invite him in and thank him for everything he did for you. Let him know what a good job he did. …. That’s right. … Take all of the time you need to do this. When you’re ready, give him a hug, let him melt into you, become a part of you. … You’re doing a great job. Now, there will be a time in the future when you are around someone who is vomiting, maybe your daughter or someone else. What happens?
Client: I take care of them and help them until they feel better.
Coach: And how do you feel in that moment?
Client: I’m not noticing, just taking care of that person. I feel fine.
Coach: Check in with your body. How do you know you are doing fine?
Client: I can feel it.
Coach, That’s right. And there may be a time in the future when you are the one having the experience. What happens?
Client: It doesn’t feel good, but I’m OK.
Coach: You are absolutely right. It’s not supposed to be pleasant, but you know that you are going to be all right. … Go to another time in the future where you are healthy and happy and maybe a stranger gets sick. What happens?
Client: I help if I can. Everything is all right.
Coach: Very good, and you can rest comfortably knowing that the changes you have made here today will continue to generalize and grow. Even tonight as you sleep and dream, your unconscious is fully integrating this change on a deep, deep level. … Now, only as slowly as you allow this change to take root will your eyes open and you can fully come back to the here and now. … Welcome back! So talk to me about that old fear again.
Client: I don’t have it anymore!
Coach: Are you sure? [Said teasingly.]
Client: Yes, it’s gone.
Coach: How do you know?
Client: I just do.
Coach: Think about someone being sick and notice how your body feels. How does it feel?
Client: Calm, relaxed.
Coach: Are you sure? You mean you’ve changed? You’re not just saying that are you? [Teasing a bit more forcibly.]
Client: Yes. I feel good!
Two weeks after this session, the client reported that the fear was completely gone and that his life had changed in a powerfully positive way because of it
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