Hypnotic Regressions and Memories
Regression Hypnosis to a younger age is a very powerful and (some would argue) the most therapeutic and beneficial form of hypnosis…if done by the right practitioner. There are some real fears out there about age regression, and they are not unwarranted. We have all heard stories about someone going to a psychiatrist (or some other mental healthcare specialist) and the person finding out they were, say, molested by their father in childhood when that was actually not the case. This has broken up families and caused much trauma and heartache. This is not an urban legend, either. And some very well-intentioned therapists, who either took a weekend course in hypnosis, or (worse) has had no formal hypnosis training at all, inadvertently caused more havoc and trauma on their patients. Regression therapy testimony is not allowed in many courts of law now for this reason.
So, what is happening here?
When you are in even a very light state of trance (such as a waking trance), suggestions that are given to your subconscious mind will feel real. This is why hypnosis is so effective. A good hypnotherapist knows exactly what to say (and what NOT to say) to a person in trance. If the therapist leads the client to say what the therapist wants him/her to say, then a false memory can be created that will actually feel as if an event really happened. A good therapist will NEVER lead a client, or put words in the clients mouth.
If I were to say do not think about the pink elephant in the room, the mind automatically recalls an image of a pink elephant filling the room. The “do not” has no effect. (Also a reason a good therapist will use the positive form of an expression instead of the negative.) Now if I say something like, “Recall the first time the elephant stepped on your foot and how painful that must have felt.” Well, even though there was never an elephant and it never stepped on your foot, you can imagine what the pain must have felt like. Your brain will search out other times in your life when you’ve felt heavy pressure or pain, and now that image is linked to those very real feelings we can still recall.
If you chose to do any kind of regression hypnosis, make sure you record the session on your own recording device. This way, you can go back and listen to the session to ensure that no leading questions were implanted in your mind. If the therapist does not allow you to do this…run out of there ad fast as you can! Do not let the therapist treat you. Even if the therpapist is careful to not lead you, the human mind can still expereince the phenomenon known as cryptomnesia, or the misattribution of memories.
Useful False memories
False memories are not all bad. There is a great way to use them. Since the feelings of false memories are so palpable, we can use them in hypnosis to create fantastic future goals. For instance, if you want to lose weight you can have a the “memory” of the way your body looks at your perfect body weight and all the feelings associated with it. If you want to have more money, you can have the “memory” of having a large bank account, et cetera. When your subconscious understands the good feelings associated with those “memories,” it will want more and start finding ways to make that “memory” possible.
Past Life Regression
Past Life Regression (PLR) is easy to do in hypnosis and can be a lot of fun to experiece. Some hypnotherapists believe that all PLR is really just false memories (or metaphors) that the client creates for him or herself. Others believe that past lives are real and that we carry energy from former lives over into this life that affects the way we behave today. Since there is no way to prove this, I feel it is best to let the client decide based on their own core beliefs without making a judgment. Either way, it is something that comes from within the client’s subconscious mind that can be therapeutic when addressed. Again, the hypnotherapist must always guide and not lead the client.