I moved to southern California in the fall of 1991 at the age of 25. I distinctly remember the gratitude I felt. What wasn’t there to love about my life? I lived a half block from the sand in Newport Beach, drove a cute, and fully paid for Volkswagon Cabriolet convertible, had made many friends, and was earning a good salary working as an environmental engineer.
Despite this idyllic life, I felt bouts of sadness and hopelessness that would roll over me like the morning fog coming off the Pacific Ocean. I would try to talk myself out of the feelings by reminding myself of how wonderful my life was. It didn’t work and I felt stuck.
Newport Beach, California
It’s funny how you know something is really wrong inside when your life is so good that you can’t blame your unhappiness on anything or anyone around you.
My best friend suggested counseling. I resisted. Not because I didn’t believe in the effectiveness of therapy but because I had been through so much of it already. Due to my father’s alcoholism, I had participated in all kinds of therapeutic counseling including Ala-Teen, family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and psychotherapy from age 16 to age 24. Looking back, the therapy helped immensely. It helped me to detach from the dysfunction, stop feeling like a victim, and most of all, gain the powerful understanding that my thoughts create my emotions. So why was I still feeling so stuck?
I asked myself, “What could they tell me that I haven’t already heard? That I don’t already know?” I know how I am supposed to be thinking and feeling to be happy but it’s not happening!
I had heard about hypnotherapy and that it could effect deeper levels of change than what we can reach consciously. Frankly, I always have had the attitude, “I’ll try anything once. ” So, I looked in the yellow pages of my local phone book (back before google and the internet) and found a list of certified clinical hypnotherapists. I remember picking a woman named Laurie Miller because her photograph looked “normal.”
I will never forget my first session. I walked in there desperate for relief and, thus, fearless of the experience. I didn’t know what to expect. Immediately, she made me feel safe and comfortable. I told her that I felt depressed and explained that it probably went back to my father and childhood. Then, she began the process of hypnosis with me.
She guided me to the source of my sadness and I found myself remembering a scene from age 10 where I had gotten hurt falling off my bicycle and had not been nurtured in the aftermath despite my cry for help. In a moment of clarity, while in this state of deeper concentration, the memory seemed to exemplify a pattern I experienced as a child of having to deal with sad or hurt feelings on my own. This, in turn, reminded me of a pervading sense of loneliness and disconnection that I had felt as a child. Back then, I learned to cope by supressing the feelings since I felt there was no one to validate them.
At this point, in the hypnosis session, the hypnotherapist guided me to rewrite the story “how it should have been.” Immediately, I felt a huge flood of emotion as if I was that 10 year old again. Except this time, I let myself cry and imagined that I was nurtured through the experience. The session was especially cathartic and, by the end, I felt clearer in some inexplicable way.
That night I felt tired and I slept hard. Then, I will never forget. Two days later, I felt physically and emotionally lighter! Like I had literally and figuratively lost 15 pounds! I had no clue on the conscious level that so much emotion was still being held around that story. In fact, I imagine that days before, if you had asked me about that memory, I would have remembered it. I would have told you that my mother was distracted that day and that both my parents had done the best that they could do. I would not have suspected that there was still so much emotion attached to that memory that I was still carrying on a deeper level within. The hypnosis session was so powerful and healing for me that I went back several more times to continue the process. “Let’s keep purging!” I exclaimed to the hypnotherapist.
That was when I realized that there is no such thing as time for an emotional upset or trauma that has not been cleared or healed on the emotional level.
Years can go by. We can talk about past hurts and traumas and choose to think about them differently in order to have more peace. And yet, if we do not clear them on the emotional level, we may have a very hard time feeling better and they may continue to influence our moods and ways of thinking.
So, it was then, that I knew that HYPNOSIS IS POWERFUL. The process so profoundly transformed me that I quit engineering to help others the way that I was once helped years ago. It is my mission to help those who know they want to behave or feel differently and want to make it happen on the deeper level where it is felt and known mind, body, and soul.
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