Hypnotherapy For The Treatment of Emotional Issues!
Who will you be today . . . .
On any given day, sometimes moment by moment, life can have different feelings, Our perspective of life is in a constant state of flux, one minute we feel happy and the next, sad. Often we have no awareness of why or how these changes occur but . . . there is always a reason? One of the major reasons we have this ever-changing experience of life is because we are sentient beings. And the senses of Sight (vision), Sound (speech and hearing) and Touch (feeling) are largely responsible for that. These three senses are collectively known as V-K-A, (vision, kinaesthetic, auditory). Along with olfactory (smell) and gustatory (taste), they make up our 5 senses and are the primary way our brain works the way it does. From the moment we are born, even before that, our brain starts to store information and processes that according to its perception or belief of what is happening. Of course, babies, infants or toddlers, have very few tools to properly analyse what is happening, so we take cues from those around us, e.g. parents, siblings, strangers etc. Eventually, this grows to include almost everyone outside of our family nucleus as other people begin to become familiar, e.g. grandparents, extended family, friends etc. And so, the process of development starts and, one way or another, it never stops. However, those first few years play a crucial role in the way our life unfolds.
Hypnotherapy helps us better understand that early world experience. It has a unique way of realigning and reconsolidating those misguided and, maybe, misunderstood learnings from our early experience of life. The child's brain learns to encode experience in a way that allows them to make sense of the world they live in. Depending on the family structure a child learns to adapt and modify their immediate needs for safety, satiation and pleasure. If the environment is a good one, that is usually all well and good. However, if not, development can become stilted. If we have too many negative early experiences, it can throw our development off-kilter and irrational, illogical behaviour can result. Essentially, we become functionally dysfunctional and life goes off the rails but . . . we survive! As adults, this can lead to us having difficulty in our work, relationships and eventually, our personal life suffers. This is the stuff of destructive behaviours, e.g. alcoholism, drug addiction, weight gain/loss, anxiety, stress, depression or even psychosis!
The bottom line is, that life should not be lived that way. Life should be an experience of some fun, joy, love, happiness etc. I say 'some' because life will always have its twists and turns, ups and downs but those should be the exceptions to life, not the crux of it. So, how do we achieve a successful and happy life? Well, I hope I can answer that below!
We Live in a world of senses - Sense, Non-sense and Nonsense!
As a human sense, vision is one of the most important, this is because there are more areas of the brain connected with vision than any other sense and these have various connections throughout the brain. So, for most of us, how we see things impacts directly our view of the world. Obviously, there are no pictures in the brain, so what we actually see is a neurochemical representation of the world, somewhat based on perception. This experience is then interpreted, either through images held in memory or the rational (sometimes irrational) way our brain makes sense of what it sees; or thinks it does?
As well as the occipital lobe, the primary visual cortex, some of the other brain areas that have very extensive efferent and afferent connections within the brain (in no specific order of importance) are:
a)The ventral tegmental area: this is the seat of the 4 major reward pathways (mesolimbic, mesocortical, tuberoinfundibular and nigrostriatal pathways)
b)The cingulum, which is a rich core of fibres that almost circle the entire inner brain, from the subcallosal gyrus of the frontal lobe, all the way round to the parahippocampal gyrus
c) Pendunculpontine tegmental nucleus (part of the Ascending Reticular Activating System) located in the pons of the brain stem
d) Basal ganglia, part of the motor system but has rich connections to the thalamus (a primary sensory processor). Hypothalamus (precursor of the stress response HPA Axis but much more too). Hippocampus, the primary seat of memory and learning.
Is one of the primary ways we think we communicate. I say 'think' we communicate because it also happens to be just as responsible for the way we miscommunicate. When we speak we hear our words and will often assume that what we hear, is what the other person hears! And if life has taught us anything, we know this is not always true? The auditory system also processes our own speech (error detection/fake news filter), how else would we know when we make a mistake?
As far as emotional issues are concerned, someone not hearing what we say or more importantly, what we mean, can be an enormous source of our emotional issues. It becomes even worse for us when the misunderstanding occurs within our own self. This is a major cause of emotional and cognitive dissonance. Essentially, we don't mean what we say and we don't say what we mean and this leads to inner conflict and consequently, our life is out of balance!
It gets even more complicated because all language, expressed verbally, comes from memories stored within our brain. Language is the resultant expression of our memories and we tend to think based on the way our beliefs are formulated, which are often an expression of experience. So, if you have experienced people being abusive, untrustworthy, accusatory, your thoughts are likely to be influenced by how you can protect yourself from such people!
In my therapy, I pay a lot of attention to how you use language, your everyday talk, so to speak. How you speak externally, is how you speak internally (self-talk) and it is often how you talk to yourself, that creates your experience of life! Naturally, we aim to make changes in the way you talk to yourself . . .
This is the opposite side of the equation of speech, but is intrinsically linked to our own personal experience of life! As I mentioned above, when we speak we hear what we say and often believe we know what we mean. It is because of that, we tend to assume that it is also what the other person hears and understands; likewise, this is not always the case either. We have an internal representation of all the words we know and the meanings of those words. However, some words can have a different meaning or influence us differently, depending on the mood or state of mind we are in.
For example, ask someone how they are and their answer is OK. The meaning of OK can depend on how they feel at that precise moment, i.e. if it's, good, bad or indifferent. The inflexion and intonation of the word "OK" can be very different! We are usually quite adept at adjusting our auditory sense to fit in with the vast array of different combinations of sounds/tones that we encounter. However, it's our own personal mood or state of mind that leads us to misjudge meaning and/or intent. And that's when the experience can change from being positive in intent to negative in meaning?
So, every time we see something (or think we did). Say something (or think we did). Or hear something (or think we did), we have to make sense of what we saw, said or heard. Yet, without doubt, each of us will have had the experience of seeing something that wasn't there or wasn't what, or who, we thought it was. Said something, yet others tell us we said something entirely different; or didn't say it at all! Or heard something that wasn't said, there or what we thought it was!
The initiating sequence of the stress response is pretty much identical in each of us, i.e: a. The sympatho-adrenomedullary system, releasing adrenaline and noradrenaline into our system and instantly increasing our heart rate and b. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (hpa) axis, releasing cortisol and other glucocorticoids into the blood.
These processes combined are known as 'fight or flight, aka the stress response and while the sequence is identical, the way we each experience stress/anxiety is quite unique to us! knowing our unique identifier plays an important role in our ability to manage our emotional states,
Well, it points to the fact, that our senses are not always as reliable as we believe them to be but, nevertheless, we do rely on them. When growing up, children experience something every day; in fact everything, for the first time? When that happens they, subconsciously, give it meaning. Sometimes, it is the meaning they are told by their parents or a well-meaning adult, e.g. little boys don't cry, he who hesitates is lost, think before you leap etc. We may remember asking our parents, "where did I come from" and being told, "a stork brought you" or "behind the gooseberry bush" (or other excuses)! Quite an understandable excuse, as surely telling a small child about the human reproductive process would be too difficult to comprehend. Simply because their brain has not yet developed enough to make sense of that kind of information! Sometimes we say the things we do out of embarrassment; people just don't freely talk about their sex life! But it's somewhat strange that someone would think of procreation as an aspect of their sex life, rather than it being an act of creation? Realistically, the pleasure derived from sex is merely a byproduct of the act of procreation, the neurological motivational reward system that initiates the physical response. Whereas, for many people, children are often the unexpected result of their sex life! Hence the saying that most people are the result of an accident!
As I said above, think about the effect of telling a child things like:
b) you mustn't get angry
c) think before you leap
d) he who hesitates is lost
e) if you don't go to sleep the bogey man will get you
f) smoking is bad for you (as you light up your cigarette)
g) you must eat all of your food (but don't do it yourself),o
h) or they see signs saying $500 fine for throwing litter (and then watch you throw litter)
i) why aren't you like your brother/sister etc. etc.
As children, we may experience trauma and cope with it quite well, maybe very well. This does not imply we like it or were unaware that it was not good! It appears that our adult or adolescent, rational logical and intellectual judgment can distort this trauma memory. Meaning, we add (memory reconsolidation) information that was not available at the time which alters the childhood perspective and that becomes a problem. If a child is abused they often don't rationalise it as abuse; perhaps just something painful, horrible or just plain unpleasant. However, as an adult the full context of what happened becomes apparent; to which we ascribe meaning, intention, purpose etc. This now allows us to subconsciously redefine the experience, or give it a different context and this can affect our thinking processes. From there we go on to create an emotional (neurochemical) response that becomes almost unique to that experience. However, it can also spill over into every perceptually similar experience within and throughout our life. Life can be very complex and how we experience it depends, to a large extent, on our ability to have a greater understanding of what happened to us. There are often several ways that we can reframe an experience in our lives. Sometimes seeing things in a different context, or from another perspective, can have a vast influence on the outcome we achieve. This is the stuff of hypnotherapy, the realignment of life experience into an appropriate perspective of life!
If you have concerns about an emotional issue affecting your life or that of a loved one, please call for an informal chat to discuss your option!