A publication of the Canadian Society of Clinical Hypnosis (BC Div.)
2nd Floor, 1260 Hornby St.
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Increasingly, many of us are working more and more with chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune disorders, arthritis and so forth. What can we do with our hypnotic techniques to alleviate the various discomforts or, where indicated, to accelerate the healing response?
Some years ago, in an intriguing study on mental and physical aging, Harvard psychologist Dr. Ellen Langer selected a group of 75 to 80 year old men. As volunteers, they took several sets of measurements to establish a baseline of biological markers recommended by geriatricians. The measurements, included handgrip, triceps skinfold, finger length, height, gait and posture. Additional tests included physical strength, hearing, visual thresholds and a battery of psychological tests.
The men were then taken to a ten acre country retreat where the setting was designed to look and feel like it was twenty years earlier. The music, magazines, TV programs and other cultural reminders created an atmosphere that was twenty years younger. The premise of the experiment was that seeing oneself as young or old influences the aging process.
The men in the experimental group were instructed to literally act like the people they were twenty years ago - to think, write and talk in the vernacular and present tense, as if living in that time period. They all wore photo ID’s taken twenty years earlier. They were instructed to discuss the sports heroes, actors and political issues of that time and to get into the spirit and role play for one week - and function as if they were twenty years younger.
The control group of men was instructed to simply focus on that past era without absorbing themselves in the old mindset. More importantly, the experimental group were given more responsibility and greater demands were placed on them such as taking care of their own luggage, organizing all the activities for the week, follow complex instructions about their daily routine - all of which were a big change from being coddled and being taken care of to which they had been accustomed at home.
News & Notes
Spring Seminar Review
Monthly Meeting Reviews
Upcoming Monthly Meeting Schedule
2001 Executive Council
F.W. Hanley, M.D.
R. Yorsh, D.D.S.
Lee Pulos, Ph.D.
Saul Pilar, M.D.
Leora Kuttner, Ph.D.
Heather Fay, M.D.
MEMBERS AT LARGE
Mavis Lloyd, Ph.D.
Bianca Rucker, R.N., Ph.D.
James Stabler, M.S.W.
Lance Rucker, D.D.S.
Gordon Cochrane, Ed.D.
Marlene Hunter, M.D.
Don Louie, M.D., FRCP(C)
Frank Spellacy, Ph.D.
The results of the role-playing were stunning. Seven days later, both groups of men looked about four years younger. However, the men in the experimental group experienced greater joint flexibility, an increase in finger length, greater manual-dexterity, a greater increase in sitting height and greater increases in tricep skinfold and bideltoid or chest breadth, than the control group.
These were remarkable physical changes for just seven days in this novel environment. The most significant changes however, occurred in the intelligence test, specifically an improvement in the sub-tests measuring short-term memory, concentration, perpetual-motor, coordination and learning speed. The elegance and simplicity of this astonishing experiment reinforced the hypothesis that a person’s body and mind could be turned back to a more youthful state. In other words, so-called irreversible signs of aging could be reversed using psychological strategies. It also underscored the power of beliefs and attitude that can either contribute to or invert the aging process.
This study stimulated me to wonder how hypnotic techniques might contribute to a similar outcome. I turned to some of the concepts of quantum physics for the answer.
Everything in our universe at a sub-atomic and molecular level vibrates at a particular frequency. Denser materials with a heavier atomic structure such as metal vibrate at a much slower frequency than lighter materials such as flowers and flower essences. This is particularly true of all cells, organs and systems of the body that have their own individual signature frequency. Like fingerprints and snowflakes, each molecule is unique with its own specific vibration but when combined with other molecules and cell assemblies, the integrated frequencies become a resonance. Like an orchestra, an individual instrument produces notes within a certain frequency band but when combined with the range of all the instruments this produces an “umbrella resonance” subsuming the individual vibrations. Thus, the cell assemblies of a stomach heart or pancreas each have their individual resonant signature or “song” that is released through either infrasonic sound vibrations or photons (light).
One could use the metaphor of the body as a symphony orchestra with the mind/brain as the symphony conductor. Thus, if the mind/brain perceives stress, a negative resonance would be transmuted into the body and one or more of the different sections of the orchestra e.g. (woodwinds - lungs, percussion - heart) would lose the signature of harmony with the rest of the orchestra and quite likely plant the seed for disease. Physicist Mae-Wan Ho states that each thought generated or held in the mind has a signature wave or frequency or a cycle of energy; each frequency of thought affects the light and infrasonic waves of the body - harmonically or not,
and therefore each thought affects the immune system, the neurotransmitters, hormones, molecules and cells of the body immediately. Thus, the body consciousness is interconnected and entangled with the “brain consciousness” and each wavelength frequency of thought can create health and harmony or disease.
What happens to the original harmonic signature or resonance of health once one “loses” or “forgets” the song of harmony and health? Again, according to relativity theory energy cannot be created or destroyed but transmuted into a different wave form.
This suggests that the original “song” or resonance of optimal health is still within the organism but has been transformed or “pushed aside” by the “symphony conductor’s” mental vibrations or stress, fear, anger or any other negative resonant emotion.
This concept was first alluded to by Milton Erickson when he described hypnosis as a process for helping us re-discover what we already know but perhaps, don’t know or have forgotten that we know it.
The techniques I developed for helping people re-discover the original harmonics of health is to go to a safe place (magical garden) and picture themselves standing there when they possessed the most optimal energies of health, wellness and enthusiasm for life and the future. Let us assume for heuristic purposes that it was at age twenty-eight (to be established by the client).
At this point, a fairly deep hypnotic trance is induced, the person is taken to a safe place with his/her “younger self” standing on a “power spot” in the magical garden. The hypnotic wording and suggestions at this point would be . . .as you walk around... and look at the younger you ... recalling and absorbing the feelings of health... energy... flexibility... agility and vitality... that you experienced... and are still stored...within your energy... and consciousness fields...once you feel comfortable...with those memories...mentally step into... and fuse and blend...with the younger you...allowing the younger you...to become the teacher...for the older you...as you become one with the energies of the younger you...allow the younger you...to entrain the energetic resonances and memories of the older you...to entrain the optimal vibrations of health... for your immune system... lymphatic system...circulatory...and cerebrospinal systems... nervous... skeletal... muscular... and all organs...and endocrine glands...(keep repeating the suggestions in a hypnotic...gentle...encouraging fashion)...once the health and healing resonances of the older you have been entrained... into the optimal resonance of health... and wellness...your yes finger will lift...” (This can take anywhere from one minute to as long as eight minutes in more chronic conditions).
Once the yes finger lifts, the suggestions continue...”I would now like...the most trusted part of your
subconscious... to select one of the four or five dream cycles you have every night...and to make that a healing dream...to heal whatever needs to be healed...from the past or present...so that you can rediscover your state of grace...your optimal health state... does your subconscious understand...and accept that suggestion?” This is almost always acknowledged with a lift of the yes finger.
To close the session, the following suggestions are offered... “and when your conscious and subconscious minds...agree to work co-operatively...through different rest cycles of the day (ultradian cycles)...and...certain dreams... at night...to maintain the optimal vibrations... and resonance of health... will those eyes open...as if they have a mind...of their own?”
As is my custom with each hypnosis client, I then have the person practice the entrainment technique on their own by doing self-hypnosis without my being in the room. Of course, you work with the feedback and make any necessary adjustments in the next session.
For the clients who are faithfully compliant in practicing this process for ten minutes a day, I have been getting very encouraging responses, and in two cases, very extraordinary positive health gains.
For those of you working with chronic health problems, I hope this technique will add to the strategies you are currently employing.
Lee Pulos, Ph.D. ABPP
Friedman, Norman. (1990). Bridging Science and Spirit. Living Lakes Books,
St. Louis, Missouri.
Ho, Mae-Won. (1977). www.i-sis.org/lcm.shtml.
Langer, Ellen. (1989). Mindfulness. Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. Inc.,
Rossi, Ernest. (1996). The Symptom Path To Enlightenment. Palisades Gateway
Publishing, Pacific Palisades, California.
News & Notes
This section covers events in the lives of our Members. The Executive welcomes additions to this column. Please call or fax your news and notes. We are also happy to hear about books you have read which you would recommend to members, plus workshops and/or presenters which have been beneficial. If there is someone you would like us to approach for presentation at a regular monthly meting, or for a longer workshop, that information is also appreciated. We need presenters for our meetings, so when you have a topic you can share with members, we welcome volunteers.
Congratulations to our President, Lee Pulos and his co-presenter, Michael Smith. At the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis Seminar held in Reno recently, their presentation on the topic of Peak Performance was voted in the top five out of ninety-five workshops. In all probability, Lee will be
presenting the same material for our annual seminar held on February 2 and 3, 2002. MARK YOUR CALENDAR TO RESERVE THE DATE.
Also congratulations to Mavis Lloyd on earning her Ph.D. recently.
SPRING SEMINAR REVIEW
The Biology of Belief
Bruce Lipton, Ph.D.
Reported by Heather Fay, M.D.
On Saturday, May 5, 2001 we were again thrilled to hear Dr. Lipton explain the direct cause and effect between consciousness and biology. As a cell biologist, he took us through the history of why the accepted thinking was that our biology was predetermined by genetics to the current leading edge of science that proves that our perception of the environment directly controls our genes.
The slide and computer animated graphics explained very clearly, step by step how what we think affects every cell in the body.
This wonderful day helped to reinforce for us how in charge we are of ourselves at all levels and the choices are ours as to how to be, be these choices made consciously or subconsciously.
Our sincere thanks to Dr. Lipton. If he ever comes to Vancouver again his talk is a must for your diary!
MONTHLY MEETING REVIEW
Using Hypnosis with Brain-injured Clients
Reported by Dorina Medland, M.Ed., R. Psych.
Dr. Frank Spellacy, Professor Emeritus of Uvic, presented at the March 21 meeting on the use of hypnosis with brain injured clients. This client population, he suggested, may be overlooked when it comes to using hypnosis but often responds well to this intervention.
Following any kind of brain injury clients are not able to process information as quickly as before. They can present with memory and concentration problems and fatigue. Additionally, they often have catastrophic reactions when being assessed, i.e. when they are pushed past their ability they react with tears, yelling, stomping, frustration and anger. When they have calmed down and testing resumes they often cannot do what they previously did correctly on the same test. They have poor affect control, lose the thread of conversations, and feel overwhelmed.
Dr. Spellacy explained the concept of cerebral reserve capacity as our ability to manage our daily lives when we are pushed beyond our usual mental endurance for a period of time. With brain injured clients this ability is reduced. People who have had a physical injury can be mentally affected for up to one year as well. In post concussion syndrome 15% of people are not symptom free one year later. Furthermore, people with sustained PTSD can also display lowered brain functioning. Dr. Spellacy also described Diaschisssus which is the shutting down of neurons at a distance from where the brain was injured. This seems to interrupt a feedback loop diminishing the brain’s ability to process information.
Dr. Spellacy reported that hypnosis can be a helpful preventive measure with clients who have diminished mental functioning in assisting them to relax and to adjust their expectations of their performance. Hypnosis can aid these clients to feel more confident and to mentally rehearse alternative and more positive behaviours in different social and work settings. For example, a client under hypnosis can be taught to excuse himself briefly from a family gathering if he is unable to keep pace with the conversation rather than exploding with frustration or increasingly withdrawing and isolating from such events.
Hypnosis can be most useful with these clients because we are already speaking slowly and they do not feel as pressured to comprehend. Dr. Spellacy encourages using very simple inductions such as counting to 10 very slowly. Slowing his speech even as he begins the induction: “In a moment.…pause….I am going….to count slowly…. pause…. from one….. He has also found that the use of “organic sounds” (from Ainsley Meares work) like “ummm”, “ahhhh”, “uhhhh”, “mmmm” also with long pauses interspersed during the beginning of the induction, further reduces stress with these clients as they do not have to interpret what is being said to them. Furthermore, most people have overlearned the integers 1 to 10 and they pose little threat to clients who are already anxious and often ashamed about their diminished mental abilities.
We were encouraged to use hypnosis combined with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in order to address any self-defeating beliefs and to reduce global catastrophic thinking. Borrowing from Luria’s observations that some clients with low impulse control behave better when others are present, Dr. Spellacy invites the client to mentally have a helper with him to help guide the client to make more appropriate behaviour choices. Dr. Spellacy’s presentation stimulated many thought provoking questions from the group and a good discussion followed.
MONTHLY MEETING REVIEW
The Effects of Birth and Pre-birth on
Adult Symptoms and Behaviour
Reported by Mavis Lloyd, Ph.D.
On May 16 our members were privileged to experience a most unusual and worthwhile presentation. Dr. Graham Wicks, a physician from Adelaide, Australia, specializes in using hypnosis with many of his patients for a variety of clinical needs. These needs include pain, depression, and helping women give birth.
When Dr. Wicks works with pregnant patients, he prefers to see them from two to three months into their pregnancy in order to review their own birth experience. He is then able to remove any negative memories for them and also give them adequate training to make the birth of their own child a joyful, confident experience. He reported excellent results in increasing intrauterine bonding between mother and baby, where she was encouraged to pat her stomach and talk to the baby via positive thoughts. One case mentioned included a description of the mother learning deep hypnosis for the birth experience. She was very still and the baby stopped moving, which alarmed her. Dr. Wicks told her to communicate that it would be good for the baby to kick her to let her know it was all right. The baby did so.
Over the years Dr. Wicks has increased the amount of pre-birth hypnosis that he uses with his adult patients who are suffering with problems such as pain and depression. He began by explaining the physical and mental types of trauma that fetuses can experience. The physical traumas include attempted abortions, accidents, smoking, alcohol, instrument delivery and caesarian birth. Mental traumas include the mother's negative attitudes to the approaching birth and her depression - especially if it is continuous. Negative memories of her own birth experience may also increase the likelihood of maternal difficulties. Physical trauma tends to produce psychosomatic symptoms in adults, while mental trauma tends to produce psychoneurotic symptoms, particularly anxiety and depression. When the latter occurs, the subjects may have difficulty accepting their ability to become hypnotized. When this occurs, Dr. Wicks tells them they will stop the hypnosis, but actually continues his induction differently to bypass the patient's fears of the process. In this way he is able to continue his normal process of finding the blockages creating the adult's symptoms.
Dr. Wicks listed the following assumptions before beginning to use hypnosis with adult patients:
1. There is a subconscious mind that has deeper levels of awareness not available to the conscious mind.
2. Past experiences affect current behaviour.
3. Memories are recorded long before birth and patients can be regressed far enough back to elicit those memories.
4. The adult client has sufficient ego-strength to resolve the problems.
He then described his hypnotic approach to help patients re-experience their pre-birth and immediate after-birth experiences. This approach was similar to those of Dr. David Cheek, except that Dr. Wicks had his patients move in and out of the birth canal more than once. The final stage was to re-memorize the 'negative script' of the birth experience so that it was a more positive one for the patient.
We were then able to watch a truly magnificent video Dr. Wicks had brought with him. An adult male was shown reliving his birth experience, to the extent that his body took on the physical shape and behaviour of being born, as well as his vocal sounds. It had been a forceps delivery and his ear had been torn. With this video Dr. Wicks demonstrated the procedure briefly outlined above. While re-experiencing the months prior to birth, ideas that it was right for the person to be born and that he could have a normal birth experience were implanted. The patient was then encouraged to experience that normal birth and to feel comfortable and loved after birth.
Hopefully, we can invite Dr. Wicks to return to give a full-day workshop for us, as his knowledge and experience are well worth being enjoyed by a wider audience than the small number who attend our regular meetings.
Welcome New Members! Full Members: Seema
Buksh Special Affiliate Paul
Swingle Member: Bonnie
Anderson Associate Member: Eva Lorraine Haskell
Welcome New Members!
Full Members: Seema Buksh Special Affiliate
Paul Swingle Member: Bonnie Anderson
Member: Eva Lorraine Haskell
Meeting Schedule The following is a
listing of the dates and topics of upcoming meetings. Topics may change at the last minute due
to circumstances beyond our control.
If you wish to confirm the topic being presented, please feel free
to contact the office. The purpose of these monthly meetings is to provide
useful information to our members and a place for members to meet and
discuss hypnosis in a positive learning environment. If there is a topic you would like to
see presented or you have a topic you would like to present at one of the
meetings, please contact the Society President, Dr. Lee Pulos at 669-6979. Meeting
Date: Third Wednesday of each
Time: 6:30 p.m. Meeting
Place: Bianca Rucker’s Office #
400 - 601 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC DATE PRESENTER TOPIC Sep.
19 Mavis Lloyd, Ph.D. Age Regression: Concepts & Practice Oct.
Cochrane, Ed.D. Non-verbal
presentation & discussion) Nov.
21 Lee Pulos, Ph.D. Rossi’s Interpretation
of Powerful Ericksonian Techniques
Monthly Meeting Schedule
The following is a listing of the dates and topics of upcoming meetings. Topics may change at the last minute due to circumstances beyond our control. If you wish to confirm the topic being presented, please feel free to contact the office.
The purpose of these monthly meetings is to provide useful information to our members and a place for members to meet and discuss hypnosis in a positive learning environment. If there is a topic you would like to see presented or you have a topic you would like to present at one of the meetings, please contact the Society President, Dr. Lee Pulos at 669-6979.
Meeting Date: Third Wednesday of each month
Meeting Time: 6:30 p.m.
Meeting Place: Bianca Rucker’s Office
# 400 - 601 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC
DATE PRESENTER TOPIC
Sep. 19 Mavis Lloyd, Ph.D. Age Regression: Concepts & Practice
Oct. 17 Gordon Cochrane, Ed.D. Non-verbal Communication
(slide presentation & discussion)
Nov. 21 Lee Pulos, Ph.D. Rossi’s Interpretation of Powerful