Move forwards by going back: the power of regression to change your present

Childhood regression

Working with memories within hypnosis is a very powerful tool to achieve effective change.  During early childhood, our minds are incredibly open and our neurological patterning is formed at this age.  Key events that occurred in early childhood can influence our behaviour, our emotions and our beliefs in the present without us even being aware of it.

One of my approaches when working with clients is to guide their unconscious mind to find often forgotten but influential memories.  This technique is widely known as regression.  Once the client has located the key memory,  we work quickly and effectively at re-contextualising the events of that moment.  This process allows the client to take more information from the event and make new conclusions.  By revisiting specific childhood events and seeing the bigger picture we create new neural connections which allow new behaviours and responses in the present.

To make the process of re-contextualising memories even faster and more effective I often use the technique called “creative mothering”.  As the client reviews the key event, I invite them to bring their present-day adult-self to be there with their child-self inside the memory they are working with.  The purpose of their adult-self is to serve as the source of support and resources that their child-self needed at the time.

In her recent exhibition, Imagine Finding Me, London-based photographer Chino Otsuka has literally inserted her adult-self into childhood memories using digital software.  The compositions presented in her exhibition could well be little vignettes from many of the client sessions I facilitate.

The results of re-contextualising these key memories are often noteworthy. I recently worked with a client who came to see me to overcome her feelings of failure.  I took her back to the originating memory which involved feeling ignored by a parent.  Once she’d been through the process of having her unconscious mind understand that being ignored was not her fault she was able to know that she was important and loved.  Getting in touch with the knowledge that she did matter allowed her to claim her self-worth in the present.

A week later she made a minor miscalculation while driving.  While everyone remained safe and no property was damaged, she did receive a fine.  She relayed to me that if that miscalculation had happened in the past, she would have fallen into a hole of self-criticism and shame from which she would have taken a long time to recover. After releasing and re-contextualising the key memory she was thrilled that she could easily say to herself, “Damn it, how annoying!” and get on with the rest of her day.

What patterns of thought or behaviour have you feeling stuck?  If enough is enough, then get in contact.  Let’s go meet with your child-self and discover what else there is for you to learn.

Make New Year’s changes that stick

The Hierarchy of Change

Happy New Year!  May 2014 be your greatest year yet!

What do you want to achieve in 2014? What would you like to change this year?

To assist you in making those changes permanent and easy, I’d like to introduce you to the Dilts’ model of change.  Robert Dilts is a significant contributor to the field of NLP and stipulated that there was a hierarchy of six different levels where change could be made within a person.  Those levels are: Purpose, Identity, Values & Beliefs, Capability, Behaviour and Environment.

Dilts' Model of ChangePurpose – Whom do I serve and for what purpose?

Identity – Who am I and do I reflect that in the way I live?

Values & Beliefs – Why do I make these changes?

Capability – How do I make these changes?

Behaviour – What do I need to change?

Environment – Where do I need change?

Changes made at one level tend to flow downwards and impact on the levels below.

Typically, when people want to make a change, they target the level of Behaviour.  For example, if someone wants to lose weight, they will target behaviour by changing their exercise regime or their diet.  A change at the behaviour level will filter downwards and impact on their environment as they start going to the gym or avoiding bakeries and fast food outlets.

When changes are made at the higher levels of Purpose, Identity or Values & Beliefs, change filters down into the lower levels and behaviours and environments can change easily.  Consider how you would naturally and automatically behave if:

  • You believed that eating cakes and sugar was causing immediate damage to your health and you valued good health as a high priority.  A change at level of Beliefs & Values
  • You identified yourself as an extremely health-conscious person.  A change at level of Identity
  • Your purpose was to make a huge contribution in your chosen field during your lifetime. Therefore you ensure you are in the best possible physical condition to do so.  A change at level of Purpose

Unless we have taken action to change our values, beliefs and identity, we may well be operating on unconscious programming that was installed during our early years.  By working with the unconscious mind and creating new beliefs, values and an identity that supports our goals and desires in the present, we can make taking action so much easier.

Should you wish for support to make those desired changes in 2014, I am always at your service.


Image Credit: sophie & cie via Flickr

The Power of Beliefs

Last month I attended a presentation by Dr Raj Persaud at King’s College London about the importance of belief in the therapeutic process.  Dr Persaud, listed by the Times newspaper as one of the top 20 mental health gurus in the world, spoke about the continuum along which humans find themselves in terms of what they believe about their destiny.  On one end of that spectrum are those termed External, meaning that they believe they have no input, influence or control in creating their destiny.  These people see themselves as tumbleweed, blown about at the mercy of the wind and other uncontrollable forces.  At the other end of the spectrum are Internals, those who believe that it is through their hard work, diligence, practice and tenacity that they affect their destiny and shape their future.

Dr Persaud’s argument is that the first step of successful therapy is always to move the client along the spectrum from External to Internal.  According to him, it is only when the client believes they are in control of their destiny that behavioural change can begin to take root.

Beliefs, despite being invisible, colour the lens through which we view our world.  Dr Persaud quoted studies that showed Internals are more likely than Externals to vote, to work for achievements, to tolerate delays in rewards and to plan for long-term goals.  Internals are also less prone to learned helplessness and serious depression[1].  This is a wonderful example of how the beliefs we hold to be true are expressed in our behaviours, our action and therefore our achievements in the world.

What is incredibly exciting is that in separate research Dr Bruce Lipton, a genetic scientist from New Zealand, has shown that our beliefs can not only effect our behaviour, but can actually affect our physical bodies at the cellular level too.

In his lecture on the Biology of Belief[2] Dr Lipton gives a step-by-step explanation of the process by which proteins inside the cells are activated by the signals from the cells’ external sensors.  Based on the cells perception of what is going on in the external environment, specific proteins are activated within the cell or even created from the genes inside the cell.

The exciting concept that ties these two academics’ findings together is the real-world impact of our beliefs.  Changing a belief can normally be a difficult thing to do.  People can be quite attached to their beliefs – wars are fought over them!  And yet, when you decide that your current beliefs are no longer serving you and the results you want to achieve in the world, you can quickly and easily transform them by communicating in the language and structure of the unconscious mind.

What beliefs are you carrying around that no longer serve you? What would you prefer to believe about your ability to affect your health, your finances and your relationships?  Now you’re ready to become the pilot of your own destiny!

Would you like to know where you are on the spectrum?  Take an online Locus of Control test here. 

[1] Gershaw, D, “Locus of Control”,  adapted from Simons, Irwin and Drinnin’s Psychology: The Search for Understanding, West Publishing, 1987, pages 493-495.

Image Credit: Simone Paoli via Flickr