Hypnotherapy for the treatment of emotional issues

the different faces of emotion

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) have the most to do with that. The three senses are collectively known as V-K-A, (vision, kinaesthetic, auditory). Those, along with olfactory (smell) and gustatory (taste) make up our 5 senses and the primary ways in how and why our brain works the way it does. From the moment we are born, even before that, to a certain degree, our brain starts to store information and processes that according to a perception of what it believes is happening. Of course, as a baby, infant, toddler, we have very few tools to properly analyse what is going on and so, we take cues from those around us, e.g. parents, siblings, strangers (which, initially, includes almost everyone outside of our family nucleus. Gradually 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 aims to take a look inside that early world and it has a unique way of realigning and reconsolidating those misguided and, maybe, misunderstood learnings from our early experience of life. Children learn to encode experience in a way that allows them to make sense of the world they live in and, for a child, that is usually all well and good. However, if our development is 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 dysfunctional and life goes off the rails. 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 fun, full of love, happiness and joy. Of course, life will always have its twists and turns, ups and downs but those should be the exceptions to life, not the basis 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!

Sight: 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 on our view of the world. But ironically there are no pictures in the brain so, what we see is a representation of our perception, which we then experience, through either stored images held in memory or the rational (sometimes irrational) way in which our brain makes sense of what it sees; or thinks it does. 

For example:    

Some of the areas that have very extensive efferent and afferent connections within the brain (in no specific order of importance) are:

  • The ventral tegmental area: this is the seat of the 4 major reward pathways (mesolimbic, mesocortical, tuberoinfundibular and nigrostriatal pathways)
  • 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
  • Pendunculpontine tegmental nucleus (part of the Ascending Reticular Activating System) located in the pons of the brain stem
  • Basal ganglia (part of the motor system but has rich connections to the thalamus (primary sensory processor), hypothalamus (precursor of the stress response HPA Axis but much more too) Hippocampus, the primary seat of memory and learning

Speech: Is one of the primary ways we think we communicate. I say THINK we communicate because it also happens to be the way we mostly 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? 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 cause of emotional and cognitive dissonance, we don't mean what we say and we don't say what we mean and this leads to inner conflict and our life being off balance!

Hearing: 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 think we know what we mean and 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 each have an internal representation of all the words that we know and what we believe to be the meanings of those words, however, some words can have a different meaning depending on the mood or state of mind we are in. For example, you ask your wife how she is and, if she is in a good, bad or indifferent mood, the inflexion and intonation of the word "OK" will 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, our own personal mood or state of mind can lead 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 can tell us we said something entirely different; or didn't say it at all! Or heard something that wasn't there or what we thought it was!

But what does this have to do with emotional issues? Well, it seems to point 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 we are growing up as children we all experience something; in fact everything, for the first time? When that happens we give it meaning. Sometimes, it is the meaning we are told by our parents or some other well-meaning adult, e.g. little boys don't cry, he who hesitates is lost, think before you leap etc. Most of us may remember asking our parents, "where did I come from" and being told something like, "a stork brought you" or "behind the gooseberry bush" (or some other excuse)! Quite an understandable excuse, as surely telling a small child about the human reproductive process would be too difficult to comprehend if only because their brain has not yet developed enough to make sense of that information! Although, sometimes we say the things we do out of embarrassment; people just don't 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, whereas, for most people, children are often the unexpected result of their sex life! Hence the saying, 85% of all people, are the result of an accident!

As I said above, think about the effect of telling a child things like: little boys don't cry, you mustn't get angry, think before you leap, he who hesitates is lost, if you don't go to sleep the bogey man will get you, smoking is bad for you (as you light up your cigarette), or you must eat all of your food (but don't do it yourself), or they see signs saying $500 fine for throwing litter (and then watch you throw litter), why aren't you like your brother/sister etc. etc. From the day we are born we are bombarded with ambiguity or things that can confuse or confound us! And people wonder why we have problems? Essentially we are the subjects of misinformation, misinterpretation and misunderstanding, almost, from the day we are born! Hypnotherapy helps us to realign the stuff we learned subconsciously and convert it into a functionally updated version of childhood memory and that is the stuff of normal life experience!

As children, we may experience trauma and cope with it quite well, maybe very well. Sometimes it is the rational logical and intellectual judgment that we place on this trauma, as an adult or adolescent, that causes the 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 redefine the experience, or give it a different context and this can affect our thinking processes and go on to create an emotional (neurochemical) response that becomes, almost, unique to that experience; but also, it can spill over into every 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 frame an experience into our lives and 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!

Some people have overcome the biggest trauma(s)  and gone on to live a very happy and fruitful life. Others have experienced a lesser trauma and yet it has dominated their life; they have not got over it!
Whatever your experience of life, therapy can often help to change life back to something of value and worthwhile experience!

Emotional issues can have a huge impact on the quality of our life and can be implicated in many of the illnesses diseases and disorders that we suffer from! It is believed that up to 75% of all illness is psychosomatic in nature; psychological in origin physical in nature!
If you have concerns about how an emotional issue is affecting your life; or that of a loved one. Why not call for an informal chat to discuss your options?

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