To better understand the following intervention, it would be necessary for me to explain the format I developed over the thirty years I have been in private practice. I often include individual experiential psychotherapy in the context of the group. This approach is commonly used in inpatient treatment centers where group therapy is the therapeutic modality of choice. When an opportunity presents itself to work with a client within the context of the group, I first ask permission, (e.g., "Would you like to do a piece of work?") This approach not only provides insight and/or resolution for the participating client, but also promotes processing and feedback for both the individual and other group members. Often, other members are triggered into their own unresolved conflicts while being a benign witness to a working member and can benefit greatly from this process.
I employ an eclectic approach combining many therapeutic modalities, but in this particular intervention I predominantly used the principles of guided imagery. Guided imagery is an effective and simple relaxation technique used for meditation and/or hypnosis that helps to manage stress, reduce tension, and induce regressive and/or repressed memories. I also use neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), a communication technology that utilizes the work of Milton Erikson, MD, founder of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and one of the most widely acknowledged and clinically successful psychiatrists of our times (Bandler, Grinder, 1975; Bradshaw, 1988; Zeig,
1985; DeLozier, 1977; Dilts, Ginder, Bandler, & DeLozier, 1980). NLP employs the three most influential components involved in producing human experience: neurology, language, and programming. Used together with Eriksonian hypnosis, these modalities provide experiential processes, rather than "talk therapy," which impact the amygdala, (where I believe trauma and stuck states are lodged, thus helping individuals to release repressed negative thoughts, feelings, and compulsive behaviors that are preventing them from moving forward in their lives.)
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Hypnosis has been defined as a state of heightened suggestibility in which the subject is able to uncritically accept ideas for self-improvement and act on them appropriately. When a hypnotist hypnotizes his subject, it is known as hetero-hypnosis. When an individual puts himself into a state of hypnosis, it is known as self-hypnosis.