Hypnosis as a professional practice has been used for most trauma-based healing processes and counseling therapy, but it has grown popular lately because it is used in the healing process of victims of sex abuses. Because of fear and the controversy surrounding hypnosis as a practice, first time clients should be given the following guidelines:
a. Verify the credentials of your hypnosis practitioner. Oftentimes, hypnosis is not about higher learning or doctoral degree. It is about experience. How long has he been doing this? How many clients have he handled?
b. It is best if you understand the logic behind hypnosis. Ask your hypnosis practitioner/counselor the concept of “mind-body connection.” Also discuss with your counselor the different levels of consciousness and spend longer time to talk about the subconscious mind.
c. Understand that the mind has the ability to accept or rejected suggestion. In that sense, all hypnosis are self-hypnosis. Everything requires your full agreement. As you are being hypnotized, you will notice that you are actually aware; in fact this awareness is in a heightened and focused mode.
d. You must know that there are such things as “repressed memories”. Talk about it extensively with your counselor because oftentimes sexual abuses are so traumatic that they are repressed by the mind in order to survive the ordeal. Repression is a coping mechanism – a natural way of the mind to deal with trauma.
e. Make sure that you understand the process of age regression – it is an exercise that leads you to an earlier age where the repressed memory of being abused can be accessed. You must understand further that in order for healing to happen, there is no requirement to authenticate of validates the memory – it is how the mind chose to remember it and therefore it is that memory that wounds you.
f. Given that, you must understand the dynamics of suggestibility which, when under hypnosis, can potentially stimulate imagination and production of false memories. This is one of the reasons why hypnosis became controversial. Trust your instinct. The more that you are relaxed, the more that your mind will trust you enough to open its secrets.
g. If catharsis will happen, allow it but do not force it. Never allow your counselor to force you to release emotions attached to the memory of the abuse. There are emotions like anger, shame, fear and pain. If the body is ready to release the emotions, catharsis flows naturally.
Hypnosis is one of the best treatments of sexual abuse as the memory is so repressed it doesn’t come to awareness without the right process. It is effective. It is safe. But there are three important things that should happen as a pre-condition: a deep sense of trust of your counselor’s capacity and intentions; a full knowledge of what is going to happen; and a desire to get healed.