Alchemical Hypnotherapy takes the lead of emotional pain and transforms it into the gold of peace, love, joy and gratitude.
What is hypnosis?
Very simply, hypnosis is the state of awareness people experience when they focus on one thing. Hypnosis explores the states of consciousness that yogis, mystics, monks and nuns have been achieving for centuries. Jame Braid, the Scottish surgeon who first coined the word 'hypnotism,' used the Greek word for sleep, because it seemed that certain parts of the brain went off-line. Later he wanted to call hypnosis 'monoideism' because he realized the primary feature of trance was single-pointed focus. But the word hypnosis has stuck, for better or for worse.
I think of hypnosis as the West's tradition of meditation, much younger than the East's, and often more practical too. States of trance have been used to manage pain, perform surgery without anesthesia, treat hysteria, recover memories, and integrate conflicting parts of the self. There is tremendous untapped potential for the tools of hypnosis to help heal trauma, change behaviors, and create a healthy, vibrant society. Western science and medicine has been growing rapidly as it studies Tibetan monks, explore the subconscious roots of disease, and delves into subtle levels of consciousness that heretofore have been the province of mystics.
What is Alchemical Hypnotherapy?
Standard hypnosis often has the client remain silent, while the hypnotists describes an image or repeats a direct suggestion. It's like the therapist is the driver, taking the passenger where they want to go. That works to some extent, but it falls short when the client isn't ready to go, when there's a block in the way, or when the client isn't even in the car anymore. Perhaps you are more familiar with the word 'affirmation' than direct suggestion, though they are pretty much the same thing. Saying an affirmation, “I am powerful, successful, and happy,” while a core part of you feels incapable, failing, and unhappy, can be a bit like paving over a swamp without firming up the underlying land first.
That's where Alchemical Hypnotherapy comes in. You could meditate by yourself, and that's great. You could listen to a great guided journey, and that can be powerful. But Alchemical Hypnotherapy is when you have two minds meditating together. It's like we go on an adventure exploring a cave together. Neither of us really knows what we'll find in your subconscious mind, and neither of us necessarily knows what will work. But we get to explore and play together.
This means that the therapist isn't the expert. Sure I have experience, skills, presence, and care to offer, but I only want to offer what feels right to you, and no one knows that better than yourself. This way Alchemical Hypnotherapy builds confidence and skills in navigating tricky terrain. Sometimes you don't just want a ride to work; you really want to be able to drive your car wherever you are going that day.
Another thing that can happen with traditional talk therapy is that clients rehash the same relationship patterns, the same problems that seemingly have always plagued them. Alchemical Hypnotherapy though, goes back to root cause, to the first time that pattern emerged, even if it was in the womb or in early childhood. Talk therapy doesn't necessarily help with that, because these memories and emotions are pre-verbal. But with Alchemical Hypnotherapy we can release old pain and overlay positive potentials. Imagine someone had a mother who didn't want to have a child, and they have a deep energetic imprint of not being wanted in the world. In that case, we can do a journey where we find (or imagine, depending on how you look at it) a mother who does want to be pregnant, and we do a re-birthing process where the client feels nourished in the womb and re-experiences birth to a loving mother. This visualization doesn't change the past physically, but it changes the imprint of the past and the expectations for the future.
The name Alchemy comes from the ancient mystical tradition of changing lead into gold. I don't think this was ever a physical process; I think it is a metaphor for taking emotional pain and transforming it with awareness and acceptance into humility, peace, wisdom, love and joy. It's almost as if our pipes get clogged with old pain, so the life-force energy that would otherwise flow and be experienced as joy gets dammed. This energy builds and builds, the holding pattern more and more intolerable, until we surrender. We give up the old beliefs about our ourselves, and find a new way of being in the world that is more natural, spontaneous, fun, and easy.
How does Alchemical Hypnotherapy work?
In a nutshell, a magical process of healing occurs when we bring loving presence to pain. We don't have to identify with, become, or act out the wounded parts, but we choose to witness them. We open our hearts to our brokenness. Often there are blocks that protect us from this pain, physical, emotional, or spiritual. It is locked out from our daily awareness, though there might be a looming fear of being overwhelmed at some point. We might seek out distractions, alcohol, food, video games, sex, work, relationships, or anything else to numb the pain. But when our coping mechanisms become untenable, or when we long for healthier ways of being, we can choose to integrate wounded parts of ourselves with all our other parts, some of whom are far more resourced than we ever imagined.
There are a whole array of techniques for doing this work. I won't be able to describe the all, but let me give you an example so you get a sense of what the work is like. A friend recently wanted to know about the work I do, so I asked her, "What's a behavior you'd like to change?"
She answered, "Well, I find myself eating when I'm not hungry,"
"Okay, let's go down a set of stairs and talk to that part of you who loves to eat," I suggest.
At the bottom of the stairs, she answers: "I see a big fat man, maybe in this 50's, who seems to have given up on life."
"What's his name?" I ask.
"Now become Ernest, and tell me, why do you love to eat?"
“Oh, he's eating because he's he isn't happy with the way his life has turned out.”
Ah, so we found at least one underlying motivation for her snacking, and the conversation would continue in a therapy session. Notice how collaborative the exchange is. The image of Ernst arose spontaneously, almost as if that image was the subconscious mind's response to the question, “Who here loves to eat?” Once we know the need that is being met by eating, we don't need to rely on that strategy. We don't have to label snacking as 'bad,' and shame ourselves for it either. But we can instead acknowledge the grief about unfulfilled dreams, and as we do so, it will begin to release. Other times client will find that they are over-eating in order to find love, and we can find other ways of experiencing love that are less harmful in the long-term.
What types of issues does Alchemical Hypnotherapy help with?
Practically any issue related to the subconscious, our emotions, thought-patterns, and core beliefs. Let's look at the body first. Many of the body's physical pains, aliments, and diseases stem from past trauma. Our muscles actually harden and our posture becomes rigid to lock in the beliefs we have about ourselves and lock away emotional pain. In a session, we can learn and then clear the underlying cause of many aches, pain, headaches, allergies, cancers, sexual impotence, arthritis, anaphylactic shock, and unwind trauma caused in an accident or surgery. I don't claim to treat any of these medical conditions, and always prefer to work as an adjunct to your medical team, but I do specialize in clearing the roots of these disease in the subconscious mind, an area that is too often overlooked by the medical field. The body is the computer, the hardware, on which our software is run. Breathing, stretching, light massage, and energy work done during the session can all help release old programming.
In the emotional realm, Alchemical Hypnotherapy can relieve apathy, sadness, anger, irritability, general anxiety, social fears, phobia, and relationship problems. It can help people find themselves, and their purpose and direction, and tap into the inner motivation to take action. Mentally, Alchemical Hypnotherapy can raise client's awareness about how their inner tapes affect their moods, and train them in being more gentle and loving with themselves. Behaviors, addiction, and compulsions are also incorporated into therapy and between sessions clients track what drives them to make the choices they do. Finally, therapy also incorporates a level of spiritual awareness, our higher or deepest self, the part of the divine that rests in our heart. It is from this point that one may witness anything, without being blown over or overwhelmed.
What does a session look like?
It either takes place over the internet, on the phone, or in person. The first 20 – 30 minutes we will talk about what is going on in your life, and what goals you'd most like to achieve. Then the client will lie down and be guided into meditation using their breath and body to cultivate awareness. We will explore a particular topic together for the remaining time. Sessions are 90 minutes long. This length gives us the opportunity to be together and totally forget about the time.
How many sessions will it take before I feel better?
You will feel better after your first session. But to heal an issue totally, the number of sessions depends on your goal. If you want to discover the cause of a physical pain, we can do that in one session. If you want to shift the underlying energy that is causing that pain and no longer suffer from it, aim for three sessions. If you want to slowly, but radically shift the way you approach the world, shifting to trusting life rather than fighting it, for example, plan to do this work for at least a year. Sessions can be done back to back, four days in a row, or you can come in once a week. The choice is yours.
Is hypnosis something I'll even be able to do?
Can you notice your breathing? Can you feel any sensation in your body? Yes, you'll be able to relax a little and stay present. Some people tend to be more visual, while others feel sensations in their bodies. Whatever way you experience your sessions is fine. You'll even get better and better at accessing a relaxed state of mind as you practice. Being able to relax won't just help you do deep inner healing work; it will also help you in any of your creative or expressive endeavors. Writers, athletes, and public speakers all practice accessing a state of flow through similar mental techniques.
What distinguishes Alchemical Hypnotherapy different than other modalities?
Here are ten things that make Alchemical Hypnotherapy unique:
1) Empowering. Each session teaches you skills that you can take with you for your entire life. It connects you to your own inherent source of wisdom, power, and love. We're a team; I'm an ally, but if you want your therapist to solve all your problems, we might want to look at that. As they say, it's far better to teach a man to fish, than to feed him for a day.
2) Embodied. The body holds so much: memories that we have consciously forgotten, potential for incredible pleasure, and access to intuition, just to name a few. As we increase our awareness of the body, we tap into the power of the subconscious mind. Movement, breath, visualization, and sound all help us move the energy through the physical body in new ways. Locked muscles and areas of chronic tension begin to unwind and relax. This increases the natural flow of life-force through all parts of the body and psyche, raising our general set-point of happiness. You might be able to forget your affirmation, "I am strong," but if you walk away physically standing taller, you will carry your strength and power with you wherever you go.
3) Directed. There's a map, a plan, based on the stages of development that all humans progress through beginning at birth, going to 6 months and 18 months, on to adulthood. Many problems in our current life can be explained by which developmental stages were not successfully completed. The timing of trauma or neglect can predict certain patterns, personalities, and character structures. Therapy works to teach you to internally meet the developmental needs that went unmet. You'll learn to be the parent you always wished you had.
4) Transpersonal. Drawing on shamanic practices, we work on the etheric plane to communicate with people from our past or present. We use universal life energy to heal physically and emotionally. We tap into archetypal energies, such as our higher self and spirit guides. Awareness of this level of reality allows for deep and rapid healing.
5) Attuned. If in a session you don't resonate with a word, phrase, or suggestion, we drop it and try something else. If I'm talking and you're still thinking about something else, you can redirect me. You and I are allies. We are two spelunkers descending into your subconscious mind. We stay in constant communication as we search for the fountain of eternal life. This creates a safe container where you can really be seen, met, and held.
6) Loving. Are there parts of you that feel unworthy and unloveable, that you would rather not share? In therapy we hold these shameful aspects with tender love. The shame, judgment, violence and oppression of society and history begins to melt away. In its place, we experience more love, joy, and gratitude.
7) Balanced. There is a time and place for everything; there is a natural rhythm to things. Maybe the first session isn't the right time to go into your deepest existential terror or your strongest murderous rage. It's often important to build internal resources, to strengthen the ground beneath our feet, before triggering our deepest wounds. As a client, you will learn to balance the pain and pleasure in life, to know the dark as well as the light. You will learn to trust in the guidance of your innate wisdom. You will begin to feel your body and heart ever more intimately and clearly.
8) Effective. Most therapy helps to a certain extent, but tends to be limited because it does not address change on all levels of being: body, emotions, mind, behavior and spirit. Psychotherapy is often unable to help high functioning people reach their true potential. Freud wrote, "...much will be gained if we succeed in transforming your hysterical misery into common unhappiness." Alchemical Hypnotherapy goes beyond common unhappiness to help you achieve your life's purpose. Drawing on the practices of Buddhism, shamanism, hypnotherapy and Core Energetics, Alchemical Hypnotherapy has the potential to shift identities that might have been formed in the earliest days of our lives.
9) Poignant. Because we trust your inner wisdom, each session tends to be exactly what you need, exactly when you need it. No two sessions are alike, because each session peels away another layer of the onion. Your process is always unfolding and developing.
10) Grounded in daily life. Meditation can provide regular access to blissful states, and psychedelics can open eyes to unseen realms, but do these experiences always change the way we live daily life? Each session of Alchemical Hypnotherapy includes homework: together we decide what behavior, activities or practices will best support the integration of the insights gained that day. It might be practicing deep breathing; it might be going for regular walks; it might be anything that helps you to achieve your heart's truest desires.
If this work interests you, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call letting me know where you're coming from and where you'd like to go.