Reclaiming My Life

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners.

by Katherine Zimmerman

We began by discussing the changes since Sandra’s first session. In her previous session Sandra created a protective bubble to help her cope with her stressful career as a medical professional. Although I could see that Sandra had made considerable progress from her initial session she needed to have the change recognized and validated to convince her that it was real.

Since her previous session Sandra reported that she no longer felt like the “shut-in” that she was before. She’s saying “yes” to everything, although she may change her mind later. She was beginning to see that she could allow herself the option of changing her mind later as long as she examined why she’s doing so. She was making social plans and commented, “I’m actually living!”

With her new mind set she now noticed that her co-workers just “roll with the punches” rather than freaking out and throwing a fit, her former go-to action. She was calmer and felt much safer.

In the past she didn’t feel safe getting out the house or driving somewhere. Parking the car and leaving it wasn’t safe. “People might say mean things to me and that’s not safe.”

But now her attitude was, “You can’t touch me. You just really can’t. Externally you can do whatever you want, but now I have my little bubble, my safe bubble. And at first it was difficult for me to remember that it was there, but now it’s just like anytime I feel threatened or maybe nervous, I envision myself popping into my own little bubble and no one else can get me there. And so it’s an immediate calming sensation.”

While there was still some worry, she was able to remind herself that she’d been through his before, survived, and even did well. It was not a big deal.

Considering that she’d only had one session I’d say Sandra had made a huge improvement.

In our pre-session discussion Sandra realizes that her behavior at work has changed dramatically – not all at once but gradually. Events that would have just “spun me out of control” are now “okay.”

All of this from a simple process of showing her how to surround herself with a protective bubble.

For today’s goal, Sandra talked about her competitive side and having to outshine everyone else. She believed that it tied in with seeking approval from others. Her parents used to always say, “I don’t like you when you do that.” As a result, one of her lingering fears was about not being liked. As an adult she now felt that it was a kind of a prostitution. “It’s kind of selling myself.” She would like to do less of it.

Goal: Learning to like and accept herself

In our parts therapy session we invited in the part that sought approval. Seven-year-old Sandy came forward. Her job in Sandra’s life was to make her do all the right things. Sandra benefited “because then her mom likes us because we’re amiable. It’s her favorite thing. Everyone likes an amiable child.”

I had to laugh when I asked seven-year-old Sandy if she was aware that Sandra was a grown woman now? Sandy answered, “Yes, sometimes.” I responded by asking if she was only aware sometimes but the seven-year-old corrected me. “Sometimes she isn’t a grown woman.”

I told the seven-year-old that Sandra would like to lessen this people-pleasing behavior because sometimes it went against how she really wanted to be and express herself. Sandra told the seven-year-old Sandy, that she’d like to please others “only when it’s appropriate.”

However, the seven-year-old responded with, “We’re supposed to do it all the time.” Sandra wants to be the one to decide when to do it. She told the seven-year-old that she would feel when it was right to say “no.”

With a bit of reassurance from grown-up Sandra, the seven-year-old agreed to the new plan and also agreed that it would be easier to implement if they were the same age. As they integrated, the former seven-year-old said that she trusted her grown-up self.

I asked Sandra to imagine being with her family now that this part had integrated, noticing her interactions with them. The difference that she noticed was that she could stand on her own merit, causing her to feel strong.

The strength that she felt in her heart was represented as a shapeless red surrounding her heart and filling it. She locked it in place there, so that it was with her all the time.

I suggested that from now on whenever Sandra interacted with her family, whether it’s in person, on the phone, e-mail, any sort of contact at all, she could come from this place of strength, from a heart space. She would really know who she is so she could stand up for herself, stand firm in her Self, in her own essence. And that would be true for all time.

Next, we looked at her professional life now that she could come from a place of strength and knowing who she is. In her interactions with the doctors, the co-workers she reported, “I won’t be a doormat.” She would say “no.”

This time she felt strength in her sternum. When asked to be in that professional setting with this newly minted strength, she reported, “I set limits.” She described herself as assertive and honest. Her self-respect improved and she felt more forgiving.

Sandra realized that she doesn’t agree with everything. She learned that she could say, “It’s my decision” instead of “I don’t know.” Because she did know.

Viewing herself in a social setting, she described expressing her opinion “nicely, not bossy. Not like a spoiled person. Not demanding. Open.”

Following some additional ego strengthening I asked Sandra who she might still want approval from? She responded, “Just me.” The old feeling of competition was gone.

Summary: Sandra’s had a running theme in her sessions about a quality that had been missing since college. Her approach to life used to be, “Bring it on. I can handle it.” With each session she brought more of that quality back into her everyday life. Sandra was an excellent hypnotic subject, remembering very little at the end of each session until something is mentioned to trigger portions of her process. She was committed to being all that she was capable of being.

Katherine Zimmerman is an internationally-known author and speaker, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Reiki Master, and EFT Practitioner. She is the Director of the California Hypnotherapy Academy offering CE courses and an independent study program. Http://