Effectiveness of Mentally Layering Hypnotic Auto-Suggestion
Effectiveness of Mentally Layering Hypnotic Auto-Suggestion Over Recordings
By Patricia Reynolds Sorbye
When I start a project with a client, part of the first session is teaching self-hypnosis, as this allows them to take a more active role in the work we are doing together. Sometimes, they report that it can be a challenge to quiet the mind and focus. Occasionally I suggest that they listen to a recorded session of either hypnosis or guided imagery, in order to easily induce the state, and there are many good resources for this available in apps and on websites. Clients can download prerecorded hypnosis or guided imagery sessions, or listen to sessions within apps like “The Insight Timer,” “Calm,” or Headspace. Clients can choose to listen to white noise or binaural beats, and even soft music may be helpful. In order to shore up our work, I invite them to think their own personal autosuggestions over the top of whatever they are listening to. The subconscious mind is able to take all of this in and it’s a very effective method to help them. I’d like to share a brief personal story to illustrate how effective this can be.
Some years ago, I had a diagnosis of breast cancer. I was treated with lumpectomy, 6 rounds of chemo and 38 radiation treatments. For the surgery and for the chemotherapy, I wrote hypnotherapy preparation sessions for myself, then recorded and listened to them. After listening to the surgery support session, I had a really great day. When the time for chemo came, I listened to my chemo prep session the day before my first treatment. The day went well – it was an hour of blood tests and doctor consultation then 5 ½ hours connected to hanging bags with several medicines. It all went as expected, and my mood was upbeat if not a little weary.
The next day, I had to go in for an injection of a bone marrow stimulant, meant to support my immune system. When I got home from that treatment, I sat at my computer and in a little while my bones started to ache. I called my oncologist, and she confirmed, that’s a side effect of this injection – the pain is an alert that means the bone marrow is growing faster than normal, which is what we want. Now, I understand that pain is a warning – an alert signal necessary to let us know when there is something wrong in the body. When we have the alarm of pain, it prompts us to take steps to resolve what has gone wrong. However, since I knew that the rapid bone marrow growth was exactly what was needed, the alarm signal was unnecessary – I didn’t need the warning pain.
So, three weeks later, when I had my next chemo treatment, I listened again to my original chemo support recording. This time, while listening to my recording, I thought over the top, “And because pain is a signal to be careful, and I know that bone marrow growth is what we want and nothing is wrong, I do not need the alarm signal. If I want to sense the treatment is working, I can choose to feel presence or pressure instead.” And so, following this injection, I had no pain! Three weeks later, I did the same thing again– I listened to my original chemotherapy support recording, and over the top I added in the reassurance about the rightness of rapid bone marrow growth, and allowed myself to feel pressure or presence instead, if I wanted a sign it was working. When I got home again, I had no pain!
Chemotherapy, however, can bring a level of fatigue and memory challenge, and the accumulation of the various chemo preparations (I had three in my treatment) can cause you to feel groggy and sluggish. Because of these challenges, one may not be able to think as clearly as you normally might. So, the fourth time I listened to my prep-session, I forgot to add in the suggestions about not needing a pain signal. As a result, after I got home from receiving the bone marrow support shot, I had the pain in my bones again. But, when it started to hurt, I nearly began to laugh! I knew that if I had not been so lazy, I would have re-recorded that session, including the pain suggestions, and saved myself the pain. So, that’s what I did. I re-recorded the chemo prep session, including the suggestions about not needing the alert signal of pain. When I used that session before the next two rounds of treatments, I experienced no pain.
Consequently, I propose that one can drift into the hypnotic state in a variety of ways, whether on a recording or music or binaural beats or even a daydream, and just think your personal suggestions on top and the subconscious mind is able to absorb, incorporate and use the suggestions easily.
This is my report on a bit of product testing, and I hope you may find it useful.
Patricia Reynolds Sorbye is an ACHE Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, with 15 years in private practice in Oakland, California. In collaborative work with clients, she’s conducted thousands of sessions of emotional clearing, internal restructuring, energy and resilience strengthening and resource support.