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.
Pamela Albee CL, CCHT, CHI
Diana Weaks MA, CCHT
Drug and alcohol addiction is a nationwide scourge. From celebrities to family members, nearly all of us have been touched by addiction. Because addiction is a complex issue, quitting substance abuse can be difficult – with relapse rates as high as 91% the first year and 86% after 5 years.
Having experienced friends and family touched by addiction and witnessing cyclical relapsing, we volunteered to offer a pilot program incorporating hypnosis at a local drug and alcohol treatment center specializing in adults with long-term addiction.
We created a two-phased pilot program that utilized spiritual hypnosis, guided imagery, and art therapy. It would be offered to a small group (ages 45 – 65) for six weeks as part of their standard on-going treatment. The spiritual element is an integral component of true healing. Spiritual hypnosis addresses the self or soul by connecting inner and outer wisdom to allow healing in all areas. When conventional approaches are not satisfactory, especially with drug and alcohol addiction, spiritual modalities offer help by viewing addiction as the symptom of a wounded soul, not as an incurable disease.
Phase One of the pilot program focused on helping participants explore the power of the subconscious mind, increase their desire to resolve their addictions, and access their untapped inner wisdom and strength. Guided imagery was used to help participants look at appropriate paths to achieve their future goals as well as explore their inner resources. Hypnosis was utilized to help the participants discard negative habits and desires while replacing them with positive actions. Art therapy allowed the participants to draw their feelings about their lives. These drawings were utilized in special one-on-one hypnosis sessions to delve into the participants’ subconscious and inner beliefs about their external and internal support, strengths, and emotional conditions.
Pre and post questionnaire results of Phase One revealed that every participant increased his or her feelings of well-being from 43.3% to 66.7%. In a follow-up with the facility’s therapist 14 months later, one of the participants stated that she felt that the “pilot program was instrumental in totally changing” her life for the better. She urged the addiction center’s therapist to implement this pilot as an on-going program at the long-term addiction facility.
Phase Two involved the technique of focusing on healing the energetic field around the body that had become damaged through extreme stress, trauma, or drug/alcohol abuse. This fracturing or dissociation is considered soul loss and can leave a person highly vulnerable to negative energies or intrusive interferences. These interferences can be quite impactful and contribute to chronic anger, chronic sickness, nightmares, depression, addictions, obesity, sudden outbursts, mood swings, fatigue, confusion, emotional disturbances, suicide/suicidal ideation, and much more.
Although a unique therapeutic approach, clearing negative energies and interferences from a person’s energy field through hypnosis has been shown to release “patients’ long standing psychological and physical symptoms” according to psychiatrist, Shakuntala Modi, MD, (Remarkable Healings: A Psychiatrist Discovers Unsuspected Roots of Mental and Physical Illness, 1997: 32).
The specific interference release method used in Phase Two worked to clear negative energies as well as retrieve parts of the person’s fractured energy field or lost spiritual soul parts. “These fragmentations are part of the personality’s experience of fear….Retrieval of these parts is a very potent and significant aspect,” according to Greg McHugh, CCHT (The New Regression Therapy, 2010: 52).
Two participants from Phase One were willing to experience this unique therapeutic approach. They were not present during the spiritual hypnosis interference clearing/soul retrieval. After the work was completed, the facility therapist and participants were briefed individually about the results.
Participant A was a male in his 50’s. He reported that his life was filled with recurring bad luck, unfortunate mishaps, periodic homelessness, and intermittent finances. During the energetic interference release work, recurring themes from past life trauma and associated negative energies were found to be the basis of his current lifetime problems with: depression/sadness; fear of speaking; fear of making wrong choices; and parental fears. Severe childhood trauma had resulted in soul loss or dissociation. To affect healing, inner child work was done as well as soul retrieval. Negative energetic interferences were discovered that heavily affected his ability to have a normal functioning life – thus the “bad luck, dark cloud over his head, and recurring unfortunate mishaps.” Numerous energetic interferences were found, released, and resolved.
Participant B was also a male in his 50’s. He was a veteran living in a group home. He had recurring physical sores over the past 15 years. During the one-on-one session in Phase One, hypnosis was directed toward his immune system and he reported healing of his body sores. In addition, he stated that he did not like to be touched, experienced intermittent homelessness, had limited financial resources, and seemed incapable of emotionally/physically connecting with females. During the energetic interference release work, an extremely impactful sexual trauma was found to have been perpetrated by a male wearing a green uniform. The trauma caused significant soul loss or dissociation. Following clearing of energetic intrusions and soul retrieval, forgiveness for the perpetrator was possible.
Two weeks later, a separate meeting to review the findings from the spiritual hypnosis interference clearing/soul retrieval work was held with the facility therapist and each participant. Participant A was surprised by specific aspects of the intervention. He stated that he had “never told anyone before or only his therapist” about many of the issues that surfaced. Three months later he graduated from the long term addiction facility, and reported that he is “happy for the first time in his life.”
Participant B was amazed by information revealed which was previously undisclosed information. He admitted to being sexually assaulted while in the service and all he wanted was to “get the perpetrator some help.” He felt so good that he wanted to talk to his doctor about discontinuing or reducing his medications. He also claimed to be “completely free of the MRSA” (body sores) for the last four months without any medical intervention. Three months later, Participant B continued to be clinically free of MRSA and was developing a close relationship with a female. In a follow-up phone call from the facility’s therapist (14 months later), he was now living on his own, doing very well, and credited the pilot program for his success.
Although traditional therapy can be essential in correctly diagnosing and treating mental health and addictive disorders, there are many clients, especially those who have experienced trauma, who do not respond well. Often, these clients find themselves cycling through our current therapeutic system.
This pilot program utilized non-traditional therapeutic methods of hypnosis, guided imagery, art therapy, and spiritual hypnosis interference clearing/soul retrieval. Highly positive results and changes were noted throughout both phases. All participants gained valuable knowledge and helpful tools that they continued to use. Phase Two dramatically changed two participants’ lives. Overall, a combination of alternative and traditional therapies appear to provide a winning approach that can truly help people heal from addictions and move forward with their lives.
Pamela Albee teaches continuing education courses for therapists seeking to learn these modalities at http://steppingstoneseducation.com. She has utilized all these non-traditional methods for work with two organ transplant (liver and heart) recipient’s pre and post-surgery. (For the complete results of this pilot program, please contact us.)
· Davis, James F. in Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome: Relapse Rates, February 26, 2013. <http://www.postacutewithdrawal.org/relapse-rates/ >. Accessed 9/14/2014.
· Sober Place: The Voice of the Sober Community, “Common Relapse Rates in Drug Recovery”, August 12, 2009. < http://soberplace.com/common-relapse-rates-in-drug-recovery/ >. Accessed 9/11/2014.