The traditional container we establish as mental health professionals, the face-to-face dyad, can be extremely effective. However, it’s also limited. There are so many instances when, while coming to a point that could lead to a breakthrough, our clients retreat. Their desire to avoid feeling deep emotions, let alone share them with us, creates blocks that take excessive amounts of time to break through.
When our clients are in the normal waking state of consciousness, they try to remain on their best behavior. They may be reluctant to cry, let alone lash out in anger over an act of violence that may have been done to them at an earlier time. No matter how healthy it might be for them to express emotions and process them, it’s very difficult for clients to be that wide open when they are fully alert and concerned about projecting a certain image of stability and civility.
This article from Psychology Today speaks to the power of using non-ordinary states of consciousness in order to help clients reach deeper levels of healing. The article points out that thinking one’s way through problems is not always the most productive way to access deep memories and emotions, and break through blocks.
It’s important to point out that the non-ordinary states of consciousness that are operative in hypnotherapy, meditation, breathwork, and dreaming, do not involve the use of drugs. These levels of awareness can be entered, and exited, quickly and smoothly, and are quickly becoming more and more mainstream. For example, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) has become quite popular. It combines what we would normally call therapy with meditation and a state of being that focuses on staying in the present moment, known as mindfulness.
This is an excellent first step toward combining normal awareness with deeper understanding of the Self, but there is so much more that can be accomplished by delving into the toolbox of techniques presented through Heart-Centered Therapies. Developed by founders Diane Zimberoff and David Hartman, The Wellness Institute has been training therapists to use these modalities. They enable deep, lasting healing to therapy clients, and include:
This modality allows clients to re-connect the conscious and unconscious minds. Memories from the past, including those that take them to times of trauma, bring the client back in touch with emotions that have long been buried. The act of suppressing emotions such as these can have devastating effects. People develop psychological, spiritual, and physical maladies that are the result of allowing strong emotions to fester for years and decades after a traumatic moment.
Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy has the client, while relaxed into an altered state of consciousness, to regress back in time. Here, they can recapture what was lost, identify the faulty conclusions that were reached, and reframe their responses to these experiences. Clients and therapists alike are amazed at how this powerful technique allows breakthroughs that might otherwise take multiple therapy sessions to even come close to addressing. With Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy, clients can achieve the kind of re-framing and re-parenting the younger, childlike parts of them have always needed.
The act of conscious, continuous breathing brings people into an altered state of consciousness that permits several levels of healing to take place. On the physical level, the body relaxes, and can let go of aches and pains that may be rooted in traumatic memory. On the psychological level, the relaxed state of mind achieved through breathwork prevents the conscious apparatus from preventing emotions and perceptions from breaking through. Spiritually, breathwork clients often report a feeling of being One with all creation, and develop the capacity to see their life experiences from new perspectives
This is a way for people to identify why and how people and situations in their current life seem to provoke such strong reactions. In the Clearing Process, the client is asked to identify the feelings that come up as a reaction to the behavior of someone in his or her life. From there, the therapist helps the client reach a mildly altered state, where a memory that echoes the current experience can be retrieved. The client is able to see how current reactions are rooted in past trauma, and that there are new ways to see the self, and more mature options to responding to others in the current milieu. Through de-roling, the client asserts that the person currently causing difficulty is not the same individual who created the traumatic experience in the past.
Here, the process and healing pattern of hypnotherapy is externalized, by enlisting others, possibly other group members, to play the roles of inner voices, people, and groups that were part of the client’s traumatic memories. Hearing words and sounds outside the self creates a rapid and powerful route that leads to healing through processing emotions, reframing, and re-parenting, as in hypnotherapy.
There are even more techniques Wellness therapists learn, and can use in order to treat clients through the compassionate and safe use of non-ordinary states:
If you’re a Wellness graduate, are you using all of these modalities in your work? Has it occurred to you to sit for a client’s Breathwork session, or work with The Clearing Process to help a client identify issues that need further work? It’s easy to stick to one or two of the modalities we’ve mentioned here, and it’s quite likely that your clients will be well served by them. Still, we encourage you to revisit your previous training and revive some techniques you may not have used since Internship.
If you’re new to the modalities we’ve mentioned here, you’ve found the best and most comprehensive programs for learning and using modalities based on non-ordinary states. Classes are filling up fast, and are offered on a variety of different levels. You can begin with the Six Day Training and Certification Program, or if you’re already a graduate, step up to The Advanced Internship, PTI Leadership Training, or The Mentorship Program. Wellness is growing and thriving fast, now more than ever. Be more than just a therapist. Become a multi-faceted healer and guide. Take your clients where they can heal faster and go deeper.