“Everything gets caught up in the day to day and it’s impossible to tell what’s painful and what isn’t. But it’s in there. That’s what pain is. I can’t pull it out and say, ‘Voilà, here it is.’ Anything I could show you wouldn’t be all that painful.” ― Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance.
No one is free from trauma, emotional wounds, and sadness that cannot be visualized, even if they are unaware. Under the pandemic, many would have tried to analyze the past to build a better future. “Hypnotherapy” is now paid attention in France as a way to free yourself from the pains. When you hear “hypnosis,” you may have the skeptical impression that it is a kind of magic trick or vicious therapy though, it has been approved as a treatment method by medical institutions because the effect has been proved by brain science and cognitive behavioral therapy in Europe and the United States. It has a long history, devised by German doctors in the 18th century and born as a fascinating remedy for the elites. Evolved by Western psychiatrists and psychologists in the 20th century, it has come to assist anesthesia during surgery, dealing with pain during childbirth, and psychotherapy.
“Therapeutic hypnosis is not aimed at treating the condition; it is a complementary physiotherapy that facilitates the process,” said a hypnotherapist Muriel Amram, a member of the National Association of Hypnotherapists in France and has a clinic in Paris. “The purpose of therapeutic hypnosis is to allow the patients to draw from them the necessary resources to solve a problem that they encounter in their mind, emotional or physical.“ She repeatedly says “not a treatment,” which is hypnosis that solves the problem by “developing one’s own power” rather than healing by a doctor’s technique from the outside. I asked Muriel about the difference from psychotherapy, which aims to treat psychological problems. “I’m not working on the past, not looking for a reason or way to release. Hypnotherapy is solution-oriented. I ask the clients what they want, which could lead them to better-being by helping them.”
Her patients have a wide range of ages, are mainly young people in their 20s and 30s. “Many people aim to be free from low self-esteem, the sadness of broken heart or bereavement, and addiction. At the level of behavior, it can be smoking, insomnia, anger, lack of concentration, and blushing in public. At the level of thinking, the painful past flashes back, being stressed. At the level of emotion, there is sadness, depression, fear, etc., which the patients overcome through the session.”
During a session of an hour and a half at the first session and an hour thereafter in general, she guides her clients to let go while channeling their vigilance so that they slowly slides towards the state of hypnosis. “Switching the patient’s state of consciousness and talking to the subconscious rather than the manifest consciousness. Hypnosis is in itself a state of consciousness between the state of wakefulness and the state of sleep in which we go every day without knowing it. This particular state is called a Modified State of Consciousness. We are both here and elsewhere simultaneously, dissociated in a way, present between our logical/rational mind and our intuitive/creative mind. We enter a bubble which is the state of hypnosis. I would first get to know them and make them talk; this is called the Anamnesis to fully understand their problems and what they want. By using specific suggestions and metaphors, activate the self-healing capacities inherent in the individual, to be able to access the hidden potential that we all hold.”
Some patients overcome it in one session, while others improve gradually in three to five sessions. “It is not possible to know in advance how long it would take for the subconscious to re-recognize things and make the desired changes to the manifestation. Each person is unique and has their own key. As mentioned earlier, psychotherapy attempts to change the subconscious mind by communicating with the therapist. On the other hand, with therapeutic hypnosis, the client closes his/her eyes and remains relaxed most of the time during the session. So it’s a completely different approach.”
Maxime Rosenfeld, a web content manager in Paris, said he had a hypnotherapy session to overcome a mild eating disorder. “I kind of knew my disorder was linked with stress, lack of confidence and the discomfort of my lifestyle back then. But I wasn’t sure the conventional controlled diet would help much, a therapy would take months without obvious efficiency. Then I expected hypnotherapy could be quick and effortless to get rid of my disorder.” After all, he felt a difference and his disorder lightened for a while. That wasn’t fully efficient but it helped for him. “I’m well aware that receptiveness to hypnotherapy varies between individuals.”
Adam Katz Sinding, an American photographer based in Copenhagen, also experienced a hypnotherapy session in Paris in 2019. ”My friend told me about ‘Past Life Regression Hypnosis’. It excited my curiosity and wanted to see what it was going to be like.” Hypnotherapy is also called Past Life Regression Hypnosis by another name and known as a therapy to overcome the current problem by remembering one’s own prenatal (past life) memory by hypnosis. (This presupposes the idea of reincarnation that humans have a lasting soul and repeat life.) Adam shares his extraordinary experiences with us. “The therapist had me leave my body, leave the earth, and enter into space. Then I re-entered the body of another man whom was not myself. She guided me through my life as this man. When I woke up, I had been crying, but I was sure they were not my tears. Also, I could feel the color of a sunset INSIDE of my heart. I know it sounds crazy! I was pretty skeptical going into the session, but this was by far one of the most interesting experiences I’ve ever had.”
Past Life Regression Hypnosis that improves mental and physical disabilities by recalling past life memories has been known in the field of psychiatry and psychology since the 1980s. “In fact, it is a technique that makes it possible to overcome the blockages of the conscious part by connecting to the conscious and subconscious part, the permanent memory,” said Muriel.
Alexandra Tistounet, a buyer based in Paris, was interested in this past life regression. In Vienna, she grew up where Sigmund Freud, an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, spent most of his life living and working in. Alexandra learned about hypnotherapy in a psychology class as a teenager. Later, she was obsessed with reading a book called “Many Lives Many Masters” written by Brian Leslie Weiss, an American psychiatrist, hypnotherapist, and author specializing in past life regression.
“By that time, I was enrolled at the Paris-based drama school Cours Florent and taking acting classes. Acting is a complex art to define. Through hypnotherapy, I wanted to discover and understand my very personal pain to nurture my acting skills and be able to activate subconscious behavior and emotional experiences.”
As a result, she had the experience of reaching the subconscious or even deeper, as the hypnotherapist led. “Physically, I felt extremely relaxed, almost as if my body was sleeping. However, I was in total control of my mind. Once I reached a deep level of hypnosis, the therapist would start to guide me through my subconscious mind. In the last part of the session, my body felt extremely heavy, just like waking up in the morning. My mind felt wide awake, positive and calm. Thanks to hypnotherapy, I was in a state of mind that I had never experienced before. Hypnotherapy can be a great way of connecting with your deepest inner self and understanding your deepest emotions.”
You are free to judge these experiences as mythical illusions, occult theories, or mysterious truths. You are the only one who can believe in your experiences and feelings, and that’s enough. Unless it’s offensive to others, we can believe whatever we want. “Hypnotherapy is here to reconnect with your inner resources, regain your self-esteem, love yourself as you are, have great confidence in yourself and life, regain the joy of living,” concluded Muriel