How to Create Lasting Change Through Hypnosis

Donald Currie, Hypnotherapist at Helix Healthcare Group in Toronto outlines the tools and interventions used in a session to create lasting change. Watch the video or read the script below.



Donald, what are some of the tools that are used while someone is actually in a state of hypnosis?

There are a lot of misconceptions around what hypnosis is. Hypnosis is simply the state that someone enters into, it’s a relaxed and focused state of awareness. And when they are in that focused state of awareness, there are a variety of tools and interventions that we can use to access the subconscious mind to help people release and clear things that need to be released and cleared, as well as help them to re-pattern and re-program the subconscious part of the mind. Some of the tools we use are age-regression, something that is referred to as re-parenting or inner child work, parts therapy is another tool that we use, future pacing, and something that is referred to as direct suggestion.


Let’s talk a little bit about those specific tools. What is age regression?

Age regression is a tool that we use to help people track back through time to the origin of the root of a problem.


“If someone is feeling fear, we might track the feeling somatically that’s in the body of that fear, back through the memories and pinpoint and locate exactly when that feeling entered.”


The fear might be something that entered at 5, 6 or 15 years old, and age regression is a tool that allows us to access the subconscious mind to find the specific time in age when a feeling first affected someone, or what we refer to as the initial sensitizing event, which is the first time that they felt that feeling.


Wow. Ok, maybe you can tell me more about what is that inner child work, or as you called it, re-parenting?

A lot of the time, as children, we don’t get what we needed. There are a lot of people that didn’t get the love, or didn’t get the encouragement, or didn’t get the support that they needed when they were a child. Re-parenting is a process that allows someone to learn how to become the parent to that part of themselves, so they can learn how to connect with that part of themselves that we refer to as the inner child and give that part the love, the nurturing, and the encouragement that is needed. When people start to do that, it’s usually a very profound experience for them, and it really allows them to start healing that part of themselves, when it starts to get the nurturing that it didn’t get.


You mentioned that part of themselves. So what is parts therapy and how is that related to hypnotherapy?

Parts comes from the belief that we are made from many different parts. We experience this on a daily basis. There’s a part of you that loves to go to the party but there’s a part of you that’s more than happy just to stay home. There’s a part of you that maybe feels confident in your ability to present in front of a million people but there’s a part of you that maybe feels a lack of confidence in relationships. We’re made up of many different parts and parts therapy allows us to work with each part individually. We believe that each of these parts has a very specific job or role or function that it’s doing, and using hypnosis, we work to understand, at a subconscious level, what a part believes that it’s doing for someone. Most of the time, parts are actually working to protect people.


“At a base line level, as organisms, we are always trying to keep ourselves safe, so a lot of these subconscious mechanisms that are present actually believe that they are doing a good job at keeping someone safe.”


Through hypnosis and through parts therapy, we may work with a part that is fear or is anxiety, to understand what that part is doing and through that understanding, we can then work with that part, negotiating with it, to get it to start doing things differently.


Ok. So is that where future pacing comes in? Where you start working toward the future?

Future pacing is actually a form of visualization. What we do is actually visualize what the change is that someone wants to make. It’s like setting a goal, a very clear and concise goal in the future. If someone could make this change, what would that look like, feel like and sound like. If we can get someone imagining that, that’s the first step. It’s being able to perceive it. Then, through hypnosis, we have to then actually visualize stepping into that, what that would feel like and what that would be like. It’s the power of positive thinking.


“If someone thinks more positively, and can actually feel what it would feel like, they are more likely to start taking steps that would take them toward that goal.”



Tell me what you meant by direct suggestion. How is that involved in hypnotherapy?

When someone is in a relaxed state, the subconscious mind is more open to receive beneficial and positive suggestion and instruction. Suggestions that are given to someone that are in hypnosis, will continue when they’re in a waking state. Say that someone came in and they were feeling anxiety around social situations. What a direct suggestion that may be given to that client, is anytime you find yourself in a social situation, you’re going to take a deep breath in and you’re going to remind yourself ‘I feel calm, I feel relaxed, I feel in control’. That is a direct suggestion. Direct suggestions are something that through repetition and reinforcement, can actually become permanent. Obviously, the series of direct suggestions would be different depending on the presenting problem that someone comes in with.


Thank you so much for sharing those tools and interventions with us today, Donald. Thank you for letting me share them with you.

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