96. Conditioning from trauma
DESCRIPTION: disabling post-traumatic stress; client very informed (but sometimes misinformed) on psychiatry and hypnosis; intelligence clearly over the average; aggressive, directive, resentful, and very polemic personality; "with the psychologists i gave up.. I didn't even dare to talk about it.. then I tried with some drugs from a psychiatrist, but I ceased immediately because I felt a lot worse than before; it is ten years that my unconscious is wounded.. i must solve this inner conflict and find a way to stop my reaction to X (a very specific and frequent event, omitted for privacy); psychotherapy has been completely useless; I had four sessions with a psychiatrist psychologist who was expert in Ericksonian hypnosis, but nothing.. he was unable even to get catalepsy, he failed in the hand levitation, and not knowing what else to do he told me to go into a trance in my own way.. in my opinion I needed a hypnotic regression toward the triggering cause, but he clearly was not capable".
APPROACH: utilization of his resentment through the usage of that same failing technique that he knew (arm levitation); involuntary rising of a finger followed by other involuntary movements and by the appearance of a troubled breathing (anxiety); hidden trance deepening in the second session,with the development of other hypnotic phenomena: dissociation ("I feel myself disconnected"), time distortion (40 minutes perceived as 10 minutes), and powerful catalepsy, almost shocking for him ("what's that! I cannot move my right arm!!"); his comment: "now I feel very anxious, but I don't know the reason"; hypnoanalysis until quietness; third session: my insistence on the usage of a hypnotic reconditioning-deconditioning and his firm opposition and demand to do a regression to the cause; seven unsuccessful attempts of regression ("the trance is too light"); "I feel that I didn't touch the point, I feel that I have not solved.. it seems an isolated mechanism, fixed into the body, automatic"; agreement on working the next time in deep trance; fourth session: apparent induction for arm levitation (accordingly to our agreement), but covertly aimed to dissociation; fast development of several hypnotic phenomena (dissociation, muscular alterations, persistent amnesia), unstoppable spontaneous deepening of the trance down to impressive levels, with physical evocation (acting-out) of his trauma, and sudden appearance of retches followed by his verbal comments; complete posthypnotic amnesia for his retches and his comments; extensive time distortion (more than four and half hours of session; full incredulity in realizing that his train to go home departed more than two hours ago), but serenity in recognizing that he has been in a very deep trance; work completion with a strategy against X and suitable for his homework.
RESULT: after the first session, "improvement only psychologically; I'm more calm and less obsessive, but now I have less control on anger and pain; physically the symptom Y (omitted for privacy) has worsened, and after the session the shiver that i use to get rid of Y didn't work, and for a while I have found myself undefended"; my comment (unexpected): "this doesn't explain your psychological improvement"; after the second session: "i have less anger.. Y, the physical reaction to X, is still there, but I had n insight, and I have seen again the traumatic episode: now I know for sure that the cause of my reaction is just X.. I must go back in time and understand that now it is useless.. I must eradicate it out of the sexual sphere, otherwise it will ruin all my life"; after he third session: abundant exchange of emails with quarrels about my methods ("you use a superficial and ineffective approach, in my opinion it is wrong"); my acceptance of his instructions but at the following conditions: "1) you want a very deep trance, but this in your case requires time; for me it's ok, but if your trance doesn't show signs of intensification in a short time I will refuse to go on; 2) we will do hypnoanalysis only if a very deep trance has been developed, as you requested; 3) we will use the method of regression to cause, following exactly your request; 4) only in a deep trance you will function in an adequate way, but if you have some fear or if you don't trust in me completely, then you will remain in a light trance"; after the fourth session: very deep trance (accordingly to his desires), and, paradoxically, total loss of interest for the hypnoanalysis (regression to the cause) that he so ardently called for; his proposal of decondition himself from X through a conscious procedure (as I proposed to him since the beginning); his refusal of Pavlovian deconditioning, but acceptance of the Skinnerian deconditioning; detailed explanations for his homework; excellent results in a very short time.
UPDATE (3 months): "I'm deconditioning.. I have the control.. now I can do it by myself"; full satisfaction for me end for him (an excellent hypnotic subject, despite the contrary appearance).
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