Backup Strategies using the Safe Place Method

By Faith Waude DHP Acc. Hyp.  ·  22nd Feb 2019   
Backup Strategies using the Safe Place Method
Therapist (Photo by © WavebreakmediaMicro - stock.adobe.com)

At a recent training session, students were learning how to use ideomotor signals on each other. 

Most new hypnotherapists worry that their client won’t respond to the signal request however our students, being interested in hypnotherapy and already knowing quite a bit about the subject, responded well.

The interesting part of the session came when Paul (name changed) was using this technique with Rebecca.

Having established the finger signals he decided to take Rebecca to a special place and asked her subconscious mind to bring forward a memory of a time when she felt really happy.

Rebecca was able to recall a happy time so Paul asked her to go there, anticipating of course that she would enjoy this experience.

However what happened next took him by surprise.  When Paul asked Rebecca if she was there, experiencing this happy memory, her no finger begin to signal rapidly and she afterwards reported that she felt overwhelmed with emotion and her neck was extremely hot.

Paul brought Rebecca out of hypnosis and all was fine; Rebecca told us that she had found her happy place but then the memory started to flicker and she realised that an ex-partner, who had manipulated her, was also in the memory and she needed to get away from him.

The question that arose afterwards was how else he could have dealt with this issue.

With ideomotor signals hypnotherapists often deal with questions that require yes or no answers although some will also set up an ‘I don’t know’ response.

So, questions need to be framed in the context where these answers can be given; unless we decide it is time for the client to start talking about what is happening to them.

In a normal therapy session where the client has several issues in their life, memories such as Rebecca’s crop up for a reason and we can explore what they mean to the client.

If we do decide to discuss the issue, you can tell the client:  I am going to ask you to tell me what is happening and you will find that you can easily talk in hypnosis.  In fact, the very sound of your own voice can take you even deeper into hypnosis. Reiterating these sentences is often necessary.

Or if your client was too relaxed to speak, you could ask the following sort of questions:

Is there something about this memory that is upsetting for you?

Is this something your unconscious mind feels is important?

Do we have permission from the subconscious mind to go back and explore this memory in more detail?

Are you alone?  (Assuming the answers is no, as it would have been in this case), Are you with someone you don’t want to be with?  Is this person doing or saying something you don’t like?

If the answer was yes then you could continue by asking the subject to see what is happening and project the memory onto a screen.

If the memory is traumatic they can easily be distanced from any emotional content of the memory and see it as though it was a movie or happening to someone else.

At this stage you would probably try changing the outcome, using reframing techniques, Inner Child-work or whatever the situation calls for.

As this happened during a short practice session there wasn’t much time to explore the memory in depth but another option could have been to ask the subject if they were happy in this memory and if not, would they like to leave it and go to a different time in their life?

Once the subject is in a happy place and experiencing good feelings these can be anchored to whatever suggestions are appropriate.


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