Learning How to Use Ericksonian Hypnosis for Grounding, Containing and Self-Soothing – Parts 1 and 2

Clinicians who work with trauma survivors often find it difficult to “move forward” with therapeutic interventions as these clients are in constant “fight/flight,” easily triggered, emotionally over-aroused, and need constant re-grounding. In addition, the depression and anxiety that often accompanies trauma can compromise and distort a client’s cognitions, exacerbate somatic symptoms and deplete the energy that is necessary for behavioral change, trauma retrieval and reparative work.

In this workshop, practitioners will learn how simple hypnotic inductions and interventions can quickly and effectively help clients achieve a deep state of relaxation and internal focus, thus freeing them up and empowering them to regulate the intensity of their emotional states. This, in turn, makes clients feel less afraid of addressing more potent memories and feelings in therapy, and frees the therapist up from having to constantly “put out fires” or “walk on eggshells” during sessions.

Using the precepts of Ericksonian Hypnosis, Guided Imagery and Focusing, clinicians with all levels of hypnosis experience will learn, both didactically and experientially, how to safely induce trance states in session that are customized to meet the needs of each client. We will then apply the strategy of deepened relaxation to address issues including: stopping distressing or distorted thoughts; discharging untenable emotions such as anxiety, fear and rage; enhancing self-soothing behaviors; creating safe place imagery; making trauma memories more emotionally manageable; turning down the volume or moving more quickly through overwhelming affect; and strengthening an internal sense of protection and safety. Practitioners will have the opportunity to experience, first-hand, the calming but powerful effects of Ericksonian inductions, and will leave with a greater sense of mastery about how to use hypnotherapy with clients. All of the strategies are designed to be practiced and integrated by the client at home, thus adding to their affect management toolbox and making them less dependent upon the therapist for re-grounding. Plenty of opportunity will be made for live demonstrations, dyadic role plays and group practice.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify and describe at least four advantages to using Ericksonian hypnotherapy with trauma survivors.
  • Identify the factors that are necessary in customizing inductions, so they meet the needs and address the concerns of traumatized clients.
  • Demonstrate the ability to put clients into "trance state" using at least three relaxation inductions.
  • Identify at least five different hypnosis interventions designed to increase affect regulation and decrease the emotional valance of trauma memories.
  • Identify at least three reasons why “talk therapy” stops working and why hypnotic and internally-based strategies can be successful alternatives.
  • Define the steps that are necessary when preparing a client for hypnosis or guided imagery work.
  • Describe and demonstrate an Ericksonian induction to create an altered state of awareness and relaxation.
  • Describe and demonstrate the process of “focusing” and its impact on somatization.
  • Identify at least two guided imagery exercises designed to enhance internal safety and assist with the re-storying of difficult memories.

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