“All this talk therapy is just an excuse to hang out long
enough for the relationship to do the healing.”
This quote reminds me that talk therapy is a great connector especially when dealing with feelings of shame. And what is shame often called?
The great disconnector.
No matter what modality one uses, everything has to start with the relationship between client and therapist. It’s my job as a therapist in Richmond, VA to help clients out of the swamp of shame by connecting with them, by seeing them see and accept and love themselves-this last part is a bit more challenging.
To do that rewiring by acceptance, by that validation, by that embracing, the client has to take that in.This has to feel real and believable to them.
When people come into my office, I get the sense early on that the feelings of “not good enough” are shame based. And this belief is strengthened when we complete their resource state hypnotherapy and they tell me about their most distressed feelings-feelings that are probably very old and have traveled with them for a long time.
I’m listening. I’m always listening for that inner critic because most clients, if they’re not able to solve problems for themselves, have a place inside that doesn’t believe they’re worthy.
But talk therapy will only get us so far.
In my work, I find experiential learning is the most helpful in changing core beliefs. I feel it has to be neurological-to get into one’s bones, one’s DNA.
And I mostly do this with hypnotherapy.
Let’s look at a case study involving Jake. Jake is a 40 something successful entrepreneur. On the outside, you would have no reason to believe anything was a miss. Jake goes to networking events, and has a family and a young child. But on the inside, Jake is suffering from pervasive social anxiety which led him to therapy.
Lately, when among people he becomes explicitly aware of expecting harsh rejection from others if he were to “say or do something wrong.”
For Jake, this fear generating expectation had defined the world of people for as long as he could remember.
His emotional brain had learned this implicit model for how human beings respond from the frightening interactions with his explosively angry father in childhood.
Such implicit constructs and models formed are well-defined, yet rarely show up in conscious experiences themselves.
Jake has some experience with non conscious states and was willing to give hypnotherapy with straight regression a try.
For his safe place (part of the Hypnotherapy script), we went in a different direction with the world building. Instead of having him visualize a beach or forest scene, I asked him to visit a place inside of him untouched by trauma and shame. A place beneath the shame base in which you can connect so deeply that it pervades your cells and the essence of your being with that okay-ness on which the shame, and trauma and not-good-enough feeling is on the surface.
Jake’s openness and willingness to try something new like hypnotherapy was the key to unlocking decades of suffering.
Once Jake could move from implicit to explicit knowing of what he had learned to expect, his anxiety had made deep sense to him as the emotion that naturally accompanied his living knowledge of how people respond.
As a rule, the emotional learnings, like the one Jake experienced, are not conscious at the start of therapy, and they are areas of deep vulnerability and some complexity. Retrieving them into existence (from implicit to explicit knowing) constitutes the majority of this work.
However, with the modalities I use, like hypnotherapy, often it can be carried out in just a few sessions – and sometimes in only one or two sessions – but the course and number of sessions increases based on the complexity of the case (e.g. a trauma background).
The next step for Jake is to work on memory reconsolidation- to erase old learning and replace it with new learning- which I will cover in another blog post.
Hypnotherapy works incredibly well on re-wiring the self-critical mind by working with it on an experiential level. You can learn to feel good enough again-that whatever you’re thinking or feeling, or whatever you’re doing is acceptable, human, and workable.
You don’t have to go through this alone! If you’re ready to move through this, then a therapist in Richmond, Va can help you in person and via online therapy. I used guided imagery, hypnotherapy, metaphor and storytelling to transform your past, reconsolidate your memories, and inform your future.
To get started at Life Cycles Counseling, follow these simple steps:
Dr. Adina Silvestri is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, and Certified Brainspotter in Richmond, Virginia.
She loves using storytelling and metaphor, among other techniques, to help clients become aware that the feelings need to fit the facts and sometimes the facts are just wrong!
She is also a shame fighter!