The Beauty of Brokenness

Hypnosis is an amazingly powerful and effective tool. In fact, the Yahoo search I just ran returned 11,500,000 hits for “Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy”, so in the face of that amount of evidence, I think even the most ardent skeptic would have to admit that when we say “Sleep,” something powerful happens.

As amazing and effective as hypnotherapy is, there are some things that hypnosis just isn’t the answer for, at least the way the client initially perceives their issue in relation to hypnosis. An example; as a therapist who specializes in trauma, anxiety, grief, and OCD, the single most frequent request I get is, “Can you take away my memory of XYZ?” The honest answer is ‘No, and I wouldn’t even if I could”.

I don’t suppress or remove memories just as I don’t do recovered memory therapy, because there just is no reliable, peer-reviewed evidence that indicates that those practices are safe and effective, especially in the long run. Additionally, my 45 years of hypnosis experience have convinced me that trying to repress memories tends to result in dysfunction developing in other areas of the client’s life. It’s kind of like a balloon; you can push on a specific spot and that spot will respond accordingly, however, the pressure from that spot in addition to the pressure you are exerting on it will result in an equal amount of pressure elsewhere in the balloon. You are just spreading the dysfunction over a wider area.

Over the years I have found that leaving the memory intact, but removing the emotional attachment and the irrational emotional response to that memory is much more effective in the long term. The person still remembers the event, but the negative emotion tied to that event is severed, so the client experiences that memory as simply something that happened in the past with no more emotional association than skinning your knee or bruising your elbow. We call that ‘Normalizing trauma”.

Another reason I don’t take away memories is that our memories are what make us what and who we are. In the West, especially in the USA, we tend to live in a disposable society; if something breaks, we throw it away and get a new one. However, in Japan, they have a completely different mindset. When something breaks, they will carefully mend the pieces, sometimes with gold to highlight the repair and to show that there is unexpected beauty in brokenness. They feel that by investing the time and resources to mend the pieces they can return the item to fully functional status with the repair making the object even more unique and valuable than the original. In short, they see beauty in brokenness.

Now, take a look at yourself. I’m willing to bet that you have scars inside and outside. Scars can be a reminder of the pain and trauma you experienced…again and again and again, or they can be a badge of honor, shining for all the world to see that you have been broken, but you have survived, mended the damage and are now stronger, wiser and better prepared for the business of getting on with life. Same circumstance, same person, two polar opposite perspectives.

My question to you today is are you ready to work with your friendly neighborhood hypnotherapist or are you going to remain a broken cup? After all,

The Choice is Always Yours

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