Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Why Do We Keep Returning to Pain?

(This blog was originally posted on August 4, 2016)

Photo by Rick Hustead

“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas
as in escaping from old ones.” – J. M. Keynes

Many years ago, an aerobics teacher commented to my class that the discomfort of childbirth is the only kind of natural, “healthy” pain we should experience. Every other kind or source indicates that something is very wrong in the body and should receive immediate attention. This warning is also true of emotional pain—or, it certainly should be—but it is so often disregarded or even intentionally ignored to return to the source or cause of that pain. Why?
When I explain “Theory of Mind,” I often use the example of how individuals frequently return to an abusive romantic partner to explain how even a painful experience can be associated with the familiarity of what is known. From very early childhood we are taught to associate physical pain and discomfort as negative, bad, something to be avoided or fixed right away. Conversely, in an effort to avoid conflict or even a physical altercation we repeat the mantra, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” We are encouraged to ignore the verbal slights and barbs and do whatever is necessary to maintain peace in the environment. (This model also applies in a physically abusive relationship.) We learn to look the other way or look for the good, positive attributes once attracted us to him or her and enter the relationship. Over time, every time we repeat this behavior and return to the source of the pain, we are actually reinforcing the subconscious known which provides that temporary comfort of familiarity in the relationship.
As Hypnosis Motivation Institute founder John Kappas, Ph.D. explained, we are all subconsciously motivated to maintain and/or restore a known physical and emotional status of comfort and security. Since the subconscious mind is motivated and even programmed to seek this comfort, we naturally, repeatedly gravitate toward the source of that comfortable, secure state until something or someone is available to replace that familiar stimulus. In some respects this response can be likened to addictive behaviors: Every positive gesture or response the person receives is an emotional reward that literally lights up the pleasure areas of the brain. However, when the response is negative—hurtful or even abusive—the subconscious association of familiarity in this situation knowing that it will likely turn around again is equally if not more powerful. No matter how frustrating and even humiliating the “pain” of that rejection is, the lingering hope that the situation will turn around and the negative behavior will actually change keeps us toughing out the temporary pain, luring us back.
Fortunately, hypnotherapy and guided imagery can help you change this behavior pattern by replacing and rewriting the subconscious mental script that has been keeping you in this pattern for so long. A hypnotherapeutic process called de-loving is also extremely effective to help dissolve the subconscious associations to the feelings and emotions that you carry for the other person and/or relationship. Instead of erasing any memories of the other person or situation, however, de-loving helps you return to a neutral and even indifferent attitude that enables you to focus on yourself, personal goals and other (more) important areas of your life.
For more information about this topic and to set up an appointment with me, call or send a text to (661) 433-9430 or send an e-mail to me at

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit
© 2017

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How Passive-Aggressive Behavior Affects Motivation

(This blog was originally posted on August 29, 2016)

Photo by Sara Fogan

According to Erik Erickson’s Stages of Development model, passive-aggressive behavior begins when a child is between three to six years old (Loco-Motor stage), when he or she is just starting to become independent. The youngster also learns about guilt and initiative at this time. Erickson observed that if a child is punished or discouraged from expressing initiative, he or she would try to sabotage the parents. For example, the individual might wet or soil the pants instead of going to the bathroom despite having been toilet trained. This kind of passive-aggressive behavior carries over into adulthood as a way to subtly hurt or frustrate someone as if to teach a lesson to the other person. However, it is ultimately the person who behaves in this passive-aggression way who suffers the most.
John Kappas, Ph.D., considered passive-aggressive behavior part of a “losing syndrome” in which the person subconsciously always expects to fail because he or she was never allowed or encouraged to succeed at a task, or was even punished for being assertive. An example of passive-aggressive behavior in adulthood is an employee saying or doing something at work that contradicts the workplace environment/culture that jeopardizes the individual’s chances of promotion or even gets the person fired.
In the above example, Dr. Kappas worked with a man who sought hypnotherapy to increase his motivation about his job and stop procrastinating. The client conceded that he had had 20 jobs over the years; despite feeling optimistic and believing he would succeed at the beginning of each employment, it ultimately wouldn’t work out. When asked why the jobs didn’t work, the client blamed his co-workers when something went wrong; or, he became bored very quickly if he didn’t feel challenged if the job didn’t pay well.
To help the client work through these issues, the hypnotherapist identified and pointed out common denominators between the unwanted behavior (procrastination and low motivation) and the man’s passive-aggressive tendencies. Examples included tardiness to work, tendency to daydream, avoidance of responsibility and failing to show up at meetings or appointments. Next, Dr. Kappas recommended specific dietary changes to stabilize the client’s blood-sugar level and reduce anxiety and frustration, and gave him positive suggestions for future personal growth and appreciation of his abilities. Finally, Dr. Kappas introduced him to the Mental Bank Concept to increase the client’s motivation and sense of self-worth.
“Passive aggressiveness gets worse as the person gets older,” warned the Hypnosis Motivation Institute founder, which is why it is so important to obviate these behaviors sooner than later to ensure continued growth and opportunities for self-improvement.

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit
© 2017