Monday, June 19, 2017

The Abreaction

(This blog was originally posted on January 27, 2015)

Photo by Rick Hustead

Hypnosis is often one of the last—if not the last—therapeutic modalities that people tend to seek to achieve a self-improvement goal. Having said that, hypnotherapy is typically very successful to help a client change an unwanted belief or behavior such as quit smoking, drop excess weight, increase self-confidence and more. But even when the individual’s conscious mind is completely, 100-percent convinced that the hypnosis and guided imagery program will work, the subconscious mind might take a little longer to get on board with this plan.

The subconscious mind manifests its wariness to relinquish a familiar, comfortable long-held belief or behavior (known) by abreacting: i.e., physically responding to a suggestion during hypnosis. An abreaction occurs when the critical area of the person’s mind has rejected the information communicated via the hypnotic suggestion to enter the subconscious mind. The physical responses can be the involuntary jerking or twitching of a limb, noncompliance with the hypnotic suggestion, an emotional outburst or even spontaneously coming “awake” during the session. 

Remember: The subconscious mind will not accept any hypnotic suggestions that contradict the person’s values and beliefs. Abreactions simply indicate that the client’s subconscious mind is resisting the hypnotic suggestion to make that consciously-desired change. And that is okay. Not only does this response indicate that the person may require more and stronger suggestions to desensitize against a negative association; it also reveals where he or she is more self-protective or even defensive in the therapeutic process. In many instances, it identifies and indicates where the heart of the client’s issue lies and facilitates more effective achievement of his or her self-improvement goals through hypnotherapy.

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
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