(This blog was originally posted on October 10, 2016)
|Photo by Rick Hustead|
Therapeutic guided imagery often utilizes the concept of an “Inner Guide.” The Inner Guide can be an animal, another person—living or deceased—or even take the form of a plant, flower or tree. It doesn’t matter what or who it is so long as the Inner Guide is all-wise, all-knowing and all-loving and provides the client with unconditional support.
A hypnotherapy client’s first introduction to the Inner Guide typically occurs during Special Place imagery journey during hypnosis. This is an imaginary environment that the client creates in the subconscious mind using associations and imagery to provide a relaxing, emotionally “safe space” in which he or she can explore options and make decisions, etc. Similarly, the Inner Guide is a product of the client’s imagination and associations. Meeting the Inner Guide here while the client is experiencing the greatest relaxation and confidence reinforces the person’s sense of comfort and confidence, thus facilitating integration of the advice and reassurance this image has to offer. (If a guide does not show up in the imagery exercise, that is fine, too.)
Like other imagery work I do with my clients, I help the client create a rich experience by asking the person to describe details about the Inner Guide, including what it looks like, what it is wearing/if it is clothed, its name, qualities, etc. I also ask the person to describe how it feels to be with this guide. (If a “negative” or critical Inner Guide has shown up, my training as a certified imagery facilitator enables me to gently redirect the client to find or identify an all-wise, all-loving guide.) I encourage the client to talk to the Inner Guide and ask any questions he or she may have. As the imagery journey comes to a close, I ask the client what advice or important information the Inner Guide has to share with the person. Then I then incorporate this information into the hypnotic script to facilitate the person’s desired behavior change.
Of course, the Inner Guide is always available to accompany the client on other imagery journeys, by invitation only. It is also possible to have more than one Inner Guide and consult with specific ones depending on the issue being explored and what skills/advice the person feels would be more relevant in that situation. Regardless of the Inner Guide’s physical form, the client always has control over whether and when to incorporate it into the imagery journey.
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 http://www.calminsensehypnotherapy.com/.