(This blog was originally posted on September 14, 2014)
According to John Kappas, Ph.D., whenever a person represses or does not express an emotion the displaced energy from that experience is converted into a physical “symptom” of that emotional trauma. The phenomenon is called a body syndrome. There are no nerve endings in the brain; however, sensory perception (e.g., smell, taste, sight, hearing, touch) that begin there send electric impulses that carry this information through the body. These impulses ultimately begin to manifest physical discomfort in areas of the body that are specifically associated with a certain repressed emotion. Once we are aware of which emotion is being manifested, we can treat the syndrome, the Hypnosis Motivation Institute founder stated.
A few nights ago, a late-night talk-show host told his audience that he tends to wander across the stage while he does the monologue during his show. In fact, the host confided that he never really noticed this behavior until one of his producers showed him a clip from a previous episode. Sure enough, within a few minutes he had drifted several feet to the left of his mark (tape) on the middle of the stage. His studio audience laughed. My mind whirred and came up with an immediate explanation for his nightly migrations across the stage: Flight Syndrome.
Flight Syndrome represents physical symptoms and behaviors that affect the legs and feet. In this syndrome, a person manifests his or subconscious desire to run away from a situation or problem that may be inducing fear or anxiety. Physical symptoms affect the muscular/skeletal structure of the legs and feet (e.g., bunions, breaks or sprains) or even disorders of the circulatory or nervous system (e.g., varicose veins or neuropathy). Flight syndrome behaviors include pacing, toe-tapping and an inability to remain still.
As a certified hypnotherapist, it is out of my scope of expertise to diagnose an illness or to recognize/identify specific symptoms that have a psychological or physiological basis. Therefore, I do and will refer clients to an appropriate licensed medical or psychology professional to determine the cause and/or treat that specific physical symptom that. However, once this other expert has ruled out a medical etiology of your symptom, with a follow-up referral from that licensed professional, I can continue to work with you in hypnotherapy, which can provide complementary therapeutic benefits and help to alleviate and/or control these symptoms and help you to pursue and achieve your vocational and avocational self-improvement goals.
People generally do not know the cause of this presenting issue when they seek hypnotherapy. Therefore, the first step to treating someone who is manifesting a flight syndrome is to explore what the client is running away from and possible reasons why the client needs or wants to run away. Once the possible cause(s) has been established, I would use systematic desensitization to help the client neutralize the intensity of the stimulus that triggers his or her physical symptom or flight behavior. I would also incorporate guided therapeutic imagery and teach the emotional freedom technique to increase the person’s perception of being able to control and prevail over the flight triggers and manage symptoms of physiological discomfort.
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/.