Over the summer break, I have really enjoyed listening to lots of speakers and teachers, something that I normally do not get time to do. I am usually pretty cynical about the stuff that is on YouTube, especially all the self-help gurus. I find the whole Facebook thing, with cliched memes and social media sound bites, often insincere, inauthentic and meaningless. There are a lot of people out there talking about emotional issues and offering solutions for how to deal with the emotional challenges that life chucks at us. Amongst all that online noise, and much to my surprise and delight, I have found some amazing content. Stuff that has restored my faith in social media. It can feel like the world is such a difficult place to be and that humanity is facing imminent doom but the people I have been listening to have given me a renewed sense of optimism and without social media I wouldn’t have been able to hear what they have to say. I do genuinely believe that things are shifting; that we are changing; that we are exiting a certain period of humanity that has been very difficult. Although we are not out of the woods yet, things are tangibly changing, for the better, in terms of the collective human consciousness.
I have been reflecting on the work that I do, and in particular the Practitioner Training Course, which starts in a couple of weeks’ time, and how that work contributes to this global movement. I believe that processing and resolving our individual emotional issues is one of the key ways in which we can reclaim the wellbeing of society and humanity. We need effective tools to do this. We do not need superficial quick fixes which keep us locked into our old conditioning. Hypnosis tends to be seen as some sort of magic that will wipe out all of the pain and suffering from your mind. The focus of many hypnotherapy courses is on tools, techniques, therapeutic tricks and marketing, but there is very little focus on the personal development of the trainee. Even with more traditional forms of therapy, such as counselling and psychotherapy, the Therapist is often positioned as the expert as if they can somehow peer into your inner mind and know more about your suffering and how you should heal than you do. Actually, neither of those things are true and neither are very helpful in terms of expanding our awareness and resolving our trauma.
What makes an effective Therapist is someone who has experience of clearing their own personal issues. They have done enough processing of their own trauma, pain and suffering so they do not need to use their clients to meet their own emotional needs. They are clear enough so that they are able to hold the space with a client and allow the client’s feelings to really come to the surface. We don’t resolve this stuff, the pain and trauma, by shoving it away, wiping it out or trying to press the delete button. We move beyond it by feeling it. That is tough, and you need somebody to witness that. For the Therapist to be able to witness that, they have to come with no agenda. If they have not cleared enough of their own stuff, they will unconsciously or consciously be putting certain demands upon the client. Maybe having a need for the client to heal in a particular way or heal in a particular time frame or focus on particular issues or even not deal with certain issues.
An effective Therapist is completely detached from the outcome. They are completely open to following the cues from the client and working in whatever way that client needs to work. The thing that stops therapists from being able to trust in this innate healing ability is fear. Fear is the thing that stops us from looking at difficult, painful emotions. Fear will be the thing that stops a Therapist from being able to allow a client to feel their feelings. Fear is the tool that the mind uses to put a lid on feelings, which at the time they arose were overwhelming and beyond one’s capacity to deal with. This often manifests in the therapy room as control, the therapist trying to control what the client looks at and how they process their emotions.
One of the people that I have been listening to, and I really recommend that you check him out, is a guy called David Manning. He works with energy and consciousness. He speaks very eloquently about lots of things and is someone that I have an enormous amount of respect for because he has really done the work and that comes through when he is talking. He spoke about the importance of letting go, as a Therapist, of controlling the healing process. He said that we are all complete control freaks and learning not to be is an essential attribute for Therapists. This is exactly what the trainees on the Practitioners course will be acquiring. It isn't something that can be taught in the way a technique can be taught. It is a skill that emerges organically through the process of one’s own emotional clearing. The trainees will naturally find that they relinquish the need to control, they will discover a deeper and deeper trust in their own inner mind and a deep trust in the client’s mind. It is through experience and practice that the trainees will come to understand and know the innate healing ability of the mind.
I often question, which I think is a healthy thing, whether I am an effective Therapist? The thing that I come back to is that I genuinely can sit there and be with a client, no matter what they are feeling, and I absolutely have 100% belief and confidence, even in the moments when they don’t, that they can process and heal and come through whatever pain, suffering and trauma they have experienced. I have sat with clients who are in the absolute depths of despair, feeling suicidal, and yes, I may have a moment of doubt and fear because I am feeling the enormity of their feelings but I very quickly come back to a place of absolute trust in the process. That feeling our feelings, no matter how difficult or frightening those emotions are, is how you set yourself free. I am able to do this because I have processed enough of my own fear. I have been to those very dark places and emerged, so I absolutely believe, know and trust that we have the ability to heal whatever trauma we have experienced.
That really is what the Practitioner Training Course is about. It is not about learning tricks or techniques, it is about in-depth personal development. It is about really diving into your own fears and your own deepest pain and suffering. Gaining an understanding of that process so that you can be there for your clients, which is why the course is a yearlong and not just a weekend away! That journey of learning through experience will continue for the new Practitioners long after the course has finished. I am still learning and developing through processing my own stuff. A lifetime’s worth of experiences do not disappear in one session. Freud wrote, “One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” I remember hearing that quote when I was in a very intense period of my own healing and balking at it. How could this pain and intensity of feelings be beautiful? But now I get it. It is beautiful because it is your key to freedom.
I have also been following the spiritual teacher John Wineland, someone else that I really recommend that you check out, and I found a post by him today. He has a daughter who had Cystic Fibrosis and very sadly she died very recently. John wrote this incredibly moving post on his Facebook page and articulated what I am trying to say in such an eloquent way. I have the utmost respect for him because he is saying this from a lived and felt experience. This is not just words, this is someone who is living and breathing this truth. He said:
“The job of despair and depression is to slow you down enough so you can feel and grieve it all. Whatever life has thrown you that is heartbreaking.
This is of course, barring any severe chemical imbalances.
Most of us want to avoid despair.... or worse, use technology or work or addiction to numb it. I say go in!! Fully, but with no story or self pity....no thought at all if you can. Just the cleansing fire of immense pain at life’s sadnesses. It will free you, those around you, and dare I say the world. And then, the joy will be so much sweeter.
Trungpa knew what he was talking about. The tender, broken part of the heart is the doorway to true openness and the feeling of being fully alive.
As I sat in Philz coffee, on the first morning alone since Claires death....tears streaming down my face.....despair and loneliness in every cell of my body....and trying hard not to freak anybody out... I had to remind myself of this teaching and just relax into it. I let the tears flow, relaxed my shoulders, turned my heart towards everyone else sitting in the restaurant and let the truth in me radiate into the space. I had a hat on so I don’t think anyone saw,but I didn’t care. After a few moments, I could feel more richness around me and the pain felt like honey...It felt so free to be fully human.
Whatever grief you are holding onto, I implore you to give it to the world as openly and with as much dignity as you can muster. Do not hide the pain in your heart one more minute. It serves no-one.”
I will leave you with his inspiring, deeply moving and honest words.
If you have any questions, if this has brought anything up then please do get in touch. You can book a FREE consultation here. You can also find lots of information on the website www.kirstywick.co.uk .
Want to learn more? Check out my weekly Facebook live #thursdaytherapy every Thursday at 1pm here on the Kirsty Wick Analytical Hypnotherapy page. Each week I chat about therapy, without the jargon, and look at different techniques, tools, share information and look at specific issues such as anxiety, relationships, self-esteem and confidence. Get in touch with any question you would like answered or an issue you are struggling with.