A hypnosis practice is an ongoing cat-and-mouse game with clients’ unconscious minds. The unconscious is a determined and powerful force in all of us, and almost always operates in shadow. Even under hypnosis, the unconscious is capable of playing hide-and-seek if it feels somehow threatened. So having a clear idea of where to start and how to approach an issue is vital to the cause.
There was a beautiful new mom, an overweight angel in my waiting room. The baby was six months old, and mom was still one hundred pounds too heavy. Even though her doctor had given her a clean bill of health (other than the obesity issue), her weight would seriously threaten her future health and was destroying her self-esteem. Why was that weight hanging on so stubbornly? Was this an extended case of post-partum blues? Was there tension with her husband? Was her unconscious over-compensating for the resources that building the baby had depleted?
Our pre-session talk revealed that she loved the beach. Perfect. At the beach a person really wants to look good, as well as feel good. She was very receptive, quickly drifting off to inner space. Deepening was easy—she had no problem seeing the numbers written in the clouds, as we counted down slowly from ten to one. By the time we reached the number one, she was ready to hear the message that “One” makes—time for a new start, time to look after number one, time to remember that we are the center of our own little world, and so on.
During the countdown, I had the comfy couch slowly, gradually morphing into a soft, fluffy cloud. As she floated happily on her cloud, it lowered her gently onto a pristine, sparkling beach, with all the sun, wave, and warm water trimmings. Perfect tranquility. Time to set the cat among the pigeons, and add a suggestion or two, to make the session useful as well as fun.
I spoke quietly in her ear: “Feel the soft sand between your toes … the gentle breeze cooling your cheek … the sun warming your shoulders. Take a few steps. See the white caps farther out on the water, hear the gentle lapping sounds of the waves as they advance and recede along the beach.”
Then louder: “And just for a moment, look back at your footprints. “Notice how deeply they sink into the sand. How the extra weight you’re carrying makes even the most pleasant experience seem like work. “I asked her to look at herself carefully, from above, beside, behind and so on. “Do you like what you see?” No.
“Okay. Let’s change things. Walk some more—a little farther, a little faster. Flex every muscle as you move, feel the sunshine and the sand on your toes. “Now look back at your first footprints, and see how the waves have washed over them, made them shallower, smaller—as if you were getting lighter and lighter. Even a short walk can make things start to change, if you do it often enough. The movement gets easier the more you practice. Your body begins to slim down as your muscles move, making every experience seem so much more pleasurable.” We stayed with this theme for several minutes as she strolled.
Then I asked her to turn the calendar forward a couple of months into the future, and check herself again—front, back, sides, from above. “You’ve been enjoying walks every day, flexing those muscles, feeling the breezes. Do you see the difference? Do you like what you see better now?” Yes.
“And how does that make you feel?” Afraid. “Afraid of what?” I was holding my breath, hoping for a eureka moment. “I’m afraid that my husband will find me attractive, and I’ll end up pregnant again.”
Bingo! There was the insight into the complicated workings of the unconscious—the real motive for staying overweight. Now we had the blanks filled in—for her future hypnosis sessions, for normalizing her weight and for a meaningful family planning dialogue with her husband.
Next time—forgetting that boyfriend, before she has to have him eliminated!