Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can make me sick …
The mind-body connection has fascinated me for many years and this is one of the reasons why I obsess over “Alternative” therapies such as hypnosis. I’ve been reading about hypnosis for at least 20 years and I have even attended a hypnosis training with the one and only Richard Bandler and Paul McKenna. However, I’ve never really wanted to be a therapist. So, I guess you could call me an armchair hypnotist.
Although I shudder at the thought of being a therapist, I do have therapist friends. Occasionally, when we meet, we get to talking about some of the issues they encounter in their practice.
During one of our chats, a therapist friend mentioned a case of a middle aged woman who came to her with multiple physical issues. She was on a number of drugs to treat digestive problems, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. When my friend regressed her through some key moments in her life, a number of incidents came to light all of which involved her mother .
It turns out that, throughout her life, the mother had said hurtful and critical things to her daughter which made her daughter feel powerless and inadequate. As a child, the daughter didn’t really know how to respond. Even when she was older and could understand that what her mother was saying was cruel and hurtful, she felt powerless to speak up against her mother. Instead, she suppressed the hurt and anger — a behaviour pattern that continued to the time she entered therapy.
When my friend asked her client how her body felt after each episode with her mother, she said she had a heavy, churning feeling in the pit of her stomach. This explained the stomach problems that she was experiencing.
Recent research is uncovering a connection between the gut and both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. It is very likely, therefore, that all of the clients health issues stemmed from the gut and the gut problems, in turn, are a result of suppressed feelings of powerlessness and anger.
My friend continued the treatment during which she asked her client to take her power back by giving herself permission to voice her feelings to her mother. She was asked, under hypnosis, to speak to her mother and tell her exactly how she felt.
The effect of the therapy was profound. When the mother called again and proceeded to say the usual hurtful things, her daughter, for the first time in her life, stood up for herself and told her mother that what she was saying was unacceptable and she was not going to tolerate it any more. The mother was, of course shocked, but she immediately stopped and never said anything nasty again.
We have the power to control our response to anything that comes our way. However, when we give this power away or don’t use it to defend ourselves, we leave ourselves wide open to the destructive effects of abuse. We must speak up and do whatever we need to do to ensure our physical and mental health is not compromised