Revisiting Regression

The Natural Analytic Effects of NeuroTherapy Training

From the days of early psychological research, the hypnotic phenomenon of age regression has been used. Psychological tools such as age regression were developed as Freud’s work began the evolution of psychological methods from mere research phenomena into therapeutic approaches. It is psychoanalytic approaches that employ regression. In psychoanalysis, a major goal is the uncovering of buried traumatic material from earlier in a people’s lives and the releasing, by catharsis of emotion, the emotional hold these incidents have over them.

 Different techniques were developed and used by Freud, an originator of psychoanalytic methods, to facilitate this uncovering process. When Freud began his work he incorporated use of hypnotic concentration and stimulated age regression as an uncovering tool. Evolving later, away from the use of the concentrated state, he used free association and dream analysis. Psychoanalysts today, primarily, use the later two methods, with much less use of age regression.

 In order to stimulate the mental regression, a person, while in hypnotic concentration, is oriented back to a previous age through application of suggestion. The intent is to uncover material felt emotionally significant and have them vent the emotion tied to or stimulated by the experience. In hypnoanalytic approaches using age regression, people may be mentally returned to the incident or incidents a number of times to, supposedly, fully release the attached emotions. The benefit of hypnotic concentration, it was felt, was its characteristics of increased mental recall and less conscious suppression of emotion. There are two basic types of regressive experiences that have been described. The distinctions between the two have been most clearly experienced in the research rather than therapeutic atmosphere.

Age Regression: While in hypnotic concentration, the person is oriented back, by use of suggestion, to an earlier age. The person retains an awareness of the present and the specialist’s identity while reexperiencing the prior time with all five senses. There is a simulation, or role playing of past events within the context of the present. Professionals using age regression consider this the most valuable therapeutic use of regression because it allows recall of past events while still retaining the insight of the present.

Revivification: While in hypnotic concentration, the person is stimulated, through suggestion, to actually relive past experiences. During revivification, memories of experiences following the regressive age, supposedly, do not exist for the person. A deep state of concentration is required for this type of regression and much of the work with it has been done in the research rather than therapeutic atmosphere. With this total reliving of a previous age, the person may actually seem to take on the characteristics of the age. Handwriting, speech patterns, word choice may be altered and other interesting phenomena have been observed.

 There is much argument about the validity of regressive experiences. Arguments surround the validity of the memories. Many believe the ability of people to fantasize and imagine the fantasy as reality, put doubt on the accuracy of regressive experiences.

 Further potentially, lessening the validity of regression experiences by people in hypnotic concentration is the concept of screen memories. That is where something people may remember as having been actually experienced was, in reality, told to them by a parent or another person.

 In research on age regression, specifically revivification, there is much argument as to whether the people take on the actual characteristics of the age being experienced or whether there is simulation of characteristics. That question has not been fully settled.

 In all, there has been much interesting research surrounding these mental phenomena. As with any other mental process, its complete dimensions are not fully, scientifically understood. It is because of that fact that the legal system has had difficulty with the admissibility of material obtained from witnesses through regression, not because of anything, intrinsically, unacceptable about the process of hypnotic concentration.

 Differing from NeuroTherapy Training, most therapeutic approaches using hypnotic concentration include some aspect of analyzing the people’s lives to search for specific psychological causal factors underlying a symptom. Age regression is often the primary therapeutic tool in this analysis process.

 If illuminating people’s memories is the aim, the state of hypnotic concentration certainly diminishes analytical functions that could get in the way. Hyperacute concentration can be maintained for the mental reexperiencing.

 The aspect of emotional release desired by hypnoanalysis would, theoretically, be enhanced, as hypnotic concentration is a way of diminishing the emotional suppressing mechanism of the conscious mind.

 The emotional release aspect of age regression leads to discussion of one major contraindication for using this tool. The stimulating of painful memories, at a time of heightened emotional sensitivity, can trigger an intensity of emotional release in some people very discomforting and undesired by them. There is much discussion in hypnoanalysis about handling of abreaction; emotional display by people experiencing hypnotic concentration. There is also discussion of the potential of triggering emotional situations with which people are unprepared to deal.

 Some researchers say regression should only be done after receiving an ideomotor response (movement of a finger for yes or no) from the concentrating person that it is safe to return to the age or experience that is the goal of the regression. Others say only those trained in handling the potentially intense abreaction that may be triggered should employ age regression and hypnoanalytic methods.

With use of the non-analytic method of NeuroTherapy Training, it is felt that the phenomenon of age regression is unnecessary for effective therapeutic change. While developing NeuroTherapy Training the strong feeling developed that use of age regression is possibly even limiting to truly helping people gain self control.

 Its role as a therapeutic tool puts too much emphasis on searching out specific emotional causes or triggers of the symptom from which a person is suffering. There are far more immediately beneficial purposes for which to use hypnotic concentration than its primary emphasis as a mental searching tool. Having people scan emotionally intense incidents in their lives that may stimulate an abreaction can be a very negative discomforting experience, possibly lessening their motivation to change.

 There is agreement with psychoanalytical researchers that the triggering effects of negative, emotionally repressed material continues to shape people’s lives in undesirable ways. Direct stimulation of these memories, with hypnotic concentration and other techniques is seen, even by researchers on the results of catharsis, though, as a less than effective freeing mechanism.

Studies on uncovering and catharsis have shown them as ineffective for long-term emotional release from repressed memories. In line with that, it became clear that even with memory and emotional catharsis, full emotional release couldn’t truly occur until emotional strength is built.

In NeuroTherapy Training there is not a discounting of the belief that buried emotional material may play a factor in sustaining a symptom. That would obviously be an imbalance in the mental aspect of the Physical-Chemical-Mental Equation. Such a weakness is viewed, though, as only one part of the factors sustaining vulnerability to the symptom. The natural memory enhancement of hypnotic concentration is seen as playing a significant but different role in releasing people from the effects of buried, emotionally triggering material.

Release from Repressed Emotionally Triggering Material

As emotional strength is built, people commonly experience a natural rise of previously suppressed emotional material. This happens, though, without the negative emotional intensity previously carried with it. It is much more beneficial to help people build emotional strength, whereupon facing the sensitive material will automatically become less of an unsettling experience.

As people proceed with practice of the tool, they continue to open up more of their minds. Awarenesses of memories earlier suppressed or repressed have been observed to rise throughout the therapeutic process. This is seen to occur because of growing emotional strength enabling them to face the, previously emotionally triggering, memory. This is further stimulated by the memory enhancing aspect of hypnotic concentration.

 Through NeuroTherapy Training, people become less emotionally vulnerable, that includes less emotional vulnerability to earlier painful, repressed memories. Heightened memories and growing emotional strength will stimulate thoughts of the past to surface at different intervals. People will notice, though, that they experience them, maybe for the first time, as a thought without the emotional triggering. An example would be the person who has never overcome the emotional pain of loss of a parent. That person will notice the growing ability to remember the parent, even enjoy positive memories without negative, emotional bombardment.

 This heightened memory and emotional release of repressed or suppressed memories that commonly occur throughout NeuroTherapy Training is described as hitting land mines. As people open up more of their minds, through natural memory enhancement, they open up to deeper levels of conscious awareness. Periodically, as they continue using the mental training exercise, they hit memories buried at different levels of the conscious mind.

 NeuroTherapy Training, involves continual use of the memory enhancing state of mind by people with regular emotional strengthening by the specialist. This results in a natural psychoanalytic process occurring in a time release manner. A rise in memory of previously emotionally triggering aspects of their lives happens in sync with their rising emotional strength. This enables people to be released from, rather than repress again, this emotional material that has negatively shaped their lives.

From Chapter 15 of   The Snyder Michael Method: A Neurotherapeutic Approach