Through the Veil of Tears
Hypnotherapy Solutions for Loss, Abandonment and Betrayal
Part 1: Simple Bereavement
By David Quigley
All of us have struggled at some point in our lives with grief and loss. There are many powerful techniques that hypnotherapists can use to help us heal these crises. Indeed, many of the greatest successes of my career as a hypnotherapist have been in this field. Hundreds of clients have described their work with me in this area as life transforming... and sometimes life saving. And yet I find to my surprise that this is an area for which the powers of hypnosis are rarely used, because many hypnotherapists have no idea how to work with people in this important arena. In fact I find that few professional counselors are adept in this area of work either, in spite of the universality of these problems. So these articles have been written to assist my readers in healing their own grief and abandonment issues, and to teach professional hypnotherapists and counselors how to help clients with these universally powerful methods.
First, I would like to point out that an increasingly popular approach to dealing with grief, loss, and abandonment issues is to prescribe antidepressant or antianxiety medication. This may be because many of the symptoms of grief are similar to those of clinical depression, including depression, loss of appetite, thoughts of suicide, sleep deprivation, etc. Medical research however clearly indicates that while these drugs can sometimes provide temporary relief from the worst ravages of grief, their effects are only temporary, and provide no substitute for the work of grieving which is essential for the recovery of our emotional health and happiness. These drugs are expensive, habit forming, sometimes physically addictive, and have a wide variety of side effects which range from inconvenient to dangerous. Some of the most common: depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, sexual impotence. As bizarre as this sounds I am not making this up! Just read the label on the prescription! At best I see these drugs as a temporary assist for the patient who is so overwhelmed by grief that they need a break while adjusting to a stressful career or the logistics of losing a family member. At worst they are symptomatic of a drug addicted society that is slipping deeper every day into a dangerous spiral of self destruction. I know that you want to trust your Doctorís or therapistís advice in these matters. And I believe most physicians mean well by you. But I urge you to exercise caution and to question any quick fix pill that your Doctor recommends. And do the research. Read the disclaimers and the labels. You'll see.
"My first session of Alchemical Hypnotherapy with Debbie Unterman occurred 4 days before the beginning of the 1993 Alchemical Hypnotherapy training in Atlanta. It was ground breaking."
"My mother's premature and sudden death when I was a young teen devastated my life. I spend years seeking solace, relief and the 'right' way to grieve in traditional talk therapy. I cried, gained a little insight and cried again."
"During the Alchemy session, Debbie gently encouraged me to talk to my mother's spirit. After a deep emotional release (very intense tears), Debbie guided me to be with my Mom in a nice place. I can still see the two of us sitting in a cafe. I hear the words, 'Can your Mother be a guide for you on this plane?' I thought, 'What a novel idea!' I was excited."
"My Mother said 'No. I have my spiritual work to do.' My heart sank. Then I heard her say, 'I live through your daughter, Anna.' That was a moment of transformation for me. I could feel love all through me. It was as if I had leaped light years in my spiritual growth. I ran home to be with my daughter. I had discovered a method of healing that I wanted to practice. I signed up for the training. To this day, my Mother is present in my life now that I have stopped digging her grave with my 'mental hands.' My outlook on life changed. Forever grateful."Sanna Carapellotti, MS CCHT
Hypnosis & EFT for your Life Needs
Just as popular among the grieving is a reliance on recreational drugs, like alcohol, nicotine, methamphetamine, etc. to blunt the emotions that they fear will be overwhelming. I consider this kind of self medication to be even more dangerous, because it lacks any sort of medical supervision. It also involves serious addiction potential and dangerous consequences to ones mental and physical health. Besides, as with the pharmaceutical solutions, the results are at best temporary. As the old drunk once announced:
"I tried to drown my sorrows, but the little buggers learned to swim!"
This article will give you techniques that can help you move through your pain with much greater ease. With these processes your drug addictions, anxieties, and chronic depression may well disappear. But be patient with yourself. Grieving takes time.
There are four separate categories of grief and loss, each of which requires a unique therapeutic approach. I will outline these four now. Then each chapter of my thesis will describe the treatment methodologies for one of these forms of loss. They are as follows:
- Simple bereavement is the result of losing someone dear to us through death or some inevitable separation. Although there is nothing easy about losing the love of ones life, such a loss is simple because it is usually only marginally complicated by anger, guilt, or internal conflict.
- Abandonment and betrayal occur when someone deliberately abandons us, and in the process breaks some spoken or unspoken commitment to love and cherish us. Sometimes I will leave the relationship myself when I feel betrayed by a lover or mate, but this in no way relieves the sense of being both abandoned and betrayed by the other person.
- Loss of the dream of love occurs when we realize at the bitter end of what may be a long "relationship" that we have loved not a real person, but a fantasy of our own creation. We then need to mourn not the love that once was, but the love that never was.
- Guilt ridden separation, perhaps the most devastating of all losses, occurs when we know that we have lost the love of our lives because of our own reckless actions, or because we have taken this love for granted and failed to perform the actions that are critical to keeping love alive.
Simple bereavement is a tragedy that all of us will face who are blessed with the experience of true and lasting love, because the only thing guaranteed in life is change. The following are examples from my practice of simple bereavement:
"After thirty years together, she died of cancer. I donít know how I can keep on living."
"My son died last week in a motorcycle accident. He was so young. So much promise."
"My best friend had to take a job in London. We try to stay in touch, but it is so far."
The solution to simple bereavement is two fold. First we must seek out close human companionship so we can have help in mourning this loss. In primeval tribal society, people dealt with loss by surrounding themselves with the love and support of their tribe. Everyone wept together and found in each otherís tears and physical affection, and in their recollections of the deceased the comfort they needed to move on. Everyone was there for each other. Now in our fast paced modern world, in which we idealize independence, personal ambition, and the "instant intimacy" of dating websites and sexual affairs, there is rarely anyone around to share our tears with. We are actively discouraged from being a "downer", a "party pooper" when we need to grieve. Many of us need to pay a professional counselor just to have someone ready to accept our tears. I frankly find this solution only a little more comforting than going to a prostitute for meeting ones sexual needs. No thank you!
In contrast, I encourage my clients to actively seek out new friends and reconnect with their families in order to feel supported in sharing their tears. I create support groups for my clients, and encourage them to join churches, support groups, and social clubs in order to find such support, even if it seems very challenging to do this in the midst of their grief. In the long run I believe it is these social networks and not antidepressant drugs which offer my clients real hope in getting through their grief. We humans must mourn... but we should not mourn alone!
In addition, I find the hypnotic technique of spirit communication to be extremely valuable. Here is how it works. Take yourself into a meditative state with the intention of speaking to your departed beloved. Imagine that they are here before you. Speak out loud to them, as if they were really in front of you. Then listen quietly with your heart for their response. Some people like to go to the graveyard for this process. I donít encourage this approach, because a graveyard is hardly the best place to enjoy quiet time with our beloved. I have learned that dead people donít go to graveyards at all, except to answer the summons of their relatives in the physical world. What a depressing place. Instead, go to the couch in the living room you shared. Put on the favorite music you used to listen to together. Or stroll in the rose garden you planted together and imagine your belovedís hand in yours, while you speak lovingly of old times. Or cuddle up on the couch, imagining her arms around you as you watch your favorite TV show, and laugh together at all your favorite jokes. Talk to her about the struggles you are going through. Or tell him about little Joey's soccer games. Ask his advice about the children or the business. Then listen for his response. Is it all your imagination? Who can say? But I guarantee it will feel good.
Many of those I work with have lost their lifelong mate, or a beloved parent. For them, I have developed what I call the "Resurrection Process" in which I train them to call upon this beloved every night before going to bed, and every day, especially when they feel most challenged by their grief and emptiness. To experience this more advanced method for yourself you can take my Empowerment Intensive, or call my home office to set up a personal retreat program at 707 539-4989. Click here for details.
The methods listed above are not easy for one who feels overwhelmed by grief. They are certainly not as easy as swallowing a pill. But they are the only methods I have found which can restore our mental and emotional health and truly prepare us for reentry into the world of the living.