When we are laughing our brains are pumping out feel good chemicals. And when we are laughing at something so funny that we can’t stop, there is an opportunity to neutralize a fear, regret, or broken hearted feeling, because it takes some time to shift from uncontrollable laughter to another, less pleasant, feeling. We literally have to clear the laughter chemicals, and then make and respond to the not so good feeling neurotransmitters.
So when a client comes to me with a fear, I’ll get her laughing and then mention briefly the fearful thought or object, and go right back to the funny images or triggers before she has time to shift into the fear.
It’s fairly simple to set up a gesture, funny voice, or word that re-evokes the laughter. Comics do this all the time. Rodney Dangerfield would nervously adjust his tie, for example, when the audience laughed. Later, if a joke didn’t work, he’d adjust his tie again to get a laugh.
Of course, it takes some skill and practice to get the timing down to do this conversationally. And, it helps to be funny, too. The technique can be used with resourceful states other than laughter as well. It could be a feeling of curiosity, or confidence, or any other positive and resourceful emotion.
Hypnosis can be used to amplify emotions by way of the imagination. It is the same principle that gives stories and metaphors the power to move us. So, the hypnotherapist can have the client remember, and amplify, an extremely funny (or other resourceful) memory while in trance to achieve the same results as a joke or funny comment. In other words, the client will start laughing, and the changes will be easy.