I met “Jane” at a party thrown by a mutual friend. In the course of our conversation, she mentioned that she had an allergy to cats. When I suggested that hypnosis can frequently be helpful for allergy relief, Jane became interested, and asked if I could help her out that night at the party.
After a few questions about what was going on with Jane around the time the allergies started, she remembered just when the allergy began. She had a cat that she loved dearly, and she had seen him killed by two dogs. And, she said to herself at that time, “I’ll never get close to a cat again.”
This a dramatic example of unintentional self hypnosis. The trauma had put Jane in an altered state of consciousness much like what we commonly think of as hypnosis, and her unconscious mind had taken her suggestion to herself both literally and figuratively.
There is a simple technique from NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) to eliminate a phobia, that works very well for releasing the responses to traumatic memories as well. It involves the person watching the memories of the traumatic event rapidly running backwards repeatedly. Running memories backwards tend to scramble the brain’s associations to the original fears or other traumatic emotions. The result is that the memories become emotionally neutral. Jane naturally slipped into a light state of hypnosis as she ran her memories backwards, and that allowed her to something extraordinary.
Once she ran those memories backwards, Jane was able to hold her host’s cat in her arms. It was the first time that she had been able to get close to a cat in years.
Of course, not all allergies start with a trauma, which is the reason that multiple hypnosis techniques and approaches have been developed. A hypnotherapist who is skilled in NLP and Ericksonian hypnosis will be able to create a unique approach for a client when the need arises.