Have you ever heard of depth hypnosis? I certainly hadn’t back in 2012, a new mom, exhausted and ashamed as I tried to stuff down my unhappiness and rage. I was so depressed and exhausted that I would fantasize about a friend or relative coming over to take care of my baby so that I could sleep or cry or rock back and forth in a corner for a few hours or days or years.
Back then the days and nights all ran together like some failed watercolor attempt, dribbling down the page in a disappointing puddle. My daughter, for all her good health and glowing infant glory, was not what one would call “a sleeper.” Nor did she care much for being worn in a baby wrap, out of my arms, held by someone else, or nursing when others were in earshot. She also had a painfully shallow latch and a stubborn case of thrush, which led to a lot of unfortunate cry-nursing. To add to the mess that was our new family’s early existence, my husband was finishing his master’s degree, student teaching, and working evenings as a server at a busy restaurant across town. Needless to say, things were a bit…tense.
To push through the depression, exhaustion, and pain so that I could do the work of actually caring for my baby, I applied a heavy dose of anxiety, of which there seemed to be an endless supply back then. Equally special is my flavor of anxiety, which looks a lot like anger. And because it’s frowned upon (not to mention soul crushing) to yell at your newborn, I took out most of my anxiety-anger on my husband. In turn, he was afraid to upset me and felt frozen as a father and partner, unsure of how to take care of his sensitive daughter and unbalanced wife. Add to that whatever baggage he was unwittingly bringing to the table and we were hitting rock-bottom hard.
In desperation, I scoured the Internet for someone who could hypnotize me into being a nicer person. What I found was my saving grace, and her name was Beth. She was the kindest, gentlest, most patient and compassionate person I had ever met.
Our first depth hypnosis session was similar to regular talk therapy. I told her what was going on for me and she gave a comforting nod here and there, wrote down some things, and offered her thoughts and insights after I had finished sharing. But unlike the other therapists I had seen before, Beth had a very healing presence. It was inexplicable and felt almost otherworldly. She was so grounded and present that just being in her presence made me feel less crazy. (It turns out DH practitioners are trained to hold this kind of compassionate space for their clients.)
In our second session, Beth put me into a slightly altered state using guided meditation. In this state, I was able to reconnect with that place within me where there is great peace and wisdom. I recognized this sensation of inner-knowing and truth from those times as a child when I would play alone for hours in our sprawling backyard or when I was a trail guide and would ride “my” horse for hours through the woods of New Hampshire. I remember how comforting it felt to know that this part of me still existed despite the darkness of depression and anxiety that hung over me daily. Knowing that I wasn’t completely terrible and that the me I liked most was still in there was really important for my healing. It gave me hope.
It was during the third or fourth session that something miraculous happened. Using guided meditation to help me locate the source of the rage within myself, I discovered what presented in my mind as a red-hot coil, like when a burner on an electric stove gets dangerously hot. I could sense it in my chest, and it was angry.
To help me learn more about this red-hot coil, Beth facilitated a conversation between myself (the conscious thinking adult), my inner wisdom (my Higher Self as some might call it or Inner-Knowing), and the red-hot coil (trapped emotions). Through this conversation I was able to feel, heal, and finally release those unbearably shameful feelings that had been fueling my dreadful mommy rage.
I’d like to tell you that everything was perfect after that and that I became the sweetest, most amazing mother ever to exist, but lying makes me feel terrible. What did happen is that the rage and anger toward my daughter faded away over the next week. And although she still wasn’t sleeping and I wasn’t getting a break, there was a real shift in the internal battle I had been experiencing. It was much less intense and way more controllable. Everything felt lighter, especially my heart. I was no longer beating myself up for being angry, tired, and depressed, and that eased a lot of the anxiety that was feeding the rage. Rather than feeling like a monster, I was just a regular ol’ tired mama with an infant and a strained marriage. That, I could handle.
And I’ve been handling it ever since. Not perfectly, as nothing ever is, but I’ve been on a steady upswing since I started on this journey with depth hypnosis six years ago. Thanks to this magical process I’m feeling, healing, and releasing my baggage in meaningful and lasting ways. I’m getting real with myself and I’m feeling happier as a result.
So if you’re struggling and feel like nothing is working, or you’re just ready to try a new approach, I wholeheartedly recommend depth hypnosis. It changed my life and vastly improved my relationships, so much so that I decided to become a practitioner to help others on their healing journey. I’m here to help if you’ll let me.
Questions I would have if I just read this weird-ass story:
Did you speak in strange voices during the conversation with your inner wisdom and the red-hot coil? Sadly no.
How do you know you didn’t just made the whole thing up? At first I was skeptical about who was actually talking when the voice of the red-hot coil came in. I did worry that I was making it up. But as I spoke I began to say things I wouldn’t have thought to say if I were speaking normally. The same goes for the voice of my inner wisdom. At the time, I just wasn’t that calm or wise on the personality level. (Side note: I have become much calmer and wiser as I’ve connected more regularly to that part of myself, to my inner wisdom, over the years.) Trusting what I was saying and hearing was part of the journey for me, and it is for nearly everyone who engages with depth hypnosis. It takes some getting used to, and in our culture we’re not exactly taught to trust ourselves. But in the end, we can never really lie to ourselves.
Were you in a trance? Did you know what you were saying? I was in a really calm, relaxed state (which was such a gift because I was so anxious back then). But I definitely knew what was going on. I could hear Beth clearly and I could answer her. I also remembered everything that happened upon returning from the altered state.
Is this kind of episode typical of a depth hypnosis session or…? It’s not atypical. But there are many other things that can happen in a session, such as an age regression (memory from this lifetime) or past life regression (memory from a former lifetime), discovery of an unhelpful pattern or energy that needs to be released, and so on. Whatever your mind needs to heal, it will bring forward so that it can be examined and dealt with in the safety of the session, allowing you to let it go when you feel ready.
Did you ever feel scared in the session? Not at all. While it did feel a bit strange speaking as three different parts of myself, I knew that my practitioner was there, carefully guiding the entire process and making sure that I was safe to look at the painful feelings that I had locked up inside. It’s also important to note that while Beth is an absolute gem of a human being and a stellar practitioner, she, like all depth hypnosis practitioners, was required to do A LOT of personal and spiritual work before becoming certified to support clients. Integrity on the part of the practitioner is huge in depth hypnosis, as well as empowering the client to participate in their own healing.
Who created depth hypnosis and why haven’t I heard of it? Isa Gucciardi, PhD, developed depth hypnosis in the ‘90s in San Francisco. She has helped hundreds of thousands of people in her private practice, as an instructor at her Berkeley, CA-based school of consciousness, the Foundation of the Sacred Stream, and as an author of consciousness-raising books, including Coming to Peace, which deftly illustrates the complexity of we humans and depth hypnosis’s effectiveness at helping us heal.
Where do I sign up?! Go to www.getrealhappiness.com to see my services and fees and to learn more about me. If you’re interested in working together, we can set up a free 20-minute consultation call to be sure I’m a good fit for you (you should love and trust your mental health practitioner!). Email me at email@example.com with any questions.
I wish you well on your journey. May you find peace, balance, and true happiness.