Common steps and sub-activities
Being comforted [removal of emotional pain]
Emotional pain can provide people with a one-off spiritual experience through overload, but it is a terrible way of achieving the experience and can lead in the long run to severe illness.
The aim of this technique is to try to help in the elimination of emotional pain – suppression may not be quite the right word in this context because you don’t suppress, suppression implies that it is only covered up, you eliminate.
This approach is cross-referenced in the following activities:
The approach from which I will be drawing my ideas comes from a hypnotherapist called Milton Erickson. Erickson was a healer and his techniques have their origins in Erickson's wish to use hypnotherapy as a means of facilitating a client's healing of themselves. This theme is common in a large number of the techniques on the website, the principle aim is self-healing, the added benefit is other sorts of spiritual experience.
The common underlying feature of virtually all problems presented to therapists is emotional pain and suffering. Whereas many of the other healing techniques start with physical pain, the hypnotherapist here is dealing with emotional pain. It matters little what the supposed symptoms are – anxiety, depression, inadequacy, self-abuse, grief, phobias, insomnia, - they all mean HURT, pain, suffering.
Emotional pain can eventually become physical pain and illness or disease and of course disease itself creates emotional pain. Very high levels of emotion of any sort – grief, anger, resentment, jealousy, envy, fear – make you ill if sustained for any length of time. Trap, and help the patient heal, emotional pain and you may be able to halt the development of physical illness. Find the emotional pain of someone with a physical illness and you may be able to help the person heal both illness and hurt themselves.
It has to be the person themselves that does the healing. All healers – even those that 'lay on hands' are facilitators not healers; it is not true that 'patient passive' , 'healer active' works, it doesn't; this is why belief is so important in any form of healing.
A cliché, song lie, ‘broken heart’
Too hackneyed, no, no place to start
But I sit here and anguish feeds
And my heart, this heart, broken, bleeds
There may be the possibility that emotional pain can be directly healed, somehow a rift can be mended, grief can be soothed, anger removed – not suppressed note – removed or soothed or mended. But some emotional wounds will never go because the perceptions and memories remain and suppressing them is not the solution – in fact it is often suppression that causes physical illness.
So how does one help the person in emotional pain, a person hurt, a person who is suffering?
One offers COMFORT.
A good therapist should not attempt to first eliminate the pain. Their first and perhaps only role is to provide comfort. And you do not have to be a therapist to do this.
Help the person find the source of the pain by all means if they don't know, but aim to find ways of helping the person create a new environment for themselves in which they are happy – where instead of pain, pleasure and happiness return, where instead of grief they find joy, where instead of anger they find peace , where instead of resentment they find acceptance, instead of jealousy they find tolerance and understanding, lack of envy, and lack of fear.
Hypnotic Realities – Milton Erickson
The important thing is to get the patient to do the things that are very very good for him.
The key to providing comfort is to always always accept that the person feels pain, and is distressed by what has happened. You must be empathetic to do this well. Dismissing the hurt, or telling them they have nothing to worry about, is not just unhelpful but cruel.
The Seminars, Workshops and Lectures of Milton Erickson – Milton Erickson
In this matter of fear, anxiety, pain and distress, you never try to falsify the situation in a direct way.
Never deny the validity, the genuineness of a patient's experience.
Recognise that he does have pain, he does have fear, he does have anxiety; know those facts.
Never ask the patient to falsify his own understanding; instead give him other understandings that nullify, that contradict, that absorb and hold his focus, so that he cannot give all his attention to what is distressing him.
When my father died, my cousin at the funeral simply put her arm round me and held me. That is comfort and that is how it should be done.
When I nearly died from heart failure and a person [I will not say who] said ‘oh you had a stent, loads of people have stents these days, it’s nothing. Mr X has had three’. That was not comfort.
How it works
This is the first stage of removing emotional pain. So it doesn’t ‘work’ as such, but it is a very important step towards removal of the pain.
If you turn to the Model of the Mind you will see that the Emotions are part of the child in us. You would comfort a child who was in pain, so you need to comfort the child in you that is crying out because it is hurt, or find someone who is genuine enough and empathetic enough that they do it for you. The Emotions are calmed by the presence of someone who is capable of understanding why you have that pain and does not by their actions or words deny that the feeling is real, genuine and debilitating.
Once the comfort has been provided, as Erickson says, you can start on the actual solving of the problems – try to find ways of doing something about it.
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