It was 1991 and the last day of my clinical hypnotherapy training course at Hypnotism Training Center of Utah—just a week away from the certification. Our instructor, Virgil Hayes, asked us to put our pencils down and place our hands comfortably on our laps, then to sit up straight and place our feet firmly upon the floor. We already knew this drill from the many times we had done it before. We were about to experience another group “hypnotic induction.”
My mind was now mostly calm and clear, thanks to weeks of individual and group hypnotherapy training. We had observed and participated in hundreds of hours of hypnotherapy sessions, both individually and as a group. Each session added much to my education as I listened to Virgil’s questions and directives to the group and experienced personal answers.
Freedom from Our Own Issues
Virgil was of the opinion that in order to be good hypnotherapists we needed to have our personal issues cleared up first. We would then avoid being triggered emotionally during a session with a client, and we would understand what to do when a client experienced “automatic emotional venting” (referred to in hypnotherapy as an abreaction) during a session, as we would already have been through the same or similar circumstances ourselves or have observed others go through them.
Thus, our minds were becoming free of childhood issues. Many altercations or misunderstandings with classmates, friends, parents, grandparents, and other authority figures had been dealt with. In the language of hypnotherapy, such incidents had been desensitized, reconstructed, or reframed by altering the perceptions we each held of our memories. Now, as a group, our minds were clear of most of our negative early experiences, including major traumas of life such as abuse.
This class experience of becoming clear-minded had been a gradual process—hour upon hour, precept upon precept—fashioned from the combined experiences of each of our lives. By learning from each other’s personal life experiences, we each had increased in wisdom and understanding for individual problem solving.