The last few months I’ve done some interesting research and development, a bit of living my life as the experiment it is. After years of bruxism (grinding my teeth in my sleep) and finally cracking a molar, I decided that perhaps it was time I did something about it. The best my dentist could offer was a mouth guard, but that seemed like a bandage solution to me, not really getting to the root cause of the issue. I’d been seeing an osteopath for a year and when problems in my jaw/neck region continued to plague me, she said, “This isn’t something physical; it’s a physical manifestation of something else.” I did intensive psychotherapy a few years ago and came to terms with a number of psycho-emotional issues and in my osteopath, I’d finally found the right person to fix my body, resolving a number of physical problems. What was left? The subconscious.
I’d had a hypnotherapy session last year, more out of curiosity than anything else. The specific focus of that session was past life regression, again, more out of curiosity than anything else. I came away unsure of what I thought about hypnotherapy or past lives, but it meant I had some first-hand experience of hypnosis, some idea of what it felt like and prior contact with a hypnotherapist I felt I could trust. No way would I let just anyone into my head!
So I called Frances and she assured me that hypnotherapy was a viable solution for my bruxism. In total, we had six sessions. Hypnotherapy works much more rapidly than conventional talk therapy, allowing access to long-buried memories that form the basis of who we are. Working in conjunction with my osteopath, the combined therapy was nothing short of magic. And ultimately, we resolved more than just the bruxism problem. On the way, we also discovered the root of some other physical issues that have been plaguing me with increased regularity for the last few years, as well as some deep-seated emotional issues. With childhood events, remembering and considering them from an adult perspective allows one to acknowledge their root and let it go. The problem simply isn’t a problem anymore.
Potentially trickier territory is the past-life arena. Part of me thinks okay, I’m a writer, I have a vivid imagination, I’m just telling myself stories; but another part of me wants to accept that these are indeed memories from previous lives. While in a hypnotic state, a couple of times I started describing things that made no sense to my conscious mind. My hypnotherapist urged my conscious mind to back off and just allow my unconscious to describe what it was seeing. On one of these occasions, it was an activity that she was familiar with, even though I’d never heard of it and didn’t know what it was. Interesting. And the present-life bruxism seems to be the result of an injury to my jaw some five hundred years ago. Perhaps I am telling myself stories, but then how do I explain the positive physical changes which subsequently occurred? Even if they’re just stories, they’re plainly stories I need to tell myself to heal.
So, do I believe in past lives? In reincarnation? Well, why not? The universe is essentially composed of energy and energy tends to flow and recycle. Doesn’t it make sense that sometimes it manifests physically and other times not, that the essence of who we are flits in and out of bodies, learning, growing, moving on? It’s a story I can tell myself that makes as much sense as any other. And quite frankly, I prefer that to the story that says this is it; a story that always struck me as promoting a certain unhealthy desperation about hanging onto this life at all costs.
And do I believe in hypnotherapy? Undoubtedly. It’s proven to be miraculously beneficial in resolving issues which were preventing me from healing and moving forward. Somehow, seeing myself as a small part of the grand scheme of things helped me see the bigger picture, helped me recognize the pettiness of some things that were annoying me, enabling me to let them go and turn my focus and energy to more meaningful pursuits. Anything that can create that kind of positive change is obviously beneficial. Would I recommend it? Absolutely, as long as you’re comfortable with the practitioner.
Catherine Jenkins 2005