NOTE: Brent grudgingly took the Thanksgiving weekend off from Don’t Blink. Lucky for him, Brent’s fiancé, Sidney, wrote the Sunday blog post. Enjoy today’s entry where Sidney explains an alternative therapy that was administered to her as a child.
On a regular basis Brent and I like to binge watch syndicated episodes of Dateline. The OWN network regularly broadcasts marathons of the “real-life-mystery” series, and it never fails, Brent and I get sucked into the drama. In one of the more recent episodes, Brent and I watched (forgive me, for I don’t recall the exact details) one of the key witnesses to a murder give a full recollection of the crime while in a subconscious state. What does that mean you ask? The key witness was under hypnosis. That’s right, a forensic hypnotist came in, hypnotized the woman, and she recounted the whole crime then and there. Now, I know what you’re thinking….What a load of baloney!! I get it. It sounds outlandish. Even Brent let out a big “Oh! I’m SURE!!” upon hearing the tactics of the prosecution.
I quickly had to set the record straight for B. Hypnosis is very real, and can be a very useful tool. Don’t get carried away here, I do not practice hypnosis on my 2nd graders in an effort to raise their test scores. (But let’s be honest, THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!)
No, no, no. I, myself, underwent hypnotherapy as a kid.
Now before I get into the logistics of the matter, let me explain “hypnotherapy”. It was not “therapy” where you lay on a couch and talk about your feelings and seek answers and guidance to your everyday problems. It falls more under the umbrella of physical therapy, in that the therapy is focused on helping to heal your body, and less of your soul.
I’m sure by this point, I have piqued your interest and you find yourself wondering Why, oh why, did Sidney need to heal her body? My answer is somewhat anti-climatic. As a kid, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease known as Ulcerative Colitis, or UC. ( It’s a disease closely linked to Crohn’s disease but not quite as severe.) Anyway, like most auto-immune diseases, UC can have a plethora of linked ailments. One of the ailments that I suffered with was associative migratory joint pain. In laymen’s terms, my major joints (hips, shoulders, knees, elbows) would become inflamed and ache in a way that was very similar to the arthritis pain of a geriatric. Not fun for an 8 year old who just wants to run and play.
All of the treatments I was undergoing to get my UC and the associated joint pain under control proved to slowly improve my condition. Keyword: slowly. So, because the medicines took a long time to make a significant change, it was recommended that my parents take me in for hypnotherapy to help with pain management.
So off my parents took me to a very skilled hypnotherapist. This particular hypnotherapist was world renowned. She had undergone several surgical procedures herself without the aid of anesthesia, she was only under hypnosis. I mean, WOW!
So all in all, our “sessions” (if you will) consisted of her teaching me the ways in which to hypnotize myself. Then once in a lucid/hypnotized state, she would speak repetitive phrases to my subconscious. Some such statements would be “allow your body to heal itself”; “let the inflammation within your joints and digestive system slowly dissipate”; “allow the pain receptors in your body to become less receptive”. In saying all of things aloud, I agree they sound far-fetched and bizarre. But let me be the first to tell you…it worked. There were nights as a kid where my legs and arms ached so badly that I couldn’t move or sleep. But if I would hypnotize myself and listen to a tape (the hypnotherapist lived hours away, so she would record our sessions for me to use at home) I could finally rest and feel some relief.
I will be honest. I don’t know the science behind this type of therapy, but I can vouch for the fact that it works.
Nowadays, I am in full remission from my UC (2 years and counting), so hypnotherapy isn’t a necessity. But I will say that I do use it from time to time (mostly just to help myself fall asleep on planes).
So if you are ever watching an episode of Dateline and they bring up forensic hypnosis, don’t write it off immediately. It is indeed, very real. As my lovely fiancé likes to say, Don’t Blink.