June 5th, 2021
Co-authored by Dr. Holly Holmes-Meredith and Bill Yarborough.
When you try to ease physical pain do you limit treatment options to over-the-counter medications or a doctor’s appointment? Did you know that there are two components to pain—physical and psychological? That is especially true for acute and chronic pain.
Some people in chronic pain feel the psychological component creates the larger part of suffering. For example, you may get a migraine headache and take medication for pain relief. When you experience a recurring pattern to the migraines, you begin to worry and anticipate the next cycle. This anticipation creates anxiety and tension that exacerbates your pain with the next migraine.
Health experts say if anxiety and tension carry on for too long, it can weaken your immune system. In an interview “The Biology of Belief,” author Bruce Lipton explained that with chronic fear, “we are shutting down the maintenance of the body, which opens us up to infections and inflammations.”
People with chronic pain sometimes identify with their pain. Their daily life often becomes focused on pain, which detracts from the ease and joys of life.
Medicine addresses the physical but not the psychological aspects of pain. A variety of ways exist to address the psychological dimensions of pain. One effective method is hypnotherapy. We know this because Holly has successfully conducted numerous hypnotherapy sessions for pain management, and Bill has engaged in self-hypnosis to reduce pain.
These hypnotherapy and self-hypnosis techniques are not intended to replace medical care, but as adjuncts to medical treatments. It is critical that you have your pain symptoms checked by a medical practitioner before you use hypnosis for pain management so that you do not inadvertently mask symptoms that need medical attention.
What may seem counterintuitive to chronic pain sufferers is that with hypnosis you go into the pain and transform it. Often by going into the pain, the cause of your “disease” is identified. Your biggest problem may be your inability to be at ease, especially with psychosomatic pain.
The following examples show how hypnotherapy can be effective for pain relief. To maintain anonymity, we have changed certain details. Holly worked with a man who struggled with chronic shoulder pain since he was 16 years old. When he became a massage therapist, it got worse. Nothing a medical professional did could reduce his pain.
Holly guided the man into a hypnotic regression session where he recalled a car accident when he was a young boy that caused trauma to his shoulder. Since the pain was temporary, he had forgotten about the incident. However, movements he made during his summer job spontaneously re-triggered unresolved trauma, and his massage work aggravated it further. Uncovering the unconscious trauma of the accident and releasing the energy tied up in the shoulder completely relieved his pain.
Another one of Holly’s clients had a breast enhancement. Although she was pleased with the cosmetic results, the procedure created chronic pain and she became suicidal. She believed that vanity ruined her life and became angry and tense, unable to relax and heal. Holly guided her through symbolic drawings that not only lowered her pain threshold but uncovered the psychosomatic source of her pain—her resentment, anger, and hopelessness over having the procedure performed. As she gained that realization, her chronic pain healed.
To further explore the use of hypnotherapy for relieving pain listen to Holly’s “Becoming Pain Free” CD in her Health and Well-Being Series available on Amazon.
If you would like to seek professional help from a qualified hypnotherapist, choose someone with whom you feel comfortable. A well-trained hypnotherapist allows flexibility in their approach so they can match their client’s needs and responses. Many hypnotherapists are available online or in person. Teaching professionals often have interns who charge minimal amounts.
By Dr. Holly Holmes-Meredith, D. Min., MFT, Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Bill Yarborough, CHT, and Certified EFT Practitioner.
Below is the link to the June 2021 July Diablo Gazette. Our Emotional Health column is on page 14.