Some people believe time heals all wounds. While time certainly reduces the intensity, there are certain experiences that are just too impactful. Experiences of trauma can have a cumulative effect, and even be carried with us as physical and emotional “baggage” from lifetime to lifetime.

Frequently manifesting as psychological pain and discomfort, and at other times as feelings of uneasiness and insecurity, these latent memories can have a tremendous impact on our effectiveness and success in modern life. In the most extreme cases, these feelings can lead to experiential avoidance, a psychological condition where people experience distressing feelings or images and then try to suppress their recurrence – an act that has been directly linked to anxiety and depression.

Relief through repetition

Desensitization is one of the numerous tools I use for dealing with these past traumas in a hypnotherapy session. It’s been helpful to countless clients bothered by emotions such as rage, anger, grief, fear, and other strong feelings. The secret to its success rate is its ability to smooth the intensity of an emotional trigger, thus restoring a better sense of balance in life while reducing the length of time it takes to heal from the trauma of past events.

At the same time, it has the added benefit of enabling us to overcome stressful situations or knee-jerk fears and phobias in our everyday lives by combating many of the psychological stumbling blocks that keep us from achieving our goals. Popular uses for this application include overcoming fear of public speaking, shyness and awkwardness in social situations.

How it works

Begin by recounting a stressful or frightening episode. Describe the event in detail, beginning from just before the event began, and ending when you’ve realized that you’re once again safe and comfortable after the event.

Now go back to the beginning, and start the story again. And again. And again. You can even change some of the details, or add humorous elements. Continue telling the story until you realize a diminished interest or an altered perception of the experience.

  • Coping Technique: If the association or memory is too stressful to even consider, try incorporating a repetitive physical action while recounting the event. Examples include tapping your foot, repeatedly touching the tip of each finger to your thumb, or tapping your wrist. Let this physical task distract the attention of your conscious mind. Alternatively, work through your worst traumas with a qualified hypnotherapist.

The goal is to create a sense of “boredom” in your recollection, gaining comfort and understanding with each retelling. Eventually, the story loses its intensity and stress is reduced because there is no longer a need to suppress the recurrence of this memory. The emotional charge has been dissipated, and you no longer rely on time to heal it.


To learn more about the practice of hypnotherapy and related techniques for collaboration with the subconscious mind, join me at my next Brown Bag Lecture series, May 15 at Bastyr University. Attendance is free but advance registration is requested. View my calendar–>