I have talked a lot about the benefits of stories and metaphors in hypnosis and I have discussed my suspicions that past life regression is actually just a hypnotic metaphor rather than actual memories from past lives. I had a client the other day, who I was seeing for treatment for mild anxiety in Worthing, where these two things collided very neatly in a session.
One of my favourite metaphors is The Village Metaphor that I have used to free a number of people with anxiety or other feelings that are leaving them stuck in life somehow. This metaphor involves hypnotising them and then taking them to their village – a place inside where they live and cannot seem to leave. I let it take shape around them and then get them to describe it to me. There may be work to be done along the way, but the next main step is to take them to the edge of the village, as far as they can go, to the point that they cannot go any further and then ask them why. The answers vary from water, hedge, abyss, wall or my favourite was a floating rock island. We then make changes one way or another that enable them to leave the village. Sometimes this involves battling some kind of obstacle or monster outside the village that is trying to chase them back.
During the past life regression session to help my client be more comfortable speaking his mind and challenging people, he found himself living with a tribe in a village in what he suspects was Africa. He said that everyone in this village formed liaisons rather than relationships – everyone shared each other but no one got very close. He found this a lonely life and wanted something else but he only knew of one person who had spoken out against it before who had been told to leave the village. They had found him a couple of days later tied to a cross with his head chopped off.
Whether this is a real memory of a previous life or a perfect example of the village metaphor without the set up, it is clear to see the relevance of this to his current issue. So I freed him from the village, I broke his connection with that memory and brought him back to the present, a far away land that is built on new ideas, where if one group doesn’t like those ideas, there are many more that will.
The session emphasised the benefits of metaphor and past life regression in hypnosis whether they are the same thing or two very different tools for change.