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Clearing Guilt and Shame using Hypnotherapy  

Clearing Guilt and Shame using Hypnotherapy

Guilt is one of the most pervasive negative emotions in our society, and it can be very destructive at an unconscious level. Guilt is an unpleasant feeling of responsibility for some action we did that was not in line with our values, and so we regret it and feel guilty. It is not just a thought pattern, but it is also a negative feeling in our body that goes with the thought pattern.

Shame is more complex, and is tied into our identity as a person, our self worth, and what we believe about ourselves. Shame tends to have a lot of negative self talk, and deep rooted beliefs where a person makes generalisations about themselves, and put labels on themselves which are abstract. For example, someone may say to themselves "I am worthless". A lot of therapy is aimed at turning a label like this back into a process, or series of actions, and then changing the strategy. 

For example, a person puts a label on themselves "I am no good". This is a series of actions that the person takes to be an expert at "no goodness", whatever that is. So the strategy could be that the person sees a certain look on another person's face. The look could be anything, it could be the person mentally saying hello. However, they then misinterpret the look, and could say to themselves with a harsh and critical internal voice, "Look at the way that person looks at me, they must know how "no good" I am". Then the negative and painful body feeling of shame is felt in the body. To get rid of the pain, the person may use some destructive action to combat it, for example overeating. Then after the binge, they use that to load even more guilt and shame on themselves. They feel guilt for overeating. They will use any number of infinite ways of beating themselves up, and practising their "no goodness" strategy. After all, the more we practice something, the better we get at it, and this applies to negative emotions as well.

Our values are the keys to our motivation, they are abstract concepts, and they are responsible for how we act, as opposed to what we would like to be like. We have values in all areas in our  life, and if we perform an action that is in conflict with our values, then we feel guilt. There are anti-social personality disorders where people don't feel guilt, but fortunately most people have the capability to feel guilt.

Coming back to our values, to find out your values in an area of you life, simply keep asking yourself the question "What is important to me about ....". Ask yourself this question in relation to the areas of Work/Career, Family, Relationships, Personal Development, Health and Fitness, Spirituality, Leisure. Values are one word answers, or a very short phrase at most, and are "big picture" as opposed to "zooming into the details", the whole forest as opposed to branch or leaf, the entire symphony as opposed to the individual notes. 

Examples of values in relation to work and career could be money, fulfillment, free time, social activities, helping people, winning, being the boss, challenge, enjoyment, fun, making things, creativity etc. Honesty is important in filling our your values, sometimes there are values we aspire to but don't have. If we are not taking action to "get" that value, if it is not a source of motivation, then it is not an actual value. For example, health and fitness. Someone could write down "being fit" as a value, and sit down all day in front of a computer without getting any exercise. This is an aspiration and not a value. It could be also be a low priority value compared to the leisure value of "computer games". If "being fit" is an actual value, then guilt would be generated because the persons actions are in conflict with this value.

Another example would be the value "Standing up for myself". This is a very commendable value, but if the method used to achieve this is to get angry at other people all the time, this would be in direct conflict with the value "nurturing deep loving connection" in the area of relationships. The person expressed anger at the person they love because they wanted to stand up for themselves. However, in doing so they damaged the deep loving connection, and so that can generate a lot of guilt.

Clearing guilt is part of a group of sessions of therapy, where we clear the negative emotions of anger, fear, hurt and sadness, and guilt.

There is a metaphor where negative emotions from the past are stored in the body, these are the negative emotions associated with unresolved incidents from the past. Your subconscious mind wants to rationalise these incidents, so the negative emotions can be cleared from past events. Clearing negative emotions is like getting rid of the baggage from the past, so it stops coming up. What I mean by this is that if a person suddenly remembers something they did that they felt guilty about, the feeling of guilt from that past memory arises, not just as a memory, but as a physical feeling in the body.

Please be aware that negative emotions are very necessary, they are unpleasant feelings, but it is important to know when your boundaries have been violated in some way. There is no way that any therapy could remove the capability of experiencing natural emotions, but it is possible to clear the baggage of guilt from the past.

An important part of the strategy in relation to guilt is eliciting your values so we can check for values conflicts. If there is a values conflict, situations will arise where no matter what you do it will conflict with one of your values, causing guilt. In cases like this, it is important to resolve the conflict at an unconscious level.

This is to pre-empt future guilt, so it won't be an issue in the future.

Some people say, well if you clear guilt, there won't be anything to stop me from doing bad things. The important thing to note here is that the guilt doesn't tend to stop people from doing things, people frequently feel guilty about things before they do them, but do them anyway. It's your values that determine your behaviour, not the guilt. Once your values are aligned and are ethical, then your behaviour is also ethical, and there is no guilt, because there is no reason for it, and your behaviour tends to lead to a happy and fulfilling life.

If guilt is ingrained at an unconscious level, there may be a part of our unconscious mind which has decided that we need punishment, and this can lead to all sorts of self destructive behaviour. If this is the case, it's very important to clear it, resolve the internal conflict(s), and align the values.

So just stop, and just imagine for a few moments what it would be like if you could be free from your guilt, if it was gone from your body. What would it feel like? What would you do instead at the times you used to feel guilty, what self destructive behaviours would be gone? What difference would it make to you and other people in your life?

If you would like an explanatory brochure, or a free consultation, please phone
Daniel Madden ADHP MICHP BE
Phone: 085 - 1318344