Exception Management – Grey Room Technique Example
For the purpose of this discussion, “exception” is when the hypnotic technique does not go as planned during the session. An example of this is an Abreaction, where a client regresses back to a traumatic moment without instruction to do so.
While having an Omni Hypnosis student performing the Grey Room Technique, the subject in deep trance was following instructions perfectly and taking the Negative Thoughts (red slips of paper) down and disposing of them in a fire. When asked how the process was going, the subject indicated that all of the red slips were gone, but the wolf was a problem. The student looked dumb-struct as she found nothing about a wolf in the script.
As the instructor, I stepped in and asked the subject about the wolf. She indicated the wolf was growling. I asked her SCM to have the part of her that controlled the wolf to step forward and say I am here. The subject responded with I am here. I asked the part how it served the subject, what do you do for her highest and greatest good. The part responded with "I protect her". I asked what it protected her from, the part replied that it protected her from herself. That has kept her in check from doing crazy things like running into the street.
I instructed the subject to go back to the first time that she needed to be kept in check. Her R2C responses were; she was Inside, with mother, it was daytime, she is four years old, the situation was she had just eaten a bottle of children’s aspirin. I asked her how she felt, and she just felt they were candy and tasted good. I asked how her mother felt. She said that mother was terribly upset and angry. I suggested to her that the scene fades and she focus on her breathing.
I had her calm down and relax, once she relaxed, I had her notice the four-year-old was still there. I had her go to the four-year-old and tell her that you are who she grows up to become. I instructed the subject to tell the four-year-old that she had come back in time to tell her that what happened today was not her fault and that she would have a full and amazing life. I then asked if the four-year-old had calmed down. She replied “Yes”. I then asked the subject if I could talk to the four-year-old through her. She replied “yes”. I asked the four-year-old how it felt to have her older self-come back in time to check on her, she replied it was nice. I told her that the subject had come back because she loved her. She smiled and nodded. I said, “you love her too, don’t you?” She indicated yes. I asked if she had been keeping the subject in check all this time and nodded. Her mother had called her a wild Indian was crazy enough to do anything, So the four-year-old had been protecting her, keeping her in check, all this time. I offered the four-year-old a place in the subject’s heart where she would be safe and in a place of unconditional love. That she could stand down and just be herself and not have to protect the older self any longer. She smiled and said “she would like that very much. I told her that she could stand down and let the client handle being responsible for herself from now on.
I asked the SCM if the subject had come into the office with a level of anxiety that day, the reply was yes. I asked: “On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the high end, what was her anxiety level?”. She replied an eight. I then asked her what level it is now? She replied with two. I then did a forgiveness process and it dropped to zero.
As hypnotists, we must be ready to adapt our response to whatever the client encounters in their session. Whether we may trigger something from our suggestions or imagery, or they just chose on their own to bring up the challenge to resolve in the moment.
In this case, the SCM was using the metaphor of the wolf to keep her in check and protect her from harming herself through her reckless behavior. It had been doing this since she was four years old. The subject was in her seventies when we did this work. The subject told me after the session that she actually heard the wolf growl right in front of her.