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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Experiencing Your Future Self: The Self You Want to Become

Most people begin psychotherapy because they're not happy with lives.  By the time they come to therapy, they have often experienced months (and sometimes many years) of being dissatisfied with their lives.  For many of them, it's hard to imagine that their lives could be different in the future.  So, when I introduce the idea of the Future Self, some clients look at me as if I've lost my mind (which, by the way, isn't how you want to see your therapist!).  So, the concept of "The Future Self" needs a little explaining.

Experiencing Your Future Self:  The Self You Want to Become
What is the Future Self?
The Future Self is a concept in clinical hypnosis whereby, in a state of relaxation where you have greater access to the richness of your unconscious mind, you can experience yourself as you want to be.  In a safe and relaxing hypnotic state, you have access to an inner world that you're usually not aware of during ordinary states of consciousness.

Experiencing the Future Self isn't just about visualizing yourself as the person that you want to be.  It's also having the internal experience of the person that you want to be in your mind and in your body because of the mind-body connection.  Most people experience this as very exciting and empowering.  They're also surprised that they can have this experience because, in their ordinary states of consciousness, this experience isn't available to them.  Quite to the contrary, in their ordinary states of consciousness, they're giving themselves negative messages, like "I'm not good enough" or "Life will never change."

The Experience of the Future Self is Often Available to You in Clinical Hypnosis
When you've experienced your Future Self, in clinical hypnosis, as how you want to be, you gain a sense of confidence that will often enable you to pursue a more satisfying and enriching life.

In clinical hypnosis, there is a concept of "anchoring" where you can "anchor" this experience in your body so that it remains accessible to you.  You can "anchor" the experience either visually in your body or as a feeling state or both.  "Anchoring" can be done with images or colors.  The idea is to make the experience as vivid as possible so you can re-experience it in your ordinary state of consciousness.

This might sound "out there" and "woo-woo," but when you're in a state of dual awareness (the awareness of the here-and-now as well as the awareness of the hypnotic state), this often happens very naturally.  As adults, we often forget that many of us, as children, were able to use our imagination to experience ourselves as being whatever we wanted to be.  And although it might be surprising for many adults to experience the Future Self, it's also relaxing, refreshing and very satisfying emotionally.

What if You're Not Able to Experience Your Future Self in Hypnosis?
Everyone is different.  Some people, despite years of misfortune and disappointments, can access the experience of the Future Self in hypnosis without a problem.  And, as I've said, this is often a surprise to them because it's so different from what they normally experience.  Others, for whatever reason, have more difficulty experiencing a Future Self, but they often know someone, whom they admire, that is close to what they would like to be.  In those cases, I work with these clients in hypnosis to help them to feel into or "embody" the experience of this person.  As they "embody" this experience, they can feel what it's like to be calmer, happier, more confident--or whatever this person represents for them.

Accessing the Richness of Your Unconscious with Clinical Hypnosis
Even if you don't know someone personally, there might be someone from a movie, a book or someone who is famous in history that you can imagine during a hypnotic state where you can use your imagination to "embody" his or her experience.

Isn't it wonderful that these states of consciousness are naturally available to us and that we can "anchor" them so that we can access them at any time?

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.

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