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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Overcoming Feelings of Inadequacy with Clinical Hypnosis

In the course of a lifetime, everyone has moments where they feel a lack self confidence or feel inadequate in some way.  This is part of the human experience, and these feelings often pass.  But if you have pervasive feelings of inadequacy most of the time, your sense of inadequacy can be a major stumbling block in your life.

Feelings of Inadequacy Can Be Longstanding or They Can Seem to Come From "Nowhere"
For many people, feelings of being inadequate, such as feeling "I'm not good enough" or "I'm not lovable,"have been part of their awareness for as long as they can remember.  Other people often experience these feelings as having come, seemingly, from "nowhere."  For these people, the experience of feeling inadequate, when they normally feel confident, can be very confusing, and they often wonder, "Why is this happening to me?"

Overcoming Feelings of Inadequacy with Clinical Hypnosis
Discovering What Triggered Feelings of Inadequacy
Often, when feelings of being inadequate seem to come from "nowhere," there is a precipitating event that triggered this feeling, but the person experiencing this might not know what it is.  Working with a skilled hypnotherapist can help clients to discover the triggering event so that clients can overcome feelings of low self worth.

In most cases, the hypnotherapist will work with clients to help them discover, if possible, the first event that triggered this feeling.  The first event might be a long forgotten memory of when the client was a child that gets triggered during a current event.  This can be tricky because memory isn't always reliable.

The following scenario, which is a composite of many different cases to protect confidentiality, illustrates how clinical hypnosis can help a client to overcome feelings of inadequacy:

John:
When John, who was a successful manager, came to therapy, he was aware that he wasn't feeling good about himself.  He was very perplexed about this because, until recently, he wasn't feeling this way. But in the last month or so, he noticed that he woke up with a feeling of dread every week day morning before going to work.   This made no sense to him and, in some ways, it frightened him that he had such a different feeling about himself.

John recalled that he began feeling this way after his new director recently criticized him in a staff meeting during John's presentation.  John remembered feeling embarrassed and even a little queasy at the time.  He also had a momentary feeling of powerlessness.  But John was determined not to let it get the best of him.  So after it happened, he decided to put the incident behind him and try to forget about it.  Or so he thought...When he began therapy, he began to wonder if maybe this incident affected him more than he realized.

During hypnosis sessions to discover if there was an earlier experience that got triggered by the more recent experience with his director, John recalled an early memory (age 5) of his grandfather humiliating him in front of the whole family.  John had not thought of this memory in a long time.

As John recalled, his aunt asked John to recite the poem that John had recited during the school assembly.  In the middle of his recitation, John's grandfather walked into the room looking angry.  He glared at John and when John was finished, he said, "That was awful!  I'm glad I wasn't at your school assembly to hear that.  You're never going to amount to anything."

At the time, when John was five, he didn't know that his grandfather was a severe alcoholic and he was drunk when he criticized John that day.  This was something John realized much later.  During the hypnosis session, John remembered that, when his grandfather criticized him, he felt his face turn hot with shame, and he felt hurt as he choked back tears upon hearing his grandfather's words.  He also remembered feeling a little queasy and powerless at the time, the same feelings he felt when he was giving his presentation at work when his director criticized him.

As John continued to explore these issues in clinical hypnosis, he realized more and more that the experience with his new director triggered the feelings of the earlier memory of being humiliated by his grandfather.  He also realized that other earlier experiences of shame as a child had a much more profound effect on him than he realized.  Over time, working on this memory and other underlying experiences of being shamed helped John to overcome his feelings of inadequacy so he could feel confident in himself.

Earlier Memories Can Lay "Dormant" For a Long Time Before They're Triggered
It's not unusual, as in John's case, for earlier memories of shame and humiliation to lay "dormant" for a long time--only to get triggered by a similar recent event.  It can be one traumatic memory or it can be a series of traumatic memories that get triggered.  It's often hard to know why a particular recent event triggers these feelings and other similar events might not.  But the client usually has a gut feeling, while in a relaxed hypnotic state, of the connection between the old memories and the recent event.

Getting Help
Whether your experience with low self confidence is a recent development or a longstanding problem, working with a skilled hypnotherapist can help you to overcome this problem.  As I've mentioned in earlier articles, hypnotherapy isn't always quick or a magic bullet cure, but it's often very effective in helping clients overcome emotional problems.

You Can Overcome Feelings of Inadequacy with Help from a Skilled Hypnotherapist
I always recommend that, in choosing a hypnotherapist, you find someone who has a psychotherapy license (as opposed to someone who is a hypnotist and who is not a psychotherapist) so that you know you are working with a skilled clinician who is trained to handle whatever clinical issues might come up.

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 web site:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

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

hoto credit: bruckerrlb via photopin cc

photo credit: FlickrJunkie via photopin cc








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