After repeatedly experiencing feelings of anxiety, tension and stress when arriving at work, a government employee who I will call “Paula”, contacted me for stress management hypnosis. Paula works full time and has been at her current position for 13 years. She is married and has two children who live at home. At our first appointment Paula also shared about additional pressures she is feeling with family issues, however, her initial goal for our work together was stress management at the work site.
The anxiety, pressure and stress Paula was feeling at work were taking a toll on her health. When things were particularly difficult she could feel the tension building in her body and the muscles tightening in her neck, which would sometimes lead to a migraine headache. Paula had seen a medical doctor about her head aches and it was determined they were stress related.
At our first session we talked for some time about her work situation and events that had occurred that were particularly difficult. Paula explained exactly how she felt and how her body reacted when she walked in the door at work.
Before we began our first hypnosis Paula and I discussed a stress reduction technique she could use on her way to work, which she was comfortable with and felt was very doable. This technique used deep breathing to create calm, focus and a relaxed, yet very aware, state of being. As we began the hypnosis I used a type of progressive relaxation to help Paula relax that would also teach her self-hypnosis as a relaxation tool. She had been holding onto the stress and tension for so long I needed to add additional deepening techniques to help Paula let go of the stress. I then asked her to imagine driving safely into work while using the stress reduction technique we’d discussed. While in hypnosis I had her practice the relaxation technique while I made direct suggestions that she would practice her relaxation technique everyday on her way to work.
When I next saw Paula she told me she was no longer feeling anxious, tense or stressed at work and that she had become more focused and productive. She had completed a project she’d put off working on for years and was so pleased to get it done. She said the first 2 days after our first session she consciously remembered doing the relaxation technique but after those first 2 days she did it without thinking about it.
At our second session Paula talked more about concerns she had with her family life and marriage. She related that she did the majority of house hold chores and that her husband traveled extensively on business. We discussed a shift in the family dynamics that often happened right before her husband left for a business trip. It was often a tense time that lead to arguments between Paula and her husband. Paula also said her husband had a drinking problem and that life at home was calmer and easier when he was away.
We began the 2nd hypnosis session with a different variation of progressive relaxation to reinforcement Paula’s learning of self-hypnosis and to reinforce her use of her relaxation technique on the way to work. I then brought her out of traditional hypnosis and we began working on the marriage and family pressure Paula was feeling. I had Paula imagine in her mind’s eye a situation that had recently happened at home that was very upsetting to her. I then asked her to identify the emotion or emotions she was feeling during the upsetting event. Paula stated she was feeling angry. I asked Paula to focus on the event and the way she was feeling as I instructed her to tap on various meridian points on her body and to repeat what I was saying. At one point during this process she felt a shift in her emotions so we changed what we were saying to represent the emotional shift. This technique is called the “Emotional Freedom Technique” (EFT) or tapping and is amazingly helpful and healing. For more information on EFT please visit: www.emofree.com. We used the following phrase while doing the initial tapping and changed it to reflect the change/shift in emotions Paula experienced. “Even though I am very angry, I completely and totally accept myself.” After 3 rounds of tapping, Paula’s heightened emotional state about the upsetting event had lowered to a level that was acceptable and more comfortable to Paula.
About 2 weeks after our 2nd session I spoke with Paula. She reported that the anxiety, pressure and stress were gone at work and that she was amazed at how much better she feels, how her higher productivity at work has continued and how her focus has changed. She said she now focuses on what she can and does accomplished, rather than spending her time worrying about all the things that need to be done. Paula also let me know that with her family issues she feels more relaxed and that things are being resolved. Paula now uses self-hypnosis and tapping on her own and this has helped her, “…to not go into migraine mode.”