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How to loose your Anxiety with Imaging

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Eric "Herbie" Watson, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Here is a method from my study's today. Its how to disassociate from your anxiety while under meditation. It is also good for your concentration and remembering. This is a method you do after you relax and meditate in a relaxed and calm manner. The trance is when you do the floating as you meditate. This is not like Claire Weekes floating. This floating is where you imagine you are floating outside your body as your looking at a huge movie screen ok. The floating will help you to relax and be more at peace and calm. It takes practice but it works well.

    Herbert Spiegel M.D. and his son David Spiegel M.D explain this in their book Trance and Treatment.

    While you imagine yourself floating, in your mind’s eye visualize a huge screen. It can be a movie screen, a television screen, or, if you wish, a clear blue sky that acts as a screen. On that screen you project your thoughts, ideas, feelings, memories, fantasies, and plans while you float here. You establish a clear sense of your body floating here while you relate to your thoughts and ideas out there.
    Once you have established the screen, you can further separate out a main screen and a split screen or, if you wish, you can insert a screen within the main screen. Allow the spontaneous flow of thoughts and feelings to continue as they proceed onto the main screen, but exert your own selectivity by focusing aspects of the main screen onto the split screen. By focusing on the split screen, you now can engage in the kind of technical virtuosity of fast-forward, fast-backward, slow-motion forward, slow-motion back ward, or you can freeze a frame and examine it carefully.
    You can even use a psychological zoom lens in which you focus with great detail on an aspect of something that occurs on the split or insert screen. Using the screen visualization technique, you now have several options.
    The first one is that as you learn new material, you can put yourself in a trance state and visualize this new material on the screen, especially the split screen. Then as a practice session later, you can re institute the trance state and learn the art of retrieving the memory of what previously was imprinted on the screen. By doing this in a systematic way, you accumulate and process those feelings and thoughts on the screen. At the same time, you have a practice effect of learning the art of retrieving what was there before. While doing that, it is even possible to use a retrieval experience of whole memories that you can then focus on at will.

    When your main goal is to focus on anxiety control, the emphasis in this training is to concentrate on the floating, floating, floating. Sometimes you can make it more vivid by imagining that you’re floating in water. Or if it’s more helpful, imagine that you’re like an astronaut floating above the field of gravity.

    The focus on floating leads to an inevitable sense of muscle relaxation; when your muscles are more relaxed, anxiety itself is reduced. It is very difficult to instruct the muscles to relax through intellectual means, but to imagine yourself floating is a direct signal to your muscles to shift into a state of buoyant repose. An indirect consequence of this buoyant repose is that thinking and feeling out there on the imaginary screen happen with greater ease.

    When the focus is on concentration, floating is still the theme, although the main emphasis now is on imprinting new feelings, new thoughts, and new content onto the screen, especially the split or insert screen. Have practice sessions in the beginning, maybe four or five times a day, to learn the art of retrieving what was imprinted on the screen.

    The art form is in essence a two-way arrangement in which you learn to impose the imprint of the thought or feeling on the screen, and at the same time become equally comfortable with reestablishing the screen so that retrieval is available as the floating constantly goes on. It is especially helpful to use the slow-motion and zoom lens technique in retrieval processes, to be sure that the art of remembering on command, in response to questions, or in stress situations occurs by training and not as a surprise.

    Learning how to remember on command is a very useful preparatory experience for anticipated examinations, as in the following example.

    K.U. was a 44-year-old well-trained psychiatrist with 4 years of psychoanalytic training who had failed her board examinations 2 years in a row. This was especially disturbing because she was well informed and her colleagues knew her as a competent psychiatrist. Yet something happened in the examination process that led to blocking and intellectual paralysis. For use in that setting, she inquired about learning self-hypnosis to discipline her concentration. She was taught the procedure for self-hypnosis after determining that she had an intact grade 2–3 HIP profile.
    She responded immediately after the first practice session with this observation:
    “It’s a nice, relaxing sensation—something I have not experienced in a long while.” She practiced this exercise approximately 10 times a day. In fact, a week or so later she made a phone call to check up on the procedure and to be sure that she was doing it correctly. She conscientiously prepared for the next board examination by imprinting the review information on her private imaginary screen.

    After a 4-month preparation period using the exercise, she again took the examination and passed. She successfully passed the oral examination as well. A year after the treatment session, she wrote the following letter:

    It is probably unforgivable that one receive a thank you a year after the event. But one of my first thoughts on learning that I had passed Part 2 of the boards in psychiatry was to thank you. The trial session of hypnosis last October helped me considerably with both rest and study. My single “buoyant” left arm was, I think, a great asset.

    Patients are taught the self-hypnosis exercise and are given instructions to practice it every 1–2 hours during the first few weeks, until they become confident of their own ability to invoke this relaxed, dissociated state whenever necessary. It is particularly important to instruct patients with anxiety to use the exercise every time they feel an anxiety attack coming.

    The exercise gives them a sense of something to resort to at a time when they are prone to feel especially helpless, and it facilitates their development of a sense of mastery over the symptom.
    The treatment strategy is designed not merely to counter a sense of anxiety or distraction in concentration but to provide the patient with an alternative strategy for working through psychological problems or for doing intellectual work.
    In particular, the patient with anxiety is encouraged to use the trance experience of thinking with the screen to work through psychological problems as he or she maintains a sense of relaxed floating in his or her body.

    It is also helpful to have the patient practice visualizing situations on the screen that provoke anxiety: Have the patient freeze the action on the screen when he or she begins to sense the physical signs of anxiety and reestablish a sense of floating before proceeding with the scene on the screen.
    This method enables a patient to contain his or her somatic responses so that he or she can more clearly think through the psychological pressures and conflicts with which he or she is coping. At times, having the patient visualize anxiety-provoking situations provides an opportunity to further explore possible insight-oriented explanations of what is causing the anxiety.

    PS - Here is a Hypnosis induction for insomnia that illustrates a Doctor helping with the above protocol.

    DOCTOR: Look up and close your eyelids. Now, take a deep breath. Three, exhale, let your eyes relax, your body float, permit one hand or the other to feel like a buoyant balloon, and let it float upward.
    As it does, your elbow bends and your forearm floats into an upright position; the upright position of your forearm becomes your signal to enter a state of meditation. While in the state of meditation, you concentrate on floating and at the same time concentrate on this:

    In your mind’s eye, imagine a huge screen: a movie screen, a television screen, or if you wish, a clear blue sky that acts like a screen.
    On this screen, you project your thoughts, ideas, feelings, memories, and plans. So while you are floating here, you can now relate to your thoughts and feelings, memories, and plans out there on the screen. By doing so, you’re now able to enhance your communication with your own thoughts and fantasies, and sharpen your access so that you can retrieve your thoughts and feelings more readily.
    This is, in a way, like setting up a private theater in which you can absorb yourself in the drama of your own life. Now, this means that when you’re trying to fall asleep and your engine is working, your thoughts are going.
    Instead of trying to fight your thoughts to turn them off, which you can’t do, what you can do is project thoughts, feelings, and fantasies out there on your screen while you are floating here. The function of that is to enable your muscles to relax. To simply tell your muscles to relax is too intellectual and is not in the mode of your muscle understanding. But when you feel yourself floating, then you’re in a
    much better position to bring about muscle relaxation. Muscle tension is an enemy of sleep. When you are trying to fall asleep, a change of guard takes place. In your autonomic nervous system, there are two controls. When you are awake, the sympathetic headquarters takes control; when you fall asleep, the parasympathetic takes over. Muscle tension interferes with this change of guard.
    By learning to float while you are at the same time accounting for the thoughts, feelings, and ideas that are going around in your mind, by allowing them to occur out there on the screen, you don’t have to fight them; you let them occur while you are floating here. The change of guard takes place, the parasympathetic takes over, and you naturally fall asleep.
    Now, I propose that you prepare yourself for this changing of the guard during the daytime by doing the following exercise, in the beginning every 1–2 hours. Each time, the exercise takes only approximately 20 seconds. And the exercise is as follows.

    Sit or lie down, and to yourself you count to three. One, you do one thing; two, you do two things; and three, you do three things. One, roll your eyes. Two, while looking up, you close your eyelids and take a deep breath. Three, you exhale, let your eyes relax, and let your body float.
    As you feel yourself floating, you permit one hand or the other to feel like a buoyant balloon and let it float upward, as your left hand is doing now. When it reaches this upright position, this becomes your signal to enter a state of meditation in which you concentrate on this imaginary feeling and at the same time on this concept: floating here with your thoughts, feelings, and ideas out there on the screen. Lock this concept in your mind so that it becomes a posthypnotic signal that you retain.

    Then when the time to sleep comes, you now have something that you can invoke rather quickly. Each time you do the exercise, you bring yourself out of the state of concentration this way: three, get ready;
    two, with your eyelids closed, roll up your eyes, do it now; one, let your eyelids open slowly. Then when your eyes are in focus, slowly make a fist with the hand that is up, open your fist slowly, let it float down, and that is the end of the exercise.

    Now, stay in this position and describe what physical sensations you’re aware of.

    PATIENT: My hand goes up like that, comes down, and does whatever you tell me to do. And the same with my eyes. But I don’t know that I’m totally relaxed.
    DOCTOR: You’re not totally relaxed, but you are learning to shift from one level to another. Then as you practice your art form, you get more and more relaxed. Have you ever noticed when you are falling asleep at night that at times you have a startle reaction and shortly thereafter you are asleep?
    PATIENT: Yes.
    DOCTOR: Isn't that a contradiction? You would think that if you have a startle reaction, it would wake you up.
    PATIENT: Yes, but I fall asleep.
    DOCTOR: Yes. Do you know what that is? A change of guard takes place. Right now, you are under sympathetic control, but when the change takes place, the parasympathetic takes over. Usually it occurs so gradually that you don’t feel it. But should it happen faster than usual, that is when you really feel the startle reaction. But you know that you’re going to sleep after that because the switch has already taken place. Now, have you noticed that when you try to fall asleep your sympathetic machinery is
    PATIENT: Yes.
    DOCTOR: You simply cannot turn your mind off in that way. That is like telling yourself, “Don’t think
    about purple elephants.” What happens?
    PATIENT: I think about them.
    DOCTOR: So, since that technique doesn't work, why use it? But what you can do is turn it around, and
    you know this: It is much more human to make peace with the rhythm of the way you think. You can
    float here with your thoughts, feelings, and ideas out there on the screen. And by doing that, it enables the
    change of guard to take place. Now, during the daytime you’re not practicing the three steps to fall asleep. All that you are doing is preparing the art form; it is just like practicing a dance step. If you practice enough, then when the time comes to dance it just happens automatically. That is the point of practicing during the day, not to go to sleep.
    Now when bedtime comes, you have two options. The first is to lie in bed, look up, close your eyelids, take a deep breath, exhale, relax your eyes, body float, let one hand come up, visualize a screen floating here, project your thoughts and feelings on it, and watch your own television program. By learning to float in this way, your muscles relax, a change of guard takes place, and you fall asleep. One thing you can do is stay in this formal trance state until the change of guard takes place, and with this shift into natural sleep, you end hypnosis. Natural sleep automatically cuts off self-hypnosis.

    There is another way of doing it. Where do you like to sleep—what position do you usually sleep in?

    PATIENT: On my side.
    DOCTOR: All right, then, here is how you do it. Do the exercise first lying on your back. Then give yourself a posthypnotic signal. You are going to turn over on your side or on your stomach. You will
    continue to float but relate to the screen. Now you are responding to a posthypnotic signal that you have given to yourself; by relating to your own screen out there you are in effect in hypnosis, but it is a posthypnotic state that you have structured for yourself. Then just wait until natural sleep takes
    PATIENT: So, do the exercise and turn over.
    DOCTOR: Turn over, that is right. Before you come out of it, you give yourself a posthypnotic signal. But
    you are going to turn over and continue to float and continue to look at your screen, so that you are now
    responding to your own structure. And when you are turning over, you can even imagine yourself floating
    as you turn over.
    PATIENT: What happens if I wake up?
    DOCTOR: Then you do the same thing all over again. Restructure the screen, float, and turn back over. If
    you fight insomnia, all you do is make your insomnia worse. That is like telling yourself not to think about
    purple elephants. But if you learn to float and have your thoughts and feelings out there, then the floating
    enhances the shift—that is, the changing of the guard. Any questions?
    PATIENT: During the day when I’m practicing, if I
    hear noises, should it bother me?
    DOCTOR: In general, to be annoyed by this is understandable. Noises are an enemy, for they disturb
    tranquility. The most you can do is to become so absorbed in doing your exercise that you ignore the
    noise. But if you have nothing to do and you start fighting the noise, then you make a bad situation
    worse. So the best you can do is to learn to ignore it by doing your routine: floating and relating to your
    own thoughts and feelings.
    PATIENT: Now, you see, I feel very relaxed. Now,
    when I’m standing up I feel more floating than I did
    when I was sitting down.
    DOCTOR: Okay, you have it. Now, you see that I didn't do this to you. This was a capacity you brought with you to the room.
    Learn to develop this art form so it is with you all of the time.

    Follow-up 1 year later revealed that she was “sleeping very well” and “feeling sensationally good.”
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
    LindaRK likes this.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wow, this is wonderful. It's great that you know who to attribute it to.

    Floating before sleeping is a great concept.

    Another subject for a YouTube video.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.

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