Did Trump hypnotize us
And suddenly the contours blur
There is an armchair in front of me, a painting hangs on the wall, Dr. Christian Ziegler, who tells me which images and feelings I should imagine. First the picture of a car accident, which symbolizes my negative experiences in math and physics class many years ago. Then the feeling I had before or after working in these subjects. First the picture, then the feeling, back and forth like the steps while hiking.
Suddenly the contours of the armchair and the picture on the wall in front of me blur. «Wow», I think for a split second and then I'm already completely in my own world, seeing the images in front of my inner eye and experiencing the feelings that remind me of how I feel in the presence of a dog: insecurity , Despair, loss of control. At the top right in front of my inner eye I see my friend Frauke all the time under a blue sky. A picture of confidence that grows bigger and bigger over time. I step up to her and we just leave the horror scene.
Part one of my hypnosis session is behind me. The psychotherapist and psychiatrist Christian Ziegler tells me that the blurring of the contours was a real hypnotic phenomenon. We were only in the warm-up phase. What we just did was the hypnotic feeling meditation that he developed. Real hypnosis starts in the next few minutes.
The rubber duck and Donald Trump
I came to him because I am afraid of dogs. No matter how big or tiny a dog is, I can't walk past it relaxed, but always see it hanging with its teeth on my calf - although nothing like this has ever happened to me. The fear is so strong that it is already spreading to my husband, who actually always liked dogs very much - and soon maybe even to our little daughter? High time to do something about it. I try hypnosis because that's a good way to get a grip on fears, as I've heard.
First of all we need a picture of my fear of dogs. It sounds absurd, but after some thought, I chose the giant rubber duck by the artist Florentijn Hofman, which is as high as a multi-storey building and, some time ago, quite natural, almost proud-looking, swam in water and was admired by crowds. Dogs are like kings to me, next to whom I feel very small.
I wanted a second picture to which I can transfer my fear. Because if the fear - and with it the rubber duck - is to become very small, something else has to be very large to compensate. I voted Donald Trump. Why not? I don't like him anyway.
And then hypnosis begins. With calm words alone, Dr. Ziegler to put me in a trance. The contours are lost again, everything around me becomes blurred. The focus is no longer on the objects around me, but on the images in me. I am still completely there, I see everything, but at the same time I am in a different place, am carried away by myself and the images I see in front of me. I am in a state that I have never experienced before. It feels like I'm somewhere between waking and sleeping. I am completely relaxed, but do not use this state to slip into sleep, but to be productive.
I go through important stages in my life without feeling any strain. I am in space and meet my six-year-old self, then I swim through salt water that tickles my skin, I make the bath duck very small, Donald Trump very large and vice versa, I see myself playing poker with my older brother and with my two brothers on the beach as a little girl playing ball. In the end a dog plays with us and we chase Donald Trump away. When I talk about it, the session seems like a crazy dream to me.
Christian Ziegler, on the other hand, says I activated resources. More precisely, when I give more weight to positive resources like playing ball on the beach or my girlfriend under a blue sky, the fear gradually fades. He says that during hypnosis the unconscious works, it learns and has taken up a germ that will sprout.
And? Did it work?
In the first days and weeks after hypnosis, I asked myself why I didn't see any more dogs - until I noticed that I just barely noticed them anymore. If I do feel anxiety in the presence of a dog, then I often picture Donald Trump with the rubber duck. A funny picture that makes me forget my fear. Once I imagined a different picture and was very proud of my creative and well-functioning idea. Until I listened to the recording of the hypnosis session again and realized that Dr. Ziegler had come. My unconscious seems to have saved it as an idea of my own.
It was then that I realized how effective hypnosis is, how hard the unconscious works in a trance - and how important it was that I went to a well-trained and trustworthy professional.
Hypnosis as medicine
On Saturday, in Part 2 of the series, you will learn what you should consider when choosing a hypnotist, how hypnosis works and how you can use it to get a grip on fears and pain.
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