Brookside Center for Counseling and Hypnotherapy

 


Hypnosis for the Female Reproductive System

by Maurice Kouguell, Ph.D.,BCETS.


While it has long been recognized that there are differences between men and women, a lot of understanding of the gender difference has been neglected until quite recently. A women's menstrual cycle is not something that just happens. This cycle is a constant process of change. Thus, in contrast to men, there is a continuous change in the concentration level in the blood of the hormones regulating menstruation and ovulation. These hormones have been connected with the types of information substances which must relate state dependent memory, mood and learning.

Psychologists have recognized the rhythmic biological basis for psychological complexes in the emotional life of women. Thus the psychological complexes can find their etiology in what is referred to as the "emotional shock" that comes about and is related to birth trauma. Oxytocyn, which is an information substance released in massive amounts during labor, regulates lactation and behavior associated with motherhood. Associated with that process are emotional feelings of depression and the feeling of loss. Recently, oxytocyn has been found to be connected with mother/child bonding. This has resulted in the interest in and need to use regression through hypnosis to go back to the time of the birth process. 

In an actual case recorded during hypnosis, the patient remembered not only the birth process but also many of the earlier traumatic memories that have been linked to it. Hypnosis was used effectively to help her mature, as she was able to recover the traumatic memories. Since this is a purely gender-based characteristic of the female who experiences these changes in the hormones and the mind/gene process, it is impossible for the male to properly appreciate those feelings and experiences.

For a long time women have been stigmatized and (ignoring the psychobiological insights in accounting for their behavior) they have been looked down upon as indecisive and changeable. With this behavior being recognized and reinforced by others, some women could in fact behave in the expected way of this self-fulfilling prophecy. Understanding the significance of the biological differences is especially essential in the three main stages of change in a woman's life: pregnancy, giving birth and child rearing. 

Dr. Cheek, co-author of Mind Body Therapy, has been a pioneer in exploring the attitudes and advancing the understanding of the various female psychobiological and psychological changes and has had great impact in the field of obstetrics and gynecology.

In the past decade, there have been experiences, investigations and research into such phenomena as the birth orgasm. Many physicians and female psychotherapists have described the ecstatic experience of childbirth as really a prolonged orgasmic response. Reports have indicated that rest periods during the ultradian rhythm may help overcome stress, psychosomatic difficulties and pain. Illness is described as an imbalance between the environment and the person. Stress coming from outside may lower the resistance of the person and affect normal functional processes. The physician is to be concerned about finding repeated reserves of energy in the patient and yet having to return the patient to a balance with the environment and within himself.

Regardless of the gender of the patient, negative forces such as guilt or need for punishment, take on a greater importance when the disease continues in spite of therapeutic interventions. It is important for the healer to recognize the passive submission to the disease as well as the unconscious level of pleasure derived by the patient in avoiding getting well. 

Hypnosis remains the tool for uncovering those sources. People have three levels of thoughts which at times could be delineated as contradictory. We react consciously in one way while at a deeper level of unconscious attitude we understand things literally and may not allow our unconscious to have a sense of humor. Somehow, in the area between the conscious and unconscious,  there are many confusing thoughts coming through (such as unresolved anxieties). In traditional conversation between patient and psychotherapist, one can rarely access the unconscious level. But through hypnosis, when we access that deeper level the patient can receive a tremendous benefit and help in fighting for his recovery.

In the therapeutic encounter with patients, we find "the law of reversed effect", where the more effort is expended, the less  results are obtained. In working with patients, the corollary of this law is also true. Thus, giving patients confidence in the success of an assigned task, such as allowing the patient to develop anesthesia for any part of their body in need of it (after having learned how to use it on another part which is not in need of it).

Another corollary, which is described at times as the "slip back phenomenon," is to set up the patient to think that if the procedure is too good to be followed--what might happen if it is discontinued out of choice? These patients need to understand that relapses are normal and their own efforts will be rewarded, although their motivation is to prove that the therapist may be wrong. 

Hypnosis has been used for correcting fertility problems. Frequently infertile patients suffer from sexual inhibitions which cause non-orgasmic responses. Many mechanistic methods for overcoming the non-orgasmic response (such as knee/chest position, the uses of pillows, keeping track of basal temperature changes) have caused not only deterioration on the woman's part, but also have provoked secondary impotence in husbands. Here again the law of reverse effect seems to be applicable, namely: the harder you try the more you are aware of what has to be done and trying too hard only provokes further failure. Hypnosis has also been successfully used in gynecological problems to control bleeding which is either organically or psychologically based. 

Patients in crisis are already on their way to being hypnotized and hypnosis is of great value here. Patients report that bleeding increases as fear increases. Many of these fears, under hypnosis and regression, seem to be related to acquired fears and attitudes either from family members or friends. Dr. Cheek gives numerous examples of how hypnosis can be used to alter sensations, uncover unconscious factors and prevent a patient from undergoing surgery. 

The validation of the response has been investigated. Although, in the long run, the validity may not be of essence, the results are meaningful and have been of assistance to both the patient and the therapist. There is a possibility of a contamination of the response by the therapist to the patient. The similarity here is a little bit like the effect of the coach on the sportsman. What really matters in the long run is the functioning of the sports person. The important thing in this case is the expectancy of success. Thus, the therapist presents all the questions in an optimistic way and with hypnotic methods. This purposefully slanted way of asking questions might influence the patient unconsciously to respond in a more helpful way.

The question has also been raised: Do some patients do better with a good "coach" in the courts? Is it valid to treat patients with expectancies of happy results even though the prognoses may not be happy? Karl Menniger wrote a paper on "Hope." His position is that a therapist who has an unbounded potential for understanding the patient's struggle to get better, can in no way do harm in constantly being positive, optimistic and giving hope. In the past century or so, tremendous advances have been appearing with great frequency where patients have been proven to be capable of responding to the thoughts and the philosophies of hope. However, this hope needs to be based on some degree of reality.

Dr. Cheek reports his technique of discussing with patients the forthcoming baby clothes and the development of the fetus. A segment of the population is reluctant to discuss this for fear of "bad luck." Apparently this has been related to abortions or catastrophic pregnancies. An objection has been raised by psychiatrists who question the advisability of obstetricians and general practitioners delving into psychiatric and psychological areas with their patients.

In his approach and technique, which are clearly defined, Dr. Cheek sees that there is absolutely no indication of any danger due to the patient taking into account their unconscious thinking. While there are definite physiological factors which might bring about an abortion, (such as congenital abnormalities of the uterus, lethal genes in the embryo, viral infections causing severe defects, nutritional deficiencies and toxins, etc.) when these are ruled out, attention needs to be turned to the psychological components. To that end, a thorough emotional history is obtained from the patient, for there are certain factors that have crucial bearings on the success of a pregnancy. The following points are suggested to be covered: 
 
•History of the patient's mother including serious illness

•The birth of the patient - rule out the guilt of mother's difficulty as a result

•Starting life feeling unwanted as a child and as a girl

•History of serious illness during childhood leaving the patient feeling very inadequate

•Death of a parent or a divorce before the patient's age of ten (thus the patient assuming guilt and responsibility for that event)

•Concern of the parent if the beginning of menstruation does not start by age fifteen

•History of abdominal surgery; being molested as a child or unconscious guilt from past spontaneous or induced abortion

•Unconscious hostility toward any member of the husband's family, thus causing her to reject the identification of the newborn baby with any of the family members

•A severe history of menstrual cramps and having heard or overheard phrases such as "if you think that is bad just wait until you have a baby."

 

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