Brookside Center for Counseling and Hypnotherapy

 

Regression: A Case History

by Maurice Kouguell, Ph.D., BCETS. 

Client's Name: “Tina”

Introduction:
Tina came to see me at the recommendation of a colleague who wanted her regressed to determine the origin of her overeating. At the first session, Tina was apprehensive about having her questions answered fully, completely, totally. Also it was determined at that point, that her memory was extremely poor. She had hardly any recollection of childhood memories. She had hardly any memories of past friendships or events. At this time, she is a young woman in her mid-twenties, about 80 pounds overweight. She frequently told me during this first session that my recliner chair reminded her of her dentist's chair. This brought forth all kinds of fears connected with that. 

She was hypnotized during the first session using the progressive relaxation method. It was felt that, for her, a highly structured method would be best. It was interesting to note that she had hardly any visual or auditory abilities in her imagination. I decided to use memories, connected to tastes and smells since she was so overweight and I felt that food would be an important thing to her and that she might thus have a clearer association.  

She was taken very deeply at her first hypnotic session and post-hypnotic suggestion was given to her that every day her memory would improve...every day she would be able to remember better and more clearly events that have happened in her immediate past, as well as in her childhood. She was also given the suggestion that when she returned for her next session, she would be able to remember clearly incidents that had happened in her childhood. She was also asked to bring to her next session her baby pictures or a family album.

The following passage is a verbatim excerpt from the second session. The transcript begins after the first few minutes of talking to Tina and the transcript ends shortly after the connection is made between a precipitating experience and her overweight condition.

 

Session Transcript

Tina: I must have been 6 or 7 at the wedding... 

MK: Ok, that one you remember..., that came back to you rather well. So you can remember..., well, today you remember better because at the last session I left you with the suggestion that you will remember even better. Now... the wall that you built around yourself...started at about what age?  
Because there is a discrepancy between that... 

Tina: A year and a half before... 

MK: In your baby pictures you were a little bit pudgy... as babies are especially in the Middle East ... you know a child who is loved...I know because this is part of my culture also..., a child who is loved is very well fed, so this was not a wall, this was somebody... your mother...who loved you... most likely and she made sure that you were very well fed so that everyone would think what a good person she is. 

Tina: When I was younger I used to be in boarding school ...so my mother said she used to feel guilty because I used to cry all the time and I did not want to come out and she used to buy me a lot of things I liked. I liked concentrated milk a lot...the one you could eat with a spoon so she used to buy that a lot. As far as the hot peppers ... it was just a form of punishment ... but that has nothing to do with my weight... If I did something bad she used to put hot peppers in my mouth. 

MK: That was over there... 

Tina: Yes... 

MK:...Which by the way is not uncommon. You know, I am glad that both of us grew up in the same part of the world. It was either mustard or soap, mustard was used quite often...and the evaporated milk. That was nice, luscious ... that was also something that for some reason when you poured it it was like molasses...OK, now your pictures don't show you as being overweight, at least no more than most well loved children. I don't see that in your photographs, unless I'm wrong. Do you see yourself as being fat...overweight in your pictures? 

Tina: Well...I say, let's say...from 6 years old on ... I remember other children making fun of me. 

MK: So until 6 years of age... 

Tina: I would say ... I don't remember anyone making fun of me before that. I don't remember ever being told or having any problems with my mother before then. 

MK: Until you were six. You know what is happening today? 

Tina: (laughing)  I don't know... 

MK: You have some past memories ... you remembered nothing last session ... it came back. You know what is happening also, whatever may have frightened you or triggered off in you the need to be isolated through extra weight... may be at this point in your life, so far away that you can handle it. So I think you can talk about it. So shall we go into hypnosis? Do you feel comfortable today? It does not remind you of a dentist's chair today? You're beginning to like it...? OK, today we'll do it slightly differently. A slightly different method. I will accelerate your hypnosis and also you will go into a deeper trance. 

Tina: Deeper? 

MK: Deeper. But you know that is a controllable thing and as you know I am watching you all the time and if there are signs that you are uncomfortable, I will go easy. There is no rush. 

Tina: I have nothing to say about what has been going on so far, but I still feel that somehow I am not being hypnotized and that I am able to think while you are talking to me. Are you supposed to think? Can you think? 

MK: Darn right. You better think. Absolutely. 

Tina: You know there are certain things that come to you automatically. But you know like the last time when I had to go to the ladies room, I would think like when you were talking to me that “I have to go. ”

MK: Do you have to go now? 

Tina: No. No. (laughter) So I am just wondering ... 

MK: What you are experiencing is shared with many people who feel that hypnosis is something miraculous — so magical — it's not. You know you have had all the signs... tingling in your arms or legs —  the distortion of time element — these are all signs that you are coming here for..., you are coming here for us to go back in time because you are hypnotized but your concept of being hypnotized is different than what actually is. You make yourself feel that it is not working. But it is working. Your memories of past events ... the first time here you actually had no recollection of anything..., do you remember the first time.., you remembered that you came to the States at a certain age... that was all you could remember. OK, you also remembered a bit better the two girls at one of your parties — the 16th birthday party do you remember? OK, today we are going back to the age of 6. We are going to do that. That was your second grade. Before we start, do you remember your second grade at all? Anything about it? 

Tina: I remember where I was... 

MK: Let me help you. Your best memory is not your visual memory ... we've determined that. You can experience how it felt sitting at a desk...the climate, the weather, the smells around you, the taste of some foods in class or at home and then we'll bring it back to the visual memory. Do you follow me? So you are about 7 or 8... 

Tina: 6... I went to the first grade at 5. 

MK: OK, so this is the year that we are interested in, second grade. Think of the school,  remember how it felt in school. Were you comfortable going to class? relaxed? Do you remember the entrance to the school building? 

Tina: Yeah... 

MK: OK where's your classroom. To the left ...straight-ahead is there a bell? 

Tina: To the right... 

MK: Good for you ...that's great... is there some kind of a bell or whistle to get you kids to line up? 

Tina: A bell... 

MK: What kind of bell is that? What does it sound like? 

Tina: It's not an electrical bell...not like that... it's... 

MK: Like a cow bell...? 

Tina: That's it, yeah.

MK: You remember how it sounded... more or less but you remember the bell. Do you remember lining up to go to class...or you just went in like that? 

Tina: We used to... be outside and we prayed first ... it was a Catholic convent school. 

MK: So you wore a uniform. 

Tina: Yeah... 

MK: Describe it. 

Tina: I have a picture... 

MK: No... No... Describe it to me.

Tina: White shirt... and... let me see... a black straight uniform like a jumper. A tie, a stick pin... 

MK: Some kind of a hat if you went to Catholic school... 

Tina: Yes ... a beret. 

MK: O.K. 

Tina: White socks, bobby socks. 

MK: Did you have some kind of break... morning or afternoon? 

Tina: I think at noon. 

MK: What did you eat? What was your favorite snack? 

Tina: (laughter)... ooh... Cheese and olive pie ... like cheese bread and olive bread actually. Olives stuck in it. 

MK: You look good today... You look relaxed... you don't look worried. You see, the suggestions of last week are working ... you seem relaxed ... you see we don't even have to go into hypnosis... you remember so much. Do you remember the first couple of sessions? You remembered nothing. O.K. Now... the reason we are going into hypnosis is that things are going to become very vivid. You may not even have to go into a deep trance. Things will become much clearer in your mind. O.K.? So we're going to do something different today. O.K.? 

Tina: O.K. 

MK: You are going to start with your eyes open. Do you mind? 

Tina: No... I just hope I can do it. 

MK: Of course you'll do it. . . no question about it... I am going to come over to you and I would prefer for you to just look at my forehead... and as you look your eyes are becoming heavier and heavier. You feel like closing them... You are fighting sleep already but keep them open. I am going to count to three... keep them open. One... two... two... Keep them open. They are becoming heavy.., so very heavy... now your head is becoming so very heavy... so very heavy... so very heavy... that it is beginning to fall forward ... so heavy ... so very heavy..., so very heavy that you can hardly hold it up. One.., two... three ... so heavy so very heavy ... your head is falling forward and I am now going to bring your head back ... You're in a deep trance and I am going to place my hand on your forehead and as I do, you will be totally relaxed. You are totally deep in hypnosis. You will be in a totally deep comfortable state of hypnosis ... very deep ... very relaxed ... completely relaxed... so completely at ease. Just very relaxed. My voice is very clear... you hear everything I say to you ... it's crystal clear.., your memory is going to become sharper and sharper. . . sharper and sharper.. . and we are going to go back in time.., to a time when you were much much younger and we will try to recapture some experiences you have had.

Now you are much older and whatever happened to you is very far away. There is nothing that happened then that can scare you now.., looking at the past... you will remember everything very clearly ... and I will talk to you and you will be able to answer me because you are hearing everything I say very clearly ... completely clearly ... although once in a while you might be fighting sleep... you will stay awake and alert with your eyes closed so that you will hear everything that I am saying... everything ... completely, everything ... your memory will become sharper..., your visual memory will become so much sharper and after this experience is over you will come out of it completely relieved and completely relaxed ... feeling so good that whatever happened is all over ... totally relaxed... so very comfortable.. . feeling so good... feeling so at ease... so completely at ease ... O.K. I am going to talk to you at this point ... whatever has happened. . . has happened a long time ago and as you answer me. . .just answer me in a comfortable voice without too much stress because I'd like you to remain relaxed and calm. Can you hear me? Good ... very good. You are now beginning to feel smaller and smaller ... you feel much younger going back in time and now... you are in your early teens and you find yourself in another country. Can you picture that, Tina? 

Tina:Yes. 

MK: Good. Where are you now? What country are you in? 

Tina: Cyprus. 

MK: Very nice. O.K., we'll just choose an age. You're now 12 years old. Getting younger... You're now 11 years old ... now 10 years old ... Can you remember anything at the age of 10? O.K. Tell me anything that you can about the time when you were 10 years old. 

Tina: ...school, classrooms... 

MK: It's coming back. You can remember.., very good. And now for about 4 years or so... 4 or 5 years ... friends have been teasing you about your weight. Do you remember how it felt? How did you feel. Were you angry? 

Tina: Nervous. 

MK: Could you do anything about it? 

Tina: No... 

MK: You are getting younger... and now you are 10 years old. Things are going by very fast in your mind... so very fast. Now you are down to 9 years. O.K. Now you are 8 years old. You have now been putting on weight for 2 years and you seem to remember very vaguely ... you are not sure if it is your memory or someone else ... that you have been putting that weight around you to protect yourself from possible emotional hurt... you remember that feeling? At the age of 8 already becoming overweight? Outstanding? Do you remember that?... O.K. Now you're 7... now we take you back to the time when you were 6 years of age... whatever happened Tina happened a long time ago. Very long ago so no matter what happened when you talk about it... it can no longer hurt you ... for it's part of another life... far away ... it's another continent... it's almost like another life... so it's very safe now to talk about it, completely safe..just give me some clue as to where you are ... you're 6 years old. Just any place that comes to your mind. Where are you? 

Tina: In the yard. 

MK: In the yard in the school? O.K. Who else is around you?.. . What's happening? 

Tina: (pause) ... I don't remember. My doll was broken. 

MK: You'll hear my voice moving because I am going to sit closer to you ... I am having a little difficult time hearing you. You'll tell me again ... your doll did what? 

Tina:My doll was broken 

MK: Your doll was broken. How did you feel? Did you cry? 

Tina: Yes..., the doll could not talk any longer. 

MK: How did it break? 

Tina: I left it in the rain. 

MK: You left it in the rain? Were you scared? You were responsible for the doll? ...What happened? Were you punished? 

Tina: Got another one. 

MK: You got another one? You are going to talk about feelings now. For most children, a doll is a real person..., isn't it. It's a bit like you being responsible for making that doll a very sick person. And when a person has a friend who is sick, one needs to have somebody who understands seeing that you lost a friend to sickness. You must have found yourself very much alone. What did you do to make you happy? 

Tina: I was crying... 

MK: You were crying for a long time? ... a long time..., you sound very much alone. What did you do later to make you feel better? 

Tina: Went to sleep. 

MK: How long were you sad. A long time? Sometimes sadness and anger go together. You were about to say something... go ahead ... 

Tina: I didn't want to stay in school. 

MK: How did your parents handle you? 

Tina: I didn't want to go to school. They left me there. 

MK: They brought you to school and left you there. What did you do? 

Tina: Stayed there. 

MK: What did the teachers do? 

Tina: Tried to be nice to me. 

MK: You must have felt terrible on that day. How about the next day? You went to school? 

Tina: I missed... 

MK: You missed... 

Tina: My mother. 

MK: Do you remember what at that time made you feel secure? 

Tina: Yes... I slept with my girlfriend ... 

MK: Sometimes when one feels very lonely and rejected one tends to start eating..., eating a lot... Did you eat sometimes in the common dining room? Can you see yourself now...looking at yourself in the past... Can you remember beginning to eat more than most of the other girls in the class?

Tina: I ate more at lunch time...after school...at night...by myself. 

MK: Can you hear me ... now looking back from the present time to those days ... beginning to get comments from your friends and your parents and relatives about your weight ... can you remember. Can you remember your reactions towards them... at that time... what did you do? Who loved you more than anyone else?

Tina: I think my mother... 

MK: What did she do about it? 

Tina: She used to buy me things. Food. 

MK: Let's go back in time again ...the day that your doll broke...to that day...it's night time... now you mentioned that the doll spoke...do you remember...it was a toy doll...was it one of those dolls that spoke and the voice came out of its stomach? 

Tina: It was a voice box. 

MK: It was a voice box. About where? 

Tina: Between the shoulders... you pulled a string. 

MK: What did it say? 

Tina: "I love you, Mommy."

MK: I love you, Mommy. You know, as a child ... a doll is almost real, you know that.., do you remember that...like a real child...and in some ways, in many ways ... you were her mother ... and she loved you. You must have felt terrible when you confused the doll with a real child and felt responsible for such a terrible accident. It was just a doll, wasn't it? Still, it was more than a doll for you... In a few minutes I am going to reawaken you and you are going to feel completely relaxed and very comfortable — and you will remember everything that we have talked about. And you will also remember that what happened was long time ago and then you and I are going to discuss your feelings, at that time. We will take all the time we need and when you come out of hypnosis you will be able to remember to put those memories way back, way back and you will be able to live with yourself and you will have sympathy and compassion but you will be very clear about the source of the difficulty ... and the need you felt in the past for isolation by gaining weight.  

So I am going to bring you out of hypnosis very slowly. I am going to count from 1 to 5. On the count of 5 you will open your eyes, just take your time and get reoriented. Take all the time you need. Open your eyes on the count of 5. You will feel marvelous ... completely rested... I am now going to deepen your hypnosis by counting down from 5 to 1. On the count of 1 you will be very deep in hypnosis .... I am going to start counting down... deeper... 5 ...deeper... you are feeling so good... .4... deeper ...you are feeling so good.., so comfortable... so relaxed ... way down ... 3 .... 2 ... and feeling so comfortable and so relaxed,.. and 1 ... feeling so good... so relaxed. In a few seconds you will find all your energy back... and I will now bring you out of hypnosis very slowly, very gradually... I am going to count from 1 to 5 and on the count of 5 you will open your eyes, you will feel great ... and you'll be surprised how good these few moments of total relaxation feel. 1 ... 2. . . your legs and arms are heavy but you can feel the circulation coming back... 3.... your whole body is waking up... you're becoming clearer and... 4... and 5.. . open your eyes very slowly.. . feeling so good and so relaxed... take your time...you're back in the present... you're in my office... and I'm sitting across from you ... take your time ... we'll talk in a few seconds, your arms and legs are going to feel lighter as you come out of hypnosis very gradually ... feels good? Very relaxed... 

 

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