I think it can. For my entire career as a sexologist/hypnotist, I’ve focused mainly on human sexuality and gender. But this doesn’t mean I haven’t been interested in other ways to use hypnosis. But before I explain, let’s consider the image below, and the idea of “Growing Around Grief.”
Below: The brief, original article by Lois Tonkin in 1996, which inspired the image and blog post above.
How Hypnosis Can Help
There are a few ways that hypnosis and guided imagery sessions can help with grief–saying goodbye, asking for and extending forgiveness, and so on–but the one I want to concentrate on is this idea of “growing around grief,” found in Tonkin’s account of a woman who described her experience of grief as staying the same size, but that she eventually found herself growing larger around it.
It’s true. Grief doesn’t shrink. It can move off-stage eventually, but the full force of sorrow and loss can always bring it front and center in a nano-second, as when memories are triggered. I think hypnosis can help people “grow” that larger self. And if we use that “jar” imagery in hypnosis (or some other imagery more appropriate to the client), we can also help to put awareness of other things into that magic, expanding jar. The grief is still there, but awareness of other parts of life and self can be emphasized also, hopefully providing the client with solace and resilience.
This is work I’d like to explore with clients.