A Hayfield Beyond the Wall: Hypnosis for Suppressed Traumatic Memory Recall
It was on the Skype consultation that I sensed something was serious.
Wanda told me she felt blocked and therefore stuck in life, even though she has multiple talents and interests. She has done a lot of inner work, including some “spiritual work deep into the self”, where she found some emotional triggers. She went to see a counsellor who used the emotional triggers to attempt to take her back in time…
That was when Wanda “hit a wall” – “I couldn’t get any further. I couldn’t get past the wall.” She told me.
A wall! “How do you know there was a wall?” I asked Wanda. My alarm went off. If there were nothing to hide, disallow, shame, or protect, there wouldn’t be any need for a wall.
“I just felt it. It reminded me of something. Since I was a teenager, I knew something had happened. I just didn’t know what.” 40-year-old Wanda answered. “I went back to the counsellor. And we did the same kind of work again. I seemed to go to a hayfield. I looked back. And I couldn’t see anything. I felt fearful. Then my counsellor took me to a safe place.”
“That was it?”
“That was it. Do you think you can help?”
“When you looked back in that hayfield, you couldn’t see anything. It could mean nothing was there, but the fear then must mean something. What your counsellor did seemed to me part of hypnosis, but it was probably a sort of light trance. If there was any suppressed past memory, we need deeper trance for that. So yes I can help.”
Wanda went on to say that she had pieces of incongruent memories:
- Wearing bathing suits into shower
- Scared of touching
- Being a fearful child
- Being an angry toddler
- At the age of 7 or 8, she taught herself to imagine beating up a tree for anger release.
Using hypnotic regression for suppressed memory, I usually start with what a client does remember. So in our first Skype session, I took Wanda into deeper and deeper relaxed alertness.
“The cells in your body remember everything you have ever experienced… As when you were 7 or 8 years old, you taught yourself to imagine beating up a tree for release of anger. With the tree as witness and the gentle company of my voice, let’s go there now, to the scene that has everything to do with the anger. You’ll be able to see, to hear, to feel, to know, even though it may not make sense, because it doesn’t have to. Like watching a movie, simply let it unfold…”
Wanda went to a hayfield.
Hayfield? I became alert; it was where she felt fearful with her counsellor.
It turned out Wanda was 7 years old, enjoying being in that open space and sitting in the hay, playing a hiding game. The house is not far.
“Hiding game? With whom?”
“I’m hiding from anyone.”
“Then who is supposed to come to find you? Your mom?”
“I wish. She wouldn’t.” Wanda appeared to be like a 7 year old, with her lips pursed.
“Grandma. She lives in another house close by. She can make people come to find me.” Wanda started to smile.
“So you wish you mother came to find you, is that right?”
“But she wouldn’t, would she?”
I was a little surprised. It didn’t fit into a typical trauma regression. So I decided to take Wanda directly to the scene where she was imagining beating up a tree.
Before going to an imagined moment of beating up a tree that her conscious mind remembered, Wanda went to be 5 years old, in a back yard, with her baby brother sitting on the ground. Wanda was actually kicking a tree, not just imagining. She felt angry with her brother. “He can do anything. I can’t. He’s like a ball of light. Everyone likes him easily. Mom likes him more than I.”
Wanda said mom was in the room.
“Can you ask her why she liked brother more than you?” So far I was not sure where the session was going. What came up explained the anger, but it didn’t seem severe enough to have suppressed memory. I decided to go with the flow, as what came up was a key to the emotion of anger so we needed to deal with it.
“She doesn’t want to hear what I want to say. I was asking her why. Mom looks at me. I can see anger in her eyes. She’s mad at me.”
Wanda said mom always cut her off and sent her to her own room. That’s when Wanda developed this imagination, in her own room, of beating up a tree.
“She must have a good reason to be mad at you.” At this point, I decided to utilize Wanda’s ability to imagine, to find out the reason.
“You are sent in your room. You are angry. You imagine beating up a tree. Now, after beating up the tree, I want you to let that scene go. Let it drift to the background and fade… and now bring up mom’s face, in the screen of your imagination… Yes there she is. Nod your head when she’s there.”
Wanda nodded. It worked. I continued, “Ask mom, ‘why do you always have to listen to my brother, taking his side?’ ‘why are you always mad at me?’” I fed her back her own questions to her mother and had her receive her mother’s answers in the trance. “Mom will either speak to you as answers, or she’s able to show you pictures as answers.”
It took Wanda a little while. Then she said, “I stopped her from doing something.”
That makes sense I thought. There were many unexpected pregnancies. “Was it about the pregnancy?”
“No, it’s not about the pregnancy.” Wanda corrected me, “I saw a horse.”
“A horse?” That’s surprising.
“Yes. Jumping horse… Oh, mom says she thought she couldn’t do it anymore. It was before I was born. She decided to have a different life. Settling, marriage… She associates me with everything she missed. I’m a symbol, representing everything she couldn’t do anymore.”
Well it explains perfectly the anger, partially because of how the mother treated Wanda, partially because her mother passed on her own anger to the daughter. I realized the session could end here. But it didn’t explain the fear and Wanda had initially contacted me for potential sexual abuse. So I decided to go for more since we still had some time and Wanda was so intuitive. The trance state was perfect for further regression, and we had built excellent trust in her ability to know.
“You are doing very well. Now on the screen of your imagination, you can thank mother for showing you her truth… And you can let all of that go now. So the screen goes blank again. In the blankness, when I count from 3 to 1, you are going to bring forth the scene that has everything to do with the fear… 3, 2, and 1!” I snapped my fingers.
“Oh,” Wanda was perfectly in tune with the process now. “It is so dark.”
“Yes it is very dark.”
“No it’s not dark as dark night… It’s just… very dark energy.” Wanda’s eyes squinted.
Bit by bit, Wanda described the unfolding scene. She was 7 years old, sitting in her bed, at night. There was an adult, standing at the corner of her bed, facing her, telling Wanda to do something, and Wanda didn’t feel comfortable doing it. Wanda was afraid, “Why are you asking me to do this?”
Wanda was obviously nervous. When I asked Wanda if that was a male or a female, to her great surprise, she said, “I am going to say… it’s a female!”
My mind went to Wanda’s mother, given the previous result.
The adult’s eyes looked at Wanda, “You should do it.” Next thing Wanda knew, she was against the wall in bed. The adult knelt down, lying on the edge of the bed on all fours and coming towards Wanda. She grabbed her legs…
Wanda numbed herself, not saying anything, no motion… The woman lay down at her crotch, took off Wanda’s pants and touched her. She occasionally looked at Wanda. Little Wanda looked straight at the door in front of her.
Part of Wanda felt she was enjoying it. It then brought up guilt. Wanda focused on the jerks on her legs, and open toes, to distract herself from the sensations.
The woman rubbed Wanda down there. Wanda felt the rough hands of hers. Wanda started to feel uncomfortable, and pain. She wanted to scream…
When the woman was done, she wiped Wanda off, and cleaned her up, put up the pants and shirt. She touched Wanda’s shoulder, which still felt numb to Wanda, tried to express her thankfulness, and said she was going to take care of her.
“Who is she?” I asked Wanda.
“She has dyed blond hair, wearing black shirt and jeans. I know she’s mom’s friend. Her name may be Cathy, or Sandy?”
* * * *
I knew, the unconscious mind revealing a memory meant the wall was down. But that was just the first step of the healing. There was still work to do, for contextualization and integration. But Wanda looked quite peaceful at the end of our first session. She told me now it made sense to her why she always had difficulty with relationships with women.
On our second Skype session, before we started our work, Wanda shared with me some verification.
She had spoken with her mother, who confirmed the loss of potential life with horses. Her mother also confirmed that Wanda used to have an occasional sitter, Cathy, who was living just crossed the street. Cathy had dyed her hair to blond and often wore jeans. Mother and Cathy used to be friends. “However,” Mother told Wanda, “One day, Cathy suddenly moved out, with no notification, no good-bye. She just disappeared.”