CRISIS – Time of Transition
We are in a special time. A time of crisis. Our accustomed life structure has been shaken, a new one is not yet really visible. We do not know whether the rules in the future will still be the same as those we know. A phase of vacuum on the level of meaning and action, a pending state. In order to reach the new, not yet visible state, we must make a change, which can be quite threatening and painful. In such phases of transition we often face challenges where we reach our limits and experience ourselves as helpless. We feel threatened by the new external conditions of life and the environment, which we cannot necessarily influence. This makes it all the more important for us to shape our inner conditions in a positive way, also by how we want to value, manage or utilize these external conditions.
What do we need in order to overcome this threshold phase and make this transition? What are our fears and worries? Which existential challenges do we face, which opportunities do we discover? What opportunities are opening up for new life plans? A significant task we are facing is the separation from the old state: What do we let go of and how can we succeed? Who will we be then? Such questions arise anew again and again in the course of a life. Events such as births, puberty, marriage, separation, job loss or dying processes, for example, represent challenging phase transitions. Many people seek counselling or therapy as a supporting accompaniment during such a transition phase, which can be like a bridge between the "old" and the "new". The hope that everything could stay the way it is becomes a hope for new possibilities.
To be able to turn to existential questions and make the "leap" into a new reality is a difficult process. It is accompanied by the grief for what we leave behind and by the fear of the incalculable. On the other hand, it opens up the possibility for maturing, for individual and also social development. In this respect, fear and grief in the context of a process of change are positive indications that people are beginning to face up to the new tasks. In doing so, they need a strong emotional support. People are fundamentally dependent on secure connections and bonds as a means of survival and need an orientation-giving framework to overcome existential crises. Then they can adopt an attitude of curiosity about the new time.
To successfully go through processes of change, there were culturally and historically different rituals such as as asceticism, fasting, meditation and the like. Such rituals hardly exist anymore in our modern society, these processes usually have to be mastered individually. Nevertheless, it is so important, especially now, that we succeed in developing cooperation, collaboration and empathy for each other and to stay in touch even with people who think and act differently than we do.
In a time of uncertainty we are restless, worried and anxious and often run the risk of losing ourselves. By experiencing external threats, our autonomous nervous system switches into a state of heightened alert, which in the long run is at the expense of our physical and mental inner life. We get under stress, and our natural self-healing powers of the immune system dry up. By pausing we can calm ourselves down and find our way back to ourselves. It is important to be aware and mindful and to listen to ourselves. Where is the power within me? When do I feel it most? Which ways do I find to be myself?
If we succeed in returning to stillness, then we find a truthfulness within ourselves that lies beyond all news, politics or dogmas. Then we experience ourselves as competent and in touch with ourselves. We develop joy and gratitude for a successful process of becoming ourselves and thus also gain access to others in our social relations. If we feel safe and bound, secure and free at the same time, then our autonomous nervous system can also optimally regulate the physiology of our body and ensure health and regeneration. We return to a state where creative solutions, cohesion and empathy become possible.
With all of you
with the bird
with the sun
rolling with the
with all of you
(Rose Ausländer, in: Lob des Zauderns, Rudolf Klein 2014)
Hypnotherapy – Trance as a remedy
Hypnosis – this term often is associated with the field of magical-mythic rituals, along with missing voluntary, indecision and spectacular phenomena as known from stage hypnosis. But what exactly do we understand by hypnosis in psychotherapy, how does it work and how does modern hypnotherapy use this healing method as a scientifically based method?
By the use of hypnosis, the trance, a state of altered consciousness that is marked by a level of awareness different from the ordinary state of mind, is induced systematically. The degree of alertness decreases and the external reality with its logical categories loses importance, while the capacity to perceive internal processes increases.
In this state, more physiological, emotional and cognitive options of reactions are accessible than in everyday consciousness. This opens up new possibilities for problem solving, which can be utilized therapeutically to activate resources, change emotional experiences and have an impact on psychosomatic reactions.
Hypnotherapy is in particular based on the work of the American psychiatrist Milton H. Erickson (1901-1980), who has been gaining increasing recognition among physicians and psychologists since the 1960s. Erickson, who had fallen ill with polio twice, at the age of 17 and 51, and who suffered from pain throughout his life, had discovered from his own experience the effectiveness of self-hypnosis in coping with pain. This lead to the notion that in a state of hypnotic trance, individuals gain self-determined access to their own abilities and resources. So the focus is not on the impact of the hypnotherapist, but on opening this access for the patient and then letting him find his own solutions.
Hence, with hypnosis, important active factors and self-healing powers can be mobilized in therapy, which in orthodox medicine or traditional psychotherapy is not specifically the goal. Hypnotic trance can happen on different levels. In everyday life we often enter a trance-like state without consciously deciding or noticing it. For example, being completely absorbed in a book, movie, music or even our own thoughts is similar to the state of trance. Focussing on a certain topic or a specific external stimulus results in a more intensive perception and at the same time detaches from other experiences or the peripheral environment. Also, in lighter states of relaxation in everyday life or as induced by autogenic training or meditation, we can turn our attention completely inward. Even a slight relaxation trance leads to an inner harmonization and has positive effects on the hormone- and immune system as well as the autonomous nervous system. In hypnotherapy such processes are utilized by a systematic induction of trance states and can also be used very specifically in treatment of various symptoms or problems.
Clinical hypnosis is put into practice as brief therapy with few sessions, but can be easily integrated in almost all therapy methods. It is applicable for supporting and accelerating many therapy processes and can also be practiced beyond therapy as self-hypnosis. The fields of application of hypnotherapy are diverse and scientifically evaluated. These include behavioral problems such as smoking, overweight, nail biting, improvement of academic and athletic performance, disorders such as anxiety, phobia, compulsion, depression or sleep disorders, pain, allergies and somatic disorders of immunology, vasomotor function or neurology.
2018: New Year – New Beginnings
We are often inclined to start the new year by setting new goals or resolutions which we cannot always achieve.
Instead of pushing ourselves into a new year, we would do well to lightly hold on our good intentions – remembering the motto, “progress not perfection”. This gives us more space for evolution, and it feels easier to go new ways. And it is always good to make mistakes! Because making mistakes is making new things, learning, living, trying, changing ourselves and our world.
Happy New Year!
All you need is love?
Is love alone enough to keep a relationship alive?
Love is, for most of us, the essential power that forms the bonds in a relationship. For many couples it is the most important element to make a satisfying relationship succeed. While falling in love in the beginning is more a vibrant and temporary emotional state, love leads to a deeper connection. Love means closeness, faith, belonging, intimacy. Hardly any other emotion makes us feel so intensely alive. It is irrational, happens unintended and is beyond our will. Yet love has many faces. It can turn into destructive emotions as anger, hate, jealousy, possessiveness. We develop expectations and we experience disappointments. At all times in relationships we have to nd our balance between our own independency and the commitment to the other.
Loving partners create a mutual internal and external world that provides them identity, security and meaning. It is not only about happiness and satisfaction, though. A love relationship also means suffer and pain, restriction and renouncement. Partners support and challenge each other, but they also limit, hurt and disappoint the other ́s wishes. Love relationships therefore inspire us to personal development and maturing more than any other relationship. It is about the “art of growth”, a great challenge. No progress or evolution runs without con icts and tensions.
To keep love alive and spirited in a partnership, it is necessary to feed and groom it. Love needs attention, awareness and respect. Every love relationship lives on the empathy for the other ́s concerns and the willingness to ful ll the partner ́s needs. Little gestures that show “I think of you”. Time together. Common ground. Special moments, that stand out from the ordinary. Yet it is precisely the diversity of two people that makes up a lively love relationship. It is the encounter of two human beings, who stay two different persons and who enrich each other. Love means being curious about something new and about changes, saying yes to con icts and tensions, being ready for compromise, being in dialogue about opposites.
How do I win my partner for what is important to me? And how can I express my affection, so that my partner feels loved?
However, we can only give what we own. Hence, to love first and foremost means to love yourself.
Autumn – Time of Changes
Days get shorter, temperatures go down – for many people autumn is the season of melancholy. However dark and sad this time might seem, for me it is also a time of renewal and letting go. As the trees discard their leaves to give way to the new sprouts in spring, we can use the time of autumn to settle our thoughts and make room for something new.
Letting go is not just giving up, but rather reaching out to something new. Putting goals more concretely and becoming clear of where to go and with whom. Here it might be comforting having in mind that every tree that looses its leaves in autumn, will certainly shoot new ones in spring. And this happens all by itself, without effort, invisibly ... So letting go is also letting happen.
How do you use the time of autumn? What changes are next?
Happy 2017: BE good to YOUrself !
Be nice to yourself! By practicing self-compassion and kindness towards yourself, you can build up positive habits that help you be happier day by day….
Happy New Year!
Are you happy? A review of the year
Happiness research shows that happiness comes from setting up and extending satisfaction, gratefulness, mindfullness and joy.
Take a few minutes to answer the following three questions about happiness:
Mini-Meditation for everyday life
Did you meditate today?
Even simple excercises, which can easily be integrated in everyday life, ensure inner peace and balance, make us more stress resistant and help to achive greater contentment and wellbeing.
Whenever you have a moment available, you can practise a simple mini-meditation:
For a few minutes, focus your attention completely on your breathing. Let the breathing flow naturally, without willing it. Observe the movements and sensations that come along with the breathing. Be aware how the upper body lifts with the inhalation and releases with the exhalation. How the abdomen raises and lowers with every breath. Feel the inflowing air in the nose and track the breath flow from the nasal holes into the nasal cavity, in the air tube, the chest and into the abdomen. Follow your own breath, listen to it, as if you were listening to the surf of the sea. Also realise as you drift off through emerging thoughts. Return with your attention to your breathing. By connecting to your breathing you can soothe the activity of your thoughts. Notice the stillness that lies behind all thoughts and enjoy the peace of the even rhythm of your breathing.
Observe the breath and rest in the present moment. How does your state of mind change? Begin this exercise with three breathings and extend the period of your meditation each time a little more.
Like that you train your attention and concentration.
„The best medicine for a human is a human.
The highest degree of medicine is love.“ (Paracelsus)