In my household(s) - (there were many) this word was never uttered. When I experienced trauma or stress induced fainting spells which I’m learning is something called vasovagal syncope - my mom could be heard yelling something like “met fanm sou ou!”

That’s kreyol for the female equivalent of “man up!”.

To be fair, my mom immigrated to America as a kid and became a mother at a young age. She had her own trauma to work through. I now have endless compassion for her experience back then and today we have a much better relationship that we’re growing into more and more. 

That said, therapy was something “they” did. You know, white people. I laugh even as I write this now, because it always felt like we lived in a world that just happened to be inside this other world that could never belong to us. Not only did we not have access, but survival mode doesn’t allow such thoughts. There’s simply no space for it. 

My mom has another saying she’s more likely to go to these days, it goes “you did a good job raising yourselves”. While I credit my grandmother and my uncle for so much of the best parts of me, in a way, I did have to raise myself. I had to cultivate myself. 

Despite my best efforts, I hit a point where it felt like I needed a little more support.

I showed up at the Korea Town office two major concerns.

The first being that my mind would fixate on certain thoughts to the point that I identified them as loops. When I caught myself in one, I’d have to quietly coach myself out it. Through breath work and identifying what was actually happening vs what I imagined was happening I could bring my mind back to a neutral place. It was almost always around feeling like I would be attacked.

The other was getting to the root of some resistance I was dealing with around my work, which I came to determine was the manifestation of some lingering self doubt.

Hypnotherapy was a major unlock for me.

I’ve never experienced talk therapy, but I imagine (based on what I’ve seen in movies, etc) I would’ve been crying for an hour while excavating memories I’ve buried so deep they’d be fossilized if they were tangible.

The first session began with a few questions around what I was hoping to address. I think it’s also a bit of an assessment too. This part doesn’t last long.

He also made sure to let me know that I am always in control during the sessions and I’m the one doing the work. This is an important detail.

The hour seemed to fly by. I felt a sense of detachment, a sense of letting go.

It was like holding on to something as if my life depended on it and suddenly realizing it didn’t,  except that feeling 10x spread all over my body.

It felt like blooming, like a flower.

I don’t remember what he said, I just remember waking up and feeling like I just experienced something profound and I needed some time to process it.

Next session, we catch up and talk a little about the last session and any insights or feelings I wanted to share.

This portion was shorter than it was the first time, I think I was late.

This time he took me through what I’ll call drills, for self-hypnosis.

He’d coach me thru the prep, give me the affirmation and then off I’d go.

In this session I received a powerful vision.

I saw this body of the bluest water, and I recognized it as myself instantly. 

The wild part is I was also in the water.

I saw my silhouette swimming through it, rising to the surface.

The message was that the water is everything I think I am and the silhouette is the real me.

Time’s up.

My mind goes back to a lot.

In our 3rd session, my therapist asked if we’d tried parts therapy.

We hadn’t and up until that moment, I never even heard of parts therapy,but I was ready to give it a shot.

A quick google search and I found this official definition:

“Parts therapyis hypnosisfor inner conflict resolution; and the parts therapyprocess often helps clients succeed even when other hypnotictechniques have failed. According to experts, we all have anywhere from five to fifteen various aspects (or parts) of the subconscious that influence us in any given week.”

I walked away from this session with the biggest A-HA moment!

I won’t go into the specifics of my particular session because it was so deeply personal but I will share this:

We learn how to survive and navigate early in life. Have you ever felt a sense that there is a part of you that needs a ton of nurturing, a part that is ice cold and a part this wiser than the others? 

I feel like this is a common sense many can relate to. Everyone’s parts are different, obviously.

One of mine was on 24/7 safety patrol. 

Then I realized, I’ve never felt safe. 

Sometimes our parts have these assignments that we need them for, but as we grow and our environments change, they can be working overtime and in overdrive.

In other words, they be doin’ too much!

I remember my therapist asking me what I’d like that energy to be directed towards instead. 

Another unlock.

The entire experience was kind of like when you find yourself in the same argument or asking the same questions and one day you have a total paradigm shift and you realize you were having the wrong conversation.

Ok, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but the saying “you can’t get there the same way you got here” comes to mind. 

After a while of using the same tactics, we have to learn and employ new ones. 

It’s like when you find a great skin care product and it works perfectly...for a little while.

We change, we grow.

All in all, I’d say hypno therapy was a success. The best part is I don’t feel like it’s a crutch at all, which was a fear I had around therapy in general.

If you decide to try it, find me on instagram @ehlieluna if you feel like sharing.

Maybe I’ll try talk therapy next?

We’ll see.

Photo by Lindsey Lopez

Photo by Lindsey Lopez

Ehlie Luna