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Hypnotherapy and Heartbreak

“The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it.” - Nicholas Sparks

Heart made of clouds showing how love can seem fragile and ephemeral
Love can seem ephemeral

Heartbreak isn't just for lovers. Anyone to whom you give your deepest attachment has the potential to hurt you. And that's a good thing. Because without love, the world would be a terrible place indeed.

So, if you're suffering from a broken heart, whether from a relationship or some other deep attachment, like the death of a loved one or the loss of a job, just know that you are human.

According to the Journal of Positive Psychology, it takes nearly 2 years to recover from an ended marriage, and about three months to recover from the end of an intimate relationship.

And though it's certainly true that “time heals all wounds,” it's also true that, depending on the nature of your heartbreak, hypnotherapy can help you recover faster than you might otherwise.

Broken hearted woman looks out window.
Hypnotherapy can help heal heartbreak faster.

What type of person seeks counseling for heartbreak?

People who seek counseling for romantic heartbreak fall into a couple of categories: those that have ended a relationship but haven't reached closure; those who have reached closure but don't know how to start over; those who haven't reached closure despite the partner having moved on. Moreover, hose that have been in a relationship for a long time don't know how to be single; those who are single a long time have forgotten how to be in a relationship.

Hypnotherapy can help the client reframe thoughts and goals to adjust to the new situation - whether that's to help picture a more comfortable future without your ex, have the ability to move on alone, or brave making new encounters. Many clients simply want suffering to end, but they don't know what they want instead. So, hypnosis can help them discover and visualize a desired future.

Why am I a drawn to the same dysfunctional relationship over and over again?

More importantly, hypnosis can address subconscious programming that may stand in the way of happiness and self-esteem, with or without a partner. For example, do you have a tendency to fall into the same kind of dysfunctional relationship? Do you know how to set healthy boundaries within a relationship? Do you self sabotage otherwise healthy relationships? Do you feel guilty about ending a dysfunctional relationship?

If the answer is “yes” to any of the above, the next question is “why?” or “why not?” “Negative subconscious programming” is a likely suspect. This fancy term for false self-beliefs or personal lies describes ideas we agreed to - thanks to ignorance, peer pressure, authority figures or repetition - most likely when we were young, sometimes too young to remember.

Hypnotherapist puts client in trance.
Hypnotherapy is quick, easy and relaxing.

How does hypnotherapy work with heartbreak?

A hypnotherapist begins work on the client’s issues straight from the first session, often combining trance state (a very relaxed state of being between waking and sleep) with positive affirmations. Once a client and a therapist establish rapport, the therapist can conduct what are known as regressions. A regression takes a client back to a particular memory, to a dream, or even to an imaginary first time experience with the issue. By interacting with the issue, and perhaps the authority figures involved, the client can form new positive beliefs about what it all means, and even relive over again a traumatic through the lens of the new positive beliefs.

Such sessions can reverse low self-esteem quickly and permanently. For example, let’s say a client endures the same kind of dysfunctional relationship over and over. In regression, the client may interact with an authority figure - perhaps her father - and discover that the pattern of dysfunction may’ve began between the two of them when she was just a child. In fact, it’s as if she takes on those relationships because she’s got unfinished business with the father. By altering her relationship to the past and giving her positive resources, the client perceives her entire life in a more positive light. Her relationship with her dad feels complete, so she no longer feels drawn to men who continue the dysfunction. Once she can visualize what she wants instead of that, she starts feeling attraction to men who will create a satisfying relationship.

Of course, memory is subjective. But whether or not a client’s memories are accurate is beside the point. What matters is what images or experience the subconscious mind chooses to free the client. The subconscious is always right. The memories may not be provable, but the images that come up with in trance do accurately reflect a client’s self-image. As I like to say, “If you think you were burned at the stake as a witch in the 17th century, I can’t prove you right; but if you feel like you were burned at the stake in the 17th century, I can free you from that feeling and change your life for the better.”

Letters forming the words "speak truth" illustrate that hypnotherapy can help clients live their values.
To speak your truth, first you have to know what it is.

Why is it important to live your own values?

Probably the most important thing I help clients do is discover and live their personal values. Values, unlike beliefs, are innate. Although values may be tied to contemporary ways of living or even political views, at the core are abstract concepts that hold true for the individual no matter the time or place in which the individual lives. So for example, a client may value caring for others, or thinking independently, or being financially secure. If a client is not living those values, the client is likely to have a lot of personal disruption or even illness. Not being true to one's core self is the basis of codependent relationships and can even drive some individuals to abuse.

Sometimes, a person might grow up in families which do not share the core values, and so such a person might harbor ill feelings toward the family, or refuse to follow core instincts out of a fear of being totally alone. In the case of a love relationship, sometimes it's essential for a couple to hold the same values – for example, honesty. But in other cases, holding different values actually strengthens a partnership. For example, if one person values making money and the other values thriftiness. Hypnotherapy can help a client live their own values as well as accept that others might not share them. It can help you decide what values are deal breakers and which ones are acceptable to live with. Understanding the values are part of your basic personality helps you let go of people who have a right to live their own values just as much as you do.

To sum up, hypnotherapy works on many levels. Through repetition, it can program affirmations into a client’s mind. It could also help a client find closure by working through issues with core figures – parents, and loved ones. It can help a client align with core values and so live a more satisfying and purpose driven life. It can foster acceptance of others ways of being and help bring closure to situations that just aren’t tenable. Ideally, clients become more satisfied with themselves, become better able to accept others exactly the way they are, and so become attractive only to partners who want and desire the same kind of relationship wanted by the client.

Anne Doherty

Medical Support and Clinical Hypnotherapist

A happy couple shows that true love is possible when the mix is right.
Happiness is knowing you belong together.

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