Re: Mankind Project - Hypnotherapy
Date: December 18, 2009 05:06AM
Group Process and the New Warrior Initiation
By David Quigley
"The Alchemical Hypnotherapy Training with David Quigley is simply the best training for group process facilitation I have found. I recommend it to every New Warrior leader."
Bill Wich, New Warrior Leader
The New Warrior initiation is a three day weekend workshop that empowers men to reclaim their lost masculinity and their lives through a number of powerful spiritual and therapeutic rituals. This training is unburdened by religious or political dogma, yet deeply connected to the spiritual foundations of what it means to be a man. This training has positively affected the lives of thousands of men, including helping free men of the violence, authoritarianism, and arrogance which have plagued many men's organizations over the years. My own warrior initiation in 1997 was a major transformational experience in my life, helping me claim the courage to leave a dysfunctional, abusive marriage, and claim my right to a loving relationship. I recommend this program to every man without reservation. The warrior training is available from the Mankind Project at [link deleted]
Most of the powerful techniques used in this initiation weekend are secret, and wisely so. Men's initiation rituals have been a well kept secret for thousands of years, because to reveal these secrets is to compromise the integrity and power of these rituals forever. So I honor the Mankind Project by sharing them with no one outside our circle of initiated men. But one of the most important processes offered on the weekend, called by most of us "Guts work" and usually known as "group process therapy," predates the warrior initiation by many years. This type of therapy has been a specialty of mine for 16 years and I have trained several New Warrior leaders in its use. This article is written to describe my use of the "guts" process for men and women in my "Empowerment Intensives" as well as how this work applies specifically to the initiation of men. At the end of the article, I will describe the Group Process Facilitation Training offered by our Institute.
Guts work is a type of therapy which occurs in front of a group of supportive participants, and is facilitated by at least one trained leader. In the men's weekend, this process is designed to help each man find whatever inner conflict is preventing him from being a powerful man in the world, and resolve that conflict. These internal conflicts usually contain some habitual destructive behaviors, negative emotional states, negative core beliefs about the world and ourselves, and sometimes postural elements and physical pain or discomfort, all revolving around a particular area of ones life, like our relationship to sex, money, social status, etc. Together these elements form what Dr. Carl Jung calls a complex. These complexes and the core beliefs they contain can severely limit our ability to succeed in the world.
Here is a typical example: a man may feel depressed about his ability to create a loving relationship. His pattern is to enjoy a sexy romance and then, becoming uncomfortable with deeper intimacy, he withdraws after a few weeks, finding any excuse at all to withdraw. He is haunted by one negative core belief that he is unworthy of true love, and another core belief that women cannot be trusted with a man's heart. This is visible in the man's body: the more he talks about his relationship history the more visible is the collapse of his shoulders and chest into a slumping position. Like all complexes, this one has behavioral, emotional, physical, and mental components.
Once we have solicited this information from him, we need to get him to the source of this complex within the subconscious mind. That requires a trance induction. Yes, guts work is hypnosis based therapy. But it is certainly not traditional hypnotherapy! There is no place in guts work for a relaxed guided journey with the client lying down in peaceful repose while the hypnotist feeds gentle suggestions. Instead all group process therapies require the participant to be in a very active, dynamic state in which they may be running, crying, screaming, or beating pillows while actively reliving all of the details of a long repressed memory. Or they may be trembling with ecstasy as they perform a ritual dance with the powerful energies of the divine Mother moving through their bodies. While this state doesn't look like "hypnosis" to the average observer, it is only within this unique altered state that I call the "alert trance" that the true power of group process can be fully experienced. In my Empowerment Intensives and in the warrior initiations we can use the group energy itself, and the mental expectations of the group, to create this altered state. This can be assisted by drumming, music, and ceremony.
Once this altered state is achieved, there are several stages that guts processes go through to find resolution. Let me list them first, and then I will describe how each is accomplished:
• First, we must find the person and or the memory which is at the core of the participant's complex, the memory that is the cause of the negative core belief that fuels the complex.
• Then the participant must re-experience in their whole body the terrible pain and despair that was generated by this trauma.
• The memory then needs to be changed into a positive resource for healing. Since this is often a childhood memory, it usually includes rescuing the inner child from this past trauma with the help of the group leader, the group, and most important, the adult self of the client, perhaps including the expression of new and more appropriate feeling responses…like righteous anger, compassion, and kindness. (Many guts processes in my experience lead to past life traumas, but this topic is beyond the reach of today's article.)
• The participant then needs to connect with a new archetypal source of strength, such as a new inner father, an inner King or Queen, or some similar resource. This resource then must be planted in the participant's body for instant access whenever the participant needs this strength and wisdom during the challenges of their daily lives.
• The final stage is to have the client walk through a trial run of the challenge they face in their present life, using the inner resources (and new core beliefs!) he has developed. Through this dramatic re-enactment, with group members assuming the roles of the client's family, boss, or whoever, we get to see if the client's new response is stronger and more appropriate. It may even close with a "Vow". This means that the participant promises loudly to the entire group to call upon his inner resources and his new core beliefs whenever he is challenged in future by his issue. He may even be "challenged", confronted by other group members who will help him steel his nerves, and affirm his new stance. A successful "psychodrama rehearsal", including the vow, becomes a delightful grand finale and is greeted by the group with a lively applause, group hugs, and words of praise and encouragement from the group.
Finding the specific memory that is at the root of the client's problem is much easier than it sounds. A skilled therapist can accomplish this NOT with some long and complicated induction, but simply with a series of body oriented and focused inductions. Words like these are useful:
"We are now going back to the time when you first learned that you were not good enough for a woman to love" or "Let's go down into that slumping feeling in your shoulders, deeper now with each deep breath" or "Down to the time when your first felt that hopeless feeling in your belly." The strong body orientation of this type of work gives it the name "Guts therapy" and the more professional title, "Body oriented therapy." This can be profitably combined with some gentle music, progressive relaxation, or a guided journey down a flight of ten stairs. Words of reassurance from other group members of their presence and support can also be helpful. "I've got your back, Joe!" "I'm here for you." Etc.
There are three types of trauma I discover at the roots of the client's problem. First and most common is the kind of traumas that occurred frequently in the client's past. People are often confused by these recollections, because they often seem small or even insignificant to the participant. "Well, I see my father reading the paper. He is just ignoring me. As always. What's the big deal?" While the participant may seem entirely confused that this very ordinary experience is at the root of his problem, I am not confused at all. Think about it. If as a young boy you were continuously rejected and ignored by your father, the consequences of these accumulated "day in the life" traumas would be absolutely devastating to the emerging masculinity this boy is trying to build. In fact, I find these "day in the life" traumas are the most significant ones in my client's lives, because each memory may represent hundreds of individual incidents of abuse or neglect.
The second type is the unique and often violent trauma that we cannot forget. When mother died at age 10, the time a babysitter molested you, even the trauma of wartime violence, divorce, or illness in the family. Important to my own recovery was clearing the memories of my infancy in war-torn China in 1950.
A third type is the emergence of some repressed and horrific memory which the client was unaware of before entering trance. The emergence of such memories can itself be very shocking. In my opinion, it takes a skilled therapist to assist in the clearing of such incidents. The good news is that such shocking emergent memories are rare in guts work. My belief is that the subconscious mind will only give us the memories that it is safe for us to process. This has been confirmed repeatedly in my 29 years as a hypnotherapist.
In the second stage, the client must be taken fully into the state of contraction caused by this traumatic memory. Heavy music or loud slow drumming can help. So can the encouraging words of the leader and group participants. "That's it. Crawl into a ball. Feel how hopeless it really is. That's right…no one will ever want to love you now. You are damaged beyond repair…Breathe it into every cell." The more voices that can be enrolled in feeding these suggestions, the deeper the participant will go into their pain. If the client shows stooped posture, I may have them exaggerate these positions. "That's right. Curl up tighter. Hide. You have to hunch down even further. Otherwise he will hit you again…etc." Group members can be enrolled to repeat the abusive messages of the past in the exact words and voice tone in which they were fed to the client repeatedly as a child. "You'll never be as good as your brother, son!" While this may seem like cruel and unusual punishment, I have found over and over that the more deeply the participant can re-experience the pain of their initial trauma, the more powerful will be their transformation. To create some safety in this phase of the process, if it's needed, one can have another group member lie down with the victim, cradling them in loving arms as they feel their pain. I call this figure the "supporter", and I make sure each man has one that they have chosen for the entire session. Another way to create safety is to assign another participant to play the role of the abused child, while still other group members play out the dramatic story. Meanwhile the participant watches and weeps, supported by the loving touch of their supporter.
Now we must use dramatic re-enactment to transform this traumatic memory into a positive resource for change. The completion of the "rescue mission" for the participant's inner child is a complex process with many possible components. We may need to confront the perpetrators of childhood with yells, shaking a pillow, or even in some cases hitting a big pillow with fists or a plastic bat. We may need to acknowledge the good things daddy did for us, honoring his efforts to be a good father, before the initiate can express their rage for the abuse or neglect father perpetrated. I may need to call on other group participants to explain to the initiate what a real father is supposed to be, and do, for his son. Sometimes I do this by calling on a circle of good fathers to surround the client with stories of their own kindness and love in handling their children's needs, while reassuring the participant that we will find this perfect new father for him. Usually the client's adult self is the major source of healing, rescue, and protection for this inner child. Remember to always ask the client's adult self, "How would you want to change this incident?" Although this material is far too complex to be covered in detail here, information can be found on our website HERE.
Integrating new resources for the client's daily life is the final stage of the work, and a critical one. Unfortunately it is often given little or no attention in group process therapies. Often therapists have considered the process of contacting and releasing the emotions from these charged memories to be the main goal of the therapy process. "Yes! Good! Cry! Your tears are so important…now lets wrap it up. That was then, and this is now. Come back to the present…" I have met many therapists who like to wrap things up this way, and I find it, to be charitable, annoying. Unless we can build effective new resources in the client's inner world, I have found that emotional release therapy alone has limited value.
This is especially true for men being initiated into manhood. In the traditional initiations within primeval cultures, initiations which have proven their value throughout centuries of tribal culture, the young initiate cuts their ties with their biological parents through rituals led by a circle of tribal elders. Then the young initiate is guided into a direct experience of the tribe's totem animals and the ancient Gods and Goddesses who provide the initiate with a new sense of Manhood within the tribe's ancestral identity. In my initiation work I find that such figures as a divine new inner father and mother can be valuable. Or the client may connect with a personal savior or inner teacher, a mythic figure like Jesus, Kwan Yin, Merlin, or White Eagle. Other figures could include the inner King, Queen, inner Magician, or a Future Self figure. Which figure we seek out is based both on the client's presenting problem, and their personal religious beliefs and emotional needs. As facilitators of this journey, it is our sacred responsibility to never impose our own religious beliefs on the client, but to listen closely to what they tell you they need!. It is critical that these figures be thoroughly anchored in the client's body. For a more complete list of the possible resources available to this work, and a detailed description of how to integrate these resources into the initiate's daily life, refer to my textbook, Alchemical Hypnotherapy, available for instant download HERE.
The final stage includes a psychodrama rehearsal in which the initiate practices handling the challenges which once triggered his feelings of failure or fear in a new way, using the inner resources and new core beliefs he has established. In this step, I avoid letting the group offer advice or encouragement. This is the initiate's opportunity to show the group that he can handle this challenge on his own. It is also a good time to make a vow before the entire group, to be greeted by general awe and celebration. One example of a vow could be: "From now on, every time a boss criticizes me, I will call on the power of my inner King to evaluate his criticisms, and learn from them without shrinking into fear and shame. My King and I will never let any boss humiliate me again with abusive language!" This is followed by a blessing and congratulations from group members, perhaps in a group hug or celebratory dance. The group will promise to hold him to his vow. This phase may also involve the use of symbolic objects like a candle, cup, or sword. I use symbolic objects extensively in my initiation work.