Clinical Case Files – Procrastination

Clinical Case Files, Procrastination - A young man sitting in front of a laptop - Candle

Hypnosis for Performance

Senior corporate executive overturns paralyzing procrastination, in a single session in my office, after years of struggling with it.

Discover how we were able, with clinical hypnotherapy, to correctly, instantly and permanently address, regress and release the root cause responsible for this block.

Recovering his freedom from the weight of an imprint that had, for years, paralyzed his potential, fueled his performance, drive and results.

Adult Onset

In my office, the fifty year-old explained he had been a high-achiever since childhood. His reputation as a problem-solver, go-getter and winner had allowed him to quickly rise to the top of the corporate ladder. His success in the high-tech industry came to an abrupt halt with the dot-com burst. As the market crashed, high-tech corporations began reporting unprecedented losses. Silicon billionaires had to let go of their million-dollar estates, many found themselves out of work, losing their lifestyles, their homes, their marriage disintegrating and having to reinvent themselves.

The then forty year-old had to let go of everything and move out of state to accept a new position. He hoped this would be a new start on life. His marriage, however, did not survive the changes and the unexpected divorce left him even further affected. Having lost everything, shaken by fear and financial setbacks, parachuted to a new environment and left by his spouse left him struggling with a bout of dark depression and symptoms of post-traumatic stress.


For the first time in his life, he suddenly found himself unable to accomplish what he had always performed effortlessly. Procrastination began to plague him, slowing his recovery even further. Trying to muscle his way through it created increasing anxiety.

Dread and fear built within, prompting him to turn to just about anything his mind could find to escape the projects at hand. He would find himself checking his e-mail, following up on text messages, surfing the web, checking the weather, doing house chores, anything and everything to avoid facing the work he needed to tackle. For the first time in his life, he was beginning to lose ground.

“I seem to suddenly have a block with work projects,” he explained. “A fear of taking action. I’ve never had this problem before. I always got things done, no matter what stood in the way. I was known as a problem solver. I always got work because everyone knew I got things done. Now all of a sudden, after this series of setbacks, I am plagued by constant procrastination. I let everything pile up until it becomes overwhelming. It’s almost as if I were fearing negative consequences from getting the work done. Yet, I’m very aware the more I procrastinate, the more I amplify the potential for negative consequences but I cannot find a way to control this.”

Root Cause

This is a typical example of adult-life trauma suddenly triggering mental malfunctioning. Unavoidably, people tell me they stopped functioning efficiently following an adult-life trauma and believe the trauma to be the cause of their current issues. While the recent adversity certainly acts as a trigger, what we find however, is that the root causes for current malfunctioning of the mind typically go back much beyond adult life, and are almost always rooted in early life events.

If there were no early life fracture underneath the surface, we might be brought to our knees by adult-life adversity, but we would eventually push ourselves back up to normal functioning. When we don’t, when post-traumatic sequels remain and resist, this is usually the sign they have retriggered life-long wounds that were lying dormant beneath the surface.

I often compare this to the San Andreas fault extending through California. You may travel over the surface and have the impression the earth is solid and stable. However, deep below the surface, lies a fracture, a fragility, a vulnerability. Since the fault is the tectonic boundary between different earth plates, when plates shift, where at other areas the earth will flex, stretch, bend and adjust without too much damage, when the shift happens to hit an existing fracture, everything collapses, prompting considerable damage. The same applies to our emotional fabric.

Early life wounds leave fractures, fragilities, vulnerabilities lying dormant below the surface of our otherwise well-functioning coping mechanisms. We cope, we compensate (often over-compensating) to continue functioning to the best of our abilities. However, left unaddressed, the wounds remain. When an adult-life shift, trauma, shock happens to hit a specific area of vulnerability, the mind suddenly stops functioning seamlessly. We develop glitches, malfunctioning, issues or symptoms often referred to as post-traumatic stress.

“So,” I am often asked, “how are you going to find the root cause for this? Because I certainly don’t know what it is!”

“Well,” I respond, “your mind will tell us.” And, as I am given the systematic skeptical glare, I explain that anytime our mind malfunctions, resists, or glitches, it knows exactly why it is doing so. Whenever something shakes us, threatens us at some level, our mind takes a snapshot of it. We may think we forget the event, our mind doesn’t. Later on in life, when we encounter events that resemble these earlier snapshots at some level, our mind reacts based on the original trauma, with the original response of that time, based on the age we were at that time. Our mind is attempting to protect us against something it fears is threatening to our well being. The unique power of regression to cause with clinical hypnotherapy lies in its ability to regress the current malfunctioning of the mind to its initial root cause.


In a state of hypnosis, we brought him back to the situation triggering his current struggle: sitting at his desk, in situation, attempting to focus on a project. Instantly, he began experiencing the symptoms he had described: tightness in his throat, pressure in his temples, heaviness spreading across his forehead as an impending sense of dread and anxiety unfolded and expanded throughout his mind and body. Reconnecting with the negative emotions in a state of hypnosis gives us a direct pathway to their original cause.

Interestingly the initial sensitizing cause for his sense of dread and fear of taking action brought us back to something that had happened when he was 3 years old. A toddler full of energy, action oriented and adventurous, he momentarily escaped the watchful eye of his parents and managed to climb his way to one of the windowsills. His parents didn’t notice until he was leaning against the window and chaos instantly exploded around him when the high-pitch screams of his mother tore through the silence. In the blink of an eye, his father came back running through the door and leaped toward him, grabbing him so abruptly both of them came close to falling down. Wide-eyed and puzzled, the toddler remained stunned as his father and mother both yelled at him simultaneously, overcome by their sudden fright for his safety.

In my chair in the office, it is now the 3 year-old speaking to me: “I am so scared… I have never seen my mom and dad so mad at me… They are yelling at me… I must have done something very wrong… I shouldn’t have climbed the window… They had already told me not to climb the window… I feel guilty… The fear and the anger I sense in them is scary…”

Here again, we have all of the components for a lifelong imprint gathered: repetitions, strong emotions and authority figures. Analyzing the origin of imprints at the subconscious level of the mind in a state of hypnosis, enables us to finally understand, address and release the negative programming left behind by traumatic events, restore our self-image and our potential, free of the limitations left behind by traumatic events.

In situation, we are now able to bring the adult self to the rescue of the 3 year-old. Removing the toddler from the situation charged with such intense emotions, we are able to explain to him the reaction he witnessed and experienced at that moment in time was a reflection of the panic felt by both his parents when they realized he was in imminent potential danger. Probably a reflection of their own guilt for having lost sight of him for a moment. Being able to bring this understanding and comfort to the 3 year-old, we are also able to explain to him that while his actions, at that specific moment in time, could have indeed endangered him, they also reflected his positive energy and adventurous spirit. And that while, at 3 years old, we are not always able to assess our safety in the most efficient manner, the adult self of today certainly is. The key here being to make the mind aware that today, the adult is perfectly capable of taking all appropriate measures to best ensure his safety. In fact, today it is his very ability to take action that enables him to best manage his safety, security, success and well being.

Projected back in his original example situation, the executive returned to his adult age indicates: “I now feel very good at the idea of tackling my project. I feel very calm. I no longer feel anything holding me back. I now realize the block I experienced was due to a paralyzing fear of the reactions of others, a fear of them becoming angry at me. There is no more justification for this fear in my life of today.”

Once out of hypnosis, he exclaims: “Wow! I had no idea I still remembered that event! I had forgotten how mad my father was that day. I hadn’t thought about this since it happened. I certainly didn’t realize how much it had affected me!”


A week later, coming back for his follow-up visit, he beamed: “The problem is completely resolved. The change is miraculous. And it’s not just the procrastination that dissolved, my attitude, the way I’ve been interacting with my family and others around me, everything has changed. My wife even asked me if I was the same person!”

Uncovering and addressing the root cause of a problem of this nature in a state of hypnosis enables us to disconnect its hold on our subconscious mind. When we understand when and where the imprint took place, we are able to shift our perspective of the initial sensitizing event, resolve it and recover our truth, strength and peace of mind.

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About Genvièv St. Clair

GENVIÈV ST. CLAIR, Fellow and Former President of the Oregon Hypnotherapy Association, is an award-winning Board Certified Instructor with the NGH.

A Valedictorian from the Ivy League University of the Sorbonne in Paris, she graduated summa cum laude from the department of doctorates of one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world. With specialized training in forensic discovery, and years of expertise in the medical and legal fields, she acted as a communication liaison in complex and critical situations, including duties for the Department of Homeland Security, the US court system, and leading medical centers.

Featured on Discovery Channel, radio and television programs worldwide, Genvièv is the author of Zen in the Art of Survival, published in the best-selling series Chicken Soup for the Soul, as well as Diving into the Unsolved Mysteries of the Mind, Make a Friend of Fear, Meditation in Motion, Life Line, The Gift, Emotions, and countless magazine columns and articles on performance, achievement and success. Her story is featured in Chicken Soup to Inspire the Body and Soul – Motivation to get over the hump and on the road to a better life. She produces an educational health and wellness series on YouTube.

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