Fear of Needles

Working in Cooperation with the Medical Field

As clinical hypnotherapists, we do not independently work with medical conditions, diagnose, treat or prescribe. We do not practice psychotherapy, we teach and train our clients how to shift limiting beliefs, reach their goals and enhance their well being using self-hypnotic techniques.

We only assist with diagnosed physical, mental and emotional symptoms with the authorization and under the supervision of medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners. Please note we do require a physician’s authorization before scheduling sessions and work only under physician guidance. Working in close cooperation with your medical team enables us to ensure your progress in an optimal manner.

Conquering Fears

I just had another fascinating demonstration of the permanent and radical effect of hypnosis to eradicate lifelong uncontrollable and debilitating behaviors.

All my life, I have had an acute phobia of needles, blood tests being the worst of it. You can control your fears, to some degree, grabbing all of your courage and facing them, repeatedly, until they no longer have an effect on you. Phobias are another matter altogether. Phobias typically place you in an uncontrollable life-or-death state of panic. You either freeze, fight or flee, and occasionally (if you are like me) all of the above. When you are combat trained, with a decade of martial arts and self-defense training under your belt, let me tell you, it’s not a pretty picture to find yourself fighting what you perceive as mortal combat in a hospital lab. I cannot tell you the number of times I have left a state of absolute chaos behind. By far, some of the most embarrassing snapshots of my journey.

Hypnosis for Irrational Fears

While I have used self-hypnosis, hypnosis and clinical hypnotherapy all my life to propel me in everything I do, I admit I had not yet taken the time to address the acute phobia of needles that has defined me always. After all, that is definitely not something I have to face every day. Quite the opposite, I’ve gone to great lengths to avoid facing it. Last year, for instance, during my annual medical visit, the doctor ordered a complete panel of blood work to get a general overview of my health. “Just take the elevators to the 2nd floor,” she indicated. “I’m sending over the lab request, they’ll be waiting for you upstairs.” I nodded, exited her room, went straight to my car and left. I didn’t even look at the elevators. A few hours later, I received a phone call from the doctor’s office asking where I was, indicating the lab was still waiting for me to come out of the elevator. I didn’t return the call. They followed up a week later. I still didn’t return the call. That was me with blood tests until last week. Not that I never had them, of course, with my lifestyle of extreme stunts of all sorts, I’ve been in and out of ER and on IV more often than I wish to remember, but it always took extreme measures to get me perforated. I’m talking about 10 hospital staff members wrestling me to the ground, shoving an oxygen mask on my face and struggling to restrain my kicks and punches kind of measures. The type that leaves everyone involved permanently traumatized.

Understanding the Root Cause

After a lifetime suffering through this, I finally had enough. I called on a colleague and made an appointment.

Phobias, like trauma and other deeply anchored, lifelong patterns, require regression to cause hypnosis. Self-hypnosis, suggestion hypnosis, NLP or other types of light conversational work are never going to permanently resolve lifelong automatic negative behaviors like phobias, depression, anxiety, addictions, whether to food, tobacco or other substances. Unless you address the actual cause of these problems, anything you do will act as a temporary bandage, possibly distracting you for some time. As long as the cause remains active, it lies under the surface and will prompt the negative behavior to return sooner or later.

Anytime we deal with lifelong negative behaviors, anchored early in life in the subconscious mind, they need to be regressed to their source or root cause, addressed and resolved in order to obtain lasting change. This is something those of us who are experienced and specialized in regression to cause with clinical hypnotherapy excel at. And this is not something that can easily be self-applied. We need to pair up and allow another to work on us, in order to be more fully receptive in the process.

Hypnosis Experiments with Fears

My colleague and I did an interesting experiment with this. In the first session, we decided not to resolve the cause and instead, experimented with switching my brain’s reaction to needles, pasting an imprint of the most exquisite experience I could remember over the phobic reaction. I made an appointment with an acupuncturist, and as I lay on his table, I allowed him to insert 2 long acupuncture needles into my body. There was progress, indeed. However, it was an exercise in will power and the nervous tension was still present, even if noticeably reduced.

I made a second appointment with my colleague and asked him to regress the phobia to its cause. This time, after igniting and exacerbating my visceral panic for needles, as we do in our process of regressing to cause, we sent my mind back to the initial sensitizing event (ISE). The ISE is the root cause for the negative behavior targeted. Amazingly, I found myself in the womb, before being born, witnessing the unforgettable trauma of losing my twin brother. The event forever engraved itself in my consciousness in the form of what I perceived as a “spiral of death.” A notion which, until recently, had been difficult for me to fully comprehend or explain. Losing the one who was my other half to this lethal spiral that took him away, left me behind in the darkness, alone, afraid, abandoned and devastated. Talk about an imprint.

In Utero Imprints

A baby in the womb is acutely aware of what is happening around them. They feel the emotions of their mothers so intensely, they identify with them as if they were their own. When the begining of a miscarriage was suspected, my mother was placed on bed rest and began receving multiple shots and blood tests to monitor and stabilize her condition. From within, the trauma I experienced was solely focused on the devastating loss of my twin brother in what I perceived as an irreversible spiral of death that tore him away from me.

While the memories become burried as you are born and continue on with your journey, the trauma remains active in the subconscious level of the mind. This is not something that can be soothed by someone’s words ensuring you that from now on, whenever you think about needles, you’ll feel wonderful. With trauma, as with anything anchored early and deeply, the only way out is through.

Parts Negotiation Hypnosis

Once we had regressed the phobia to its root cause, we added parts negotiation to the equation. We asked my subconscious mind the reason why it responded so violently to anyone who approached me with needles. Parts dialogue at this level of the mind enables us to receive genuine responses from the parts of the mind responsible for the behavior. “To protect her from death” is the answer we received. That’s when the negotiations need to take place.

Parts negotiations require psychological understanding, patience and compassion. We explained to this part of my mind that while its goal was valuable and honorable, it had actually become counter-productive. We pointed out that in my life of today, I had become a smart, independent, adult woman, very capable of making the right choices for my safety, health and well being. And while preserving me from death was a valid goal, the needles I chose to accept no longer represented a death threat. Quite the opposite. Today, they were actually a way for me to preserve my health and well being, enabling me to receive the medical check ups necessary to maintain optimal health.

I’m a perfectionist and I like to leave no stone unturned when I work with regression to cause. I asked my colleague to give a new role and function to the part of my mind that had been working so diligently my entire life to protect my safety by fighting to the death against needle threats. You can’t easily remove a part’s sole purpose without first reaching a clear, mutual understanding and second, giving the part a new role to perform. Since the goal of this part was to ensure my survival, we asked if it would be willing to continue in its function to preverve my health, by focusing instead on ensuring I received proper rest and nutrition and remained aware of potentially endangering situations. The part agreed. We had a deal. We emerged me.

Releasing Irrational Fears with Hypnosis

Last week, I returned to my doctor’s office for a check up. Tactfully, she didn’t mention the fact I pulled an MIA (Missing In Action) for last year’s lab work.  Again, she ordered a complete blood panel to be drawn on the second floor. I didn’t say a word. No matter the number of miraculous transformations I continue to witness, day after day, in the course of my work, I still look at each and every one of them as independent miracles and never take them for granted or guaranteed. A life spent fighting needles to the death is not something you easily forget.

I left the doctor’s office and went to my car. After storing my notebooks, I locked the car and walked back toward the medical center. Once in the hallway, I took the elevator to the 2nd floor and made my way to the reception lobby. The entire time, I was wondering where and when I would turn around and leave. There was a wait at the reception desk. When the attendant finally waved me toward her, I indicated I was here for blood work. She checked me in and asked me to have a seat in the waiting room. I was still there fifteen minutes later when a nurse called my name.

Last time I was at ER, which was earlier this year, a male nurse approached me to take my blood. All I could say was: “I have bad news for you…” He understood right away. This time, looking at the nurse in front of me, I tried to be more subtle: “You should know, I have a severe, uncontrollable phobia of needles. I tend to kick and punch. It typically doesn’t go over very well.” She looked at me with a concerned look. “I promise I’ll try to cooperate as best as I can,” I added. “This is not something I control too well.”

I took my iPod, turned the music on, laid down on the table and extended my arm. This alone was a miracle in itself. My arm usually curls up in an iron-clad fold that no one and nothing can unfold. More often than not, they end up taking blood from the back of my hand. As I laid there listening to my music, the nurse took two vials of blood and gently tapped me on the shoulder to let me know it was finished. I looked at her startled. “You did very well!” she said with a smile of relief. I walked out of the medical building, stunned. Little did she know the extent of the traumatic chaos she had just avoided.

Working in Cooperation with the Medical Field

As clinical hypnotherapists, we do not independently work with medical conditions, diagnose, treat or prescribe. We do not practice psychotherapy. We teach and train our clients to shift limiting beliefs, reach their goals and enhance their well being using hypnotic techniques. We only address diagnosed physical, mental and emotional symptoms with the authorization and collaboration of medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners and social workers.

We require a physician’s authorization before initiating work to support your medical team with your overall wellness and work only under your physician’s guidance. Working in close cooperation with your medical team enables us to ensure your progress in an optimal manner.

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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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