For those of us that have benefited from Heart-centered Hypnotherapy and other Heart-centered Therapies (HCT), we have done and continue to do deep, inner work that allows us to heal. Within the hypnotic trance work of Heart-centered Therapies, we access the inner knowing of our unconscious that guides us to the lighthouse of our being where we can see far and wide. And within this knowing, the comfort and safety that we have discovered becomes symbolically represented. The symbol might come to us as a particular image or color. It might be a powerful word or phrase. Not only does it appear in our mind's eye, but it lives kinesthetically in the body.
This process is one in which we are able to provide ourselves with an avenue for returning to the state of well-being whenever we want or need that. It is a resource state and the “anchor” created through symbolic representation grounds and centers us. It is deepened through the hypnotic trance process and it reconnects us to that wise inner-knowing. Through the difficult work of healing wounds, traumas, and pain, we are gifted with a resource state in which we establish an anchor, our privately owned place to return to in order to relocate the self.
Anchors have the capacity to pluck us out of our distress and drop us back into ourselves. Ultimately, at an unconscious level, we are tethered to the anchor emotionally, psychically, and kinesthetically. All we need to do is return to it when we most want it. This is the solution to finding the self when we feel weak, scared, and disconnected. So why don’t we? With such an amazing tool, how is it that we forget to use them, unable to recall that we've discovered an internal, fundamental support? We so easily forget the experience of the healing and the gift.
In the classic fairy tale, “Hansel and Gretel”, Hansel and Gretel were taken to the woods to die. Having been aware of this plan in advance, Hansel gathered small white pebbles prior to their departure, placing them on the path from his home to the woods, marking a path that would allow him to return “home”. And it worked. However the second time he needed markers, he was only able to use bread crumbs. The crumbs were eaten by birds, and so of course, he was unable to retrace his footsteps. This is precisely what happens to us. When we’re feeling strong and a difficult situation arises that is upsetting or unsettling, our anchors are easily accessible.
Perhaps the use of an anchor is not even required, but we can remember without hesitation that we have an anchor. We have the ability to recall what that anchor is. We can locate it in our body and, just like that, we are back to the self. In other words, the small white pebbles laid on the trail take us back home. But if our trigger is too strong or other complications arise, the anchors are not as available. As we are overwhelmed by the power of particularly difficult experiences or events, our anchors become muddled at best, and ultimately forgotten. The bread crumbs have been eaten and the path home is no longer visible. We have lost our way.
It appears that humans have an uncanny knack of forgetting what is most helpful, but regardless, anchors remain intact no matter what occurs around us. They always survive the trials and tribulations of our human experience. The potential to return to solace and grounding within the self is preserved. We need to borrow from the times when we've felt clear and certain, with the faith that we are on our path.
The path was initially laid in the HCT process when the hypnotic trance state invited us to listen and receive the knowing of our unconscious. It was encrypted into a deep, indelible knowing. We absolutely need to trust that. The reality is that once an anchor is “found” and its symbolic representation established, it retains the power and ability to revitalize. It is the path from anchor to self that becomes obscured.
HOW CLINICIANS CAN HELP WITH ESTABLISHING ANCHORS
There are several ways for a clinician to help clients establish the efficacy of an anchor. After every HCT session, an anchor has been found, clarified, and “installed” and we want to assist the client in their ability to resurrect and restore the anchor as needed. Installation refers to helping the client embed an anchor so it can be accessed at a later time. This is an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) term. EMDR installation is accomplished through eye movements.
In HCT, this is accomplished when the anchor becomes fixed in a trance-induced resource state. It is in accordance with the client’s own discovery and experience during the session, the symbol, color, word/phrase affirmation and kinesthetic placement in the body. The description of their new experience of strength and empowerment should be written down for the client. If we encourage the client to create a notebook that is expressly for describing anchors, they have a consolidated record of them, easy to access when the bread crumbs returning to the anchor have been emotionally devoured due to a destabilizing event.
A helpful suggestion to offer is to practice the anchor by doing short meditative visualizations when not feeling desperate but simply desiring the relaxing effect of the anchor. Because the anchors were created and acquired in trance, practicing “the return” to the anchor, takes the person to the state-specific experience. These dress rehearsals enable the state-specific experience to be more readily available. Practicing at night as one is moving into sleep is quick and easy and can become a routine that takes less than a minute, and in that one short minute the client has the experience of the return to self. The added benefit is that it helps with sleep.
A client can be encouraged to find a replication of their symbol to purchase and place where they will consistently see it. They can also create something that represents the anchor such as a collage, a clay sculpture, or any creative expression. Then they have both the experiential component of creating the image as well as the ability to see it on a frequent basis.
Another area of assistance is educational. Clients that have not done much personal therapeutic work may initially require coaching regarding when an anchor is needed. They also require an understanding and acceptance that they are ultimately responsible for their own restabilizing, and therefore, it is important to have commitment from the client to invest in the practice of anchoring. More severe historical trauma generally involves more training to be able to access a positive resource state. They need to develop an awareness of their triggers so they can identify when it is occurring and when an intervention is necessary.
Identifying the cues that signal the need for an anchor will be in competition with old defenses such as dissociation. For example, if a client has done HCT and they dissociate or go into shock during a talk therapy session, it is a perfect time for the clinician to help them access an anchor from a previous HCT session. This is instrumental in helping them utilize an anchor on their own.
THE SUPREME POTENTIAL OF ANCHORS
One of the most common existential questions asked over the millennia is, what is the self? A conventional description is that the self is the conscious ego that is conceptualized and expressed through thinking and behavior, the self that functions on a daily basis in the human experience. Having a strong sense of self is important for identity and self-concept. When the boat is rocked emotionally, the conceptualized image of self is eroded. An anchor is intended to help with ego reconstruction. But there is another reason to work with anchors. Another layer exists.
The Self, not to be confused with “self”, can be seen as both the container and the contained. It is the god center within, the Self that walks the soul path and is in fact, the soul path itself. Our essence, the Self, makes this life pilgrimage wherever, whenever, and in whatever form it may be. When sense of self erodes, an anchor not only has the capacity to restore internal, emotional balance, but it holds the possibility of connecting us with our deepest essence. An anchor ultimately is a portal.
When anchors are located during a trance process in which access to the unconscious is provided, we are moving into direct contact with Self. Self is the divine nature that we are. It is the mirror reflection of Divinity, and an anchor gives us an avenue for connecting with the vastness of the Divine as well as our own divine nature. As said before, borrowing from those times when we've felt clear and certain keeps us not only on the path of the self, but on one’s soul path. Why would we not be inspired to actualize the power of anchors if that is a potential result?
Our individual paths are unfolding every second and within each second we are determining where it goes and where it’s taking us. Therefore, we have choices every second. They are determined consciously or unconsciously when we have listened to our inner knowing. With this constant unfolding, anchors can also be used to develop the Future Self or the Wisdom Carrier we all have within. When we are encouraged through HCT and other processes to envision and connect with this part of Self, the current reality and very being of an individual is advanced.
Having the deep insight that is created by knowing the qualities and attributes of this aspect of the Self is powerful, and using anchors to help us return to this knowing is extremely helpful in the personal journey of this lifetime. As with all other anchors, the resource might be accessed using the words of wisdom or a symbol we were given during the process, intended to continually remind us of the presence of this Future Self/Wisdom Carrier within.
Any opportunity we have to redirect the cunning craftiness of a trigger or an event that diverts us from the unfettered knowing of each shaping moment of our true path, we have grown and expanded. We all have the capacity to reach our highest potential in this lifetime. Let us all use the gift of our anchors to stay on our path in the noblest way possible.