Dr. Gabor Maté worked with addicted men and women in Downtown Eastside of Vancouver B.C. for 12 years. In his book, “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” he defines addiction: “Addiction is any repeated behaviour, substance-related or not, in which a person feels compelled to persist, regardless of its negative input on his life and the lives of others.”
Problem behaviours with alcohol, food, drugs, shopping, work, exercise, sex, gambling, past relationships, cosmetic surgery and many more are used by someone to fill a need. If one were to ask an addicted person, “What is the benefit of your addiction?” the answer may be: “It gives me a feeling of control, comfort, calmness, love, relief/escape from the pain of reality.” Benefits are positive. They fill a need. No one has ever said to me, “I drink/gamble/cheat/take drugs etc. because I want to lose my job, my home, my family.” So; what is their need? Why do they have this need? What happened to them to cause this need? The answer, is to find the very first time that the client subconsciously decided that this particular behaviour was the solution to their problem.
One of the most powerful and successful hypnotic investigatory methods is the Ideomotor Response (IMR) Technique. It is considered an advanced technique conducted whilst the client is in deep hypnosis. The technique is based on setting up a two-way conversation between the client’s subconscious mind (SCM) and the hypnotist using non-verbal signals; usually finger signals. The signals are basic, ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and ‘I don’t want to answer’.
Once the communication has been established, a series of pre-selected questions are asked to pin-point the original experience(s) that produced the problem/symptom i.e. “Is there a Past Experience responsible for this problem/symptom? Was it before you were 20 years old? Ten years old? Eight years old?” etc. “Remembering that you are safe in that chair in my office; review that experience and when you’re done let your ‘Yes’ finger lift so I’ll know.” Once the original experience(s) is uncovered, healing techniques are used to change the negative emotion attached to it. The memory of the experience remains but the emotion is now neutral.
In the case of the addiction; the addiction (alcohol) is the presenting symptom, the benefit (calmness, relief from emotional pain) is the original subconscious benefit. The original experience created the need for the benefit and the healing technique neutralizes the traumatic emotion.