5-PATH stands for 5 Phase Abreactive Therapeutic Hypnosis
It has 5 phases (but not necessarily 5 sessions). Sessions usually last for 2 hours.
5-PATH was developed by Cal Banyan. The inspiration for 5-PATH came from the teachings of Gerald F. Kein, Charles Tebbetts, mediation theory and other sources. It is similar to the work done by Steven Parkhill, author of Answer Cancer.
The philosophy behind the process is that clients' problems are driven by painful emotions. The wide range of self-destructive behaviors and chronic illnesses are creative ways to cope with those feelings. Neutralizing the emotions (fear, anger and guilt) eliminates the drive behind the illness, habit or addiction; and so it collapses. Then, new behaviors can be established through simple hypnotic suggestion.
There are some assumptions underlying 5-PATH.
The first two are communicated to the client during the first session.
The first is that all feelings are good. They are there to help and guide us and to signal us that something in our life requires attention. We need to respond to these feelings in a satisfying way, because feelings left unsatisfied do not go away. They tend to become stronger. For example, if a client is lonely, and does nothing about the condition that is causing the feeling, the tendency is to feel even lonelier over time. Most of the problems that we encounter involve some kind of denial of feelings that involves distracting attention away from the feeling by doing some kind of behavior. The behavior is usually (at least temporarily) pleasant, but has negative side effects. These behaviors most often include, eating, drinking alcohol, drugs, shopping, gambling and withdrawing.
The second assumption is that as a person, there is nothing inherently wrong with the client. He is good enough, smart enough, and attractive enough, to accomplish whatever he chooses to do in his life. Clients may understand this intellectually but don’t feel that way inside. They may rationally know that there is nothing wrong with them, but they certainly don’t feel as if it were true. This occurs because sometime in the past, some other person in authority, usually a parent, suggested either by word or deed that they were flawed. It was accepted by the subconscious mind and sits there like a thorn generating negative feelings, causing them to avoid any uncomfortable emotion. It is known by the unconscious mind that these stronger feelings of fear lay just behind those otherwise mundane feelings of everyday life.
The next assumption is that so far the clients have not been successful at making consistent (if any) gains in the direction that they want to go. At best, their successes have been temporary (e.g., temporary success in losing weight or eliminating a habit or addiction). This is because there is a subconscious element at work, blocking their success. And, that the blockage is in large part emotional (i.e., fear, sadness, insecurity, loneliness, guilt or anger).
The final assumption is that the subconscious mind does not want to change. It wants to continue behaving in exactly the same way that it always has, however painful that is; because the subconscious mind believes that it is in the client’s best interest to do just that. This is a protective function of the mind.
The Structure of 5-PATH
Phase I: Direct Suggestion & Convincers
Purpose: Give the client hope and train the client to achieve deep levels of hypnosis.
During the first phase of hypnosis, Direct Suggestion (DS), clients are given hypnotic suggestions for improvement of their issue.
Sufficient rapport is built with the client (consciously and unconsciously) to establish the trust required for successful completion of the following phases.
During Phase I, convincers are frequently used to enable the client to feel confident in the hypnotist and in the process. Convincers cause the client to go deeper into hypnosis, because he has been convinced that it is working and therefore he has become more suggestible. Now he expects the other suggestions to work too. The almost universal fear that clients bring into the office, unless they have had a previous positive hypnotic experience, is that they will not be able to be hypnotized. Convincers move them beyond this fear.
The first session with the client is designed to be pleasant and to build confidence. A session using only DS is typically the most enjoyable hypnotic session for a client to experience.
Frequently, hypnosis will be induced more than once during the session in order to enable the client to build the skill of easily entering the hypnotic state and achieving the depth of trance required for future work.
From interviewing the client, problem areas and desired changes are identified. Suggestions for specific changes are only given when the client has shown some desire to make the change. When the change is desired, the suggestions will be easily accepted.
The final purpose of the DS session is to make sure that the client is comfortable with hypnosis by removing fears and misconceptions about the technique.
Phase II: Age Regression
Purpose: Removal of erroneous fears and beliefs.
Age regression (AR) is one of the most powerful hypnotic tools available. Age regression uncovers and resolves the cause of the problem. It will also uncover the people who were involved in the events that caused the problem.
AR is very efficient. It is fast, reliable and effective because it takes you right to the cause of the problem, the Initial Sensitizing Event (ISE) and the Subsequent Sensitizing Events (SSEs). In hypnosis where AR is used, it is generally accepted that, in order to be effective, it is necessary to regress the client "back to where it all began." This is called the Initial Sensitizing Event. Also, after the ISE, there may have been other events that compounded the problem; these are SSEs.
Successful age regression requires a sufficiently deep level of trance, namely somnambulism. Before attempting to regress the client, somnambulism is tested for.
Most of the problems that hypnotists work with (except pain management), are behavior problems like over-eating, addictions, fears and stress. Behavioral change is the desired outcome. The behavior is the complaint that the client brings to the session. But the cause of the behavior is that the client has an emotion inside of them that they don’t like. The problem behavior is a way of coping with that feeling. So by undoing some or all of what is causing the feeling, the problem behavior can then be removed, because it no longer serves a purpose.
The emotions that we carry within us at any given moment really come from three different places: the past, the present, and concerns about the future. The real problem is that often we are carrying around a hefty load of emotions concerning the past that just aren’t useful. They have also been, for the most part, forgotten and left in some corner of the subconscious mind.
Emotional Resonance is how these emotions from the past often do us a disservice.
Many daily experiences are very close to similar experiences that we have had earlier in our lives. When these experiences are emotionally charged, the response to them may be strong. If a client experiences an emotionally charged situation in the present that is very close in circumstance to something experienced in the past, they activate each other through a kind of emotional resonance. Then the emotion from the past cascades forward into the present, causing an overreaction. Plus, the behaviors, thoughts and beliefs associated with the emotions from the past are less mature in nature than the feelings in the present, so they may carry with them some rather immature behaviors many of which are compulsive in nature.
The purpose of AR is to uncover the source of these feelings from the past and neutralize them so that they no longer interfere with the client’s life in the present. If the emotions from the past are successfully neutralized (satisfied) then they no longer resonate with current situations that are similar. The client will simply feel more in control of his or her life, feeling more calm, safe, secure and confident.
If the cause of the problem is already known, regression to a specific date or circumstance can be performed. However, most of the time, the cause is not known. (Even when the client thinks that he knows the cause of a problem, it is frequently something different).
If the ISE is unknown, the Affect Bridge method of regression is used to find the cause of the problem. The Affect Bridge technique is extremely reliable.
The client’s attention is directed to the uncomfortable emotion and suggestions are given to amplify the emotion. Once the emotion is sufficiently amplified, suggestions are given to follow that emotion back in time to its first occurrence (since all emotions are connected to every time we ever experienced them).
A description of the event is elicited from the client, and the client is encouraged to express (and release) the emotion that is associated with the event. All emotional expressions no matter how dramatic are accepted.
Once the emotion is spent, the client is questioned further about the feeling to verify that in fact the ISE has been identified (rather than an SSE).
The ISE should make sense, considering the known history of the client. For example, if the client reported in the pre-hypnosis interview that he or she has a long history, including all of his or her childhood, of parental neglect or abuse, and the client is only regressing to the age of twelve then you probably don’t have the ISE. It is far more likely that these issues go back further, probably into infancy or earlier childhood than 12. Clients can regress as far back as infancy. In fact, some clients will even report experiences that are described as prenatal.
Once the ISE has been identified, and the emotion has been released, the
Informed Child technique is used to help the client make the proper adjustments in perception. The basic idea is that the perception of the child is incomplete, immature and basically uninformed. Using the Informed Child process involves the hypnotist or the adult client informing the child client (client in the age regressed state) about his or her misperceptions regarding the event, the ISE.
The problem in so many of the issues that hypnotists regularly see, is that somewhere in the past, probably when the client was a child, the client got the message that there was something inherently wrong with them. Either by word or deed, someone in authority, in relation to the child, set a bias in motion that affected the client’s whole life. The bias usually based in some kind of fear. The negative bias becomes sell-fulfilling. The client has a feeling that she doesn’t like inside herself, based in fear and error.
Note that some ISEs, from the point of view of an adult are not highly traumatic, compared to what some might think is required to change someone’s life. Young children are very impressionable. Once a negative concept about oneself has been accepted in the mind of the child, it sets the child up for further negative experiences with family and peers.
There will be plenty of situations in the child’s and adult’s life that will give the client the opportunity to re-experience the old hurt because of emotional resonance. Any similar event in the present will vibrate with the similar experience of the past, and the present emotion will be increased by the more immature emotions and perhaps behaviors of the hurt child. The child and eventually the adult will seek out ways to divert attention away from this painful feeling.
The person’s negative bias can be fundamentally changed by using the concept of "Boy wouldn’t it be nice if you knew then what you know now?" Once the ISE is uncovered, the child is prepared for the event by giving the client/child the information required to experience the event without becoming negatively biased.
During the Informed Child technique, any conception that there is something wrong with the child is removed and the child is guided to feel lovable, safe and secure. Then the now unbiased (or perhaps positively biased child) is guided forward in time through the SSEs until the age of the adult client is reached. Then the client is moved into the future with this new feeling, accepting the truth about himself, that there is nothing wrong with him, and there never was. This is a life changing experience. Plus, this will force the client’s subconscious mind in to a wave of reorganization. Old false beliefs will fall like dominos of misconception in the mind.
The mind will actually look for guidance as it reorganizes the client’s entire perception of himself and his experience of the world. This is a very powerful time to give the client direct suggestions for change. After this forced reorganization has begun, suggestions are swallowed up so long as they are in line with the new view.
Usually, one AR session is sufficient to neutralize the ISE. However, in some cases AR may need to be repeated.
Phase III: Forgiveness of Others
Purpose: Removal of erroneous and useless anger.
Most problems which the hypnotist works with involve habitual, addictive or compulsive behaviors of some kind. These behaviors are motivated by emotion; they are ways to cope with emotional pain. Unless anger and guilt are sufficiently resolved the emotional pressure to continue with these behaviors will continue.
Phase III involves forgiveness of the person (or persons) in their life who most contributed to the problem and hurt them the most.
A version of Gestalt chair therapy is used for the forgiveness phases of the work. The client is taken to the somnambulistic level of trance and asked to envision a room with two chairs. They sit in one chair, and in the other chair appears the person who hurt them the most. They then dialogue with the person in the chair and tell them of all the specific times when they hurt the client starting early in life and progressing through the ages. “You hurt me when…” “You made me feel…” “You made me think…” “Because of you…” The client is encouraged to express herself in whatever terms she sees fit. All emotional and verbal expressions are accepted. Strong expression is encouraged. The client is encouraged to push the feelings out of the body and into a pillow, while expressing the emotion.
Then the client becomes the offender and speaks to the client from the offender’s point of view. This allows the client to unlock any hidden understanding she may have about the situation. It has probably been locked away, because showing any understanding may have left the client feeling vulnerable to further pain or abuse.
The hypnotist then dialogues with the offender. This reveals the weakness of the offender and brings an understanding of the situation to the surface where it is used to facilitate the forgiveness. The hypnotist then guides the offender to admit that he wishes that he had done better. The offender asks for forgiveness.
The client forgives the offender. Sometimes back and forth dialogue between the client and the offender is required in order to bring about the forgiveness.
The Ten Keys to Forgiveness are used to facilitate the client’s ability to forgive the offender. Briefly, the Ten Keys are:
1. Uncover any reasons for the offender's behavior that can lead to a sense of understanding.
2. Uncover any pain that the offender may have experienced because of the thing he or she did.
3. Uncover any regret that the offender may have over having hurt the client.
4. If it is true, discuss how the intent was not to hurt the client, but rather the offender was trying to fulfill some need, want or desire. The client's involvement was a side effect.
5. If there was a positive intent behind the painful behavior, discuss what that was.
6. If there is regret in the offender, then having the offender express it to the client in direct terms is very helpful. Have the offender say "I'm sorry."
7. Have the offender ask for forgiveness directly, by saying, "Please forgive me."
8. Let the client know that the forgiveness is not for the offender. The forgiveness is a gift that they are going to give themselves that will change how they feel inside, and set them free from the past for healing.
9. Suggest that the offender will not be able to benefit from the forgiveness at all because she will forget everything that happens during the session.
10. Let the client know that she does not have to forget. Forgetting is not required for true forgiveness.
Once the forgiveness is complete (the anger is gone), the client is encouraged to adopt an attitude of ongoing forgiveness (particularly if the offender is still part of the client’s life.)
The client is then encouraged to forgive others who have hurt her.
Direct suggestions for change are given at this point, since this is another time of great unconscious reorganization.
Phase III must sometimes be repeated with other offenders if the client has a number of people in her life who caused her great pain. Most clients need to forgive their mothers even if she was not the primary offender.
Phase IV: Forgiveness of Self
Purpose: Removal of erroneous and useless guilt.
Phase IV involves forgiveness of self, for one’s own contribution to the problems and difficulties in one’s life.
Only after the significant anger issues have been resolved is the client really ready to deal with guilt. As long as she continues to harbor feelings of anger she will feel unworthy of a true and complete self-forgiveness. And unless guilt is removed, there remains the pressure to cope with feelings through bad habits and compulsions.
Forgiveness of Self is essentially the same as Forgiveness of Others, but in this case the client is divided into two parts, the Self and the Mistake-Making Part. Then the hypnotist proceeds as in the previous phase, except that the Mistake-Making Part is eventually renamed the Protective Part. Then a complete forgiveness of the Protective Part is accomplished and the two Parts are reintegrated. This Forgiveness of Self phase of the work is designed to remove any anger that the client may have for herself along with any guilt that she has been feeling.
Phase V: Parts Mediation Therapy
Purpose: Removal of secondary gain.
The final phase is directed at cleaning up any lose ends (PMT), where any last part of the person that is still holding onto the problem is dealt with directly.
Parts therapy and especially Parts Mediation Therapy, is most effective when the cause of the problem has been removed. Phase V follows the removal of the issues that started and continue to perpetuate the problem. The problem continues when either there is some gain in continuing to behave in the problematic way, or when the behavior is demanded in order to meet some other need, such as the alcoholic who continues to go to the bar each night to avoid being lonely. The need being met, which is her social need, has nothing to do with how or why the problem started but rather, she lacks the skills or insight needed to go about developing healthier relationships. Phase V is not always necessary.
PMT is best understood as the application of mediation techniques to Parts Therapy. In this procedure the client is again divided into two Parts. The first Part is the Self and the second Part is the part of the client that wants to continue in the old way. This other Part may have labels such as the Continuing-To-Want-Drink Part or the Still-Wanting-To-Smoke Part. The benefits of both ways of behaving are uncovered and an agreement to behave in a new way that is beneficial to both Parts is established. Multiple Parts may have to be dealt with as part of this process. Parts reintegration is performed at the end of the process.
Maximizing the Insights Gained During Age Regression and Forgiveness Therapy
In addition to neutralizing the painful emotions that drive clients' behaviors, there is another largely unrecognized benefit of using age regression and forgiveness therapies. These techniques cause clients to realize something new at both the conscious and subconscious levels of the mind. These realizations are called insights and they are life changing.
Insights do something that other forms of hypnosis do not do. They force the subconscious mind into a state of reorganization. Insights are instantly accepted as truth and begin a new belief that replaces the old one.
Normally, the subconscious mind is resistant to change. It is generating the old behavior for its own reasons, reasons that from the Subconscious Mind's point of view are good ones. The behaviors are protecting the client from pain and so without hypnosis and insight techniques, which provide an acceptable alternative belief, the old belief is difficult to give up, even though it was generating emotional and perhaps even physical pain or disability.
But when an insight is experienced during age regression or forgiveness therapies, especially insights that remove the emotional pain or fear, anger and guilt, the subconscious mind must rearrange the client's thinking processes to accommodate it. An old belief system is literally replaced by a new one. This causes profound and healthy changes at this deep level of consciousness. Furthermore, for a short period of time, the client will be highly suggestible for suggestions that are consistent with the insights just gained.
This is the reason for using direct suggestions to reinforce and expand those insights at the end of each session. The subconscious mind will quickly return to its more solidified form, and when it does it will lock those insights into it along with the positive suggestions that were provided for the client.