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The time line approach is a technique that can be used in hypnosis in order to go back to the past (Harrer, 2009; Czernik, 2017). There are many variants of this approach; however, the following is an outline of this technique in its basic form. In the hypnosis, the therapist asks his client to imagine a time line from the present, going back to the past. The individual is then encouraged to go back to an event in the past in order to gain some insight – this could be a desired behaviour that one wishes to emulate, or a trauma. If you are going back to the past in order to discover insights into a past behaviour that it helpful, it is important to associate with all the physiological changes that occur at the time. Clients are then encouraged to re-learn the skill. For example, an individual suffering from driving phobia, might wish to go back to a time when he was free from anxiety. This can be done using a timeline. However, if it has been decided that it would be useful to go back to the past to explore a trauma, if is important to put a dissociative mechanism in place. For example, the client might put on a set of armour, or place a protective bubble around him. When you go back to a traumatic incident in the past, it is helpful to reframe the situation so that the client is in the winning position.

David Kraft

Enfield Psychotherapy

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