Author: David Kraft
Uncovering techniques are very useful in treatment because they help both the therapist and the client to develop a greater understanding of the root cause of the psychological problem. The basic premise behind this is that we repress stimuli; and, by uncovering these thoughts, memories and situations we can gain insight into how to resolve the psychological problem.
One clear example of this is in the treatment of medically unexplained symptoms. In these instances, when both the therapist and the client are completely at loss as to the root cause of the problem, the use of an uncovering technique might be indicated. It is important to note that the memory is just as fallible in hypnosis as it is in the waking state. Nevertheless, these techniques can be very helpful in gaining psychological insight.
Let’s provide an example. A woman might present with a number of functional gastrointestinal symptoms, which may be classed as IBS; after medical exploration with no apparent anatomical aetiology, one might use an uncovering technique in order to look at the possible cause of this psychological condition. There might be a number of secondary gains for having irritable bowel syndrome. These might be not having to go to work, visit the family, or going to the gym. Of course, the secondary gains may be much more complicated and entrenched. In these instances, further psychodynamic investigation is indicated.
A simple uncovering technique is to go into the corridors of your mind. During this process, the therapist leads the client to a room which is in entitled ‘The Source of the Problem’. In this room, you client can read about the source of the problem on the computer screen or in a file. Both the client and the therapist can then gain insight from this information in order to utilise it in the psychotherapy; alternatively, one can begin to resolve these issues by typing information on the computer and pressing the refresh button. Other uncovering techniques include looking into a mirror and polishing it in order to reveal the source of the problem; looking into a pool of murky water, cleaning it and finding some sort of word or symbol that relates to the initial cause; speaking to a wizard or translating an old text. Age regression can also be used to uncover the source of a particular problem. However, it is important, when using age regression to use some form of dissociative technique in order to reduce the risk of re-traumatising the client. And, indeed, any accessing question which looks at the reasons for a behaviour, can be classed as an uncovering technique.
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