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Transpersonal Hypnotherapy

A Handbook, Working with the Higher Self through
Transpersonal Hypnotherapy

By Jean Sullivan-Finn

Your Higher Self is always there. Whether you believe in it or not doesn't matter. As our healing progresses our belief and faith grow.

The first step in healing is always relaxation. Relaxation is used to focus the distracted mind. One of my teachers called this state of mind the 'monkey mind', jumping from thought to thought and keeping us trapped in fear. Meditation has been used throughout time to discipline the mind, the monkey, so that we can hear the words of God. In the Sullivan method of transpersonal hypnotherapy we have learned to harness that state of relaxation and use it for healing and transformation.

Relaxation and focus can be accomplished in many ways. I have found that a combination of Autogenics and chakra balancing works very well. Autogenics is a technique that focuses the client's attention on each part of the body, relaxing it as they move up or down through the body. This gives the monkey mind something to do besides worry. Beginning with the feet we move upward through the legs into the torso and up to the head. We bring warm soothing light to each part of the body, specifically to each Chakra. We are then focusing attention to that area, thereby relaxing it and also bringing in universal energy to balance and heal the chakras. We are also connecting the person to the earth below for grounding and the universe above for a connection to the Divine. Our client is then protected by the light, grounded and relaxed. A perfect place to call in the Higher Self.

The Higher Self heals through the SENSES. Many people are not in their bodies. They've made a lifelong habit of leaving when the going gets tough. Leaving the body is a survival mechanism that allows people to get through pain and trauma. It's quite easy to recognize people who aren't grounded and not connected to their bodies. Many healers fall into that category. Their physical, earthly lives are a mess but they can channel, read auras and help others to heal. Our Higher Selves try to push us into our bodies through illness, accident or addiction. The goal is to go through the pain, not to avoid it. There are so many creative ways to avoid pain that there is no need to go into them here. It would take a separate book to cover them all. Just remember that you have to feel to heal.

Most people will be in their bodies within one or two sessions. There's nothing you as healer have to do. The Higher Self will take care of it. I cannot stress enough how important it is to LET GO and allow the Higher Self to do the work. Even if you don't quite believe, act as if you do and eventually you will.

As mentioned above the Higher Self works through the senses. Most people have effectively closed off many of their senses but the Higher Self will find a channel to reach them. It may be through an image in the mind's eye, hearing words spoken, or a feeling of tension or pain in the body. This is your clue to participate in the process with the Higher Self. Once the client 'senses' something in the body or mind you and the client can then begin to explore the message, because that's what the sensation is - a message from the Higher Self. More than likely the message will be unclear at first. You will have to strengthen the client with Healing Energy. ASK FOR IT. Ask the client's Higher Self and your own to send strength to your client. Again, you can count on the Higher Self to do the job.

The Client will begin to sense something in his/her body. Sometimes a brief image will appear in the mind's eye. Depending on the spiritual strength of the person he or she will hold the image or let it quickly pass. Since we have already begun to ask for strength and healing energy from the Higher Self we can begin to ask the client what they are feeling, seeing, hearing or sensing. Most people can identify whatever it is. Sometimes a client will be so unfamiliar with his/her inner terrain that they don't recognize anything going on. You can help them with this by encouraging them to trust whatever it is they sense and to share it with you.

At this point you are working in conjunction with the person's Higher Self to bring to consciousness whatever hidden beliefs and emotions the client has. There's a bit of detective work involved. You are taking a fragment of information and asking the Higher Self to make it more clear to the client. Many people have a highly developed sensory capability and will easily connect with the memories and emotions involved. At least this is true in the beginning of the process. Each time you ask the sensation to be made more clear to the client it usually is. And even during a first session the client may gain some understanding of an important life issue.

When a client has a second session you will notice much more resistance. Much of the sensory perception will be confused, fragmented and there will be a sense of frustration. The client will need much more encouragement during this session because the ego is alerted to what is going on here. In the first session the ego is unaware of the power of the Higher Self and relaxes. Though there does not appear to be any release or awareness during this second session you can trust that the Higher Self is doing it's work and laying the foundation for future growth.


The purpose of this work is to reconnect the client to the parts of him or herself that were left behind during trauma - to become a whole person again. The image of a person that appears to the client is usually the client himself and the Higher Self is using that image to show the person a time in his or her life when a disconnection took place. A time that was probably very traumatic to the client. It is best to ask the client if he or she recognizes the image. If not, never offer a suggestion. The Higher Self will reveal the image in its own good time - when the client is ready to deal with it.

Because I practice in both the United States and Europe I will sometimes only have enough time to do one session with a client. In that session, if I feel the client can handle it, I will ask the Higher Self to show the client every disconnection that needs to be healed. This is very, very effective in giving someone an overall view of what's ahead of them. I have found that most people have a number of "disconnections" and that the Higher Self will structure their healing to deal with them one at a time, usually in some kind of order. Often the order is chronological. But, again, it's not up to us to determine the order. Leave the structure to the Higher Self.


Now we learn to work with Resistance. Resistance is what keeps us from healing. Years ago, when I first began this work I was stymied by resistance. The client and I had been over the same ground many times and not been able to break through. It occurred to me one day to just ask the Higher Self to lift it off. The results were astonishing. After my request for help the client could feel something lifting off and when the feeling stopped she saw and felt a very painful memory clearly. We were then able to move through the pain and into healing. The resistance I'm discussing is resistance to pain. We don't want to remember because we're afraid of what we will see or feel. We are fearful of the unknown and the perceived known. You can call this BLOCKING, the refusal of the client to allow the painful memories to emerge. As healers, it takes particular compassion during this process and the discipline not to judge, push, or in anyway give the client the impression that he or she has done something wrong by not allowing the images. Resistance is ego survival and the client wouldn't be sitting in front of you if the truth were easily available to him/her. Your only task is to ask the Higher Self to send strength and healing energy and request that the resistance be lifted. Then you wait until the next image or sensation arrives. It will normally only take a few minutes, or, as in the case of the second session, until the following session. Have faith in the process. With each request for strength and healing energy and asking for the removal of resistance, another layer comes off. Some clients, as in the example above, will experience a very real sensation of something being lifted off the body. Whether the client actually senses the release of resistance or not, you, as the healer will notice something has changed. There will be a clearer image or a more vivid memory. Something for you to work with. In many people and in many sessions with the same person you will discover that resistance isn't leaving. The step to take is to ask the Higher Self to show or indicate to the client in some way what the resistance looks or feels like. This works wonderfully.

I will ask the Higher Self, with the permission of the client to shine light on the resistance and indicate why it's there. When something is exposed it is not nearly so scary. That will usually enable the client to let go of it.

Communication with the Higher Self

You may have noticed by this time that I use a very structured vocabulary. There's good reason for this. Remember I am a Hypnotherapist and if I learned one thing from the study of hypnosis it is that we must be very cautious in the words we use when a client is in a trance state. Even the word "trance" is open to many interpretations. In the context of my work I will define trance as a state of detachment from one's physical surroundings. A client becomes very focused, and relaxed and there is the issue of suggestibility. I truly believe that a person will never do anything that they don't want to do, where there wasn't some agreement. But I try to steer clear of any kind of wording that would threaten or manipulate.

The following questions are ones that I generally use over and over again.

How are you feeling?
What is happening?
How do you feel about the person you are seeing?
What are you sensing?
Where is the pain?
What's going on now?
These are very general questions that are non-suggestive. They accomplish two very important things. The first is that they require participation by the client and therefore, keep the client from falling asleep or getting lost. Secondly, they help you, the healer, to understand where in the process the client is at that moment. You then know how to proceed.

We come to a very delicate area now in the language of transpersonal hypnosis. Over the years I have learned and developed a language with the Higher Self. The language is based on love. The Higher Self will only do what is best for the client and if the language is not presented lovingly and with the concern of the client being paramount there will be either no response or a rejection of the concept by the client. It's a form of protection for the client and for you as the healer. The message is clear: KEEP THE LANGUAGE AND THE INTENTION PURE. I always begin every session by asking my Higher Self to work with my client's Higher Self and to permit me to be a pure channel for healing. Given the nature of the process we have time to carefully construct our words so that they reflect that purity. Let me present a few examples so that you can get a sense of the language that I use.

CLIENT: I see a little girl in a park.

HEALER: What does the little girl look like?

CLIENT: It's me. I remember that park.

HEALER: What's going on there? What is the little girl doing?

CLIENT: She's sitting alone.

HEALER: How does she look? What's the expression on her face?

CLIENT: She looks sad. That was the day my Dad left.

HEALER: How do you feel about her?

CLIENT: I feel sorry for her?

HEALER: Can you approach the little girl. Imagine getting close to her, maybe holding her hand.

CLIENT: No. She's in too much pain. She doesn't want anyone near her.

HEALER: Would you be willing to look into her eyes and ask her if you could touch her hand?


You can sense here the respect for the client's feelings and hesitations. Though you may know from experience how important it is for the client to get close to the image of the little girl, you cannot force it. You can suggest ways that might be easier for them to make contact . The client may or may not accept your suggestion but never, never contradict what the client has said. If the client believes something negative about the child he or she sees it is part of the resistance process and will change as the client takes in more strength and healing energy. Trying to persuade the client is generally a waste of time and counterproductive. In this next dialogue we experience more of the language that the Higher Self has taught me to use in solving problems of acceptance.

HEALER: Would you be willing to put your arms around the little girl?

CLIENT: I'm afraid. She looks so cold and unfriendly?

HEALER: I'm going to ask your Higher Self to put a light around the two of you to help you to understand each other.

The Higher Self will do anything asked in the name of love. Light is love and light is healing. In a few moments the client will begin to see the "real" little girl. The child who is shut down because of fear. The client's learned perceptions begin to melt in that light and a feeling of compassion overcomes her.

"I'm going to ask your Higher Self to...." These are the most important words in the work that I've developed. I'm going to ask your Higher Self to send you healing energy. I'm going to ask your Higher Self to lift the resistance. I'm going to ask your Higher Self to show you the connection between that incidence and what you're going through now. Whatever you ask the Higher Self to do to help in the healing process will be answered.

As we move forward in this handbook I will be offering more suggestions and examples of the kind of language I use in the work. When I am teaching healers I notice that they take many liberties, believing that they know what is best for the client. I recommend over-caution with the language and suggestions at the beginning. The Higher Self understands more than we do and knows how to heal. We just need more faith.


Years ago, when I first began practicing I noticed something unusual. As clients found the image of the disconnected being and let go of the resistance to that being, there was often a spontaneous blending of the two parts of the soul. In other words, the client would feel the compassion for the part of themselves that they left behind and would "take in" that part. Sometimes the disconnected part would enter through the heart, sometimes just lean into the client and blend. The clients would tell me that they actually felt the other part of them entering and fitting inside them. I began to use the concept of blending with all my clients. There is a sense of completion in the act of taking in a part of oneself. I now realize that the act of blending is an important part of shamanic ritual. I had incorporated the ritual into my work without knowing that it was an ancient healing technique. What I discovered with the help of my Higher Self was that it is not necessary to have a shaman retrieve the soul, that we can do it ourselves.

Blending can come spontaneously or it can take a number of sessions. As I mentioned above the Higher Self structures healing in some kind of order. I've seen the Higher Self begin with later years of disconnection and move back in time all the way to the womb. More often it appears to begin somewhere in early childhood and move forward in time. It also appears that the Higher Self will begin with trauma that is "easier" for the client to heal and move to more "difficult" places later in the process, preparing the client through strengthening to face these more difficult areas.

When a client meets his/her fragmented self many responses are possible. First, memories of pain or a trauma can emerge. These memories are difficult for the client but please remember that they wouldn't be "shown" to the client if he/she weren't strong enough to handle them. The soul disconnected at the time of those painful experiences in order to survive. Since a child cannot leave an abusive or difficult situation, a part of the soul leaves instead. This split causes much of the unhappiness, frustration, illness, fatigue, and alienation that human beings experience. Often, it is not enough for the client to meet that part of him/herself. There must also be an emotion, a feeling for the fragmented self. I've had many, many cases where the client appears to be willing to accept the lost soul but there are no emotions involved. In other words, the client doesn't really "feel" for the lost part of him/herself. This is a situation where more strength and healing energy is needed. The client may agree to a blending but, in effect, there is none. There's still a barrier or what I call resistance in the way. There is still something about this lost soul that the client cannot accept. It's very important to then ask for more healing energy and ask the Higher Self to "show" the client very clearly what the barrier is. In most cases the barrier is a judgment that the client is carrying. Something negative that the client believes about him/herself. Once the Higher Self can reach the client and help with the understanding there is usually an emotional release and a feeling of compassion. That is when the real blending can take place. It is only necessary to ask the client to let his heart open and allow that part of themselves in. Under hypnosis, all that takes place is very real to the client, very literal. The client actually can sense the other self coming in. I then ask the Higher Self to surround them both in light and blend them together.

One of the most difficult areas of self-judgment seems to involve sexual abuse. I believe that part of the difficulty is in the attitude that our society holds toward sexuality. I have worked with many people suffering from incestual experiences or sexual abuse and my findings are being validated by many other researchers. What stands in the way of healing for most if not all the clients I've worked with is blaming themselves for "causing" the act to happen. They believe they are evil in some way. They can forgive the abuser but have a much harder time forgiving themselves. That's where the healing power of the Higher Self is essential because the Higher Self will "show" the person the purity of his/her nature. When we see our true selves it is very difficult not to love them, not to have forgiveness and compassion for them. Something else that has surprised me in the area of sexual abuse is that the abuser, without exception, appears to be acting from love, albeit a warped form of love. When the client can sense his own purity and vulnerability and the core motive of his abuser you have the possibility of real healing and release of past trauma.


Spiritual leaders have always stressed the importance of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the cornerstone of spiritual growth. However, I've noticed over the years in my work in groups and in private practice that many people put the cart before the horse. They try to force themselves to forgive without the understanding that is necessary for true forgiveness. In this work forgiveness comes naturally, organically if you will. Let me present an example of how true forgiveness works.

Cheryl T. was a young actress with a weight problem. She knew I wouldn't be giving her a magic pill, that it would take a commitment on her part to go through the process to get to the cause. With Cheryl's commitment and the help of our Higher Selves we began to strengthen Cheryl so that she could get the clarity she needed. After a few sessions an image of Cheryl's mother in the family kitchen came up and a memory of her mother forcing her to eat. Cheryl's relationship with her mother had been very difficult for years and the image helped Cheryl contact the anger she had. Not only did the mother force unappealing food on her daughter but the mother was very overweight herself and physically unattractive. The whole picture turned Cheryl off, particularly because of Cheryl's image-conscious career. Over the next few weeks the healing power of the Higher Self helped Cheryl to go through the anger and begin to understand why her mother had been so obsessed with food. Cheryl learned from an image presented by her Higher Self that her mother had been in a concentration camp and near starvation as a young girl. She had also suffered a physical disability as a result of her internment. Cheryl had disconnected from herself and her mother over the food issue. Her Higher Self helped her first to "see" that her mother's obsession was motivated by love and protection for her daughter and then helped her to forgive herself for rejecting her mother. In a short time Cheryl was able to "take in" the little girl who so obstinately refused the food. Cheryl took an opportunity during this period to visit her mother and returned from the visit feeling that something had changed between them. They had gotten along much better and Cheryl was able to express love to her mother. In our last session together Cheryl felt the need to forgive her mother. Strong feelings of love overtook her and her Higher Self guided me to gently ask if Cheryl would be willing to blend with her mother. At first the idea was repugnant to her. I asked for healing energy and waited to see what Cheryl would decide. Within a short time, a matter of minutes, she blended with her mother and felt wonderful after the session.

Forgiveness came naturally to Cheryl as part of the process of spiritual and emotional growth. As Cheryl became whole (taking in the parts of herself that she rejected) the weight began to drop off. She no longer needed to imitate her mother. She was free.

Forgiveness and compassion evolve out of understanding. Many people on a spiritual path tell themselves they have forgiven but their lives don't reflect their words. Our Higher Self clearly shows us the truth and in that truth we can let go of the illusion of separation, of guilt, of anger and most especially, of being a victim. I believe the real test of forgiveness as with all other aspects of healing is the attendant feeling, the emotion.