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Finding Opportunities for Self Reflection

01 Mar

First, hello to all. I find that holidays and the New Year are great opportunities for self-reflection and meaningful change. We may think of this as something that is necessarily dramatic or large, or immediately observable to others, but often the most profound changes involve subtle but important shifts in how we treat ourselves, or how much space we create to accept ourselves in the present moment, even if there are things we’d like to be different. Once we can be more loving and kind to ourselves, the other changes seem to become that much easier.

I first met Belleruth in late 2001, when I was working at what was then known as Columbia Presbyterian (now Columbia University Medical Center), and BR was putting the final touches on the Cardiac ICU and Rehab tape (now CD). Right away, I was taken with her directness (New Yorkers love this!), her genuine, hearty laugh, rich voice, and her passion for imagery. We routinely offered our cardiac surgery patients BR’s programs, and were thrilled to see that the research data supporting imagery’s use was matched by the patients’ enthusiasm for the audio programs.

Personally, I’d been listening to imagery tapes since the late 1980s or so, and had long since been awed by how simple yet powerful these tools could be. So, it was a great gift to be able to collaborate with BR and the Health Journeys team on the Self-Esteem programs and now on the Procrastination CD.

From a hypnotic perspective, imagery and hypnosis (there are more similarities between them than not) help us to engage the part of us that is always acting behind the scenes, all of the time – our “internal tape,” so to speak. Another term for this tape could be the unconscious mind. It’s always “on,” but we aren’t necessarily aware of what it’s doing at the time. The internal tape’s dominant message can be neutral, positive and affirming, or can tell us that we “can’t…,” “won’t…,” “aren’t enough…,” etc. etc. It’s important to know what’s playing, because these internal tapes can and do influence what we believe is possible for us, and we tend to act accordingly.

Imagery gives us a tool to use our conscious minds to help change that “tape” by partnering with the unconscious mind. One can hear the music and words consciously, while the unconscious mind can take in the metaphors, symbols, and suggestions at an even deeper level to shift how we see ourselves and what we believe is possible for us – whether this means losing weight, achieving a goal, focusing more clearly, or just feeling better in general. And the relaxation effect is pretty nice, too! I truly do believe that a part of us is always willing to help us get where we want to be, once we’re ready. And it’s truly amazing what being open to changing that tape can do for us.

I’m really excited to share the Procrastination and the Self-Esteem programs with you, and to have been a part of creating tools that I’ve believed in for a very long time.

Be well!

Traci Stein

Traci Stein

Traci Stein, PhD, MPH, is a practicing psychotherapist and Columbia-trained
clinical psychologist, ASCH-certified in clinical hypnotherapy. She has combined integrative therapies, including hypnosis, with conventional medical and psychotherapy practice. Her passionate commitment to mind-body healing has spanned two decades.