Blog: Overcoming Denial: Part 3
By Denise Colby
It goes without saying that what makes doubt and denial so good at keeping you shackled is that you don’t know what you don’t know. If you can’t see it, how on earth do you begin to heal? There are many ways that truth begins to surface within us, but this is one of the places where a consciousness practice can be quite helpful. In the first part of this article, we discuss some of the ways in which we become aware that things are not as they seem and all is not well. This section addresses what to do once you have made the commitment to move into the light and live in truth.
In order to move out of doubt and denial, there is only one thing you must do. At every turn, you must trust in experience above all else. Everything that follows ultimately arrives back at that basic tenant. Although it may sound simple, our experience holds a well of pain and negative emotions that we have worked hard to separate ourselves from. Reversing that habit is not as simple as flipping a switch. However, it is the only way to find the peace and wholeness we seek.
I highly recommend working with a skilled practitioner trained in a body-centered healing approach, ideally with some experience in working with dissociated states and repressed trauma or sensations. As you wade into deeper and darker waters, it’s easy to get disoriented or lose your footing. A skilled therapist can act as your anchor and guide as you make the journey inward, bringing light into the darkness. In addition, as feelings and memories return, you will face emotions and experiences that may feel overwhelming. A therapist will connect you with your own inner resources and provide a safe space to process these emotions in a healing way.
Much of the discipline of personal development is the cultivation of space between our consciousness and our reactivity. An attitude of compassionate spaciousness allows us to see ourselves and others with clarity, and allows us to feel our feelings without necessarily acting. It allows us to cultivate wisdom and discernment. When working with doubt, denial, and repressed trauma, this spaciousness becomes even more crucial. To go in with a laser beam focus on whatever wound or pattern is being addressed often just turns up the volume on the mental chatter (one of the major tools of doubt), and riles up resistance and defense tactics. However, if we enter in with an attitude of grounded, compassionate spaciousness, everything begins to loosen and even the most tightly guarded aspects of ourselves feel a sense of safety and acceptance. From that vastness of space, we can gently shift our awareness to the wound, or the person we suspect caused us harm, or any other issue that is arising, and simply watch the states of being that arise in response. Those states of being – the physical sensations, images, words, and emotions that arise in response to a point of inquiry – are telling you about your experience. They are showing you exactly what it is that you don’t know or have forgotten. These are the feelings you must place your trust in, even in the face of critical inner dialogue, or even if external influences would deny those feelings.
Working with Experience
As emotions, reactions, and physical sensations arise within the body, held within compassionate space, we can gently approach them with a soft curiosity. There are many body-centered therapeutic approaches that will be helpful for uncovering and healing from repressed trauma, but all of them are based in an approach of compassion and openness. In my experience, the Depth Hypnosis methodology is exceptionally well-suited for this kind of work because it is rooted in a deep connection to compassionate inner resources, and allows for a variety of approaches for accessing deeply held experiences. The flexibility it offers allows a skilled practitioner to tailor the healing approach in a way that meets the client precisely where they are, beginning the work in whatever way the client is open to and ready for. In Depth Hypnosis, we always work with resistance, never against it, and we always operate with a deep respect for the defense mechanisms and the aspects of the self that have worked hard to keep us safe, even if those structures are no longer serving us.
From a safe, well-resourced place, we can invite forward the parts of the self that have been holding on to painful memories and deep misunderstandings. As we bear witness to our true experience, we can begin to understand and correct the false beliefs that we may have formed about ourselves or reality as a consequence of this experience. Through acknowledging and accepting the pain of our experience and the way in which it twisted our knowledge of our true nature, we can finally release the old wound and integrate the part of the self that has been carrying the truth for so long.
In addition to providing a safe and effective platform for working with wounded parts of the self, Depth Hypnosis also provides approaches for working with negative energy patterns within the body, critical voices, beliefs and orientations towards the self that are punishing or push us further away from our true nature. All of this work will be necessary in the process of healing in a deep and lasting way. It’s not just about healing from the trauma, but rather unraveling the walls, webs, and knots we got ourselves into while trying to survive and make sense of our reality. It’s not just about coming to peace with the people who have harmed you. It’s also about coming to peace with yourself.
All of this work is rooted in a deep and abiding faith in what the body and subconscious is offering us at every turn. A knowledge that the imbalances and disorders that we are suffering from did not come from nowhere and do not arise in a vacuum. Ultimately, we must come to trust ourselves and trust our bodies, which can seem radical in a society that values intellect above all else. To begin to know the truth of ourselves, all we must do is turn towards the body and say, “I’m here. I’m listening.”
The healing journey from childhood trauma is a marathon, not a sprint. The more ways you are able to show up for yourself and care for yourself, the more the body will loosen and release. In my experience, Depth Hypnosis has been deeply helpful in navigating the deep and dark waters of the subconscious, but along the way I have benefitted from a variety of supportive work. Any healing approach that speaks to you can help and support you in your journey. There’s no single path to wholeness. Loving massage with a skilled energy worker, yoga, EMDR, somatic experiencing, and plant medicine are just a few of the excellent ways of working with experience (and flower essences, astrology, meditation, support groups, art therapy, screaming into a pillow- the list goes on and on!).
So take a look at your life right now. Are there patterns or behaviors that are exhausting and preventing you from living a full life? Are negative emotions running the show? Are you haunted by dreams, sleep disruptions, or intrusive thoughts? Is there a sense that maybe the story you’ve been telling yourself about yourself isn’t entirely accurate? You deserve to live in freedom and joy. You deserve love and kindness. The path out of denial begins with an acknowledgement that your true nature is not full of negativity and maladaptive coping strategies, alongside a decision to turn inward and trust what your body is telling you. It takes courage. But like all journeys, it starts with a single step.
Editors’ Note: Denise Colby, Ph.D. is a certified Depth Hypnosis Practitioner based in San Francisco, CA.