Some of my personal inspiration comes from the work of Victor Frankl, author of the powerful best selling book Mans Search For Meaning. Frankl, a psychotherapist was also an inmate in Auschwitz during WW2. There are a couple of stories from that book that stay with me. One is when he describes being forced to build a railway track in the depths of the Polish winter, without food or proper clothing. Many of his fellow inmates are dying in the snow by the track. Yet whilst this is happening he imagines himself at the Vienna University after the war lecturing on the psychology of a concentration camp victim. And this is what he did when the war ended and he wrote a book that is still recommended on psychology and psychotherapy courses today. Although not all those who had hope for the future survived, those who had hope like Frankl, kept going despite the horror and the hardship.
In an earlier chapter Frankl describes his arrival in the camp when he is stripped of everything, his clothing, his belongings, his hair. He is then tattooed before being thrown into a cell. Convinced that he will soon be killed he starts to panic and despair. But then he begins to think of the many good things that he has experienced in life, the work he has done, the people he has loved. As he remembers those experiences he starts to calm down and feel more in control and he has an epiphany: They can take everything from him, but they cannot take away his ability to choose his thoughts and how he reacts to the situations he finds himself in.
It is that concept that is the foundation of my work as a hypnotherapist. We cannot change past experiences but we can always change how they affect us. When perspectives are changed, feelings of overwhelming fear and restriction can become those of love, openness and freedom.