Critically Evaluate the Role of Regression in Clinical Hypnotherapy

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Regression is used as a tool in clinical hypnotherapy to help a client retrieve a lost or unclear memory. There are four essential types of regression: direct regression, non-direct regression, esoteric regression and spontaneous regression (Dupe, 2009). Direct regression requires the therapist to direct the client to recall their memory of a specific event or events that underlie their current problem(s). The therapist may direct the client using an Ideo Motor Response (IMR) tailored to help minimise any dangers. Non-direct regression is where the client regresses to recall memories of events that they believe are significant. Esoteric regression, sometimes referred to as past life regression, is where a client regresses beyond the start of their current life to recall memories from previous existences; undertaking this type of regression can lead to clients recalling false memories. Spontaneous regression, as the term suggests, occurs when a client, of their own volition, recalls suppressed emotions/memories that are relevant to resolving their current problem. Direct, non-direct and spontaneous types of regression are the most appropriate in evaluating the role of regression in clinical hypnotherapy. The focus of this piece is to investigate the justification of the application of regression in hypnotherapy in the absence of extensive, credible scientific research. Over the past century hypnotherapy has been scientifically proven to be of benefit. Starting with Franz Anton Mesmer in the mid-eighteenth century, and through comprehensive scientific study, hypnotherapy is widely accepted and respected, by, amongst others, the BMA and BDA (BMJ, 1955). Regression is an important tool, which, whilst not as extensively clinically researched, is nonetheless a widely used application to facilitate client regression. Regression is of most benefit in retrieving a

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