by C. Roy Hunter
*Roy’s articles on parts work have been published in numerous publications, including he Australian Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, and numerous hypnosis journals around the world.
The last edition of Cal Banyan’s ezine contained an article on parts work. This article discusses a more spiritual concept of parts work that involves calling out that part of the client’s inner mind that is most closely connected with God (or the client’s perception of Higher Power).
On numerous occasions over the years, I’ve used an application of parts work to access that part of the inner mind that is most closely connected to God, or the client’s perception of Higher Power. Frequently the client obtains deeply encouraging insights, along with important information regarding the purpose in life. Whether or not one believes in God or a Higher Power, the subconscious (or unconscious) contains access to an inner wisdom that sometimes far surpasses that of ordinary consciousness.
I have often enjoyed the privilege of helping clients access their highest and best wisdom in order to gain further insight regarding their present life path. Common themes are: learning to love, respecting the freedom of others, empowering others, appreciating life, learning to learn, being tolerant of others, etc.
Often clients are given specific information to help them follow their current life path. Because I am very careful to avoid inappropriate leading, these words come from each client’s perception of God or Higher Power. Sometimes the information is revealed to the conscious mind without being verbalized, leaving me totally unaware of the answers. Finger responses indicate when the client receives an answer to a question.
Before I share some journeys with my clients, let me mention that I’m not alone in this discovery.
Experts Visit New Frontiers
Other experts in variations of parts work have also discovered spiritual parts. Consider the words of the following professionals, whose books are available in libraries and bookstores in many different countries.
Gordon Emmerson discusses the “Inner Strength” part in the very first chapter of his book Ego State Work (Crown House Publishing, 2003). This ego state may refer to itself as “Higher Self” or “spiritual self.” Emmerson states that everyone appears to have an inner strength state.
John Rowan devoted an entire chapter to this same topic in his book, Discover Your Subpersonalities (Routledge, 1993). On page 173 he writes:
Amazing insight can come from such parts of ourselves. When such a voice is contacted, a strong empowerment may take place. We are beginning to connect to inner sources of strength and wisdom.
Rowan warns us not to confuse this spiritual energy with an “inner pusher,” and provides some valuable insight on how to tell the difference. The pusher may be judgmental, opinionated, critical, and controlling or defensive, etc. The Higher Self is compassionate, loving, wise, forgiving, and nurturing or peaceful, etc. Note that on a few occasions I’ve encountered a “pusher” part trying to imitate a Higher Power part, and found a way to expose this counterfeit part by asking: “Do you serve the Light?”
Hal and Sidra Stone, recognized pioneers of a variation of parts work called voice dialogue, also devoted an entire chapter to spiritual selves in Embracing Our Selves (New World Library, 1989). On pages 218-219 they write:
In Voice Dialogue, we can contact another self–a self that can open us to our spiritual selves. This self is more concerned with being than with doing. When we experience this “being” energy, there is no goal and no task…
They go on to mention that the client is in a meditative state. Like Rowan, they describe the spiritual energy as nonjudgmental and uplifting. However, they believe that Voice Dialogue can only work with spiritual energies to a limited extent. This leaves a very important question to consider: Would deeper trance states make a difference with some of their observations? My professional opinion is a resounding yes.
Seeking Resolution from a Spiritual Part
At least two parts are called out during the traditional parts work process; but often only one part is called out during a spiritual parts work session: the part that is most closely connected to God or the client’s perception of Higher Power.
Now let me summarize three interesting cases discussed in Chapter 13 of my text, Hypnosis for Inner Conflict Resolution: Introducing Parts Work (2005, Crown House Publishing)…
Dan volunteered at a taped workshop to let me demonstrate how to call out the Higher Power in order to be better able to stay on what he termed “The Road.” He felt that doing hypnosis full time was the road that was intended for him, and he wanted to find the confidence to leave his other source of income behind. Dan asked me to call out his Higher Self in order to gain access to a greater wisdom.
Before the session I explained to Dan (and the entire audience) that we can confabulate (or fantasize) a “Higher Self” part if we go into hypnosis with a preconceived idea of what we want to hear. I emphasized the importance of participating in a session like this with an open mind, free of preconceived opinions. Also it is imperative that both the facilitator and the client set aside any preconceived opinions, otherwise those opinions could taint the trance and influence the outcome.
The part that emerged asked me to call it Higher Self, and gave Dan advice to take small steps. Higher Self also told him to stay at his day job a little longer, and to seek advice from a colleague. After the session, Dan told the group: “This seems like a reasonable compromise to my inner conflict…and it was so easy!”
Light for the Life Path
This session was surprisingly short. Shirley wanted advice from her Higher Power regarding her current life path. That part most closely connected with God told me to call it Light.
When I told Light that Shirley requested advice regarding her life path, Light told her to let go of control. Shirley could best accomplish this by being love, and by trusting herself more. Light told her to give up the need to control, and surrender it to her Higher Power. I asked for further clarification, and Light told her to sit back and hang on for a real ride. More information would be revealed to her when appropriate. Light also told her that she knows more than she thinks, and ended the message by telling her to relax and stop trying so hard.
Shirley apparently related very well to this information. Enough was resolved to enable her to cancel a private session that she had previously scheduled to take place after the workshop. I wish her well.
Awareness of Life Path
Randy worked at a job he didn’t like. In addition to vocational concerns, he wanted to know more about his life path. These are the two primary questions he wanted me to ask: (1) Should Randy stay at his present job? …and (2) What is Randy’s primary life purpose? His Higher Power requested to be called Holy Spirit.
When Holy Spirit responded to the first question, Randy received advice to remain at his current job while considering other avenues of employment. He also had the option of consulting a vocational counselor, but was reminded to make his own decisions rather than giving away his power of choice.
The response to Randy’s second question provided some answers with additional questions left unanswered. Holy Spirit told him that he was to learn how to love, and to love the learning process enough to be willing to teach others. When asked when and how he would teach others, Holy Spirit said: “It will be revealed in due time, at the appropriate time and place. Randy needs to trust God, and accept his God-given intuition, and balance it with wisdom rather than emotion.”
Randy understood the last statement perfectly, but left with curiosity regarding the comments about his teaching others, as he lived alone. He later realized that he could teach his children spiritual concepts during their weekend visits, and engage in spiritual discussions when others expressed an interest.
I believe that spiritual hypnosis must be done with an open mind, and without projecting preconceived opinions into the client. Additionally, such work must be done within the framework of the client’s spiritual or philosophical beliefs. Some of the most profound personal breakthroughs I’ve witnessed through the years have resulted from spiritual hypnosis sessions.
As appropriate, I will continue to use spiritual parts work to help people explore their spiritual potential, and perhaps venture farther into the undiscovered country. Much work and research can be done in this area, and I would like to participate in it. When funding makes it possible, I would like to devote a couple of years to facilitating spiritual sessions for various clients who pay for their sessions by giving written permission to publish the results in a book devoted to this topic. It is too important to leave unexplored.
About the Author:
Roy Hunter, M.S., FAPHP, practices hypnosis near Seattle, in the Pacific Northwest region of the USA. He also teaches a 9-month professional hypnosis training course based on the teachings of Charles Tebbetts, and teaches workshops around the world. Roy is the recipient of numerous awards, and was honored by three different organizations for lifetime achievement in the hypnosis profession. Roy’s book, Hypnosis for Inner Conflict Resolution: Introducing Parts Work (2005, Crown House Publishing) comes highly praised by professionals around the world. It explores the parts work process in depth.
Emerson, G. 2003. Ego State Work. Carmethen UK: Crown House Publishing.
Hunter, R. 2005. Hypnosis for Inner Conflict Resolution. Carmethen, UK: Crown House Publishing.
Rowan, J. 1993. Discover Your Subpersonalities. London: Routledge.
Scheflin, A, Shapiro, J.L. 1989. Trance on Trial. New York, NY: Guilford Press; Guilford Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis Series.
Stone, H; Stone, S. 1989. Embracing Our Selves. Novato, CA, USA: New World Library.