After Analysis: Iris Higgins on When Intuitive Hypnotherapy is Right For You

Empty Bed

After Analysis:

Iris Higgins on When Intuitive Hypnotherapy is Right for You

Fun story:

I met Iris Higgins virtually years ago, when we both had gluten-free baking blogs and both lived in New York with our boyfriends. Then I broke up with my boyfriend, moved to Cincinnati, and then back home to NYC. Then Iris broke up with her boyfriend and moved clear across the coast — Portland? Seattle? I forget — to go back to school.

We didn’t know each other well — just messaging about recipes and a few personal tidbits and such online. But I once found myself out on a date with a cute guy who announced an hour or so in that he’d just ended a long relationship with another gluten-free blogger… and I shortly thereafter identified his ex as Iris… and then in my mind him as the ex of hers I’d known a little bit about through our correspondence… I felt like I was betraying a friend.

I didn’t go on a second date with the guy, for unrelated reasons. But also partly because I liked Iris from the start.

I haven’t thought about that bit of our history in a while.

Because the funny thing is how my relationship with Iris has evolved in the years between. She continued on to get her masters in psychology, move to Arizona, and have her first and second child. I joined the online retreat center for women she founded, and through it discovered that I easily fall under her spell when she leads hypnotherapy sessions or records and shares guided meditations: I’m already a very visual thinker and easefully let my imagination roam, and so this form of exploration works for me. When I got the contract for The Me, Without, I knew I’d need to add some extra emotional self-support and practical planning to my schedule: we started twice-monthly private sessions.

More than any other form of coaching I’ve ever done, private sessions with Iris help me figure my shit out. We tap into what I feel and need to do about those feelings. We identify walls I’ve raised that work against my best intentions, and then set goals on how I can take them down (that won’t freak me out!). We give me an actionable plan that I can then hold myself accountable for and want to carry out.

I want to carry it out because I understand myself better. I trust myself more.

This helps me be kinder, more trustworthy, and more patient and loving to others.

And that’s just my journey, needs, and actions. The whole point of private sessions is that they’re about your journey, needs, and actions.

Isn’t that grand?

This is why I asked Iris to craft a ten-minute meditation for my current pre-order giveaway, which ends December 17th. It’s perfect — not what I expected to be but perfectly-beyond-perfect in that. Here she is, with a few thoughts on the process behind it, and her own without project inspired by my book, that’s now on my list of without to-do’s!

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What is it about hypno-therapy -- or guided meditation, we can say -- that you find particularly resonates with your clients as opposed to other forms of therapy or emotional exploration? 

A lot of clients who come to me are very intelligent and really good at psychoanalyzing themselves. They already know what's going on from an intellectual standpoint. For them, doing traditional talk therapy is a bit redundant because they're already so good at talking about their feelings. Where hypnotherapy comes in is letting go of all that analysis and going straight to the emotional, intuitive - and often spiritual - side of things.

A client may come to me and spend 5-10 minutes talking about everything that's going on with them, and then when we go into the session, we let everything they just told me go, and instead go into the body. How is their body feeling as they talk about those things? Where is the feeling in their body? What other experiences in their lives gave them those same physical feelings? That's where we let go of analysis and just go into the body's intuition.   

How can tapping into where we're feeling physically help us understand what we're feeling emotionally

So often we don't really know why we're feeling what we're feeling. We have a vague sense of unease or snap at a friend and can't figure out where those emotions come from. But our bodies know.

So when you stop and listen to the place in your body where the unease is (or the anger when you snapped at your friend, etc.), you'll find you can have a whole conversation with your body about what's really going on that you had no idea about! Your body can tell you stories about how that unease is related to something that happened two days ago that also reminded you of something that happened five years ago. It allows you to work on not just releasing the current emotions but also the emotions held in your body from years ago. 

What was the experience of creating The Me, Without meditation like for you?

I thought a lot about how to get across what you had asked for, and had an idea of what I thought would work.

When I sat down and recorded it, it felt so wrong! I was all up in my head too much and not going with my intuition. So I stopped, took some deep breaths, and then just asked myself what felt right.  So what you actually hear on the recording is way different than what I originally intended. 

Do you have any advice for those settling into a guided meditation for the first time? 

Don't overthink it. Don't second guess yourself. If your imagination goes somewhere, don't worry that it's not the right place or you're doing it wrong. Just give your imagination permission to take over. 

You've read The Me, Without. Has it made you rethink a habit? What would that habit removal look like? Or if you've already paused a habit, what was it and how did it go? 

So many habits! I have a list of - no joke - 21 habits that I decided I wanted to explore going without after reading your book.

I've paused a lot of them and definitely see the difference, but one that has been front and center has been organizing. I have a tendency to organize as a procrastination tool. I do this at home and in my business. At home I'll rearrange the furniture rather than doing what actually needs to be done (like the dishes) or spend an hour refolding my baby's clothes in a new way rather than using her nap to do something that would feel good, like yoga. I also do it in my business by rewriting sales copy and restructuring programs constantly - basically wasting time and moving myself sideways rather than forward. So I've decided to go a year without organizing except when it becomes necessary.

The result is that my home is cleaner because I use my time to do the dishes or pick up toys rather than moving the couch (again). And I can't tell you how much time I've saved by not letting myself rewrite sales pages yet again!