Richard Bandler on getting over grief, from his book “Get The Life You Want”.
Getting Over Grief
…One of the cases I had was a woman who came to me who had four children. Her sixteen-year-old boy had died of cancer, which was a long, drawn-out and painful process. She went to pieces. Her husband brought her to me and said that the family was falling apart. All she did was cry and grieve. When I asked how long he had been dead, he replied, Three years. I made a decision at that point in time that I had to do something to shock her a little bit, to wake her up out of her grief and get her to pay attention to the other children she had.
The question I asked her is one that’s worth considering for almost anybody that loses somebody and grieves over them. The question is simple. I turned to her and I asked her if she would rather I put her in a hypnotic trance and give her amnesia, so it would be like she had never known her son. Would she give up all the memories of his sixteen years of life in exchange for not feeling the pain that she had now? She looked at me quite angrily and said, No and I said, Good.
The reason you don’t want to give up those memories is because if you gave yourself amnesia from ever having known somebody you loved, you’d miss out on all the good times. In fact, that’s what’s happening now…
…The trouble with long, drawn-out deaths – in fact, all deaths – is when people remember the person who has died and they make life-size images and they see those images as if they’re happening now. It’s very difficult to get through the pain of death. When people look at good memories, they’ll see themselves in the good memories, but they’ll remember the funeral. They’ll remember the death as if it’s happening now. In other words, they’ll be associated with it, and this is simply backwards. The process of flipping pictures is how people come out of grief when they stop remembering the tragedy of death and start remembering the good times vividly and associating with the good memories.
What I did is I put her into a light, closed-eye process. I had her go through and take ten really good memories and see what she saw at the time and heard what she heard, and then look at the unpleasant memories and see herself worrying next to the hospital bed of her son. By going back and forth between these things, it tells us unconsciously how to sort out our memories so that we disassociate from the unpleasantness of someone’s death and associate with the good memories. And then there’s only one more step, which is to put it in your past…
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