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TimeLine Therapy

Dr Jeff Stoker

Timeline therapy uses a constructed visualisation to allow us to analyse and disassociate emotions from painful memories or events. Strong emotions when triggered can overwhelm us or cause us to react inappropriately, this technique gives us a way of going under the surface of the conscious mind to talk with the pat of the mind that’s in charge of your memories and emotions in its own language.

I have posted the script I use as reference material for others.

Making the Construct

Before any therapy can be done we need to construct a visualisation so that we can translate what we want to do consciously i.e. the therapy with the part of the mind that stores our memories and emotions.

We need to be able to talk to that part of your mind that stores your past and your future dreams and all of your memories, and we can do this by constructing a timeline. So in your mind’s eye, imagine, if I was to ask you if you had to visualise your past could you point to where is your past would it be, and your future where is that?

To make it easy, a lot of people construct a timeline, it’s a visual construct of their past and future in a line. Often a person can imagine a line, it may go from back to front, the past being behind you, and the future in front, or it may be a line in front of you going from left to right, the important thing is that it’s something you construct and it’s a way of you being able to visualise your life.

Simple Timeline

So, organise your past and future so that all parts of your mind know where you are.

Can you remember something that happened a week ago, can you notice on your timeline where it comes from, can you notice something on your timeline about 1 month ago, maybe 1 year ago, see where those memories are from. Now I want you to go into your future 1 day, 1 year, maybe 5 years in the future and see where these points are on the line.

Now let’s have another look at that line and see where your mind maps those memories or dreams. Is it a straight line, does if go forward or straight to one side or does it slant one way or another, perhaps if you drew that line it’d also have a colour, maybe red, blue or just black.

Finding the Dissociated Position

Dissociated Position
  1. Now I want you to float above your timeline and make sure you are seeing it with your own eyes.
  2. Now float above where you are now, and now float a little into your past, maybe to something that happened earlier today, now float back towards now and stop there, now float towards the future, and when you know you can do that float back to now.
  3. Come back to now and face towards your future and into your present and go a little bit higher, and when you can drift back into your past but still facing towards your future, go higher, and higher facing towards your future, above your past,  but high enough until you can see all of your timeline below you becoming smaller and smaller about an inch long.
  4. See your whole timeline, high up, facing towards your future.  
  5. Float back to now.

The Therapy

  1. I want you to float above your timeline.
  2. Go back on your timeline above, not in but above that traumatic event or memory, at that time looking down on it, and see yourself in it.
  3. Ask your unconscious mind what it needs to learn from the event, so that you can keep and preserve those learnings for when you need them in the future.
  4. Let me know when you can tell me what they are.
  5. Now I want you to float gradually up above that event and move back slowly well before the event pointing yourself towards the future.  
  6. When who know you are there float up higher and higher looking down towards your future, like you did before, feel your timeline getting smaller and smaller. Now go higher and higher as your timeline drops away. maybe you could ask yourself where are those emotions?
  7. Now float down back above that event then into that event still looking through your own eyes and check on those emotions, are they there or have they disappeared.
  8. Now from that event come back to now, only as quickly as you can, with what you have learned letting you let go of all the emotions, letting go of all the emotions, in each subsequent event. If you have to go to that high dissociated position again until that emotion drops again then do so and then go back into the event again, facing towards moving slowly through each similar event towards now, taking your time along the timeline as fast or as slow as you need to go to preserve and apply those learnings in time, bringing you back to now.  

The saying goes that a picture speaks a thousand words, and what this visualisation technique does is help us to communicate directly with the part of our mind that stores our memories, dreams and emotions.

We can learn how to go to a position that is visually so high and removed from the timeline that, you can dissociate yourself away from the emotion.

As you can see from the timeline the technique allows you to use suggestive hypnotic language to allow a person to rationalise the events of their past unclouded by emotion, and effectively rid themselves of emotional baggage.

Another purpose of this type of therapy is that when you have dislodged emotions from past memories, it’s unlikely that future events don’t trigger that strong emotion going forward.

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About the author

Dr Jeff Stoker

Clinician, writer, educator, speaker, and problem expert. Helping people to think better, to solve problems, and get their lives unstuck.

Winner of the Coaching and NLP in Healthcare Award at the 2018 ANLP International Conference.

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