CONNIRAE: About three years ago Steve and I began modeling the grief process using submodality modeling techniques that we learned from Richard Bandler. We also used our knowledge of how people represent time, another area that we’d been exploring. Some people are absolutely devastated by loss, and can remain preoccupied by a loss that may have occurred years in the past. Others recover from loss quickly and in such a way that they think of the lost person as a resource as they go on with their lives. By studying these people we developed a pattern that can be used to help anyone recover from loss quickly, typically in one session. The demonstration that you are about to see was videotaped in our master practitioner training in Boulder, Colorado, December 1987.
CONNIRAE: So if you haven’t gathered already this morning we are teaching the grief pattern and we’d like to give you a little bit of background before we demonstrate it.
STEVE: And a little bit of definition, because there are a lot of things that are called grief and some of them aren’t, and if it’s not, then this pattern won’t work for it.
CONNIRAE: So what we are talking about when we talk about grief is some kind of loss. Now this could be loss of people. That’s what people usually think of when they think about grief. So it could be loss due to death, due to divorce, whatever, loss of people. It could also be loss of information, loss of things.
STEVE: Some people grieve more over a diamond ring than they will over a human being. Some people will grieve over the loss of a location, their home. Aldous Huxley had a home that was—the walls of his studies were just covered with books and all his books were resources to him and he also had a special chair described in Patterns I (The Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, MD) where he went into trance essentially, in this chair and did his creative work. When his house burned down in a forest fire, he suffered a tremendous loss, not only of location but also of information because he just couldn’t get to all that stuff anymore. He had books that were out of print many many years before. Athletes who lose—have an injury—lose something.
CONNIRAE: Lose activity.
STEVE: Again as important to them as a person would be to someone else.
CONNIRAE: So access to certain activities, things, people, location.
STEVE: Now there is also an interesting thing about grief and that is people can respond to a loss of potential as much as a loss of actuality.
CONNIRAE: This is what a midlife crisis is all about, right? So here I am 40 years old and I’m not a millionaire.
STEVE: Or I thought I was going to be a CEO by the time I was 35 or whatever. A woman who expects to have a child and finds out at the age of 25 or 30 that she can’t, suffers a loss.
CONNIRAE: So these are potential losses. They are not something that a person has actually lost. It’s not something that was ever there to lose, but it’s something that the person had in their mind that they could have or would have, and they no longer have that hope or dream. The reason we bring this up is because it helps make it clear that the experience of loss does not have to do with the real world.