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Treating Genital Herpes with Hypnotic Imagery

"I was struck by seeing two serpents in the center of the virus surrounded by what appears to be an impregnable fortress of symmetrically placed cells," wrote Gerald Epstein, M.D. in his breakthrough medical visualization book, Healing Visualizations: Creating Health Through Imagery published in 1989 by Bantam.

Dr. Epstein advises his patients suffering from chronic herpes to embark upon an imagined snake hunt to drive the snakelike herpes virus out of their bodies. Since the herpes virus is a cousin of the AIDS virus, he recommends this approach for AIDS patients as well.

I have had considerable success with Dr. Epstein's snake hunt imagery. Many times, the client presents a condition that appears to go into total remission, even after years of on-going misery.

About ten years ago I had a sudden impulse to change the imagery for a particular client. I had seen her a few times for the treatment of herpes, yet the imagery was not kicking in. She was particularly fearful of snakes and I contemplated doing a desensitization process first just on the snakes, but at last minute I switched to the following concept of the snake imagery and it worked. I have since found that it works well for most herpes sufferers.

When using the following imagery, stress to your client that he imagine himself in his body in the imagery. This seems to bridge the imagination to the body so that the imagined changes create actual physiological changes. *Help your client to feel a sense of lightness by including a passive progressive relaxation, i.e., your right foot feels light and relaxed, your right leg feels light and relaxed, your left foot feels light and relaxed, etc.

Snake Pit Imagery

Imagine lying in some soft, lush, tall green grass near a large pit. Notice your surroundings, the weather, the time of day, and the sounds. Allow yourself to feel very light as you lie so very comfortably in the clean, soft grass. Now that you have allowed yourself to feel so relaxed ... so light ... it is easy for you to imagine floating above the pit in a sitting position. And now you can float down into the adjacent pit with every exhalation until you find yourself coming to a gentle landing on your feet at the bottom of the pit.

There is a boulder next to you. Imagine taking a seat on it. Now allow yourself to feel the weight of your body. And as you become more aware of your body, you can wonder what it might feel like to become a big snake peacefully resting here so very comfortably at the bottom of this pit. As your eyes become more accustomed to this environment, you are aware of how inviting it is ... the pit opens up on either side to reveal an underground oasis. Feeling safe, you can now pretend that you are a big snake resting in the light.

And now it's time to investigate your surroundings. And even though you are just pretending, you may have noticed that your senses of hearing and smell have been enhanced. You can hear sounds of an underground stream. You can smell the fresh, damp earth. Feel the strength and power in your body as you slither into the inviting darkness. Notice how conducive the pit is for relaxation. And notice how safe you feel as a snake, especially as a big snake.

Now that your eyes have adjusted to the darkness, you are aware of the stream and you slither to its watery embankment. There are many tiny snakes that are swimming in the stream. Send a thought into the stream that you want to talk to their leader. Coil back from the stream and wait for the arrival of the old, wise one. Nod when he arrives.

Ask the leader what he wants you to understand about being a snake. Let him teach you about slithering and coiling, about the important of focus and survival. Ask him about the meaning of life ... of sex ... and death. Ask him what his purpose is and whether there is anything that he needs from you. IF he does need something from you, ask him how you can give this to him. What's the very first step you must take?

Help your client to identify how to go about giving the snake what he needs. For instance, if the snake says, I need you to trust me, then the client should ask the snake how he could demonstrate trust to him. If the snake replies, wrap me around your neck, then the client can visualize doing this. If the snake replies, think the way I think, this is too vague for the client. He must ask the snake for help. What is my first lesson in learning the ways of the snake? The snake may say something outrageous, such as wanting to bite the client on the finger, and it will be up to the client whether to accept the request or to negotiate. The time will come when the client has learned all of the snake's teachings. This may take several sessions.

Now it is time for the client to ask the snake to honor his request, which is that he and the other snakes (that represent the virus) evolve from their physical form into a light form.

The leader may have a counter request that the client will need to follow to the letter. If so, assist the client in creating a plan or program to accomplish this goal.

Use your preferred regression technique to direct the client's unconscious back to the moment that caused the resultant entry of the herpes virus.

Once you have regressed your client to the original event that created the need for experience of the virus, you can use these key questions for transformation:

1) Ask the part of you that knows, what is the most important aspect of what you are remembering?
2) What did this experience cause you to believe about yourself?
3) What decision did you make as a result of this experience?
4) How is that decision still impacting you?
5) Ask the part of you that knows, what was the spiritual purpose of the experience?
6) Ask the part of you that knows for an image that you can focus upon right now that will release the trauma.

Ask your client how he would know when all evidence of the virus has vanished. Then ask him to pick a date that he would like to experience the complete release of the virus. Solicit all the details of a moment on that date when he has that realization that herpes is a condition he once experienced as part of his past that gave him some valuable insights into himself and life. Progress him into the future to that date and read back the client's description of what it will be like when the virus is no longer physical. Have him nod when he can fully imagine this and the suggest that since this newly formed and anticipated experience is now the path of least resistance, he can allow himself to feel joyful and grateful that he has now done the work that will manifest in the virus evolving out of his body. The count him out.


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