One of life’s greatest joys is our ability to have children and all of the experiences that come with each phase of that journey. Likewise, one of life’s greatest disappointments can be the seeming inability to conceive when it is something that we truly desire and feel the calling of parenthood. Unfortunately, in today’s world one in six couples are infertile and one in three women over the age of 35 will experience difficulty conceiving. Add to that that male sperm counts have decreased by 50% over the past 50 years and it can paint a rather bleak picture for many a hopeful couple. However, the good news is that these statistics show an end result and not necessarily the cause behind the difficulties. In this brief article I’m going to discuss the mind/body connection as it relates to infertility and conception difficulties as well as the role that Clinical Hypnotherapy can play in aiding conception and allowing many happy couples to experience the family that they long for.
First, it’s important to understand the degree to which the mind influences the body. On one hand everyone is familiar with the physical sensations that accompany anxiety or worry or even falling in love. In different ways we’ve all experienced our emotional states influencing our heartbeat, digestion, level of energy as well as how well or “sick” we feel. This however is the most surface ways in which our mind and emotions impact our physical state. The subconscious mind, which is over 90% of our mental functioning, in addition to being the source of many of our emotions, containing all of our memories since we were able to form memories (many of which we no longer can consciously recall because they were so early in childhood), as well as being the source of many of our cognitive and perceptual filters – also has another very important role. The subconscious mind controls our autonomic nervous system which regulates our heartbeat, breathing, metabolism and recent studies have even shown our emotional states affect the quality of our DNA and the study of epigenetic’s has illustrated how our mind and feelings actually affect gene expression. The more that modern science is able to study this phenomenon the more it appears that our bodies are much more a reflection of what lies in our subconscious than was ever believed before. With this understanding it’s easy to see how our minds, especially our subconscious, can affect our emotions which in turn have an impact on the likelihood of getting pregnant. Let’s look at this in more detail.
One of the biggest factors that reduces fertility is stress. Specifically stress effects hormones, prolactin being the most relevant, which suppresses ovulation. Essentially anxiety of any kind creates a hormonal profile that makes your body a hostile environment for conception. Beyond this, stress also can exacerbate tubal spasms further decreasing the likelihood of conceiving. The challenge with stress related to pregnancy difficulties is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Stress turns your body against the conception process, the lack of success leads to additional stress which in turn only leads to further failed attempts. Clinical Hypnotherapy, and its ability to deal directly with the subconscious mind has a dramatic ability to reduce stress of all types, however my approach to treating infertility takes into account potential belief systems that have become intertwined with the stress that is exacerbating the condition. Quite frequently, the ideas that a couple have about how soon they will become pregnant once they begin trying, quickly ends up working against them and creating a counter belief to success.
The best way of explaining this is to use an analogy to one of the primary causes of erectile dysfunction in men. In my treatment of male erection issues I found that quite frequently the problem originated with one bad experience that the man unknowingly assigned a disproportionate amount of meaning to. Typically it goes like this: a man who has previously had no sexual difficulties at all will often attempt intercourse and have difficulties getting an erection for what would be considered “normal” and circumstantial reasons. Perhaps he is extremely tired and under a lot of stress with a deadline the next day, perhaps he’s consumed more alcohol than he realized and is more intoxicated than he thinks he is or maybe even is just at the beginning stages of getting sick. Because of the significance most men put on their ability to sexually perform, this experience is deemed as a “failure” on his part in what he considers a very vital area of his life. Instead of realizing that it was simply a circumstantial and rare occurrence, he begins to worry that perhaps he has a problem. Maybe he’s becoming impotent. What will women think? How will this impact his life? When he begins this thought process I’m sure you know the effect that has on his mind and body. He becomes extremely anxious and stressed which produces a hormonal profile not conducive to getting an erection. Beyond that it has another side effect that is even more relevant in this particular issue. Getting an erection, much like the biological process of conception, is physiologically handled by the subconscious mind. You don’t need to think about getting an erection, it happens in the right circumstances. Likewise you don’t need to think about getting pregnant, your subconscious mind ensures all of the biological processes work to make that happen without your conscious help. Once the man in our example begins to worry about getting an erection, he begins to interject his conscious mind into what is a subconscious process. Frequently during intimate moments he begins to have thoughts about “is it going to work” etc. This conscious thought process creates emotions and hormonal fluctuations in the body that disrupt a subconscious process that he needs to happen automatically and without thought. In other words, had he not “decided” from this one instance that he had a “problem” and subsequently created negative emotions around the issue, that one instance of erection difficulty would have been an isolated incident. Instead, he created an ongoing problem. I’ve learned that this is often one of the troubles with couples trying to conceive.
Many men and women that initially begin trying to have a family have in their mind a certain amount of time that it will take for them to get pregnant. When this doesn’t happen in that timeframe they subsequently began to worry that there is something biologically wrong with them. This worry and stress is a self-fulfilling prophecy that causes their chances of conception to continuously spiral downwards. The truth is, there are many reasons why it may take longer to get pregnant than you may have originally thought or planned. Many of these reasons aren’t biological. As I mentioned, our subconscious mind houses our core beliefs (beliefs that run our entire lives) as well as our other beliefs that we have programmed in. In today’s society more and more couples are waiting until later in life to get married and have children. Many women have spent their 20s and potentially longer telling themselves that “the time is not right”, “I have plenty of time”, “I want to reach a particular goal before I have children” etc. Years of programming this into your subconscious has most certainly had an effect and quite often while you’ve consciously decided it’s time to have children your subconscious mind is still stuck in the “time is not right” and “there is plenty of time” way of thinking. Often, it takes longer than anticipated to conceive because your subconscious mind hasn’t had enough time for your new conscious desires to override what you’ve been programming in and telling it for a decade or longer. Unfortunately, when a woman ascribes a biological failure to the difficulty in conception it creates the previously mentioned stress cycle prohibiting conception that would have otherwise occurred in time.
Beyond that, the subconscious, which can most definitely control and influence whether or not you conceive may have beliefs that are directly counter to your conscious desires of having a child. It’s important to understand that by definition what’s in the subconscious or unconscious mind, by its very nature is material you are not conscious or aware of. It may seem inconceivable to you that there is a part of you that doesn’t want to conceive, but this also is sometimes an issue that needs to be addressed. A very simple example is the one that I stated earlier where someone has spent a lifetime telling themselves that they want to reach a particular goal before having children. If you haven’t reach that goal, you may have consciously decided you want to have children now in spite of not having that achievement but at the subconscious level there may be a part of you that feels as if you are compromising or are a failure for not having reached that goal first. Subsequently your subconscious may be affecting your ability to conceive. Also, and perhaps even more powerful our beliefs you have from your own childhood related to your worthiness, ability to be a good parent, fears of financial issues related to raising children, or often even concerns about the quality and stability of your relationship with the child’s father and fear of ending up alone. While these beliefs may not be something you’re even aware of, these are some of the subconscious fears that often come up that are contributing to the subconscious mind biologically working against your desire to have children.
Fortunately, Clinical Hypnotherapy has the ability to resolve all of these issues. First, it’s important to uncover any hidden beliefs or fears that may be blocking your attempts at getting pregnant. This is done first as opposed to dealing with the symptomatic stress because these beliefs are typically going to be the source of that stress and giving you techniques to alleviate anxiety while not resolving the underlying core beliefs will only marginally improve your ability to conceive if counter beliefs are still subconsciously present. Through Clinical Hypnotherapy, age regression is often used to uncover and go back to any blocking beliefs and then through a series of techniques reprocess those memories and eliminate any obstacles to conception. This typically dramatically reduces the stress without any additional intervention, however it’s important to ensure that the optimal physical and biological environment for conception is created so the second part of treatment is to work with the client directly on the stress and anxiety symptoms. This is done using a variety of techniques ranging from custom created hypnotherapy audios for the client to teaching the client techniques they can do on their own to instantly eliminate stress and anxiety. The final phase of treatment involves using the mind’s ability to influence the body to do the exact opposite of what it’s been doing. Up to this point the mind has been creating emotions that worked against conception. The intervention up to this point will have eliminated the negative elements, yet we want to now positively use the mind-body connection to increase the likelihood of conception. Using a variety of hypnotherapuetic techniques ranging from visualization tools as well as direct dialoguing with the subconscious mind, instructions are given the subconscious to create the optimal conditions for you to become pregnant.
As you can see, while seeming infertility is usually treated as an entirely biological component, with only stress factors considered from the psychological standpoint, it is actually a much more complex process. Many couples who only take the traditional Western medicine approach to remedying their inability to have children miss out on one of life’s greatest joys by using physical medicine to treat what is essentially a subconscious psychological issue. If you would like more information on my Clinical Hypnotherapy program for treating infertility please contact me today at OrlandoHypnotherapy.com