Anchoring is a term that comes from NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). Anchoring something involves linking a certain state, either an emotion or a feeling, to a specific stimulus. Hypnosis can help create these anchors for therapeutic purposes, but some anchors are naturally occurring.
Let me give you an example of a natural anchor. Suppose I’m listening to a song on the radio and it takes me back to a certain memory… I might then feel a flood of emotions associated with the remembered event. That song is an auditory anchor, a stimulus that links to a certain feeling. Sometimes natural anchors are triggered by visual stimulus. You might see something on TV or in the newspaper that elicits an emotional state. That’s another natural anchor.
Anchoring can be experienced through all the sensory systems. Taste and smell can work as anchors, but for therapeutic purposes it’s the auditory, visual, and kinesthetic senses that are used. The memory works by association and that’s why anchoring occurs. It links and connects stimulus to a resourceful feeling. I often use touch to help clients anchor feelings in my one-on-one hypnosis sessions.
Let’s pretend that a client comes to see me for treatment using hypnosis. This person expresses that when they partake in a certain activity it triggers an unwanted emotional response. I will have them describe the feeling in detail and anchor their response. In other words, as they share the uncomfortable feeling I might touch them on the shoulder or hand. Then I ask them how they would prefer to feel instead. As they explain feelings of comfort, confidence, and power I help them to link these good feelings to another event that occurred in their life, one in which they felt good. I’ll have them think about that time and then anchor that. I’ll continue this process to the point where they have one negative anchor and five positive anchors and then touch them again to link them together. This association with good feelings can quite often squash the negative emotion completely.
I use anchoring in my hypnosis downloads and in my one-on-one sessions. We start linking good feelings with not so good feelings and a change occurs at an unconscious level. The good feelings replace the bad. This is anchoring at work. It’s just another one of the ways hypnosis can help us change the way we think, act, and feel.