Insight Inquiry: Calling Forth Inner Wisdom

Blog: Insight Inquiry: Calling Forth Inner Wisdom

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

In the therapeutic model I developed, Depth Hypnosis, one of the processes I created for working with clients is a method of asking questions that I call Insight Inquiry. From the point of view of the practitioner, the task in working with Insight Inquiry is, in essence, to ask questions only about the issues at hand that are based on the answer to the previous questions. This process helps clients to discover themselves at a deeper level.

Although this may seem simple, new practitioners often find the process difficult to master because they want to offer advice, come up with solutions, or try to establish a more social kind of connection with the client by offering social banter. The fact that Insight Inquiry precludes these kinds of interactions makes it one of the many powerful tools Depth Hypnosis uses to facilitate self-understanding. The laser focus of the questioning process makes distraction, denial, or resistance difficult to take hold in the therapeutic process.

As is typical of many of the processes of Depth Hypnosis, Insight Inquiry takes aspects of individual spiritual practice and contextualizes them in an interactive process within the therapeutic environment. The questioning method is loosely based on Vipassana* meditation, which is a process of meditative inquiry from the Buddhist tradition. With Insight Inquiry, rather than focusing on a particular issue in meditation the client is helped to focus on a particular issue through carefully chosen questions by the practitioner. This is helpful for people who find it difficult to maintain focus on what is troubling them.

Personally, I have found the Insight Inquiry process to be a very important teacher. Often, it is tempting to think I know what the underlying problem might be when people bring their problems into the Depth Hypnosis session. But Insight Inquiry has taught me time and again that every person’s path to the troubles they are having is absolutely unique—therefore, the path to resolution for each person is also unique. When I ask questions based on the other person’s experience rather than trying to solve problems, I am almost always amazed at the information that emerges. Through the process of asking a question based on the previous answer, clients almost always find the path back to the root of the problem and, further, they discover the way toward resolution of it.

For instance, in one session, I was working with a client who was trying to understand why he had been locked in a cycle of anxiety for so many years. As I worked with the Insight Inquiry process asking questions based on his experience of anxiety, it became clear through his answers that he actually had an attachment to the fear that was lying under the anxiety. When I asked the simple question, “What makes it so important to stay in the place of fear?” the answer was, “If I stay afraid I won’t harm anyone else with my anger. If I stay afraid of my anger, I won’t aim it at anyone else.” This was a remarkable insight. As we investigated further it became clear that he drew this conclusion about anger as a result of living with a parent who was angry and hurtful most of the time. As a child he promised himself that he would never be like his parent. But he was also very angry about the way the parent had harmed everyone in the family with anger and unkindness. He had made the choice to live in almost crippling anxiety, which was the way he medicated his fear, rather than risk expressing his anger and harming others the way his parent had. With this information, we understood that releasing the attachment to fear and allowing the expression of anger would be the path out of the anxiety—a path made possible by other aspects of the Depth Hypnosis method. In this example, both the root of the problem and the way toward resolution were revealed in one question of Insight Inquiry.

This is just one of many examples over the years of how Depth Hypnosis helps people get at the root of the issues that keep them from leading happier lives. And Insight Inquiry is just one of the tools used in Depth Hypnosis. I will be teaching this process and many more in the upcoming Depth Hypnosis Foundation Course workshop that starts August 7.

*Editors’ Note: If you are interested in finding out more about vipassana mediation, one book you can read is Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation by Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield.



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