What is Free Association?

It is the spontaneous, free-flowing process of linking and connecting thoughts, feelings and experiences, back to the root cause of the anxiety. This running commentary of your thoughts is verbalised to me. You just tell me where you are in your thoughts, what may be happening and how you may be feeling... its simple... isnt it?

How does Free Association Work?

The process of free association allows any experiences, thoughts or feelings connected to the bottled up emotions that you have to surface. These things are always there at the forefront of your subconscious mind - causing you anxiety and the symptoms that you presented with. When the conscious mind is a little more relaxed than usual (deep relaxation or 'hypnosis' is NOT necessary) they will readily flow into your mind.

With Pure Hypnoanalysis, as long as you are properly free associating, you will finish therapy within 12 sessions - which is why we have a 12 session guideline in our organisation*.

As much as I want you to get through therapy as quickly and as smoothly as possible, the only person who can really get you to finish therapy is YOU. Therefore it is crucial that you understand how to Free Associate properly.

Free associating is easy, as long as you are doing it correctly. Here is how to....

The Golden Rules of Free Association

  • Say absolutely, completely, totally EVERYTHING**!!

    Therapy only begins when you are saying everything - 99% is not enough! If there is something on your mind that you are not saying, you will not move on in therapy until you do. YOU cant decide what is significant and what is not - you tell me everything.

    The hardest things to say (ie, most embarrassing, most guilt inducing, most emotional) are often the most important and significant because of the amount of emotion they contain.

    This therapy is not about just recalling memories - is it about ALL the thoughts that go through your mind in the session. I don't just want to know what you see, I want to know what goes through your mind when you see it.
  • **Everything = Memories
    dreams / nightmares
    feelings / bodily sensations
    colours / patterns
    sounds / smells
    what you think I'm thinking
    things you're wondering
    present day thoughts
    'insignificant' thoughts (nothing is insignificant)
    something you read / watched on TV
    glimpses of people / places / objects.

  • Be specific

    - Say exactly what you see, not your interpretation of what you see.

    For example, If you get a memory of the school bully approaching you in the playground and asking you for your lunch money and you feeling afraid, say exactly that. Don't say "I had a hard time at school because I was shy" - that's your interpretation.

    For each recollection, I want to know:

    WHERE you are
    WHAT is happening
    WHAT is it like....what's the gist of the experience. How did that experience make you "feel", what was that experience "like for you"...
  • Don't 'go looking' for memories you think are significant.

    - As soon as you start looking, you stop free associating. Therapy stops as soon as you try to direct or control the recollections.
  • Say it as soon as you see it.

    - Don't wait, don't try to figure it out, pass it straight on to me.
  • Only say the first thing that comes into your mind.

    - Don't story-tell, don't waffle, don't fill me in on facts and figures.
  • DO repeat yourself.

    - It doesn't matter how many times the same recollection comes up, keep saying it every time you think of it.
  • You will never have a completely blank mind for more than a couple of seconds.

    - There will ALWAYS be something on your mind - it may not be an actual memory or an image, but you will always be thinking something, even if it's "shit, I can't think of anything"!
  • Thoughts may come into your mind from all times in your life, not just your childhood....say each and every one

    However, your mind will mostly naturally want to go back to your childhood because that is when the emotions were bottled up. If your mind keeps drifting back to the present day, you are probably just thinking and brooding about current issues and not free associating.

If you follow these rules, you'll sail through therapy!


*Very occassionally, some people do require a couple more sessions if they are very dissociative, ie, they are very disconnected from the experiences and emotions and it's less easy for them to get in touch with things that are coming up for them. However, even for these people, as long as they are free associating correctly, they will finish therapy.


Professional Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy in Bedford, with Greg Coyne, Hypnotherapist
Convenient for: Bedford, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Luton, Leighton Buzzard, Sandy, Rushden, St Neots

Contact Greg Coyne, The Bedford Hypnotherapist

You can call me on 07948 614012 or E-Mail me at greg.coyne@purehypno.com

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**Disclaimer: All content and claims made within these pages on this website are are based on my working with clients and their results over many years. The testimonials provided on this website are genuine client testimonials submitted to me after them working with the Thrive/Hypno-Analysis Programmes. This includes working with clients on Thrive, Stop Smoking, Hypno-Analysis and any other therapies explained on this website. Results clients may achieve can vary - as with any therapy the client has to put effort in to resolving their issues. The hypnosis or my individual work cannot make the changes in your life for you. However if you use the hypnosis and my input as a “tool” then together with your effort then there is no reason at all why you cant make those changes to improve your life and well-being. I offer no guarantees to you - as to do so would be irresponsible - particularly as I don’t know how much effort you will put in to any of the Programmes. But you can be assured I will put in 100% effort to help you resolve your issues.