Blog: The Accidental Intuitive

In this blog, I’ll be sharing snippets of intuitively discerned guidance on “life 101” as well as observations about my favorite topics– human behavior and healing, which is why I’ve chosen to brand myself an “intuitive behaviorist” until I think of something better. When I can’t resist the urge, some acerbic comments on current affairs might challenge you to examine your current beliefs versus current social, psychological, spiritual and holistic trends.

Sometimes posts will explore the unfolding archetypal power struggles we face when our ego, identity and personal and professional power clash with our relationships, values and spirituality. In the long-term, depending on the level of resilience (emotional sturdiness) one has, that kind of inner conflict creates stress that can lead to illness.

Paradigms, Change Agents and Visionaries

A paradigm is a standard perspective, a set of ingrained perceptions that represent a common viewpoint among a group of individuals or the worldview of an entire culture. Since paradigms have multiple deep roots, they can take generations to evolve. The German physicist Max Planck, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1918, put it this way:

“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

For example, most people believe that therapy involves emotional pain, lots of time and money and probably anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications in order to end up with insights and coping skills for their trauma. They’ve never been exposed to a new healing paradigm that can heal deeply, relatively quickly and painlessly, without drugs. The field of Energy Psychology provides powerful but gentle healing methods, one of which is evidence-based, that can do that.

Since change agents are outside-the-box, innovative, creative thinkers, as most inventors are, they need to be independent, confident and powerful enough to defend their ideas about change from the gatekeepers of the paradigm, which generally resist change, even good change. For example, the ACME Mousetrap Company which has 90% of the market share will not be thrilled to find out that the competition has in fact invented a better mousetrap.

When the Heimlich maneuver was initially introduced, it was stonewalled for years before the American Red Cross finally endorsed a fast, effective, no-harm procedure anyone could perform to save people from choking to death.

Change agents aka “paradigm shifters” are independent thinkers who tend to ignite movements that result in fundamental changes to “standard” beliefs about the way things should be done. Visionary change agents are those whose courage, innovation, and pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit have birthed “radical” ideas as well as radical inventions into mainstream acceptance. Who would ever believe we’d have driverless cars? In many cases, visionary change agents such as Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King have altered the course of history. Without the passion to power one’s way through the cycle of resistance, ridicule and rejection, and the perseverance to stay the course no matter the obstacles, innovation dies.

You’ll become very familiar with the ACE Study, Adverse Childhood Experiences, which links childhood trauma and the development of life-threatening illness in adulthood.

Get your personal ACE Score in 6 minutes

I’ll be posting excerpts from my next couple of projects– some true case histories from the second book in the Compass series, Family Compass, about how negative family dynamics affect us, and Out of the Kill Zone, about how trauma impacts combat troops, cops and civilians and how to heal. See the reviews from the first book in the Compass series, Spiritual Compass: Practical Strategies for When You Feel Lost, Alone and God Seems Far Away.

Recent Posts

Treating Body/Mind Dissociation Heals Childhood Trauma

 

“Bill,” a 64-year-old client I’d worked with several times but hadn’t seen in nine months, arrived for an emergency appointment.  Without preamble, he jumped to his feet and yanked his shirt up, displaying an ugly patchwork of fiery red, oozing sores on his back.

“Look at this psoriasis!” he demanded. “It started on my legs again now it’s all over my body! I’ve been to two dermatologists, an allergy specialist, an acupuncturist, and a shrink. I’ve had shots and creams and nothing helps. This itching is driving me crazy! I’m telling you, Sue, if you can’t help me get out of this, I’m just gonna kill myself!”

He sat, arms folded, jaw set, and we stared at each other for a long moment. I glanced down at the medical intuitive scan from our first appointment the previous spring. The detailed blueprint overflowed with childhood trauma and dissociation interwoven with themes of insecurity, regret, self-blame, and a subconscious need to self-punish. It also revealed deep grief, guilt, and anxiety.

I knew Bill trusted and respected me, so I decided to give him a dose of tough love.

I leaned forward. “Listen to me. Those look like angry… weeping… sores. Your body is telling you symbolically what you refuse to acknowledge literally– your emotional storage vault is on overflow.”

I waved the file at him. “Sixty years of toxicity is literally seeping out of you– helplessness, rage, fear, sadness, grief, regret, it’s all here in the scan and in your history. Here’s a note from our first session, “I’ve never felt comfortable in my own SKIN!” Connect the dots Bill: the problem is not what’s wrong with you, it’s what they did to you!” 

He was silent for a moment, eyes downcast. Then he met my gaze. “You’re right,” he said quietly. “I didn’t want to go there. I thought if I ignored it, it would go away. I guess now I don’t have any choice.”

The most dangerous part of trauma is under the waterline

A Lifetime of Trauma

Bill’s wry smile and penetrating blue eyes belied a terrible childhood of cruel beatings at the hands of his battered alcoholic mother and emotional abuse plus the occasional beating by his blackout-drunk father.

His face and body bore the scars from dozens of vicious fist-fights fueled by the blue-hot rage that defined his teens and twenties and permeated his entire life. He recalled a hair-trigger rage so consuming that when a 6’5” drunken soldier bullied a shorter soldier in a bar during WWII, he attacked the bully and nearly beat him to death with his bare hands.

His affable Irish manner concealed an extensive trauma history that was now a case of somatization, which is when emotional trauma migrates into the body and triggers physical dysfunction or illness.

He was referred by his long-time therapist, one of my energy psychology students. Old suicide demons were beginning to re-surface that she was unable to dislodge, so she sent him to a psychiatrist for medication and then to me.

In our first session in 2005, we used EFT, the Emotional Freedom Technique, to neutralize the horror and grief of the day Bill pulled his murdered brother’s body from the ocean, a trauma that had haunted him for over 15 years. We had six 90-minute sessions in 2005 and when he left the patches of psoriasis on his shins had nearly vanished.

Nine months later the psoriasis was back with a vengeance and the suicidal ideation was in the danger zone. I called his psychiatrist who said that he had stabilized Bill on medications, and to go ahead and treat him. We agreed to keep each other posted on any new developments.

Bill’s psoriasis appeared to be a textbook somatization disorder. The root was hidden in dissociated consciousness that held Bill’s traumatized seven-year-old ego state/self in a sort of suspended animation, caught in a dissociation time warp one dimension away.

If a client can remember a traumatic incident clearly but can’t feel any emotional charge on it, the emotional charge (affect) is dissociated or repressed, aka “emotional numbing.” In Bill’s case, his traumatic emotions were not repressed, (the rage explosions) but that toxic load of traumatic emotional energy was funneled into the body and expressed in somatization. The psoriasis was his body’s way to metaphorically reveal his sadness, grief, and anger. “I’ve never felt safe in my own skin.”

The Healing: Metaphors for the Pain

Mastering metaphor interpretation and symbolic vision are critical self-assessment skills everyone needs. “Tracing the energetic signature of trauma,” means discerning the common denominators that connect two or more seemingly unrelated patterns or events. This skill of reading energy yields a wealth of information that might otherwise take months or years to dig up or that might never surface.

We reviewed the trauma blueprint in my intuitive scan again. When Bill realized the psoriasis was a metaphor for his repressed anger and sadness and his alcoholism was the anesthesia for intense emotional pain, he was finally ready to “go to the mat” with it. He saw that the life-long pattern of bar fights was driven by a subconscious need to protect small or weaker people (like his childhood selves,) from being beaten up by bigger bullies, (like his violent parents.)

We traced Bill’s earliest and most traumatic memory of this pattern; the time at age seven, when his mother burst into the bedroom he shared with his 11-year-old brother Jack, screaming “I’m gonna kill you goddam kids” and swinging the dreaded strap.

We engaged guided imagery to send the adult Bill back in time, to that bedroom, to rescue his seven-year-old self that was still trapped in the terror, sadness, and helplessness. Bill closed his eyes, took some deep, slow, breaths, and visualized the scene. He recounted how he and Jack had been put to bed, and in typical fashion, were talking, laughing, and throwing pillows. Suddenly the door burst open and their mother charged into the room and began beating Jack with the strap as he cowered in the lower bunk bed.

Tears flowed in the present moment as Bill begged over and over, “Mom, don’t hit him! Don’t hit him Mom, hit me instead, I did it.”

At that point, I guided him to walk into that bedroom as his adult self today, take the belt away from his mother and say firmly, “NO MORE HITTING. You’re never doing this to him again.” Then I guided him to rescue his seven-year-old self—“Come here buddy,” lead him by the hand out of the bedroom, down the hall, out of that house, and back to my office where they’d be safe.

Bill said, “I want to bring Jack too.”

I said “Good. Save them both.” Adult Bill left “seven” in my care, went back to the bedroom, retrieved Jack, and came back with him to present time in my office.

Bill gave an audible sigh of relief and his body relaxed, slumping back into the couch. He said, “They’re here with me, they’re finally safe.”

I asked if it would be okay with the boys if I talked to them. He paused, then said, “They say yes.”

I said something like this:

“Little Bill and Jack, I know you’ve suffered a lot. I’m so sorry you kids had to go through that. You guys didn’t deserve the beatings, no kid deserves that. Even though you might be thinking you were bad like Mom said and you’re thinking you deserved it, you didn’t. It wasn’t fair. The truth is, Mom had a lot of problems from when she was a little girl that you’re too young to understand, and Dad was mean to her when he drank too much. She was just so mad inside she didn’t know what do to with the anger so she took it out on you and the other kids. I’m sure she did love you and didn’t mean to ever hurt you. She just couldn’t help it. Bill is big now and he can protect you. When he leaves my office today, you can go home with him if you want, and stay with him. Nobody hits kids at his house. He told me he’d buy you ice cream and hot dogs and whatever else you guys want. He loves you little guys, and he needs your help for this healing today. Will you help us?”

Eyes still closed, Bill began to smile through the silent tears.

“They like the part about the ice cream and hot dogs. They’re hungry.”

Once the adult Bill had the sense of re-attachment to his seven-year-old self, we proceeded with the healing. He indicated the fear and sadness about Mom’s abuse, “all the times and all the ways it wasn’t safe to be” at a “10” on the 0-10 affect measurement scale. I asked, “Where do you feel ‘it wasn’t safe to be’ is stored in your body?” His hand moved to the solar plexus.  During the process, memories of other times ‘it wasn’t safe to be’ surfaced and cleared.

In this case, adult Bill did the healing for himself, seven, and Jack. In other cases, the rescued/recovered parts are asked to help, and the adult shows and tells them how to do EFT (“tap along with me like this”) or any other modality we choose and they do it as “we” instead of just the adult client.  “Even though mom beat us with the belt…”

Twelve hours later, Bill called to report the itching was gone and the sores had improved about 50%. Within two weeks, they were gone.

A few months later, Bill came to talk at a workshop I taught for a group of therapists and nurses. He told the class there’s no trace of either psoriasis or the scarring on his skin as he pulled up his shirt and turned his back to them. He feels whole, and he’s happy and at peace for the first time in his life. According to his psychiatrist, he’s had no further suicidal ideations.

Older Posts

Healing Trauma/PTSD: What Happened to You, (Not What’s Wrong With You)

“Time heals nothing” is one of the trade secrets therapists don’t want you to know.  If you’ve been in “counseling” for trauma/PTSD for a reasonable period of time and you aren’t healing or changing, either you have blocking internal beliefs I call “stoppers,” or maybe your therapist has emptied their conventional toolbox and quietly labeled […]

Bulletproof New Year’s Resolutions: Healing, Not Willpower

Every January first, millions of people around the world make “The List”– lose weight, get in shape, stop smoking, renounce sugar, decrease judgments, increase tolerance, and for some, find the courage to heal. Depending on the “resolution,” the new you lasts anywhere from an hour to a few weeks or months. Very few people are […]

You’re Invited to an Evening with Sue Hannibal

California Medical Intuitive, and author of Amazon best-seller: Spiritual Compass, Practical Strategies for When You Feel Lost, Alone, and God Feels Far Away, Sue Hannibal, invites you to join her for an evening with Sue Hannibal. Discover how to Read Energy: Diagnose Yourself and Others Using Metaphor Language and the Chakra System. Wednesday, October 24th, […]

How to Survive Shock and Emotional Overwhelm

Any serious loss, especially if it’s sudden, can be shocking. A serious diagnosis– being blindsided by someone you trusted, job loss, any kind of victimization can overwhelm us like a tsunami. Here’s how to keep your head above the water. 1) No matter how intense the emotional overwhelm is, know that you won’t die from […]

School Shooters: Insecure, Scared and Craving Power

School shooters crave an outer form of power because they have not been taught how to develop a strong sense self and personal power to fuel and guide the development of their personalities. They dwell on the negative; some glorify brutal monsters like Adolph Hitler, which feeds their sickness. These children are like the lost […]

Nonfiction Author’s Association Interview

In July 2017 I was the featured author on the Nonfiction Author’s Association website. Here is the interview—nonfiction writers, take note. What is your book about? Spiritual Compass is part memoir and part spiritual guidebook for navigating “life 101.” It opens with a classic “Dark Night of the Soul” depression triggered by divorce and the […]

Trauma and Resilience

After nearly 20 years in private practice specializing in trauma and resilience, I thought as I watched the news about the “worst mass shooting in modern American history,” that I could easily maintain the detached yet compassionate presence I routinely hold with my clients. Not today. After watching almost an hour of  morning news about […]

When Parents Criticize: Unintended Consequences, Unintended Damage

There’s a difference between parental criticism and discipline. Discipline, done in a healthy, balanced and consistent manner, is about guidance for children to learn appropriate behavior and values as they also hopefully see their parents model appropriate behavior and values. Parental entitlement, (“Do as I say not as I do”) doesn’t cut it. Parents who bully their children may gain rapid compliance, but their children also learn to bully others to get what they want.

Gangs and Bullying: A Virulent Societal Plague

Gangs and Bullying: A Virulent Societal Plague © SueHannibal.com  Bullying, whether it’s primarily emotional, physical, racial, cultural, sexually motivated or all of the above, is spreading through the world. Terrorist gangs, better armed and a more lethal version of street gangs, play by similar rules, killing anyone, including cops and rival gang members, to protect […]

How to Not Make Bad Decisions — Avoiding Scammers and Manipulators

This post explores the ins and outs of critical thinking, deductive reasoning and discernment, issues that should concern everyone in the voting booth, on a jury and to protect both heart and checkbook in personal and business relationships. In my intuitive healing practice, I help people identify and heal the vulnerabilities that make them susceptible […]

Hoarding: The Metaphors Behind the Madness

  “Eric” a successful businessman in his early 50’s, came to my office burdened with a shameful secret. He reluctantly admitted that no one had been inside his home for over a decade. Unlike many hoarders, Eric was not in denial. He nervously handed me a stack of photographs of his home and garage in […]

Navigating Grief and Loss

Everyone wants to know how you’re doing. The answer can vary from day to day or minute to minute. Most people don’t know what to do or say. They want to show concern and support, but they’re afraid that if they do, they might cause more pain. Death, dying and grief in this country is awkward. […]

Anger, Injustice, Unforgiveness and Cancer

Holding anger and grudges have biological consequences. They create anxiety, a form of stress, which contributes to the stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin eroding the ability of the body to produce T-cells, the “foot soldiers” of the immune system. According to this article, 61% of cancer patients have toxic loads of unforgiveness/anger/stress. This speaks to […]

New Facebook Community: Military with PTSD Out of the Kill Zone

We are announcing the launch of a new Facebook community as an international directory of resources and free or low-cost treatment for veterans and traumatized civilians who want to heal their trauma, not talk about it endlessly in counseling or suppress it with dangerous, toxic and potentially life-threatening drugs. My book of the same title […]

Yoga is Not Against the Law in Encinitas, CA Judge Rules

One ultra-conservative Christian couple here in San Diego tried to use the legal system to force their narrow beliefs on an entire community and school system. That’s what extremist Muslims who believe in Sharia law are trying to do, minus the bloodletting. Yoga is an exercise, not a Hindu belief system, unless one practices it […]

Why Change is Hard: Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

Have you heard the saying  “people resist change?” We do resist, because an element of change is the unknown, which implies a possible lack of control. Any perception of lack of control produces anxiety. That is a  recipe for resistance, whether the anxiety is conscious ( job change) or unconscious ( “Dad left  when I […]

Can Chronic Stress Make You Sick?

This Woman Got Breast Cancer From a Bad Marriage.   Here’s a story that illustrates the painful damage just one negative, limiting core belief can do to a person’s life. This woman “didn’t believe in divorce” and stayed married to a man with a mental disorder who wouldn’t work for 15 years. According to tons […]

Obituary For a Cruel and Abusive Mother, Written by Her Adult Daughter

 A gut-wrenching obituary about an abusive mother The obituary below, written by the daugher of an abusive mother, has gone viral. The story is gut-wrenching and tragic, but  sadly, in my experience treating childhood trauma for the better part of 14 years, it’s not unusual. Abandonment, rejection, abuse, cruelty, shaming, torture and beatings disguised as “discipline” have scarred the lives of millions […]

Why Hoarding and OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) is so Hard to Heal

The Secret and Shameful World of Hoarding With the advent of the Hoarders and Hoarders: Buried Alive shows on A & E and TLC, the previously secret and shameful world of hoarding has gone public. Hoarding is a particularly chronic and difficult to treat manifestation of OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Conventional psychological approaches including Cognitive […]

Left Behind: He Left Me–To Go To War

It’s 1 a.m. and I can’t sleep. My Army reserve husband returned safely from Afghanistan and is back to his old self, but the part of my heart that went with him still aches for those who suffered horrific injuries or who didn’t come home at all. On this Memorial Day, I want to speak […]

Food Sensitivities, Autoimmune Disease and Unhealed Trauma—Is There a Connection?

Studies have shown that chronic stress affects everything from your gums to your heart and can lower your immunity to everything from the common cold to cancer. In the 1930s researcher Hans Selye first coined the term “stress” to describe the damaging effects that the stress hormone cortisol had on the long-term health of rats. […]

Why People Don’t Heal

There are many reasons why people don’t heal. Some blocks to healing are emotional or spiritual and can be overcome. Sometimes illnesses have genetic components that resist healing until gene therapies advance. Emotional blocks to healing can be subconscious or conscious. Here are some examples of blocks to healing that I find frequently during intuitive […]

Can Stress From Unhealed Trauma Cause Autoimmune Diseases and Chronic Pain? Science Says YES.

Traditional psychotherapeutic approaches to trauma and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) which focus on cognitive “restructuring” and insights too often supply clients with coping skills for their pain instead of healing. Likewise, medical treatments that do not diagnose and heal the cause but instead rely on symptom suppressing medications and treatments that do not also address […]

The ACE Study–link between autoimmune diseases, chronic stress and childhood trauma?

According to the landmark ACE Study, Adverse Childhood Experiences, (www.acestudy.org), the connection is unmistakable. In 1992, doctors at Kaiser Hospital in San Diego, CA and the federal Centers for Disease Control began a collaborative and still on-going study that would eventually involve over 17,000 people in the Wellness Program at Kaiser and offer solid evidence […]

The Many Faces of Panic

  When a doctor takes your physical history and notes your symptoms, she’s comparing the symptoms you report against a list of symptoms of various conditions she suspects and looking for a match that fits your specific symptom profile. When she gets a hit, she might follow up with tests to confirm the diagnosis. Or, […]

What’s on Your Hard Drive?

There’s nothing more important that we can do for our present health and future happiness and well being than self-heal the viruses and stealth programs on our internal hard drive. According to the landmark ACE Study, (Adverse Childhood Experiences, www.acestudy.org) there is a strong graded correlation between our personal body/mind storehouse of toxic unhealed childhood […]

Two Cases of Chronic Back Pain: Grief and Heartache Held in the Back

When I first started my practice, it seemed like a first year internship. Most people had what appeared on the surface to be simple issues: back pain, phobias, anger, grief, etc. I had yet to learn that most emotional issues, especially those that have somatosized (taken root) into the body, are more like icebergs where […]

Energy Medicine: A Multi-Dimensional Healing Paradigm

There are several missing links in the current paradigm of emotional healing today.  Conventional psychotherapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy is time-consuming, frequently taking months or even years, and is, clients tell me, painful and re-traumatizing.  It’s also expensive, and has a hit and miss reputation in terms of changed lives and the long-term release of […]