Sex, Lies, and Hypnosis - Monday July 23

sex, lies and hypnosis
lisa and phil (4/4)

This fascinating series features warring couples who are in the midst of relationship crises. The couples undergo therapy with top UK hypnotherapist Ursula James, who uses her skills to unlock her subjects’ deepest secrets and reveal the raw truth about their feelings for one another. In tonight’s final programme, Lisa and Phil from Brampton come to Ursula as a last resort when their marriage reaches breaking point.

Intensive-care nurse Lisa and business manager Phil met five years ago via an internet dating site. They have since had two children, but their life together has not been as they had hoped. When their elder son was born four years ago, Lisa suffered a bout of postnatal depression and has been on prescribed medication ever since. Finding it tough to cope with his wife’s condition, Phil often stays late at the office, complaining that the tension at home has become unbearable. “It’s very difficult to love her when she’s the way she is,” says Phil. With their children now feeling the effects of the hostility at home, Lisa and Phil have come to Ursula James for help: “Hypnotherapy is the last resort for us,” says Lisa. However, the treatment will reveal the darkest moments from the couple’s pasts, and the experience will change their relationship forever.

As he prepares for his first session, an apprehensive Phil says that he wants to regain the passion in his relationship, explaining that the current absence of intimacy in his marriage serves as a real stumbling block. While his brain activity is monitored on an EEG machine, Ursula takes him into a hypnotic trance. Here, Phil relives a painful episode from his childhood when he and his family moved from London to Ireland, much against his wishes. Never understanding the reason for the upheaval, Phil has felt anger and frustration ever since and has never properly dealt with the emotions surrounding the event. “Is it time to let that anger go?” asks Ursula.

Phil is quick to understand the implications of his treatment. Since having to change schools as a young child, he was bullied throughout the rest of his education and coped by hiding his emotions. This strategy has continued into his adult life, and he now finds himself shutting Lisa out. In order to move forward in his marriage, he must first deal with the issues from his past, so he sets about phoning his father to unearth the real reasons for the family’s move, all those years ago.

While Phil seems to be making good progress, Lisa feels under great pressure to make the therap a success. Before her session with Ursula, she explains that she wants to work through her stress levels and bad moods, using the powerful image of being dragged into the mud to describe her current condition. What emerges while she is under hypnosis, however, is a jumble of confused images, suggesting fear, insecurity and anger. It is not until she wakes up again that she can address the shocking memory that seems to be the trigger for many of her current problems.

Some days after the treatment, Phil and Lisa’s relationship takes a turn for the worse. “Phil appears to be moving ahead at a consistent rate,” explains Ursula, but Lisa’s lack of progress has led to her feeling resentment and guilt. Then, Lisa hits rock bottom: suspecting that her anti-depressants may be responsible for her poor development, she goes against the advice of both Ursula and her GP, and reduces her dose. “I see someone who is selfsabotaging,” says a worried Ursula. The next stage of the treatment is for Lisa and Phil to come together to watch each other’s therapy sessions on video, in the hope that they can each understand the other’s problems.

However, the couple barely react to seeing one another in painful situations, leading Ursula to reflect that they are not working at all as a couple. “The plan at this point is to get them connecting,” she says. But with six of the 12 weeks of treatment already gone, is it a case of too little, too late for Lisa and Phil?

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  • martha

    Could somebody sum up to me what happened in the second hour of the programme? I stopped watching after they had read out their letters to each other about the sex issue.

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