What is the Sedona Method?

Frequently asked questions

Disclaimer: The Sedona Method does not treat, diagnose, cure, advise about or in any other way address physical or mental illnesses.

Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own doctor or other medical professional. Please do not use any of this content to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem or disease. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, please promptly contact your health care provider.

What does it do - what will I get out of it?

Imagine you’re really wound up about something or someone … or just feel listless, bored and lacking in energy. What do you do? Part of you wants more than anything to get rid of the feeling and another part of mysteriously seems to want to hold on to it – as if your life depended on keeping hold of it.

Now imagine that it’s completely OK to feel as you do. How would that change things for you? Usually, as soon as we can let go of opposing the feeling, it will start to release and eventually dissolve.

I have seen countless people begin the process with very intense feelings and then miraculously let them go. I have experienced the same thing myself countless times.

Of course, feelings or moods don’t always spontaneously let go as soon as we begin the process. Other times, progress will be slower as the feeling state drops away layer by layer. No matter how intense or overwhelming your experience, it is very likely that you will get at least some relief by using the Sedona Method, if you are open to it.

If a feeling is really not ready to release, we can get to a point where we can accept it completely – then we only have the feeling to deal with instead of the feeling plus ‘Why is it here?’ ‘I shouldn’t feel like this’ and ‘this means that ..’ This is especially true of the very deep feelings that arise as part of our natural healing process, for example, when we need to come to terms with a loss in our lives or an unwelcome change in circumstances.

As you keep working with the Sedona Method, letting go gets quicker and easier and you find that you can release more and more subtle feelings – the kinds of states you didn’t even realise were feelings because they appear to be inseparable from you.

How does it work?

This is a very interesting question and one that I have been researching since I discovered the Sedona Method in 2014.

According to Hale, a problem is made of three parts:

  1. Firstly, we are often not aware of how we feel about a situation because our feelings are fuzzy and mostly below consciousness awareness and/or because we habitually suppress them as soon as we feel something brewing.
  2. When we are aware of how we feel, we often don’t like it, so we want to change it and decide that we shouldn’t feel like we do. That’s when we start chastising ourselves, looking for someone to blame, asking ourselves endless Why? questions as we look to the past or our identity for explanations or we just poor a big glass of wine.
  3. And the third part is we think it’s personal, all about us. We might think that our feelings are especially hard for us to deal with or that it’s unusually difficult for us to take the action we might need to take or to face up to how we feel. This is also where ‘it always happens to me’ and ‘why me’ belong.

The Sedona Method processes are structured t deal with each of these elements piece by piece and as each component of the problem releases, your perspective can shift dramatically and the stress and any sense of overwhelm starts to melt away

Remember also that this is a form of self-enquiry, which people have been practising for thousands of years. So while the way we approach each situation and the specific questions and formats have been developed over the last four decades, there is nothing new about this basic approach to alleviate mental suffering.

From a neurological perspective, I am a huge fan of Antoni Damasio and his Somatic Marker Hypothesis and I have a hunch that releasing allows us to slow down long enough to ‘see’ our encoded memories. Once we see that they are memories and not facts, we have many more options available to us in the present.

For more information on self-inquiry based spiritual teachers and the psychology and neurophysiology of self-inquiry approaches, see  Further reading.

Is it the same as meditation?

Yes and no!

Note: Meditation is a huge topic and there are so many approaches and aims of the practice, from walking meditations, to focusing on mantras or breath, so I can only write In very general terms here.

Doing the SM brings about a lovely sense of clarity and peacefulness, and it gives you a chance to switch off and observe what’s going on in mind and body. So in this sense, it is similar to meditation.

Where it differs is that it’s also a technique that you learn and then use anywhere and any time. Sometimes, just asking yourself the first question ‘could I allow/welcome this feeling?’ can produce instant relief in a stressful situation.

Also, you don’t need to sit on a meditation cushion or in a quiet room to do the SM. You can use it while you’re walking, sitting on a train or even while in a meeting. As you get more practised at it, you will find that you are able to release stress and tension even when you’re surrounded by other people.

From Sedona.com

Q: How is this different from therapy, meditation or motivational tapes?

A: Although the goal of therapy is letting go of unwanted feelings and emotions, The Sedona Method gets you there without being dependent on going to a therapist week after week for months or years at a time. You don’t need to talk to anyone to get results from the Sedona Method.

You meditate with your eyes closed and have to withdraw from the world to get results. And it often takes weeks, months, and even years to experience profound results. The Sedona Method achieves the same results and more in less time with an “eyes open” technique. Rather than withdrawing from the world you become more “involved” in the world. And because you can do it with your eyes open, you can release in the middle of any life circumstance, while it is happening, and before it has a chance to adversely affect you. Plus, you don’t have to adhere to rules from any group or guru.

What training do I have?

I have been studying and practising the SM since 2014. Since then, I have attended numerous live and online retreats and courses, and I attend the yearly facilitator training event. It’s actually my hobby — so if you see me walking with my headphones on, I am probably listening to a recording of Hale Dwoskin facilitating someone in the SM.

I am also a massage therapist and my training is in Holistic Bodywork, focusing on Thai Massage. I have been studying and practicing this since 2016. This training brought me into contact with many amazing teachers in the trauma field, and I am currently studying polyvagal theory, with Deb Dana, an associate of Stephen Porges. This is also the reason I often use a more embodied form of the SM.

You can find out more on the ‘About me‘ page or by watching the video here: https://youtu.be/kWoukW4xK7w

Do I need a facilitator or can I do it alone?

Yes of course you can do it on your own. Other than attending retreats, and the occasional partnerships. I used it by myself for years and found it very beneficial.

Releasing or letting go is a skill you develop as you work with the Sedona Method and the more you practice it, the faster and easier the process becomes.

Having said that, working with a facilitator will give you a huge advantage as the work will go deeper faster. We all have blind spots and our brains by their very nature get stuck in familiar thought patterns and loops. A facilitator will help you become aware of these mental habits and help you release them.

Also, there is something so powerful about sharing your experience with another person who listens to you without judgement and encourages you to acknowledge your current experience – whatever it may be.

Privacy

If you do not want to share details of what you need to work on, that is also absolutely fine. We are working with your feelings and sensations, and we can do this without knowing anything about the specific events or situations that have triggered them.

Will it help me get rid of limiting and negative beliefs?

We see the world through the filters of our past, our culture, the people around us and these filters tend to limit what we believe we can or should do in life. Many self-help techniques therefore place a great deal of emphasis on finding and changing limiting or negatives beliefs.

The Sedona Method takes a different approach.

Rather than addressing each belief or theme separately, we focus much more of letting go of the identification with all beliefs. For me, this was one of the most powerful and freeing aspects of the method.

For example, if you realise that you are identified with a (probably very familiar) idea about yourself or the world such as ‘things never work out for me’ or ‘it’s so unfair and always will be’, we work with that using the usual processes, which frees you much more easily than flattering the belief by going to head to head with it. Mental habits have a tendency to become more entrenched when they get wind of us trying to be rid of them – so working with the identification instead tends to make it a lot easier to let go of the beliefs.

From a neuroscience perspective, using the work of Antonio Damasio, this also makes a lot more sense. Beliefs are not like computer files, sitting somewhere in your physical brain, they are a propensity rather than a ‘thing’: an electrical circuit has a propensity to light a light bulb — but only when it’s connected to the mains. The mental equivalent of plugging the light into the mains is an association that triggers the original memory. When they are not triggered, they are simply not there – and as inert as an unplugged lamp. It makes no sense to go and look for them when they are not activated.

Isn't this a bit easy? Life just isn't that simple.

Yes, it can sometimes seem like that. When a big chunk of stuck feeling or story falls away, it can feel quite miraculous. This has been my experience and what I have need in others- But of course, the mind and body are habit and pattern machines, so the habitual thought patterns often appear to return and need to be released again – senior instructor says – this is not so much the same thing but a new layer of it that is coming up for release. It is like developing any muscle or any training program: you get better at, the more you do it..

It’s important to realise that once you have let go of something — even if it’s only once — the experience stays with you. It is as if you have opened a small window and allowed a shaft of bright light into your mind and seen that your mental machinations are not quite as solid or believable as they once appeared to be- Any and all letting go helps you to see the transparent and temporary nature of even the most tenacious and convincing of mental limitations.

The identities we are most attached to e.g. ‘I am shy’ or ‘I am not good with money or ‘I can’t deal with authority’ will take a little more work. Hale Dwoskin says you can let go of something and it never comes back, but my experience is that these kinds of deeper identifications tend to release layer by layer and the best action is just allow the process to unfold. Having said that, I have released some very deep seated Issues that genuinely never did return.

Isn’t this doing a spiritual bypass? What about the real world?

Any form or self-inquiry or meditation has the potential to be used as a ‘spiritual bypass’ i.e. to avoid deeper psychological issues.

This is one of the reasons why it’s very helpful to work with a facilitator. Our minds have a frustrating tendency to avoid asking themselves the most difficult questions. When it comes to devising convincing strategies to avoid discomfort and to defend the status quo, our minds get very creative. Our way of being and our belief systems are like old, broken toys that we just can’t bring ourselves to throw away even though they clutter up our apartment and look ugly.

We all go through our processes at a pace that suits our current state, our level of understanding and our psychological make up. If you notice you are developing a strong desire to practice the Sedona Method because you are fantasizing that you will get rid of emotions, never again be hurt or upset by other people or you have expectations that it will miraculously solve all your problems and free you from all normal obligations, bring this to the session. We can then to work through it or recognize that it’s time to use an alternative approach.

How do I know I am not just denying/suppressing feelings?

Like many other spiritually based teachings, it’s easy to get swept up by the good feelings that come from doing the practices and then believe that everything will just take care of itself. This undoubtedly happens in some cases, but it’s very important to discern the difference between letting something go and dissociating from or denying it.

Again, if you think this is something you have a tendency to do, it’s important to work with a facilitator and keep the video during the facilitation settings.

When you truly let go, you will generally feel quite expansive and connected to yourself and those around you. You will feel quite comfortable in your surroundings. The phrase people most often use is ‘I feel much lighter’.  There is a feeling possibility and any actions you need to take are in consciousness but any sense of overwhelm or negative expectations have mostly fallen away to reveal just ‘what it’.

On the other hand, if you are dissociating, you will by definition feel absent and disconnected from your facilitator and your surroundings. Your mind will be quite blank and there will be very little energy in your body. Rather than feeling at one with what is, you feel apart from it, somehow outside life.

Denial usually involves some contraction in the body. There is a tightness and defensiveness. Often you feel irritation towards the process and towards your facilitator. If this happens, you are welcome to share that with me and we can work with It – we often find that the greatest freedom is to be found in the trickiest of feelings.

Both dissociation and denial are also phases you go through during the process, as your mind starts trying to hold on to familiar concepts. There have been many occasions when I have felt intensely irritated with the whole idea of letting go and other times when I have pretended that I have let something go when I haven’t. If they become chronic and we can’t find a way through, then we need to address this by using a different technique or another approach.

What do you mean when you say 'it's just a story?'

First off, I will never say this to a client who is telling a story to try and get to the core and find their feelings about it, or when they are doing so just to make sense of something in their lives. In this situation, explaining and contextualizing can be very helpful.

It also helps you to feel heard and seen and it’s very releasing to share our difficult stories and histories with someone who will listen with and open heart and mind. This is a key part of the facilitation role.

However, sometimes a client will come close to the core of an issue and then will suddenly revert to explanations, unnecessary details, interpretations, and analysis. This is something we all do but it’s not helpful to the letting go process. When this happens, I have the sense that the client has bounced off the difficult feeling and taken refuge in the mind with its familiar constructs. When this happens, it’s useful to try and let go of the desire to explain and understand and focus on allowing yourself to explore the state of not knowing and any resistance to feeling, and again, It’s the facilitator’s role to encourage this.

What happens if I have unresolved trauma?

This is a very important question. If you have complex trauma, and/or symptoms of mental distress such a chronic depression, suicidal ideation or any other urges towards violence against yourself or others, please get professional help. The Sedona Method is not therapy and I am not trained to deal with these kinds of issues.

The Sedona Method can help you to become less identified with yourself as someone who has suffered trauma. Whatever has happened to you, however painful it may have been, it does not define you. There is always a part of you that is untouched by the trauma, even if that part feels very deeply buried. De-identifying with past experiences and finding a wholly trustworthy inner resilience has been my direct experience of using the Sedona Method.

If you want to work with me on this kind of issue, I suggest you do this alongside work with a therapist and that we do all the sessions on Zoom/Skype with the camera on.

Note: IFS (Internal Family Systems) therapy Is very compatible with the Sedona Method. I know people who have had good results from EMDR (eye movement desensitization) therapy.

Does it work with depression and anxiety?

Yes – for mild cases.

But please understand that this is not therapy, and I am not trained in psychotherapy.

In my experience, such a big part of depression is our resistance to it, our shame and the feeling that it will never get better and that we are somehow bad or weak for experiencing it. The Sedona Method can be very powerful in addressing how we feel about ourselves for being depressed and in releasing the expectation and fear of it returning.

The Sedona Method can also help you to become less identified with yourself as someone who suffers from or is prone to depression. However painful your mental state may sometimes be, it may have been, it does not define you. There is always a part of you that is untouched by even the most intense darkness, even if that part is hard to have much faith in right now, it is always there.

If you want to work with me on this kind of issue, I suggest you do this alongside work with a therapist and that we do all the sessions on Zoom/Skype with the camera on.

Can I use it on physical pain?

The Sedona Method is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. Please do not use any of the information supplied here to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem or disease. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, please promptly contact your health care provider.

However, I have worked with people who have chronic pain and they have found It helpful. Rather than trying to do anything with the pain, we work on their fear of the pain never going away, on the diagnosis, If there Is one or any other feelings about the pain. Hale Dwoskin also encourages turning your attention to where the pain Isn’t, to the parts of your body that are pain free or functioning normally.

Don’t you have to do years of meditation achieve the kind of peaceful state you describe?

I am probably not the best person to answer the question about how this compares with years of meditation practice because that is not the path I have taken.

If you want to understand more about this issue, please see Rupert Spira’s talks on the direct path and any of the books on the Further reading – many of which are written by psychotherapists with decades of experience who now find this kind of approach by far the most useful and effective way forward for their clients.

The Sedona Method and non-duality

If are looking for a way to de-stress, get some clarity and focus on goals or your direction in life, you can use it to do just that. But if you are also exploring the work of teachers such as Ramana Maharishi and Nisargatta, you will find The Sedona Method very helpful in your pursuit of this understanding. Hale Dwoskin’s teaching of the method is based on the non-dual understanding – but you don’t need to have to have any interest in that aspect of the teachings to enjoy the Method and benefit from it.

The Sedona Method is a secular (the non-dual approach is not a religion), so practitioners of all religions are very welcome. You may well find that using the method helps you deepen you spiritual or devotional practices.

On a personal level, the teachings of Rupert Spira, Gale Brenner, Francis Lucille and many others have deepened my understanding of how and why the Sedona Method is so effective. See Further reading for recommendations.

Letting Go: The Sedona Method Movie

On the Sedona Method official website at Sedona.com, you can read a lot more about the method and how others have benefited from it.