A lifetime of old memories, and busy days spent making new ones, can sometimes add up to a feeling that life is a little less than ideal. Addressing those issues can do an awful lot of good, and depth hypnosis practitioner Emmy Volkar has just developed a new business to take on that challenge.
Volkar was born in Pennsylvania, where she also earned a degree in English. “At the time, I knew I like to read and write, and think about how people feel and live their lives, and to think about that in different ways,” she says. That led to 15 years spent in the world of non-profit adult and child behavioral health and community programs. Later, she took advantage of a network called World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms, which allows laborers to travel to farms in different locations to gain experience.
“My favorite farm was in Concrete. I kept in touch with those people, and at some point, they had a little cabin for rent,” says Volkar. “Then I moved to Guemes Island for a bit and moved to Bellingham in 2017. I guess I needed a bigger town to find more community, new friends, and the chance to play music.”
Volkar’s childhood experience held some inspiration for her future. “In middle school, friends would tell me what they were upset about, issues with their families and things, and I noticed I felt really comfortable with that,” she says. Since then, she’s also found another personal touchstone. “There might have been times I didn’t believe in a god presence, or a universal connective tissue, but I’ve always believed in energy, and it’s always been incredibly evident to me.”
She soon found a way to combine her beliefs with the desire to be her own boss. “About four years ago, I started going to the Foundation of the Sacred Stream in Berkeley, California,” says Volkar. “It was founded by Isa Gucciardi, a PhD who developed a modality of hypnotherapy in the mid 1990s called Depth Hypnosis.”
Despite the ideas that hypnosis might bring to mind, her practice has little to do with entering a sleep-like state. “It’s a model that combines hypnotherapy, Buddhist psychology, energy medicine, shamanic work, and transpersonal psychology—a way of understanding the self by connecting to a deity, a higher power, or an inner sense of wisdom,” Volkar says.
Her method doesn’t involve swinging a pocket watch in front of someone’s eyes, but does start off in a familiar way.
“I’ll get an emotional biography of the person’s life, going through their memories and foundational relationships,” Volkar explains. “In the next session, I help them connect to a compassionate internal voice. Some people are in a tremendous state of power loss, and their inner narrative is negative.”
The point is to use that hidden, positive inner voice to engage with the louder, negative one head-on.
“We talk about the issues that are arising in their lives and get to an emotionally charged state,” says Volkar. “From there I help them into a meditative state, where their mind is quieted so they can actually find the source of the feeling that’s coming up. Whatever the issue is, we bring in that compassionate voice to help with integration.”
Volkar sees this as an effective tool for a wide range of people. “If you’ve put a lot of effort and energy into changing something and it still isn’t changing, that’s a good time to work with Depth Hypnosis. For a lot of people, I see improvement in just three or four sessions,” she says. “It isn’t like talk therapy, which can help people organize their thoughts—this is for people who are ready to change things in their lives that are causing suffering. It has been proven to help with PTSD, anxiety and depression.”
Volkar also offers three other areas of assistance, starting with her training in the Coming To Peace process, a conflict resolution model in which clients connect to inner wisdom to guide them through mediation and conflict resolution. “I believe that conflict is a teacher,” says Volkar. “It’s there so that we can learn more about ourselves and deepen our capacity for being in harmony with the world. I believe it can be a really valuable thing to engage with.”
Another specialty focuses on physical health. “My understanding of human nature is that if we don’t deal with something on a spiritual level, it moves to an emotional level. If we don’t deal with it at that level, it moves to a mental level. If we don’t deal with it there, it can show up physically,” Volkar says. “If your nerves are fried, you can’t receive input in a normal, relaxed way. There are so many gentle and effective herbs that can help to repair your nervous system, and once you have a foundation, you can dig into physical issues, then open up on the emotional, mental and spiritual levels.”
Finally, Volkar guides people in developing ceremonies for weddings, births, funerals, and other personal milestones. “Our culture moves through everything so quickly that we often don’t give things the space and time needed to really hold them as sacred,” she says. “I’m interested in bringing that back to people because there’s wisdom in it.”
While much of Volkar’s work involves dealing with negative circumstances, she sees real results in taking them on and working past them. “I believe there’s a need to dig into the hard stuff, and I think we’ve forgotten how to do that. I’m also interested in helping people develop practices that let them feel comfortable and safe in their bodies.”