Hypnotherapy, forgiving and healing traumas | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Mache Torres-Ackerman
Mache Torres-Ackerman

The annulment of her first marriage left Marichelle “Mache” Torres-Ackerman struggling to regain her self-esteem. After the lengthy and tedious process, she was given the coup de grace when her ex-husband finally married his girlfriend and left their four children in her custody.

She then questioned society’s view of women as the weaker sex. They are conditioned to tolerate dysfunctional relationships to keep the family united and are treated like damaged goods when they become separadas.

Upon tying the knot again in 2015, she was asked by other women why she should remarry. “They look at separated women as secondhand. That’s probably how they felt about themselves and couldn’t move on, carrying their baggage,” she says.

Her second husband, David Ackerman, president and CEO of StratDev Philippines, is 10 years her junior. They have a daughter.

Learning from the past, she vows to train her five daughters to stand up for themselves and not be subservient.

Rebrand the self

During the pandemic, she consolidated her insights from the aftermath of her failed first marriage in a self-published book, “Explore the Deepest Essence of Your Being.”

“It’s meant for you to think about yourself. You can never say you are secondhand or damaged goods. Women can ‘rebrand’ themselves,” she says.

Ackerman’s road to empowerment after the first marriage began in the early aughts. A priest counseled that she deserved to be happy by working on herself and that her daughters would be contented if she was. She ventured into healing and forgiveness sessions, but was baffled by the contradictory statements of the participants. On the one hand, they claimed that they had forgiven the people who hurt them, yet they recalled their experiences with rancor.

Traveling to the United States, Ackerman reclaimed her confidence after having several sessions with board-certified hypnotherapist Calvin Banyan, founder of the Banyan Hypnosis Center.

In hypnotherapy, the patient is induced into a deeply relaxed and concentrated stage wherein one recalls the past encounters of a problem. The patient is also taught coping skills to face fears and anxieties or given suggestions for behavior and attitude change through imagery to overcome a deep-seated issue.

Ackerman had to revisit her childhood to understand who and what conditioned her to take misery from her husband.

“It’s not like going to a psychiatrist who keeps listening to you and prescribing medicine,” she explains. “Hypnotherapy enables you to get down to the root of the problem. I had to forgive my childhood past. The deep healing begins with self-awareness.”

Ackerman realized that she and her first husband had their own personal unresolved issues that surfaced as personality clashes. “If we worked with our therapists individually, we could have saved the marriage,” she says in hindsight.

Cultivating self-confidence

She then took up life coaching and medical hypnotherapy at the Banyan Hypnosis Center. Ackerman calls herself a leadership transformational coach, one who provides clients with tools to change by replacing counterproductive thought patterns with constructive thoughts. As a certified hypnotherapist, she helps clients come to terms with their past, to cultivate their self- confidence, to harmonize marital discords, to conquer fears, addiction and depression.

A 70-year-old Baguio-based woman, who carried a burden, would go down to Manila for her sessions. The patient recalled an earlier trauma while lying in bed after giving birth at age 25. She overheard her disapproving mother-in-law chiding her husband that he spoiled her like a baby. Since then, the patient could not forgive her mother-in-law.

“It may seem petty but it could turn into baggage. Hypnotherapy can help people forgive,” says Ackerman.

An executive had a job that required him to travel around the country. However, he was afraid of flying. “When I regressed him, he remembered being in kindergarten in a traditional Chinese school. The teacher punished him for being naughty by making him stay inside a balikbayan box. He had since developed claustrophobia. After the sessions, he has been traveling a lot,” says Ackerman.

A client felt empty despite her popularity and comfortable lifestyle. In a regression session, the client recalled being in the womb of her mother who was crying. “The mother had a sad pregnancy because she was single. Pinaglihi sa sama ng loob. The child could feel the emotions of her mother while in the womb.”

In couples therapy, she meets them individually to help them sort out their personal issues before they undergo therapy as a pair.

Women prisoners

“I want to inspire. Aside from studying the techniques, I have learned a lot through experiences,” says Ackerman. “A leadership transformational coach starts from being a master of the self and becoming an example to others. In transformation, you are changing to this higher being or better version of the self.”

For nearly two decades, Ackerman has been doing volunteer service at the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong. “I troubleshoot the new prisoners. They have to come to terms with the fact that they were given a sentence. I help them deal with depression, and work on acceptance and forgiveness. For those who have finished serving their prison time, I help them face society and provide livelihood projects,” she says.

To keep the women prisoners entertained, she helped to organize a band, a dance group and a fashion show every February to celebrate the CIW’s founding anniversary. The inmates use available resources to make gowns for the Miss Correctional Pageant. In 2016, they sewed the gowns of the real people models during a climate change gala at the Shangri-La at the Fort.

Aside from her coaching, Ackerman is an author of self-help books and other international books in collaboration with other authors. As an entrepreneur, she set up businesses in real estate, financing, investments, and is a co-owner of an underground bar in Makati.

She is better known as a socialite who has graced coffee-table books such as the “Giving Hearts,” a fund-raising project of the Philippine Cancer Society’s Best Dressed Women of the Philippines, and photographer Rupert Jacinto’s “Faaabvlous” which highlights glamorous achievers and lifestyle magazine covers.

Ackerman strikes the balance in being seen in that glossy world, but not quite being part of it. —CONTRIBUTED INQ

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