The affect bridge is a specific technique applied in hypnotic regression. As the name implies, the method forms a bridge between effects. This is useful when the hypnotherapist is trying to locate the root cause of the client’s problem.
The client presents the hypnotherapist with a problem that manifests in a feeling or emotion; the client only feels that. The hypnotherapist asks the client to describe the feeling, whereas a word is formed that refers to the surface of emotion. Using this reference word, the hypnotherapist can ask the unconscious mind to regress to the first point where this feeling was felt after inducing the hypnotic state. This will generally put the client right in the situation where the subconscious mind learned the problem-state.
From someone who fears spiders, you might get told that an intense amount of anxiety is present whenever a spider is mentioned. The client can be regressed to the first situation, where extreme anxiety was present using the word anxiety. It could be when the client observes their mother panicking because of a spider as a child. This observation teaches the unconscious mind that spiders should be feared. By reeducation of the subconscious mind, it will be possible for the client to dissolve anxiety whenever it isn’t helpful. This reeducation of the root experience will often make all the anxiety in other unpleasant encounters with spiders dissolve as well.
Therefore, the affect bridge is a tool for the hypnotherapist to quickly guide the client’s subconscious mind to regress to an experience significant to the present problem.