Friday, 7 December 2012

Talking hypnotherapy

What a week this has been. Started with my hypnotherapy training (Module 3 now) in Bournemouth. 2 long days of theory and practice culminating in an assessed treatment using the Milton model of deliberate permissive language (e.g 'you may feel that...', 'I wonder if, now or in a moment, you will begin to feel x...'), This opens up the possibility for people to experience hypnosis however they want to. It takes the power away from the hypnotherapist (not like Derren Brown then!) and back to the client. Hypnosis, it seems is not magic, but simply an applied skill which uses the knowledge of how the mind creates and stores memories, emotions (which can be attached to those memories) and replays them for us whenever we encounter something familiar. This is why our subconscious emotions (many of which were learned in childhood) can be so destructive. We have no control over them and we do not even know what we are operating from..

And I was reminded of this personally too as my cat Sidney, my little companion, fell ill this week and I was struggling to cope with the notion of losing him (he stopped eating and drinking and there was a possibility he wasn't going to survive). My fear and sense of loss was so huge - even though the worst hadn't happened yet I was operating as if it was. The term 'as if' is used a lot in hypnosis communication. We ask someone to imagine something 'as if' it were happening. The subconscious mind doesn't know the difference between reality and imagination - the response will be the same. So, if I ask you, to imagine that your hand is stuck to your knee as if it was stuck with superglue, if I really get you to engage your imagination it becomes impossible to move! This is called the hand-stick routine and it is fascinating!

Hypnotherapy is more therapy than hypnosis in my opinion. It elicits information from the client, devises a strategy to help them and then uses hypnosis to deliver the intervention. But you need all the skills of an empathetic counsellor and more to be effective. Rapport is essential in hypnosis or the client will be not willing to follow your suggestions. So, we are learning so much more than how to induce hypnosis. We are doing a full session of therapy too. Using tools such as Socratic questions e.g 'what would happen if you did?' to get the client to analyse their own thinking critically. So much of this is used in self-help books eg check out Byron Katie's 4 questions which ask you 'turn it around' but with hypnotherapy there is more evidence based guidance and a full training.