Posted on December 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm
Hypnotherapy means many things to many different people including hypnotherapists themselves. Beliefs and values influence the way a hypnotherapist works. The training a hypnotherapist has had will also influence the way a hypnotherapist works with people. Some hypnotherapists believe in past lives so this forms part of the way they work. I hold no such beliefs personally with regards past lives and I also find the logic of their use suspect. Some hypnotherapists believe that hypnosis is about relaxation and having your eyes closed in the traditional fashion. Other hypnotherapists somehow believe they can exert power over somebodies sub conscious when in reality it is the client themselves that are exercising the power and the hypnotherapist is a facilitator. I believe that it is the client that is doing the work while I facilitate the process. When someone is learning to drive they co operate and learn from the instructor but there is very little the instructor can do if the learner is not following the guidance. So a lot of what I do in my work is about teaching people how to drive their own car. Used in conjuction with hypnosis very deep, very solid changes can take place for someone.
For the public I think a lot of the perceptions of hypnotherapy probably come from stage hypnotism. When you watch a stage hypnosis show it appears like the hypnotist can make people do whatever he likes. That belief itself makes the job easier for a stage hypnotist as it leaves people more suggestable. The truth is is that the hypnototist goes through a selection procedure that will gaurantee his hypnosis working with a very small percentage of the audience. Through the selection process the hypnotist is looking for people that can follow instructions and also people who are highly hypnotisable. People vary in their ability to go into hypnosis so even the best hypnotist in the world cannot hypnotise anyone.
While it benefits a stage hypnotist to have people believe he can exert control over someone when it comes to hypnotherapy it is the worst relationship to have with a client. My work in hypnotherapy is geared towards creating independent clients who once they have worked with me will not need to come again. If I let my clients believe it was me that got the changes and not them then if something did come up they have to see me again. This is a relationship of dependency. However when a client understands that it was them themselves that got the changes they have more choice about how to handle life’s struggles and this reduces the likelihood of having to see someone again. Some people are already good at being told what to do and having to rely on people so again reinforcing the belief that they have to go to a hypnotherapist every time to be told what to do reduces their personal agency at a time when they need it to be increased. A lot of people’s problems stem from the feeling of a lack of choice over the situations that they are in so my beliefs about how hypnotherapy should be conducted stem from helping people become aware of and create more choice in their lives. Choice over their actions and choice over their feelings as well.
My hypnotherapy practice is informed by many different fields including NLP, Clean Language, Hypnosis, Psychology, Neuroscience, Embodied Cognition, Evolutionary Psychology and many others. When you start to research what is commonly referred to as the sub conscious you realise pretty quickly how distorted hypnotherapists beliefs are about it. That will severley limit hypnotherapy due to the hypnotherapists rigid belief system about what is and what is not possible with hypnosis and hypnotherapy
Posted on October 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm
Metaphors more like quotes
Posted on July 10, 2012 at 6:35 pm
It’s a big question. One that was by and large a pointless one for me because I couldn’t even find a job. I quit mine right on the eve of the recession and there was no signing up through an agency for casual work they didn’t even take C.v’s anymore. More on that later as my story only really serves as a starting point for the kind of life I would like to have happen.
The personal development world thrives on fantasy at the moment and probably always will. Quite a few people and more before the recession are making a lot of money selling expectations of a utopian golden life. All you need is the power of positive thinking and some feel good phrases and your fellow fantasists whoop in delight feeding a recursive loop of thinking and whooping. That’s precisely where the problem lies though because it doesn’t involve any action and your receiving a nice dose of reward for not doing anything.
I was reading somewhere of a frightening statistic that only 1 in 10 coaches actually manage to make a decent living if they manage to make a living at all. 1 in 10. I was also listening to Daniel Kahneman this morning who quoted another frightener to keep you awake at night; only about a third of businesses survive trading past five years. A third. That’s a tall order and it’s a big risk to take. Some people are fooled into thinking there is no risk and it can come as a big shock when the fantasy bubble you have been floating around in suddenly receives a prick from the cold sharp pin of reality.
If you are not happy with your life as it is and genuinely want to create the kind of life you would like to enjoy you need to be prepared to take risks, make sacrifices and be prepared to fail. Obviously we’re talking about a life overhaul here your life might be perfectly fine as it is. Mine isn’t and that’s the purpose of what i’ll be doing over the next year. I need to know if I can live the life I would absolutely adore to live.
My envisioned utopian existence involves waking around eight, making a cup of tea and working from bed until about 10 or 11. Following that, see a couple of clients in the afternoon. I want enough money for attending trainings, books and Dvd’s while being anywhere in the country when I want to be and having enough money to socialise. In fact what i’m attempting means that I can do this anywhere in the world.
Knowing that I was approaching unemployment again I blew virtually all of the past three months wages on setting up everything I need to get set up online. So it’s all set now. Either it works or I go back to the daily grind forever waking up to “just a job”. I don’t want just a job though I want to be the Professor Brian cox of the brain rolled into the Tim Ferris of personal development. I want to live life on my terms helping others do the same. We shall see
Posted on April 29, 2012 at 3:36 pm
Hypnotherapy is a broad and uninformative term for someone who uses hypnosis to help another person overcome challenges in an area of their life. The hypnotherapist will typically put someone in a deep slumber then give a series of suggestions that is intended to re-organise the persons experience so that the challenge no longer presents itself. The ritual is usually characterised by the client lying down on a couch with the hypnotherapist instructing them to close their eyes and go deeper and deeper into a nice, deep, trance. There are a variety of ways to achieve hypnosis without this process but if someone calls themselves a hypnotherapist that is what you can generally expect. If they use a wide range of approaches chances are you have a good one.
After achieving hypnosis most hypnotherapists will rely on giving you direct suggestions depending on what your challenge is; if you want more confidence they will begin to tell you how much more confident you are becoming, if you want to be better at public speaking they will tell you how much better at public speaking you are becoming so on and so forth. A bit like looking in the mirror and giving yourself affirmations but with more fanciful ceremony. A hypnotherapist will also employ something called ideo-motor signals which is their way of communicating with your “sub-conscious” mind. Most of them appear to believe that something called the sub-conscious mind actually exists, it doesn’t. You have a brain and it does amazing things. There are portions of your experience that you are aware of and a large proportion of your experience you are not aware of.
So you are aware of reading this now with your eyes tracking the letters but you probably didn’t notice whether you are breathing from your stomach or higher up towards the chest. You probably had no conception at which rate your heart currently beats. You probably had no idea how your body is being supported as you continue to read this. All those aspects of your experience were running in the background and now that I have brought them to your attention become available consciously. There are portions of our experience that we will never be aware of like how on earth is it even possible that you can read this now? You will never be able to be aware of how your brain processes text. You will never be aware of how your brain produces conscious, private experience. You will never be able to explain to anyone what is happening in your brain when you spread the latest gossip. So we do have aspects of experience that can drop in tune out of consciousness and we also have the rest that will never be available.
Hypnotherapists might also use an approach called parts therapy whereby you have a part of you that so desperately wants to change and yet there is this other part of you that insists on wrecking it every time. A part of you that wants to stop smoking and the other part that wins out time and time again. John Grinder is fond of saying that parts therapy is useful until you believe the parts exist. The same is true for a term like the sub-conscious or unconscious. If you believe that the thing that you name exists that is how you will project through the world based upon that belief. The beliefs about the abilities of this non-existent thing like the sub-conscious will also affect how you will respond to it. The notion of the sub-conscious is likened to a 9 year old child by a lot of hypnotherapists. If you perform a quick thought experiment before reading on what qualities spring to mind when you think of a 9 yr old child? How do you interact with one?
Recently I have had a client who has worked with a popular and experienced hypnotherapist in my area and what they told me, I found disturbing. This hypnotherapist believes in past lives and regresses them to a previous imagined trauma in order so that they can resolve it. He doesn’t do anything with this imagined trauma he just gets them to imagine and experience it under a hypnotic state. The danger with this is that the brain cannot distinguish between what is real and what is imagined so this client now has a traumatic memory that never happened. Another concern is that hypnosis is an amplifier of experience so the trauma is very, very real. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t shy away from strong emotions I’ll bring them on if I have to, the difference is what you do with them once you have them. Merely going through a traumatic experience real or imagined for the sake of it carries little if at all therapeutic benefit and can also compound the presenting problem even further.
The metaphors that any therapist or change worker uses when thinking about and describing their work can also influence how they do the work itself. A lot of NLP terminology is about programming, installations, assimilation, inputs – outputs. These are all mechanistic metaphors and if you have an NLP practitioner or trainer that hasn’t realised that computer programming has come a long way since the seventies then they will treat you in a highly mechanistic mannor. Swap one piece of software for another. Turn someone from an unhappy robot into a happy one. I favour approaches that encourage generative change rather than remedial. That’s for another day
Be careful when you decide to work with someone, anyone. Pay attention to the metaphors they use when they describe their work. Ask them what approaches they use and how they have helped people achieved change in the past. Ask lots of questions.
Posted on April 15, 2012 at 6:37 pm
One of the few sentences I actually understand when I read Gregory Bateson’s work is “the name is not the thing named”. Don’t get me wrong it took me a while to understand and hopefully if I do a good job you will understand what it means as well. Right now as you are reading this you are surrounded by “things”. Take a look; take a quick look around you. Each of those things has a name. A word that you attach to it so that we can know what each of these things are called. So you will have this thing called a computer or an Iphone, a smartphone, you might be sat on a thing called a chair. These are just words that we attach to objects purely for the purposes of communication. So if I ask you to sit in the chair you and I both know what we are referring to and effective communication takes place. If I ask you right now what device you are using in order to read this you can tell me and I can infer what thing it is that you are using. Without going all tediously fluffy and philosophical these things exist whether we have words for them or not. These names are not the thing named. Confused? There is a post way, way back called Haddock’s eyes which I wrote just after I got my website set up.
Let’s pretend I was to ask you what device you are reading this on and you say an Iphone. You have described what thing you are using but that tells me absolutely nothing about the processes going on within that Iphone in order for you to be able to read the text and infer that you are using an Iphone. It also says nothing about the internal processes occurring inside of you to be able to use and read the Iphone and it says nothing about the processes going on inside of me to be able to ask the question in the first place. So what you simply name as an Iphone is a far, far deeper process than what both you and I take for granted. The name is not the thing named. Words are simply inadequate to be able to explain the processes of things at their fullest. They are quick and dirty descriptions at best based upon our current belief systems operating at that particular point of communication. They are neither true nor accurate. They are as true and as accurate as they can be at any given point in time.
So what does this have to do with hypnosis? Everything. When you google “what is hypnosis” the descriptions you will more than likely come across will be something along the lines of a deep sense of inner calm and relaxation while in a deep trance. Those descriptions are more of a reflection of the writers current belief system about what hypnosis is. Once you form a belief about a particular thing that is how you will respond to that thing. So for a hypnotist that believes relaxation, calm and trance are all indicators of hypnosis that is what they will try to achieve when they hypnotise someone. They will use inductions that involve closing your eyes, saying deeper and deeper, feeling a sense of relaxation etc etc. That is one way of achieving hypnosis. Where these hypnotists fall down is believing that the name is thing named. What I mean by that is that if it is called hypnosis then it is hypnosis. If someone believes you have to have your eyes closed in order to be hypnotised then that is what they will do time and time again.
So what is it? There is a reason self styled hypnotists argue about it. The name is not the thing named. Therefore they waste hours upon hours upon hours arguing about what it is, what it is not and getting their knickers in a twist when someone comes along and achieves it outside of their narrow view of what is possible. I’m sure if you also look on hypnotists or hypnotherapists websites their copy will also say hypnosis is a naturally occurring state and we go in to it X amount of times a day, when we daydream, when we drive a car, when we are captivated by an experience so much it is like time does not exist. And yet they still get you to close your eyes and go deeper and deeper. ..
So, what is it? My description will only be partial and will also be in disagreement depending on who you ask. Ok, it is a “fixed state of attention that can be used to amplify experience in the here and now”. That fixed state of attention comes from latching on and utilising non – conscious processes in order to achieve a particular outcome or direction. When you work off that kind of model you free yourself from only using the old school eyes closed, deeper and deeper style stuff and have more flexibility. When you learn to read non conscious responses which are driving the issue then you can begin to work with the very processes that is keeping someone stuck and open up new possibilities in the here and now for the purposes of affecting deep and long lasting changes.