Have you ever considered Dream Interpretation as part of your hypnotherapy?
I love hearing about dreams, because I believe they are the subconscious mind is revealing what is going on inside the brain. It is often difficult to know if your hypnotherapy has actually been helping your client. This is especially the case when you are using Metaphor Therapy or Gestalt Therapy techniques. These indirect methods are designed to make subtle long term changes, sometimes so subtle that even the client doesn't realize they are happening.
I always ask the client what changes they have experienced since our last session. Usually the client can say what has or has not worked, and how they know that. But quite often the client will say that they haven't feel any change, even though I know that I have done some powerful work with them, and they should have noticed some changes.
In that case I always ask if they have been having any dreams. Dream interpretation often gives deep insights into changes in the unconscious.
One of my recent clients said that she felt that something was happening but she couldn't really say what, exactly. So I asked about dreams, and she told me the following vivid dream.
In my dream I was laboring up a steep hill and there were other people going up as well. At the top was an airplane and we were going towards it. As I got closer the plane began to slip, and then it started sliding down towards me. I got frightened of being squashed and looked around for help, but I could only see two people, men, and when the men turned towards me I could see that they were unreal, with faces like cardboard cutouts from old cartoon comic strips. I realized that they were no help. The plane was sliding down towards me, so I put out my hands and was surprised that the plane was pushed out of the way and passed by me harmlessly. That was the end of the dream.
I gave her my interpretation of the dream. Understanding dreams is simple. Everything in the dream is you. Other people are parts of you. Objects are metaphors for what you want to happen.
Using these rules, the going up the hill is a metaphor for struggling to change. The plane at the top of the hill is a metaphor for a means of escape. The other people on the hill are various parts of who she is. Metaphorically she want to get on the plane and fly out of there, but is afraid of it, afraid of what might happen after the change. So that fear is translated into the plane turning into a threat. She seeks help from other parts, but sees that they in fact are cardboard cutouts, not real and not of any use any longer. So she gets the courage to deal with the threat, and deflects the plane and realizes that it actually can not harm her.
This was a perfect summary of her situation. She wants to change, but part of her is afraid to, so her mind shows her resolving this problem in dream. After the dream turns out OK, her mind can accept that she can change, and she starts the process of change on her own.
Later sessions actually confirmed this. She told me she no longer cared what she wore, or how she looked, because in fact 'Nobody cares what I look like. I have been obsessing for years over something that is not real'.
So her mind has now released the constant worry of having to look perfect, to be perfect. At some point she got on that plane.
Another case of dream interpretation helping with hypnosis.