Open post
taste hallucinations

Why don’t you have Taste Hallucinations

Why don't you have taste hallucinations?

I had a client yesterday who told me that she cannot go to sleep without a radio playing or the TV on. This is a common behavior. Many people use music to drown out the sound of the voices in their head. Or more correctly, the feelings that they experience as if there were voices in their head.

And that got me thinking. Hearing sounds, words, or voices is very common. Visual hallucinations, seeing things or people who aren't there is the most common. They are not necessarily an indicator of a  serious mental condition.

But I have never come across an Oral hallucination. Why do people not get hallucinations of having a taste of banana in their mouth? Or curry, or any other taste? If the mind can produce the other types of hallucinations why not the taste one? In dreams we think we see and hear things, but I personally have never had a dream where I tasted something.

There is a condition called synesthesia where colors are experienced as smells, and noises as tastes. The various sensory pathways get switched over, but that is not really a hallucination. Tinnitus is an imagined roaring in your ears, but that also is not really a hallucination.

People with schizophrenia sometimes believe that they have an unpleasant smell in their nose, or a bad taste in their mouth. It seems never to be an actual food or a specific smell. These types of taste hallucinations are clearly associated with mental illness.

Can you hallucinate a strawberry?

I wonder if there has been any attempt to hypnotize people to experience tastes and smells? When stage hypnotists persuade people to eat an onion, is the subject just ignoring the taste of the onion? Could the hypnotist persuade the eater that the onion actually tastes of strawberry?

I personally can vividly picture a strawberry. I suppose I could imagine the sound of the food processor making a strawberry smoothie. But I cannot summon up a memory of what a strawberry smoothie tastes like. I recognize the taste, but I cannot recall it in advance.

Can other people summon up tastes on demand?

Please follow and like us:
Open post
website engaging

Is your website engaging?

Is your website engaging?

Telemedicine has been around for many years. But has not really been accepted by mainstream providers, or patients. We are actually behind developing countries, where it is sometimes the only thing available.

The problems are social, not technical. Providers are often not willing to invest in it. This is not just due to personal resistance. There are also problems with unfamiliarity, training, finding time, hardware and software needed. And structural constraints: liability, insurer regulations, professional body restraints of competition, problems with jurisdiction.

Patients have similar problems: access to suitable hardware and software, fear of the unknown, privacy issues, lack of support from insurers.

Making your website engaging

There is now an irresistible move  to connect caring professionals to their patients through online means. But before this can get started you have to have enough clients to make it worthwhile investing in the necessary infrastructure. This is not just having a computer and internet connection. Everyone has got that. You also need scheduling software, booking and payment methods. Many traditional doctors' methods are not easy to convert to something suitable for online intimacy.

Therefore, it is a chicken and egg thing. You need patients ready to sign up, but you need everything in place first before you can sign them up, and they won't sign up until they know you have everything ready for them.

Creating and engaging online presence

So the first move is for the providers to create an online presence, something that lets potential clients test the water so to speak. Each provider is setting out a welcome page designed to reassure the patient. This features a video profile of each health provider explaining who they are, their qualifications and outlining the sort oft thing they do. The patient can then shop around for someone they feel comfortable with, test out the connection quality and then make contact online when they are ready. At a minimum, every therapist should have a Skype or Zoom service.

For hypnotherapists the hardware and software already exists and is easy to use. Some hypnotists already use it, but few integrate it into their marketing plan. Maybe it is time for us to start to focus on creating a front page not as an internet business card, but as a website engaging with clients electronically?

Please follow and like us:
Open post
wearing your metaphor

Wearing your metaphor to hide your fears

Wearing your metaphor

It was a cold day earlier this week, and I had the heating in the office going full blast. I thought it was nice and warm, but my client came in and sat down in my big chair with a bulky coat on.

I invited her to hang it up, but she refused, saying she was feeling cold. It clearly wasn't cold and there was no logical reason to sit and get hypnotized wearing an overcoat.

But this client just sat there, all wrapped up. As we talked,  I asked her what she needed. She punctuated all her remarks by slapping the side of the chair as if batting away my inquiries.

I noticed from time to time she was swung her leg up as if kicking away some uncomfortable idea. She was pretty much refusing to reveal anything personal.

Signalling with clothes

Fortunately I had seen this before and I knew what to do. I have seen it at a dinner party in my house. One guest insisted she was cold and sat at the table eating dinner with her outside coat on.

She was later invited to other dinners with us. The next time did take her coat off, but wore a dress that came right up to her neck and covered her legs and arms completely.

At later dinners the dress became less severe. Her next dress had no arms, and then at the next dinner the dress was a bit shorter. Finally, she wore a dress that showed her shoulders but with a scarf there, just in case.

I am sure she was totally unaware of her own unconscious behavior. She was signalling that she was keeping all wrapped up in the presence of strangers, and only gradually let her guard down.

This was exactly what my client was doing: coming for help but keeping everything wrapped up, and slapping and kicking away all efforts to get her reveal anything. The metaphor couldn't have been more clear.

I was able to hypnotize her despite her reservations, and the session ended successfully.

But she still hadn't taken the coat off.

Please follow and like us:
Open post
professional development hypnotherapy

Professional Development Hypnotherapy Training

Professional Development Hypnotherapy Training

Recently I was a speaker at a training day for the members of the New Zealand Association of Professional Hypnotherapists. I am currently the Vice President nzaph.co.nz

The day was highly enjoyable and covered topics and techniques of interest to professional hypnotherapy.

After my presentation, the next speaker talked about a method of soul restatement, a therapy she has developed to deal with the sources of people's unhappiness. She outlined her theory. Then led everyone in the room on a journey of visualization. It is long time since I was on a guided visualization. I had forgotten how powerful it is. I enjoyed it immensely and learned a great deal.

Part of the membership requirements of NZAPH is to undertake professional supervision. The afternoon was given over to discussing the role of supervisors for practicing hypnotherapists.  It was good to learn from other supervisors about what they think the supervision relationship.

Professional development also includes marketing. One presenter talked about the role of social media in marketing for hypnotherapy businesses. Technology changes all the time. You need to keep up with how young people use the internet if you want to reach them.

Metaphor training

The final part trained us in the use of physical metaphor in therapy. In the first exercise we chose a toy from an assortment and then to justified the choice of that toy. We then tried to explain what it revealed about each person.

Then followed a fun exercise with playdough. The leader told each person to close their eyes and then model something out of the Playdough. The first task was  to represent an incident when they felt angry about something. Most people created something spiky.

Next, we had to model something that represented how we felt the last time our hearts were really touched by something wonderful. We created those models and discussed what they meant metaphorically.

Then we had to combine both models. The resulting change in feelings was quite spectacular.

Training days are often great fun. Make sure that you take every opportunity to attend anything on offer by your professional association.

Please follow and like us:
Open post
woebot

Woebots may be coming for your job

Woebots may be coming for your job

Woebots are artificial intelligence programs which advise  and counsel you. The best-known one is Siri. This is Apple's home assistant. You can ask it what the weather is going to be like this afternoon, you can ask who is going to win the big match, you can ask it where to get the cheapest curtains for your living room. You ask a question and it answers.

But almost half the conversations with Siri and Alexa, Amazon's equivalent, are actually conversations about emotions. People tell woebots like these about their stressful day, about how they feel about people at work, about how they really wish someone would phone them. More and more people live on their own, and have no one to talk to. So they talk to the woebots.

People will say, "I feel sad". Or "I am so lonely". And they expect the application to reply. It does reply. In fact all of this type of artificial intelligence conversational software has preprogrammed responses to questions like these. Google Assistant might reply to you "I wish I had arms to give you a hug". Or you might be told "Nobody said life was going to be easy. What do you think you could do?".

The arrival of the woebots

Talking to a machine has gone from seeming weird to being normal in many households. It is only a small step from telling Google Assistant "play me some upbeat music, I'm feeling down" to saying "I'm feeling down, how do I get out of this?".

And the machines are getting better and better at it. Artificial intelligence used to be about how to beat a chess grandmaster. The software learned from every game. It learned from its mistakes. Gradually, the software increased its playing skills until today chess programs are better than any human being.

Learning to play chess is different from learning how to counsel someone deep in grief. But the same basic principles apply. Do something, measure how well you did, change your next attempt, and see if it is better or worse.

This is not going to work terribly well between a machine and one person. But when the machine is learning from hundreds of thousands of people simultaneously it becomes a completely different situation.

Pretty much the same questions are being asked by hundreds of people at any one moment. The software understands multiple languages and is available in every country. Therefore the opportunities for learning are greatly increased. The software offers a response, and then analyses the reply. It does this over and over tirelessly, 24 hours a day. And it learns.

Your woebot counselor is here now

It is predicted that it will not be long before everyone has access to a conversational robot. Past experiments have shown that people will speak more freely to a machine than they will to a human being.  The machine doesn't judge you. The machine doesn't make you feel embarrassed. It has endless patience. It's always there for you. And it costs nothing.

That last point, that it is free and always there, is what should give concern to many in the caring professions. People go to counsellors very often just to have someone to listen to them. One of the primary benefits of counselling is just to allow people to unload how they feel.

If talking to a machine makes you feel good, then you will do more of it. The machines are getting better at giving helpful advice and encouragement. Why would someone go to a counsellor, if you can talk to a friendly understanding voice on your cell phone day or night?

Leave a comment
How could you convert this software into an asset in your practice?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please follow and like us:
Open post
fetish shoes

Fetish Hypnosis Replacement

Can hypnosis be used to treat a fetish? A fetish is generally described as a sexual attraction towards an inanimate object or a particular, non-sexual part of the body. With a rubber fetish, a person gets sexually aroused by touching on wearing rubber garments. Leather fetish is very similar. One of the most common is a shoe fetish, getting sexual gratification from looking at shoes, handling shoes, smelling shoes.

Many years ago I had a client who had a fetish about rubber. The only thing he could remember that might account for this was a memory of having a tightly fitting rubber swimming cap when he was a child. At the time I was unable to help him, but I never forgot about him. I have always wondered at the origin of his problem.

Instant learning experience

I started thinking about this recently while I was telling someone about how I cleared phobias. He asked me where phobias came from. I explained that a phobia is an instant learning experience. An instant learning experience is something like touching a hot stove. You learn instantly that hot stoves burn and you never touch them again. However, some people don't just remember that they get burned, they get a lifelong fear of stoves. The exact mechanism of how this happens is not known.

Origins of a phobia

After many years of treating phobias it seems to me that there is a common element in acquiring a phobia. I think that the essential elements include an unexpected event, an intense feeling of threat, and the inability to get away or do anything about it. For example, bird phobia is very common.

It typically arises when a child is out with its mother, feeling safe enjoying themselves in some outdoor situation. And then suddenly they have a bird flying at them, wings flapping around them noisily, maybe even close on their hair. This generates an intense instant fear. When that is combined with the feeling of being unable to get away from the bird there is a potential to generate a phobia. The phobia is easily cleared by getting the person to experience the feeling of fear again, and then using metaphor replacement therapy to change the fear into something else.

Origins of a fetish

I believe that a fetish is simply the opposite of the phobia. Instead of experiencing an intense fear, I think the person gets a fetish by experiencing an intense sexual pleasure while doing something else, and the two things get linked.

Just as a phobia can be acquired from just about any random experience, so can a fetish. My old client with the rubber attraction probably at some point felt a strong sexual urge while simultaneously experiencing some rubber object. The two get linked in the brain in the same way that a phobia gets created. From then on any time the person experiences something made of rubber they are instantly reminded of the sexual feeling associated with it. I believe that this is the origin of a fetish.

Removing a fetish

If I am correct in this, then it suggests that a fetish can be removed in exactly the same way that a phobia is removed. Clinically, all one would have to do is to get the person to experience the positive feeling they get from their fetish object. Then apply metaphor replacement therapy to their representation of the feeling. Then change it from a positive feeling to a neutral feeling. That is exactly what hypnotherapists do with phobias. You take the negative feeling, represent it in some way, change the representation,  and the fear disappears. I see no reason why it should not work to change pleasurable feelings.

Please follow and like us:
Scroll to top

Enjoying this site? Please spread the word :)