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hypnosis for dating

Hypnosis for dating Fear of Commitment

Hypnosis for Dating

This client was a gorgeous young woman who had not had a romantic relationship for seven years. Many guys showed interest, but there was always a reason to not respond. Recently she went to the USA on holiday and met this guy. She felt free of any pressure because she was going home on a given date. Therefore she could just be herself without fear of consequences. They got on champion, and now he wants to see her again.

However, the idea of making contact again is terrifying. She just cannot bring herself to book a call to him. What if I run out of things to say in the 20 minute call? What if I dry up? He will think I am stupid. What if I babble on talking nonsense to fill the silence?

She is afraid that she won't be able to perform at the level she thinks he expects for that length of time. If he calls her, and it is spontaneous, like maybe she  is out on her bike at the time, then fine, she can talk to him. She could always say "Sorry, I have to go, traffic!" And she stays in control.

Fear of Dating

Her basic problem is that she is afraid that she will not live up to his expectations. That if he knew her well, he would see her as she really is, and she would not be good enough. So he would reject her. And she cannot accept that risk.

This is a sort of phobia. She is afraid of rejection and failure, and the feeling she gets when she is rejected. It is actually quite common. A lot of males have this fear too. It is one of the reasons why at party, a girl might just sort of fall into bed with a guy. Once they have sex, the fear of rejection is gone.

Regression Hypnosis for dating

So I had to work out how to deal with her current crisis. I took her into trance and then started on regression. We went back to the first time she felt rejected. She couldn't find a first time, so I asked for a memory to do with it.  She told the story of asking her mother for a hug. Her mother was with some female friends, talking. In front of her friends, her mother rejected her. Her mother told her to go away, and of course, she felt awful. This is likely the origin of her fear of rejection. She felt not loved, rejected, humiliated in front of all these women.

This was probably not the origin of her fear, it  most likely happened many times over many years. So I could not do Inner Child work. Instead I decided to lead her through a visualization. I got her to imagine her self as an angry little girl, kicking her mother in the shins. Then she told her mother off for being selfish and uncaring. This was something she dared not do at the time. Then I got her to visualize all the other other women scooping her up and comforting her, then rounding on her mother and shaming her for behaving so badly to a small child.  I worked on getting them to give her the love she never got.

Origin of her dating problems

She went on to tell me that her mother had poor parenting skills. Her mother never valued her, and taught her that whatever she tried she would always fail. So she spent her childhood trying to be good all the time to get loved. But her efforts were never accepted. She learned that whatever she did, she would be rejected, and came to fear that rejection.

Throughout most of hypnosis session, her lower lip was trembling, she was weeping and clearly very upset, but she was brave enough to  keep on developing and changing the memory.

I hope she has changed enough to call the guy, and maybe change her life.

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future of hypnotherapy

The future of hypnotherapy?

The future of hypnotherapy?

Researchers have found a bacterium that might alter the future of hypnotherapy. The bacterium lives in your gut and appears to have a strong connection with depression. Last month a different set of researchers discovered a collection of gut bacteria which only appear in people with schizophrenia.

This suggests that these debilitating mental illnesses are not actually genetic, but may be the result of an infection. Or, on the other hand, it may be that you get these illnesses when you don't have the benefits of the byproducts of various gut organisms.

Growing a cure for mental illness

It has been known for a long time that a healthy gut bacteria has many, many benefits for your health. One of the reasons for the immense popularity of yoghurt is precisely because it puts probiotic bacteria back into an unbalanced gut. Alcohol is a byproduct of yeast growth. There are tens of thousands of species of yeasts and bacteria in your gut right now. Some unknown number of these bacteria also produce byproducts. Some of these are highly beneficial, some of these may in fact be dangerous.

But there are so many different species that scientists have not yet been able to track down exactly what they are and exactly what, if anything, they do for you. The presence or absence of certain bacteria have been implicated in things like Crohn's disease and many other digestive problems. In fact faecal transplants are becoming the best way to treat diseases like this.

The future of hypnotherapy?

Schizophrenia, and depression are easily diagnosed illnesses. It appears that they may have a connection to gut bacteria, or may in fact be caused by gut bacteria. You have to wonder how many other less dramatic illnesses are also caused by gut bacteria.

Maybe in future we hypnotherapists will become largely redundant. We may be replaced by multi-spectrum probiotic injections. Perhaps the future treatment of mental illness may involved a simple transplant of some beneficial balance of gut flora and fauna. Who knows?

 

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losing weight and mental health

Losing weight and mental health

Losing weight and mental health

How much overlap is there between losing weight and mental health? Put it another way, should hypnotherapists focus on the weight, or look to improve mental health? There doesn't seem to be any quick fix when it comes to losing weight. Perhaps we should be looking at the reasons why people eat rather than worrying about how the eat or what they eat?

Most nutritionists agree that effective weight loss comes about because of a permanent change in thinking and behavior. The weight loss is actually a byproduct of these changes.

Eating and beliefs

I am not thinking here about anorexia, or bulimia or other eating disorders which clearly are clinical anxiety problems. I am thinking about people with normal lives who just cannot lose weight.

In my practice, I believe that behavior and belief is the thing to change when addressing weight issues. Focusing on losing weight instead of focusing on becoming healthy inevitably leads to putting the weight right back on again. In simple terms, even if all you do is to instill better habits and a positive attitude towards exercise, that still benefits them even if they don't lose any weight.

People who over eat seem to have built up a pattern of eating as a response to stress. If you take away the comfort and reward of eating, then this can just increase their distress. This triggers even more eating. Hypnotherapists should focus on teaching the client ways to deal with the stress.

Deal with the whole client and their lifestyle

We need to deal with the client, their environment, and their history, at the same time. This multidimensional approach will give better results than focusing purely on one one behavior. Eating involves a mixture of biological and psychological and social triggers and rewards. We need to address all of these simultaneously.

Laboratory studies have shown that drug addicts can get a high just by thinking about taking drugs to get a high. The habits and rituals associated with taking the drugs are an essential part of the high. It is likely that the same thing happens with people who use food as a distraction or a comfort. If you remove the eating and the associated preliminary behaviours then you are likely to over sensitize the person to environmental triggers. Changing their pattern of eating requires you to find substitutes for these emotional rewards.

If your client tells you that "maintaining weight is a constant struggle" or something like that, then it shows that you are dealing with a psychological problem. Look for the origin of that psychological problem and you will be on the way to helping your client take it off and keep it off.

 

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gratitude

Expressing gratitude improves hypnotherapy results

Expressing gratitude

Gratitude is an approach to living. We can all be miserable about what we don't have, or all grateful for what we do have. Expressing gratitude to others leads to better relationships and better health.

Whenever I create change in my client during a hypnosis session, I always try to reinforce the change by getting the client to express gratitude. It is quite simple. I say something like, "there is just one thing more to do. And that is to express to your gratitude your mind for having made this change. So take a moment now, and in whatever way makes sense to you, just send a message of gratitude to your own mind. Think about how much you wanted this change, and how happy you are to have the change. And send that message to your own mind saying 'thank you '."

Expressing gratitude as parts therapy

This simple act can help to make the change permanent. Asking the client to send that message involves asking them to imagine how that message would be sent, and how it would be received. For some people it will be visual, some people it will be auditory, and for some people it will be a kinaesthetic experience.
But whatever it is, it is reinforcing the work that I have done in a very personal way that I am unable to do for them. To a certain extent, you are engaging in a bit of Parts Therapy. Part of them is sending the message, and part of them is receiving the message.

Expressing gratitude as homework

Whenever you express gratitude you make changes in your brain in the part that regulates emotion and motivation. If you want to give your clients homework, ask them to keep a gratitude diary. Tell them to write down three things that they can be grateful for that happened that day. Research has shown that keeping a gratitude diary can reduce the symptoms of depression.

You can take this idea a step further. Tell your client to visit or phone someone every day. And during that personal interaction to find the reason for expressing gratitude to the other person. Social interaction linked to gratitude is very powerful at reducing social anxiety. For clients who don't feel comfortable doing this, they can write an email expressing gratitude to the other person, and just not send it. The results are nearly as good.

So why not get into the habit of building a gratitude part into your hypnotherapy sessions?

 

 

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improving hypnotherapy outcomes

Improving hypnotherapy outcomes

Improving hypnotherapy Outcomes

Hypnotherapy is one of the talking therapies. It is interesting to consider how it is similar and how it is different from other talking therapies. Examining the structure of other talk therapies might give insights into improving hypnotherapy outcomes.

Some of the most used talking therapies and what they do, include:

cognitive behavioral therapies: change how you think about the world, stop using dysfunctional schemas

interpersonal psychotherapy and some dynamic therapies: improve into personal relationship skills

self compassion therapies, acceptance and commitment therapy: be more accepting of yourself

emotion focused and dynamic therapies: be able to express difficult emotions

mentalization therapies: accepting the perspective of others.

 

All of these therapies have a number of factors in common. First is the relationship between the therapist and the client. Second is building an expectation in the client that they will be helped. Third is the actual form of therapy.

Many decades of research suggest that the relationships and expectations are much more important than the actual therapy itself.

The therapeutic relationship

The relationship between the client and therapist actually begins before they get to know each other. Research suggests that a level of trust of some sort is worked out in the few microseconds before either person says anything. This level of trust is influenced by how the therapist is dressed, the layout and furnishing of the office, and interpretation of the therapist's facial expression. It may also be influenced by recommendations from others and beliefs about that type of therapy in general. The relationship is also strongly influenced by whether the client wants to be there, or has been forced to go there.

The psychodynamic relationship

This is basically about how the client and therapist perceive each other. This relationship is different from normal social relationships because there is an implied confidentiality, and it focuses entirely on the emotional problems of the client. Whatever the client says, the therapist has to accept it uncritically.

Expectations and goals

Expectations have a strong role in outcomes. This is basically the placebo effect at work. If you believe something will work, then it very often does. People who believe a bottle of wine is expensive, will reliably report that it tastes better.

If the therapist sets out to create positive expectations in the client, this can be enough to lift the client out of the cycle of hopelessness. They may have tried and failed many times. If someone tells them, with evidence, that they can get better, this will have an immediate effect.

Similarly, giving people a reason for their distress or illness, may reverse faulty thinking. Many clients come to therapy with 'folk' explanations for why they feel the way they do. Replacing these with scientific or pseudo-scientific explanations changes their mindset.

Giving the client a goal, and a way to reach that goal, gives them a way out of their problem. It focuses on the problem, and not on their personal failures.

Specific therapies

Every type of therapy is based on some sort of theory, and some sort of protocol for creating change. However, in most talking therapies, there is no clear scientific explanation for how they work. Each therapy has a theory that they insist is right, and every other theory is wrong. Each therapeutic model insists that there must be certain elements present before change can happen.

However, more than a century of research suggests that the effect of the specified elements of the therapy is actually very small. In other words, it really doesn't matter what therapy you use. They are all about equally effective.

Why does the therapy not matter?

This rather unexpected result can be explained by any number of things.

In some therapies, the client and therapist will meet for hundreds of sessions. It has been suggested that much of the benefit of therapy is actually because it is in the nature of a professional friendship. The client feels validated, accepted, understood, and avoids loneliness. This in itself can be very therapeutic.

Many clients come to therapy because they are living in unbearable situations. It is the situation that is causing the problem. Most therapies do not deal with clients' lifestyle at all. So giving them a goal and a way to reach it may be enough to help them change the external causes of their problems.

Therapeutic alliance

Research finds that the most important element in therapy is what is called the Therapeutic Alliance. This consist of the therapist-client bond, the goals of the therapy, and agreement about the tasks of the therapy. It includes elements of empathy, positive regard and collaboration.

Laboratory experiments have shown the personal relationship between the caregiver on their client has a major effect on the success of the treatment. Just having a warm and friendly manner goes a very long way. Personal relationships also involve recognizing and valuing your client's cultural background.

Expectations also play a major role. No matter what type of therapy is offered, giving your client a solid expectation of success affects that success.

Research also shows that the warmth and friendliness of the therapist is much more important than how good the therapist is at delivering the therapy. This reinforces the findings that the therapy itself is not all that important.

Improving hypnotherapy outcomes

You might think doing hypnosis has little in common with say psychoanalysis, or CBT. But in fact, the same elements are there. There are lessons to be learned from this research.

You, as a hypnotherapist, can work on each of the three elements. Start by building trust. You can improve your website, or your sales literature, to include testimonials and other proof of how good you are. Make sure that your office gives the impression of professionalism and competence. You can make sure that you dress appropriately. You can decorate your office with your awards and qualifications. All of these will go a long way to convincing your client that you are reliable and competent, before even opening your mouth.

You can spend time building rapport with your client, before starting the therapy. Showing an interest in the client's lifestyle, situation, relationships will all help to build a deeper level of trust.

You can spend time explaining how and why you work the way you do. Make sure that the client has no unanswered questions or reluctance. Fill your client with confidence in you, that you care about them personally. Don't treat all smokers the same, or give all phobias exactly the same treatment.

Make sure that you spend time telling the client exactly what to expect from you, and during the hypnosis, and what they will feel after the hypnosis.

Very importantly, don't just tell them at the end it's all finished and they don't have to do anything. Give them some sort of homework to do. Even if it's a placebo, it will constantly remind them that they have changed and focus them on making that change permanent.

Improving hypnotherapy outcomes is not about better hypnosis

Most hypnotists spend a lot of time and effort on trying to improve their hypnosis. They try to become better hypnotherapists, to become better at delivering the therapy.

Perhaps some of that time would be better spent developing skills in managing the therapist-client relationship?

 

 

 

Source: Bruce Wampold. (2015) How important are the common factors in psychotherapy? An update. Psychiatric World. https://doi.org/10.1002/wps.20238

 

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multi modal therapy

Multi Modal Therapy Hypnotherapy

Is there one best way of doing therapy?

I believe that over time, hypnotherapists tend to get stuck in whatever approach they were trained in. Some hypnotherapists use mostly regression. Others tend to focus on Direct Suggestion. I personally favor Metaphor approaches. However every therapist should be continually expanding their toolbox of techniques.

It is always a mistake to decide too quickly what the problem is, and then apply your standard tool. The basic problem is that humans tend to see what they expect see. We  ignore any evidence that does not fit our initial assumptions. Deliberately using one of more models of therapy will help to avoid that.  There is one well known model that you should use, or at least, consider when assessing clients.

Multi Modal Therapy

This therapy model sees people as having multiple ways of experiencing the world, and of reacting to their world.  The BASIC ID model asks you to consider each of seven modalities before deciding your approach.

B represents behavior, indicated by inappropriate acts, habits, gestures, or the lack of appropriate behaviors.
A stands for affect, which is shown by the level of negative feelings or emotions the client talks about.
S is sensation, or the negative bodily sensations or physiological symptoms such as pain, tension, sweat, nausea, quick heartbeat, etc.
I stands for imagery, evidenced by negative cognitive images or mental pictures.
C represents cognition or the degree of negative thoughts, attitudes, or beliefs.
The second I stands for interpersonal relationships, and refers to your ability to form successful relationships with others. It is all about missing social skills and support systems.
D is for drugs and biological functions, and examines the individual's physical health, drug use, and other lifestyle choices.

(Source: Wikipedia)

How to use Multi Modal Therapy

You listen to the client and as you interact, you note any words or behavior that indicates they are using one or more modalities. Each person will has a different mix of modalities. Some people will be mostly cognitive. They may be hypervigilant, or plagued by negative thinking. Some people will be mostly visualizers, daydreaming or catastrophizing future outcomes.

When you establish what their dominant modality is, then you can discuss how to make the changes the client wants. A visualizer could be introduced to NLP therapies, or EMDR. A cognitive person might be offered CBT. A person whose problems are really lifestyle problems might be offered mainly counselling. Each modality suggests its own response.

Applying this model can help you avoid over-narrow thinking, and leave open to learning other psychological techniques.

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skin picking

Skin Picking Sexual Abuse

Skin Picking Sexual Abuse

I saw this client previously and tried to help him with his skin picking psoriasis. He told me that there had not be much change. "I am still picking my skin." He does not see any change in the severity of his psoriasis.  He sleeps in a separate room from his wife because he doesn't want her to waken up with blood all over the sheets.

However, after seeing me, he decided he could do something about it, and has started seeing a counselor. "I feel the counseling is helping me."

In the first session he mentioned that he did not get on with his father. This time, he began speaking more openly about the behavior of his father. We spent some time talking about his family situation. He now talks to his father but does not talk about the childhood abuse. His brothers and sisters are still not talking to his father.

Therapy for Skin Picking

I decided that I had to focus on his abuse and to clear his feelings about that. I got him to think about the pain, the abuse, how he feels about it, everything to do with how his father treated him. He clearly didn't want to go there. But I kept at it until he obviously was feeling it. I began to see tears in his eyes.

I got him to focus on what the feeling was like. He was crying and withdrawing into himself, but he said it was "red, it was blood". I try to develop that. I asked him what it was like as an object. He said it was a box. Then he changed it to a cube. He said "it's made of clear glass, glass like a milk bottle. About one liter. It is soft and warm and smooth like skin". I asked him "and what happens to skin over time". He said "it gets old".

I developed the idea of changing the object so that the skin was "old and wrinkled and sagging" and the whole box thing was losing its definition.  Eventually I got it small enough that he wanted to hold it in his hand. It became clear that this represented his father. I asked "what do you want this thing to do?" He said "Say sorry". I try to get a dialogue going between him and the object but he just wouldn't do it. I asked him to ask the object why the behavior had happened. He said "I know why it happened. I was in the way".

Externalizing his emotional abuse

I got him to put the object into a chair. This got it out of his body and into something he could deal with. The thing started changing but he got very emotional about it all. I realised then that he was back to being that painful lonely little child. So I did inner child work with him. I got him to go back to the child, to hold the child, all the normal therapy progression. He did very well at this: he clearly was there, he was crying, he was holding the child, and he took that child away from there. I got him to tell the child "you did not do anything wrong. It was not your fault. You were born perfect. You are a beautiful deserving little boy."

I did more direct suggestion for strengthening his feelings about himself.

Outcome of Skin Picking therapy

By the end of our session he was crying freely and allowing his emotions out. I suspected this is the first time is ever done that. I asked him "when was the last time you cried in public?" He thought for a while and said "once, at a funeral".

He told me that this was the first time he had ever talked about his background to anyone else. "I thought that if I could keep it inside, I could avoid thinking about it, and avoid the pain". It is quite common for skin problems to be the result of unresolved emotional issues. His skin picking was a symptom of his inner turmoil. I told him that he had now started on a  journey that would end in catharsis, the release of his bottled up feelings, and a gradual end to his skin problems.

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NLP Stop Smoking

NLP Stop Smoking technique

NLP Stop Smoking 

I don't often use NLP stop smoking techniques, but sometimes they are the best tools to use. After our previous session, my client had stopped smoking for just one day. But even then, she still felt cravings. A favorite aunt had a 90th birthday. Looking at a photo of the aunt,  she saw her ex-husband in the photo. This reignited feelings of resentment and failure in her. She started brooding on this. Then she ate till she felt uncomfortable, and that made her feel bad. Feeling bad made her reach for the smokes. As soon as she lit up, she felt better.

I explored why just deciding to smoke again instantly made her feel better. "I was so dominated by my husband. He made it all my fault, I was angry at him. Smoking was the only thing I had a choice about. Everything else was taken away from me. He made me feel ugly. I started smoking sometimes to show I could defy him. Smoking gives me control."

NLP Stop Smoking Picture Visualization

I got her to think about the resentment of her husband. How he got away with with it all, and she has ended up losing everything. I probed for a feeling. She said, "All I can see is his face." So used the NLP visualization technique. I got her to imagine some paint pots and brushes. I got her to visualize painting a big Ronald McDonald smile on his face. Then I asked her to paint big clown eyes on him. I told her to then put big dangly earings on him. Then put him in a ballerinas tutu little short skirt. I told her to paint on his forehead the word that sums up how she feels about him. Then I told her to jam the paintbrushes up his nostrils.

Public Humiliation of your enemy

I told her to imagine him dancing in the street with his great hairy legs dressed as a ballerina. And all his family and friends were standing around laughing at him, pointing at him, mocking him. At that point I suggested that two large dogs came out and started barking and he started running away. The dogs chased him, and one bit him on each buttock and he was running down the street with these big dogs hanging off his buttocks. Eventually he was lying on the street begging to take the dogs away. But all the people round about just pointed at him, and told him he was pathetic, a loser and they would never forgive him.

Public acclaim from your friends

Then all the people gathered round my client and picked her up. Two strong men lifted her on their shoulders and paraded her around and everyone was clapping and cheering and shouting out "you're the greatest. You're a hero." And then one by one, they all came up and asked forgiveness for being so horrible to her. Then I gave her a visualization of seeing herself a few months from now, surrounded by friends and family. Acting as the matriarch, the role model, the one that everyone consulted. I gave her a visualization of being surrounded by her beloved grandchildren again. And somewhere in the background, tiny, her husband was still crawling around rejected, despised, miserable.

NLP Stop Smoking  Action Visualization

To make sure the visualization had worked, I asked "what do you feel about your husband now?" She said, "I can still feel something in my chest." I got her to focus on that feeling. I told her to imagine the feeling as a thing, and to imagine how she could change it. My plan was to do a standard metaphor transformation, but almost as soon as I started she said "I'm slicing him up." Then she proceeded to tell me how she was cutting him up with a big sharp knife. She continued with what could only be described as "butchery". She cut off various parts of his anatomy and really had a good time destroying him totally.

She said she felt great. Now ready to make a new start. She told me that she was going to keep practicing the visualization idea. Every time she thought about him she was going to find another way to destroy him.

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