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Words Memory Trance

Words Memory Trance Cure for Boredom

Words Memory Trance

Words Memory Trance are all connected. If you focus on a word for long enough it will lead you into the depths of your unconscious mind. Try it.

I am learning Spanish and I am therefore getting to know lots of strange words. Words are funny things. They have no meaning except what people give them. There is no particular reason why thunder should be the series of sounds we have all agreed to say to represent the sound that clouds sometimes make.

And yet I am in a business that depends on using the right words, and listening intently for particular words.

Words have no meaning

You can prove that words have no meaning quite easily. All you have to do is to repeat a word, any word, over and over and quite quickly it will cease to have any meaning at all and will seem totally strange to you. This is the basis of mantra meditation. By repeating a word or phrase you eventually dissociate from it, the word and its meaning separate, and your mind then drifts off into trance.

Another interesting experiment to do is to try to find out what a word means to you personally, your own personal sense of it. Take an abstract word, not something definite like the word kangaroo, but something you cannot picture directly. A word such as 'towards' or 'together'' or 'apply' or something else abstract. Even the word 'abstract' itself. Meditate on that word. A word like abstract might immediately bring up an image of some crazy modern painting. But you can continue to meditate on the word, and eventually you will find that you get other images and feelings that have to do with that word. It is quite an interesting process, watching your own mind at work.

A cure for boredom

There will be some words that do not produce an immediate image, such as 'towards', or 'close'. In that case meditate on your word, keep focusing on the word, and at some point you will get an image, and it will probably be something from your early childhood, because these are words that could not be shown to you in a picture, they had to be demonstrated indirectly in some way, and it probably took many attempts before you understood what it meant. And most likely, what you get from your mind will be a memory of someone or something acting out your word.

So you never need to be bored again when you are waiting in the departure lounge.

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state dependent memory

State dependent memory

How to use state dependent memory in therapy

Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten why you went in there? Newly published research has shown that moving through a door affects your memory of what you did in the room before you moved out through the door. This is an example of state dependent memory. The things you did or thought in one place are anchored to things in  that place.  When you move away from that place, you leave the anchors behind. So you cannot recall what you thought and felt when the anchors were present. This has been known for a long time. It has been proved with school children. If  you teach them in a classroom and test them on the material, they will have better recall if the exam is held in the room they were taught in, rather than an exam room.

I used to be a diver. It is common among commercial divers for them to realize that they need a certain part to get the job done. But when they come out of the water they just cannot remember what it was they needed. The moment they plunge back in, the memory is there, fresh and clear.

Clients can be fixed in state dependent memory

State dependent memory affects much of what we do, and how we feel. Many of our clients are dominated by state dependent thinking. It is quite common that when you go home and visit your mother say, you change how you talk, how you behave and even how you think. These behaviors are anchored on the place or the person. The associations can be so strong that you will agree to do things that you would never have agreed to normally. But once you get outside you start kicking yourself.

Quite a lot of therapy depends on breaking state dependent memories. Going on holiday for a few weeks is a very good way of forcing the associations to go into extinction. When the triggers are not there, the behavior fades. Doing something completely different, like mountain climbing, or spending a few days on a tall ship does the same thing. This is why delinquent teenagers are sent away on brat camps. Being in completely different environment with different rules, breaks the associations that were triggering their bad behavior.

So sometimes the best thing we can do for a client is to encourage them to get out of the environment they are in. Maybe it applies to you too?

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false memories

False Memories Sexual abuse

False memories 

 You can go through your whole life blaming your own behavior on something that is not true. But if you act on false memories, they might as well be true.

I had a client today who reminded me of how pernicious and dangerous false memories are. This client was grossly obese. She told me that she used to be an alcoholic, she had eating problems all her life, she was unhappy and didn't know why.

When I asked her what she thought the reason was, she told me that she supposed it was all because she had been sexually abused. I asked when this had happened and she told me it happened at age two. I asked her how she knew that, since no one has any memory of being age two.

She said 'Well my mother told me'. I asked her what memories she had of the incident, and she said she didn't have any. I asked her 'So how do you know you were abused?' and she thought for a minute and then said 'Well, I suppose that I don't know'.

This woman has gone through her whole life being told that she had been sexually abused. It has affected everything she has done, every thought, every action. Now, I don't know if she really was abused or not, but it doesn't matter. If you don't remember being abused then effectively you weren't abused.

False memories are just as bad as real abuse

But what has happened is that every time she felt bad, every time she felt unable to cope with something, the same old reason was trotted out - 'Oh, it's because you were abused'. This belief, put there by other people, has prevented her from ever examining her own life objectively, from seeing things as they really are. The result is that she has had a belief that her life was ruined from the beginning, that there is no point in trying to improve. She blames the 'abuse' for whatever she feels, for every reaction. That has prevented her from ever getting to grips with the real source of her unhappiness.

I personally believe that child abusers should be strangled in the town square because of the damage they cause.  But the well meaning people who convince women that they were abused when they were not, are equally guilty. They  ruin just as many lives.

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NLP fast phobia cure

Why the NLP Fast Phobia Cure works

I learned the NLP Fast Phobia Cure many years ago. I have used it a lot. But nobody knows why it works. This book gives a reason. 

I am reading, and rereading, the book by Peter Levine, In an unspoken voice. In his book Levine puts forward his theory that most psychosomatic and behavioural problems are the result of unresolved trauma. I am greatly impressed by this book because of the explanatory power of its underlying theory. It does not deal with hypnotherapy directly, but everything he puts forward as theory maps exactly on to what hypnotists do to fix their clients.

Why the NLP Fast Phobia Cure works

And bearing in mind that 'there is nothing as practical as a good theory' I keep finding insights into why standard hypnotherapy techniques work. The NLP fast phobia cure consists of taking the person to the edge of distress to the moment just before they will experience what they fear. Then they are encouraged to go through the experience visually. They see it happening very fast, then run it in reverse. Then they play with the images, making them bigger, smaller, distorted and so on.

This fits in perfectly with Levine's ideas. He says that when we have a traumatic experience and we are prevented from getting out of it, we freeze and dissociate, but the trauma remains within us. The only way to get rid of the frozen trauma is to work through the whole sequence of events slowly. That way you become aware of what is happening in your body. He says 'When we are able to slow down and experience all the elements of sensation and feeling that accompany our traumatic patterns, allowing them to complete themselves before we move on, we begin to access and transform the drives and motivation that otherwise compel us to re-enact traumatic events'.

The Fast phobia cure does exactly that. It allows the sufferer to control the speed at which events are experienced. You go through it all slowly and deliberately. So the NLP Fast Phobia Cure is actually the slow phobia cure.

NLP has never been able to provide a rational explanation for why the 'cure' works. I think that the Body Sensing theory explains it completely.

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Body Language

Body Language for Hypnosis Rapport

Body Language is what your client is telling you before they speak

Body Language is important for hypnotherapy. When I meet a client for the first time, I hand them my clipboard. I ask them to write down their name and email address. And while they are doing that I inspect them minutely and try to figure out what their body language is telling me. I look at their fingernails, bitten nails are a  sign of chronic anxiety; their hair, poor grooming suggests depression; how they are dressed, all dark colors suggest lack of confidence; their jewelry, loud or excessive jewelry suggests low self esteem - and so on.

Body Language - you cannot not communicate

People are signalling how they feel all the time. If you choose to pay attention you will learn that body language doesn't lie. NLP teaches that even when you are silent, you are communicating. How you stand, how you dress, how you arrange your feet, are saying something, whether you are aware of it or not.

I have had a fascination with body language most of my life. I get as much practice as I can, and not just with clients. Every time I am in a public place - on a bus, a hotel foyer, waiting in a shop - I spent the time studying someone. I am trying to learn what their actions, posture, clothes, expression, interactions with others is signalling to the world. Sometimes you get nothing much. But now and again their body language gives you a sudden insight into that person's life, what they feel, how they see the world. It is endlessly fascinating and when it is done right you get total rapport with the other person, you really understand how they feel.

After a while, you get a sense of general categories. I can now watch people go by, and think 'Depression', or 'Anxiety' or 'Unhappy marriage' just from the signals they are giving off. After a while it becomes automatic. It also gives you a much richer understanding of what is going on around you.

I recommend studying body language as a way to increase your rapport building skill with clients.

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Nervous Bowels

Nervous Bowels

Many people have Nervous Bowels. This client was a lovely woman, elegant, composed, and with a terrible secret. She gets immediate diarrhea every time she has to meet someone.

It is not uncommon for people to get shaky bowels whenever they think they're going to be judged. It happens to sportspeople just before they have to perform. Entertainers get it before they go onto the stage. Most people feel some sort of unpleasantness in their gut in the face of a stressful situation.

Living with nervous bowels

In this case the client had been pretending for years. She had a high level position in education and was widely respected for her skills. But she had been hiding the need to rush to the toilet every time she was introduced to someone. After some questioning, it became clear that this was not a normal case of stress induced diarrhoea. This woman could happily address the groups of people. She  had no problem with public speaking. She could facilitate small group meetings, and do it very well. Interacting with two people was OK also. But the prospect of talking to just one person sent her running for the bathroom.

After some investigation I discovered it was really about the fear that she would have to leave the other person alone. In her mind, this was unacceptably rude. So her fear was that she would be called away to something else and have to leave the other person on their own. It was really about what that other person would think of her for doing that.

I tried to get to the cause of this. She said she had a great childhood. She could find no reason for this anxiety. The only worry she could find was that she was very nervous about her own parenting skills. However I could not find any direct cause for why leaving one person alone should generate these feelings.

Treating nervous bowels

I decided to use metaphor therapy on her feelings of anxiety. I asked her to put yourself into the position of being forced to speak with one person. The objective was to get her to go into the state so that I could work directly on the feeling. She tried and could not get into the feeling without being there.

So I put her into trance. I did a simple metaphor therapy about allowing her unconscious mind to search for the source of the feeling. Her unconscious mind found the source of the feeling and pulled it out of its hiding place. Then her mind took that thing and broke it open. The contents turns to liquid. I told her the liquid was pouring down inside and leaking out through the soles of her feet until it was gone.

Clearing the problem

This metaphor triggered something, because she started crying. I use that to associate into her feeling of distress. I then asked her to focus on the feeling and describe what object it most resembled. She told me it was like a brown ball full of moving clouds of black. I worked on this representation and got her to shrink it. She was able to shrink it until it was the size of a golf ball. But she was completely unable to get it to go any smaller.

From experience, I know that this is her unconscious mind resisting my attempts to get rid of it. So I changed the metaphor.  I asked her if she had ever sliced a tomato. Slicing a tomato is something that everyone has done. It is easy and familiar. The moment that I said it, she was no longer stuck. She told me that she was now able to slice the golf ball. I then told her to think about dicing vegetables or something like that, as she got rid of the thing completely and she got rid of the thing completely.

I have no idea what the origin of the problem was, and neither does she. But by using metaphor therapy we were able to get rid of it completely.

The origin of her nervous bowels

After talking about the process and the outcome for a while, I asked again about her upbringing. Now that her unconscious mind had removed whatever it was, she told me a different story about growing up. It turned out that she had a not so good childhood. She had an adopted older brother who caused problems in the family and bullied my client. Her mother expected perfection, that my client felt she could never deliver. Her mother was into Guiding, and loved rules, and discipline, and expected nothing else from her children. I suggested that she didn't have to look very far to find the source of her anxiety, and she agreed.

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subconscious or unconscious

Subconscious or Unconscious difference

Subconscious or Unconscious. is there a difference?

Recently I have been revising some pages I have not looked at for a while. I noticed that sometimes I use the word 'subconscious' and sometimes I use 'unconscious'. I realized that I do not actually know when to use subconscious or unconscious. On looking into it, I discovered that no one else does either.

Consciousness is an emergent property

There are no shortages of definitions or prescriptions, but there appears to be as many different meanings for these words as there are people writing about them. Almost all of the meaning assigned is based on metaphor, or arguing by analogy. There appears to be virtually no scientific agreement on either term. The basic problem is that "consciousness" itself does not have a clear definition. If you dissect a brain you will not find "consciousness". Consciousness is an emergent property.

This is the same as your voice. You make the voice with your breath and the muscles of your throat. But you cannot investigate the voice itself. It is an emergent property. Your voice is not part of your body. In the same way, consciousness is not part of your brain. Therefore, trying to be exact about subconscious or unconscious is not possible. If you don't know what "consciousness" is, then you cannot really know what its opposite is.

According to Wikipedia, when used in general conversation the words subconscious or unconscious are interchangeable. You can use either of them to refer to the causes of behavior you are not aware of doing. For most purposes this is good enough.

Subconscious or unconscious

The term unconscious was introduced by Freud. He regarded the unconscious as a part of the mind in which primitive drives, demands, feelings and memories exist. The unconscious is different from the conscious because no amount of introspection, no amount of thinking, will allow you to access the contents of the unconscious. He believed that the contents of the unconscious could be hinted at through dreams, hypnosis or free association.

In psychology, the term subconscious is used to refer to whatever part of your consciousness you are not currently paying attention to. Psychologists today do not really accept Freud's view of the non-conscious part of the mind. Even the term "mind" is contentious and difficult to define. Modern psychology tends to avoid addressing or studying the "subconscious".

So the best technical definition would be at the unconscious is totally unknowable, while the subconscious is simply that part of the brain's normal function that you are not aware of at the moment, but which you can become aware of if you direct your attention to it.

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handicapping yourself

Handicapping yourself to fail: extreme procrastination

Every hypnotist has to deal with procrastination. (Either their own, or in the client). It can be very hard to clear. Many procrastinators are really skilled at putting things off and come up with wonderfully inventive reasons for not getting on with it. But the underlying reason is fear.

Handicapping yourself to fail

One common fear is fear of being criticised for not doing well enough. The most common way out of this is to handicap yourself, usually by restricting the amount of time available to complete the task. A common strategy to get round this is put off and put off starting until five minutes past the last possible minute, and then slamming into the work and getting something out of the door by the deadline. The rationale is that you can't then be criticised for not living up what is expected because you didn't have enough time to do it properly. So in your mind, you are safe from the pain of being found not good enough.

Handicapping yourself to fail: extreme procrastination

Some people have taken this to extremes, making it a part of their life. The world chess master of the early nineteenth century from 1800 to 1820, Alexandre Deschapelles, used to take the pressure off his chess matches by giving away one or two pieces before each game. That way he handicapped himself: his opponent had eight pawns and he only had six. So if he lost it was not because of his lack of ability, it was because he had fewer pieces than his opponent. And if he won, well it just showed how good he was, but he avoided the pain of not measuring up, and therefore did not have to procrastinate about playing a match.

Eventually he became recognised as the best player in the world at the time. But then someone else came along, who beat him consistently. Deschapelles realised that he would always be beaten, so he gave up chess completely, never played another game, and took up the card game whist, later known as Bridge.

And once again he handicapped himself by wasting his highest card. He went on to be an outstanding card player but always only after imposing a handicap on himself.

This habit is remembered today in the Bridge technique known as Deschapelles Coup, beating your opponent by deliberately sacrificing a high card in order to spoil their planned strategy.

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artist's mind

Exploring the artist’s mind in hypnosis

Looking into the artist's mind with hypnosis

I had a client the other day who is an artist. She is a well respected and well known artist. She came to me to sort out some personal difficulties. In the process of interviewing  her, she talked about her art and her ideas about art. She is   highly intelligent with a lively artist's mind. Her art is quite avant-guard. She designs installations that visitors can walk into. It gives them a full immersive experience. Inside her art work they will find rooms with no corners, with no obvious lighting sources. Colors merge into each other. There are strange designs of wall that leave you disoriented and unable to find a way out.

And that is exactly how she described her life to me. She feels disoriented, directionless and with no way out.

We went on to deal with some of her issues, but it left me wondering whether this a recurrent theme in art, and whether with enough skill you could work out the state of the  artist's mind by examining what they produced.

And whether it doesn't just apply to artists, whether what all of us produce personally and collectively actually reflects our inner states. Perhaps culture is a by-product of the collective psyche. 

Changing the artist's mind

It also brings up some issues specifically related to hypnotherapy. This woman is successful precisely because her art reflects her artist's mind. What happens to her art if I take away the issues that are driving her? Am I destroying her artistic source? Will I make her unemployed? Or perhaps she will use her existing talents to produce a different kind of art? Will her new artist's mind produce a new artist's output? 

The ethical implications of changing personalities and attitudes are quite profound. What happens if what I do causes a man to no longer put up with his wife's behaviour? Suppose I change a person's limiting beliefs and they go out and start a business, and fail at it? Is my hypnosis ethical?

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proprioception exercise

Proprioception exercise the forgotten sense

If you want to expand your sensitivity try this Proprioception exercise. We are accustomed to think that we have only five senses, but we actually have many more. For example, you have a sense of balance, a sense of heat and sense of proximity. One of the pervasive senses that we use all the time but people sometimes overlook is the sense of proprioception. This is the sense of knowing the spatial relationship between parts of your own body.

Proprioception exercise increases sensitivity

To test your own sense of proprioception try the following exercise. Close your eyes. Then extend one arm and then wave your hand around at random in circles and jab it out all over the place, move your hand above your head and behind your back. Keep moving your hand around and at the same time move your head, shake and nod and turn it in circles. Then move your hand to your face and place your index finger right on the tip of your nose. Most people can do that with absolute accuracy, even though it does not involve any of the other senses. With practice you can improve the sensitivity of this sense. For example, become aware of the position of inside of your left knee. Then focus your attention on that area and imagine that it is become hot, or that you can feel a tingle in that area.

Proprioception exercise feedback from body muscles

This ability can improve with practice. You can then try to become aware of your own abdominal muscles, or your back muscles. Getting in touch with your own body can help with sports performance and with easing muscle pains. Once you can identify will all the major parts of your body, relaxation become much easier. And relaxation of the body leads to relaxation of anxieties so it is worth exploring this ability we all have.

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