She said she felt much better. She said for example at lunch on a training course she felt open and talked to everyone and contributed all the way through. Her previous problem of feeling shy in company and being unable to speak has just gone away completely.
She told me that she is now OK in groups, but she still feels inadequate on dealing with senior people one-on-one. It's like she is in awe of these people. She hates being in the spotlight. She feels as though she's been put on the spot and doesn't know what to say.
She told another story. She was in her office building waiting for the lift when this older man started speaking to her. He jokingly said he had ordered the lift for her and asked her how she felt et cetera, et cetera. She chattered back very comfortably. Until she asked him if he was looking for someone in particular in the building. He replied "No, I am a member of the Board". She immediately felt tongue-tied and embarrassed. It was this that she wanted to deal with.
Repeating the same therapy probably won't work
I was running out of time because I had a wedding to go to. I had to do something within the hour. I decided on a parts therapy. So I did a very short induction on her.
As soon as I started on the parts routine I got this horrible feeling that I had done exactly the same thing with her last week. I usually consult my notes before a client, but with getting ready for the wedding, I had forgot. I started panicking. But there was no going back. I felt very nervous, I am sure you could hear it in my voice.
Developing Vague Therapy
I usually suggest a detailed intro to get to some specific place that represents her unconscious mind. Usually I lead the person into a magic cave. Then they meet someone who discusses at length what behavior to change. This time I didn't have time for any of that. I had come up with something different. This time I just suggested a very large space. There was no suggestion of caves or cathedrals or anything else. I told her she was sinking into a big chair. Instead of trying to address the specific behavior, I just told her that she was getting the feeling that she had when she was talking to the man outside the lift. Immediately it was clear that she was in the feeling. Her chin was wobbling, her face was moving, she was very distressed.
I was then committed to continuing some sort of parts therapy, so I just pressed on. I was sure that I had done the same routine the previous week, and I was desperate not to duplicate it. So I did a very short version of the usual routine. Basically it was the same parts routine, but using as vague words and ideas as I could think up. I stripped out all the detail of what was happening and trying to avoid any imagery of the previous week's session. I had no idea what she would think of getting the same thing twice.
The outcome of developing Vague Therapy
When I got her to count herself out, she said that she was amazed at how vivid and real it was. She described in great detail what she saw and felt. She said she felt really moved by all the forces she had encountered. She said "I want to come back and do more of this!"
In fact, I have not done the parts therapy with this client. I had done it with a previous client a few days before. The two clients looked remarkably similar. That's why I thought that I had done the same routine with her previously.
What was interesting was that the vaguest instructions actually worked better that my usual, carefully constructed routine.
What do you think?
Have you ever had to make it up as go along? What were the results?
Unconscious mind experiment
As an unconscious mind experiment, I decided to put myself into a gentle trance. The object was to ask my unconscious mind what the subject of my next blog would be. I settled down in the chair, and just willed myself to go into trance. Within a few seconds I got a twitch in my hand. This is my personal indication that I'm going into trance. I got various images, none of which stayed very long, or led to anything much. I was actually sitting quite uncomfortably. As I felt myself relaxing deeper into trance I was worried I would fall out of the chair. So I brought myself out of trance. Maybe I just wasn't ready for it at this time.
And that got me thinking about how deep I had gone. That made me think of how would I know how deep a client had gone. It is always a problem to know how deep a client is. How can I get the client to tell me how deeply relaxed they are?
How to measure hypnotic depth
There is no point in just asking them. The client would have no way of knowing, would have nothing to measure it against. Which made me think of using a ruler. I could tell the client to visualize a ruler. Tell them that one end was zero, fully awake, and the other end was ten, deeply relaxed. Then ask the client to visualize where they were on that ruler.
This led me to the idea of an ever extending ruler. I immediately thought about a measuring tape. One of those things where you pull the tape out from a case. This would have the advantage of going far beyond ten. The client could envisage the tape being as long as they want. Even endless.
A new induction from my unconscious mind experiment?
And from that, the germ of a new idea arose from somewhere. If I could get the client to imagine where they were on the tape, then I could get them to imagine moving further along the tape. And if the tape went on forever, then I could suggest to the client that as they went along the tape they got deeper and deeper, more and more relaxed. And so the idea for a new and original induction emerged.
So perhaps my unconscious mind experiment worked. It is strange how the unconscious mind works. My unconscious mind experiment did allow me to find something totally new and unexpected to write about.
A client emailed me to ask: can you sell me a good script to stop somebody stuttering? I do not have a stop stuttering script. I have dealt with stuttering before and improved the guy's speech tremendously, but in my opinion using a script is not the way to deal with stuttering.
Origin of stuttering
Stuttering is the result of childhood trauma. A some point, the child was made to feel nervous in some situation. The child then got into the habit of being overwhelmed with nervousness in more and more situations. I once knew a man with a stutter who was brought up in France. He moved to the USA as an adult. He stuttered all his life in French, but had no stutter when he spoke English.
The correct way to treat stuttering is removing the cause of the chronic nervousness. This can be done by several hypnotherapy methods. Maybe most often by regression to cause, and you don't need a script for that.
That got me thinking about what other things scripts are not good for. The main class I suppose are substance abuses. They can all be helped, even stopped by hypnosis. But in most cases a script is not the right way to go. In my view all addictions are due to underlying unhappiness. People take drugs to escape from the way they feel now.
No Stop Stuttering Script
The correct approach is to find out why they are unhappy, why think they are not good enough, not wanted, whatever... and treat that. It will take several sessions. Once you have cleared whatever their particular unhappiness is that is driving them to take the drugs, they will stop by themselves. They won't need what the drugs are giving them any more. But every case is different and has to be understood differently. You can't use a standard script.
What other common conditions are not treatable with a standard script?
NLP Word Weaving is something NLP people are very proud of. I was talking to some newly made hypnotists who had just finished a course in NLP and hypnosis. They were all excited about their new skills. They were looking forward to a sparkling career as an international hypnosis superstar.
I didn't have the heart to disillusion them so I let them rave on. The reality is that most full time hypnotists see fewer than six clients a week. 90% of graduates from NLP and Hypnotherapy schools never actually use what they paid so much money to acquire.
NLP Word Weaving in practice
However they were asking me about one aspect that was worrying them both. They didn't feel confident about applying the 'NLP word weaving' part of NLP. They had spent a long time admiring how others had crafted indirect suggestions and language patterns. It seemed to them that there were people who could produce endless streams of it on any subject. They were told this was the way to influence the client's subconscious with effortless mastery.
I had had to tell them that as far as I was concerned, all that effort on NLP Word Weaving was a waste of time and breath. There certainly are endless elegant ways of talking around a subject. There are many ways of structuring suggestions so that that the client doesn't notice. But there is absolutely no evidence that it actually works any better than a straight forward suggestion.
In fact there is evidence to the opposite. It is so subtle that many clients miss the point. So I had to tell them that they had nothing to worry about. I am not sure if they were more relieved or disappointed.
I came across a description of the Dave Elman induction the other day. It reminded me of why it is often necessary to go back to the original publication. Most, if not all, of the hypnosis training schools in the US teach the The Dave Elman induction. Over time each trainer modifies it to their own style. Gradually, how they teach it drifts away from the exact instructions in the original version. This is inevitable but has consequences.
Elman Induction Fractionation
What sets the Elman induction apart from other inductions is the use of fractionation. This is the name given to the technique of inducing trance by opening and closing the eyes. The hypnotist suggests that each time you close your eyes you will go deeper into trance.
However, in the original version, there is one crucial bit of the eye closure that has been forgotten. The original states that when doing fractionation, the hypnotist's hand should be held in front of the person's eyes. The hand is held so close that they cannot focus their eyes. This prevents them from being distracted by anything in the room.
I don't think that I have ever seen this mentioned in any modern version. A quick tour of the online videos of the Elman induction reveals that this detail has been omitted there too.
Perhaps we all need to go back to the source?
It is time to change the metaphor hypnotherapy uses
Time to change the metaphor
I am always trying to think up new ways of dealing with old problems. I like writing scripts that use a fresh approach. However, on looking through some recent scripts I realized that I have unconsciously been using the same tired old metaphors as everyone else. It is time to change the metaphor.
The classic example is the NLP Fast Phobia Technique. This consists of imagining you are sitting in a cinema and watching your phobia play out on the cinema screen. Then you are told that you can change the speed of the movie or run it backwards. This metaphor has to be sixty or seventy years old. It is based on technology that was once glamorous and exciting, and part of everyone’s life. But that time is long gone. Cinema attendances plummeted years ago. People now get entertainment from their cellphones.
Think of all the standard induction scripts. They are all about stairs and escalators, opening doors, walking through a pubic park. We still do all these things but walking through public gardens is hardly an everyday event for most people. In fact going for a walk isn’t a daily event either, or even something a lot of people look forward to. And what about the swinging watch. When was the last time you saw someone wearing a pocket watch? Kids don’t even wear wristwatches these days.
Change the metaphor to include new technology
So I think we need to re-connect to the technology that people use every day. I have never seen a script that uses GPS as the metaphor, although it has been around for ten years. I have never seen a script about getting a fax. Or email. What about a script about Facebook? Are there any scripts about self-driving cars?
And what about popular culture? Where are the scripts based on Harry Potter. Or Star Wars? Sherlock Holmes is a major TV event. How about using Sherlock as a way to find the source of your problems?
I think I need to start thinking about what technology is new and exciting today. The world is full of marvelous, almost magical technology, and we need to use that to make a better connection to our clients. We really need to bring our metaphors into the 21st century.
Valentine's Day is coming up soon. I began to think of ways that I could use hypnosis to celebrate Valentines. That got me thinking about what it is that we really do with hypnosis?
Most hypnotherapy is about getting people to change. Self-help books are all about changing myself. It's all about giving me more confidence, more courage, more self belief. It's all about me, me, me. Essentially hypnotherapy is selfishness. If it involves other people at all, it is about how to stop them affecting you negatively. It's about how to learn to deal with social situations. Or dealing with bullying. There is a saying in therapy, that you cannot change other people, you can only change yourself.
A special Valentine's Day hypnosis script
Well, I thought, why can't I change someone else? Why can't I use hypnosis to make someone else feel good about themselves? Why can't I use hypnosis to deliver a really good news message? Is there any reason why hypnosis can't be directed purely at making someone else feel good. Why can't I use hypnosis to tell her that I don't want her to change. I want her to stay exactly the way she is.
So for this Valentine's Day I am going to write a new kind of hypnosis script. I am going to write a new script that will tell someone else how much they are loved and wanted. I am going to write a script that will burn into their subconscious the message that she is important, and valuable, and special, and wonderful. And I love her.
I am going to use every hypnotic technique I know to give someone else a fabulous ego boost that will last forever. I guess I am tired of always using hypnosis to deal with illnesses and problems. Doctors complained that the only ever get to meet people who are ill. I feel much the same. It will be really great to completely change my focus, and concentrate on getting across warmth and positivity. Just because I can.
I'm already thinking up metaphors, visualisations and wordings that will let her know exactly how I feel. I don't think the sort of thing is ever been done before. I am really looking forward to this.
I was recently asked why I don't have a hypnosis script for drinking and alcohol abuse.
In my view drinking is always a symptom of something else. Smoking is a habit: drinking is a cry for help.
I have a great deal of sympathy with alcoholics and problem drinkers. In my view they are simply self medicating and trying deal with unwelcome thoughts and feelings in the only way they know how - by numbing it with alcohol. Drinking is the only tool they have.
There is no such thing as a successful script for drinking. Abusing alcohol is not a hobby or something the client wants to do. They need help to understand their own behavior. You need to find out what is causing the feelings in order to get them off the alcohol.
Therefore a script will not do it. The causes are many and unique to the individual.
The feelings are always associated with childhood upbringing so you have to get the person to go back to the origin and either do Gestalt re-modelling or try some sort of Regression to Cause.
The origins are too deep and pressures to keep drinking are too strong for a one-way hypnosis. Unless you engage in a dialog with your client's unconscious you will not find the root of it, and if you don't find the root of it then you won't be able to remove it.
That is not to say that drinkers cannot be helped by hypnotherapy. They can. There are many techniques of hypnosis and NLP that will help. However things like Regression to Cause really can't be reduced to a script. A competent hypnotherapist should be able to tailor the technique to the client based on experience and training.
I don't believe that you can use a script and expect to get lasting results.
That is why I do not offer a straight hypnosis script for drinking.