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past life regression hypnotherapy

Past Life Regression Hypnotherapy

Past Life Regression Hypnotherapy

A client booked in with me writing "I would like to have a past life regression hypnosis. I feel a bit unhappy, like I am not fulfilling my purpose. I feel a bit lost." Past life regression hypnotherapy requests are fairly common but I always wonder what prompts the client to ask for one.

The client was a young primary teacher. She told me "I feel totally confused about my feelings, and my own life. I was going to resign my job because I couldn't really understand how I was feeling. My friends tell me it must be something I did in a past life."

Different assumptions

It became obvious fairly quickly that she really was not in touch with their own feelings. I gave her the dysthymia questionnaire. She identified with most of the areas, particularly with circular thinking. We discussed how rumination was affecting her. On looking at the the other aspects of dysthymia,  it became clear that she also has black and white thinking. This is defined by high expectations and distress at not achieving them. The rumination and failed expectations were driving her  lack of feeling, of disconnection.

It had never occurred to her that she had depression, despite the fact that her sister has depression, and her mother shows every sign of it as well.

I outlined what she has to do to fix her own depression, emphasizing exercise, but not going into detail or suggesting that she should come back.

We agreed that all of her symptoms were consistent with depression, and there was no point in doing past life regression.

There was not a lot of time left, so I had to do something fairly quick to end the session.

Metaphor therapy

She came to my office convinced there was something hidden inside that was making her act and  feel this way. So I decided to use metaphor therapy to clear that thing. I did a short induction. I suggested there was something lodged in her unconscious mind. Her own mind searched for it, found it, and ripped it out. Then it turned to liquid and drained out through her feet.

She was one of those clients who do a lot of moving in trance. I was concerned that she was not deep enough, so I deepened her by going down some steps into a garden. I didn't know what to do next. So I just let my unconscious mind take over. I noticed a potted plant on my windowsill. So I took her to a large glass house. The glasshouse was hot and steamy and everything was growing. I led her to a bench where there was a flower pot with rich earth in it.

Grow your answer Therapy 

There was a packet with her name on it. She felt it, and it appeared to have a seed inside. There was a sign that said 'open me'. I got her to plant the seed. Then someone appeared and said "I have been waiting for you to plant that seed. Now I will look after it for you. The seed will grow into a plant with many beneficial properties. It will continue to grow throughout your life. Who who knows what it will produce?".

I then got her to go outside and had her sit on a bench. She fell asleep on the bench and began to dream of a woman sitting on a bench. She dreamed of a woman sitting on a bench dreaming about a woman sitting on a bench and hearing these words. I continued with the multiple levels of dissociation until even I got lost in it.  This could be a good way of doing multiple embedded metaphors?

Feedback on this Past Life Regression Hypnotherapy

I was a little concerned that she had not really been in trance, due to the amount of wriggling around that she did. So I asked her what she remembered about the hidden object. She said it was that one of those things that suck blood, a leech. So, I was happy that she actually had been utilizing her own unconscious mind.

At then, at the end, saying goodbye, she said "and I really liked the whole plant thing, and this thing growing".

What I learned from this is that it is quite amazing how people can misinterpret their own symptoms. This woman was being encouraged to go down the path of New Age spirituality, and who knows where it might have led her. She just did not recognize the source of her own problems.

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hypnoanalysis

Hypnoanalysis Hypnotherapy

Hypnoanalysis and Hypnotherapy

As part of my professional self-development I am reading books based on other therapies. I am interested in what I might learn about my assumptions in how I do therapy, and about hypnoanalysis. I chose to read The Examined Life because I wanted a perspective from psychoanalytical therapy. The book is a collection of stories about patients by a well-known American psychoanalyst based in London.

Differences in approach

One of the most striking things to me is the basic psychoanalysis approach to therapy. I see most of my clients for one hour and never see them again. His clients see him five times a week, and continue seeing him every day for years and years. There is no expectation of making any immediate change.

The type of client he treats is also very different. Only seriously wealthy people can afford to pay for therapy five hours a week for years. Therefore, his approach to them is quite different. It is an approach of almost diffidence, doing nothing to upset or alienate the client, and the income stream.

Another curious aspect of psychoanalysis practice arises out of the limitless number of hours available. Grosz recounts several patients where neither he nor the patient said anything for an hour. They both sat there in total silence, waiting for something to happen. I doubt any hypnotherapist has ever done that.

Applying psychoanalytic principles to hypnoanalysis

It seems to me that psychoanalysis is basically a form of Reframing. The object is to get the patient to recognize some key element of their behavior, and understand that behavior as representing something else. That last sentence is actually the definition of 'metaphor'. It seems to me that he was constantly seeking a metaphor to explain his clients' behavior. And just like reframing, the theory is that realizing that you can see things in different way, to have different explanation, is all you need to cure you.

For me, the strangest part concerns the relationship between the Analyst and the Patient. For Grosz, the analysis can not make progress until a proper relationship is established. It is not friendship, it is not advisory, it is something unique to psychoanalytic training. There is nothing like that in hypnotherapy.

Freud and hypnoanalysis

Grosz is a Freudian psychoanalyst. His therapeutic approach is therefore based on Freudian theory and thinking. It only comes up incidentally in the stories about his patients, but I found the Freudian worldview both startling and alien. Nothing is ever accepted for what it is. Everything is interpreted through the lens of Freudian theory. Everything is a hidden message about your mother or father.

And I found a very different approach to therapy. In the stories about his patients Grosz seems to give very little value to non-psychological causes. He often mentions in passing that his patients have an alcoholic father, or a brother in psychiatric care, or a history of depression in the family, but never seems to give any weight to the possibility that his patient's behavior may have a genetic basis. There seems to be no role for physiology.

He does not use anything from behavioral psychology, or CBT, or guided visualization, or any other direct intervention. Everything is about getting the patient to speak aloud, and then helping the patient to interpret what they just said. It is a passive approach to therapy. In some aspects psychoanalysis seems very close to non-interventionist counseling.

Overall impression

There is a lot in this book that is good. There is a lot I disagree with. It is challenging and interesting. But it is actually a very bleak book. I felt quite disturbed by the time I had reached the end of it. His underlying theme is about change and loss. He says there can be no change without loss. Whether this reflects his own personality, or the result of a lifetime spent talking to unhappy people, is impossible to say.

There are many thought provoking phrases used in the book.

"Behavior is the language we use when we have no words to express how we feel".

"My job is not to find a solution. My job is to find a useful question".

Some of his patients were deeply disturbed. And disturbing. I found it very hard to get one story out of my mind. He described working with a woman whose husband had a terminal illness. She could not cope with living with someone who is dying. In particular she was horrified by what she felt was having to have sex with a corpse.

Reflections on Hypnoanalysis

The main reason for reading this book was to challenge my own assumptions about how I do therapy. When questioning why other people do therapy the way they do, it challenges you to justify why you do therapy the way you do.

It seems to me that the principles of psychoanalysis do not transfer well to hypnoanalysis. I will not be using Freudian principles in my daily work.

However, this book has made me question my assumptions. If psychoanalysis believes that telling your story is how you make sense of your life, why don't I believe that? And what do I believe? How do I know what I am doing is right?

 

The examined life
How we lose and find ourselves
by Stephen Grosz
London: Chatto and Windus. 2013
ISBN 978-070–18535–0

 

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havening

How to use Havening in hypnotherapy

How to do Havening 

The whole havening process is simple and takes only a few minutes.

Set up for Havening

  1. Get your client to think of their problem, the issue that they want to deal with. Get them to say aloud a word or phrase that represents that problem. Ask the client to put a number on the feeling, with ten being the most distressing.
  2. Tell your client to clear their mind, or imagine something pleasant.

Havening tapping

3. Ask your client to start tapping lightly on their own collarbones with both hands, and while they are tapping and keeping their head still,

a.  open and close their eyes twice.

b.  with their eyes open, look to the right, then left

c. look down to their left, then down to their right.

d. rotate their eyes once clockwise, and once anticlockwise.

e. tell the client to stop tapping.

Havening Stroking

4. Tell them to close their eyes. Get your client to fold their arms across their chest.

5. Ask your client to imagine [first visualization: going up a flight of stairs].

a. With each step they [first audio: count out loud from one to 20].

b. As they are counting, you count along with them, and you gently stroke the sides of their upper arms 20 times.

Repeat the Havening Stroking

6. Ask your client to rate their feeling now on the 1 -10 scale.

If it has not reduced enough, repeat step 5a and 5b as many times as you need to.

But replace the [visualization] with another visualization such as [skipping twenty times].

Replace the [auditory] with something else such as [humming Happy Birthday aloud]

Final Havening Release

When there is no further change to your client's rating number

7. Tell your client to open their eyes, drop their arms, and relax.

8. Ask your client to rotate their eyes clockwise and anticlockwise, then close their eyes.

9. As the final step, you stroke the side of your clients arms again five times, and on the fifth stroke say "Let it go now".

10. Check with your client how they think about their problem now.

 

 

Source: http://www.hsj.gr/medicine/impact-of-a-singlesession-of-havening.php?aid=7273    accessed: 21 Sep 2018

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Ending Procrastination

Ending Procrastination

Ending a lifetime of procrastination

I was looking through some old computer text files when I came across one with the strange name of "tangerine induction". The file was about eight years old, according to the file date stamp. The file was well structured, in good English, nicely laid out in sections. And made no sense at all.

The instructions were to imagine a tangerine. The writer urged me to imagine a tangerine nestled in the palm of my hand. I was to imagine it as vividly as I could. Feel the weight, smell the aroma, feel the texture, really experience that tangerine. Then I was to throw the tangerine, in my imagination, from hand to hand.

As I was throwing it back and forward, it would allow any worries, doubts, or anxieties to just disappear. Just focus on the tangerine going from hand to hand and allow my mind to calm. Then I was to put the tangerine on the back of my head and start playing. Huh?

Ending Performance Anxiety

I did a bit more investigating, and worked out from the URL that it was from a music coach website. Then it made sense. It was actually designed to prevent performance fright. The reference to playing meant to sit at your piano or take up your guitar or whatever. Then imagine the tangerine, allow your stage fright to diminish, and just start playing. The idea of sticking it onto your head just means that it will be there with you all through the performance.

It seemed to me that this routine would probably work. What you are doing, in essence, is taking a mental problem, and visualizing your problem as an object. Then the imagined exercise of throwing the tangerine takes your mind off it. Add in a little suggestion of the fear getting smaller, and it does. In other words, by focusing on the tangerine you are not focusing on your stage fright. Believe in the tangerine and your performance anxiety will disappear.

I decided to try it. I noticed that while visualising the tangerine being thrown between my hands, I had entered a very light trance. So I decided to use that little bit of trance, and see if I could develop it.

Now I do not have performance anxiety. I am quite happy lecturing in front of a cinema sized audience without notes. What I do have, is a form of procrastination that I have never been able to get rid of. And I really don't understand it.

My Personal Procrastination Problem

When I am writing, or programming, I find that whenever I get to the point where I don't know what to do next I just feel compelled to stand up and get away from my desk. I usually go and make a cup of tea. By the time I've made the tea I have thought of what to do next, and carry on with it. Nine times out of 10 I forget about the tea and when I remember it again it's stone cold.

This would be amusing if it wasn't for the fact that I spent quite a lot of my life doing things where I don't know what to do next, such as writing an academic dissertation. This particular habit of mine must have wasted thousands of hours and made a serious dent in my productivity.

So I thought about that as I was mentally throwing my tangerine. I allowed myself to associate into the feeling that I have to get up and move away, the feeling that I get when I don't know what to do next.

Fear the Fear and accept it

To my great surprise, I began to get a much stronger feeling. And then a visualization. What I was visualising was a metal strap, the sort of thing that is used to hold large bundles of timber together, or as reinforcing around industrial cardboard boxes. This strap was a pale green colour. And I was trying to get the two pieces apart.

I have no idea what this strap represents. So I focused on when this was happening. I got a very strong feeling that I was young. This was happening when I was a boy. What I was feeling was a terrible anxiety about not knowing what to do next. And then I felt my head tilting back.

I got the distinct impression that I was a little boy looking up, the way children do at adults. And then I got this overwhelming fear that I was going to get punished for not having done something. I knew I was going to get punished because I didn't know what to do next about this strap thing.

In my mind, I was then running away and trying to hide in a corner, behind a wooden kitchen chair. And this unidentified adult was coming at me, going to hurt me, punish me. I was totally filled with fear and my only desire was to get away from there.

I had found the origin of my procrastination behavior. I actually did have a bad childhood, and got punished often. I have absolutely no conscious memory of this particular incident.

Ending Procrastination

Then I thought to myself, "I'm a psychologist. Why don't I just get rid of this the way I would with a client?" Almost immediately, I imagined myself as an adult going into that room where the child was, finding that child and comforting him. I empowered the child to stand up and throw the chair at the adult.

I then filled the child with a feeling of power, almost rage, that saw the child sweeping the adult out of there. Then I found myself, the child, standing in the doorway of that house. I could feel myself with enormous muscles and strength. Looking outside I heard myself saying that "this will never happen again. I will not put up with this! And then the child giant went back into the house and cleared out every room and made sure there was no threat there at all.

Since then I have noticed that when I am writing, wondering how to develop my article, that old feeling is completely gone. It just isn't there.

As I reflect on my experience of this, sharing it with you, I suppose what I'm really thinking is that it really does not take a lot of time or effort to create the mental space in which to make significant personal change. All it needs is the ability to empathise with the child's feeling and then to rescue that child. I just wish it hadn't taken me 50-odd years to do it.

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remember your dreams

How to remember your dreams

How to remember your dreams

Everyone dreams, every night. In fact on average we dream about every hour and a half. The longest dreams last between 30 and 45 minutes. And yet many people say they never dream. What they actually mean is that they cannot recall their dreams. If you would like to remember your dreams, there are some simple things you can do to make it happen.

Keep a dream journal

There is a time between beginning to wake up and being fully awake. This is the ideal time to record your dreams. It has been shown that the best way of remembering your dreams is to keep a dream diary. All you need is something to write on that you keep other side of your bed. It's probably best to get some sort of notebook. That way it keeps all the dreams together, in sequence, and you are less likely to misplace it.

When you first wake, think about what you were dreaming about, and immediately write a description of it it in your dream diary. Make a habit of doing it every day. Even if you can't remember the dream in detail, write down a word or a phrase that comes to mind.

As soon as you start, write down as much as you remember. Usually after you put down a few lines, you will recall more of the dream. Write that down, and you'll get more of the dream. Keep writing it until you think there is no more. Don't worry about spelling, grammar, or sense, or anything else. Don't worry about how weird it seems. Just write down whatever you remember. If you do this every day, over time you will be training your mind into recalling your dreams.

Tell yourself that you can dream

If you never, or seldom, have dreams then you need to tell your subconscious mind what you want. All you have to do is, when you go to bed, gently bang your head three times on the pillow, and say "I will wake up when I dream". It may take a couple of nights to have an effect but for most people this form of gentle self hypnosis allows them to become much more aware of their dreams.

Give your dream a name

After you have written down your dream, give it a name. If you don't have time right now to go over the dream in detail, then the name will remind you later on. You'll also find that when you go back and look over your dreams for a few weeks, you will probably find the same themes appearing in the names of your dreams.

Draw a rich picture

It is often useful to draw a picture of your dream. Just do a little drawing of one of the symbols in the dream. Then do another and link the first one to it, and then just keep adding more and more things which will remind you of your dream. You can also add in words and anything else you think will remind you. As you draw more and more of the dream will come into memory.

Use a mind map

If you don't have time for a written description, you just don't feel like writing it out in sentences, then use a mind map. A mind map has one or two words as the central idea. Write it down and draw little oval round it. Then draw three or four look little curvy lines coming off that circle. At the end of each line draw another oval. Then add more words which are the relationship to the central word. Draw more lines either from the second of also from the original oval. Eventually you end up with a a map of 'bubbles' containing the keywords of your dream.

The habit of writing down your dreams as soon as you have them will remind your mind how important it is to you. That will encourage your mind to waking up when you are having a dream. Eventually, you will find that your wake up several times a night immediately after having had a dream. Then you know down your dream in as much detail as you want to, and just go back to sleep.

Very often when you wake up fully in the morning you'll be surprised to see two or three dreams described that you don't even remember writing down.

 

 

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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.

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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.

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invisible woman

The Invisible Woman problem eating

Why can't you lose weight?

It is strange how so many people remain overweight, but are always the same weight. They stay much heavier than they want to be for years and years with barely any variation. You would think it would be just as simple to lose weight once,  and stay at that  lower weight in the same way. The Invisible Woman gave me an insight into why some people just cannot lose it.

My client had been on every diet ever published, had tried fasting, had tried everything – but none of it worked. She always ended up eating when she didn't have to. Something would make her feel miserable, and she would reach for the comfort food. She said to me, "It's not that you want to be overweight, it's just that you don't care".

I spent some time exploring why she didn't care. She could not give me an exact answer, but it had something to do with how she felt about herself. Basically, she didn't care because she knows that whatever she does she won't be seen, won't be accepted.  So why not just do what you enjoy? Eat.

Her basic problem was "I am rejectable".  She always expects to be rejected. "I feel invisible. Nobody cares". Given that basic feeling then it is understandable why she eats, gets overweight, and doesn't care.

Origin of the Invisible Woman

I had no idea what to do, really. So I put her into trance, and decided to go with whatever developed. Once she was securely in trance, I went for what I thought was the principal problem – the feeling of being unimportant, invisible. I simply got her to focus on that feeling.

My aim was to get her to really open up to the feeling instead of avoiding it. So I asked her, "And feeling that feeling, what comes to mind?" After a while she started to tell me about a memory of coming to this country. She was a child, she did not understand what was happening, she had lost all her friends in the old country. It turned out that her mother hated being in this country.

Her mother was pressured into coming here and resented her husband for making the family relocate. The marriage began to break down, and for a lot of the time her mother just wasn't around. That little girl felt neglected, abandoned, not looked after. And then her mother died at age 12. She became a problem, instead of a little girl.

Visualizing the Invisible Woman

That explained where the Invisible Woman came from. I encouraged her to stay in the feeling. The feeling changed and grew. She said "The feeling is fear. I am like a gas bottle. I am all solid steel, and full of pressure, and about to burst".  Using her metaphor of the gas bottle, I tried to get her to imagine it breaking or collapsing. She could not see that. Then I said, " Has it got a valve?". Then I got her to imagine a tiny leak from the valve. That transformed it. Suddenly the gas bottle was emptying and pressure had gone.

She then gave me a visualization. She said "I am dressed in a fairy costume. In a room full of grownups. I am dancing and showing off. I am delightful and getting noticed". Then she said, "They are all stroking my hair".  I developed this metaphor. I told her she was dancing and spinning. As she spun more and more I suggested that little girl was growing up.

Then I put her in front of two mirrors. One was today's overweight woman, the other one showed her as she wanted to be. I was going to use the standard change procedure of moving from her one to the other. But she surprised me. She said "the fairy has touched the mirrors with her fairy wand. And I am now changed to the new picture". She had come up with her own transformation method!

My final help was to give her a visualization of  her dancing down the street in her fairy costume and into her new future. Lovely.

How do you deal with problem eaters? Leave a comment below.

 

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cannot visualize

Hypnosis for people who cannot visualize

Can't Let go of what she said

My client today discovered that his female partner was texting someone in Australia boasting that she was having sex with some other man. She explained to my client that she was actually winding up the other guy. He has accepted this explanation but cannot let it go. Every time they have an argument or disagreement he brings it up. She is now telling him to get over it, move on, or find somebody else.

He keeps thinking about the incident and can't let it go. The suggested to me that he has depression. I showed him my  dysthymia check sheet and he agreed that he is all over it. He told me that his sister is bipolar. I decided to teach him  some thinking exercises.

I started on the Tiger exercise. He immediately told me that he cannot visualise aTiger. In fact he cannot visualise anything. I tested with various things. He couldn't even visualise a circle. He said that when he thought about the Tiger what came to mind was his own cat. A fat and lazy cat. But he wasn't seeing the cat. He was experiencing the cat. He had no visual ability at all. I therefore could not use the thinking exercises. I didn't really know what to do.

Hypnosis for people who cannot visualize

I asked him what he gets when he thinks about the texting incident. He told me that he can remember the car, and her leaving her phone on charge, and him thinking there's something odd about the text he'd seen, and then checking again later. He could not visualise any of it. He was quite astonished that I could visualise things easily and clearly. He appeared quite worried by this as if there was some sort of deficit in him. But when he was talking about the incident he said "I can feel it now". I therefore decided to do metaphor replacement therapy on it.

I got him to think himself back to the incident and he quite quickly got the feeling. When he confirmed he had the feeling I asked him how big it was. "Massive". I asked them what colour it was. He said "maybe black?". He was not visualising it. I asked him "is it hot or cold?". He said it's cold. I asked him "what shape is it?". He said it's like the shape of a person, and outlined shoulders and a waist in the torso.

I asked him "can you make it a little bigger". He immediately said "no". I asked him if he could make a little bit smaller?. He immediately said "yes". Very quickly he made it so small it could fit in his hand. I asked him what would happen when it goes away. He said he could be free he could have a chance of getting her back again. He would be able to make good decisions again.
I then asked him what he wanted to happen to that thing. He said he wanted to throw it away. He imagined himself standing on a cliff and throwing this thing down. I then talked him through this thing going into the soil and rusting and turning into earth and being washed away.

I then tested him to go back to the incident and see if there was any feeling left. He could find no feeling. But he still wasn't convinced that it had gone. I talked about the process for a while and explained how it all worked.

Cannot visualize his second issue either

Eventually he said that he's got another issue. He has jealousy about an ex-partner of his wife's who in his opinion stands too close to her and is trying to upset him. He gets angry and jealous whenever he is near his wife. I asked him to go back into the feeling. He got that. I asked him "and what is it like?". He said "is like a sheet, a sheet enveloping me".

He then said that he could pull the sheet off and I got him to do that in detail. He said that he'd thrown the sheet down on the ground. I asked him to pick it up. He had it between his hands. And I then got him to do something to it. I suggested he could tear or shred it or set fire to it. He decided to set fire to it. It ended up as a small pile of ash very quickly. I got him to blow it away and sweep up whatever was left and it was over.

He agreed that the feelings had gone but was still quite skeptical about whether it would stay gone.

What I realized from this client is that I have found a way to deal with people who cannot visualize. I was really surprised at how well metaphor replacement therapy worked for someone who could not visualize at all.

How do you deal with non-visualizers?

 

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brief therapy

Brief Therapy hypnosis

I met a client today with travel anxiety problems.  He told me that he had been seeing another therapist for almost a year. This therapist had charged him thousands of dollars without creating any change in how he felt.

I find it astonishing that a client can continue charging someone week after week even though the client is getting no benefit. I find it even more disturbing that there are therapists who are so unprofessional as to encourage that. To my mind, applying the same therapy technique over and over, and producing no a significant change, is verging on fraud.

Hypnotherapy is brief therapy. In my practice, if I cannot make a definite, obvious difference in two session, then I advise the client that they may be better to find a different treatment.

Hypnotherapy is brief therapy

Hypnotherapy should be a brief therapy. The common distinguishing features of brief therapies of all types are:

1. Typically between one and twenty sessions.

2. Uses a rapid assessment to identify a core issue

3. Establishes and agrees  a specific therapeutic goal.

4. Focuses each session on that therapeutic goal

5. Active and direct interventions from the therapist.

Most common number of sessions = one

Research on therapy effectiveness investigated how many psychotherapy sessions clients actually attended (Talmon, 1990). It was found that:

(1) the modal length of therapy for every one of the therapists monitored was a single session;

(2) 30% of all clients chose to come for only one session in a given twelve month period; and

(3) there was essentially no correlation in a follow-up study between what the client stated helped them, and what the therapist thought was helpful in that session:

‘in most of the single-session therapy cases where patients reported particularly successful outcomes, the therapist appeared to have conducted a rather simple, almost dull session. In fact, in many successful single sessions, it is the patient who appears in control and sets the pace for change’ (p111).

This truth needs to be made clear to most hypnotherapists: you will probably only see the client for one session, whether you are successful or not. So you better get better at brief therapy.

 

What do you think of brief therapy? Would you go on seeing a client for years? 

 

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