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hypnosis and epilepsy

Hypnosis and Epilepsy

Hypnosis and epilepsy worries some people, and believe that epileptics should not be hypnotized . This is not true. There is no reason why an epileptic should not benefit from hypnotherapy. There is nothing in hypnosis that would cause the onset of an attack, so there is no reason to avoid it.

There is no special procedure to use, just the normal approach. It is sensible to talk to the person about their epilepsy. Most epileptics already have their condition under control and know what to expect and what to do. All that is necessary is for the hypnotist to learn what to do in case an attack comes on during the office visit. The simplest way is to simply ask the client how to tell if they are having an attack, and what they would like you to do if one happens to strike while you are there.

Epileptics know exactly what they need and have been through it many times, so there is no great mystery: it is just something that happens occasionally in their life. The hypnotist just needs to accept that there is a remote possibility of an onset, and be ready if one happens. 

It is just an illness, it has to be treated with understanding, and can be worked around. Hypnosis and epilepsy is really not a problem. 

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hypnosis script drinking

Hypnosis Script for Drinking

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.

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how to word suggestions

Self Hypnosis Suggestions

Self Hypnosis Suggestions

I received a query about Self Hypnosis suggestions:

I have a question about self-hypnosis. Is it better to give self-suggestion like:

I am now a billionaire

0r

You are now a billionaire

Okay this is just an example I am just wondering which is better to word, in first or second person? Or should you do both within the script???

This question has been debated endlessly. No one has ever come up with an answer that satisfies everybody. It is not simply a matter of wording. 

  1. Can you do anything in self hypnosis? Self hypnosis refers to the process of putting yourself into trance. Once you are in trance, you are not actually capable of forming logical thoughts. If you can, then you are not in trance. So if you can't form coherent thoughts then you can't form sentences and the words don't matter.
  2. Do you mean creating a recording you will listen to so that you put yourself into trance? I have never met anyone who has done this successfully. It is no problem to write out a script and record suggestions. But few people like the sound of their own voice, and since you wrote it you know what comes next and why you used those particular words. It is hard to get enough detachment to go into trance as you would if someone else was doing it.
  3. If we are actually talking not about hypnosis but about affirmations, does the exact wording matter? Again, millions of words have beer written about affirmations and there is no clear answer.
  4. If you have been brought up being told you are stupid and useless, then constantly reminding yourself that you are smart and capable will help to overcome your early programming. If you are an idle layabout then no amount of telling yourself 'I am a winner, I am a millionaire' will work. You just become an idle layabout with an inflated view of yourself. Changing the wording to 'You are a winner, you are a millionaire' doesn't really help.

You can play the recording (without the induction) over and over as you drive or at home doing something else and the words will eventually work their way into your subconscious. Whether they work or not is unknown. We are exposed to a massive amount of advertising but not all of it hits the mark. It is the same with self hypnosis suggestions.

The best way is to take yourself into trance with some relevant image in mind, and let your subconscious work on that for you. That process doesn't use words so the difference between 'I' and 'you' doesn't apply. 

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fear of driving

Fear of Driving Phobia removal

Fear of Driving

This phobia is fairly common. A surprising number of people get the shakes when driving over a high bridge or into a tunnel. Usually it is hard to pinpoint exactly why.

Yesterday I treated a woman who wanted to end her Fear of Driving. She said that she was OK around the back streets and normal driving. But when she got to a road with a drop off at the side, or a narrow part, she lost all her confidence. 

The source of the fear

I asked when this started and she said it began about three years ago and had got progressively worse. She told me she was out driving one day  when suddenly, out of nowhere, came an overwhelming sense of fear. Since that day she has been afraid of the feeling coming back. She tries to avoid driving so that she will not be exposed to feeling again. 

This is a classic description of how phobia is created. You are doing something distinct like driving or flying, and then you experience an overwhelming fear, and then your mind links the fear to the activity, and you have a phobia.

Normally it is impossible to say exactly what created the link. But in this case, the woman recognised the fear. Her son had died suddenly ten years before and this was the same overwhelming pain she had experienced at the time. Something she was doing or thinking at that moment reactivated the initial feeling. The pain gets linked to the driving activity,  and the Fear of Driving phobia is triggered.

Most phobias are not about the obvious activity. Fear of Driving is not about the driving, it is about not wanting to get that old fear again. The cure for phobias is to eliminate the origin of the fear. 

In this case the mother had never gotten over the death of her son. She was still carrying around that dread that something else bad would happen. So the answer was to lay the old fear to rest. 

Removing  fear of driving

I hypnotised her and put her into a deep trance. Then I suggested that she visualize a chair in front of her. Then I gently suggested that there was someone sitting in the chair, someone who wanted to talk to her. Someone who was taken away from her and didn't get the chance to say goodbye. I suggested that this person wanted to give her one last message before going away. 

I developed a dialogue saying to my client what a son would want to say to his mother. Then I  let her say to him what she wanted to say. I suggest that he was reaching out to her, and most movingly, she extended her arm out to where the chair might be. And slowly, tears rolled down her face. 

I finished the session by suggesting that her son had a gift he wanted to pass to her, and that he was saying "I'm OK mum. It's time to go now. I love you". He then got into a car and drove away, until the tail lights faded in the distance. 

I let her come back to the present in her own time. She said to me "I feel such a feeling of relief".  And that was the end of it.

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Dream Interpretation

Dream Interpretation with hypnosis

Have you ever considered Dream Interpretation as part of your hypnotherapy?

I love hearing about dreams, and doing dream interpretation, because they reveal what is going on inside the subconscious mind. It is often difficult to know if your hypnotherapy has actually been helping your client. This is especially the case when you are using Metaphor Therapy or Gestalt Therapy techniques. These indirect methods are designed to make subtle long term changes, sometimes so subtle that even the client doesn't realize they are happening.

I always ask the client what changes they have experienced since our last session. Usually the client can say what has or has not worked, and how they know that. But quite often the client will say that they haven't feel any change, even though I know that I have done some powerful work  with them, and they should have noticed some changes.

In that case I always ask if they have been having any dreams. Dream interpretation often gives deep insights into changes in the unconscious.

Dream interpretation example

One of my recent clients said that she felt that something was happening but she couldn't really say what, exactly. So I asked about dreams, and she told me the following vivid dream.

In my  dream I was laboring up a steep hill and there were other people going up as well. At the top was an airplane and we were going towards it. As I got closer the plane began to slip, and then it started sliding down towards me. I got frightened of being squashed and looked around for help, but I could only see two people, men, and when the men turned towards me I could see that they were unreal, with faces like cardboard cutouts from old cartoon comic strips. I realized that they were no help. The plane was sliding down towards me, so I put out my hands and was surprised that  the plane was pushed out of the way and passed by me harmlessly. That was the end of the dream.

I gave her my interpretation of the dream. Understanding dreams is simple. Everything in the dream is you. Other people are parts of you. Objects are metaphors for what you want to happen.

Using these rules, the going up the hill is a metaphor for struggling to change. The plane at the top of the hill is a metaphor for a means of escape. The other people on the hill are various parts of who she is. Metaphorically she want to get on the plane and fly out of there,  but is afraid of it, afraid of what might happen after the change. So that fear is translated into the plane turning into a threat. She seeks help from other parts, but sees that they in fact are cardboard cutouts, not real and not of any use any longer. So she gets the courage to deal with the threat, and deflects the plane and realizes that it actually can not harm her.

This was a perfect summary of her situation. She wants to change, but part of her is afraid to, so her mind shows her resolving this problem in dream. After the dream turns out OK, her mind can accept that she can change, and she starts the process of change on her own.

Later sessions actually confirmed this. She told me she no longer cared what she wore, or how she looked, because in fact 'Nobody cares what I look like. I have been obsessing for years over something that is not real'.

So her mind has now released the constant worry of having to look perfect, to be perfect. At some point she got on that plane.

Another case of dream interpretation helping with hypnosis.

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Solution Focused Therapy

Solution Focused Therapy

How can Solution Focused Therapy be used in a normal hypnosis session?

The essence of Solution Focused Therapy is the idea that it is the client who is the expert, not the therapist. All forms of psychotherapy involve talking. Hypnotherapy is unusual in that a lot of the time the talking is one sided. Hypnosis is not a conversation; the therapist is talking, but a client in trance only responds when prompted.

However, the hypnotherapist needs to know what to talk about. So a session typically consists of first finding out what the client wants. Finding out exactly what the client needs is one of the key skills of hypnosis.

There are many different techniques that can be used to extract what the client's real needs quickly and accurately. One of the most useful is Solution Focused Therapy.

Solution Focused Therapy

SFT focuses on identifying the best solution for the client. It does not ask about past problems, or how the client got into the situation they are in. SFT focuses on what the client wants to have happen, how they want to feel. SFT examines what can be done now, not what happened in the past.  It is about what is possible given the client's present situation.

It is based on the principle that whatever the client can do that helps in some way should be noted and encouraged. Therapy is based on the idea that it is the  client's current behavior that is causing or maintaining the problem, so keeping on doing more of the same is wrong. Therefore anything different, any change, is success.

Anything that leads away from the present unhelpful behavior is useful. The therapist's job is identify what can be changed and to help the client make that change.

Success

Therefore, the first thing to do is to identify exactly what the client would consider a success. Then to identify what successes, of any kind, the client has had in the past and what the client can find as possible new behaviors in the present.

On this basis the hypnotherapy can incorporate things that will lead to the goal of the client. Visualization can be done featuring the client in their ideal situation, doing the things they want to do, and having the life they want to live. The therapy can also use examples of past successes to remind the client that they are resourceful, that they can succeed. That way they can zoom in on what they want to change. And then the hypnotist can use standard techniques to help the client identify key new behaviors.

That way the therapist can use the principles of SFT to make the hypnotherapy more effective.

What do you think?

How do you use Solution Focused Therapy? Is it even possible?

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Eating motivation

Eating motivation hypnosis

Eating, motivation, and overeating

It's hard to create eating motivation. I had a consultation this morning with a woman who I had last seen in September. She she came  to be hypnotized to stop smoking. She was back, not because she had started smoking again: she hadn't, but because she was suffering from cravings for fatty food.

Her background was that she and her husband had broken up a few years ago. Then her mother died about one year ago. Her daughters had left to start their own lives. The economic downturn meant that her job was safe but slow. Basically she felt she nothing to live for. She had no one to look after, an empty house and a boring job. Her focus was just to get through the day.

The consequence was that she no stimulus, got bored, and started thinking about eating. In the absence of any other calls on her time she fantasized about what to eat. With nothing else to think about, food became a consuming obsession. She thought about it and thought about it until she just had to get up and go buy something 'nice'. She ate that and then then boredom set in again and the whole cycle repeated.

The result was massive weight gain. Previously she had smoked instead, and whenever she was bored she would go out and have a cigarette. So snacking was now filling the the gap she used to fill with smoking.

What causes overeating?

The root cause was the same: a lack of purpose in life. She was drifting from day to day and filled in the void with whatever activity gave her a little pleasure, smoking or eating.

It was only after a long session of question and answer that she came to realize what was happening to her. She learned to consider her way of life from an outsider's perspective. She needed to become aware of her own eating motivation. She was overeating because she was just living by default, drifting, with no plans, no goals, just one day after another.

So I encouraged her to think about what she could do and she came up with a plan. She was going to use the spare time at work to do online courses on her computer to challenge herself to get more skilled at her job. In the evening she would go to evening classes to learn Cordon Bleu cooking. That would  to gradually build up her confidence and her social life by getting family and friends round to share meals she would be proud of.

Hypnosis and Eating Motivation

I therefore devised a hypnosis script to make her dissatisfied with her current life. It focused on her weight and her aimlessness in order to motivate her to seek change. Then  I added a visualization of a happy future to give her a goal to go for. Then I included direct suggestions to emphasize how she has succeeded in the past and how she can succeed now. Then I finished with a kinaesthetic feedback technique using hand movements to convince her that her subconscious had agreed to make it all happen.

I cannot decide to change people's lives to what I think they should do. But this was a way to use hypnotherapy  to motive her to find her own resources to move forward in the way that was best for her.

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Shame and how to let it go.

I got an email from someone asking about what techniques to use to deal with chronic shame.

Shame is a feeling about who you are. It is a belief that something about you, something core to who you are, is permanently wrong, bad, not fitting with what other people expect.

Nobody is born with shame. Shame is something that other people put there. You might have done something, real or imagined, that other people told you was unforgivable, or that you personally decided other people could never forgive or forget. When you believe that your actions are unforgivable, then you walk around with that shame permanently on you.

However, nothing is unforgivable. There is nothing a person has done that they can not make amends for. And in most cases, the shame is something imposed by the person on to themselves. It is a personal belief, created and maintained and carried by that person. It is in fact that the person cannot forgive themself.

So the way to get rid of the feeling is find a way to get forgiveness.

There are many techniques available.
The right approach depends on whether the shame is due to something you did and remember, or if it is some general feeling not attached to any particular action.

The NLP technique of reframing might work to put the action into a different perspective.
Gestalt change techniques can be applied directly to the feeling in your body, and change the feeling.
Ordeal therapy might be appropriate here, depending on your personal spiritual beliefs.
Metaphor in hypnosis can be used to get a Power Figure to give you the forgiveness you need. That is the one that I would try first.

However, everyone is unique, and it is always best to seek help from some experienced therapist who can spend time finding the source.

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