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multi modal therapy

Multi Modal Therapy Hypnotherapy

Is there one best way of doing therapy?

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

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

Multi Modal Therapy

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

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

(Source: Wikipedia)

How to use Multi Modal Therapy

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

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

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

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skin picking

Skin Picking Sexual Abuse

Skin Picking Sexual Abuse

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

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

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

Therapy for Skin Picking

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

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

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

Externalizing his emotional abuse

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

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

Outcome of Skin Picking therapy

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

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

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NLP Stop Smoking

NLP Stop Smoking technique

NLP Stop Smoking 

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

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

NLP Stop Smoking Picture Visualization

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

Public Humiliation of your enemy

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

Public acclaim from your friends

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

NLP Stop Smoking  Action Visualization

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

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

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My friend John

My Friend John Induction as therapy

Combining the My Friend John Induction with Therapy

This client has a long history of emotional abuse by his parents. We spent a long time going over his recent past and his early childhood. He used to be a heavy drinker. Now he is ashamed of his behavior in the period when he was drinking. He still meets people from that time and feels embarrassed about what he did, and what they think of him. I think he is very afraid of any sort of public humiliation such as he had as a child.

On the other hand he doesn't like people telling him what to do. He said that he has "contrariness".

Clearing Feelings of Shame

I decided to do metaphor replacement therapy on his feeling of shame about his past behavior. He said it was like a purple cloud. Full of smoke. I asked him "and what do you feel about that purple cloud?" He said "sad". I got him to change its shape and I asked him "what happens to clouds over time?". He said they get smaller. I got him to imagine the rain. He said it was yellow. I eventually got the cloud to disappear.

He said that it was great to get rid of that feeling but he still wanted to be able to stop smoking. "Are you not going to do anything about my smoking?".

I felt I had to do something about his smoking even though we were well over time. I really wasn't sure what to do that might help him stop smoking. He smokes because he is trying to avoid his feelings. If we can eliminate the source of those feelings, we will eliminate the need to smoke at the same time. But he wants to stop smoking right now.

My Friend John Induction

I didn't actually have a plan at this point, so I did a simple relaxation induction. He kept squirming around and scratching and moving and clearly was not in trance.

So I decided to do a My Friend John Induction. As I started on the induction I realized that I had the option of changing it. At this point I had still not worked out what I was going to do in terms of getting him to stop smoking. It suddenly occurred to me that I could get him to tell himself to stop smoking since he didn't like being ordered to do things by other people. I could take advantage of his "contrariness".

So I suggested to him that it wasn't a stranger who was in the other chair. It was a copy of himself. I told him to imagine that another version of him was sitting on that chair and wanted to go into trance. I told him to repeat the instructions "get yourself into a comfortable position, allow yourself to relax, feel your breathing slowing down, et cetera." Then I continued with the rest of the My Friend John Induction until he was in trance.

My Friend John the Therapist

As soon as I was satisfied that he was in trance, I use the other copy of himself to do a sort of reverse My Friend John. I got the other "him" to tell him to repeat the instructions in his own mind. The instructions were along the lines of "You are ready to stop smoking. You know it is time to stop. You know that you can stop smoking. You are the kind of person who can stop smoking easily, quickly, and permanently." And so on.

Once again I learned, if you're unsure what to do, trust your unconscious mind, and it'll come up with what you need. I think this might become my standard way of using the My Friend John Induction and combining it with therapy.

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Benefits of depression

Benefits of depression

Surprising benefits of Depression

I had a client come in to me today who complained of procrastination. He is a successful manager of an IT team with 50 people reporting to him. He is very well paid, and highly respected, and an expert in five IT disciplines. And he is very unhappy.

He told me that he was frustrated at not achieving enough. And yet at the same time, he feels resentful at the way other people take advantage of his success. Other people dump work on him, give him extra responsibilities, put him in charge of things. Because they know that he will get it done. And he lets it happen because he always puts other people first. He has no boundaries.

I have seen this client twice before. In our first interview, it became clear that he has dysthymia, a form of depression. This  is very common, but usually not diagnosed. People who have dysthymia just think that they are lazy or angry or withdrawn by nature. They are in fact ill. Dysthymia and anxiety underlie a great deal of the behavior that I deal with every day.

Reframing depression

This client had his 50th birthday coming up, and felt that his life was slipping away from him. He was working endless hours and felt that he was getting nothing but money in return. Even that didn't help. His wife was using him and spending the money as fast as he earned it. He told me that he "just feels empty".

I pointed out to him all the good things he had in his life. And he said "Yes, but think of what I could have achieved if I hadn't felt this way." He looked very surprised when I said to him "the reason you have your success at work, and your high salary, and your ability to run complex international projects is because of your depression. Depression is making you successful."

"What are you talking about? This depression has been the curse of my life." I then had to explain to him that in fact all of his professional success was a side effect of his depression.

Benefits of depression

Mild depression causes circular thinking. In circular thinking you go over the same things again and again. You over analyse things. You worry about things all the time. These are ideal traits in a project manager.

Mild depression also causes perfectionism. People with perfectionism are always looking to be better and better. And they get annoyed when they don't reach their own expectations. And this causes them to take action, to get angry, irritated, and to be moved to do something about it until it does reach their high standards.

Another side effect of depression is the inability to form deep and meaningful relationships. You are not unfriendly, but you are completely comfortable in your own company. Again, this is an ideal trait in a project manager. You can communicate well with people on a business level but don't get bogged down in social relations when you have to put the hard word on people.

Similarly, people with dysthymia are easily bored. They have to be doing something all the time. And need constant stimulation. So they check every last detail of whatever it is they're working on, and build checklists, and schedules, and plans, and everything else to keep their mind occupied.

The fifth main area of depression is around self esteem. People with depression feel not good enough, worthless. When things go wrong is always their fault. They get validated by achieving external results. They can perform extremely well on some external task, but when it comes to looking after themselves and their own interests they tend to self sabotage.

Accepting the benefits of depression

This is exactly what my client was doing. He is working himself into an early grave. He is getting lavishly rewarded by his employers, but inside it all seems pointless. And he still feels worthless.

I have met several clients were very successful in business because they need to check every detail, they're willing to spend endless hours at work, they are constantly striving to reach a level of perfection that is unreachable.

It is ironic that the thing that makes them unhappy is also the thing that makes them successful.

 

 

 

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taste hallucinations

Why don’t you have Taste Hallucinations

Why don't you have taste hallucinations?

I had a client yesterday who told me that she cannot go to sleep without a radio playing or the TV on. This is a common behavior. Many people use music to drown out the sound of the voices in their head. Or more correctly, the feelings that they experience as if there were voices in their head.

And that got me thinking. Hearing sounds, words, or voices is very common. Visual hallucinations, seeing things or people who aren't there is the most common. They are not necessarily an indicator of a  serious mental condition.

But I have never come across an Oral hallucination. Why do people not get hallucinations of having a taste of banana in their mouth? Or curry, or any other taste? If the mind can produce the other types of hallucinations why not the taste one? In dreams we think we see and hear things, but I personally have never had a dream where I tasted something.

There is a condition called synesthesia where colors are experienced as smells, and noises as tastes. The various sensory pathways get switched over, but that is not really a hallucination. Tinnitus is an imagined roaring in your ears, but that also is not really a hallucination.

People with schizophrenia sometimes believe that they have an unpleasant smell in their nose, or a bad taste in their mouth. It seems never to be an actual food or a specific smell. These types of taste hallucinations are clearly associated with mental illness.

Can you hallucinate a strawberry?

I wonder if there has been any attempt to hypnotize people to experience tastes and smells? When stage hypnotists persuade people to eat an onion, is the subject just ignoring the taste of the onion? Could the hypnotist persuade the eater that the onion actually tastes of strawberry?

I personally can vividly picture a strawberry. I suppose I could imagine the sound of the food processor making a strawberry smoothie. But I cannot summon up a memory of what a strawberry smoothie tastes like. I recognize the taste, but I cannot recall it in advance.

Can other people summon up tastes on demand?

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Procrastination attention seeking

Procrastination attention seeking

Reports of the recent shooting death of the US rapper XXXTentacion revealed some significant detail about his tragic life. The BBC quoted his early life as "grim and confusing". According to the BBC, his mother was a teenager when he was born and she was absent for long periods when he was growing up. He was brought up mostly by his grandmother, family friends and babysitters.

This is a classic example of dysfunctional family circumstances which lead to antisocial behavior by the child. And sure enough, XXXTentacion had a long history of criminal behavior marked by violence. Various reports suggest that the success of his music career was partly the result of his ongoing violence. Being violent was part of his attraction to his fans.

Desperate for attention

But in his case, his violence may have been more than just random behavior. The BBC reports that he "once said that he used violence to make his mother pay attention". He used violence quite deliberately to deal with his own emotional needs. "I used to beat kids at school just to get her to talk to me, yell at me," he said.

It seems that that neglected little boy desperately wanted his mother's attention. And would do anything to get that attention. If the only way she would notice him was when he was violent, then that was what he would do. Bad behavior was his strategy to get noticed. It did not matter that it was "yell at me" attention: attention is attention. Any kind of attention is better than none.

This makes perfect sense from a behavioral psychology point of view. Children want their parents' attention and will do whatever it takes to get that attention if it is not freely offered.

Procrastination attention seeking

This is an extreme case of a child using extreme behavior to get what he wants. But I think it is actually much more common than we suppose. Not the violence, but the strategy of behaving badly to become the focus of a parent's attention.

For much of my own life, I have procrastinated. I would put off starting things, Or not finishing them. This applied to things that were important, valuable, that I was going to get into trouble for if I didn't do them. And that I suspect is a direct parallel between me and XXXTentacion.

I also grew up in a dysfunctional family. My father was usually away at work. My mother was distant and distracted and not the slightest interested in her children. From an early age, I was very aware that my family was different from other families.

It is only now, long after my mother has passed away, when I look back over the things I did not achieve in my life, when I look at the wasted opportunities, I can see the parallels.

Procrastination attention seeking and work

I suspect that the things I procrastinated about had a common factor. There were things that authority figures wanted me to do. Quite legitimately in most cases. Employers want you to work. They want their projects finished.

But I learned as a child that if I didn't do whatever my mother wanted me to do, at some point I too would get yelled at and perhaps beaten. But at least I was being noticed.

I think I have transferred that behavior to my adult life. Still seeking attention.

I wonder how much procrastination in other people reflects a similar need?

 

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yoga, meditation and hypnosis

Yoga, meditation and hypnosis

Yoga, meditation and hypnosis

The link between yoga, meditation and hypnosis is evident. All of these practices can make you feel better, quiet your mind, and improve your quality of life. Why they make you feel that way is a matter of belief.

Yoga and meditation are passive techniques. The basic intention, according to Buddhist beliefs, is to empty to your mind, to think of nothing, to experience a complete loss of self. The idea is that you just open yourself, the essence of who you are, to the universe. By connecting to the universe, you become one with it. You become aware of just how small and insignificant you are in comparison. In theory, this quiets the ego-self, and turns off all feelings of your own importance.

How does Yoga, meditation and hypnosis work

However, recent research shows quite the opposite. It has been known for more than a century than getting skilled at anything makes you more proud of yourself. This is the exact opposite of what yoga and meditation are supposed to do. Ironically, it seems that the better you get at meditation, the more impressed you are with yourself. This actually makes you focus more on yourself rather than less.

Researchers found that people who had done yoga in the previous hour felt higher self-esteem than equivalent people who had not. Similar results were found with meditation. Regular meditators who had meditated in the previous 24 hours scored more highly on measures of self-esteem than people who had not meditated.

Ego-quieting doesn't 

Ego-quieting is offered as the reason why yoga and meditation work. By quieting the chattering ego, by diminishing it, you make yourself feel better. But this study has shown a different mechanism. The study suggests that by being successful in your yoga meditation practice you actually boost your ego. It is the ego boost, not the lack of it, which increases well-being.

Presumably this is why self-hypnosis produces the same result?

 

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attract luck

Can you learn to attract luck?

Are some people just naturally born 'lucky'? Or is luck actually the outcome of hard work and natural talent? Suppose you are one of the 'unlucky' ones. Does that mean that you don't work hard, and have no talent? Clearly not.

And yet, some people just seem to be in the right place at the right time. Lucky people just seem to have some sort of magic attraction. What is it that lucky people have that others don't?

Can you learn to attract luck?

This question has actually been researched. It turns out that lucky people actually have a set of specific skills that make 'luck' happen to them. They have learned to maximize life's opportunities.

Obviously, there is more to success than luck. People living in extremely poor countries are not simply unlucky. But even within poor communities there are people who somehow get ahead.

Are you lucky?

Psychologists have run simple experiments to see if they can tell "lucky people" from "unlucky people". In one experiment, the researchers left a $20 note in the street. They discovered that those people who define themselves as lucky noticed it. People who said they were unlucky didn't notice it.

Similar results were found in other experiments. Another study asked volunteers to count the number of photographs in a newspaper. On the second page there was a large plain advertisement saying "stop counting now – there are 58 photographs". The advertisement did not have a photograph in it. Just the words. The "lucky" people noticed it and stop counting. The "unlucky" people scanned right past it, and kept counting.

The differences seems to be that lucky people are always open to opportunities. Unlucky people worried about the task and didn't even notice.

Principles of attracting luck

From these and other experiments four basic principles of "luck" are:

  1. Maximize your chance of opportunities
  2. Listen to your intuition
  3. Expect good things to happen
  4. Find ways to turn your bad luck into good luck

The strategies for learning how to attract luck will be familiar to every hypnotherapist. They include: meditation and self-hypnosis to increase intuition. Relaxation to reduce anxiety. Visualization of success and luck. And Socialisation, making a point of making one new friend or acquaintance every week.

It seems that being lucky is closely associated with good social skills. Other researchers have taught people how to be open to new experiences, relaxation techniques, conversational skills, and interpersonal skills. The key seems to be making yourself open to what is going on around you, and how you feel about yourself.

Bad luck linked to anxiety

What these skills are really doing is reducing anxiety. If you are totally wound up inside, if you're afraid of meeting new people then you are less likely to notice opportunities around you. It is not that lucky people attract more opportunities. Lucky people are just open to seeing opportunities when they arise. Anxious, introverted people are not.

If you are searching for a new job, and you are so anxious that there won't be one there, then you actually will not see what is right in front of you. When you're anxious you lose your peripheral vision. Your body goes into fight or flight mode and creates tunnel vision. You literally do not see the opportunity.

People who are anxious are caught in a circular trap. Because you're anxious, your unconscious mind focuses on threats, and excludes everything else. Anxious people are less likely to talk to strangers, and less likely to develop new friendships. The more people you know, the more supported you feel, and the more likely it is that you will hear about opportunities.

Teaching clients to attract luck

Being lucky is something that can be learned. Once you realize that there opportunities everywhere, you begin to see them.

This means that hypnotherapists really can help their clients achieve and become "lucky". A lot of what we do is called reframing. Reframing is simply seeing the good in bad situations. Once you enable your client to reinterpret their circumstances you are opening the door to them becoming "lucky".

Do you personally attract luck? Leave your comment below.

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procrastination perfectionism

Procrastination Perfectionism

Every day brings an interesting client. My client today had procrastination. He is finishing university this year. He has one more course to finish and his degree will be complete. He failed the course last year and now he cannot get down to studying what he has to do for this year. If he fails this time he will fail the whole degree.

Typically a therapist would suspect that this client either is afraid of failing or is afraid of succeeding. And indeed when he gets his degree he will be taking up a job overseas. He will have to give up the comfortable life of a student, so there is the fear of the unknown.

Procrastination Perfectionism

However, when I questioned him further it was obvious that he was actually suffering from undiagnosed depression. He had all the symptoms, and in particular, black and white thinking. In his case this was in the form of perfectionism. Procrastination Perfectionism is very common.

He felt that if he was not going to do well in the exam and pass with outstanding marks then he was a complete failure. He had failed before so he wasn't sure that he would pass this time. That little voice in his head was saying  'You might as well not bother'. And so he was demotivating himself over and over. As the deadline crept nearer it got more and more likely that he would indeed fail. So it became an ever diminishing circle of anxiety and recrimination, and negative thinking. And the more pressure he put on himself the less work he did.

Once the situation was explained to him he could see what was happening and that the key to preventing his procrastination was dealing with the negative thoughts first. We will have to wait and see how this turns out, but it is interesting to me that in all the books I have read on procrastination none has ever suggested the link with depression, expectations and perfectionism.

I think it might be worth researching further.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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