Using hypnosis scripts
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How to develop your own style using hypnosis scripts
Hypnosis Scripts are essential when learning hypnotism: they serve the same function as text books in a university. The students study the textbook, not because they are expected to repeat the exact words, but in order to be able to learn from expert hypnotists and to model how the experts approach hypnosis. Good hypnotherapists collect hypnotic scripts, analyse the suggestions, and adapt them. You develop better hypnosis scripts by stealing the best ideas from others.
When not to use hypnotic scripts
Hypnotherapy is not about scripts. Hypnosis scripts are useful for beginners and for experts, but they have limitations.
A hypnotherapy script can be simple or complex. Some advanced hypnosis scripts need experience to be able to use them properly. The script may use embedded commands, hypnotic words, analogical marking, multi-level metaphors and guided visualization and many other hypnosis techniques.
Like the director of a play or movie, the hypnotist uses the script to ensure that each scene occurs in the right sequence and that the words used will produce the intended effect.
However, having the script of a play does not make you a director. Owning a collection of hypnosis scripts does not make you a hypnotherapist.
Do not read the script aloud
For a start it is obvious to the client when the hypnotist is speaking freely and when the hypnotist is reading a script. Very few people can read aloud and make it sound natural.
If you are reading the hypnosis script then you are not watching the client: the hypnotist needs to be acutely aware of the client's reactions at all times. Reading a hypnosis script means using a fixed approach. It assumes that the client is going to be passive and take no part in the hypnosis session. This is a bad approach to hypnotherapy. In every hypnosis session the client is actually communicating with the hypnotist all the time, and the hypnotherapist needs to be watching for these signals. This means that the hypnotherapist has be ready to change direction at any point in the hypnosis session.
Be prepared to adapt every hypnosis script
In addition, some clients will react unpredictably to a hypnotic word, image or suggestion in the script and the hypnotherapist has to be ready to deal with whatever comes up. If the beginner hypnotist is relying on a script then the hypnosis session will change course if there is an abreaction, or a spontaneous regression from the client.
A skilled hypnotherapist will switch to a different hypnotic technique and follow whatever the client does, smoothly blending different hypnosis techniques as required. Similarly a skilled hypnotherapist will be comfortable interacting with the client via ideomotor signals, or direct speech or in guided metaphor. Scripts cannot deal with that sort of live dialogue.
Hypnosis scripts are a starting point, not the end result. A hypnosis script should be regarded as representing the minimum level of therapy skill: an experienced hypnotherapist should be able to include Cognitive Modelling, Behavioural Therapy, Metaphor Therapy, Regression and many other non-scripted interactive hypnosis techniques in any session.
Delivering the hypnosis script
When you go to the theatre, the actors don't read from their copy of the script and neither should the hypnotherapist. Only a bad hypnotherapist would read the script aloud while the client was in the room.
The hypnotherapist needs to be as familiar with the script as the actors are in a real play. With practice the actors become word perfect and don't need to refer to the script all. Similarly, the hypnotherapist will eventually be able to recall entire scripts from memory.
You cannot use one script for every client
However, that is not good hypnotherapy practice either. An actor cannot go from theater to theater and just repeat scenes from other plays. A hypnotherapist cannot simply repeat the same script to each client. Equally, great work can be done when trained actors get together and improvise, but only because their improvised words are drawn from a deep pool of experience.
A hypnosis script is more like a plan, a guide to follow to ensure that the hypnotherapist produces the best outcome for the client. You don't actually need a written script in hypnotherapy, but you do need to know where you are going and how you are going to get there.
It is in that sense that every hypnotherapist follows a script, but every session is unique.
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