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.
He is highly regarded in the hypnotherapy community. He is Vice President of the New Zealand Association of Professional Hypnotherapists (NZAPH).
He is regularly consulted for advice by other hypnotherapists around the world. He is known for the quality of his published scripts. He presents at international conferences and has published on hypnosis and advanced hypnotherapy.
He lives in Wellington New Zealand with his wife Trish and a cat called Parsnip.
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