Wearing your metaphor
It was a cold day earlier this week, and I had the heating in the office going full blast. I thought it was nice and warm, but my client came in and sat down in my big chair with a bulky coat on.
I invited her to hang it up, but she refused, saying she was feeling cold. It clearly wasn't cold and there was no logical reason to sit and get hypnotized wearing an overcoat.
But this client just sat there, all wrapped up. As we talked, I asked her what she needed. She punctuated all her remarks by slapping the side of the chair as if batting away my inquiries.
I noticed from time to time she was swung her leg up as if kicking away some uncomfortable idea. She was pretty much refusing to reveal anything personal.
Signalling with clothes
Fortunately I had seen this before and I knew what to do. I have seen it at a dinner party in my house. One guest insisted she was cold and sat at the table eating dinner with her outside coat on.
She was later invited to other dinners with us. The next time did take her coat off, but wore a dress that came right up to her neck and covered her legs and arms completely.
At later dinners the dress became less severe. Her next dress had no arms, and then at the next dinner the dress was a bit shorter. Finally, she wore a dress that showed her shoulders but with a scarf there, just in case.
I am sure she was totally unaware of her own unconscious behavior. She was signalling that she was keeping all wrapped up in the presence of strangers, and only gradually let her guard down.
This was exactly what my client was doing: coming for help but keeping everything wrapped up, and slapping and kicking away all efforts to get her reveal anything. The metaphor couldn't have been more clear.
I was able to hypnotize her despite her reservations, and the session ended successfully.
But she still hadn't taken the coat off.
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.