Gratitude is an approach to living. We can all be miserable about what we don't have, or all grateful for what we do have. Expressing gratitude to others leads to better relationships and better health.
Whenever I create change in my client during a hypnosis session, I always try to reinforce the change by getting the client to express gratitude. It is quite simple. I say something like, "there is just one thing more to do. And that is to express to your gratitude your mind for having made this change. So take a moment now, and in whatever way makes sense to you, just send a message of gratitude to your own mind. Think about how much you wanted this change, and how happy you are to have the change. And send that message to your own mind saying 'thank you '."
Expressing gratitude as parts therapy
This simple act can help to make the change permanent. Asking the client to send that message involves asking them to imagine how that message would be sent, and how it would be received. For some people it will be visual, some people it will be auditory, and for some people it will be a kinaesthetic experience.
But whatever it is, it is reinforcing the work that I have done in a very personal way that I am unable to do for them. To a certain extent, you are engaging in a bit of Parts Therapy. Part of them is sending the message, and part of them is receiving the message.
Expressing gratitude as homework
Whenever you express gratitude you make changes in your brain in the part that regulates emotion and motivation. If you want to give your clients homework, ask them to keep a gratitude diary. Tell them to write down three things that they can be grateful for that happened that day. Research has shown that keeping a gratitude diary can reduce the symptoms of depression.
You can take this idea a step further. Tell your client to visit or phone someone every day. And during that personal interaction to find the reason for expressing gratitude to the other person. Social interaction linked to gratitude is very powerful at reducing social anxiety. For clients who don't feel comfortable doing this, they can write an email expressing gratitude to the other person, and just not send it. The results are nearly as good.
So why not get into the habit of building a gratitude part into your hypnotherapy sessions?
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