The client today was a man in his late twenties with lack of confidence. He lacks the confidence to assert himself. His wife says he always gives in too easily. It is costing him salary and promotion. He just cannot stand up for himself.
In the interview I learned that he will do anything to avoid aggression. He feels he has to keep people happy and never put forward his own views in case he causes aggression. He has to tell people what he thinks they want to hear. It was obvious that he was afraid of confrontation but I couldn't find anything in his life that caused him to want to avoid aggression.
Lack of Confidence behaviour
Like many people he feared rejection and wants to be liked. But I noticed that every time I asked him about how he feels, he tells me what he thinks. This is the typical behaviour of the over-analytical person. One probing further I found that he has many symptoms of hypervigilance.
Hypervigilance starts when a child feels that their environment is unpredictable and they become afraid of what is happening to them. The child then withdraws and puts up barriers to intimacy. The child's reasoning is that they don't feel anything they can't be hurt. This client confirmed that he has no real feelings about anyone.
The client said he felt that he had a shell around him. For most clients this would be the cue to start using a metaphor technique, but when I started with this client he could not get any emotion, he kept talking about what he thought of it.
Hypervigilant clients are hard to hypnotise
Hypervigilant clients are hard to hypnotise because they analyse everything you say to them. Instead of reacting to your suggestions, they analyse the structure of the sentences and wonder about why you used that particular word. They are so busy analysing that you can't get through their defences.
I explained how this usually works and told him that if I couldn't hypnotise him in my office I may have to give him CDs for private study. This technique always works eventually, and often is the only way to get them into trance in any reasonable time.
I thought that he would be hard to hypnotize and he agreed.
So I started the session with a rapid induction, he started smiling, and the impression I got was that he was feeling the induction but refusing to follow what his body was telling him.
Using a kinesthetic induction
I then did a breathing induction and to my surprise his head started to nod, an indication of trance. I then did a deepener with a staircase induction, and he was in trance. This fast induction surprised me greatly. I tested with an eye catalepsy. Worked.
So I learned that this hypervigilant client, at least, could be hypnotised. I think the key to it was using a kinesthetic induction to get him to focus on a feeling he had never before noticed, the feeling of the air inside his head as he breathed in.
A therapy for lack of confidence
Did the standard RIVERWALK therapy with embelishments.
When he was looking at the town he saw someone like him at a table with friends doing all the things he wanted to do.
Had people following along the other bank.
Had him and his wife walking towards the town. Started with everything around stale and tired.
Then the little bridge where he says aloud what his problem is.
Then DROPPING THE STONES
CLOAK OF POWER
BRIDGE TO FREEDOM
CONGRATULATE the mind.
FINGER LIFT CONFIRMATION
I felt this turned out to be a good session. What I learned from this is that even a therapy I have used hundreds of times can still surprise me. My own unconscious mind came up with a new twist to suit this particular client.
So what I ended up with is a new way of treating lack of confidence.
It never ceases to amaze me how ingenious the unconscious mind can be.