I got this email from a hypnotherapist in the UK:
Some time back I ordered the whole collection of your scripts. I find myself coming back to them over and over again because they are just so excellent. Clients have commented very favorably, which is so rewarding for me.
I wondered if I can ask you for your suggestions regarding a new client who I will see next week? He talks of having a 'low mood' most of his life. He has seen many counselors over the years and said 'counselling didn't work at all' (said he hated CBT and filling in forms). He is adamant he wants hypnotherapy this time which he hasn't tried before.
In our brief phone conversation, he mentioned the following things: general low mood as the most pressing problem, mentioned 'depression' but not diagnosed, no sleep issues, is able to function well enough in the workplace, is anxious at times as well, part of him is always thinking and analyzing everything, often has a sense of hopelessness. He felt quite depressed about a year ago when a relationship ended. However he is now in a new relationship which is going well. He wants to rid himself of the low mood once and for all. He does not want to consider taking medication. He has always been very physically active because he knows that exercise helps him.
Perhaps this is a dysthymic disorder!
Anyway I really wanted to do the best I could for this chap and am asking for advice about which of the scripts in your opinion would be most likely to benefit him to get us started.
SELF HYPNOSIS IS THE WAY FORWARD
I replied: This guy definitely has depression. All the classic symptoms are there.
What he needs is a lifestyle change, more exercise, better diet and training in how to deal with his negative thought processes. However, he either does these already or has ruled them out so your options are limited.
The leaves the only thing you can do for him is to teach him self-hypnosis. During that teaching you can plant suggestions as to how he should deal with his negative thinking patterns.
Explain the benefits of self-hypnosis - quieting the inner voice, instilling calm into his mind, resetting his feelings etc. Then show him how to put himself into trance. Teach him a fixed routine, e.g. muscle relaxation, breathing, stairs etc.
Placebo effect of hypnosis
The idea is to make his first experience of hypnosis real and immediate. By doing that you will be able to exploit the placebo effect of hypnosis. Hypnosis is a strange experience for most people. It is so strange, so unknown, so powerful that it can fix anything, For example, many smokers stop because hypnosis felt so weird that it must have done something to them. The hypnotist just suggests that they right: now they can stop smoking. So, now that they believe they can stop, they do stop.
Take him through all the standard exercises of eye catalepsy, finger lifts, dissociation and so on. Use the whole range of hypnotic convincers. Then get him to open his eyes while in trance and leave all the rest of his body frozen. This will convince him of the power of the mind and he will follow whatever you say.
Put in some suggestions about challenging his thinking, getting out and about, recognizing his triggers, etc. Then bring him out of trance. Tell him to go back into the state all by himself. Coach him some more if necessary.
Then leave it up to him. Tell him you have provided the tools. He now knows how to hypnotize himself so he can control his anxiety. It is up to him to apply them and he can come back to see you anytime he feels he should.
That should improve the client's outlook, and do a lot of good therapeutically.
What would you recommend to help this type of client?