You Can Hypnotise Yourself to Success
Why are some people reluctant to seek help using hypnosis?
“What’s going to happen? I’m not going to bark like a dog am I?”
Jim had come for his first session of hypnosis and was apprehensive about the process.
He continued;”I’ve seen those stage hypnotists make people look like idiots, and if you do that to me Dr Jan, I’ll sue you”.
You’ll not be surprised to learn that Jim was a very controlled person, used to managing his emotions and being ‘a cool dude’.
Jim had recently been confused and upset by frequent outbursts of uncontrolled crying, which he described as unpredictable and definitely ‘not a good look’ for him – he was used to a reputation as a decisive, ruthless manager.
Jim had been regularly seeing a top psychologist who had helped him analyze his stress levels, but Jim was anxious for more rapid control over his feelings, and had asked specifically for hypnosis.
Interesting that Jim was in two minds… his intuition told him that hypnosis could help him break through his emotional blocks, but his logical, controlled mind had bought into the staged hype and folklore about the dangers of hypnosis.
Why was Jim so uptight about experiencing hypnosis? I explained that facilitation of change through trance using hypnosis has long been a highly validated therapeutic technique – at least, when used by trained specialist professionals. I also described my background in hypnosis with over twenty years of practice and rigorous training under strict supervision over two years with the Australian Hypnosis Society (members must be psychologists, dentists or medical practitioners/psychiatrists).
People Want to Know “‘What, Exactly is Hypnosis?”
I explained to Jim that hypnosis is an experience of mind expansion where the unconscious mind may be integrated with the conscious mind. My layman’s theory is that we are typically only aware, consciously, of twenty percent of our mind’s activity. So what is happening with the other eighty percent? It’s all still happening… but on an unconscious level and this is very important in tuning in our emotional expression.
As with Jim, this emotional expression can sneak up on us when we least expect it. Another example of this is Tricia, who came to see me because she had been experiencing severe panic attacks, for no evident reason. In hypnosis, she accessed repressed memories of severe sexual abuse in her childhood.
There have been some examples of claimed accessed repressed memories which have been used to implicate totally innocent people in accusations of abuse. Hypnosis should be used wisely in counselling for this situation – access to a ‘memory’ in trance is not proof that the event actually happened.
Hypnosis typically includes facilitation of deep relaxation, both mental and physical.
Sometimes this involves direct methods such as counting, eye fixation and hand levitation. Some people respond more easily to indirect methods where the therapist may be ‘seeming to just talk’ but is actually weaving powerful, positive suggestions into the talk.
People Need to Know: “What is NOT Hypnosis?”
I reassured Jim that he would definitely NOT be made to bark like a dog and that his conscious mind is still around during hypnosis, so that no matter how deep his trance, if he really did not want to follow my suggestions, he would not!
The person in trance is not in the hypnotherapist’s power.
You are not being weak or easily led. You are tapping into an inherent personal power for rapid positive change.
Trust is the Essential Element of Success in Hypnosis
Jim only felt safe to proceed after I had built up personal trust with him based on my genuine interest and care in learning about his family, relationships and work history.
What Happened in Jim’s First Hypnosis session?
Because Jim was apprehensive, but eager for rapid change, I decided to opt for an indirect method of hypnosis which I have found to be extremely powerful in helping people access emotional blocks. Unless the person is extremely controlled and ‘left-brained’, they usually access a memory related to severe emotional pain and have a ‘good cry’. It’s not too painful, no-one else is looking at you, so you don’t have to feel self-conscious and you end up feeling great relief and a lightness of being.
The emotional release is not always straightforward. Highly controlled people may be so used to holding back tears, that they experience their pain in their body instead.
A fascinating mind/body interaction occurred as Jim was accessing the emotional pain around the repressed memory of his mother’s death when he was ten – he suddenly started to choke and lost control of his breathing.
I made positive suggestions to him about his personal safety – both then, in that past event, and now, in the consulting room, and his breathing settled down.
As he connected with his repressed feelings of pain, made worse at the time because his father expected him to be ‘tough’ and ‘look good’ in front of their family and friends, up came the tears and Jim did ‘not look good’.
He sure felt much relieved when he came out of the hypnosis and was looking really good then – all soft and mellow and mushy and warm and friendly. I was getting a flash of the real Jim – a feeling being and not the ruthless personality he had assumed in order to protect himself from the pain of the past.
Hypnosis was a tool which enabled him a breakthrough in therapy that he had needed in order to make major shifts in his personal identity and his interactions with others.
I look forward to Jim reporting enhanced quality of relationships with his friends, family and work colleagues and of course, greater peace of mind (with no inexplicable outbursts of crying).
Can You Learn to Hypnotize Yourself to Success?
In Jim’s example, he needed the trained therapist to help him to access a painful event which was locked in his unconscious mind.
Please understand that hypnosis is not a miracle cure, where you take no personal responsibility for change. People who are motivated to tap into their inner strength to achieve success can greatly benefit from self-hypnosis. You can learn this yourself, but it’s often more economical to taught and facilitated by an expert at first.
Anyone who is motivated to change is a likely candidate for hypnosis.
How do I find a good hypnotherapist?
- Check out their level of expertise and qualifications.Since the practice of hypnotherapy is not regulated, it is recommended that you ask your prospective hypnotherapist about their qualifications, organizational membership and experience – after all, you wouldn’t ask your butcher to perform a triple heart bypass on you when a medical surgeon was available, just because the butcher was cheaper… or would you?
- Only proceed if you have a good rapport and sense of trust with the therapist.After all, they may be about to help you identify deep personal issues.
Would you want the butcher to know about your first disappointing sexual experience?
© Dr Janet Hall
For more help see Dr Jan’s book: Sex-life Solutions and her CDs in the Sensational Sex Series.
Dr Janet Hall is a psychologist in private practice who specializes in family and relationship therapy, particularly sex therapy. She is the author of eight books on family issues including “Sex-Wise Teens”.
Jan has created and produced many CDs on sexual issues ranging from sex therapy with adjunctive hypnosis, to sexual fantasies and strategies for ‘sparking up’ your sex-life. A regular in print, radio and television media, Jan presents user-friendly information which can be easily applied in psychological practice.