Hypnosis is basically “just” a state of mind where you can align your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. There are as many methods and approaches as there are hypnotherapists. So, what can you expect from a session?
Lets check one out and take it from there. This is a repost of a blog article by hypnotherapist and Sports Performance Expert Gary Turner (Read more at Gary Turners blog) with comments from me directed at those of you doing hypnotherapy:
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A HYPNOTHERAPY SESSION WITH GARY TURNER
I often get asked what actually happens in a hypnotherapy session with me, so I thought I’d put a blog post up about it so you can all read about it!
When a client arrives I settle them in my lounge (where I carry out my hypnotherapy) and offer them a tea or coffee. I then leave them for a couple of minutes while I make the drinks, allowing them to get comfortable in their surroundings.
Take this advice literally. The Indian Handbook for Hypnotherapy suggests that you also spend some effort on the actual visual impact and space of your hypnotherapy lounge. I have a collection of artifacts from Africa and other places that triggers the fantasy of my clients in positive ways.
I also ask if they are comfortable with dogs, and if so, they are introduced to Max, my youngest husky who I use as a therapy dog. He acts to reduce client anxiety, build a good feeling in my client, provide comfort if they are troubled, a guardian if they are going somewhere they’d rather not – and provides me with feedback as to the emotional state of my client. After a welcome he usually sits at my client’s feet to be there for them.
Animals can be of great assistance when possible, they feed our mirror neurons with unconditional “now”.
The session has already started – from the moment my client arrives the format is being set to help them achieve their goals for where they want to be at the end of the session.
Take this seriously as well. Your sessions actually starts for the client with a recommendation or a visit to your web page. To be frank it starts with a preconception of what hypnosis is. And your best chance to collect information about your client is during the first 60 seconds, before they start mirroring and adapting to your communication.
I don’t take a ‘detailed personal history’, or ‘client intake notes’ as quite simply I have found these a waste of time – and it is my time a client is paying for. Instead, I start with the question “so, what are we here for today?” This is a leading question, designed to elicit a response. The response guides where I go with the session.
Actually, most clients want to tell a long story, thinking it will help this kind of hypnotherapy. It won’t. The challenge is often making them stop so you can start the real help.
I listen to everything my client says. And I do mean EVERYTHING. I listen to every word, pronoun, metaphor, and linguistic structure. I listen to how it is said. I pay attention to the body language from posture to gestures down to the finest of levels of micro-movements and pupil dilation. The information, and the interpretation of this, guides me where I will target my work. Often the clues to resolving an issue are outside of a client’s awareness.
I would agree and even say “more often than not” about the clues….
Please note that at no times will a client need to tell me personal information. I work many times with cases of severe Trauma including multiple rape victims and victims of assault – to be quite honest I don’t WANT to know. I have also carried out many sessions completely ‘content free’ where I have no idea even on the subject we are working with. I do not need to go into details, and if a client starts going into details, I will cut them off and redirect. In this way I often have worked in confidence with partners of friends, or indeed with couples in separate appointments.
This is one beauty of hypnotherapy. It is fully possible to help a client without breaching their integrity or forcing them to re-live traumatic memories. In the mantra and words of trauma psychologist Dr Carl Johnson: No suffering!
I do take notes during a session. The notes are only what I need to keep in mind for the successful outcome for my client. At the end of the session I give my client their notes – often there are hints and tips, and interventions written there for self-application. Giving my client the notes also helps to maintain confidentiality – I hold no ‘personal’ information on my clients.
I work in many ways during a session always guided by my client’s needs as appropriate. I base my interventions on my studies of psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, and the works and trainings of my leading peers, all wrapped up with my formal trainings, then developed in alignment with my leading peers, all wrapped up in my own personality for delivery to you.
You may or may not have the same toolbox as Gary, regardless, make sure you have the same curious ambition to expand it as much as possible and at all times…
I work three ways during a session – remedial (clear up a mess), generative (make good stuff better), and strategic (giving my clients new more productive thought patterns, to help generate change after the session, and prevent the same problem happening again in the future).
How many ways do you work?
Sometimes I work overtly. It will be clear I am doing an intervention, often asking a client to close their eyes to help immerse them in the experience. Sometimes the work is carried out more covertly, often utilising strategic language patterns to change my client’s thought processes.
I utilise a whole range of interventions in my work. Some are mental processes where I guide my client through the intervention with them following my voice and instructions. Some are physical with my client being asked to change their physical position, tap part of their body, or even give themselves a hug. Sometimes I will lift up an arm, or place my foot on theirs, or even get them to watch the tip of a pen as I move it around – always, always with permission requested first.
What Gary refers to are great intervention techniques that you can learn and read about in a book titled “When The Past Is Always Present”. I work with a method called Trauma Tapping Technique that you can check out here: www.peacefulheart.se.
In all of my interventions I am looking to assist my clients to change the way that they think.
It is worthwhile pointing out my favourite definition of hypnosis, written by my friend Michael Perez:
“Hypnosis is a way of facilitating people into doing things that they naturally do, only in a very different context from where that thing usually occurs, and with a specific strategic purpose for having that happen.”
Clients often think that a hypnotherapist just ‘drops them into hypnosis’, gives them new instructions for how to think, then wakes them up, job done! Although (rarely) this can be appropriate, the process is usually a lot more interactive than that!
I actually rarely use ‘traditional’ inductions such as you might see on a stage hypnosis show. I quite often take people directly into hypnotic phenomena (see Michael’s quote above – usually being perception changes that may be thought processes or may be sensory changes) without a formal induction, just going straight for the result. I rarely, although occasionally do, command a client with “sleep!”
Regardless of what type of inductions you use, it is great to check out different approaches including stage hypnotists to see how many different ways there are to go into trance. There are extremely fast inductions, inductions for analytical minds and inductions for non-analytical minds etc…
One thing which is part of all of my sessions is a sense of humour. A smile and a laugh is often the best therapy for a person. I aim to have my client relaxed and actually enjoying the hypnotherapy! Appropriately timed, a smile is very powerful indeed. I want my clients to be relaxed and enjoying the changes as they happen.
So true. In my world HUMOUR is the MOST VITAL COMPONENT of successful therapy. If you can laugh at it, you can change it!
I do what is necessary to help my client to think and be different – to be the person they want to be.
The session normally ends with feedback, and of course the client paying me! Sessions last approximately 2hrs, sometimes stopping earlier if appropriate, sometimes over-running by up to 30minutes. Clients should allow 2.5hrs for a session, just in case.
This is something that will vary enormously. I have colleagues that do 30 minute sessions and some that do 6 hour sessions. Whatever solves the issue at hand is the right length of the session.
I always leave my client with a request for feedback, usually in a week’s time. I ask them to let me know what they’ve noticed, and also what they haven’t noticed until they’ve reflected! This guides any future sessions. Many times one session is all that is required. Yet, with every client being an individual, sometimes several sessions may be needed in order to help the client get where they need to go.
Getting feedback is great not only for the client, but also for you. This next paragraph is my favorite:
Here are a few clarifications. There is no whale music. No couch. No ‘woo-woo’!. I endeavour to study so that I can converse with medical professionals on their terms – whether doctors, neurologists, psychologists or psychiatrists. I can explain every element of my work to this level of detail if required. I work in the realms of science.
And of course, should you wish to book in for a session, please go ahead and get in contact!
I would not hesitate to contact Gary Turner, one of his colleagues or myself for that matter. If you have a chance, please do.