Hypnosis is a way of getting in touch with our inner resources. It’s a way of connecting to our utmost abilities and our highest potential. Hypnosis helps us be us more fully.
People often ask if hypnosis really works. I tell them that it’s not a panacea, it won’t cure everything. I do say however, that every situation can benefit from hypnosis. Think about it. What situation wouldn’t be helped by having all your inner resources aimed toward achieving your goal?
Another way of explaining hypnosis is that hypnosis can help get your conscious and unconscious minds in rapport. Rapport is a word meaning agreement or a feeling of connection. Have you ever decided to do something then not followed through (such as an exercise program or diet)? When part of you wants to do something but another part of you objects you are not fully in rapport with yourself. Hypnosis is a way to get those parts of you “on the same page.”
Hypnosis Pre-Talk – Please watch this before our initial hypnosis session. – youtu.be/ydkWmvyT12I.
If you are seeing a hypnotherapist for the first time, you probably do not know what to expect; and might have misconceptions about the process. For instance, you may feel very relaxed, or you might feel very alert and may question whether you’ve been hypnotized.
During our pre-induction interview, I will explain how hypnosis is an interactive experience between us. And that we will build the trance together. (All hypnosis is self hypnosis). I will also explain how your subconscious will lead you to just the right depth of trance to accomplish your goals. This is also the time to find out what type of induction will suit you best and what suggestions will be appropriate for you.
We’ll establish trust, build rapport, build your sense of positive expectation and correct any misconceptions you have. Each subsequent session begins will begin with a pre-induction interview to determine the goal for that particular session.
SETTING REALISTIC, POSITIVE GOALS
Next, positive goals are set. Together, we’ll identify a goal that is realistic, believable and achievable.
There are many types of inductions and trance deepeners for various kinds of hypnotherapy. Over several sessions, inductions can become instantaneous or rapid because positive expectation and post hypnotic suggestions for trance have been established. However, typical inductions can last from 10-30 minutes and incorporate several induction styles.
THE REFRAMING PROCESS
The reframing process is a rapid and long lasting way for a client to process and reframe old beliefs, emotions and patterns of behavior. The result is a shift is in the structure of the subconscious and using the various protocols listed below, a client can actually experience a new state of being with the reframed experience becoming a part of their inner realities.
The post-hypnotic suggestions are programmed as part of the intervention. The purpose of the post-hypnotic suggestion is to enable you to use solutions discovered and experienced during trance to change responses and behaviors in the future, when they are needed.
A post hypnotic suggestion empowers you by accessing resources in the subconscious mind without the continued need for the hypnotherapist. A hypnotherapist’s primary role is to facilitate a bridge between the client’s conscious and subconscious.
Mental rehearsal is simply a way of checking the efficacy of the post-hypnotic suggestions and determining whether or not the processes were completed. Basically, we find out if we have located and addressed the core issue. You’ll know success has been achieved if you are able to imagine yourself in a situation that previously triggered undesirable responses and you are now able to invoke the newly anchored response. The goal is to be able to imagine yourself able to actually experience the new response.
EMERGING FROM TRANCE
After “awakening” suggestions are given, you will emerge, remember, and feel wonderfully refreshed from the hypnotic experience.
Your Hypnosis session will be recorded and offered via CD, flash drive, or downloadable mp3 for you to use at home to support your goal. Most people begin to experience the positive changes immediately upon finishing our session. Of course, daily reinforcement can make a difference (Its also nice to have a few minutes of absolute relaxation each day)
- Initial session is 90 minute in length.
- Follow up sessions are 60 minutes in length.
Starting off your hypnosis sessions with a really great hypnosis pre-talk can make your clients much more hypnotizable and make your sessions much more successful. It can even change the average or difficult client into a gifted client like the one I just mentioned above.
I believe in this so strongly, I have worked diligently to develop what is a really great pre-talk.
Giving our pre-talk in this manner has saved us thousands of hours at our center and makes sure that each client receives a really great pre-talk, which will maximize their ability to utilize the hypnosis services that we offer.
The hypnosis pre-talk is designed to make your clients more suggestible. On the other hand, a pre-hypnosis interview is equivalent to an intake interview. During this time the client is invited to tell you about his presenting complaint (the issue that brought him or her in to see you). During this time there is plenty of opportunity to build rapport with your client as he or she gives you the history of the problem.
The Goal of a Really Great Pre-Talk
So then, the goal of any really great hypnosis pre-talk is to make your clients more hypnotizable, or to state it in a more professional way, to help them to become more suggestible. (As hypnotherapists, we know that suggestibility is different from gullibility. The gullible person is a person who is easily fooled or tricked. The person who is suggestible is a person who can accept suggestions made by a hypnotherapist at a subconscious and/or unconscious level, with or without conscious acceptance.) This suggestible person is going to do very well in your hypnosis sessions.
The hypnosis pre-talk increases suggestibility by removing inhibitors that get in the way of your client accepting suggestions during a hypnotic induction. A really great pre-talk will address and remove any fears that your client may have about hypnosis and remove any misconceptions that your client may have that are generating these fears.
How the Mind Works with Hypnosis
I use the following chart or graphic in my pre-talks, which is based on my psychological training, experience and the Model of the Mind taught by Gerald F. Kein.
- Point of focus
- Limited to 7 to 9 bits of info.
- Protects against perceived Danger.
- A comparing mechanism that acts like a filter placed between the conscious and unconscious mind.
- Protects against perceived Danger.Protects against unnecessary changes in beliefs and habits held in the subconscious mind.
- Starts empty and is filled by experience
- Database of Information
- Beliefs (Information accepted as true)
- Habits (Automatic Behaviors)
- Resists change ( results in personality)
- Generates Emotions
- Unlimited in capacity (Permanent Memory)
- Protects against “known” dangers and motivates you to fulfill your needs.
- Body Consciousness
- Instinctual Knowledge
- Change is Limited
- Generates Feelings
- Protects you from pain, illness and injury by using the immune system and reflexes.
Defining the terms that you will use during your sessions will help to remove fears and misconceptions about hypnosis. When people use terms that you don’t understand it does not make you feel comfortable and at ease. This goes for your as well. Here are some terms that I will define, and some examples of how I would define them during the hypnosis pre-talk.
What You Mean When You Use the Term, “Hypnosis”
Hypnosis has been given a very clear and easy to understand definition by The United States Government, Dept. of Education, Human Services Division. The definition is as follows, hypnosis is the bypass of the critical factor and the establishment of acceptable selective thinking. I like to tell my clients this and explain further that I would like to make only one very small change. I would say that it is “Through the establishment of acceptable selective thinking that we are able to bypass the Critical Factor.” The first part, “The establishment of acceptable selective thinking” refers to following instructions during the hypnotic induction, and the “bypass of the critical factor” refers to the effect that hypnosis has, the ability for your client to accept and use the hypnotic suggestions that were given during the session.
What You Mean When You Use the Term “Subconscious Mind”
Explain to your clients that the Subconscious Mind is really the part of our consciousness that defines who we are and what we do on a consistent basis. All together it makes up our personality. The subconscious mind starts off empty when it is first developed before you are born, and then starts gathering information from our experiences and perceptions about what is going on around you. This gathered information is held in our permanent memory, containing all the information that we gather throughout our lives. It is like a computer database. Unlike a computer database, this permanent memory seems to be unlimited in how much information that it can hold, and it can retain that information throughout our lives (unless the brain is damaged by physical trauma or disease).
Some of this information in the subconscious mind is turned into habits and cause us to react automatically to people and circumstances in our lives. This information is also developed into beliefs. Beliefs are things that we think to be true, even though we may not have definite proof. Having definite proof would allow us to be in a state of knowing rather than a believing.
The subconscious mind resists change, which is mostly beneficial to us. It conserves a great deal of mental energy. This enables us to maintain a consistent personality throughout our lives, but can cause problems when we decide that a change in how we think, feel or behave is in order. This is where hypnosis comes in. Hypnosis allows us to rapidly make changes in how we think, feel and behave.
The Subconscious Mind is always working to protect us from what we “know” (meaning believe) to be dangerous. As our perceptions about what is going on around us interacts with our beliefs about how things “should be,” it generates emotions. When the Subconscious Mind perceives what it believes to be a dangerous situation it generates fear. When it perceives that you have been treated unfairly, it will generate anger, as an example. Hypnosis can directly affect these beliefs and habits in a way that using the conscious mind alone can rarely accomplish.
What You Mean When You Use the Term, “Unconscious Mind”
Teach your clients that the Unconscious Mind is their body’s consciousness. It is developed before you are born and is fully programmed knowing how to take care of all the things it needs to in order to keep a body running smoothly. It knows how to breathe, defend itself from infections, digest food and so on.
During the pre-talk explain to your client that their Unconscious Mind is intelligent and can learn. This was proven by the work of Dr. Ivan Pavlov when he showed that these autonomic responses, such as salivation, can be trained by pairing automatic responses with other stimuli. Such as training a dog to salivate to the sound of a bell, after the bell had been paired with a little bit of food.
Sometimes the unconscious mind, meaning well, will program us to do things that are not in our best interest, such as the child who learns to feel sick to avoid going to school. The unconscious mind can then learn to actually generate symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches in order to protect us from stressful situations. The unconscious mind is always working to protect us, and not just against infections and injury.
In its mission to protect us, it can also cause us to desire unhealthy substances if it believes that they can help us to relax or cope with stress. Fortunately, hypnotherapy can be used to overcome this unfortunate accidental programming.
What You Mean When You Use the Term, “Conscious Mind”
The Conscious Mind is really a focus of consciousness. It is filled with what we are attending to at any particular moment. It is logical in its approach to dealing with what you are attending to consciously. It is a great protector and problem solver. It does this by thinking through new situations that confront us.
But the conscious mind is very limited. A great deal of psychological research has been conducted regarding the capacity of the Conscious Mind. As a result, it has been determined that the Conscious Mind is only able to hold about seven to nine bits of information at any particular time.
Because the Conscious Mind is so limited when compared to the subconscious mind it is easy to see why most people fail when they try to make significant changes in their lives through conscious effort alone. We must make these changes at the subconscious level to make long lasting change in our lives. Here again is where hypnosis comes in and can help you to make the changes you really want.
The Term “Critical Factor” and How it Is Related To Hypnosis
There is a bit of controversy about this critical factor. Some say that it is an aspect of the conscious mind. I think that it is set between the conscious and subconscious mind as shown in the chart above. It doesn’t really matter where it is placed in the stages of consciousness so much as what it does. I inform my clients that the critical factor is the function of the mind that decides that new information is either “true” or “not true,” or at least worthy of significant doubt. That which is deemed to be “untrue” information still enters your Subconscious Mind, but it goes into that Database of Information. This new information is then known to the Subconscious Mind, but given little or no credibility. There it is unlikely to ever change the existing beliefs or habits. That which is deemed to be “true” reinforces the long-standing habits and beliefs inside of us.
It is the responsibility to the critical factor to keep what is in the subconscious mind consistent. This saves a great deal of mental energy, if the Subconscious Mind had to regularly rearrange its contents, especially habits and beliefs. Constantly reorganizing it would be mentally exhausting.
So unless the Critical Factor is provided convincing information, so strong that it is able to overcome existing beliefs and habits, new information is simply recorded, but not integrated into our personality and consistent behaviors. It just resides in the subconscious database, not to be acted upon.
Tell your client that this is where hypnosis comes in. If you remember the definition of hypnosis, it causes a bypass of the critical factor. This allows your client to accept your suggestions at both the subconscious and unconscious levels of the mind.
The essence of the critical fact is that of being protective, and as long as the suggestions that are given to your hypnotized client is not going to endanger him or her the Critical Factor will remain in a state of bypass so that the individual can easily accept suggestions. There is no state of hypnosis that can overcome this protective function.
What You Mean When You Use the Word, “Sleep”
Most hypnotherapists now agree that hypnosis is not sleep. So it is worth mentioning to your clients that if you use the word “sleep” you don’t mean normal natural sleep, like when they go to bed at night. I explain that when I use the word “sleep” (as I still do in the case of some instant inductions, see my article about the Eight Word Induction in a previous edition of this journal.) I tell them that when I use the word “sleep” I am simply suggesting that they go so relaxed that it was as if they were asleep. But that they should not actually go to sleep. Hypnosis is not sleep, and if they went to sleep they would miss the whole thing.
Hypnosis is Safe
In addition to citing examples of naturally occurring hypnosis; it is also helpful to talk to your clients about the safety of hypnosis. Tell them that in fact no one has ever been hurt by simply going into the state of hypnosis. We go into hypnosis all the time. Hypnosis is a state of heightened suggestibility (ability to accept things at a subconscious or unconscious level). At every level of consciousness (conscious, subconscious or unconscious) there is a protective function of the mind which will automatically reject any suggestion that would normally seem dangerous. In fact any suggestion that sounds dangerous or would hurt us in any way, would typically cause your client to emerge from hypnosis.
It is also very useful to mention that hypnosis has been recognized by the AMA since 1958. It has been used by many professionals in medicine and psychology throughout the 200 year history of hypnosis safely.
Inform your clients that Hollywood has made up all kinds of things about hypnosis which were designed to sell movie tickets and not really tell the truth about hypnosis. Some of the misinformation that has been put into the minds of movie-goers include that the hypnotist has some kind of special power, or that a hypnotist has control over the person who is in hypnosis, or that someone could become “stuck in hypnosis. It is important to tell your clients that all of these things are simply not true.
Inform them that hypnosis is a consensual state; that he or she must want to be hypnotized for you to be able to work with him or her. Furthermore, in order to continue to be in hypnosis, he or she must continue to follow your instructions or she will emerge on her own.
Millions of hypnosis sessions have been conducted and no one has ever become stuck in hypnosis. Any one can emerge any time they want to. All they have to do is want to emerge and discontinue following the instructions of the hypnotherapist or hypnotist.
It is also helpful to tell your clients, “When someone is in hypnosis they never become unconscious. In fact you will be more conscious then you regularly are. All three levels of your mind, the conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind will be working in “sync.”
Finally one of the other most common bits of misinformation about hypnosis is that most people cannot be hypnotized. It is important to let your client know that anyone of normal intelligence, who is willing to follow suggestions, can be hypnotized and benefit from hypnosis, self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy.
I like to summarize my pre-talk with something like, “When you work with a hypnotherapist or hypnotist, you will simply be using this natural ability to bypass the limiting beliefs so that you can use more of your mind than you do in the regular state of mind.