Hypnotherapy Training Journal – Week 2

Reflective Journal – Week 2

The Ego Strengthening Script

This week we’ve been introduced to an ‘Ego Strengthening Script’ by Hartland. This is a generic script that has benefits for everyone. Without any specific post hypnotic suggestions it’s designed to improve confidence and quality of life. When Julian led us through an induction (Hartland again) and into this script I was in a reasonable state of hypnosis but I can consciously remember most of what he was saying.

I was impressed by what has stayed with me from this hypnotic session. As I write up my journal some two weeks later small pieces of the script come back to me when I need them.

I don’t like the term ‘ego’ because it has connotations of arrogance so I’d prefer to call it a confidence boosting/strengthening script and that’s probably what I’ll call it when introducing it to clients.

Recognition and Classification of subjects

This section of the course dealt with finding out who will be good clients and who we should politely refuse our services. For example children under six-years lack the concentration to follow a trance induction and those people who have a history of psychotic behavior may have unpredictable responses in a trance state.

Those between the ages of 15 and 21 generally have the best ability to be hypnotized.

Occupational susceptibility was another interesting point we covered. People who do monotonous repetitive tasks and those who’ve served in the military make good hypnotic subjects because they can concentrate for long periods and are used to taking orders and following instructions. I have a friend who’s been a paratrooper in the army and is currently serving in the RAF who’s going to vehemently argue against this point so I’m looking forward to proving this theory!

Religious people, if their faiths allow them to attempt hypnotherapy, will also make good subjects for the same reasons as those in the armed services.

At this point we also briefly covered what sort of inductions would be best for certain types of people, for instance one would potentially have to use a different induction for a doctor than one used for an accountant.

Sensitive, imaginative people would make better subjects because of their ability to visualize (if that their preferential representational system). Those people who are in control and set in their ways would be more difficult subjects because of their possible resistance to the leading nature of some induction scripts.

All of these indicators are to be taken into consideration before a client is induced into trance.

Favorable and Unfavorable influences

As with any position of responsibility it is important for a hypnotherapist to exude confidence. This is something that I’m going to have to work on. Having been a geek staring at a computer screen for twenty years this is going to be a real change in attitude. I do have a few skills that should help in this transition; one being my bass playing as tonality and rhythm (although I still can’t spell the word – I had to get the spell-check to do it for me!) are to very important in inducing a trance. As usual with most things ‘practice-makes-perfect’ and I’m sure if I harass a few friends and colleagues into being my guinea pigs I’ll be fine.

We spent a lot of time discussing making sure that we could create an environment conducive to inducing trance states. Here are a few things that we came up with in the group discussion:

Control over the environment: temperature, noise & light.
Simple, professional & clean decoration (no strong patterns)
Symbols of authority and professionalism such as certificates and books (just as it’s been proven that a doctors ability is seen as greater if he/she is displaying their certificates on their surgery wall).
Points of focus. To have something readily available for the client to focus on for the purpose of trance induction.

Other things about the environment may not be so easily controlled and that’s why we spent some time discussing ways to deal with noises and other distractions. Being able to thing on your feet at times when distractions will occur will be a great strength.

I ran through an induction on my mum (she’s just had a hip replacement so she’s a captive audience) and as we reached the part where I was getting her to relax her stomach muscles she was taken over by an attack of wind. I attempted to say something like:

“That’s good, as your stomach relaxes it’s a good sign that your bowels are relaxed and it’s a sign that you’re going deeper into trance…”

But the mood was broken and we fell about laughing… Perhaps I should’ve carried on at this point saying that laughter is a great way to relax and now you feel even deeper in trance… Hmmm, not sure, perhaps I’ll have to practice that one.

The clients own mood and emotions are also very important when inducing trance states. If they are in a state of fascination or have a feeling of awe about the hypnotherapist then these are obviously favorable states. But if they are at all angry, irritable or they distrust the hypnotherapist then this is most definitely unfavorable.

Dangers of Hypnosis

By the very nature of what the hypnotist is doing they are putting themselves in a position whereby they could take, or be taken, advantage of. We have discussed many reasons why the hypnotherapist should take measures to protect their clients and themselves. In the Turning Stones offices they have been equipped so that a partner or friend may monitor the session from a separate room (with the clients permission of course). I think this is a good idea that an option like this be provided. If at all possible I would like to record the sound of the sessions for the purposes of protection and for the purposes of going over the session to measure its success. Again it’s important to stress that any method to record a clients session should be agreed with the client first.

Signs of hysteria are an important thing to look out for and not something that I had considered previously. Apparently if the clients head starts a slow rhythmic circular motion under hypnosis or has a sudden bout of inappropriate laughter or crying then they must be awakened from trance methodically but immediately. This, obviously, sounds quite scary but we’ve been assured that it’s incredibly rare.

Use of voice

Everyone that you talk to about hypnosis immediately puts on mocking hypnotic voice saying something, as deeply as they can, like “look into my eyes…” Ugh, it’s a joke that’s starting to wear a little thin. In the little practice that I’ve done I’ve noticed that it’s very important to pace the client. By this I mean that you pace your words to the rate of their breathing. At first this was quite a hard thing to do because you’re not normally consciously aware of another persons breathing. The tone of the voice can be varied from authoritative to poetic depending on the type of person that you’re inducing and depending on what sort of mood they’re in.

Post-hypnotic Suggestions

A post-hypnotic suggestion is the planting of an instruction whilst in trance that is to be done after the hypnotic experience.

Most of the people who I speak to about hypnosis know about, and fear, the post-hypnotic suggestion. These people expect that they will come away from the trance experience with a new and unwanted trait that will be triggered whenever the hypnotist says a secret word. I don’t think that hypnosis is this powerful.

Post-hypnotic suggestions are stated positively and in a way that the subject wants to follow the suggestion. As the client progresses towards their preferred behavior the difficulty of the post-hypnotic suggestion is increased.

Depth of Trance

One of the most interesting and difficult things that we did this weekend was trying to gauge the depth of trance. The Aaron scale denotes there are six levels of hypnotic trance. These are (from light to heavy):

Eye catalepsy.
Arm catalepsy.
Number block (where a specific number is removed from a sequence and the subject cannot remember it).
Glove analgesia/anesthesia.
Positive hallucinations – e.g. seeing a clock on a wall that isn’t really there.
Negative hallucinations – e.g. inability to someone in a room.

The scripts that we used to test these states were fairly brief and most of us on the course felt that was a hindrance because a suitable trance may not have been induced in the first place. During one test that I performed on a fellow student she mentioned that she’d reached a really deep level of trance earlier in the day so I utilized this memory to gain a level of trance where she went deeper in the depth testing. I don’t believe that anyone in the class was able to reach a state where they had negative hallucinations but this may have been down to the manufactured environment of the classroom.

Some people have an aversion no hypnosis in general but there are some useful ways to re-package hypnosis to make it more acceptable. These are:

Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Controlled Relaxation
Guided Relaxation
Visual Imagery
Guided Imagery
Guided Fantasy
Guided Meditation
Mental Imagery
Individual Relaxation Technique (IRT).

In my discussions with friends and colleagues it’s became apparent that other therapies also use these same terms.

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