Hypnosis has been the Rx for quitting smoking without the withdrawal symptoms, supposedly accomplished by allowing direct access to the unconscious, thereby overcoming any conscious resistance to alleviate the cravings. Hypnosis has been the Rx successful weight loss, also without the cravings. Hypnosis has been the Rx to get a good night’s sleep. Hypnosis has been the Rx to take the edge off longstanding phobias, fear of flying and fear of public speaking being just two examples. Purportedly, hypnosis has been the Rx for the ridding of warts and the numbing of pain in childbirth. And Hypnosis has even been the Rx to dislodge deeply buried memories. (Factoid: Taking a subject back in time to mentally re-experience/recreate the past is referred to as hypnotic regression; whereas, taking a subject back in time to mentally re-experience a past life or incarnation is called hypnotic past life regression.)
All of the above scenarios are technically, hypnotherapy, a psychotherapy specifically employing hypnosis, and since it is hypnosis, an altered state of consciousness is fundamentally necessary. But is it really an altered state of consciousness? Or could it be just a state of crisp and clear consciousness?
Whatever it is, this state is brought about by hypnotic induction. With no standard procedure and certainly no standard script, the hypnotist will SUGGEST – the subject will COMPLY, and this is hypnotic induction.
Actually any exchange, whether it be quaggy or rigmarole or otherwise, between the hypnotist and subject, has been defined as hypnotic induction; induction being a synonym for a session. Every hypnotic induction, no matter the method, that interaction between practitioner and client always involves the social process of having the client take on the role of hypnotic subject. Always, the hypnotic subject is a willing participant, taking on the role of which involves a willing suspension of disbelief of the client’s limitations.
For more than 200 years since Mesmer proposed his animal magnetism theory, hypnosis has struggled for scientific credibility (See The Trouble With Hypnosis, K. Harary, March 1st, 1992).
Whatever it is, hypnosis is a certain state of consciousness; and one wherefore, some people are better at entering than others. Factoid: Fifteen percent of the population is highly hypnotizable. Factoid: Twenty-five percent of the population is not hypnotizable. Factoid: Sixty percent of the population, then, can, if they so choose, reap the benefits of hypnosis.
Yet another factoid: Those clients seeking hypnotherapy are not of the hidebound, rather they are the chopfallen and therefore they are already highly motivated to change their behavior. I should also mention that those who are seeking hypnotherapy have to have a certain faith in the provocateur of the process. The amount of faith determines the amount of progress.
Whatever hypnosis is, it seems to beget an altered state of mind that eludes current means of measurement. (The key word is measurement, a word NOT used in qualitative theory.) Hypnosis is a qualitative/subjective state … such as love and joy and hate and pain are for the most part, subjective, therefore qualitative. Such abstract states are exceedingly difficult to measure through quantitative means.
This I know: A successful hypnotherapy session has more to do with eloquent and descriptively thick language, than with hypnotic protocol. Creating a picture state of mind, a metaphor so to speak, is the basic strategy of hypnosis. A metaphor is a figure of speech that identifies something as being the same as some unrelated thing for rhetorical effect, thus highlighting the similarities between the two. For a person afraid of flying, the hypnotic metaphorical suggestion could be a comparison to riding in a car. For pain, the metaphorical suggestion could be the expressions of warmth and pressure. For fear of public speaking, the suggested metaphor could be for the subject to imagine, rather than banquet guests, addressing a group of new beer buddies. Even the idea of hypnotic age regression is a metaphor. Nobody really regresses to an earlier age; memories are not literal, they are imagined. Nobody actually re-lives any moment suggested.
(Hmmm … it could very well be that hypnosis is simply a metaphor for selling ourselves short of our own intrinsic mental capabilities. If this is the case, then hypnosis has to be the ultimate psychic sales pitch, a pitch that is so persuasive that we deny the existing powers within ourselves to heal ourselves, instead preferring to rely on the curing powers of a Svengali-like hypnotherapist such as myself.)
And this, too, I know: For hypnotherapy to work, hypnosis has to create for the client, an alternative history; one that is thick and vivid enough to positively distort into a healthier history yet to come. This is my self-described ALTERNATE HISTORY HYPNOTHERAPY (AHH). This is what you get when you seek hypnotherapy from me, an opportunity to create your own future history …
In the ethos of Reality Therapy mixed with ALTERNATE HISTORY HYPNOTHERAPY …
EVERYBODY HAS A STORY TO TELL …
AND RETELL … UNTIL IT ENDS RIGHT!
Marching in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week are two hockey players and a pot-bellied pig, all of whom billeting at my hockey fanatic friends, LAURA AND DARCEY FLEISHHAKKER. In marching order they are elite National Hockey League prospects, Sam Steele and Jake Leschyshyn (team mates on the Regina Pats), and Daisy Mae.