Motivated to Succeed?
We talk a lot about motivation in the delivery of therapy as it is an important element in the success of treatment under hypnosis. In fact, as in most areas of human endeavour, it is the key. We sometimes find that a client enters therapy with less than a full desire to be helped. This can be because they submit to hypnosis under pressure from family or friends. In these cases it is wise to advise that they go home, save their money and perhaps come back when they are ready to be helped.
In addition, some clients come outwardly wanting to be helped but with a subconscious reluctance to engage. This may simply be because of a lack of real understanding of what hypnosis is and how it works. These concerns can of course be easily laid to rest by clear explanations of how people are likely to feel, how the process works and most importantly, that subjects remain totally in control regardless of the depth of hypnotic trance; free to 'come out' of trance at will.
There can be others reasons for why some people may want to hang on to a problem, e.g. someone who suffers pain might find that this leads them to receive attention from others which they might otherwise have to do without, so sub-consciously they have a reason to keep some of the pain, no more pain = less attention. The needle phobic might sub-consciously arrive at the notion that a loss of their fear means that they will have to endure injections etc. If they keep the phobia therefore, they can avoid that which most frightens them. These phenomena are referred to as 'secondary gains'.
These gains can exist for many clients suffering a broad range of issues. It is essential that the hypnotherapist is able to uncover and deal with these, to ensure that the client is fully motivated to overcome the issue that they present with. Sometimes it is sufficient to address the idea of secondary gains in a pre-hypnosis discussion, simply to raise the client's awareness of the phenomenon and the potential for such thoughts to be a barrier to the help they seek. In many cases it is best included as a part of the session itself, presented while the client is in trance. In these instances the therapist might draw upon an Ericksonian approach, to provide a range of alternative and sometimes conflicting ideas to allow the client to consider, then distance themselves from the unhelpful thoughts. Alternatively, direct suggestion under trance can be the key to overcoming this with others. Of course all these approaches may be required together on occasions.
What happens when a therapist uncovers and removes secondary gains is that they path the way to raising the client's motivation; "I do not need this condition, therefore I can be helped to be rid of it!"
A major contributor to the process is, of course, our own motivation as practitioners. Our incentive to work with people is inevitably boosted by the thrill of gaining some useful insight into their personality and their problem through discussion, growing perception of them as individual thinkers and their unfolding responses both in and out of trance. It is as essential for us to be motivated to succeed as it is for our clients to be motivated to resolve their problems. Through this 'two-way high', clients are motivated to be helped and therapists are more greatly determined to provide help. For me, the key to successful outcomes in hypnotherapy is to boost that vital motivation, that is necessary, in fact, for all human success.
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