Why your hypnotherapist might read from a script
There are varying points of view as to whether it is appropriate for a hypnotherapist to read from a script during the session.
This topic certainly creates some thought-provoking issues which I will explore below.
Firstly, we need to deconstruct what a script is. Most well-written scripts will contain language patterns that aid the hypnotic process. There are a variety of techniques used which combine together to create a synergistic, enhanced effect. Some may have dreamy abstract qualities, or alternatively be quite direct, depending upon the style of the author and the conditions presented. The choice of script may also reflect the therapist’s preferred approach.
Most hypnotherapists who utilise scripts during their sessions do so because there is something valuable and necessary in that piece of writing that will help the client. They will often incorporate their own suggestions and wording alongside the written script so that a fluid and dynamic session is maintained and encouraged. If a client were to open their eyes and see their hypnotherapist reading, all it would show is that the therapist has prepared for the session in advance - having made their own notes and suggestions and sourced the appropriate material for use.
When a hypnotherapist works from scripts in this way it allows an ease of delivery which can improve the therapeutic intervention. This enables effective treatment over a number of different sessions, which can be both consistent and repetitive. The value of repetition in this context cannot be ignored and the solution focused approach places great emphasis on its value. When the brain knows what to expect it can feel safe, the anxiety response is quietened and the conscious part of the brain can relax, thereby allowing deeper meanings and suggestions to be absorbed without resistance.
It has long been thought in neuroscience that the brain is plastic. The brain is a malleable organ that adapts to our thoughts, needs and experiences. To paraphrase Dorothea Read (www.wales-hypnotherapy.com), hypnotherapy is premised on this idea of malleability. Our therapy sessions are aimed at developing thoughts and practices that build on the client’s strengths and skills to enable the client to reach their goal. This requires repetition, just as learning anything requires practice. Dorothea uses the example of building muscles in a gym by exercise 'reps' so we build our 'mind maps' by repetition. If you find your hypnotherapist reading from a prepared language pattern, and you find yourself listening to it again at subsequent sessions, be reassured that there is science behind this.
Another example of script use might be if a client wanted to improve his golf game. Would the hypnotherapist need to learn the finer intricacies of golf in order to help the client? Of course not. The obvious answer here is that a tailor-made script would be the most useful of tools for effective treatment. This is the case in many areas where specialist knowledge may be needed.
Each hypnotherapist is different and each will bring their own unique personality and skills into their sessions. Working without a script means that the therapist has to create suggestions through the process of interview and observation of the client. In this way, the work is influenced by the client’s own conscious perceptions, which may not be accurate, and by the therapist’s own background, experience and expectation. Alternatively, use of a non-directive script is structured to allow for the client’s subconscious mind to make the changes it needs to make without external influence. These are fundamentally two very different approaches.
It also has to be said that whilst some hypnotherapists may be entirely comfortable and confident in verbalising their thoughts without the need to commit to paper first, others perform better with the scripts to prompt them. Taking a scenario of a therapist who has fifteen or twenty clients to see in the period of a week, each one with a different presenting problem, which therapist will truly deliver all of the necessary interventions – the one who is “talking the talk” or the one who has prepared a written script in advance?
I would argue that even the most experienced and engaging of public speakers will carry with them a set of notes or prompts and in this way they can keep their message on track and deliver the speech the audience expects.
In conclusion, one might ask, is a builder still a builder if he doesn’t make his own bricks? Yes, of course he is, most people would agree, and they would also be very happy to live many years in a house that was built by that builder. A second builder might make his own bricks, and very proudly consider himself an artisan of his craft. If he then goes on to build his house from memory without ever consulting the plans, he runs a higher risk of making a mistake – perhaps he will accidently forget to leave a space for the window frames.
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About Vicky Tunaley
Vicky is a solution focused hypnotherapist and works with a wide variety of conditions. The solution-focused approach combines positive psychology with hypnosis to create a strong environment for change.
Vicky is also a BWRT® practitioner an trained in the FatNosis® technique - a motivational and authoritarian weight coaching system.