You can lead a horse to water...
Something I try and do with most of my clients is to introduce them to self-hypnosis. Not everyone needs it after a session. But all of them can benefit from it. So it is always a shame when clients reach out to me to say that they need another session and I found out that they haven’t persisted with the simple self-hypnosis instructions I had equipped them with.
When people leave hypnotherapy sessions some feel very relaxed and chilled, a lot feel very happy, most different in some way and all should feel great. However, for people to reinforce and hence maintain these feelings, I give them a simple hand out that explains to them a three stage process of self-hypnosis with the added instruction that if there is anything they do not understand they should get in contact. The process is generally as follows - for the first seven days establishing a bedtime routine of saying a simple affirmation to oneself ten times before you go to sleep. For the next seven days (while still doing step one) learning to hypnotise yourself twice a day for two to three minutes using relaxation and slowly counting down from 25 to 1. After day fourteen the slow counting down element is replaced with a simple, tailored personal suggestion pertinent to the client, said over and over as they maintain relaxation.
That is the general outline of what is on the instruction sheet I hand or email to the client after their session; establish the routine of general self affirmation, learn to create relaxation for a period of time, then create your own simple positive suggestion to be absorbed in the relax state you had learnt to induce on stage two.
The first part takes as long as it takes to count it on your fingers in bed, i.e. no time at all. The second consists of finding two to three minutes twice a day (the equivalent of an extra toilet break) to relax, the third the same length of time, but with positive suggestions throw into the mix. In other words, the whole process is no big encroachment on a clients busy schedule, especially when the initial issue was acute enough to cause them to take a lot more time out of that schedule to seek help in the first place.
If you cannot find three minutes, twice a day, then you have already found a big problem.
Yet often the people, who have contacted me to revisit their problems because their progress has faltered, reveal they never started or completed the self-hypnosis instructions I had shared with them after their first session.
On the instances where this has turned out to be the case I always ask myself why?
Now I hear of hypnotherapists who give the impression to prospective clients that they can ‘cure’ or eradicate people's problems. Personally I think this can be a bit misleading. I want my clients to understand that the process is both natural (we all experience varying states of hypnosis in our daily lives) and that the key is that it is them making the changes and as the hypnotist I am merely facilitating or guiding the process.
This is why when a client leaves, going forward I want the smoker to be vigilant to temptation, the person with weight problems to always be aware of both the food they eat and how they eat it, the person with a fear of dogs to explore and enjoy their new found curiosity, the anxiety sufferer to practise breathing to prevent escalation and often a tool that can reinforce this for many of my clients is self-hypnosis.
If a client comes to me with the belief they cannot be helped then it is my job to sell to them the simple premise that as long as someone WANTS and BELIEVES they can be helped they will be. Unfortunately by trying to facilitate change quickly and cost effectively (and hypnosis is a very quick and cost effective therapy) after one session some stones can be left unturned or the changes are not readily perceptible to the client. Maybe in one session you took a clients specific fear or anxiety from a level ten to a level two, but didn’t notice or be aware that the same client had a general habit of self-defeating or self-sabotage.
That client will need additional approaches. Self-hypnosis would help a client with that. In fact this is where self-hypnosis comes into its own. Unfortunately we are all human and sometimes don’t listen or take on board the guidance being given to us. Sometimes despite my best efforts a client will assume the work stops as they leave my room, but the fact that I have given them something to leave with should give them a strong clue that it doesn’t.
You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.
That two page simple guide that I give to you after a session will benefit you - but I can’t make them do it.
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