The importance of self-hypnosis
A thing many therapists will do with their clients at the end of the first session is to introduce them to self-hypnosis. Admittedly, not everyone needs it after a session but we can all benefit from it in some way. So, it is always a shame for a therapist when clients reach out to them and say that they need another session and find that they haven’t persisted with the simple self-hypnosis instructions given to them.
What are the benefits of self-hypnosis?
When a person leaves a hypnotherapy session, they will feel very relaxed, many feel different in some way and all should feel great. However, for people to have these feelings reinforced and hence maintained after the session has finished, a hypnotherapist will give post-hypnotic suggestions that will remain with the client and also may give suggestions that certain things or actions will reinforce the suggestions such as trigger words, finger pinching, colours and items such as stress balls etc.
However, another tool to not only maintain the good feelings and empower a client to deal with things in the future is for the hypnotherapist to introduce them to self-hypnosis immediately after they have been brought out and the good feelings of the very first session together, shared.
There are multiple benefits to be gained in doing so. A client will be experiencing a few minutes of heightened suggestibility when they are brought out of hypnosis. If during these moments a hypnotist tells the client that by learning to regularly use self-hypnosis on their own they can achieve similar feelings they have felt immediately after the session, the appeal and benefit of self-hypnosis is increased.
Another benefit to introducing them to it right away is that most new clients become instant fans of the hypnotic process and experience as they awaken. The offer to give them their own means to replicating the experience will be seized with both hands – you have a new convert, so give them something.
The most significant benefit of self-hypnosis is that it works! Most hypnotherapists use self-hypnosis regularly. It can be used to motivate, to increase performance, to empower and when diligently practised and done correctly can elicit the same results as those gained from a hypnosis session.
Lastly, it takes only a few minutes a day and, in fact, the more you do it, the less time it takes up as you learn to quickly attain a deep level of hypnosis (as a hypnotherapist does to a client, a person can give themselves a trigger word to induce a good level of self-hypnosis instantly). Most self-hypnosis guidelines a hypnotist gives their client will involve setting aside just a few minutes, once or twice a day to relax oneself enough to give positive affirmations and suggestions. It needs to become an established pattern and routine, but within a few weeks, people should be really feeling the benefits of it.
If a person cannot even spare a few minutes for themselves to devote to learning self-hypnosis, you quite often have unearthed one of the underlying reasons the client is experiencing issues in their life in the first place.
This is why it is incredibly frustrating for the therapist when a returning client tells them that they haven’t made the progress they had hoped they would, but when asked if they had persisted with learning self-hypnosis, they invariably say they haven’t. Often the more honest ones will tell you they never even started it.
Why is this?
Some hypnotherapists can give the impression to prospective clients that they can ‘cure’ or eradicate people's problems. Personally, I think this can be a bit misleading. Clients should 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 a hypnotist, you are merely facilitating or guiding the process.
This is why when a client leaves, going forward a good hypnotherapist will 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 newfound 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 sees a hypnotherapist with the belief they cannot be helped then it is the therapist's 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 the therapist took a client's specific fear or anxiety from a level 10 to a level two but didn’t notice 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 a therapist's best efforts, a client will assume the work stops as they leave the room. The fact that the hypnotherapist has given them something to leave with should give them a strong clue that it doesn’t!
There is an old proverb - Give a man and a fish and you feed him for the day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime – and this is a good analogy for the benefits that self-hypnosis can bring.