Who succeeds at hypnotherapy ?
People who succeed and get what they want from a course of hypnotherapy are most often those who are not afraid of their imagination. Not only is imagination usually critical in hypnotherapy, but to sense how your inner eye has the power to stir life-changing transformation is really to understand how this therapy actually works.
Sometimes in hypnotherapy we come across people who have very poor powers of imagination. This is not necessarily a signal that therapy won't work because there are certain abstract forms of intervention which can be effective. But one of the best things a client can do in hypnosis is to go off on their own imaginative journey and to only use what the hypnotherapist is suggesting as a cue for their own process of inner discovery.
During hypnotherapy, it is amazing how many times the client goes somewhere else in their mind to where the hypnotherapist is suggesting. We might say to the client see the colour "blue" and they afterwards tell you that they saw the colour "red". We may suggest to a client that their problems are like "pebbles on a beach" but they insist afterwards that they saw them like "waves slowly becoming smaller". The strange thing is that far from the client "getting it wrong" they are simply using what the hypnotherapist is saying as a prompt to go off somewhere in their own imagination in a way that is more meaningful to them.
In my experience, the clients who have a tendency to do things their own way in hypnosis are the one's who really know how to get the most out of the experience. They have an inner feeling of where they need to go to solve their problem and they merely use the hypnotherapist as their guide or control. This individual behaviour can include those who insist on sitting in the foetal position in the chair or even lying on the floor. Sometimes, they have ideas or themes they want you to use or preferences about background music. Being an individual in hypnotherapy is not difficult and it shows the client has already got an idea of what they need to do and where they want to go but they just need the discipline of therapy to start the journey.
Many, perhaps most, people who come for hypnotherapy have a sense of what is needed to overcome their problem even if they cannot quite describe it. In hypnotherapy we give the client the encouragement to open the floodgates of their imagination and therein, more often than not, the solution is found. This is where hypnotherapy is different from cognitive behavioural therapy, this appeals to the reason but does not necessarily change the way you "feel" about something. Hypnotherapy is about changing the colours within and giving you that imaginative framework that transforms your own reality.
There is a style of hypnotherapy which we call "non-directed" or "Eriksonian" which deliberately encourages your mind to go where it wants to help your with your problem. This is a very subtle form of therapy and does not suit everyone. There is, however, a style of intervention which is somewhere between the non-directed and the directly suggestive which encourages the client to go somewhere in their mind but leaves open the detail. It is when the client, in their imagination, sees or "feels" that detail that they find the way out of their problem.
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