This client was a woman in her late thirties. She had come through a bad childhood, had suffered several traumatic events in adulthood and had attempted suicide several times. She could not say exactly what she wanted to change, she just felt worthless. She wanted to try hypnosis to make her feel better.
When asked why she did not have a steady relationship she replied
'How can anyone love me if I don't love myself?'.
What does 'don't love myself ' mean?
I hate myself. Most of the time.
Why do you hate yourself?
Because I am a failure.
And what does 'failure' mean?
Not being good enough for anything.
Not being good enough?
Being a failure makes me unattractive to myself.
And 'a failure'... what is being 'a failure' like?
And what is 'emptiness' like?
Several more rounds of questions produced the same circular answers.
The therapy therefore needed to be more directed, but focused on what the client valued, and what she thought would make her worthwhile. These values were therefore targeted in a multi-part hypnotic metaphor.
There was obvious lack of self esteem, almost self loathing, which meant that any suggestions would be rejected if they were put to her directly. The whole script is therefore based on dissociation - things are happening to someone else who happens to be just like you. The hypnotherapy works because the listener automatically seeks parallels with her own life, and bringing to mind those similarities means she automatically puts the ideas into her own mind.
The following hypnosis transcript shows how her definitions of success were woven into an elaborate set of metaphors and combined with indirect and direct hypnotic suggestion. The client came from a fishing town and knew a lot about the sea, its moods and things that live in the sea, so that was chosen as the main metaphor.
The script is broken into sections but was delivered in one continuous session over about forty five minutes. Note that the word 'hypnosis' is never mentioned, but trance is induced.
WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN FOR YOU?
|What would the opposite of 'a failure' be?|
|And success is like what? If you were not a failure, what would you be like?|
|Intelligent, successful, wealthy, admired, confident, strong.||THE target VALUES|
|So you feel like a failure, and failure makes you unattractive to yourself, and that unattractiveness is like a feeling of emptiness?||Confirming the self image|
|And do you feel that emptiness now?|
|And how do you know that emptiness is there?||Testing for an affect bridge.|
|From the way I feel.||more circular responses|
You can relax into your mind
|OK, I want to talk about what emptiness means to you. So just make yourself comfortable... I just want you to relax a bit.... So put both feet on the floor.... and just shrug your shoulders down... and make yourself comfortable....that's good. So are you quite comfortable sitting there?||I||Seeding 'comfortable'|
|No, not really....|
|mmm... make yourself comfortable||D|
|[moves around in the chair]|
|That's fine... are you alright now?|
|Now just take a breath and let it out..... that's good..... and now take another breath and let it out.... and now just focus on your breathing.... just become aware of the breath going in and out of your body.... that's good..... just become aware of what it's like to relax.... and just focus on.... each gentle breath in and out.... That's good....||Using the parasympathetic response|
|and just tell yourself with each breath out... That you are feeling more and more relaxed... more at ease... more comfortable.... That's right....||Self induction|
|Now I wonder if you have ever lain down on a hot sunny day... and maybe it was in a park or a garden .... or it could have been on a roof or somewhere.... on a bright day... when you look at the sun with your eyes closed.... somehow you can still see that bright light through your eyelids... and as you lie there remembering that light... and breathing gently... and remembering what it is like to lie on a grassy slope somewhere... and feel the grass under your back and under your legs... and on a warm day you can feel so drowsy... so ready to drift away... and maybe you can imagine lying in a park somewhere.... or a garden.... and I wonder what you would hear... maybe you could hear children playing... people talking.... and the way that their voices can just fade away... like a radio being turned right down... as you lie there... peacefully relaxed.... just feeling yourself supported... and your own weight pressing down.... and maybe there is a gentle breeze.... that just riffles your hair... and a warm sun caressing your face... and your arms....||I||Recall childhood memories
invoking sights, sounds, smells, touch
|and as you lie there every muscle can become... limp and loose.... It's so good to just totally relax... just let everything go.... and you might remember back to a time... a simpler time... when you could just relax and enjoy that peace and calm... that's right.... and just think how good it is... to enjoy relaxing... nothing to do... nothing to worry about...||reminder of relaxation|
|and maybe you can imagine, or remember, lying on a beach.... just a nice sandy beach somewhere... and no one to bother you... and there can be gentle splashing waves... and in the distance there is the sound of traffic.... and the smell of suncream lotion... And in the sky... there are clouds... and as you watch the clouds drift across.... and the clouds are drifting slowly from one side to the other....||Invoking memories with sound, smell, vision.|
RELAX DEEPER AND DEEPER
|And those clouds go down towards the horizon.... and as they go... you watch them.... gently floating... and you count the clouds going by... and as they go off there are ten left... and then one disappears... and there are nine.... and still the clouds go down and there's eight... and now there's seven.... and then there's six... and those clouds are drifting gently down...and five... and four... and with each cloud disappearing... you feel more and more relaxed... more at ease.... and three.... and two.... and there's just one cloud left... and you can imagine yourself in that cloud... being completely surrounded by a lovely warm fleecy cloud... and you can feel yourself... gently supported...... floating, drifting.... just going down and down and down ... inside that cloud... safe and secure... strong....||I||Count down deepener|
You can FEEL your troubles drift away
|Capability||And in that cloud you can dream many things...|
|You can dream of a girl on a beach... looking at clouds....|
|- - - - - - - - - -|
|The rest of this script is in the Clinical Hypnosis Scripts Collection|
|- - - - - - - - - -|
|Capability||And you can weave those together... into a plan...like a plant... with roots and leaves and stems that can grow in this direction or that, always growing up toward the light. And knowing that.... what ever happens ... you will be supported... you will be admired for planting that seed...||seed = change, plant + light = growth|
You CAN MAKE these changes NOW
|Capability||So you and that woman can dream successfully... and enjoy that feeling you get when you decide what things to keep and what to throw away... and you can enjoy that for as long as you want... and when you have thrown away what needs to be ... remember all the good things... take as long as you like... as long as you need to start to change for ever...||bind: you are starting to change|
|when you have done all that... you can imagine that woman waking up... and you can waken up and come back to the present.... feeling good... feeling again that inner beauty...||I||waking up = you are beautiful|
|So start that now... you can waken up when she wakens up .... feeling really good ... whenever you want.||I||ambiguity: waking up anytime or feeling good anytime?|