by David Mason
Many people come to hypnosis to stop smoking, but in many cases the problem is not stopping smoking that is their problem, they can stop alright. Their problem is stopping starting. This is not just a play on words. The more smoking clients I deal with the more I am convinced that the key to smoking is to focus on what makes them start again.
Smokers usually say they start because of stress, but when I question them further it almost always is caused by someone else making them feel bad. I think smoking is all about self esteem and coping abilities.
I think that this is an area where I am going to focus my research in future. I have almost decided to enrol for another PhD, to build on my Psychology masters degree, specifically to try to come up with a typology of smokers, a classification of different types of smokers, so that clinicians will know what type of intervention to use in specific cases.
And I think the first thing I am going to study will be what mental state the person experiences when they pick up a cigarette after not having smoked for weeks, months or even years. The addiction scientists think that addiction to cigarettes is chemical and caused by specific adaptations in the body. I am convinced it is psychological, and caused by automatic learning mechanisms in the mind.
As an educator I have always been interested in how people learn, but I think the real solution lies in the study of how people unlearn.
by David Mason
I had a client today who must count as one of the strangest inductions I have ever done.
The client came in and when I invited her to sit in the chair she immediately said 'No, I can't sit in a chair". I asked her what she meant and she told me that she had a bad back and could not bend to sit down. 'No problem' I said. 'The chair extends almost flat, you can lie down'. No, she said, 'I can only stand or lie flat on my back or on my stomach'. Now this woman had come to a hypnosis session knowing full well that she would be asked to sit, but made no provision for her own special needs at all. I finally found a cushion she could use for her head and she lay down on the floor.
I then started interviewing her to find out what she wanted. So there I was asking questions of someone lying flat on her back on the floor. I finally found out what she wanted, she was afraid of retirement (!). She was seventy years old and had been forcibly retired by her employer. She was partly deaf and couldn't really describe what it was that she was afraid of.
Anyway, I formulated a plan to deal with her issues and I began the induction. As luck would have it, a few minutes into the induction a tremendous rainstorm hit. The sound of the rain on the roof and windows made conversation almost impossible, and there I was with a half induced client and the biggest rain storm in years raging outside.
I ended up bellowing at her lying there on the floor shouting 'RELAX! LET YOUR MIND FIND SOME QUIET PLACE!' etc while the pounding of the storm made it hard to hear myself, never mind get through to her.
She did eventually go into trance successfully, but I won't forget this session in a hurry.
I guess the lesson I take from this is to carry on no matter what the external distractions.
by David Mason
One of the most powerful parts of hynosis is the placebo effect. I think that every session should aim to exploit the placebo effect. If people feel that they were changed, that something out of the ordinary happened, than they are that much more likely to believe that they can change their behaviour.
I know we do lots of things that are clever and profound and try to utilize what the client brings, but we often don't know what the client brings.
Of course, for the placebo effect to work the client has to feel that something happened. But we don't know what counts as a happening for this particular client. We can put the client into the most profound trance and get all the classic indicators of trance, but if it doesn't match what the client expects, then the client will dismiss it all and say the dreaded words 'I don't think I was in trance'.
The answer is simple: ask the client. 'How will you know that you were hypnotized?'
Asking that question will ensure that you know what the client expects.
Ao you can sort out any unreasonable expectation. That way the client will feel hypnotized and you will get the benefit of the placebo effect.
by David Mason
I notice that a lot of hypnosis sites offer materials of various sorts, usuall scripts or short recordings, to anyone who will sign up for their newsletter.
I wonder how effective this is as a marketing strategy?
If your aim is to market hypnotherapy services then it is likely to draw in people who live far away and will never be able to visit your office. If you are selling scripts or courses then there is an advantage in putting your name in front of potential clients until they buy. However writing a newsletter is hard work. Trying to come up with original interesting material each month is difficult. And of course a newsletter that is amateurish or simply harvests material from other sites on the Internet will just turn people off and have the opposite effect.
The whole idea of relationship marketing really does not suit the hypnotherapy business model. It is not like you are selling soap powder or somenting that people will want to buy regularly for ever. People who buy a course are not going to keep buying them, nor are people likely to want to purchase more and more scripts for years.
I can't see what advantage there would be over simply sending a monthly email with an offer specially tailored to that individual if they have previously sampled your wares.
In our business the most common number of visits or purchases is one. There is very little repeat business even for the most gifted of hypnotists. In fact the opposite is true: the better you are the less likely you are to get the client coming back. It is really only incompetent therapists who have to see the same client again and again because they are not getting fixed.
by David Mason
I usually make the client sit up properly in the chair and do an induction that at some point usually includes a progressive relaxation from head to toes. This client was a young woman, and she clearly felt comfortable talking to me curled up in my big leather chair. So I decided to go ahead with her as she was. I did a breathing induction with her all curled up with her hands round her knees and she went into trance normally.
Maybe in my training I picked up that an induction should be a sensible formal thing, and I need to loosen up a bit?
by David Mason
I have a problem putting, the closer I get to the hole the more anxious I get, and am wondering if hypnosis will help cure me?.
Practice doesn’t help. I know what I need to do but my hands won’t let me
Do you have any experience in this?
What are describing is known as the 'yips'.
Many golfers get it. It is caused by a fear of getting it wrong, that causes it to go wrong.
The theory is that the fear is coming up just the point where things could go wrong, and other people will be watching. This is caused by the mind dragging up another time from when you were growing up, when the situation was the same and the outcome was that you got laughed at or somehow humiliated. It is this ancient fear that is being triggered on the putting green.
The treatment is called hypnotic regression. This technique takes the mind back to the first time that happened to you and fixes it. That then does away with the fear on the green.
It works for most golfers, but there is no guarantee when dealing with the mind, but it is the best thing available.
by David Mason
I was looking at some statistics about where hypnotherapists see their clients. The hypnotherapy business is a strange one. It has almost no barriers to entry, so anyone with a weekend certification can happily set themselves up as hypnotherapists. They can then set up a webite and project any image they like. They can be New Age, or Spiritual, or Clinical or Hyperengerized, or anything else. On the internet you can be the most successful hypnotist in the world.
It is not until the client meets the therapist that any real differences come out. I know of several hypnotists who offer weight loss treatments while being themselves grossly overweight, and smokers who offer stop smoking therapy. You have to wonder what the client thinks.
One thing that is common to all of us though, is that we have to meet the client somewhere (Skype excluded of course). I have a professional office but I used to work from home, and the majority of hypnotherapists work out of their front rooms.
I wonder what difference the venue makes to the overall success rate. Do clients respond better if they are hypnotized somewhere that looks like a doctor's office, or do they do better in a relaxed family surrounding?
It's actually quite important. I might be spending all this rent for no good reason. People working from home might be scaring off potential referrals.
I can see arguments to support both, but I don't recall ever seeing any research that might settle the matter.