Hypnotherapy deals with the sub-conscious, and those can be some murky waters to wade into.
There is lot of misinformation and exaggeration out there about the hypnotherapist’s art, with people often doubtful, fearful or fascinated.
Some are adamant that they could never be hypnotised at all (this is rare), while others simply don’t understand the mechanics by which healing work can be achieved.
Perhaps most central to the myths and rampant clichés is the image of the hypnotic induction.
The Hollywood version involves the swinging gold watch on a chain, used to lure the recipient into a zombie-like state, in which he can be duped into doing anything from biting into an onion to killing his dog.
Here at Best Self Therapy there is very limited use for raw onions or dead dogs, but states of heightened suggestibility are certainly useful, so is there anything to the watch swinging?
The answer is yes, but rarely. The whole point of induction is to help calm the chattering rational mind and let the right brain come to the fore.
Focusing the attention on one thing is a way to do this, be it eye fixation, an external sound or an internally repeated phrase.
Not everyone will achieve a deep level of receptivity with this technique however, and any hypnotherapist worthy of the name should be able to choose from at least four or five methods of induction. It would be a very small minority of hypnotherapists these days who rely on the old golden watch.
Another option would be a simple progressive relaxation, where each part of the body is addressed and given permission to “melt”.
Then there is the confusion method, whereby the therapist tries to overwhelm the conscious mind, burdening it with complex tasks or bemusing sentences until the gatekeeper is fully occupied and the door to the subconscious can be accessed.
Inductions can even be physical, as with the many street hypnotists to be seen on YouTube, combining an element of surprise and authorative hands-on direction of the client.
The key to all of this is “whatever works” One man’s meat is another man’s poison, and all that.
The induction is simply setting up the right conditions under which the actual therapy can be delivered, be it for smoking, weight loss, depression or whatever else happens to be presented.
What goes on deep down in the sub-conscious will always be something of a mystery, but a good induction should help deliver you deep into those murky waters, far below the froth and noise of the conscious mind.
•I'm here in Athens Greece to assist in just such explorations. Do say hi.