Author Archives: Jim K
Author Archives: Jim K
Are you a scriptnotist? I was. What do I mean by scriptnotist? I’m talking about someone who reads the same inductions and suggestions to every client that walks in the door. Sure I used to switch up the suggestions depending on what they wanted, but I would usually read the same induction to each person and then follow that up with the same suggestions that I read to the previous clients that were looking for the same results.
When I realized maybe I should try something a little different. I remember one time I was working with a lady who had Multiple Sclerosis who wanted to lose weight and control pain. At that time I had been in my office for about 2 months and wasn’t what you would call an expert. So, we talked for a little while and I had her sit in the chair where I was going to hypnotize her. I had my script in front of me and began reading her a mountain side induction (basically walking down a mountain path noticing all the different sights) after I relaxed her with that I moved onto a stair induction (climbing down the stairs relaxing with each step, etc.) and after that I went in to my suggestions.
I remember feeling like I was doing well, so when I brought her out I asked her how it felt. The first thing she said was that it was nice, but she didn’t like the inductions because she has difficulty walking and so as she imagined these different things she was also imagining the discomfort of walking along mountains and down stairs. I still feel a little silly when I think back on this because it was so obvious, but I totally missed it. From that day on I made it a point to move away from the script and to tailor my work for each individual person, and I can tell you that it has improved my results and my enjoyment tremendously.
So how do you move away from scripts?
The biggest advantage of using unscripted inductions is that the focus is completely on the client. Rather than reading an induction and having no idea how the client is responding, unscripted inductions give you the opportunity to direct your client more effectively because you are commenting specifically on what they are doing. The client quickly becomes aware that you are looking for certain responses and will become much more likely to perform them now. Dave Elman and Milton Erickson are two great people to study when you want to move away from scripted inductions. Let’s begin with Dave Elman because I believe he offers the easiest and fastest way to hypnotize anyone who wants to be. The Elman induction is scripted in the sense that it is the same every time, but the difference is that you only move on to the next part after you have gotten the response that you want. By using this induction you eliminate any question of if the client is in hypnosis or not.
Milton Ericikson was the king of unscripted hypnosis, he would put people into trance just by having a conversation with them. The benefit of this method is that you avoid a clients resistance if there is any. The challenge with this method is that you have to be keenly aware of very slight trance responses in the subject as you are speaking because he didn’t use the overt tests that Elman would use.
Even if you want to read suggestion scripts after the induction, you will find that your results will improve by using unscripted inductions because you will put your clients into deeper states.
One of the easiest ways to increase the results of your hypnosis sessions is to have a thorough understanding of what I call Hypnotic Psychology. This is very important because the majority of people that you come in contact with have a very limited understanding of psychology and what is worse is that it is usually derived from Freudian Psychology! These unconscious beliefs they have about what is going on in their own minds accounts for much of the difficulties people experience when they set about to make changes in their behaviors.
Freudian psychology’s influence can be seen throughout our society when trying to explain what goes on in our mind. The important difference is that as a hypnotist you are not interested in focusing on and theorizing about every problem that can exist in a human. Instead, you are interested in finding the quickest way to help your client create change that will help them improve their quality of life.
Hypnotic Psychology begins with separating the mind into two parts; the conscious and unconscious mind. The conscious mind is the part that is aware of what is happening while you are in a normal waking state. It hears the sounds around you, it sees the words you are reading on the screen, and feels the seat that you are sitting on right now. The conscious mind is the part of you that distinguishes between good and bad, healthy and unhealthy, basically it is the part that rationalizes.
The unconscious mind is in charge of everything else. It keeps you sitting up in your seat, regulates the temperature of your body, and gives meaning to the symbols that you are reading on the screen. Basically, the unconscious mind runs the show. Once a behavior is learned really well it drops into the unconscious mind and runs automatically when needed. Some examples of this are reading and writing, driving a car, learning how to use a computer mouse, etc. Imagine if you had to start everyday relearning how to do all these things.
It is important to realize that the unconscious mind is very much like a child, it doesn’t know the difference between good and bad. It basically operates through repetition and association. This explains the common frustration experienced by people when they want to make a change in their behavior. How many times have you heard someone say I know smoking is bad, I know I should quit and then go and smoke a cigarette. Hypnotic psychology says that whenever there is disagreement between the conscious and unconscious mind, the unconscious will always win. This is because the unconscious has considerably more resources. The unconscious is like a supercomputer and the conscious mind is like a calculator. It is no contest.
The unconscious mind does not “think”, it basically responds. When I ask you what your phone number is you don’t have to think about it, it just pops into your mind. This is an important aspect of the unconscious mind it doesn’t rationalize like the conscious mind, it works by association. Let me give you another example of this, have you ever heard a song that brought back a certain memory? You didn’t have to think of that memory; it just popped into your mind. That is how the unconscious works. It has connections between things. So, when you set out to help a client create change it is most effective to go directly to the unconscious mind with the correct understanding of how it works. The unconscious does not rationalize, so it has no sense of right and wrong. It only has connections. This is important because it allows you to take the judgments out of any behaviors that you see. If you look at someone who is a crack addict, it is easy to say “Why would they want to do that to themselves?”, but that won’t help you change their behavior. The hypnotists’ presupposition is that people make the best choices they can, so although they may have a connection that crack is bad for them, the stronger connection is that the crack creates ecstasy right away, eliminates the pain, makes all their troubles go away for a little while, etc. So if you are going to help this person create change you need to do it by developing new connections that are going to provide those feelings for them. Quitting cold turkey usually doesn’t work because the brain doesn’t see it as stopping crack use, it sees it as not be able to experience those desired states that crack is connected too. When you approach it this way it is implicit that crack is only one way to experience those desired states, when this is accepted the client will be a more willing participant in the change because there is the possibility to continue experiencing the desired states in a better way than using crack.
The conscious mind is like the captain of a ship. It sets the course and makes the big decisions, but then it leaves the grunt work up to the crew, this is similar to the mind. The unconscious mind is a servo mechanism designed to carry out orders, and the conscious mind is designed to give the orders. But trying to create change solely with the conscious mind is like the captain of a ship trying to do everyone’s job. It becomes a disaster for everyone involved. Unfortunately this is how the majority of people attempt to make change in their own lives. Think about it when someone wants to stop smoking they rarely say okay now what feelings are my unconscious mind after and what are some alternatives that would be better for me. Instead they say “that’s it, I’m just gonna quit smoking” and then maybe that works until the first stressful thing happens and they’re right back to smoking because they don’t have any way to relax other than the cigarette, and their unconscious goes “well I know the smoking is bad, but the stress is even worse, so I think I’ll smoke.”
So, with these understandings the hypnotist generates change by using a different approach than psychoanalysis, pharmaceuticals, or by sheer will power. The hypnotist creates change easily by directly accessing the unconscious mind to get to the root of the problem behaviors. When this happens change is much more likely because it is no longer a change in the feelings you experience, but a change in the way that you create those feelings.
Habit: NOUN: A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition
“Sow a thought reap an action. Sow an action reap a habit. Sow a habit reap a character. Sow a character reap a destiny.”
Habits are created in many different ways. You have hundreds of them and use specific ones depending on the situation you are in. When I work with clients it almost always involves either the modification of an existing habit or creation of a new more resourceful habit. The first step in affecting habits is to have a clear understanding of the conscious and unconscious minds (if you haven’t read Basics of Hypnotic Psychology I would strongly urge you to do so).
Changing habits is a combination of science and art. The same basic structure can be applied to everyone, but you make it more powerful by tailoring it individually to your client. The process can be broken down into 3 parts; decision, desired behavior, and congruency.
Decision is the first step and definitely the most important. People come up to me all the time and ask me if I can make them stop smoking. I immediately respond that I can’t make them do anything! The choice is always the clients’. The only thing an ethical hypnotist can ever do is assist a client in reaching their goals, never deciding what those goals are. In order for change to occur their has to be a decision made by the client to want that change to occur. This may seem minor but your results will depend on this.
The easiest way to get the client to decide is to elicit a decision state that they have experienced in the past. Everyone has made a decision in their life where they have never looked back and that is the state you want to maximize effectiveness during the session. This is important because it will eliminate 90% of the perceived habit. Remember the unconscious mind is a servo-mechanism and when you give it orders it is in its nature to follow them. When you have a client who makes a genuine decision to stop smoking they unconsciously send a message to their unconscious mind to find new ways to deal with stress, be social, and relax.
Desired behavior is the next step. It is important to always remember that the unconscious mind which runs the show, only has the ability to think constructively. This means that it cannot understand things that you don’t want. If I tell you not to think of the color blue, what is the first thing that you think of? The color blue, right? This is because you need to think of the color blue first in order to not think about it. So, if someone comes in and says “I don’t want to be overweight anymore”, the first thing you need to do is to get them thinking constructively about what they do want. “How would you like to look? What is your ideal weight?, etc.” When people begin thinking like this they give their unconscious mind a goal to work towards. Understand that if someone says “I do not want to be a smoker” they are literally saying that they perform the action of not wanting to be a smoker, the unconscious understands that as they need to be a smoker in order to accomplish that. The first reframe you need to do with this client is to get them to state constructively what they do want; for example: “I want to be a non-smoker”, “I want to have healthy lungs”, “I want to experience peak physical health and have an athletes stamina” You get the idea. These reframes send completely different signals to the unconscious mind, and will ensure a much better success rate with your clients.
Finally, you need to make sure that the new behavior is going to be congruent with the clients’ personality. Skipping this step is often the reason that the change does not become permanent. It is important to understand that the client has a lot invested in long time habits. So, when your client wants to create new behaviors you need to make sure that they are going to fulfill the secondary gains the original behavior did. Smoking for example is less about nicotine addiction than it is about the secondary gains it creates. For example the stronger reasons for smoking are usually for the feeling of reward, or relaxation, rebellion, etc. When you approach the habit on this level you get to the heart of the behavior. So, rather than trying to change a habit with no thought about the good feelings it creates you go right to the secondary gain and come up with alternative ways to experience this.
Once you have come up with alternative behaviors you must check for congruency. This is important because you want all of the clients’ resources to be helping with this change. So as the client is in trance you ask if there is any part that has a problem with this new behavior, you will often get a yes. At this point you can do some parts therapy which will quickly resolve the issue. Once that specific issue is resolved you ask again if there are any other parts that have a problem until the answer is no.
By using these three steps as a general structure for helping your clients create new habits you will find your results improving. I believe that reading people scripts alone has a limited effect because it is not a collaboration between the hypnotist and client. Using this format will help your client understand themselves a little more and you will find that the changes will last because they played a bigger role in the process than just laying their in trance being read suggestions that may or may not relate to them.
I can’t take it anymore! Every time I put the TV on there is another commercial for some new prescription medication. Don’t get me wrong I’m not pulling a Tom Cruise here, but enough’s enough. It makes me wonder how people coped with anything 50 years ago. While I believe that medication has its place, I also believe that our faith in modern medicine has made us forget one our greatest gifts.
What is this gift that we have? It is our ability to influence our bodies through our minds. We are just beginning to rediscover the power we have over our own physical bodies. A scientifically verified example of this power is seen in the “Placebo Effect”. This was discovered when new drugs were being tested. Half the group would get the actual medication and half would get sugar pills. The interesting thing was that a certain percentage of the “placebo group” would show signs of improvements, even though they weren’t given any medicine! This is the power that we possess.
So how can you use this power? Scientists are finding new connections between stress and disease every day. We live in a culture where we are over stimulated constantly through television, the internet, etc. The easiest way to make use of this power we have is to put a few minutes aside with the specific intention of just being quiet and relaxing. When you do this you create fertile ground for health to occur naturally. It doesn’t need to take long or be some complicated meditation. Just the act of being quiet in a quiet place will make you feel better and improve your health.