Radical Hypnotherapy Through a Mindfulness Perspective
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners.
By Alan Barsky
Welcome to an Odyssey of Breakthrough Solutions for Clients. Using Mindfulness in a practical way in the hypnotherapy setting is a powerful tool for clients to reach their goals more easily. A check on scholar.google.com reveals 440,000 searches for academic papers on mindfulness, and 19,300 searches for academic papers on self-hypnosis, illustrating successful results in numerous controlled studies. This demonstrates that each of these topics are very popular, but more so, it makes sense that blending them together doubles their power alone.
Mindfulness sounds like a lofty concept, but this technique puts it to use for typical hypnotherapy client sessions. Blending mindfulness with self-hypnosis changes one’s perspective and makes it possible to take practical solutions back to work, school or home. “Your mind is your servant, it works for you”, said Ormond McGill.
Mindfulness is not just meditating. It is a different perspective of actively witnessing your life as you live it. It already is accepted as a standard teaching in California schools. Teaching children and teens to handle thoughts, breathing, silence and emotions assists the learning process, plus makes things easier for teachers. Recently, even medical schools have added mindfulness to their programs. I personally used it when I was a High School teacher in a Juvenile Hall in California.
However, mindfulness is really a way of living daily life that involves paying attention to what is happening in the here and now, without judgment. It is a perspective that reframes all the work hypnotherapists do. My definition is “mindfulness is what you use to walk through a room without bumping into things”. Jon Kabit-Zin defines it in his book title as “Wherever You Go, There You Are”.
Mindfulness not only needs to be taught to the client, but, more importantly, it needs to be fully realized and practiced by the practitioner. It is vital to the success of the session that the practitioner is fully mindful of all the client’s reactions to the conversation. That the practitioner is aware and curious to be able to track down wording, emotion, and beliefs of the experience is key to what the client is telling them. Being mindful also incorporates word playback. It is vital that the practitioner speaks the same language of the client and does not throw their own projected thoughts and language onto the client.
If your client mentions they are confused about something, a mindful response would be: “Confused, how? Please tell me more. Feel bad, how? Please tell me more. Glad, how? Please tell me more.” Hunt down the actual meaning that your client has ascribed to the words they are using to describe what their experience is to them. This allows the client to fully absorb and embrace their deeper understanding of themselves, thus creating a mindful connection to them.
Also, use their same wording. If the client uses the word ‘bad’, you use the word ‘bad’ in a direct response. Don’t use another word (IE: Awful) to supplement as that is the practitioner’s projection and own personal viewpoint that may have nothing to do with the client’s perspective.
Self-Hypnosis takes the work home. It is not just what a client gains in the Hypnotherapy office, but what tools to use when the client goes back to the office, home or school. Learning self-hypnosis influences positive states of mind, and specific ways to make positive changes in their life, while they are living it. A key component of self-hypnosis is learning short, simple concepts that transform your sensory and emotional experience where ever you go. With the late Michael Ellner, I co-authored a book series called “Quantum Focusing”. This is a mindful self-hypnosis program that empowers clients in altering their perceptions, reframing their struggles, and thus recreating their life; to take charge of your health, career and life. One person referred to it as “Waking Hypnosis”.
Utilized correctly, Mindfulness becomes a learned skill of the human mind. We will cover specifics in detail for typical client issues. For example: Use it for clients for Anxiety, Emotional Eating, Smoking, Trichotillomania-hair pulling, nail biting, the sleeping cycle, work stress. Getting mastery over bad habits. Working with medical doctor referrals.
The process involves rethinking new ways for the old standards, such as: What are thoughts? How does one handle negative thoughts? How does one handle a positive thought? Exploring the subconscious, and working with your subconscious. Developing a safe space in your own mind, and using that safe place to; get rid of excess emotions. Find forgiveness. How to feel safe and protected. Understanding your personal strengths and resources. Developing forgiveness strategies. How to control the five functions of mind. Healing your inner child. Brain rewiring. How, ironically, being out of one’s mind is an advantage. Plus a few methods for clients to work out stuck issues with people from their past.
Many people remember things, but they often forget themselves.
Neuroplasticity is real. People are designed to heal. What turns misbehaving neurons into mindful, helpful neurons? I use techniques that will use the subconscious to communicate directly with the neurons of the brain. It also focuses on key breathing exercises. Breathing on purpose is a direct connection to the subconscious mind, if you know where to look.
What also could be called “Radical Mindfulness Through a Self-Hypnosis Perspective,” is about the many self-hypnosis and mindfulness tools practitioners add to their tool belt. Specific, easy to learn, and easy to teach to clients, these methods enhance sessions across a myriad of typical hypnotherapy issues.
When it is described as a program: “Adjusting To Adult Life,” clients from teenagers to those 60 and more years old, sign up for 6 sessions. There are a lot of valuable things to master.
One client case study involving Trichotillomania, involved a 29-year old tech genius. He was an introvert, yet was fine speaking to 2,000 people at conferences. However, in private he picked his nails, skin, and a close shaven beard that added a powerful look to his young face, and was necessary for him to gain the respect commensurate with his growing businesses. He had been to therapists and hypnotherapist before, but his results were short lived. Utilizing the strategies above, he had these bad habits under control. He saw through them. He achieved his goals, and was so satisfied with the results, he referred other clients!
Some clients want help with OCD. Often part of their condition can be viewed as caught in a time loop. Having not finished all their thoughts in one room, they have walked into a second room. Learning to master a sense of time to bring them to a “here and now,” often reduces the obsession.
All my clients learn to use the imagination for one of its primary uses of forecasting. There are methods to utilize the imagination on purpose, to have the body respond in a way that produces a neutral feeling rather than stressful fear.
The techniques of self-hypnosis and mindfulness are especially helpful for clients suffering from anxiety, stress, emotional eating, fear of flying, communication in the workplace, trichotillomania (hair pulling), nail biting, chronic pain, chronic insomnia, adjusting to constant medical treatments in chronic conditions, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. And, no surprise, most everyone wants help with nightly sleep.
Medical doctors refer to hypnotherapists who can help lower the anxiety in their most chronic patients.
I invite you to join me at the ACHE Conference, where on Wednesday, March 20, I will present “Radical Hypnotherapy Through A Mindfulness Perspective.” Each participant will receive a copy of “How To Get Unstuck” by Barsky & Ellner, which contains 110 pages, 23 scripts and numerous methods to use in any private practice.
Alan Barsky enjoys a private practice based in the San Francisco Bay area for over two decades. Alan is a motivating speaker, author, and educator. He has successfully helped thousands of clients, including many major leaders from both the Tech and business community. His website is www.AlanBarsky.com