It's always impressed me that this work I do is so incredibly rewarding and energizing. Instantly. It's instantly rewarding and energizing. I saw a man today for an hour. He had been robbed at gunpoint at the store where he worked. It happened a week ago, but it was still bothering him. So he told me what happened, then he told me again, then he told me backwards, then he told me in jumbled up sentences while I sprinkled some humor into it (something about the cookies the robbers took from the cookie rack), and by the time we were done he was laughing. "I'm not scared anymore," he said. "It's done. It's over. And I don't have a headache anymore. My headache was constant since the incident, but I don't have one anymore. Wow, this is different than what I expected." His mind was now clear. He had been suffering with fears and anxieties and headaches for a week, and after about 30 or 40 minutes, he was clear.
We spent the next 20 minutes wondering whether the cookies were chocolate chip ,oatmeal or peanut butter.
Friday, March 25, 2011
What is hypnosis?
This is one of the more interesting questions I get from people. Before I learned about it I, like most people, saw hypnosis as something that was kind of silly, something that made susceptible people act like a chicken or swing from a chandelier. It wasn’t until I really learned about it that I came to respect and value hypnosis.
Hypnosis is about responsiveness. Yawning when someone else yawns or crying at the sad part of a movie are both examples of profound hypnosis. People are often conscious of the fact that they’re yawning or conscious of the fact that they’re crying, but they don’t do anything to cause the yawn or the tears. They are simply responding to what is going on.
Hypnosis, then, is the automatic response to an environmental occurrence.
A woman I once saw, “Robin,” was convinced that she was ugly, and unworthy of others’ attention. On the outside, she was beautiful. She was 5’7” tall, about a size 4, with beautiful, long, naturally blond hair. She held an MBA and was the CEO of a prominent company. Men flocked to her. The problem was clearly not in finding people. The problem was in the way she viewed herself. She saw herself as so undesirable, that whenever anyone tried to get close to her, she assumed they were only feeling sorry for her.
As a little girl, she had been happy, go-lucky. She had lots of friends and enjoyed going to school and to dance classes. Then when she was 9 years old, she was raped by her next door neighbor. He had lured her to the backyard, asking for her help in finding his lost puppy. She was more than happy to help, as she had met the puppy the day before and knew how adorable it was. When the neighbor was done, he zipped up his pants and told her that what just happened was a secret between the two of them. He instructed her not to tell anyone. He moved shortly after that, and she never saw him again.
She spent the next 20 years wondering why he did that. She said he wasn’t mean or physically forceful. His words were just very persuasive, as he told her how beautiful she was and how lucky he was to find such a wonderful girl. If he loved her, then why did he leave? Did she say or do something wrong? She also felt dirty and ashamed. She knew that what he did was wrong, but she assumed she must have done something to cause him to do that to her. She was very confused. She eventually told her college roommate about what happened, and she got counseling for it. The counselor told her what the neighbor did was wrong, that it was a crime. Then she felt bad, that she should have known better and she should have stopped him. At the least, she should have told her parents or reported it to the police. Now she was wondering if there was something wrong with her that she didn’t report it. Either way, she was feeling guilty and dirty. She avoided men after that, because she was convinced of her “badness.”
In this scenario, it can be seen that hypnosis happens at the point of traumatic impact. Robin’s mind was clear before the incident, but something happened that whacked it out of alignment. It became foggy and distorted as a result of this whack. Although the incident was no longer happening, and although many years had gone by, the emotions from the traumatic event stayed with her. The ghost from this event was being dragged into her everyday relationships and sense of self.
That’s what hypnosis is. It is an automatic response to something that’s going on. When the event is disturbing, and the response is similarly troubling, the work that is required aims to disappear the troubling thoughts and feelings and to restore clarity.
There’s stuff that goes on in life, and then there’s how the mind responds to that stuff. We usually can’t do anything about the stuff, especially when it’s stuff that has happened in the past or stuff that other people are doing, but we can do something about how the mind responds to the stuff. I reorganize how the mind responds to the stuff so it’s responding in the way that’s desired. Another way of saying this is to change the way the person looks at things, and the things he/she looks at change.
How do I do this? The part of the mind that gets all distorted and causes people to feel bad is the deeper part of the mind. It’s the part of the mind where we feel and think automatically. People don’t choose to feel depressed or ashamed or guilty; it just happens automatically. Deeper part of the mind responds really well to symbols, so I talk to people using metaphors and picture words, in ways that make sense, so that they “get it.” The method is Rapid Resolution Therapy, and it works better than any other type of therapy I’ve seen. The results are quick, efficient and life-changing. Practitioners using Rapid Resolution Therapy have eliminated drug and alcohol cravings, emotional disturbances from traumatic events, lowered levels of chronic pain, eliminated feelings of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. Clients I worked with years ago still tell me how wonderful they feel. I feel truly honored to be one of those practitioners, and I welcome questions from anyone who may be similarly interested.