Many prospective students looking for hypnotherapy training might not realize that hypnosis is a fairly broad term. There are a number of approaches in using hypnotherapy, but generally, there are two schools of thought, the Direct approach and the Indirect approach. Most people are familiar with the direct approach. It typically entails a hypnotherapist giving a subject or client, a series of suggestions. For example, close your eyes and breathe deeply. An indirect approach however is meant to be much more subtle and the language becomes much more unique.
Using an "indirect approach", a therapist might comment, "isn't it nice to know how deeply relaxed one can feel simply by taking it deep breath and letting go." From this phrase and similar phrases we begin to discover a new language, for the subconscious.
One may ask what the intent is in using this approach. Why not just tell the client to relax deeply? There are clients who prefer this direct type of approach more than the indirect method, but there are many who do not for a wide variety of reasons. The most popular reason people tend to give for not preferring the direct approach is that they feel like they are being, albeit nicely, ordered to do something or to respond in a specific way. In fact, not all, but many people prefer to feel autonomous and choose their own experience and using language which is unique to them allows for this autonomy.
As one might guess, because of its subtlety, for most students, the indirect approach is more difficult to learn, but once mastered can be very rewarding. We have Dr. Milton Erickson to thank for this unique approach in the field of hypnotherapy though there are many cultures historically which used and are still using variations of this method. In fact, one can make the argument that any culture or society which uses stories to teach and disseminate information are using this approach.
From this perspective it doesn't seem so new. We begin to realize that most if not all, have used indirect phrasing much of our lives. We are really accessing something we know instinctively but are now learning to use this unique language through a therapeutic modality. The purpose of utilizing stories and metaphors with a client is to allow them to go on a journey of their choosing.
As a student learns they begin to develop phrasing for the client’s sub-conscious. This is why we use "open ended phrases "such as, "I wonder", "I'm not going to suggest", "isn't it nice to know", "I really don't know what your experience will be ", "what is time.....anyway" etc. These generalized and open ended statements allow the client to expand on the implications of what is being said. However, it is not just saying phrases that elicit each client's unique response but just as importantly it is the way it is said. A master story teller is very much aware of this and utilizes tone, rhythm and timing to draw out from the person, verbally or non-verbally, direction on where to go next.
A good definition of these phrases, as mentioned previously, is language for the subconscious or as Erickson referred to it, the unconscious. The premise of this statement is that our subconscious responds and communicates differently than our conscious mind and therefore it needs a different language which relates to feeling and experience rather than intellect. How to put all of this together to be truly effective is one of the lessons that all students will learn with enough practice.
Sheldon Bilsker, RCC,HT Orca Institute
is Canada’s longest running Hypnotherapy school and BC's only PTIB and EQA designated Hypnotherapy school. Call Now! 604 808 3703. Skype: orcas53
©Sheldon Bilsker 2017.