When I work with my clients I help them identify their outcomes, reframe limiting beliefs and design specific suggestions that most fit their personal situations. I use various hypnotic inductions to trance, guided imagery, relaxation techniques and NLP exercises. I also teach my clients how to use self-hypnosis for mental relaxation and programming the mind.
Hypnosis is an old modality. It is looked upon as both a special state or a special process. I prefer to view hypnosis as a process of transmitting ideas which requires a special state of receptivity, like for example a state of focused attention, daydreaming or simply trance. This process results in a behavioral change in a subject.
The ways with which such states of receptivity to suggestions are induced have evolved throughout the history of humankind. Frantic dancing around the fire in primitive societies, chanting in Sleep Temples in Ancient Greece or beliefs in the power of magnetism during the times of mesmerism in 1700’s â€“ were all ways to induce the states of receptivity to suggestions.
Today, the methods we use to induce the states of receptivity are no longer mysterious; they are now understood from a scientific view-point. For example, Dr. Milton Erickson’s hypnotic inductions have been replicated and are now widely used by modern clinical hypnotists. Also, the Relaxation Response technique by Dr. Herbert Benson (1975) has been subjected to the strict standards of Western Scientific Medicine: measurability, predictability and reproducibility.
Clinical hypnosis is not faith healing. You don’t have to believe in it in order for it to work. You don’t have to believe in any deity or supernatural ability of a hypnotist either. There is a simple formula to hypnosis: a state of receptivity followed by suggestions. The state of mental and physical relaxation, required for programming of the mind in clinical hypnosis – can be naturally induced with a variety of hypnotic inductions.
Finally, anyone with normal intelligence (or above) who is willing to follow the instructions of a hypnotist can be hypnotized.
NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is a model that helps influence thoughts, feelings and behaviors in yourself and others, originally created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the 1970’s. They have modeled the patterns of Dr. Milton Erickson’s hypnotherapy, Dr. Fritz Pearls’ Gestalt therapy and Virginia Satir’s psychotherapy methods. They also drew ideas from Noam Chomsky’s transformational grammar and Alfred Korzybski’s philosophies, like “the map is not the territory.” NLP can be regarded as a more elaborate and scientific model of a hypnosis modality. Various NLP techniques can be used to program/deprogram the mind, like Phobia Model, Anchoring, Modeling and etc. I often use anchoring strategies to teach my clients how to trigger certain desired mental states of excellence; or Meta Position exercises to help my clients see their situations and patterns of thinking from an outsider’s point of view in order to shift perception and gain richer and more rational understanding of their problem.
Suggestions are important in the process of hypnosis. Suggestions are belief statements or affirmations. I help my clients identify their limiting beliefs that lie in the core of their problem by using a set of NLP meta model questions and thorough interviewing. Limiting beliefs are then reframed into positive and empowering belief statements â€“ suggestions. Suggestions are instilled in the unconscious mind once the person is in a state of receptivity, like trance or a state of focused attention.
Einstein once said ,”Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” When the person is in deep mental and physical relaxation it becomes much easier to visualize and imagine things, just like when dreaming at night. In hypnosis, I often use guided imagery to help my clients capture a full picture of their desired reality, like a perfect performance, presentation or making a perfect shot in sports and etc. Once your mind perceives your desired outcome with visual, auditory, kinesthetic (sometimes olfactory and gustatory) senses, your mind will motivate you to achieve your goal in a wake state, directing your actions in a more resourceful way. Guided imagery can also reduce pain, lessen blood loss during surgery and reduce blood pressure.
How many times were you inspired by a great story (from film or book) that bore some existential message or a lesson that resonated with you and maybe helped you see things better and with a new perspective? Such stories are hypnotic in nature, because their messages teach us something new and often change they way we think and behave.
Short stories, tales, symbols and analogies are often used as metaphors in trance. Dr. Milton Erickson was one of the proponents of using metaphors as an indirect method to plant suggestions for well-being. Metaphors can help one discover resources necessary for change, facilitate new patterns of thinking, and enhance one’s belief in the ability to transform and grow. For example a metaphor like ” imagine a flower opening graciously petal by petal, ” described with colorful paints, details and olfactory add-ons can be associated with an indirect suggestion like “as you see it, feel it and smell it, you naturally allow your creativity to blossom ever so beautifully from now on…”
I teach my clients how to use self-hypnosis and positive affirmations on a day-to-day basis. Powerful affirmations can be repeated out loud in the morning or before going to bed at night. Self-hypnosis techniques, like for example eye catalepsy or counting backwards can enhance a state of receptivity to suggestions in self-hypnosis.
Memetics is a relatively new science, which I have become quite fascinated with. Memetics offers a fresh view- point on the workings of the mind and how and why we get programmed by our environment.
The word “meme” was originally coined by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene (1979). A meme is a basic unit of information that gets copied from mind to mind, analogous to genes making copies of themselves in biology. Memes take the forms of beliefs, attitudes, ideas, musical tunes and etc. Memes are usually spread via communication or various forms of media outlets and authorities. So, for example a belief like, “I have ADD…” may be a mere meme ( a catchy belief), a product of our modern over-medicated society and direct-to-consumer advertising.
The science of memetics states that our thoughts are not always our original ideas. We often get infected with ideas throughout our lives. Some memes in the form of beliefs can be harmful. They become like viruses of the mind; and just as computer viruses slow down the system – so do viruses of the mind slow down rational thinking, often causing some type of self- destructive behavior or poor decision making. Luckily, there are Hypnosis and NLP techniques that can help disinfect the mind from the harmful memes.
Hypnosis Program Overviews
If you are at the point in your life when you can say with 100% honesty that you are sick and tired of being a smoker – then hypnosis is your solution. Conversely, if you are not really sure whether you want to stop and you simply want to try hypnosis just to see how it works – it will not work for you, because deep down you don’t want to stop. Hypnosis can help you get what you truly want for yourself. Do you want to become a non-smoker today?
All types of performance anxiety have something in common: limiting beliefs based on some past failure, traumatic event/incident or someone’s harsh comment or judgment. This causes low self-esteem, constant over playing of the negative inner dialogue and poor mental imagery of your performance. Such beliefs and images affect one’s behavior in a constricting and inhibiting manner. Through hypnosis you can easily reprogram mental images, beliefs, break down the connections with past events. Newly instilled positive beliefs and exciting imagery will affect one’s behavior in a new empowering way.
Most phobias, just like performance anxieties originate with some past event/trauma or bad experience in life. Phobias vary from something common as fears of flying, driving, being in open spaces, elevators, dogs, to something unique and rare as fears of thunderstorms, sex and etc. Fears produce specific messages or commands, like “hide”, “run”, stay vigilant” and etc. All of the phobias are irrational in nature and most of my clients are aware of that – otherwise they wouldn’t be in my office. However, the fear is so deeply permeating in one’s unconscious mind that the person usually believes in its messages with a profound sense of conviction. That of course, affects his or her behavior negatively.
The beliefs associated with fears can be reframed and reprogrammed with hypnosis. Triggers to the feelings of comfort and safety can be set with NLP anchoring strategies. I also use mental rehearsal of positive outcomes so that the subject can relive his or her experience with the sense of calm, comfort and confidence.
It is common for people with the lack of motivation to procrastinate, delay, self-sabotage and not believe in themselves. These people have either low self-esteem or often think they don’t deserve success. These patterns of behavior and self-imposed limitations can be eliminated with the programming of powerful affirmations for success, ego- strengthening exercises, and guided imagery of the desired outcome. I spend some time helping my clients clarify a well-formed outcome, so that I am able to future pace them into seeing, feeling and hearing what’s it like it to have what they want. Their mind gets seduced by the imagery of their goal and hence motivates them to achieve it in the waking state.
Addictions (alcohol, sweets etc.)
Often addictions have something to do with past hurts, anger or inner conflicts. Hypnosis can help you resolve such issues and build powerful resources necessary to interact with the environment in a healthy and happy way. Also, addicts often hold beliefs like: “it is hard to quit my habit,” or “alcohol makes me feel more relaxed or happy,” or “I feel better and peaceful when eating sweets.” These beliefs determine their self-distractive way of living, even though consciously they know that the addiction is bad for them. Beliefs and triggers associated with the addiction can be removed and reframed with hypnosis. It is easy to stop the addiction, you just have to put your mind to it. Hypnosis can help you achieve that.
Most bad habits are associated with some positive feeling of satisfaction, otherwise you wouldn’t be doing it. Such associations are stored in your unconscious mind. Through hypnosis we can rewire these associations and inform your mind about the negative effects and consequences of your bad habit.
Nail biting, hair pulling, skin picking, thumb sucking are common bad habits that can easily be overcome and replaced with new positive and healthy habits.
Easing Someone or Something From the Mind
Obsessive thinking over someone can be quite detrimental for health, as it takes up the energy away from what you are supposed to be doing or focusing on. It can be mentally exhausting and time consuming. Consciously you can rationalize the experience, however your mind usually has a different way of thinking, feeling and believing. Fortunately and undoubtedly there is always a positive lesson from all the encounters and experiences that take place in our lives. Hypnosis and NLP techniques like Meta Position can help you elicit the positive lessons, rationalize the relationship and emotionally detach from the person and feeling. You will naturally shift focus to a new life direction and activity, healthy for your mind and body.
It normally requires a few or more sessions to evaluate and assess the pain and elicit the hypnotic strategy and technique to manage it. The strategies vary and each one can be beneficial alone or all combined. They are:
- Unconscious exploration to resolve conflict/past traumas,
- Ego-strengthening suggestions for self-esteem,
- Metaphors for creating anesthesia/analgesia,
- Cognitive- perceptual alteration of pain, or
- Eliciting mystical experiences to help distract and decrease the awareness of pain.