A Personalised Induction Will Always Be More Effective Essay
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Every successful hypnotherapy session must have an induction ensuring that the client is relaxed and is in a disassociated state in order fully experience the process. The type of induction used can be dependent on the personal preferences of the therapist or the type of hypnotherapy being undertaken in the session. There has been some debate as to whether a generic induction will be suitable for all clients or as some hypnotherapists advocate that only a personalised screed to each client will do.
Commercial hypnotherapy which is produced for the mass market is widely available in CD, book or e formats. These materials deal with common issues such as giving up smoking, weight loss etc and by their very nature have to be generic as there is no option for personalisation. However as there is no therapist present at these sessions, the success of commercial non personalised screeds cannot be assessed. In my opinion, commercial materials can reach many people but they are more about making money for the person producing them than about making a difference for the individual.
It is also impossible to have a personalised induction if the therapist is holding a group session. In hypnosis the therapist relies on verbal communication rather than on body language. Psychology professor Albert Mehrabian studied communication and stated that how humans communicate can be broken down into quantities; ie words account for 7%, tone of voice accounts for 38%, and body language accounts for 55%. Therefore the vocabulary the therapist uses becomes vitally important to how successful the therapy will be for the client.
Therapists who prefer a personalised approach believe that preparation of the client is essential especially if they have no previous experience of hypnotherapy and/or have pre-conceived ideas. Discussion before the session is crucial to discover what the client’s expectations are and when necessary, allay fears and correct their beliefs. During this discussion the therapist can also probe to discover the clients’ preferred or dominant modality. Modalities were defined by Bandler and Grinder the “Language of our minds”. (Chrysalis, Module 2).
The three major modalities are, Kinaesthetic (feeling), Visual (sight), Auditory (hearing) as well as the two minor modalities of Olfactory (smell) and Gustatory (taste). As individuals we all have a preference for the way we perceive and process our experiences and in order to create a personalised induction, the therapist will try to ascertain the client’s preference during the initial interview and discussion. During the induction, the client may have his eyes closed or the therapist may not be within sight, so communication with the client using their preferred imagery will help them feel more comfortable.
Kinaesthetic people have a preference for vocabulary which will invite them to feel. For example in an induction where the client is in their special place outdoors, you could suggest the client feels the warmth of a breeze as it moves through the trees. Whereas for those with a visual modality it could be suggested that they imagine leaves moving in the warm breeze in the nearby trees, while those with an auditory modality may feel more comfortable if it is suggested that they can hear the rustle of the leaves when they are moved by the warm breeze.
Language and imagery can also have a negative effect on the client, Karle and Boys (1987, p45) suggest that imagery is first planned with the client to ensure it is acceptable and congenial. The example they use is suggesting descent by means of using a lift to a client who is phobic of lifts. Therefore it is important to have some personalisation in the induction. There is, however, a risk of mis-judging an individual during the initial interview and consultation that the therapist must be aware of.
The client may present an image that they think the therapist wants to see; also as humans our feelings can change frequently throughout the day which causes us to react differently. And until the therapist gains a deeper understanding of the client a truly personalised induction may not be achieved yet the client has successfully reached a deeper hypnotic state. When creating an induction it is suggested by Karle and Boys (1987) that therapists use a technique known as “Compounding” which employs all modalities in the sensory descriptions and suggestions.
While the content of the inductionis one area which can be personalised, the delivery of the induction is also a major influence on how accepting and comfortable the client will be. During the initial interview and as the relationship between client and therapist grows, the style of induction most suited to the client should be employed. They are referred to today as “Permissive” and “Authoritarian”. However as with the modalities, the style preference of the therapist will be a major influence on the style employed in the induction.
Sandor Ferenczi, a Hungarian psychoanalyst who practised in the early 1900s first investigated these styles after moving away from Freudian theory and developing relaxation therapy. He called them ‘maternal’ and ‘paternal’ and used them in his induction delivery. He considered the maternal style to be nurturing, caring, supportive and permissive while he considered paternal to be direct, authoritarian and aggressive. (Chrysalis, Module 2). Dave Elman, a stage hypnotist and entertainer working in 1948, at the invitation of doctors began to work on induction techniques.
He continued in this career writing books on the subject and teaching students up to his death in 1968. He is well known for using his preferred authoritarian style of induction which he adapted from the sharp commands used in stage shows. Conversely, Milton Erickson, born 1901, utilised the permissive style of induction together with indirect suggestion. He believed that ‘people must participate in their therapy’ and was skilled at using metaphors to assist his therapy. Erickson believed that it was not possible consciously to instruct the unconscious mind, and that authoritarian suggestions were likely to be met with resistance.
He firmly stated that the unconscious mind responds to openings, opportunities, metaphors and symbolic language. He advocated that effective hypnotic suggestion should be “artfully vague”, leaving space for the client to fill in the gaps with their own unconscious understandings – even if they do not consciously grasp what is happening. The skilled hypnotherapist constructs these gaps of meaning in a way most suited to the individual subject – in a way which is most likely to produce the desired change (Wikipedia. rg) Authoritarian inductions will be more directional and commanding; they allow the hypnotherapist to be in charge with the client following a set of demands.
This can work well on some clients who respond to authority and like set boundaries. An authoritarian induction will be straightforward with no embellishments, for example making commanding statements such as, ‘Close your eyes, you are in control at all times’, ‘You are now feeling relaxed’. Clients who prefer authoritarian styles may have a logical preference; it has also been shown to work well for those individuals who are sceptical.
While this approach may seem to be domineering, it only creates an illusion that the therapist is in total control. In fact the client has to be willing to participate and therefore is actually fully in control and can stop the therapy at anytime. Once the client has relaxed into a trancelike state, suggestions and choices can then be introduced. Permissive inductions are gentler where the therapist is the facilitator, allowing the client to make their own choices while in a safe reassuring environment reinforcing the therapist’s initial discussion with the client.
Sentences used will be suggestive, for example, ‘You may like to close your eyes now’ or, ‘In your own time choose when to relax the muscles in your arms. ’ This style allows use of imaginative scenarios and metaphors. Clients who will respond to the permissive style are considered to be generally caring, like to please and are imaginative and have strong imagery skills. Direct and indirect suggestion can also be employed in the induction. Indirect suggestion can be beneficial with clients new to hypnotherapy that are resistant either through anxiety or negativity and when the authoritarian approach would not be appropriate.
Milton Erikson preferred indirect methods (Chrysalis, Module 2) because he believed that the client should actively participate in their therapy. Erickson created a number of techniques known as ‘techniques of utilisation’ that could be used on people who seem resistant to hypnosis, whether they were resisting through anxiety or stubbornness. ” Erickson’s techniques were very manipulative but very subtle, and allowed the individual client to take control of their own healing. He believed that if one technique does not work you must find one that does work.
He believed in encouraging the resistance that the individual was exhibiting so that they would feel more comfortable responding within their own boundaries rather than those set by the therapist. In a typical example, a girl that bit her nails was told that she was cheating herself of really enjoying the nail biting. He encouraged her to let some of her nails grow a little longer before biting them, so that she really could derive the fullest pleasure from the activity. She decided to grow all of her nails long enough that she might really enjoy biting them, and then, after some days, she realised that she didn’t want to bite them anyway.
Indirect suggestion also opens the opportunity to use metaphor and imagery. This is particularly effective with children where storytelling and fantasy is something they can readily associate with. Karl and Boys (1987, p150) state that it is vital that each step should be adapted to suit the age, cultural background, developmental stage and intellectual and educational status of the child. Thus indicating that a personalised induction for children is imperative to achieve success and limit any negative effects.
Direct suggestion as with the Authoritarian style will be more effective with clients who prefer this approach; however compounding the two styles as with the modalities will be effective as it ensures you are connecting with the client via their preferred style. Other styles of induction that can be employed is the “confusion technique”. This is used on individuals who may be very rigid and analytical. They are prone to criticise and would want to pick everything apart instead of relaxing into the hypnosis.
By giving a confused message which contains little to understand, the client’s brain will be forced to shut down and go into a trancelike state. In this method there can be no personalisation for the client to focus on. In conclusion I think that in order to build a genuine rapport with the client, the therapist should always aim to personalise the induction, in relation to the reasons the client is seeking hypnotherapy. It is imperative to always carry out an in depth discussion to assess the client’s needs and to identify if there are any underlying factors which may prevent the therapist from treating the client. e psychosis.
Also a client’s likes dislikes and phobias must be taken into account, therefore it is important to listen carefully to the client and be respectful of their needs. However it must also be accepted that an individual’s preferences and modalities are not fixed precisely because we are individuals whose reactions can change regularly throughout the day; therefore it would be preferable to compound all modalities and styles into the induction.
It is also important to remember that the therapists’ preferences will also have an influence on how the induction is carried out and on the relationship with each individual client. Therefore I conclude that all inductions on a one to one basis are personalised inductions based on what the therapist has learned about the client and by learning what works best for that client.