I’d been practicing as a Psychologist for several years when I stumbled upon hypnotherapy. While the work I already did felt to serve some purpose I was also acutely aware there were huge gaps in what could be discovered and offered. I knew any achievements were founded more on my innate way of perceiving and reading people which has always been a little uncommon.
When I was at university I realised quite quickly the majority of theorists and practices were not an exact science, and individually utilised would prove limited. I had a vision of the bottom of a pyramid, with each theory or discovery as a stone in that base. I knew the first thing I needed to do was to synthesise all of these so I could draw on them at will or put several together to use as lenses through which to observe any given situation or client, or as tools to offer. Other practitioners over the years have asked me whose theory I followed, as if everyone had to be a little clone of some great mind and slavishly follow it. I usually tell them I follow my own. It’s led to some interesting conversations. It seems mysterious to me that any professional or decent mind wouldn’t attempt to push forward and discover more, to think for themselves, to stand on the shoulders of the giants before them and develop what is a relatively young science into something of great significance and value. But it seems mostly they don’t. The majority appear to work largely with behaviourism in it’s varying forms, which may tackle external behaviour, may set up a cognitive dissonance, but beyond that is of little use. I suspect part of the problem could be due to the divide between the Psychologist and the Psychiatrist, who often find themselves in opposition and each looking down on the other. However, this is going to turn into a thesis. Back to the hypnotherapy.
I stumbled upon it quite by chance and found myself under the wing and of interest to a well known hypnotherapist of the time who had practiced for many years but had no academic training at all. Over the time I knew him there were many things I learnt about how not to do it. But I also learnt an extraordinary amount about the way the mind worked. some of which beggared belief, yet were repeatedly proved. He recognised me as a kindred spirit of some kind and trained me purely because he wanted to, and knew I could take something he had developed much further after he had gone. We were quite a surprise to one another really, and I will be eternally grateful to him.
There are too many aspects and complexities to share here, but perhaps the most important thing I discovered during that training was that every last experience, and feeling about those, was contained within the unconscious, driving that person towards or away from things, often in the most destructive of ways. If we’re afraid of something we seem to have the tendency to create it in our desire to avoid it, then blame the world and believe it proves our belief. But it is actually possible to relinquish those, once seen, which hypnosis and skilful guidance can bring about.
Many imagine, from the sort of nonsense you see on TV or online, that hypnosis is either one big scam, or that your mind is put in control of the hypnotist. This is not actually the case, especially with me. For me it’s important to put the client back in control, to help them see what is needed, and to make powerful and valuable decisions about their perceptions of themselves and their place in the world. We are well advised to have an inner window or door rather than a two way mirror.