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Unread February 19th, 2007, 10:49 PM
emdrhypno emdrhypno is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Posts: 30
Default conundrum...

I want to present an example of a phenomenon I've been running into a lot as a hypnotherapist: The indirectness of the Ericksonian method leading to the client feeling that nothing relevant was "done" in the session.
I recently had a session with a client that, to me, seemed great. It was his first experience with trance after a number of sessions of EMDR and other modalities. After a very naturalistic induction, all the signs were there that he was deeply in trance, and I felt "on." The age regression, future pacing, and metaphors I generated felt like they flowed from a very intelligent, effortless place in me. I used a number of embedded commands that seemed to be having an effect. The theme was knowing when he's "had enough" food-wise, and I wove that theme through a number of stories, using "Know (no) when I've had enough" as an embedded comand.
At a certain point, the client opened his eyes and said, seemingly startling himself, "I've had enough!" I congratulated him on knowing just how much trance he could stomach. Ten minutes later, at his request, I guided him into trance from another direction and told more stories, again embedding the same (and related) messages. Again, he opened his eyes after about fifteen minutes and, again seemingly surprised and slightly apologetically, said "I've had enough!"
I congratulated him again and then, in seemingly normal conversation, talked to him about the garden outside of my office and talked about how excited I am about the green shoots that have just started to show themselves. I talked about how the bulbs had been planted a while ago, etc..and how changes can appear so suddenly!
Then, as the client was leaving, I pointed to the green shoots in the garden and said "It will be exciting next week to see how much they've grown!" He had a bemused look on his face...clearly he "got it" but not on a conscious level. He shook his head and said "Weird things always happen to me while I'm talking to you. It felt weird when you said that but I don't know why."
Well, I was smug when he left. I thought Milton himself couldn't have done better (well, maybe not that smug). There was no doubt in my mind, though, that we'd done a good piece of work.
Today I got an email from him saying he really didn't think the hypnotherapy had worked. I can't argue with him. I don't know that it "worked." I suspect it did, but probably he'll assume that whatever changes happen had nothing to do with our session.
I emailed him back and wrote this:

want to speak to your mentioning that you don't know if
the hypnotherapy "worked" or not. This is the most common response,
following a hypnosis session, that I hear. In fact, if you wrote me
saying "it worked" and you feel like a new man, I would wonder if you
were being totally honest. Hypnosis is not about me "doing anything
to you." It's about me indirectly helping you access resources you
already have within you. What I hear over and over again is that in
the days and weeks that follow a hypnosis session, people find their
own resources...and there will be a real feeling of it coming from
within you...because that's what it will have done!

I'd love to get feedback about how better to interpret/respond to my client's experience. I don't know if the way I handled it was ideal, and would love to get other people's opinions.
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Unread February 22nd, 2007, 11:44 PM
Stephen Lankton Stephen Lankton is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 117
Default Re: conundrum...

What you have related sounds potentially fine. However, you are addressing a very superficial aspect of overeating and that might be why therapy does not seem relevant to the client. Is it really the case that this person doesn't know when he/she has had enough???? Pretty unlikely, really.
So therapy might better be addressing matters of deeper relevance such as illustrated by his or her psychosocial developmental concerns: loneliness, denial of feelings, rejection, substitution of food for love, etc.
Lacking such relevance, hypnosis aimed at a simple reversal of symptoms is shallow and will yield responses that it is not feeling relevant to growth.
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Unread June 8th, 2007, 02:45 AM
Stephen Lankton Stephen Lankton is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 117
Default Re: conundrum...

Thanks so much for your insight
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