Audio extract from a 2009 University of Toronto lecture by Rick
of a sample induction on test anxiety

Play Hypnosis Induction

Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy is a term to describe the use of hypnosis in a therapeutic context. Hypnosis is also used by entertainers for humor and ‘amusement’ purposes. While similar training and skill sets are involved, the purposes are far different. I don’t have any interest in stage hypnosis. I have a colleague who does stage hypnosis professionally, she is a clinical psychologist as well. However the field does not interest me whatsoever. Some stage hypnotists are ‘failed therapists’ in that they lacked the necessary empathy for the role and were more interested in making money than serving people. Like doctors in Walk In Clinics who are often inferior in bedside manners compared with those doctors who have their own practices, who possess more empathy and better listening skills. I think from my experience that is a fair comparison. Personally I feel that stage hypnosis devalues the field of knowledge and reduces the incredible power and trans-formative capacity hypnosis represents to humanity to something ‘kitsch’ or ‘cheap’. There is still considerable skill in stage hypnosis, but in the end can become a disservice to those doing the work to serve the realm of healing.

Generally speaking there is ‘regression’ hypnosis and reinforcement hypnosis. The former is designed to take a client back to a situation in the past that had a significant effect in forming a belief or an attitude that may now be considered problematic or an impediment to growth. Because parts of the brain do not comprehend past, present and future, you can alter or remove certain experiences or change them years later. When the clients resumes a normal beta state of awareness, that incident is not any longer organized in the brain the way it previously was. The previous roadblock has been cleared. That is the way ‘regression’ hypnosis works.

Reinforcement or motivational hypnosis allies with concepts like cognitive behavioral therapy, and or positive affirmations. If you repeat a statement over and over it becomes embedded in the mind and it can move into the subconscious and override a previous tape. This is not automatically so however. As simple as it appears, this process must involve a time period, often weeks, and must involve inducing the client into the appropriate depth stages, generally stages four to six to alter deep seated and unconscious psychological material that may or is likely to be repressed.

For this approach to be effective and permanent (nothing is truly permanent in the brain as everything is in a state of amorphous and gradual shifting) there has to be an adherence and comprehensive experiential knowledge of brain wave frequencies, knowing what depth stage to take the client to accomplish certain tasks and or habit changes: What to say and when, to be effective in a session.

In a 90 minute session there are about 4 or 5 preparatory stages. In order to understand hypnosis fully, the practitioner needs to have a comprehensive understanding of the four brain wave states, which are beta, alpha, theta and delta. The goals and or benchmarks of the session material need to be clearly explained and outlined. As well, to apply proper instructions at the appropriate times. It is a skill that has a large learning curve in fact, it takes years and years of practice to be a ‘good hypnotherapist’. Anyone can take someone into trance. That requires little more than reciting a script to them. However the ‘therapy’ aspect, generally speaking involves precise timing, intonation, voice training, developing trust and rapport, proper syntax and grammar, the correct directives and suggestibility, preciseness of language and direction, as well as the analytical tools to discuss the work intelligently afterward.

Often in ongoing work you also have to budget for the client, planning and organizing the work so that the maximum catharsis can take place for them with the minimal cost and expense.

This has become more of a challenge given that the economy has remained ‘flat’ for about 4 years now, and while people are extremely stressed these days they are reluctant to pay for therapies that are unproven to them. Understandably so. Often I will do some work “pro bono” for a client to establish value for them, up front, with no risk to them.

Some hypnotists are not skilled in psycho-therapeutic modalities and therefore cannot ‘do much’ once they have the client in a predisposed hypnotic state. The skill truthfully is in the organization and the mapping of their psychology, so that once you have them in a state of trance you know precisely what to do and how to create a cathartic response for them.

I do about 15 hours of research on brain wave applications, write and record scripts, scour clinical psychology, medical, spiritual, consciousness based and therapeutic journals. I have as of late 2012 over 350 customized scripts I have created for clients of mine.

Audio extract from a 2009 University of Toronto lecture by Rick
on "What does a hypnotherapist do?"

Play What does a hypnotherapist do?

Forensic Hypnosis

There are in fact  over  5,000 clinical studies on hypnosis, the majority of them favorable. Hypnosis  has  a history  that stems over  200 years.  Much of that history is rife with controversy.  Yet, hypnosis for therapeutic  use is currently  experiencing  an upsurge in the popular  imagination, and likely  will continue to grow in legitimacy and usage.

Generally it is a self induced state where  the subject focuses attention by responding to the suggestion of the hypnotist. As attention is focused and magnified, the hypnotist's words are gradually accepted without the subject carrying any conscious censorship of what is being said, bypassing the critical factor of the conscious mind. This is not unlike the athlete listening to the last pieces of advice from a coach minutes before an important sport event: Concentration filters out anything that is unimportant and magnifies what is said about what really matters for the subject.

Misnomers that  the subject's will is controlled, or that the subject loses consciousness, or that the subject will embarrass themselves or reveal secrets  are common. The fact is that the client  induces themselves with the facilitation of the therapist based on a prearranged contract for such work. At no time  does  the client not know where they are or what they are doing.  As well, no   self respecting therapist would not want to 'serve' the client to the best of their abilities. None-the-less, the misnomers abound.

Hypnosis is most often used to help the self-hypnotist stay on a diet, overcome smoking or some other addiction, or to generally boost the hypnotized person's self-esteem. Hypnosis however has dozens if not hundreds of other applications.

Hypnosis is an organic process that doesn't require dieting, surgery, or pills

Hypnosis is useful as a replacement for  surgery, pills, or dieting for  corrective weight management. Most people who apply due diligence with a weight management regiment find that they can eat what they want, and in fact  rekindle their love of eating. They begin to love food that's actually good for them. Ironically,   all eating disorders  can be said to be a  need to rekindle a love affair with food, but  for it's own sake. It is a misnomer that  heavy people 'just love to eat' They over eat as a substitute for something else that the  subconscious confuses or substitutes food  for - like affection, or fear, or some buried emotion.  Weight goes awry when our signals confuse the  signal to eat with some other signal of lack, distress,  fear, discomfort, anxiety, etc that the subconscious is holding onto. Eating for emotional reasons is at the core, an attempt to get rid of fear.   As well, the subconscious is a metaphorical language. There is no analytical function in the subconscious. The subconscious  forms functions and processes below our thinking awareness - it breathes us, digests us, pulses  our hearts and manages our involuntary physical processes. Therefore,  It can also tell us to choose a piece of fresh mango instead of chocolate cake, or to stop eating when we are full.

A good hypnosis program for weight management will reinforce and reassure the subconscious that you can eat what you want and not put on weight and that you  recognize when you are full and want to stop eating.

 Hypnosis is proven effective for weight management

As well with metaphors like  'big'  and 'bigger'  A parent's admonition,  "No, you can't have that, but  when you get bigger you can have what you want"  to a child can forge the beginning of a subconscious  battle with the bulge, if a  motivation to 'get bigger'  is subconsciously  applied in  order to have what  is being deprived to the child. So, your subconscious  will use   'big' as a rationale  or  requirement  for  'getting  what  I want in life'.  The combination of what you want (motivation) what you believe, and what you expect as a blueprint for action never fails you.

An  unhealthy relationship with food  is  due to one of a couple of  variables:  sexual  trauma is the most common reason,  where the unconscious is reacting to some kind of fear of a normal weight (If I am a normal weight  I will look attractive and  I will be  abused, as I was the last time  I 'looked  good')

Or else,  food represents some kind of comfort that replaces the love or affection of someone, or is used to demonstrate love,   such as  if we came home from school to an empty house, but with a bowl of  ice cream waiting.  If we hold that   "A cold beer  is the best reward for  hard work' we will equate the two as inseparable. One key aspect of hypnosis is helping clients purge unhealthy metaphors and replacing  them with useful metaphors.

 One physiological definition of hypnosis states that the brainwave level necessary to work on issues such as stopping smoking, managing weight, reducing phobias, improving athletic performance, etc., is the deep alpha state. For repressed psychological material, one will require a deeper stage to stage 6, often. The alpha state is commonly associated with closing one's eyes, relaxation, and daydreaming. The theta stage represents our unconscious mind and will often allow repressed psychological material to surface. Many people have never experienced the theta stage under hypnosis, and so truthfully have little to no understanding of how being in theta induces a different ‘window’ on your self, your attitudes, your behaviors, your motivations, etc.

Play Sleep Exercise

Ivan Pavlov believed that hypnosis was a "partial sleep". He observed that the various degrees of hypnosis did not significantly differ physiologically from the waking state and hypnosis depended on insignificant changes of environmental stimuli. Pavlov also suggested that lower brain stem mechanisms were involved in hypnotic conditioning. There are a number of ways that we can be arguably in ‘hypnosis’ without moving into trance stages at all: advertising is a form of hypnosis as is sex (if it’s worth having at all.) Milton Erickson coined a term ‘conversational hypnosis’ by simply asking someone to ‘Imagine this or that happening…”. Conversational hypnosis does not usually have far reaching benefits. However combined with other NLP techniques it can be very effective for sales techniques and for influencing someone to do what you want, while having them think they are acting from their own place of will. Of course ‘ethics’ is key, you want to apply these powerful approaches in an ethical manner at all times.

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