Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Elusive Hypnopotamus Part 2

I've been doing hypnotherapy for long enough that it no longer seems mysterious...but for those of you for whom it does seem exotic, mysterious, or maybe more on the lines of "woo-woo science"...well, I thought I'd tell you all about it.

Hypnosis isn't some unusual state. Most of us experience it several times throughout the day. It's that state that lies between being fully asleep and fully awake...it's driving your usual route and suddenly realizing you're a few miles down the road and you can't really remember the time in between, because you were thinking about something else and were driving on autopilot.

In a good session, the client remembers everything. In a bad session, the client falls asleep. Luckily, the latter doesn't happen often.

There are a number of ways to get there; this is called an "induction". Inductions can be as simple as a progressive relaxation exercise. This works well for most adults. A few people -- who feel the need to question everything -- can be confused into hypnosis (that's kind of fun). And a few very stubborn people, who really, really hate taking directions from anyone, can be persuaded into hypnosis by using a technique called "arm rising", which is more than a little strange and takes a long time, but it works when nothing else will. There are other techniques, but these are the ones I prefer to use. Kids, on the other hand, are easily hypnotized using a swinging object (you know, they way they always do it in cartoons).

Once you're hypnotized, then I can do a lot of different things. I've worked with stress, writer's block, fear of flying, weight loss, chronic pain, smoking cessation and I've even done past life regressions (more of my thoughts on this later). My favorite subjects, though, are children. And about my favorite hypnosis session is a "magic spot" for injections or blood draws, so the child feels only pressure and not pain.

Because I'm appealing to your conscious mind and your subconscious mind, imagery is important. And if the suggestions can be given as part of a story that taps into a larger symbolism, then they become more powerful. I developed a script for weight loss which uses the Cinderella fairy tale -- I'm very pleased with that one.

Those "past life" regressions are interesting. I don't know that it really taps into something from another life time...but I like to think of it (and explain it to my subjects) as the subconscious mind's way of reframing larger life problems into a different setting so that they are easier to think about, identify, and subsequently deal with.

Time seems to flow differently for the person who is hypnotized. It usually takes me 45 minutes to an hour for a session, but my subject generally thinks it's been about 10 to 15 minutes. And after the session, it feels as though you've had a nice, relaxing nap.

Oh, and that hypnopotamus? My daughter never could say "hippopotamus" correctly. And I always had this vision of this big river dwelling animal with swirly eyes creeping out at night to hypnotize unwary travellers for nefarious reasons...

3 comments:

Harry said...

The hypnopotamus sounds like a good idea for a children's book. :D

Jodie said...

Maybe it ought to be one of Bug Bunny's nemeses (nememsi? at any rate, the plural of nemesis). :D It would make a great cartoon character, too.

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