Category Archives: Hypnotherapy

How to Get to Sleep

When I was practising as a hypnotherapist, I developed something of a specialism in helping clients to deal with insomnia. Generally, my procedure involved teaching them self-hypnosis and EFT, along with the principles of sleep hygiene. This was usually enough, but occasionally a client had a deep-seated issue that needed an analytical technique to resolve.

I took a particular interest in insomnia because I had suffered with it myself, and I still tend to wake during the night and sometimes use self-hypnosis to get back to sleep. I’d like to mention here a couple of techniques that I’ve recently discovered which work for me; perhaps one or both will work for you too. Before I start, I should mention that I think in words and find it quite hard to visualise pictures, but I can still manage these techniques; you don’t need clear mental images.

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The Concert

The following is a sample script for an Ericksonian trance induction, using the three primary representational systems used in NLP – V (visual), A (auditory) and K (Kinaesthetic – feelings and emotions).

I wonder if you can picture yourself at the entrance to a large concert hall-perhaps a real hall that you have seen, or an illusionary one that you can visualise, it doesn’t matter – you enter an impressive, richly decorated foyer, go up a beautiful winding staircase into the brightly-lit hall. Looking around, you may notice that the hall is empty, or perhaps other members of the audience are already in their seats, but you make your way to your seat, the best in the hall, and find you have a brilliant, clear view of the concert platform straight in front of you. And now you see that the members of the orchestra are making their way onto the platform; the violins, violas, the much larger cellos and double basses, the contrasting colours of the woodwind and the shiny, polished brass, the percussionists assembling behind the kettledrums and xylophone already on the platform. Now you watch the leader of the orchestra come in, as all the other players stand for a moment, and now the conductor appears, tall, distinguished, confident looking. I wonder if you can visualise the scene as he mounts his rostrum and raises his baton, and the players take up their instruments.

You hear the music begin softly and slowly, but it fills the hall with sound. You know the music well, in fact it’s your favourite melody and you’ve listened to it many times, but perhaps you haven’t heard it played by an orchestra before. You listen as the tune begins with a whisper quietly in the strings – then the bird-like sound of the flute soars over them, now the rest of the woodwind take up the tune, and as the volume increases, so does the tempo. As the sound swirls around you, faster and louder than before, you hear the mellow sound of the horns, followed by the more powerful sound of the trombones, all playing your tune, and now the clear, bright sound of the trumpets introduces the climax of this section. The whole orchestra is playing now, at full volume, the harmonious acoustics of the hall developing the full mellowness of your tune, and now a crescendo, with a roll on the kettledrums, followed by a short pause…as the music begins again, quietly, with the high, thin sound of a solo oboe, then with quiet accompaniment from the violins, and now the woodwind section fills out the harmonies…

…and the calm, peacefulness of the music, together with the comfortable warmth of the hall, and the gentle softness of your seat beneath and behind you, bring feelings of both joyfulness and relaxation, and the tranquillity reminds you of a favourite place, perhaps in the countryside, or a park, or by the sea, and you can sense your thoughts wandering to that place, and perhaps feel now the pleasant warmth of the sun on your body, maybe a gentle breeze on your face, possibly the sensation of the ground beneath your feet as you walk at a comfortable pace through your place, where you know you can feel safe, secure and in perfect rapport with nature and yourself, and perhaps you can be sensitive to the inner glow which the empathy of this place can bring to you, and know that you have experienced a profound, deep-seated understanding of your unconscious and its power to instil these feelings of joy and peace within you, and now you can become aware again of your physical body, sitting comfortably in this room, and feel the softness of the chair beneath you, your hands resting gently in your lap, your feet settled in front of you…………

Parts of your Mind

In my blog on “Advanced Past Life Therapy”, I mentioned that you can meet and talk to “archetypes” or “parts” of your unconscious mind. I’d like to discuss this in a bit more detail, because “parts therapy”, in one form or another, is something which I find very useful in my hypnotherapy practice.

Now, some hypnotherapists and psychologists will tell you that there’s no such thing as the “unconscious mind”. They may well be right; certainly there’s no specific area of the brain where it lives.* But, nevertheless, the mind behaves as though it has an unconscious region, and whether it’s real, a metaphor or a convenient fiction doesn’t matter – parts therapies work.

Whole Master’s degree courses exist on the subject of “consciousness”, so I’m not going to get bogged down here in theories of the conscious and unconscious minds. I’m just going to give you this simple diagram, my take on Freud’s Iceberg Model, incorporating Jung’s concept of the Collective Unconscious:

Iceberg

Your personal unconscious contains “parts” which are unique to you. A simple technique which I often use is “Parts Integration”; we find (for example) the “part” which is responsible for a negative behaviour, then the “part” which wants to change, and then we encourage the two parts to talk to each other and come up with an agreed strategy. This doesn’t have to be done under hypnosis, but I find that a light “trance” – just deep relaxation – helps the process along.

Archetypes belong in the Collective Unconscious; they are common to all mankind. According to Jung, principal ones include the shadow, the wise old man, the child and the mother, but there are many more. Three that I find particularly useful to work with come from hypnotherapist Terence Watts: the Warrior, the Settler and the Nomad. We can bring in all three, consider which is responsible for a behaviour, or which would be most helpful, and ask them to speak to us or to each other.

Which, if any, part of your unconscious mind houses spirit guides, angels and characters from your past lives is anybody’s guess. Again, it really doesn’t matter. As I said in my earlier blog: These “entities” may or may not be “real”; perhaps they exist independently or maybe they are simply “archetypes” or “parts” of your unconscious mind, but this isn’t important from a therapeutic point of view. We can treat them as real and benefit from their guidance.


*Some experts regard the “unconscious” as nothing more than automatic brain processes, but in my opinion those are something else which should not be confused with “the unconscious mind”.

How do you Think?

An article on the BBC website ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34039054 ) highlights new research at Exeter University on what the researchers call “aphantasia” – the inability to see mental pictures in one’s head. Prof. Adam Zeman suggests that this could affect 1/50 of the population.

This doesn’t surprise me at all, as I have this “affliction” in a mild form myself; I can see pictures, but they aren’t at all clear. But the article has reminded me of another observation which I made, years ago, which I often mention to clients who don’t visualise well.

I think in language – “Internal Dialogue” – in perfectly grammatical English sentences. I always assumed that everyone else thought this way too, until I asked a Chinese friend brought up in England what language he thought in. He didn’t understand the question, because he didn’t think in language at all; he thought in pictures and symbols. (In retrospect, this may have been connected with the way that Chinese is written.) I’ve asked this question to others many times since, and received a variety of answers.

One of the first things you learn when you study NLP is the concept of “representational systems”. The main ones are V (visual), A (auditory) and K (kinaesthetic – touch and feeling). NLP textbooks say that we all use a mix of these systems, although presumably anyone with total aphantasia will have no V system. Generally speaking, though, we will always have a “preferred” rep system which is better developed than the others; mine is A, so I have a preference, for example, for music and writing (and proofreading!) over the visual arts – I’m hopeless at drawing and painting. I also find it hard to remember faces.

As well as the preferred rep system, we also have a “lead” rep system that we use to retrieve information from memory. If I ask you to think about your last holiday, for example, what is the first thing that comes to mind? When I first came across this concept, I was surprised to discover that my lead rep system is V; the first thing that comes to mind when I think about my last holiday is definitely a picture – although of course it’s not a clear one.

When I took my first NLP Practitioner training, I struggled with some of the exercises, as the trainers’ preferred rep system was clearly V. I still have a problem with a few highly visual NLP techniques, such as Time Line, Swish and the “Fast Phobia Cure”, so I tend to avoid using them with my clients; as a general rule, I prefer to use techniques (in NLP and other therapies) which I have tested on myself.

If you’d like to know more about representational systems, have a look at my article on The Concert, which was an early attempt of mine at a piece of writing using language appropriate to each of the three main systems. (NLP textbooks also say that we tend mainly to use the language of our preferred rep system.)

What is “Advanced Past Life Therapy”?

If you’ve been paying attention to my website at www.magicofthemind.co.uk , or to my Facebook page, you may have noticed that I recently added the Advanced Diploma in Past Life Therapy to my qualifications – almost exactly ten years after my first past life regression certificate. What’s Advanced about it, and how has it benefited my practice?

Firstly, the basic techniques I’ve been using for ten years, although usually successful, do have a few limitations, so I’m making some minor changes to them which should give your unconscious mind a little more flexibility. I’m also increasing my standard past life sessions from “about one hour” to “up to 90 minutes”, as an hour was always tight. Generally this should allow for exploration of more than one past life, but of course that’s always going to be up to each client’s experience – and every experience is different.

Secondly, I shall be offering some new related forms of experience; here a few of the main ones:

Soul Retrieval

Broadly speaking, a soul retrieval exercise is indicated whenever a client suggests that something has been “lost” or is “missing” from their life, or perhaps the client will refer to a “broken heart”. It is also indicated where a client has suffered a severe trauma, such as a violent death, in a past life which may well have led to soul fragmentation – something left behind. In soul retrieval we find the missing element and restore it.

 

Life Between Lives (Spiritual Regression)

What happens after you die and before you enter the next life? This seems to vary enormously between individuals – I’ve heard many different stories from my clients – but if you want to explore this I can help you.

Future Life Progression

This is not as exciting as it may sound. I’m not a fortune-teller and I can’t tell you what will happen in your future. Whatever you may experience in FLP is only one of many possibilities based on your present life; any changes in your behaviour made in the present will affect that future. The mere fact that the future has been predicted by the progression will also change it. Any negative future that comes up is simply a warning that changes should be made now.

Time may be thought of as “the fourth dimension”, so that by taking ourselves out of the familiar three-dimensional universe we can perceive the whole of our past, present and future mapped out – but this does not imply that the future is fixed. A better analogy for explanation is that of the “multiverse”: there is an infinite number of possible futures, and any that we visit now are just probabilities based on our present circumstances. Any changes we make to our behaviour will affect which futures we enter.

Meetings

You can meet and talk to your spirit guide, angels or characters from your past lives if you wish. These “entities” may or may not be “real”; perhaps they exist independently or maybe they are simply “archetypes” or “parts” of your unconscious mind, but this isn’t important from a therapeutic point of view. We can treat them as real and benefit from their guidance.

Cord Cutting

When two individuals interact and exchange energy, a bond forms between them which can be seen (psychically, symbolically or metaphorically) as a cord connecting the two of them together. If the attachment is having a negative impact on the your life, being unable to let go of a past relationship for example, it is essential that you should sever and destroy the cord in order to move on.

Future Choice Meditation

This technique may be useful in cases where you have to make one of two distinct choices about your future, such as a career or perhaps a partner. FCM is intended primarily for spiritually-inclined clients who believe in karma and life plans and wish to know which is the right path for them. It is designed for use after past lives have been explored and any blocks have been dealt with.

Finally, I should make it clear that one related form of therapy that I am not specifically offering, at least at the moment, is Spirit Release. This is a complex technique which should in general only be attempted by someone with detailed specialist training. If an entity clearly manifests during a session, I have enough knowledge of the subject to be able to negotiate with it, but I would only regard this as a “first aid” treatment and would advise the client to see a fully-trained spirit release therapist as soon as possible.

This article could have stretched to several pages. If you need any further explanation of anything I’ve mentioned, please ask.

“But they’ll look very silly along the way”

This is the final comment in the Radio Times’s description of a new ITV “game show”, starting on Saturday 14 March, called You’re Back in the Room. The synopsis is “A comedy game show based on hypnosis: five members of the public take on straightforward tasks, made harder by the hurdles that hypnotist Keith Barry plants in their minds.”

I rarely watch anything on ITV, and I never watch game shows, but this one – based on the descriptions and trailers I’ve seen – reaches new depths. Although I don’t perform as a hypnotist, only as a magician, I’m not opposed to stage hypnosis in general as long as it’s reasonably tasteful. This new TV show looks and sounds about as tasteless as it’s possible to get.

It’s emphasised in the FAQs on my website, but I want it to be made very clear again, that no responsible hypnotherapist, myself included, would make any suggestions to clients that would make them act in a foolish way. Hypnotherapy is just that: therapy employing hypnosis. Hypnotherapists use their skills (not “powers”!) for therapeutic purposes only, not for entertainment – their own or anyone else’s. We help clients to remove “hurdles” – we don’t plant them.