Imagine contrasting these two hypnosis sessions:
Session A: In this session, the hypnotist uses mental imagery of the beach, coupled with passive muscle relaxation and then a deepener. During the session, specific suggestions are made which are alternative actions to the presenting problem. The client is then asked to signal when a commitment to change is ingrained, and the client is re-oriented.
Would that work? The good news is that in many cases this simple session would have impact with a motivated client (any we should only be accepting motivated clients). But I wonder, how likely is it that the client doubted the effectiveness, or how long the suggestions might last, or even if they were hypnotized at all.
Session B: The same visualization and relaxation is used, but the deepener uses confusion and time distortion to detach the client from conscious awareness’s that are keeping them from deep trance. At the conclusion of the deepener, arm catalepsy is used in the first suggestion to elicit commitment. When the arm finally lets go absolutely, future pacing puts the client exactly where they want to be in the future, right now in our office. The final post-hypnotic suggestion uses hypnotic amnesia to literally erase old automatic responses, and replace them with an anchor for new action firmly embedded in the subconscious mind. Time distortion is then used after the reorientation as a “proof” of hypnosis.
Do you think this might work better? I think that there is virtually no way the second client leaves the session wondering if they were hypnotized.
In fact, not only will they know they were hypnotized, both the client and the hypnotist would leave this session with the confidence to know that change had already taken place!
Did you read that!?! Change had already taken place….
The difference between these two sessions is the use of hypnotic phenomena. In the second session multiple phenomena were used from the beginning of the session to the end, to ratify the ritual of hypnosis and strengthen every suggestion made along the way.
Hypnotic phenomena is used to help pain control clients (analgesia), to help trauma recovery (time distortion), to help in sports hypnosis (future pacing), to control stress (lucid dreaming), and to ratify change (catalepsy and levitation). There are many other forms of hypnotic phenomena that can be used, and each one services a different purpose.
Do you want more powerful sessions? Ones that end with both you and your client confident in hypnosis? Then master the art of hypnotic phenomena in clinical hypnosis.