???A personalised induction will always be more effective???. Discuss.
Human beings are complex creatures and no two people are the same, we come from different cultural backgrounds, and the environment in which we were raised effects our outlooks and values, we form different relationships both at home and at work and have many varying interests, likes and dislikes. Therefore we should surely treat clients as the individuals they are and not merely view them as hypnotic subjects. By talking and listening to them we will gain a better understanding of how best to relax them, the way in which they process information and experiences, the style of behaviour that they are most likely to react to and gain that most important access into their subconscious mind.
When communicating with one another it would appear that we do so through the words we say, however the tone and volume in which we say theses words is much more important and the dominant feature in our conversations is in fact our body language. It is usually the case with the majority of clients that they will have their eyes closed during hypnosis so although at times the therapist may be able to convey tone in their voice they rely mainly on the words being said to deliver messages and suggestions to their clients. In order to achieve the best results the therapist must surely therefore work closely with each individual getting to know their personalities, likes and dislikes in order to gain the clients trust and achieve a state of hypnosis whereby they can work together to reach the desired goal.
Our brains are capable of externalising the information and instructions it has internally which means that the way a person behaves and reacts in the outside world is a representation of their internal world. As a therapist gets to know their client better they learn what makes up their personality, how they view their real self and the person they are in real environments such as work. Our external world should be as fulfilling as our internal one and it is during hypnosis that we are able to work towards this.
Our brains also store information received from our senses, by using our senses we are easily able to recall familiar places such as our home. Each of our senses has its own designated area in the brain, we have a visual cortex, an auditory cortex etc. Bandler and Grinder put forward the suggestion that these modalities are the first language of our minds. As the brain receives information from our senses it allows us to assess it internally and decide whether or not we act on the experience or safely store it away for future reference. These senses are sight, sound, touch, smell and taste and whilst we at varying points use all of our senses there is in all of us a sense that is more dominate and that we feel more comfortable with and are more likely to use in times of crisis.
By ascertaining a clients favourite modality the therapist is able to talk them in a way that they are going to feel most comfortable and thus should achieve better results, that is not to say that other senses should not be used, in fact it is beneficial to use all senses when creating an internal situation but by beginning with their dominant modality you are helping to create a safer environment for them.
Means by which we can assess a clients modality include lateral eye movements (LEMs). During his studies in the 1970s Paul Bakan suggested that different types of thoughts would elicit different eye movements. The eye field on the right side of the brain is linked to the left field of vision and thus controls eye movements to the left and the opposite is true of right LEMs. It would seem possible that the eye movements we exhibit in response to questions assist our thinking and may help us focus on the type of thinking required to access the information that we need.
Hypnosis tends to only draw upon our three main senses in its screeds, these are Kinaesthetic which represents our feeling system both internal and external, we use this system when we feel an emotion, when we touch something and during any kind of physical activity. Key words to use in screeds for clients of this modality would be touch, smooth, warm and hold. The LEMs for this modality will usually be down to the right.
Visual which is our sight, we use visual thinking when daydreaming or using our imaginations, we are all capable of visualising for example when giving directions to someone we are able to imagine the route ourselves as we describe it. Key words to use in screeds for clients of this modality would be look, imagine, bright and perspective. The LEMs for this modality are defocused or up to the right when constructing an image or up to the left when remembering an image.
Finally we have auditory which is our hearing, this is were we internally listen to sounds such as speech and music and are able to imagine other sounds. Key words to use in screeds for clients of this modality would be say, remark, harmony and discuss. The LEMs for this modality are around the mid-line looking to the right when constructing a sound and looking to the left when remembering a sound.
Therapists are also able to personalise screeds by the style that they adopt, there are two generally recognised styles and theses are permissive and authoritarian. The permissive style adopts a more relaxed feel and allows the client to be more involved, the therapist uses a softer tone of voice to try to lull their client into a relaxed state and more imagery is used alongside suggestions. Clients who are likely to be more responsive to this technique are those who are creative and have a good imagination, as more specific and individualised imagery is used this makes it more relevant to each client.
The authoritarian style on the other hand is commanding and direct whereby the therapist is seen to take control and command authority over their client, if the therapist is seen as an authority figure then this may instil more confidence and heighten expectations in the client as to the power and success of the induction, this is achieved through the use of repetitious commands. Clients who are likely to be more responsive to this technique are those who already deal with and respond well to authoritarian figures in their daily lives and those that are more scientifically minded.
In order to assess which style would best suit their client a therapist can fill out what is known as a screed assessment on the initial consultation. This takes into account their external appearance, behaviours and personality. However it is important to remember that certainly on at least the first meeting the client may not be portraying their true self, this could be down to nerves or acting in a way that they believe the therapist is more likely to respond to. They may also have personality traits that they have adopted over time to get along with other people in their life but are not true of them. Also the reason for which the client has sought therapy will need to be taken into consideration when deciding on a style.
Whilst the point has been made that we are all uniquely different individuals and this is why each client deserves to have an induction that is personalised it is for this same reason that we could argue against making an induction too personalised, the therapist could make the mistake of thinking that they already know everything there is to know about their client and allow themselves and their client to become restricted by these initial parameters, it is important to remember that these initial observations are not set in stone and as a stronger relationship is formed with a client and nerves and apprehensions are diminished and their true self starts to become more apparent any relevant adjustments can be made. Also if seeing a client over a period of time it could be that subsequent incidents and changes to their life since the initial consultation could effect the style and approach required, the therapist must be careful to not make assumptions and take things for granted.
The therapist must also be careful to not get too bogged in the initial consultations with getting to know their client in order to personalise a screed, at the end of the day the client is paying good money to receive hypnotherapy and is likely to feel pretty ripped off if the entirety of their first session is essentially one big chat with no therapy being administered.
Whilst ascertaining a clients more heightened and favourite modality provides a safe and more comfortable starting ground and should possibly maintain to take more prominence over the modalities that is not to say that the other modalities should be dismissed. The best way to achieve a deep hypnotic state in anyone is by involving all of their senses throughout the screed, this is what is termed as compounding and there is no denying that a compound sentence or paragraph will give a more authentic and involved experience.
There are those who wish to undergo hypnotherapy for their problems but find the prospect of going alone too daunting so there are many hypnotherapists who offer group sessions, the thought of being surrounded by others in the same boat and wishing to achieve the same end result for example to stop smoking is comforting and reassuring to them. In this scenario personalising a screed would be impossible, whilst each individual within the group is interviewed before any hypnotherapy takes place in order to ascertain the words and suggestions that will be used so that there is no confusion it is not possible to personalise the screed so that it will suit each and every individual present. Attention must be given evenly to each of the modalities in order to avoid some of the clients having an unfair advantage over others and specific places, events and times must be avoided.
Also many hypnotherapists offer self help CDs for sale for those unable or not wanting to attend face to face therapy sessions but wishing to make a change. Again it would be impossible to personalise an induction in this situation as the therapist has no way of knowing the people who are going to purchase the CDs as they are of course available to anybody and everybody, and therefore the same points apply as mentioned with group sessions.
Taking into consideration that the majority of individual clients will see their therapist on several occasions and during this time much personal information will be disclosed, a bond will be made and a closeness and understanding formed it would seem inevitable that inductions in these instances become personalised and this would surely be to the advantage of the client but that is not to say that in situations were this is not possible that the same successful results cannot be achieved.
Hadley, Josie and Staudacher, Carol (1996) Hypnosis for change. New Age Books
Karle, Hellmut and Boys, Jennifer (1987) Hypnotherapy a practical handbook. Free Association Books