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December 16th, 2005


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10:14 am - hypnotherapy
I have now experienced almost three months of the hypnotherapy training. I missed last Saturday (because of H's sister's wedding), so I am going down to London to catch the course down there. It has been quite a profound and demanding experience. I was just saying in a reply to emeraldsedai that it's not adding a new skill to one's repertoire, but requires you to examine your self and your values. Which is very tiring. I feel that there is a lot of unconscious learning going on, which is good, but wearing and sometimes (temporarily) depressing.

The kind of therapy I am learning is integrative - not least it integrates hypnotherapy with counselling. I am very fortunate because the values and premises of the approach are humanistic, and chime with the values I already had. I can't believe how lucky this is.

In a humanistic approach, the person you are working with leads and controls their own process. You accompany them rather than lead them. Another key word is congruence - that covers stuff like good faith and sincerity. For instance, I was working with a woman who told me in a very matter of fact way about a rude thing that someone had said to her. My comment was 'that makes me angry': I wasn't standing back from the process, I was plunged into it. I was sincerely angry on her behalf, and I had to experience that fully, but with complete self-control. Another key theme is unconditional positive regard - non-judgemental advocacy of the person you are working with. All of these values are more crucial than the technical practice of hypnosis (IMHO).

My approach is at one extreme of the group of people on the course. For instance as I hypnotise someone else I often sort of trance out myself. I am quite warm and engaged with their experience. This by the way is fine, it's a method, and it's the one that comes best to me. When I was a teacher I taught best like that - warm engaged advocacy.

Part of the traditional view of hypnotherapy is that the therapist is in charge, and in some ways I am a dominating personality, but in therapy I try to step back from this, and emphasise that the subject is their own master. Being in control can be a self-protective shield, and so the process is raw, and makes me vulnerable.

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:kerravonsen
Date:December 16th, 2005 03:03 pm (UTC)
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In a humanistic approach, the person you are working with leads and controls their own process.

Humanistic as opposed to... what?
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:December 16th, 2005 03:04 pm (UTC)
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Psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioural, traditional freudian etc.
[User Picture]
From:kerravonsen
Date:December 16th, 2005 03:11 pm (UTC)
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Ah. The reason I asked is because the usual context I've heard the term "humanistic" used has been historical/theological: humanistic as opposed to theistic, hence my confusion.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:December 16th, 2005 03:24 pm (UTC)
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Humanism originated as a Christian movement in the middle ages I think - Erasmus and so on - which said that human beings we had been created with innate abilities by god.

But the overall methodology of humanism is based on 'the dignity and worth of humanity, based on our ability to determine what is right using innate qualities, particularly rationality' (I just dug that out of wikipedia) And thus it can be applied to either a religious or an atheist stance.

Humanism isn't the mainstream view in our society, which emphasises (IMHO) the imperfect nature of the individual. Most therapy for example has a medical model.

[User Picture]
From:kerravonsen
Date:December 16th, 2005 09:15 pm (UTC)
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Humanism isn't the mainstream view in our society, which emphasises (IMHO) the imperfect nature of the individual. Most therapy for example has a medical model.

Well, for many things it makes sense to have a medical model, but for psychotherapy/counselling I think, personally, that it's both/and, not either/or. Which reminds me of some things my brother said (the one who's in Melbourne, who is both a psychologist and teaches at a theological college) that he's re-thinking the traditional (usually Presbyterian) doctrine of Total Depravity -- for what you would call a more humanistic approach; that it isn't that people are inherently evil, but that the dissonance between what they think (e.g. "I am the centre of the universe"), and what is really true ("I was created by God"), is what is the real core of what is traditionally called "original sin" -- though I'm probably getting his argument garbled...

It's interesting because I've always had a problem with Total Depravity, because they seem to be confusing Merit with Worth. Yes, human beings are imperfect, and we have no "merit" -- we can't *earn* Heaven with merit. But on the other hand, we are *not* worthless, because, heck, God thinks we're worth a whole lot, we're worth his Son to die for, and who are we to disagree?

The thing about a humanistic approach to therapy (getting back on topic) is that it's enabling -- it's a "glass half full" thing, if you see what I mean.
[User Picture]
From:watervole
Date:December 16th, 2005 04:22 pm (UTC)
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My approach is at one extreme of the group of people on the course. For instance as I hypnotise someone else I often sort of trance out myself. I am quite warm and engaged with their experience. This by the way is fine, it's a method, and it's the one that comes best to me. When I was a teacher I taught best like that - warm engaged advocacy.

Part of the traditional view of hypnotherapy is that the therapist is in charge, and in some ways I am a dominating personality, but in therapy I try to step back from this, and emphasise that the subject is their own master. Being in control can be a self-protective shield, and so the process is raw, and makes me vulnerable.


Sounds a lot like like some forms of BDSM. A top can hit something akin to that state when putting a bottom under.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:December 16th, 2005 04:46 pm (UTC)
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LOL, I'm sure that's not a coincidence.
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From:emeraldsedai
Date:December 16th, 2005 07:17 pm (UTC)
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In a humanistic approach, the person you are working with leads and controls their own process. You accompany them rather than lead them.

A favorite book of mine is My Voice Will Go With You: The Teaching Tales of Milton Erickson, MD, an edition by Sidney Rosen of some of Erickson's best inductions.

Erickson, though a product of his era (you notice this especially in some of his comments about women), still very much respected the integrity of his clients. His suggestions and inductions were a curious combination of authoritative and permissive, controlling and allowing. "My voice will go with you" all by itself is a powerful inductive command that at the same time suggests that the client is leading the process and taking the therapist along.

In short, I think Erickson had complete mastery of the fine line where the unconconsious mind can be commanded to command itself.

The paradoxes make you kind of tired, though, don't they?
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:December 17th, 2005 07:10 pm (UTC)
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I was wondering whether to get 'my voice will go with you'. People are so full of praise for Erickson that I wonder can he really be as good as they say. But I've only heard good (apart from odd things like old fashioned attitudes)
[User Picture]
From:emeraldsedai
Date:December 17th, 2005 09:55 pm (UTC)
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It's difficult not to feel awe for Erickson's peculiar genius.

here is Erickson's story of a project in altered states he undertook with Aldous Huxley. Erickson is telling it from memory, as all notes from the sessions were lost in a fire (such a curious accident), but of course his recall was very, very good.

It's kind of a collegial battle of great minds, and reveals quite a bit about Erickson's methods--particularly, I think, his use of dominance.

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