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Essay Hypnotherapy

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The purpose of this essay is to explore and illustrate how and why the building of rapport between a client and a therapist is paramount to a successful hypnosis result. It will look at how and when we can build a good rapport, considering the purpose of the notation form and explain the role of the Conscious Critical Faculty and what part it plays in successful hypnosis. It is said that building a good rapport with a client for the purpose of hypnotherapy is paramount to it’s success, without it a client cannot receive treatment to the full therapeutic value. But what exactly do we mean by “Rapport”? And why is it such a crucial element in hypnotherapy and its’ success? There are many words which can be used to describe ‘rapport’. It can be described as a connection, relationship, a trust, an understanding between two people, some may describe a rapport as being ‘on the same page or wavelength’ a chemistry.

When a person gets this sense, this feeling, this good rapport then they will feel more free, comfortable and confident to open up, share, trust and confide the details, truths, emotions, concerns and problems to their therapist. Generating a good rapport is extremely important. If the client does not feel ‘comfortable’ with the therapist, if they do not feel this sense of trust, understanding, this ‘good rapport’, then not only will conscious communication be stalled and inaccurate, communication with the subconscious may not even be possible constructively and communicating with the subconscious is ultimately the key to successful hypnosis. A good rapport will also lead to quicker treatment as the client will be able to relax and reach the desired state of trance sooner as they will feel comfortable, confident and relaxed. Quicker treatment usually means less sessions and will therefore result in less expense for the client. This, in return will benefit a therapists reputation. “Belief +Imagination+Conviction+Expectation = Results”

The Art of Hypnosis C.Roy Hunter 1994
If we look at the Hypnotic formula as described by C.Roy Hunter we will see that without a good rapport with a client it is impossible to install all four components of hypnosis. “Imagination enhances ones ability to be hypnotised especially since imagination is the language of the subconscious mind” (C.Roy Hunter 1994) If a person can easily imagine the hypnotherapist hypnotising them then it is more likely to happen. Without a good rapport it is unlikely the client will have the trust in the therapist’s capabilities to do this or they may resist as they do not feel comfortable and relaxed. “Whatever a person believes will happen tends to come to pass” (C.Roy Hunter 1994) Again this feeling, trust, rapport will permit the client to believe in the therapist. If someone believes that you will successfully facilitate hypnosis then the probability of success is greatly increased. Lack of belief will lead to resistance. “Those who are convinced that you can hypnotise them will most likely expect to be hypnotised – and your success is much more likely”

If the therapist and the client are not ‘on the same wavelength’ the client will not feel convinced and therefore will not expect a positive result . A hypnotherapist must however maintain at all times a relationship that is professional and not over intrusive. Over doing rapport and ‘trying to hard’ could be detrimental as it could alter the parameters of the client therapist relationship. So we must get the balance just right, working on our own self awareness empathy with others, self development and knowledge attained through training, experience and practice. So with this in mind, as a hypnotherapist, when can we build this rapport and what techniques can we use? The Role Of Notation Form

When attending hypnotherapy it is common practice for the therapist to offer an initial consultation (sometimes called a notation) prior to the impending treatment. The consultation usually lasts between 30 minutes to an hour and it is here that both the client and the therapist have a chance to meet and build a good rapport. It is where we, the therapist can acquire information and explore the client’s history. We can use this information to assess the clients learning style and modality etc. It also gives the client the opportunity to discuss any misconceptions, questions, fears and uncertainties regarding hypnotherapy. From the moment the client meets the therapist opinions are formed and assumptions are fashioned so first impressions are key. Appearance, speech pattern and body language are all areas to consider. As hypnosis and rapport are all about communication with the subconscious mind then if we can show a person’s subconscious mind that we understand it then their subconscious will respond very favourably without them consciously realising it.

An effective technique to use to help facilitate this is mirroring. Mirroring, or subtly matching characteristics specific to the individual client include tone of voice, adopting similar speech styles, pace, body language, posture and even something as simple as breathing. It will make them feel that you are part of their world, on the same wavelength and thus can greatly speed up the generation of a good rapport. Milten Erikson emphasized the vital need to enter the client’s world and not to drag them into ‘your’ way of thinking. We need to learn their language, their perspectives and understanding and use this to help treat them successfully. Listening in therapy is paramount and it is equally important that the therapist conveys to the client that they are listening and attending to them. These are called the ‘attending behaviours’ and include a number of techniques we can adopt to show the client we are both listening and interested in what they are saying. Using welcoming, smiling body language from the word go will help make the client feel relaxed and comfortable.

A handshake and a pleasant disposition as well as maintaining eye contact without employing a fixed stare are simple methods of initiating a warm environment. A therapist should always encourage the client to talk, adopting an open posture and leaning slightly towards the client (although not overly so as this may be perceived as intrusive). To avoid barriers or an ‘office’ like feel in the consultation room the chairs should be situated at a slight angle without a desk and when filling out the notation form it is important that the therapist avoid making too many notes as a lot of client information can be learned through their body language and the eyes and if we are looking at our notes then we will miss some vital clues. (Constant note making may also make a client feel uncomfortable). Eye contact is effective in encouraging a client and the therapist should let the client break the eye contact and not vice versa.

Mirroring is effective up to a point, until a client seems comfortable, after which an open posture should be adopted which the client, once relaxed, will most likely mirror themselves. During the notation a therapist will be asking the client a series of questions including personal information such as name, preferred name, contact details, G.P. details, medical history, reason for therapy, family information and names of those which may crop up during hypnosis. Hypnosis works best when the therapist has a clear picture of what the client wants to achieve. As well as the facts the therapist will also need to gain an insight into the clients background so questions on hobbies, work, financial issues, likes, dislikes and fears and any information on previous therapy and more details on their problems will all be vital in enabling the therapist to get the full picture and to use this information further in the hypnotherapy treatment. The details will enable the therapist to determine the preferred modalities of the client. E.g. If they are a chef then their modality may be gustatory.

The therapist can also utilize from the information gathered in the initial consultation. Talking about the interests and in the style of a client is a good way of gaining their interest and is a very powerful approach in facilitating rapport. Other techniques for gathering accurate information in the consultation include; paraphrasing, reflecting clarifying and summarising. Employing these techniques will give the client a sense of comfort and assurance that the therapist understands their emotions and their purpose for seeking therapy, thus giving them the confidence that they are on the road to achieving their goals. As explained, the building of rapport is essential to successful therapy and the initial consultation is the first opportunity to create this chemistry and understanding. The rapport exists both consciously and subconsciously and we can begin to reach the subconscious with suggestions made whilst the client is both fully conscious and/or in trance by bypassing the Conscious Critical Faculty. The Role Of The Conscious Critical Faculty

“The mind is its own place and in itself it can make heaven of hell or hell of heaven” John Milton The conscious critical faculty can be best described as a search filter lying between the conscious and the subconscious mind. It constantly monitors all inputs from our senses to see if what has been received has been learnt before. If an idea or concept has been learnt before or previously experienced then it is accepted as ‘valid’ in some way and the conscious can move on to concentrate on new matter. If there are no results found in the subconscious then the message from the conscious critical faculty is that new information has to be learnt and the conscious will concentrate on learning this. Up until the age of about seven or there about a child has no judgement, the conscious critical faculty does not filter the information and therefore all this information is learnt and stored in the subconscious. However, much of the time we may have learnt an incorrect message. For example, if a child is told that s/he is ‘stupid’ from an authorative figure (e.g. a parent), then the conscious will take this to be fact and there will be a rejection of any other information received to the contrary and will carry on into adulthood.

This is why a person programmed for failure will interpolate the same event very differently to a person programmed for success. These beliefs, programmings, received usually in childhood are hard to change as it is an internal belief, something told to us that we cannot measure as there are no parameters. (An external belief is something we can measure such as ‘the sky is blue’ ‘the oven is hot’ etc.) The only way we can make a lasting change to the internal belief is if we can bypass the conscious critical faculty. This, we can do with hypnosis and with waking hypnosis. Waking hypnosis can be used whilst in conversation with a client. The client is not in trance, yet suggestions are made to them without them noticing and when there is a good rapport it is more likely that the suggestions will bypass the client’s conscious critical faculty. A hypnotic effect can be achieved without the relaxed state and the suggestions can bypass the conscious critical faculty and implant ideas that effect change.

‘Warming up and relaxing down’ is an example of how this confusing contradiction will bypass the conscious critical faculty but the ‘warm’ and ‘relaxed’ will go in through the back door so to speak. It is effective because if the client is unaware that a therapist is using a hypnotic technique then their analytical judgemental and refractive tendencies do not come into play and their subconscious internal beliefs can begin to be reprogrammed. So, to conclude, the building of rapport in hypnotherapy is extremely important and should not be underestimated.

For most people, to allow someone to hypnotise them is an experience which requires some trust and a good rapport will help facilitate this and this in turn will lead to effective hypnotherapy sessions with productive results. As well as gathering information, the initial consultation is where a client and therapist can start to forge a relationship and the therapist should consider and employ the techniques described in order to speed up this rapport. Once good rapport is established hypnotherapy will become more effective and suggestions made by the therapist are more likely to bypass the conscious critical faculty and begin to take effect to the best therapeutic value.


The Art Of Hypnosis – Mastering Basic Techniques C.Roy Hunter Ms,CHt Module 1,2 and 3 Chrysalis course
Hypnosis for Change S Hadley and C Staudacher
Quotations are marked, other material has been educational in the understanding of the essay topic.

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