Why hypnosis isn’t relaxation..

“And just allow relaxation to take you deeper and deeper.”


StressAs a hypnotherapy trainer, the above statement and focus on relaxation makes me feel uncomfortable.

Many hypnotherapists work purely on positive suggestions while the client is in a state of relaxation. Sometimes this is fine. The problem is that many hypnotherapists don’t even check to see if their client is actually in hypnosis. They physically see the client is relaxed so assume they’re in hypnosis so don’t bother to test to see. Either they’re scared to check (what happens if they’re not?) or don’t know how to – it generally stems from either inadequate training or lack of confidence.

There certainly are times when it is useful to relax people down to the point where they feel they can drift away and the critical part of their brain wanders off, but that brings its own problems which we will discuss later.

The thing is, sometimes “relax-a-therapy” simply isn’t appropriate.

Let us suppose someone came in suffering from an emotional problem such as anger. Learning relaxation would be useful but would it necessarily override the rush of emotion that makes someone lose it and act before thinking?

Well, after almost 14 years in practice, I find the answer is sometimes – but not always.

Some people have spent so much of their life in a state of tension that they find it incredibly difficult to relax, others may be very analytical with active minds that quickly get bored with the whole relaxation process, and some people may think

“This relaxation is all very nice but am I hypnotised?”

It’s that last bit, “am I hypnotised” that can kill a session in its tracks, the client can leave wondering just whether or not they really were in a state of hypnosis, and if the therapist didn’t test them then how does either the therapist or the client know for sure? Whether they were hypnotised or not the critical mind can then begin to assert itself and decide that no, I was fully awake and aware so therefore I wasn’t in hypnosis.

What about if you told the client their hand was stuck to their leg and they couldn’t shift it for love nor money? Once that state occurs, then the critical mind would have a much easier job accepting hypnosis. And sometimes relax-a-therapy isn’t strong enough to do that.


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