Our previous post described the general pattern of hypnotherapy.
You might expect that hypnotherapy can be faster than talk therapy practiced by psychologists, and you’d be right. That said, talk therapy is necessary when the undesired behavior results from a chemical imbalance in the brain or deeply painful personal history. In that case, the ethical hypnotherapist will work in partnership with a licensed practitioner. Similarly, when pain or bodily disfunction is involved a medical doctor will be brought into the treatment team.
In fact, under California law, without a referral from a licensed practitioner, the hypnotherapist is allowed to support clients only to enhance work (vocational therapy) and enjoyment of life (avocational therapy).
For certain types of behaviors – such as nervous habits or fears and phobias – hypnotherapists will apply techniques that are tailored to the problem. In some cases (such as smoking cessation) change can be accomplished in a few sessions. On the other end of the scale, behaviors that evolved to deal with powerlessness can require twenty or more sessions to address, as at root we must first convince the subconscious that it can take control of the client’s life.
While this may seem indirect to some practitioners, the most important part of the process is that the total mind comes to accept a powerful new known: that positive behavior change is possible. By allowing the experience of change to evolve in its full depth, the client discovers that in the future their subconscious is more open to change.
There’s a famous question about the hungry man: should you give him a fish, or teach him to fish? I prefer the second option. I’d like every client to become a fisher of new behaviors.