When living in tribes, young adults left home with all the skills they needed to survive off the land. Living now in cities, most of us enter adult life with only the skills to keep track of our obligations: we can write and read directions and make change, but little else.
What city dwellers lack in survival skills we make up for in choices. Which friends? What food? What religion? Which career? Relationships control how many of our choices we get to realize. Under the free market, the desires of others determine the reward we receive for our time, skill and personality.
Hypnotherapists can’t tell you how to succeed in the marketplace. We can only help to fortify your determination to succeed. In some cases, that determination is undermined by too many choices – we become distracted.
But determination can also be undermined by harsh lessons from childhood. If perfection was the price of parental acceptance, fear of failure can cause us either to freeze and do nothing or to ignore anything except our current goal. When unexpected talent was punished by parental rejection, fear of success can prevent us from taking the final steps that bring the greatest rewards. In both cases, hypnotherapy can help the subconscious release those childhood lessons, allowing us to lead a more fulfilling life.
If we are free of internal conflicts, the next challenge is to build stable relationships. For example, we would be upset if our favorite restaurant went out of business. If the owners aren’t the best at marketing, to keep patronage up we might recommend it to our friends. Or if we’re in advertising, we might give the owners our business card. We’d become their partners.
Building effective partnerships is complicated. It’s not just a matter of bringing together the right skills. It’s also about harmonizing motivations. Some people seek money, others want social recognition. Some enjoy steady work, while others find routine tedious.
Again, hypnotherapists cannot tell you what elements to bring together to create a successful organization.
Hypnotherapy works, however, because it prepares the mind to learn. In general, minds take in information directly or inferentially. Let’s say that we need to see on the other side of a head-height wall. The direct instruction would be “Jump!” The indirect instruction would be “Find out what’s on the other side.”
It turns out that parents stimulate these two ways of learning through the way that they care for their children. Children that are protected from danger become adventurers and trust direct instruction. Children that can’t predict their parents’ behavior become protectors and prefer to figure out how to solve problems themselves.
In the extreme, adventurers are constantly after that next thrill while protectors go off and hide in a closet. Wonderfully, though, they tend to balance each other out. Most marriages and business partnerships contain one of both – or each partner takes turns being the adventurer in their areas of strength while the other plays protector. It’s a partnership based in complementarity: the adventurer goes into the world while the protector watches and plans the next step.
Things go wrong when the partners fail to develop shared interests and goals. The adventurer creates anxiety in their protector. The protector seeks refuge and the adventurer feels insecure. To relieve the insecurity, the adventurer tries to force the protector to come on a thrill-ride, which makes the protector withdraw even further. Eventually the partnership ceases to be a relationship.
Hypnotherapists understand these two styles because adventurers and protectors are hypnotized using different methods. Hypnotherapy can also move extreme behaviors toward the middle. By linking muscle activity with mental imagery, we can enhance blood flow in the parts of the brain that are underutilized, strengthening their influence.
Unfortunately, not understanding the natural tendency of partnership to join opposites, most of us assume that our behavior is “normal.” When our partner disagrees, we think they are “wrong” and proceed to drive them crazy.
The key to recovery is to recognize that protectors give people their minds, while adventurers offer their hearts. Breakups are painful because those gifts are spiritual entanglements that last long after physical and social bonds have been broken. The hypnotic methods of therapeutic imagery are a powerful means for restoring psychic integrity.