Basics, Specializations

War of the Psyche – 3 of 6

A Hypnotherapist’s View: Basic Behavior

Battle trauma creates an imbalance in the warrior’s mind. Fear dominates his or her expectations. Obviously battle is not a typical experience, and the imbalance is extreme.

But parents raise children with predispositions toward euphoria or fear. When the former is expected, the child becomes adventurous. When the latter is expected, the child is protective. Most children have experiences that balance those expectations – they may be adventurous in one context and protective in another.

Until the 1950s, many hypnotists believed that protective people could not be hypnotized. Unfortunately, it is the protective person that most often needs hypnotherapy. As his practice became dominated by such clients, Dr. John Kappas applied himself to cracking their hypnotic code.

In the course of that study, surprising behavioral differences were revealed. Most naturally, adventurers (called “physicals” by Kappas) attract attention and crave intimacy, while protectors (called “emotionals”)  dress conservatively and prefer time alone. Less obviously: adventurers tend to answer questions indirectly, taking the listener on a journey of experience. Protectors tend to be terse – in extreme cases answering only with “yes” and “no.” Paradoxically, adventurers interpret requests literally – they take words at their face value – while protectors anticipate the motivations behind the request and act accordingly.

As regards the psychic struggle of combat stress, the most important difference is that the adventurer invests heart in every relationship, while the protector invests mind. They both care – and in fact complement one another. Adventurers without a protector find themselves out on a limb; protectors without an adventurer find themselves isolated and bored.

Part 1 || Part 2 | Part 4


Why Hypnotherapy – 2 of 2

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.


Why Hypnotherapy – 1 of 2

Hypnotherapy helps us change our behavior.

Why is that help necessary? It seems that when we realize that our behavior is hurting us, it should be easy to change our mind and act differently. But it’s not.

The reason is that during elementary and middle school our mind breaks into two parts: the conscious and subconscious. The subconscious is the part that controls our behavior. It’s our oldest and dearest friend, concerned only with our well-being and happiness. The challenge is that it prefers the experiences that we survive (even the frightening ones) and is anxious about the unknown. It resists the attempts of the conscious mind to create change. Because the subconscious is “seven times more powerful than you think,” it normally wins the battle. 

Sometimes change is necessary, of course. To minimize danger, the subconscious considers change under the safest conditions: sleep. The body is inactive and the conscious mind disabled while the new behavior is imagined in dreams. If the dreams play out positively, the subconscious may try the new behavior in waking life. If that works out, the behavior often is accepted as a known and is available for future use.

A Comfy Client

In hypnotherapy, I facilitate a direct dialog between your conscious and subconscious minds. We begin the session by talking about your conscious behavior and discuss suggestions. After guiding you into hypnosis, I’ll offer your consciously accepted suggestions to your subconscious. Your conscious mind will monitor the dialog, and I’ll watch for signals in the body that tell whether the subconscious is comfortable with the suggestions.

In many cases, we also suggest that the subconscious release unwanted fears and motivations, through the venting dreams that we have just before waking up in the morning.

Between sessions, you go about your life and observe whether and how your behavior has changed. As you learn, new ideas and opportunities will come to mind. This is the where the next session starts, and the cycle continues until your goal is met.



Bring Your Whole Self to Life

WholenessWe all want to be whole. We want to bring our best and most complete self to everything we do. We seek fulfilment in all parts of our life.

But the world demands that we break our lives into parts: a part with friends, a part at home, a part at work, a part in bed, a part when we’re alone. We need to be a different person at different times and with different people.

Those demands create tensions in our bodies and minds that we can’t see, and often that we ignore. They come at us through body pains, anger and anxiety, or a need to escape. We treat them with passive entertainment, substance abuse, or attempts to control others.


Are You Ready for Change?

Hypnotherapy brings our hidden tensions into the light, allowing us to change our life without breaking it.

That knowledge allows us to build relationships around the goal of mutual support and joy. As our tensions melt away, the incredible healing powers of our body and mind take flight.


Such personal change is an inspiration for change in the world. We become part of a greater whole, rooted in the trust that is the foundation of courage.

The Hypnotist’s Contribution

The tools of the hypnotherapist are:Hypnosis

  • Listening – hearing your truth.
  • Dreams – the messages of our subconscious.
  • Hypnosis – a temporary and comfortable merging of the conscious and subconscious.
  • Life Skills Coaching – daily tools and habits that anchor positive change.
  • Collaboration – with licensed medical and mental health professionals.