How far can we trust the unconscious?

The unconscious mind is not only easily influenced by suggestion, be it direct or indirect, it is also easily influenced by the merest implication. Trainee hypnotherapists need to be mindful of every word and gesture when working therapeutically with trance. A simple pause in the wrong place can reverse the meaning of a suggestion. So integrity, respect for the client, and self-awareness are essential.

Likewise the unconscious mind can only make decisions on the raw materials that it has available to it. Given no guidelines, structure or suggestions on where to find these materials it will pick whatever seems relevant and appropriate to the context. So just “trusting the unconscious” doesn’t guarantee that it necessarily chooses what is beneficial or therapeutic for the client. Trainee therapists need to learn about the power of context and how that “frames” the therapy. If one is working in a very open-ended way it can be wonderful, I do work that way myself, but I’m always mindful of where I may be leading the unconscious mind indirectly when trusting it to find its own resources or resolutions to problems.

Trusting the unconscious is dangerous if the therapist has not been trained to be mindful of the power of implication or has been taught that the unconscious can always make the right choices for the client. I unfortunately see the same things in teaching, some trainers tell their students “don’t worry your unconscious mind will understand it even if you don’t”. The point is, if you want to become a concert pianist, you don’t just go and watch a piano recital. You also have to go home and practice the scales.

Everything needs structure in order to make sense, and that includes the tasks we give to the unconscious.

Stephen Brooks

By The British Hypnosis Research & Training Institute|2017-01-24T08:24:00+07:00November 10th, 2016|Blog, Hypnotherapy techniques|
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