Mindfulness and Self Hypnosis usually have different goals. Mindfulness has been developed from Buddhist meditation and is traditionally used for more spiritual outcomes. It has recently become popular as a way of relaxing and resolving psychological problems in the west, but is rarely used to achieve materialistic goals. Self hypnosis too has been used widely for relaxation and resolving psychological problems, but tends to be used for achieving more materialistic goals, like success, confidence, wealth etc. Combining both principles and practices they can complement each other is surprising ways, and this is the approach that I prefer to teach on my courses and retreats.
Self Hypnosis has it’s place in psychotherapy but should only be taught after considering a clients / patients personality and psychological state.
Self hypnosis should not be taught to abreactive Patients or Patients receiving regression therapy.
If Patients are given the tools of change to take home and apply to themselves when there is a danger of them abreacting then the therapist is acting dangerously and unethically. Even if the Patient is only receiving forms of age regression they should not be given self-hypnosis skills. Patients are willing and eager to help themselves, however the last thing any therapist wants is for the Patient to go home and attempt to regress themselves to early traumatic experiences. The same principle applies to Patients requesting a recording of the session to listen to at home. The Therapist should consider if listening to a recording of the session it will affect the patient negatively, or not, before deciding to offer a recording to the Patient.
Self hypnosis can be taught to Patients receiving progressive future orientated therapy.
When a therapist is confident that the Patient requires help in achieving positive outcomes for the future that do not involve digging up past experiences he can usually prescribe self-hypnosis. The therapist must be sure, as far as possible, that the Patient does not have repressed early learning experiences that are negative.
Self hypnosis as homework can reinforce therapeutic progress.
Sometimes Patients need additional encouragement, reinforcement and help between sessions. This is especially true when Patients are being reprogrammed to change habits. It’s also true when Patients need some way of relaxing themselves and self-hypnosis is ideal for this outcome.
Often all that is needed is a number of simple therapeutic open-ended suggestions given in trance during the therapy session, that when the Patient practice self-hypnosis at home his unconscious will continue reinforcing the therapy from the previous session. By practising this simple self hypnotic technique the Patient can reinforce everything that the therapist has been doing.
Self Hypnosis Inductions usually have a simple structure with trance getting deeper at each stage, usually with a visualization or journey as the template for the induction. The Therapist should always practice the self hypnosis induction on himself first before teaching it to the Patient. He can then get a sense of what the patient is experiencing at each stage of the induction. The Staircase Induction is ideal as a Self Hypnosis technique.
Self hypnosis recordings can be given if designed specifically for the Patient.
Self hypnosis recordings are useful when a lot of information has to be given to the Patient between sessions. The recording should be designed specifically for the Patient and based on the structure of the Patient’s problem whenever possible. They should be future orientated and they should only suggest positive things.
Recordings are also useful for Patients who have difficulty in hypnotising themselves. By listening to a recording they can just let go of consciously trying to hypnotise themselves. Mass produced, manufactured self hypnosis tapes generally are not as effective as personally designed tapes for obvious reasons. Mass produced tapes have to be so general that they match everyone’s needs as a Patient. Because these tapes are so general their healing potential is more limited, but they can be successful if worded to appeal in a general way.
Patients often forget to practice so suggestions to practice should be included during the session, on the recording or as part of the self hypnosis exercise.
Many Patients have difficulty motivating themselves to listen to the self-hypnosis recording. To increase the possibility that they will practice, it is a good idea to suggest that the Patient feel more and more compelled to practice their self hypnosis between the sessions. The therapist can give these suggestions during the therapy session and put them onto the recording. In addition, the Patient can be told to suggest this to himself during the self induced trance.