What is hypnotherapy or hypnosis?
We’ve all heard many answers to this question. Some say is is mind control. Some say it is exerting the power of will over someone. Some say it is fraudulent, and any positive results are down to the placebo effect. Some say it is show biz, and people are paid to fake it. Some say it is a kind of deeper sleep than normal sleep – I had a girlfriend, years ago, who insisted to the point of tears that everyone is unconscious under hypnosis and one hour of being unconscious under hypnosis was worth ten hours’ natural sleep. Some seem to think it is some kind of magical trance induced by spinning spirals of snapping fingers and dark eye-makeup that turns the subject into an obedient zombie. In Michael Connelly’s nonsensical novel “The Poet”, the narrator was induced into a state of hypnosis by the murderer, in which it was compelled to the very edge of committing suicide by hypnotic suggestion until he was rescued by an interruption. Not long after I qualified as a hypnotherapist in 1987, I had a man try to impress me (who didn’t know about the qualification) by bragging that he “had just hyponotised the pilot in that airliner up there”, pointing to a random overhead plane.
None of that is ever going to happen. Hypnosis is a state of very deep mental and physical relaxation, in which the critical, editing faculty of the mind is less vigilant but we are fully conscious. We hear and think about everything that is going on. We have handed exactly no control over to the hypnotherapist: if they say something we find deeply offensive (like instructing us to kiss our brother passionately, or indeed commit suicide), then we simply feel the horror associated with the idea and surface into normal consciousness.
When a hypnosis stage-show is performed, the performer (for so they are) pulls a number of people out of the audience, does a light induction, and looks at their reaction to certain signals. If they react as though making a public fool of themselves in front of strangers is going to be deeply enough worrying to them for them not to comply, the performer will thank them and return them to their seats. The one or ones who remain, will be people who may feel slightly foolish, but do not have a strong objection to feeling foolish in the name of entertainment, ie, people who don’t set a whole lot of store on dignity at all times. Either that, or born exhibitionists. Generally speaking, anyone who is louder with one or two drinks inside them (which has the equivalent effect of reducing the critical editing faculty of the mind to hypnosis) or who will do or say things they wouldn’t sober, will also be a good subject for such a show where they might be asked to cluck like a chicken, or kiss strangers in the audience.
Hypnotherapy is the use of this state in order to bypass our filter that tends to tell us what is “impossible” so that people are prepared to do “the impossible” to aid their own healing, such as, for example, to give up cigarettes with minimal stress, or become more habituated to exercise, or to increase bloodflow or trigger the immune system (which I often might symbolise as “knights in shining armour on white horses galloping through your body cutting to pieces the little dirty blobs with their swords”, for example) to help healing in a wide variety of different situations or conditions.
Positive change in a person’s emotions happen faster under hypnosis than under trained counselling unaided by hypnosis, because in the latter case the client isn’t being prevented from saying to themself “yeah, but nothing really changes”.
So what is Shamanic Trance Technique?
I’ve been involved in a magico-spiritual lifestyle since the very early 1980s, And a strong theme through my spiritual life has been to both learn and to effect change in myself and in the external world through spirit-voyaging, something I share with practising shamans. If I find it necessary to work on this level, I will drop myself into a hypnosis-like trance, then sort of take a sideways turn through impossible directions out of my body, into a spiritual dimension. I can meet with spiritual teachers there. I can teach others there. On a couple of noteworthy occasions with people I knew in comas, I was able to find their souls, missing from their bodies, and encourage them to return. (This does not automatically bring a person out of a coma immediately: it puts in place the will to heal their brain-function enough to come out of the coma when they can). And I occasionally engage in battle. Sometimes, I have battled unpleasant Otherworldly entities that were negatively affecting someone who asked for help. Sometimes I have shamanically found the “spirit” of an illness or addiction that was resistant to treatment, and battled with that. Occasionally I have lost such battles, but I have always learnt something through the loss, something valuable that added to my working toolkit afterwards.
Sometimes you can have a very good day. Recently I was dealing with a woman about my own age with a given compulsion – and I discovered her late mother hanging around in her energy-sphere, unfavourably comparing her all the time with her younger brother. She was wholly unaware of her mother’s presence. Was it any wonder she felt inadequate all the time, and had descended into a suite of behaviours that she disliked in order to try and drown this little voice inside herself?
In this case, I negotiated with her late mother, explained to her that she was dead and that her behaviour was not making her daughter deal with things in a better way but in a worse way. The spirit of the mother had been trying to motivate the daughter to improve things – she was horribly shocked to find out it was counter-productive. Last I heard, a day or two ago, the woman had just had another pay-rise, and was still feeling as relaxed and as free in herself as she had immediately after that dialogue had taken place.
Every single person you deal with is different. Every single situation they have had to survive is different. Every life is different. If you treat the problems that present themselves in a person’s life, either with symptomatic hypnotic suggestion or with things like mind-altering drugs alone with dealing with the underlying situation and changing the person ‘s relationship to it and to themselves, then once the initial euphoria of superficial change has worn off, all the old tensions will arise again and if they don’t resurface in a “relapse” into the same problems, they will manifest in a whole new batch of problems.
Hypnosis allows us to find out what deeper problems actually exist faster than psychotherapy, because people will not edit themselves so much and try and hide their more shameful feelings and memories even from themselves. Then, using hypnotherapy or Shamanic Trance Technique allows a partnership of the subject and the practitioner not just to cast the light of day on the origins of the problems, but to create rapid and deep-seated changes to the underlying situations, relationships with the self and others, and other factors that are lurking in the subject’s mental, spiritual and emotional basement.
I am not interested in having an appointment-book full of clients who come in once a week for months on end, paying me large lumps of money every week. No, what I’m interested in seeing is deep-seated and effective long-term change in people enabling them to enjoy their lives more fully, and being fairly remunerated for my training, the many experiences I’ve had over the decades, and the personal effort I put into helping that individual reshape their relationship with themselves and regain control of their lives.
And I have discovered that this is the most effective way I can be beneficial in the world, and justify my own existence.