I'M AFRAID OF HYPNOSIS BUT I DON'T KNOW WHY
Review by Maud Cotter
Published in the Irish Psychiatrist magazine, volume 4, issue 5, October/November 2003.
Aimed at the lay person, this is a timely assault on the misconceptions which abound particularly in popular culture about hypnosis. Deborah Marshall-Warren is well-known in teh UK hypnotherapy world and has already written the highly successful Mind Detox. Ms Marshall-Warren takes us on a tour of the uses and abuses of hypnosis. She explores the sinister portrayal of hypnosis in literature, TV and film and also has a go at the closed shop attitude of the medical profession.
Poor old Freud comes in for a bit of stick for his rejection of hypnosis. He rejected it for a number of reasons but his principal objection was that hypnosis took too long to achieve results -- which is a bit of a cheek from the man who expected his patients to take six months out of their schedule and move to Vienna so that he could treat them!
Her approach to hypnosis is very matter of fact: she claims her type of interactibe hypnotherapy takes a mere three to five sessions to achieve results. "Any subsequent backsliding from the result may be reverse by a top-up session. The methods of modern interactive hypnotherapy are driven by results not ideology. Freud's starting point was his abstract model of the unconscious mind, and his therapeutic practice was forced into that mould. The interactive hypnotherapist's starting point is the commitment to address and to resolve a specific problem in the client's life, and the therapeutic practice is structured to achieve that single result as quickly as possible."
She bemoans the paternalistic attitude of the medical profession who seek to act as custodians of this 'arcane' knowledge. There is nothing sinister about hypnosis; it is simply a structured form of the kind of trance people experience when they are, for example, listening to music or hooping a ball.
Hypnotherapy will not cure chronic pain or resolve schizophrenia but what it is good at are those very real problems such as shyness, anxiety and fear of public speaking. As we know some pharmaceutical companies are trying to convince us that these are medical problems and that medication is the answer. Ms Marshall-Warren argues convincingly that hypnotherapy is bound to be more successful because the patient becomes an active participant in their own cure instead of a passive recipient of medication. Ultimately patients respond best when there is a range of treatments available including counselling, complementary therapies, and medication. I'm Afraid of Hypnosis puts the patient back in the driving seat.