Whole-Being Hypnotherapy

Article by Stanley Borg

Published in the Malta Times, Weekender magazine, 17th May 2003

Speaking to Deborah Marshall-Warren, an advanced hypnotherapist, Stanley Borg discovers that hypnotherapy helps us to regain control of ourselves and find the courage, self-belief and self-worth inside us.

I'm very open-minded. I could be the last of the innocents for all I know. I'll tolerate and praise you till it becomes bad for my digestive system. And if I do you wrong, I make it a point to get you flowers from the garden. I'm very open-minded -- but that doesn't mean I'm going to let someone get into it, drink and be merry, and leave it a mess once exited through my ear.

I've never been hypnotised, but if I were, I guess the feeling afterwards would be halfway between having an insect down the back of my neck and having been burgled: I'm afraid, very afraid of hypnosis ... but I don't know why.

That's probably why there's a voice inside my head, telling me to stop, to reason things out. It yells that she'll do bad things to me, make me cluck like a chicken, and sing for the Eurovision .... So I blow my nose, and the voice stops.

And I continue onward in true knight errant fashion along the streets and alleys of Zabbar, which sound like Rome in a rush hour and have the requisite tourists, alive and licking their chocolate ice-creams. Asking for directions, the locals just look at me -- probably the best sneer in the world. When I'm almost touching the thin red line between my sanity and the danger zone, I arrive. And knock. There is a silence during which I can count up to seven comfortably, and ten if I gabble a bit. I reassure myself with famous last words -- don't look in her eyes, and if she snaps her fingers, you're a goner. The the door slowly creaks open ...

Deborah Marshall-Warren can easily adopt "harmony" as a surname, and carry it off. Her house and courtyard echoing with the sound of water, her voice, her smile, her something, escape my vocabulary and snuggle me up in one of her wicker chairs as I listen docilely like a pet cushion (you can ask any other interviewees that I'm a regular Dr Evil).

Click, I snap my fingers and suddenly remember that I'm actually doing the questioning. And I start by admitting my fear of hypnosis.

"A lot of people are afraid of hypnosis", she answers. "The roots of these fears are actually part of a cultural baggage of misinformation. The idea we keep getting from product advertising, films, the media in general, that hypnosis has to do with casting magic spells, is far from the truth. Even when you consider the film adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, which is etched in the memories of many, the means of hypnotising someone is portrayed as being through the eyes alone.

"Which, again, is not quite the truth -- there is no special hypnotising power in the eyes. The eyes are just a convenient focal point when the 'fixed-gaze' induction technique is being used."

What Marshall-Warren uses is interactive hypnotherapy, during which the client is fully participating and definitely not in states of passivity. Interactive hypnotherapy is a special treatment which is used for a wide range of issues, ranging from phobias, depression, amd stopping smoking, to weight loss, insomnia, blushing and excessive sweating.

It can also act as an alternative to anti-depressants. Interactive hypnotherapy involves the client being put in a state of deep relaxation, then guided to become healthier, more confident, or less scared of certain things, which can be embedded in childhood or adolescence.

"There can be instances of your formative years that you feel are hindering you in your adult life, such as fear of lizards or not acknowledging you success," she explains.

The latter instance involves going back to that childhood or adolescent instant and reconciliating. Whereas psychotherapy and counselling work, but can take several years,interactive hypnotherapy goes straight to the heart of the matter and confronts the problem in a total state of relaxation.

The client gets in touch with his or her true self -- meeting the positive you and polishing the jewels and virtues inside you. Interactive hypnotherapy is about updating your emotional CV and finfing the balance that society and the media, such as TV, has robbed us of.

"Let us consider TV", she continues. "It continuously arouses our anxiety and uses the power of suggestion to such an extent that our real thoughts are burgled. Even the fact that camera angles are changed every few seconds means that our attention span is being fragmented and our power of concentration diminished. Hypnotherapy helps us to regain control of ourselves and helps us find the courage, self-belief and self-worth inside ourselves -- it's like opening the bonnet of your car and tweaking and fine-tuning your engine.

"It's like designing and using your own labels instead of the ones you are given. Clients come to me with a 20-watt bulb and go out with a 1-watt one -- interactive hypnotherapy is all about flicking switches on. Everyone is a potential Christmas tree."

About the author Deborah Marshall-Warren is an interactive hypnotherapist who has run her own practice in London, Whole-Being Hypnotherapy, for eight years. She is an Emeritus Fellow of the Hypnotherapy Society (EmFHS), a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health (FRSPH), and expert advisor in Here's Health magazine.

She is also the author of 'Mind Detox' (1999), 'I'm Afraid of Hypnosis but I Don't Know Why' (2003), 'Interactive Hypnotherapy: A Practical Training Manual' (due for publication in late Summer, 2003).

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