INTERACTIVE HYPNOTHERAPY: A THERAPEUTIC DANCE!
Article by Deborah Marshall-Warren
Published in Today's Therapist, July 2004
"Deborah, do you think I could be hypnotised?" an Italian friend once asked me. Before I could answer, she continued, "I'm afraid of hypnosis but I don't know why". Responses liek Luigia's have motivated a mission on my part, to communicate the truth about hypnotherapy, and to put forward a clear and constructive message about the power of interactive hypnotherapy as a means of overcoming psychological challenges and enhancing lives.
People who consider embarking on a course of hypnotherapy tend to make a lot of enquiries, and to talk to a lot of people, before choosing to follow through with this surprisingly enjoyable experience.
I often say to my clients that, as a therapist, I am a facilitator -- a cheerleader, a partner in their dance -- a player on their team. I sense the drivers in them that I need to activate along the journey, and I co-create the choreography as the session progresses. But it is the client who creates the music, and the song. It is the client’s wisdom that provides the content. It is their use of words that heal. It is the wisdom that is within their inner selves that affords them the clarity and the understanding. Remember always, your client is the composer and the arranger of his or her life’s song and dance. Interactive hypnotherapy positions the client to be in a state of relaxation to take hold of the creative reins and steer a fresh course.
What I have aimed to do is to create a repertoire of steps and have worked to make them available to the many practising therapists for them to make their own. Aware that, for the most part, I was working intuitively with my clients, and I was also aware that the intuitions were increasingly forming a pattern. Increasingly those patterns were instilling a recurring way of interacting with the majority of clients whatever the client’s presenting problem. The patterns regularly and consistently led to a successful outcome. It took some time for me to realise that the ‘intuitive steps’ were regularly occurring steps. I began to track them. In tracking them I refined them, and those refinements continue. I could continue to refine and never get around to making available the repertoire as it stands today.
I often get asked by potential clients, preceded by with apologies for asking, "Does it work?" My response is always, "There wouldn’t be much job satisfaction for me if it didn’t!" Followed by, "Both the procedure of hypnosis, and myself in extolling it, would be fraudulent if it didn’t work." Quality is of primary concern for the profession, both quality of the practitioner and of the procedure and process. The way that you move towards quality is to define a set of processes and procedures and to encourage their implementation everywhere. However, I myself will stand up and say that with hypno-therapeutic work that is a tall order, because individual therapists with their own special personalities and flair will make new creations and new ways of doing things. For those practitioners who are considering interactive hypnotherapy please do bear in mind that what follows is one way, and that with your particular expertise and personality, you will expand and develop in entirely different ways. Tried and tested, a thousand and more times ? these techniques do work.
The adage that there’s nothing new under the sun is particularly pertinent at this point. At least, there is very little new under the sun. Whole-Being Hypnotherapy has evolved over nine years of professional work. Whole-Being Hypnotherapy respects and embraces the wisdom within, and our individual ability to come forward with our own suggestions for change -- suggestions that can enable and ennoble our lives. The creation of an ‘inner team’, and the notion of ‘building an inner team’ -- to facilitate continuing inner ‘life coaching’ outside the session – have themselves evolved, and grown from a grounding of firm foundations.
I have found that, in the majority of client cases, interactive hypnotherapy effects its changes successfully and permanently, within just three to five sessions -- the average treatment taking three sessions.
Yes, some sessions do require more negotiation, more persuasion, and more choreography than others. Fresh steps do evolve with practice. By listening to and by trusting your intuition you may introduce other steps and design your dance of life in a different way. Celebrate the difference! Different steps do take you and your client to where they want to be. The interactive, and therapeutic, dance between both client and therapist is always in motion.
There are sequences -- or ‘chapters’ -- in the process. Within each chapter there are paragraphs comprising a sequences of sentences or steps. Sentences that question. Sentences that explore the feelings and experiences ‘between the lines’. Sentences that prompt. Sentences that encourage. Sentences that negotiate. Sentences that guide and sentences that lead. Sentences that inspire. Sentences that get repeated again and again. Sentences that celebrate.
Some sentences stay in every dance. Some come and others go, to re-emerge in another dance. Let your client’s vocabulary lead the dance, and the sequences of sentence steps that accompany their dance will more readily keep you in rhythm and in tune.
Regardless of whether you are seeking information about hypnotherapy for yourself with respect to training, or on behalf of a client whom you intuit hypnotherapy may help ? or whether you are just curious ? a basic understanding of interactive hypnotherapy is of considerable importance in understanding the whole process of changing the mind for the better.
Increasingly clients come to interactive hypnotherapy who are already actively participating in other therapeutic paths. They may be attending pyschotherapy or counselling sessions. They may be involved in Cognitive Behaviourial Therapy. Interactive hypnotherapy can help fast-track the process, and therefore clients choose to participate in a series of sessions of interactive hypnotherapy, alongside their regular weekly or fortnightly sessions.
A session of interactive hypnotherapy can help a client to go directly to the ‘track on their inner CD player’ and so gain more immediate access to the event, the situation, the circumstance, when a feeling, a pattern of behaviour, or a thought form, first took up residence within that person’s inner mind.
Such clarity and understanding can bring immediate feelings of ‘lightening’, ‘enlightenment’, and ‘freedom’. Most certainly, such illumination can bring a clearing, and a clarity that can be ‘discussed’ in the context of a psychotherapy session at a later date. This is not essential, but such material offers a springboard from which to move forward, and to move on.
Interactive hypnotherapy is a complementary player in the psychotherapeutic arena and one that can effectively illumine, empower, and liberate in a relatively short period of time. Come and join the dance!
About the author
Deborah Marshall-Warren is a hypnotherapist, and trainer, who has run her own private practice, Whole-Being Interactive Hypnotherapy, for nine years.
She holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, a Diploma in Hypnotherapy and is a Emeritus Fellow of The Hypnotherapy Society (FHS Emeritus), and a Fellow of The Royal Society for the Promotion of Health. Deborah [was] a long-standing advisor to the editorial staff and features department at Here’s Health, magazine, a leading complementary health magazine. Deborah is the author of I’m Afraid of Hypnosis, but I Don’t Know Why.
The magazine Here's Health has closed since this publication.