Here at the Morpheus Clinic, we always want to improve public awareness about hypnosis. We want the public to know how hypnosis is done, what it can help with, what it can’t help with and of course, we’re always on the lookout for misconceptions. To that end, we’ve decided to use our November newsletter to drill down into the nitty-gritty of hypnosis and discuss some common techniques that hypnotists use to get results for their clients and help them achieve lasting change. We sat down with Kate Gardiner, who’s been with the Morpheus Clinic for Hypnosis for 4 years, to discuss three of the most important hypnosis techniques in her toolbox: direct suggestion, regression and parts work. She helped clarify how each technique works, why it works, the issues it works for, common misconceptions and more. Just to be clear: these are the opinions of Morpheus’s most senior associate. Different hypnotists might use these techniques in different ways, and some might not use them at all.

Direct Suggestion:

The Basic Idea

This is the most common and most direct tool in a hypnotist’s toolbox. It’s a way of directly addressing the change that the client wants to see. Once a client is in hypnosis and their subconscious mind is more open to outside suggestion, the hypnotist issues suggestions for change. For example, a hypnotist helping someone overcome sleep issues might issue the suggestion, “every time you lie in bed, you fall asleep quickly and deeply.”

How it works

Direct suggestion works best when it’s compounded, or repeated several times. It’s the simplest hypnotic technique because it requires the least active mental participation on the part of the person undergoing hypnosis.

Why it’s successful

Direct suggestion is successful because people want change. They wouldn’t undergo hypnosis if they didn’t, and consequently they start to see changes in their mindset once they start accepting direct suggestions. However, for some people, direct suggestion wears off. This happens because old habits die hard. But direct suggestion is often a way for hypnotists to uncover the deeper patterns behind their clients’ issues, and hypnotists can use it alongside techniques like regression or parts therapy to uncover and address a client’s deeper root issues in a way that makes for lasting change.

Misconceptions

The main misconception about direct suggestion is that it’s a form of mind control. In Kate’s words: “if a person comes in and says, ‘I want you to make me do X,’ I say, ‘do you want to do X?’ and if they say ‘no,’ then we can’t help them.” Direct suggestion can only help you make changes you already want to make. Once you want to make a change, however, direct suggestion under hypnosis is a very powerful tool.

Issues it can especially help with

Almost every issue can be helped in some way by direct suggestion, especially habits like nail biting or smoking.

Parts Work:

The Basic Idea

The parts technique is based on the premise that all of us have various parts of ourselves that are responsible for different behaviours, and that all of these different parts have the same goal: to take care of the whole. It logically follows from this premise that even negative behaviours have positive subconscious intentions behind them.

How it works

Parts work often assumes the format of question-and answer. Once the client is in hypnosis, the hypnotist calls on the part of the client that is creating behaviour that the client wants to change, and they try to find out its positive intent. They ask the client what is important to them about this behaviour, and then when the client answers, they ask them what is important to them about that intention, and so on, until they find a positive intention that agrees with the client’s conscious mind. For example, take a hypnotist working with a client for weight loss: through parts work, the client might discover that the part of them that overeats does so out of a desire for safety. This insight might help the client’s conscious mind identify the subconscious desire that leads to their bad behaviour, which would make it easier for them to avoid the behaviour once they leave the session.

Why it’s successful

This technique can be extremely successful because it lets the client uncover new insights about their own subconscious, which helps them identify why they are prone to certain behaviours.

Issues it can especially help with

The parts technique is especially helpful for changing behaviours. This can include bad eating choices, procrastination, nail biting, and smoking, among others.

Regression:

The Basic Idea

Regression aims to address emotional problems by uncovering an “initial sensitizing event,” which is the root experience or memory behind a negative emotion or fear.

How it works

Once the client is in hypnosis, the hypnotist typically asks the client to feel the emotion that they are struggling with. That feeling acts as an emotional bridge into the past. The hypnotist then verbally guides the client back in time, through their memory, to see what memories bubble to the surface. In Kate’s words, “it’s really inner child work. You have the adult version of a client go back and find the child who was scared or helpless, and have them go through the experience while feeling safe and feeling okay about it.” Often, Kate says, she doesn’t even have to get to that stage because the uncovered memory is itself such an eye-opener for the client that their mindset is changed.

Why it’s successful

The regression technique can be very successful because it gets to the root of a client’s problem. It uncovers something that’s been trapped in the subconscious and takes away its power.

Misconceptions

The most common misconception about the regression technique is that it can help delve into past lives. The hypnotists at the Morpheus Clinic for Hypnosis don’t practice past-life regression because we feel as though it has no scientific or empirical basis. Some people have a fear of regressing into their memory, but as Kate explains, “the initial stigmatizing event is just something that the client has experienced when they were younger that they didn’t yet have the skills to cope with.” In the present, they often find that they can.

Issues it can especially help with

Anything to do with emotional issues like anxiety, phobias, or fears.

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