Thursday, August 2, 2007

Conversation Snippets

The other night I dined with a few friends, and a few would-be friends (I had just met them). And as we had not met before, one inevitably asked what I do for a living (yes, I am in the states currently). So, I told them. One thought it was pretty cool. And then there was the biological studies major, who informed me he had spent some time studying hypnosis in a psychology class. They had dedicated something like eight hours (I think it may have been six, but I feel generous today) to discussion, theory, and perhaps practice? He told me in that reverent-I-am-in-college-so-I-know way, that the class came to the conclusion that hypnosis only works if you believe in it. Whenever I hear that I cannot help but think of Peter Pan and "clap your hands if you believe in fairies." And then he dismissed the subject and we were on to quantum psychics.

Now in reading that last paragraph you may think I am being condescending to college students, so let me get this straight. Having enough degrees myself, I find college students charming with fresh optimism (and gosh I hope they all keep it) and often self-confidence. When they are new to the world like that they show a wonderful worldliness of experience (their own or that surmised). I say all this is a fond reminiscent way.

This is where I really find people's reactions to hypnosis interesting. As a practitioner, it is so much a part of my life, perhaps I take it for granted. It is there when I need it for self-work, and it is there when clients need it, and seek it. But I find people who are not enmeshed in it a nice break from reality, especially the ones who know just enough to have a conversation.

Then dinner conversation continued on to topics such as future plans, curing cancer, and just as abruptly as changing the subject from hypnosis to quantum psychics, the conversation turned to say-I-think-they-have-bread-pudding-for-dessert.


Paul said...

While I'm lazy and I procrastinate entirely too much, I do find it sometimes funny when people ask what my hobbies are and I mention a lifelong study of hypnosis (lifelong meaning over 30 years now). No, I'm not certified, never been to classes, or "professional" training, it's all self-taught, but the obvious reaction is "Oh, so what, are you gonna swing a watch and put me to sleep or something, or can you really do that?" to which my eternal response is "Of course I can."

Hey, if they want to believe in the myth, then I'll use the power of the myth to get them into trance long enough so they can experience it and find out just how wrong they typically are about what hypnosis is. I'd even go so far as to suggest they do something that I already know they'd refuse to do both consciously and unconsciously so they'd have ratification that what I teach them about them being in control - at either conscious or unconscious levels - and watch that look of surprise when they snap themselves right out of trance at the giving of the suggestion.

I'm all for teaching, that's a given. So as any good hypnotist knows, you use what the client comes in with to enhance or completely make the experience something they'll not only remember but hopefully take something very positive away from. If all they bring with them is a belief in the myths, then I'll use those very beliefs to alter them based on the client's own personal experience in that session to convince them otherwise and make the foundation for the belief change.

But the pocketwatch, yeah, that's the winner almost every time. :)

Have fun, always...

The Transparent Hypnotist said...

So, do you carry around a pocket watch for such opportunities? LOL.
you must be a fairly good showman for that. I think I would probably giggle for a little while. Perhaps it's just that I have never tried this.

A few years ago, I remember reading in the NGH Journal something about how the group was trying to elevate the status of hypnotism and no longer was using pocket watches or hand shake trances during the conference. I was actually a little disappointed. Being somewhat sentimental, I like the idea of the pocket watch. It is our history. That and candle flames.

Paul said...

Yah, I would tend to agree to that. Use the tools that get your "foot in the door," so to speak, and then run with it. The client, before ever meeting us, has already been perpetrating the "myth" of hypnosis with the "put me to sleep," or the "take over my mind" stuff, so why not extend that just a tad further to get them to experience real hypnosis and then show them what part(s) of the myth aren't true at all? I don't have issues with it, I can't see why anyone else would.

People still raise their children to believe in Santa Clause, the Easter Rabbit, etc. Has that suddenly become something we now frown upon and only desire to shove reality down our children's throats, ruining any possibility of their burgeoning imagination from really growing?

I certainly hope not. So if the client believes the myths, so be it: take it and run with it and then teach them the truth through experience itself. Erickson didn't think their was a better way to learn what real hypnosis is - who am I to argue with him? :)

Have fun, always...

The Transparent Hypnotist said...

No pocket watch? Good Lord, man! LOL. I understand, waiting for the right one to come along.

Perhaps that will be the Sunday question - what does your dream pocket watch look like?