Several years ago, a group of counselors hired a Texas Tech professor to teach them how to use hypnosis in their counseling and therapy practice. I had the privilege of being part of that group, and I can say that I was surprised by what I learned in the 12-week class.
Some people have a false notion that hypnosis is somehow letting someone else take over your will. In the very conservative Christian traditions, folks go so far as to believe it is somehow demonic and dark. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Hypnosis is more like a guided tour. It may be used to teach the subject how to relax or how to calm anxiety or fear. Sometimes hypnosis can be used to think about a new strategy or to create a new habit. I taught a young woman how to take control of her paralyzing panic attacks so that she could live her life in a healthy way.
Our Texas Tech professor taught us that we should not create resistance when we are leading a subject into a hypnotic state. For example, “your eyes are getting really heavy” can produce resistance. “O yeah,” the subject might say, “my eyes aren’t heavy.” On the other hand, to say, “I wonder what it would be like if your eyes were really heavy, and you could scarcely keep them open” would not be resistance-creating.
I am interested in this because I have found that hypnosis taught me some important facts about human interaction. How much better to relate to others in a way that does not create needless roadblocks and hurdles. Going into the back door is indirect and much more disarming and welcoming than barging in through the front door.
Congress could learn a thing or two from hypnosis. Our representatives could get much more done if they would ask more “what if” questions than throwing their opinions at one another and name-calling.
“I wonder what it would be like if we just treated each other like friends.”