Why and When to use Regression with Hypnosis Clients

A recent article (20 Jan 2012) published by a Daily Express writer expressed concern that "most hypnotherapists are not very interested in the power of suggestion" - suggesting that too many therapists spent session times unearthing "rotten old thoughts and memories".

Most Hypnotherapists that we are aware of will treat their clients according to the training that they have received - so can there be a right or wrong way to go about this?

In our opinion this usually depends on the problem that the client is presenting. For instance if someone wishes to stop smoking they wouldn't usually expect to have to undergo several sessions of analysis before receiving suggestions to quit the habit.

Or would they?

If suggestion therapy fails on the first session what do you do? You have several choices:

  • Offer them a refund - in which case you have failed to help them and are admitting that you aren't able to.
  • Write them off as a failed case - this certainly won't enhance your reputation as a professional therapist.
  • Refer them to a different therapist - implying that you don't have enough experience or expertise in this area.
  • Offer them further sessions to find out why your suggestions didn't work.

If you decide on the last option then there is a chance that suggestion therapy may work the second time. There could be several reasons for the first failure, e.g.

  • They were pre-occupied with other concerns or distractions made them unable to relax.
  • They didn't agree with certain suggestions that you made.
  • You failed to make a positive impression on them.
  • They weren't committed to quitting smoking.
  • They wanted to quit but there were other issues involved.

Of course these are only a few possible reasons but only by discussing this with your client will you find what those reasons are - and it's quite probable that your client wouldn't even know the real reason if other issues were indeed involved.

So, following on from the last bullet point, how will you discover what those issues are?

The most obvious step would be to find out what their secondary gain is and from there use either progression or regression to help them.

If, for example, smoking fills a void in their life you will hopefully help them to identify more beneficial ways of occupying their time and incorporate this into your session.

If smoking helps them to feel more confident then working on their self-esteem may be the key.

In some cases the reasons for low self esteem stem from negative upbringing, i.e. being overly criticized or put-down as a child or another experience from the past.

Masking the problem by simply suggesting they are now confident human beings is not the answer.

Instead they may need to be regressed (if they have consciously blocked out details of such happenings) in order to recall and evaluate what happened in their past and view it from an adult perspective.

Young children are often easily impressed - and not always positively - by authority figures and if an adult constantly tells them they're useless they will eventually believe it.

However during regression they are able to release any negative emotions and register both consciously and subconsciously that such criticisms were unfounded and unnecessary and from there, accept suggestions that they are worthwhile people who deserve respect.

The news writer also mentioned treating fears with suggestion, (Quote: It can help some people but it won't get you over that crippling phobia of clowns nearly as well as old-school hypnosis, in which a charismatic and authoritarian hypnotist puts you under and tells you you're fine about clowns.).

But if you had a similar fear and your therapist were to suggest that you are now fine about clowns, (without doing any exploratory work) - we think you'd be just like us and sit there thinking - "No I'm not" and leave feeling very dissatisfied.

We are not against the charismatic and authoritarian approach but if a therapist doesn't feel comfortable with using this method of hypnotizing then their clients will unconsciously pick up on this and their sessions will be virtually useless.

Also some clients can be very apprehensive about such an approach as they feel they will have no control over themselves.

As fellow Hypnotherapists we believe that we should follow our instincts and do what we feel is best, providing the client is happy with this.

This means that if they only want one session of suggestion therapy and we feel they would benefit more from unearthing those rotten memories then we should explain our reasons - but always accept the client's decision.

The journalist ends his article with "It's tough to find a hypnotherapist who will really hypnotise you but it's worthwhile when you do."

We couldn't disagree more - it's not tough at all. Personally we have heard about the type of hypnotherapist he is condemning but have never actually met one - have you?

So where did he go shopping?

Maybe he only tried the franchises which as far as we know are heavily restricted in what they can do and offer, or maybe it's a 'London' thing?

Submitted by Mary Mitchell



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