When I read my first book about hypnosis, it was the great Ormond McGill’s “Encyclopedia of Stage Hypnotism.” It was on Labor Day 1969.
At that time, I read the “Hands Clasp” script to my father in law and it did not work! That was OK and in November of that year I took Harry Aron’s weekend seminar in Boston, Massachusetts. I loved it!
Since I had some acting experience in local small theater, I leaned towards stage hypnosis and started to follow a Canadian stage hypnotist, Sam Vine who was appearing frequently in my home town. Later, Sam and I became good friends and he taught me quite a bit about stage hypnosis. Without belaboring my career in stage hypnosis, let me just say that it has been an extremely rewarding and enjoyable journey in my life.
At the same time, I did partner with Burt Seavey in Lynn Massachusetts who had converted his garage into a nice little office where I would watch him administer hypnosis to clients.
I also felt that I should further my education and attained a Bachelor’s degree with Empire State College in Saratoga Springs, NY. Thirteen months later I received my Masters degree in Hypnotherapy and Psychology form Norwich University in Montpelier, VT. Both degrees are e accredited and were obtained through the “External Degree Program,” formally entitled “University Without Walls.”
I then became certified with the AAEH- The association to advance Ethical Hypnosis which was headed by Harry Arons and then I also became a certified hypnotist with the National Guild of Hypnosis (NGH) in which I have been associated with for over 20 years. It has been a wonderful association as I watched, and hopefully I helped, the NGH grow into the giant organization that it is today. The NGH is the largest, most friendly educational teaching organization in over 73 countries.
I learned by working with thousands of clients that no matter how deeply a person goes into hypnosis, nobody actually knows if that person will accept or reject our suggestions.
I have learned that if I can get that person to feel good about himself/herself, then they will accomplish their goals in most cases.
As Harry Arons once said “The only thing that you can be sure of about hypnosis, is that you cannot be sure of anything!” You never know how a person is going to react and follow you suggestions, or not.
I have learned that when you find a common goal with a client, the door opens up and you then have rapport. For example, if I ascertain that this client is a golfer, and I have made a DVD for golfers, then we have a connection and they usually become more open and responsive to me and the suggestions that follow.
I have learned that testing is something a client CAN accomplish while a challenge is something that he/she CANNOT accomplish. A perfect example of that is the “HANDS-CLASP” experiment. First, the client is able to lock his/her hands and then it switches to a challenge whereby he/she cannot unlock their hands.
I have learned that challenges such as the “Eye Catalepsy,” the “Hands Clasp,” and perhaps the “Ideo-motor” response whereby he/she cannot stop a finger from going up and down no matter how hard they try will help to deepen the level of hypnosis.
I have learned that when I use the word “Receptive” rather than “Suggestibility,” it makes it a bit easier for the client to accept and follow your experiments. To me, the word suggestibility has a slight connotation of gullibility. Now, don’t get bent out of shape on this theory of mine. I know that millions of very good hypnotists use the word “Suggestibility,” and that is fine….it is just my own feeling about it.
I have learned that if I make a cassette tape of at least the first session, and if the client actually listens to it for 21 days, my success rate goes up. I believe that all hypnosis might be temporary unless it is reinforced. There are several ways to reinforce the suggestions. One is to have the client come back for repeated sessions. The other is to tape the sessions for them….remember to give them the tape. I have, at times, left the tape in the recorder and then have to scramble to get the tape to the client. Another way to reinforce is to teach the client Self-Hypnosis. These are just a few methods of reinforcement.
I have learned that when a client is not doing well with the program, then you need to search for the cause of the problem a little bit deeper. They probably have other issues going on that they did not mention. Address those issues and perhaps the client will respond favorably.
I have learned that a client will be successful IF they have a burning and sincere desire to make a change in their lives. As a hypnotist, you will be effective ONLY if the client has a sub-conscious desire to make the changes. Remember that change in life is not only necessary, but can be very enjoyable.
I have learned that when I use certain phrases….THEY WORK!…in most cases.
Phrases such as” “YOU MIGHT FEEL LIKE SMOKING BUT…..YOU DON’T HAVE TO.” “YOU MIGHT FEEL LIKE OVEREATING, BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO.”
The phrase “YOU DON’T HAVE TO,” takes the compulsivity element out of the temptations and gives them the POWER OF CHOICE….which, in most cases has been dormant for some time as smokers smoke compulsively as well as overeaters, etc.
In summation, I have learned that when you treat a client with respect and dignity, as you would like to be treated, they will follow your suggestions……………………..in most cases. You never know.
I hope that these ideas might help you in having a successful event with hypnosis.
Jerry Valley, MACP, Director: Valley Hypnosis Center, Methuen, MA, 978-688-6657