Using hypnosis techniques for supportive parenting
By Rita Ballard
Hypnosis is defined as “a sleeplike condition that can be artificially induced in people, in which they can respond to questions and are very susceptible to suggestions from the hypnotist” (Encarta World English Dictionary).
This definition pretty much plays into people’s apprehensions that hypnosis puts you to sleep and that someone can influence your thinking. Look at the word “trance” -- that conjures up an image of a zombie-like automaton. Allow me to take some of the mystery out of hypnosis.
A more accurate description of hypnosis would be to call it a heightened state of relaxation. The hypnotist simply says words that allow you to become more relaxed than usual. Not everyone falls asleep under hypnosis. Trance-like conditions can occur, if the situation calls for a very deep relaxation to be induced. But the average person visiting a hypnotherapist would not need to be comatose. They only need to be relaxed.
In the usual hypnosis session, the client sits in a chair. A series of suggestions is made to help the client gradually become more and more relaxed. Once the desired level of relaxation is met, the therapist can talk to the client and the client can answer when necessary. The therapist can make suggestions for change in ways that support the client’s values.
Hypnotists do not put thoughts into a client’s head. Using previous conversations between client and hypnotherapist, suggestions are given that can be used and assimilated by the client. According to the late Dr. Milton Erickson, “the hypnotic technique serves only to induce a favorable setting in which to instruct the patient in a more advantageous use of his own potentials of behavior.”
Putting the techniques to work
The use of hypnotic techniques could be very valuable in today’s families. Parents can make suggestions to their children in the form of normal conversations.
For example, suppose your child is not doing his homework. The natural consequences occur: your child gets a bad grade in the class, his teacher calls you in for a conference, you and your child have a heated discussion over homework, your child becomes angry, sullen and withdrawn. The homework still does not get done.
Now suppose that you replace the heated discussion with randomly made statements over a period of time, such as “I see that you’re really trying to get done on time,” “Notice how much better you’re feeling,” or “Before you know it, you’ll have that grade up and you’ll be feeling much better about it.” These are all suggestions that don’t put any pressure on your child.
They simply suggest that your child is doing the homework and is feeling better. Pretty soon, your child also will assume that it is true and will make it so.
The mind will follow
Making random, seemingly unrelated statements leads listeners to make sense of them and draw their own conclusions. This is done on a subconscious, subjective level. Saying things like “Some people finish things before they need to” can subconsciously translate as “I (some people) can finish my homework (finish things) on time (before they need to).”
The greatest thing about the subconscious mind is that it believes whatever you tell it. Therefore, if you make statements that assume that your child is successful at completing his homework, your child’s subconscious will make it true.
© Rita Ballard
Rita Ballard is a licensed hyponotherapist and is certified in therapeutic touch. A professional virtual assistant specializing in the health field (and particularly mental health), she aims to virtually restore balance to her clients, one task at a time. See her business site Healer’s Helper for more information about virtual assistants.