History of Hypnosis
Hypnosis has been around for thousands of years, hypnos comes from the Greek word sleep and over the years it has been called many different things. You may have heard of more common terms such as mesmerism! This phrase was due to the work that Franz Anton Mesmer did on hypnosis – which he called ‘animal magnetism’. Hypnosis started to become popular with the emergence of early psychological approaches in the 1800s, when doctors looked at the mind as well as the body. Charcot a French Neurologist was very well known for his work on hypnosis. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Martin_Charcot
James Braid was perhaps the one best known as the father of modern hypnosis. His work was groundbreaking and influences a lot of today’s hypnosis practice. In fact, it was Braid that first wrote an account of hypnosis being used for childbirth, to induce labour in a mother. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Braid_%28surgeon%29
Book – The Beginner’s Guide to Hypnotherapy – Rory Fulcher https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beginners-Guide-Hypnotherapy-Rory-Fulcher/dp/1502978830
Stage and Clinical Hypnosis
There are several different approaches to hypnosis. Stage hypnosis is the one most often seen and reflected on by people coming to hypnosis with little knowledge. Stage hypnosis is a clever mix of psychology and illusion – yes there is hypnosis involved but if someone engages in a stage performance they will be choosing to engage in it, even if that choice is unconscious. This often comes down to the complexity of human character, wanting to be involved, or to please or not let people down may be an unconscious narrative driving someones willingness to engage in hypnosis on stage. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stage_hypnosis
Clinical hypnotherapy is very different. The client is choosing to engage in the therapy but is an active participant in an ethical and structured session. Proper notes are taken and a client is protected and kept safe in a client/therapist relationship. Clinical hypnosis is based on evidence-based practice. Common things that might include this are: IBS, Stopping smoking, working with phobias, weight loss, confidence building, pain management and so on. https://www.hypnotherapists.org.uk/4717/clinical-hypnotherapy/
Great video of Derren Brown talking about his work and the power of suggestion, Grab a cup of tea and watch! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Teouf1BgKNA
Empowering your CLient
Intentions and goals are important. Clients need to own their practice. This course is not very script-based as it’s important to empower the clients to use hypnotic tools very practically and to ensure that they are versatile. Listening to someone else take you into hypnosis is not as powerful as learning how you can use the tools yourself. It also put the onus on the partner to become a hypnotherapist which can be quite a tall order! A partner’s voice may not always be the most soothing thing for a client – but they may not want to tell you this.
Always with effective hypnosis it helping them see that they are doing it and it’s not being done to them.
State (in a deep hypnotic relaxation) and non-state hypnosis (awake and alert – different types make no difference to effectiveness. The first more relaxing, the second quicker. I client may expect a hypnotic relaxation in which case it has real value as it reinforces the treatment, the hypnotic relaxation becomes a suggestion in itself!
Boundaries and Ethics
Know your boundaries! The training you are doing is just for three days. A basic hypnotherapy diploma is 8 around 96 hours of training plus significant amounts of coursework and practicals. This is not to say that you can’t deliver a hypnobirthing class, but you must be very clear how you can work with your clients. Even if you are a trained trauma therapist you must do this within the boundaries of your other practice, not as a Mindful Mamma teacher.
Always keep client notes locked and protected with a password on a computer
Never share client’s details on social media without permission. Or announce a birth before your client.
If discussing a case on the practitioner group always use non-identifying information. “A mum I am working with”.
Do not research a client’s medical condition for them or give them advice. Always signpost. It can be useful for you to learn for yourself but even if you feel well qualified, make it very clear that “it’s fantastic that they are asking these questions” as that’s the purpose of the course, to get them to reflect, challenge, research and learn about their choices. It’s empowering for them!
It’s good to have a list of local practitioners in aromatherapy, massage, trauma work, hypnotherapy and so on that you can share with your clients.
There are lots of way to steer someone into hypnosis, often called hypnotic induction.
Rapid induction – this is often used when I am working with someone on a regular basis. Often people don’t need to go into a deep hypnotic relaxation to make a change, the language and suggestion a therapist uses are just as powerful. Sometimes I can just create a series of words like the “yes set” and set up an environment for change in the client’s mine. Clients who have been practicing the rapid relaxation and deepener can respond well by going into hypnosis quickly when they have conditioned their response to this. So if you are seeing people over a few weeks then this can be a helpful tool to take someone into a state of hypnosis quickly. With Mindful Hypnobirthing ultimately you are training a woman to go into self-hypnosis rapidly with lots of conditioning practice!
Progressive relaxation – more commonly used in hypnobirthing practice as it feels so good! Many people also expect this as part of hypnosis so it becomes a suggestion in itself. It’s perfectly normal to feel as if you are asleep, the more someone practices the more likely it is to happen. But for some people it can take a while before they feel comfortable allowing themselves to let go. Encourage your clients to keep going and to trust the process. Some suggestions can be helpful for example – “notice how easily you can come out when you want to..you know, the more you want to go into hypnosis the easier it will become, it’s always your choice, do what makes you comfortable” .
Practice: Make sure that you practice your induction script with willing friends and family so you feel confident with progressive relaxation.
This is an induction where you use a sudden moment of confusion like a missed handshake. To take a person into a deeper state of hypnosis. I’ll pop some youtube examples up – just for info. But don’t worry you won’t have to do any of this.
What does hypnosis feel Like?
Hypnosis can feel wonderful! It’s so relaxing. Some people feel as if they are asleep, some feel a drifting, a lightness, a heaviness. Occasionally people may feel uncomfortable – and describe breathing quickening or not being able to get their breath. This is often a sign of anxiety about the hypnosis itself, sometimes people come to hypnosis because they are attracted to what they can achieve, but the nature of hypnosis itself may cause worry. If this is the case ask the client about their beliefs around hypnosis, dispel them as best you can and then just ask them with their eyes open or closed to describe their last holiday to you. Then affirm that there were in a light hypnotic state. it should really build confidence.
Sometimes people will be a light state, which means they hear everything you say, sometimes a medium where they drift in and out and sometimes a deeper state where they won’t remember anything. I’ve found it makes little difference to outcome whether someone is highly hypnotistable or not.
Sensory changes may take place, sometimes a feeling of detachment. As you bring someone up out of hypnosis I always make sure that they are ground by “wriggling fingers and toes”. It’s these sensory changes that are very powerful with pain management – often people in a deep state of hypnosis who have chronic pain have a chance of perception of that pain while in hypnosis, often noticing how it has disappeared altogether.
The power of Suggestion and Language
Hypnosis is all suggestion. It’s a therapy of clever language structure, there are a multitude of language sets that you can learn to help embed suggestions in your classes. Use the cards below to help you remind yourself of these sets and write your own that you can learn by heart. Some people say there is no hypnosis, only suggestion. Actually hypnosis states are evidenced, but for people that are not receptive to hypnosis, a suggestion is brilliant too – we are all open to suggestions, every day and your clients will respond very well to positive suggestions. Prof Irving Kirsch does some great work around this. I love his work on antidepressants and suggestion – it really shows the power of suggestion.
With hypnobirthing, women have been immersed in the suggestion that they can’t birth by our culture, what we are doing is suggesting that they can. What if you could birth your baby with confidence?
Irving’s work focuses on our understanding of placebo and challenges us to look at suggestions and beliefs within this context.
As part of hypnobirthing we are going to focus on the fundamentals for a hypnobirthing class. It has to be simple to you can teach it clearly, remember that most of your clients will not have ever come across hypnosis before. There are great hypnosis tools that are uncomplicated and straightforward to teach in a hypnobirthing class. As a trainer and teacher I like to make sure that it is as simple and effective as it can be – I don’t want you to be tied up in knots, I know that teaching this you will confidently be able to explain to the client what they need to know. This course will not make you a master hypnotherapist (though you may want to train after this!) instead it will help you feel confident in teaching hypnobirthing.
INterested to know more?
Wordweaving by Trevor Silvester – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wordweaving-Suggestion-Comprehensive-Creating-Hypnotic-ebook/dp/B0147PFJ5E/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=wordweaving&qid=1587730683&s=books&sr=1-1
Yes Sets – It’s sunny today isn’t it (yes) These steps are steep aren’t they (yes) I bet you are looking forward to your hypnobirthing practice
Double Binds – “Are you going to go into hypnosis in this chair or into deep relaxation in that chair?”
“Every noise or sound that you hear, will take you deeper into relaxation knowing that there is nowhere else you need to be right here right now.”
Try’s, hopes and mights – always do the Pen demo to get clients to see the impact of try if you hear anybody using that term! Just stop where you are and do it.
One of the things you’re really going to love about listening to your affirmations is how powerful these make you feel.
This would be for a male client specifically: I’m wondering if your Hypnobirthing is allowing you to/noticing feel more connected to your baby?
If you were to find 5 minutes in the day to practice, when would that be?
How would it feel if you could experience a few moments of bonding and relaxation with your baby every day from now until birth?
Maybe you’ll already start to feel more confident after this session and begin to feel calmly excited about the birth of your baby
I am curious to know if as you practice more you are able to imagine a feeling of warmth that allows you to relax whenever you need to.
How would it feel if you could let go of these worries you have about your birth, and begin to grow more and more confident each day the closer you get to meeting your baby
Focus your learning on:
Important things to learn for a hypnobirthing class
Learning how to use your voice, tone, depth and rhythm
Suggestion sets and language sets
Storytelling – My friend Joan
Being positive! I always end a sentence on a positive suggestion.
and finally…get your flow going by practicing with a friend.
If you are being asked a lot of medical questions you can’t answer: the response is “This is fantastic, this whole class is about switching on awareness of choice, so the starting to ask these questions shows that it’s working.”
Aims.org.uk, birthrights, NCT, Pandas, Tommys
Voice, tone and Rhythm
Your voice is special! Your client will associate your voice with calm, and support. Whatever you think about your voice your client will love it. I have taught so many people over the years, with accents, deep voice, high voices you name it, and however insecure they feel, their voice works when they learn two principles.
and Slower still!
Think of onomatopoeia, word high (mirror with lifting your voice). Keep your voice soft and slow but not breathy! Pace yourself, create pauses. Don’t worry about leaving seconds in between powerful suggestions – your clients have a different sense of time and will need those pauses. It may feel slow to you, but to your client, it will feel really relaxing. Think mother ease.
There will be repetition, sometimes reading will feel quite incongruent, sometimes you will miss words, or counting you’ll miss numbers…the key is to keep going. If there is noise, keep going…your client will be listening to you as the lead. If you don’t alter your course, neither will they.
Not everyone can visualise but everyone can imagine and this is essentially what visualisation is, imaging change through the suggestion of an object, colour, word, stories etc. This has been used for years to create change, from athletes imaging running faster to mothers using opening flower images to imagining their cervixes softening and opening. We use a number of visusliations in Mindful hypnobirthing.
Colour through association. Get someone relaxed then ask which colour comes into their mind as they relax. This colour can be used in the future to induce a state of relaxation through different means. Breathing it in, imagining it light a light moving through their body, being wrapped in it like a blanket, or a cloud – you get the idea!
Objects: Sensation dials, switches, control room these types of visualisation are brilliant to manipulate feelings and sensations.
Metaphor: Gardens, balloons, waves, travelling, are all great anchors for grounding a visual metaphor. These often take quite a lot of skill though, as the language that makes this work can be something even a hypnotherapist has to practice. There is a lot of this embedded in the audiotracks. It’s important to understand it, but it’s not something I expect you to create.
Special places: Beautiful and simple visualisation to teach to people privately. A visualisation of someone’s special place is a powerful way to go into a deep state of relaxation quickly and easily. “Simply use 321 relax relax relax and then say “tell me about your special place” “tell me more” “is there anything else”. No leading questions about what can you see feel hear, just let them tell you their story of their special place. Then use the deepener or the 32 relax, relax relax and read it back to them, repeating words, leaving long pauses. It’s very simple and very powerful.
Anchoring and Cue Association
This is using senses as a sat-nav. We all create associations with the world around us through our senses, the things that we see, feel, hear, smell and taste, evoking strong emotions and physical responses in our body. With birth, this aspect of hypnosis preparation can be really powerful. By learning how to create positive associations with the environment you birth in, you enable your body and mind to react unconsciously in a way that supports you and makes you feel safe and secure.
Example: If you go on holiday and had a great time, perhaps hearing the same song over and over again or drinking a favourite cocktail. If you were to listen to the song on your return, or have the same cocktail you would most likely have a lovely response to it.
The secret to making it work is CONDITIONING! Practice, practice, practice. This is why I created the short conditioning tracks with the class – they make it easy for clients to do quick, short frequent practice. They are effectively anchoring words, and phrases to a feeling of wellbeing.
Turning a glass half empty to a glass half full. Think of the deep pile carpet! If someone tells you a negative story use phrases like:
Did you feel supported? Did you feel well prepared? Did you have what you needed? Were you given choices and did you have a discussion with your caregivers about?