Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Traditional vs Modern Hypnosis

There are two very distinct forms of hypnotherapy taught in this country - the traditional, often script-based approach, and the modern Ericksonian approach. They are sometimes better known as the direct or authoritative hypnosis, and indirect or permissive hypnosis.

When you watch stage hypnosis with a hypnotist directing their subject with statements like “you will feel completely relaxed and go deeper and deeper,” then you are looking at traditional hypnosis.

Traditional hypnosis tends to be very directive, and despite being largely unchanged since the 1930s, it is still the dominant approach taught in Australia. Itʼs about telling the client what to do in hypnosis, and works on the premise that you can simply instruct the unconscious mind and it will follow willingly. And in some cases, this will work because the client thinks it will work. This form of hypnosis has been referred to as a “non deceptive placebo” because the client feels better about the situation without any new skills or significant or lasting intervention taking place.

The plethora of hypnosis tapes and hypnosis scripts available on the web are also predominantly traditional hypnosis. This form of hypnosis lends itself to standardised scripting because it is not so concerned with addressing the individual needs of the client, but rather, a generalised symptom removal.

Some studies claim that this form of hypnosis rarely achieves more than a 30% success rate, and has a higher relapse rate because although the client may feel better, they may not always do better the next time something similar happens.

Modern or Ericksonian Hypnosis is a completely different approach. Each intervention is tailored to the individualʼs needs and as a result, this approach tends to achieve much higher success rates. A raft of research points to client factors as being pivotal in any therapeutic outcome (see the work of Scott Miller). This approach is built around understanding what the client needs, and what is unique about their situation. In modern hypnosis, you will assist clients to change the way they perceive a situation and even build better cognitive skills around challenging circumstances.

Moreover, the modern approach has another advantage. Modern hypnosis is non directive. Where traditional hypnosis tells clients what to do, modern hypnosis offers possibilities for the client to consider. Traditional hypnosis was a product of a social environment that accepted authority easily. Those days are gone. Even when what you are telling a client what is the right thing for them to do, direct instruction tends to create resistance that gets in the way of client outcomes.

This is why the Australian Institute of Clinical Hypnotherapy focuses its attention on modern Ericksonian and solution-oriented forms of hypnosis. It just gets better results!

Learn more here:

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