Creating Connections Now With Hypnosis

Creating Connections Now With Hypnosis

“Creating Connections in Hypnosis” tends to engage a different focus, not looking at what is wrong and correcting it, but rather look at what might be missing for that person, what has that individual lost contact with?

Through his own practice and learnings from Milton Erikson, it became obvious to Dr. Rob that when someone does something that they like, the simple fact that they like it means that they have the skills and the resources to deal with it.

On the opposite side, any time someone has a problem, there’s something missing to them, something that they’ve lost contact with. Therapy involves trying to get to the root of the missing piece: if we know what’s missing for someone, what they’re looking for and what they want, then we know what we’re looking for. And if we know what someone likes to do, we know where to look to find the resources.

The missing piece

This notion of looking for resources that someone gets disconnected from is the core of what Milton Erickson was doing and what Dr. Rob learned and what he teaches. And it’s interesting to look at the word “psychotherapy” because it has two components, “psyche” and “therapy”, and there’s a Greek derivation – “psyche” means the soul, not the mind. And therapy comes from the Greek word “therapia”, which means healing.

So in a way, the true expression of psychotherapy is helping someone to heal their soul. And in the medical model, there is an assumption that something is wrong with someone.

We make a diagnosis so we can treat it and fix it. But in the process of healing, we’re not so much interested in finding out what is wrong, but more about what’s missing for this person. What have they lost contact with? What is it that they’re not making use of that if they did, they’d be okay?

An example of that which you might find inspiring was a client of Milton Erickson that had been washing her hands obsessively for 15 years. Milton said “I was very interested to find out what she used to do with her hands 16 years ago”. So he was not looking to find out what caused this obsession. He was not treating OCD. He was helping her to become more in touch with her resources that she got out of touch with. Erickson made a big emphasis on learning. He said, “all of our problems are learnt limitations. So we learn to limit ourselves.”

“Learning” our problems

Any time there is a problem, if we look closely, we’ll see there’s some kind of constraint, some kind of limitation that we’ve learned. If someone can learn to have a problem, they can learn to have a solution. So if someone, for example, has a phobia, they’ve learned to have that particular reaction to a spider or airplanes, if they can learn to be phobic and terrified, they can also learn to be secure, learn to feel safe, learn to trust.

There’s a very different focus and Erickson was very helpful in saying that when a client comes to see it, they always bring their solution with them, only they don’t know that they bring their solution with them. Then it becomes very nice time working with your client, helping them to find the solution that they brought that they didn’t know that they brought.

How can we help someone to connect with that solution that they brought? It became so obvious that when we do something that we like, the fact that we like it means that we have the skills, the resources to deal with it, to correct anything that happens to go wrong. For example, the oldest son likes to ride his bicycle, and he rides his bicycle every morning pretty well.

And if the chain comes off his bike, if he falls off, if it’s cold, if it’s raining, if he’s hungry, if he’s thirsty, he knows how to handle those things. So when he’s riding his bicycle and when any of us are doing anything that we like, it turns out that we have skills right at our fingertips.

And so we can discover and make use of the fact that every person, when they’re doing something they like, has all the resources they need to deal with that situation. And any time someone has a problem, there’s something missing to them, something that they’ve got lost contact with.

Knowing where to look

Creating Connections Now With Hypnosis

Then our job is to help them to reconnect with that. And if we know what’s missing for someone, what they’re looking for, what they want, what’s going to be useful, then we know what we’re looking for. And if we know what someone likes to do, we know where to look to find the resources. Anything that is present in the likes is going to be missing in a problem. Anything that’s missing in any problem is going to be present in their likes.

So that’s the direction that Erickson invited us and what Dr. Rob teaches as well is not to find something wrong with someone and correct it, but to explore with each unique individual what is missing for them, what they want, what would be helpful for them, and then hope to help them to make that connection so they’ll be okay.

Problems happen to us. If we introduce the idea of learning, then there is a process. “So there’s nothing wrong with me, it’s just that I have learned something unhelpful”. Rather than feeling like “something is a part of me, that there’s something that I can’t do anything about, and it happens to me”. Learning can be a conscious intention, as you mentioned, and it can also be a process of just learning through experience. It’s the process – Sometimes we learn something.

Someone says something and we get it and we’ve got it for life. And then what was that person’s name? What did they say? What was I going to do? I came into this room to do something, but what did I come in here for? What have I done with my car keys? Where did I park my car? All of these things are learnt, and then we need to be reminded.

So people have got different learning styles, and it’s so helpful to explore the style, the way this individual learns. And the way they learn to have the problem can be an indication about how they can find their solution and how they learn to do whatever they like to do gives us a clue about how they learn so how they can learn to have the solution.

So then I would say that when any effective therapy is effective, it’s like a connection. That is where we are creating the connections together with the client, assisting them in discovering their own solutions to the problem.

The tool of hypnosis in finding solutions

A lot of people get really tangled and complicated and argue about what is hypnosis. Some people say it’s a state, some people say everything is hypnosis, some people say nothing is hypnosis. And if you’ve talked to a lot of experts, you’ll get an argument and you’ll spend days or weeks or years or decades debating about what is and what isn’t hypnosis.

What would be helpful instead of defining it, to have some agreement about what we can observe when something happens that we call hypnosis. Dr. Rob likes to describe hypnosis as an experience where there’s focus and absorption that we can mutually agree to call hypnosis. So it’s a mutual agreement.

Milton Erickson used to talk about common everyday trance: when we read a book, we watch a movie, we get focused and absorbed in reading the book, in watching a movie, we get focused and absorbed in it. And he called that the common everyday trance. So if we think of hypnosis and hypnotherapy as an extension of the common everyday trance, then that makes it something that is available to everyone in their own individual way, and there’s no need to measure the depth of it.

There’s no need to work out whether someone is hypnotizable or not because every person in their own way has their experience of becoming focused and absorbed in something. Therefore hypnosis then becomes an invitation for anyone, an invitation to recall and reexperience something that is familiar to them. And that gets rid of all the weirdness of hypnosis, all that kind of nonsense that goes on around hypnosis. That description of focus and absorption is something that we agree on.

Through the kind of hypnosis where we are getting focused and absorbed, we have a chance to learn something that’s useful, that’s going to be helpful. If we have that distinction, there is the kind of power over approach to hypnosis, and there’s also the evoking from within someone, reconnecting, learning something from within someone.

And that’s the kind of hypnosis that we’re doing here. That’s the focus of Dr. Rob’s approach to hypnosis, “it’s an invitation into something as an extension of what’s very familiar instead of induction, like inducing something in someone from me”.

In psychotherapy, it’s not a thing that’s broken and needs fixing. It’s organic. We’re humans, we are not machines, we’re not mechanical, we don’t need techniques. Who we are as human beings is an organic creature, a learning creature. And so that provides a very different context and a very different relationship between therapist and client. Then how can we bring all of these ideas together?

Probably the most interesting part of Dr. Rob’s approach in hypnotherapy is the unique way of interacting with clients by setting a positive mood for the conversation. Consequently, the first session would always start by focusing on what that person likes to do, what is he/she good at? Simple questions that reverse the standard mood of starting a session, opening the mind to viewing a problem through a different pair of lenses.

If we know what someone likes and what they like about that, then we can explore and find out the problem that brought the client here, that they want to do something about? If we just say, “what’s the problem?” They’ll show us in an unhelpful way.

But if we can add some sort of presuppositional language in there, “what would be helpful for you?” If you could, to use the solution focused miracle question: “If a miracle happened and the problem was gone, what would be different? What would be present?” And what is present with the solution is going to be missing in the problem.

Creating the connections

Creating Connections Now With Hypnosis

Then we’ll know what we’re looking for, what’s missing, and we know where to look for, the likes. It’s a pretty good combination. So when we find out what someone likes, what they like about it, what’s the problem? How come that’s a problem? And then to get some clarity about what’s missing for them, that if they had it, they’d be okay? That gives us a very clear direction for our work to go to follow.

Basically, if we know what we’re looking for and we know where to look for it, then we’ve got a pretty good combination and then we can start a session. When we’ve found out, we’ve offered those questions, we can invite someone into an experience of remembering, recalling, imagining they’re doing something that they like to do, and then we can invite someone to get focused, to become absorbed. After that, we can introduce a familiar, everyday, ordinary kind of experience of producing, of inviting an experience that we can describe as hypnosis.

That’s an easy way, a respectful way of inviting anyone into hypnosis simply by inviting them to get connected with the experience of doing something they like to do. Now when they’re in there, we know what we’re looking for.

For example, they’re riding their bike or in the garden or they’re walking in the forest, we can invite them to focus on that and to get absorbed in that and look for the specific resource that we’ve discovered together is missing for them and expect to find it. “It always happens. People can… Remarkable.” says Dr. Rob who hasn’t had an exception yet in the last 30 years or so that he’s been playing with this. “It’s always there, and it’s so beautiful because discovering, oh, it’s always there. Then there’s no kind of massive effort required.”

In some cases, just by making an appointment, just by knowing that they’re going to talk about it, sometimes that is enough to allow the connection to happen. That’s the process of getting someone focused and absorbed in something they like, looking for the missing resource, giving them a chance to get really familiar with it, learn it, and then find a way of connecting that back with the problem situation. That can be easy or can be convoluted, but it doesn’t matter.

The assumption that the connection can happen, our expectancy, our confidence that it is possible sets the scene for something useful to happen. And we can even say that the problem that you’re having is the same as the experience that you like to do.

In other cases where the client finds it difficult to connect, we can also add the possibility that you don’t need to learn this process here and now. It can happen later, might be when you’re eating your breakfast tomorrow or when you’re walking the dog next week. Sometime, it’ll just happen, might happen in your dreams. So we’re setting up the possibility of that connection happening without prescribing a particular time and place and limitation on.

Then we have a structure that we can play with. And then when someone’s made that connection, we can invite them out of hypnosis and a beautiful question to then ask is what’s different now than when we started? When we find out what’s different now than when we started, then there is an opportunity for the client to reflect.

And no matter what response you receive, there are always ways to go back and try to find out what would be helpful for the person regarding their problem. No matter how you look at it, the solution to their problem is always there, it’s just a matter of finding it through a different path that is probably more meaningful and close to that client.

Watch our latest video here!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.