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Friday, August 29, 2008

What Is Hypnosis

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Uncommon Hypnosis Master Series
What is hypnosis

I'm a hypnotherapist trainer and I use hypnosis with my clients every day.

As a hypnotherapist, it can be a good idea to have an alternative professional title on
hand - such as the innocuous 'trainer' - to avoid the inevitable questions. I was chatting
at a party the other day when a friend of a friend asked me the dreaded question - "What
do you do for a living?" I say 'dreaded question' because as soon as you mention
'hypnosis' you usually get a barrage of all kinds of half-baked assumptions and
mythology.

Instead of saying 'hypnosis', I actually prefer to talk about 'updating instinctive
responses' or 'enabling your unconscious mind to work for your best interests' but, you
know, people like the word hypnosis. It conjures up all kinds of weird and wonderful
images and - let's face it - people like drama!

How many times have I heard: "Where's your swinging watch?" or "Can you make me
eat onions?" So anyway, this friend of a friend asks: "Can hypnosis make me more
confident? And how does it work?" Bearing in mind that I was off duty!

Well, firstly, how it works is pretty easy once we clear away all the piercing eyes,
swinging watches and black-caped mumbo jumbo. Hypnosis is a natural state akin to
night time dreaming, which happens during the Rapid Eye Movement phase of sleep,
otherwise known as REM.

REM sleep is called 'paradoxical sleep' because brain wave patterns are similar to how
they are during wak-ing hours. During the last three months in the womb, the human
neonate experiences more REM than at any other time during its life. It's during this time
that many human instincts are 'programmed' - such as empathy, fear of heights and the
ability to learn language.

By this time my new friend was looking glazed - quite trance-like, in fact. But by now I
was warming to my subject and continued...

So if instincts are laid down through the REM state before birth, then it makes sense,
during life outside the womb, to go back into the REM state in order to change your
responses to things. Which is what hypnosis does.

Your instincts try to help you out, but sometimes they've just learned the wrong
response. So your instincts may have learned to produce anxiety when it's not actually
helpful - such as during public speaking, dating or socializing.


I've never heard anyone say they consciously decided to bring on a panic attack or a
blush - these things just get switched on instinctively. So for 'hypnosis', think 'instinctive
programming'. You can understand why you have a problem, but if you want the problem
to disappear, it's your unconscious responses that ultimately need to change.

When hypnosis has done its job we hear things like: "I didn't even expect to feel different
but, you know, as soon as I got into that interview room I just felt so much more relaxed!"
When people talk like this what they are telling me is that their instincts have updated.
This is not the same as consciously learning something. And this is why we use
hypnosis.

Gamely trying to keep up and perhaps wishing he hadn't asked, my new friend's next
question was: "Is this why hypnotists used the swinging watch method - so they can
artificially induce the REM state in their subjects?"

"Yes, I replied - now you're beginning to understand what most people never do, what
hypnosis is and why it works." But you know the watch swingers hadn't made the
connection between the REM state and the eye movement caused by the watch
swinging induction - they just knew that somehow it worked.

The first step to being confident within a situation is to truly imagine being confident in
that time and place. Your imagination is aligned to your instincts, and so can program
them. People can imagine something scary, sexy or annoying, and their instincts can
produce emotional responses - even when those these things aren't actually happening
in reality.

The more dream like and rich this imaginative experience is, the more fixed the new
hypnotic blueprint or 'template' will be for actually being more confident in those times in
the future.

Using hypnosis for confidence means that you no longer have to try to be confident,
because the confidence starts to become and feel natural.

But my new friend hadn't finished yet. "What about problems? Can people cause them
by doing negative self hypnosis?"

"Sure they can," I said. If you think about an upcoming event at the same time as feeling
nervous, then you are priming your instincts to feel anxious in that future event. But we
use hypnosis to get people performing to the best of their potential.

You know the rest of the party was a bit of a blur, but I recall thinking that all truly
successful people have learned to use hypnosis positively whether they realize it or not.

In summary

So to sum up, hypnosis mimics the REM state to help you program your instincts to
create the sort of responses you require.

Suggestibility

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Suggestibility: How to be an Einstein
Mark Tyrrell
I was pounding the treadmill at the gym the other week, not looking at the clock, trying to
forget how slowly time was passing. Suddenly I noticed that the programme on the TV
monitor had changed from a quiz show to some sports event where athletes were running. I
was looking at people doing what I was doing. And a strange thing happened. As I watched
this pack of long distance runners, these lean mean running machines, I suddenly became
aware that my own pace had speeded up and that I was feeling more energised! This
happened quite unconsciously until the point where I happened to notice it. What would have
happened to me if there had been a show about elderly people getting about on their Zimmer
frames?
Seeing a `type' makes us act differently
Students were `experimented on' (no rats were available!) by psychologist John Bargh. He
wanted to prime their unconscious minds very specifically to influence their behaviour. He
asked students to walk down a corridor into his office where he gave them a test. They had to
make grammatical four word sentences out of apparently random lines of words as quickly as
possible. The students didn't know that many of the words were associated with the state of
being old ­ in other words, the `stereotype' being subliminally presented to the unconscious
minds of these young students was that of an old person. So they found themselves re-
arranging words like `grey', `old', `lonely', `bingo', `wrinkle', `Florida', etc. These words were
embedded among lots of other words and were not necessarily specifically linked to people at
all. What happened next was startling.
What Bargh was really testing for was the effect of this experience of subtle exposure to a
particular `type' on the way the students then walked back down the corridor away from his
office.
The vast majority walked out much more slowly than they had walked in. Their behaviour had
been influenced by words which fitted a stereotype (even though they were unaware of the
`elderly' words they had been exposed to!).
People exposed to words suggesting the type `rude' behaved more rudely afterwards. While I
myself was gym running, my mind was exposed to a `type' ­ fit, fast and athletic ­ which had
speeded up my running! Students subtly exposed to word tests more weighted with words
such as `strong', `firm', `young', `quick', `fast', `sporty' walked out more quickly back down the
corridor.
We are creatures who are easily influenced beyond our conscious awareness and who will
automatically try to fit the type or stereotype presented to us ­ especially if we are not
conscious of exactly what it is. So teenagers adopt the type they are exposed to on TV and
socially, and talk and dress and act accordingly (rather than imitate their parents). And we
tend to eventually adopt the accents and phrases and attitudes of those we mix with.
So if you want to score better in a fitness test, here's what to do. Watch athletes (or imagine
them) before or (ideally) while you are exercising. Or even think of as many `fit' words as you
can, like `able', `fit', strong', `stamina', `athletic', just before you exercise. You need to bring up
the stereotype `fit athlete' in your mind.
But now ask yourself this: Who do you surround yourself with?
Suggestibility
1

Pick your type
Environments which contain a majority of one `type' (stereotype), for example, old people's
homes, are likely to produce more of the behaviour associated with that type (infirm
behaviour) than a more mixed environment would. In Germany, nurseries and old people's
homes are being built side by side in some areas, with great results. The elderly residents
see and interact with the young and vibrant and therefore have the blueprint of `young' and
`lively' presented to them. The very young have a check on the `type' they are normally
exposed to, and have a chance to learn self restraint and thoughtfulness towards their older
neighbours.
And here's what to do if you want to score better in an IQ test.
Think like smart people
Two Dutch researchers carried out a study asking groups of students fairly difficult questions
from the game `Trivial Pursuit'. The groups were split into two, and half were asked to spend
the five minutes before the test thinking about what it means to be a college professor ­ e.g.
smart, glasses, air of academia, etc ­ and half were asked to think what it means to be a
soccer hooligan ­ e.g. rough, loud, trouble maker, drinking, arrests, etc. They wrote down all
the associations they could think of.
The `hooligan' group got an average score of 42.6 percent of the questions right. The
`professor' group's average was 55.6 percent.
The test was repeated several times with different groups, and allowances made for IQ and
even how familiar people were with Trivial Pursuit. The results came out the same. Thinking
about smart people (the stereotype) makes you smarter! Thinking about dumb people and
words you associate with stupidity makes you dumber!
All this has huge implications for communication. The words you use in your conversation, if
weighted to form a specific type, will have powerful effects on people you talk to ­ and you
will similarly be affected when you listen to others.
Bad therapy
If a therapist (or doctor) primes a patient with words like `difficult', `painful', `hard', `upsetting',
and so forth, the client is much more likely to fit their behaviour and experience
(unconsciously) to the `type' of a depressed or anxious or even physically pained person. All
good therapy schools teach their students how to use language effectively. If you pepper your
language with `comfortable', `calm', `good', `excellent', etc you will be presenting a positive
type for your listener to fit in with.
A doctor or surgeon who primes their patient with words like `heal', `comfort', `active', `better',
`rapid', `healthy', and so forth will activate the pattern of health and faster healing in their
patients more effectively than the health professional who is less aware of the power of
priming.
But here's where it gets even more interesting. Having a hero or an idol can be bad for you
and make you perform less well!
Einstein and the supermodels
When people were exposed to pictures of groups of professors, they did better in intelligence
tests because the stereotype `professor' activated the bright pattern in them. However, when
they were shown a picture of just one brilliant man ­ Einstein ­ they scored less well in the
tests! Why? Because Einstein is seen as a one-off `I could never be like him' kind of genius ­
making you feel dumber in comparison, and so scoring lower on the test.
Students who were shown groups of supermodels responded to the unconsciously activated
`not so bright' pattern and scored less well in intelligence tests. But when they were shown
Suggestibility
2

pictures of just one very well known supermodel, they scored better. This was because they
were feeling `I am not like her at all'.
So impossible exemplars like Einstein, Babe Ruth, or Mother Theresa, if we hero worship
them, can lower our performance when trying to attain their qualities. Being exposed to a
general type is what shapes our behaviour. When the great religions talk about the dangers of
idol worship, maybe they are not really being moralistic at all, but are drawing our attention to
quite sophisticated psychological truths. There are dangers of idolising individuals which
threaten your own self-development. Idolising even the founder of a religion may actually
prevent you from developing their qualities because of this phenomenon ­ unless you also
see `enlightened people' as a type.
Similarly, having talented figureheads to organisations can lower the talent of people within
the organisations if they look up to that figurehead as a `one-off genius'. Going for a strategy
which highlights a positive stereotype of `very clever people' rather than one which highlights
`one very clever individual' is thus more likely to encourage the general adoption of the
desired positive behaviour.
And now?
All this shows that we adopt role models as long as we feel we can model them and replicate
what they do well rather than idolise them and consider what they do to be beyond our reach.
So how do you live your life?
Are you surrounded by intelligent, enthusiastic, optimistic people? There's a great type to
conform to! Remember that those students could get a stereotype pattern activated just from
being exposed to words ­ so think what happens when we are exposed to particular types of
TV shows, movies or books.
A continuous diet of true life crime shows will activate a type in you. Watch a diet rich in
intelligent conversational shows and your IQ is likely to rise to fit the pattern. Watch a
biographical show about Einstein ­ a `one off genius' ­ and your scores on intelligence tests
are likely to plummet.
We are all much more suggestible than we realise. We are even more suggestible when we
think we are not! I'm off to the gym now. I hope they've got something good on the TV...

Success Hypnosis

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Uncommon Hypnosis Master Series
Hypnosis for success
Every year I train thousands of people in hypnosis and the role of positive psychology
in overcoming difficulties and maximizing success. So I see every day how crucial
attitude is for human performance and happiness.
So why do I link attitude to hypnosis? Well, another word for `attitude' is `focus'. And
when you narrow your focus ­ either inward or outward ­ you begin to go into a hyp-
notic trance. When your attitude is strong, then you have strong focus and a strong
focus is always hypnotic. Now the content of that focus is vitally important. A negative
attitude means you expect things to go wrong or to be difficult or unpleasant. A posi-
tive attitude, on the other hand, means you expect things to be fun or productive or
worth the effort. In other words, you expect success.
Hypnosis can help create success because hypnosis is about creating expectations.
These expectations aren't the so called `positive thinking', or just hoping for the best.
They are a part of you. They become your instincts. Now because your instincts work
for you automatically, this positive attitude means you're freed from the effort of trying
to be positive ­ which never really works. You just can't help it. You can't help being
positive. You begin to expect the best quite naturally.
With hypnosis you can change unhelpful patterns so your expectations and instincts
start to work productively for you. The advantages are huge. Even setbacks are seen
in positive ways. Positive people learn from setbacks and often say afterwards that in
fact they didn't see them as setbacks at all.
So where do you get your attitudes from? Well, you learn attitudes in two ways. Ei-
ther they get conditioned into you by others, or you condition yourself through natural
self-hypnotic experiences. Every time you learn something new to the extent that it
becomes automatic, then you've been hypnotized. Remember, hypnosis can last just
a few seconds and your eyes can be wide open. This is why we talk about anger,
pessimism, anxiety, addictions and depression as hypnotic trance states, because
they all require a restrictive, narrowed focus combined with a use (or misuse) of
imagination.
People trance out just as much when they're being negative as when they're strongly
positive, because your instincts are essentially programmed through natural hypnotic
focus states. So it's perfectly possible to program yourself to believe unhelpful or lim-
iting things about yourself. The argument of pessimists usually comes back to what
they call realism. You know the kind of thing. I'm just being realistic. Things really are
that bad.
In our work we don't use unrealistic and simplistic positive thinking ideas, but we do
encourage life transformation through developing productive creativity, optimism and
staying power. Remember, expectation is powerful. Your brain works towards what
it's been programmed to expect. This principle can be much more powerful than you
may currently realize.
I've sometimes set my alarm clock for seven and then ­ due to high expectation in
my brain ­ I've woken up one minute before the alarm goes off. Friends and col-
leagues tell me of similar experiences. People often talk of consciously struggling to

remember someone's name ­ so creating expectation for their brain to manifest.
Hours later they may have been mowing the lawn or taking a bath and suddenly the
name pops up, even though they were no longer thinking about it consciously. Ex-
pectation is powerful stuff and works below the level of your conscious mind.
It's the power of unconscious expectation that determines your attitudes in life, and
attitude is really a subconscious expectation; and, as any medic will tell you, expecta-
tion can even cure some illnesses. This is why placebos work in reducing swelling or
pain even when they're just sugar pills. Placebos also make excellent anti-
depressants. It's the expectancy produced by the positive belief that these sub-
stances are powerful healing medications that produces the positive result.
Hypnosis is a medium through which positive subconscious expectancy can be pro-
grammed and maintained. The more the patient's attention is locked onto the pla-
cebo and the more their imagination is engaged, the more successful the placebo will
be in actually reorganizing cellular structures in the patient's body. This is the hyp-
notic part and the success of the placebo is the completion of the expectancy. Few
doctors understand that the working of a placebo pill is a post-hypnotic response, but
that's exactly what it is.
If you truly believe that things are going to work out well, then you'll feel confident
and have more staying power to keep trying longer. You'll also have more energy
and enthusiasm, which is more likely to attract others to your project, and your crea-
tive mind will be working for you, so you'll produce unexpected solutions and ideas.
Your subconscious mind will be constantly working towards manifesting the expecta-
tion and your brain is a powerful engine and what it is geared towards is absolutely
crucial. Research shows that optimists have better immune systems, live longer, be-
come less stressed by challenges and persevere longer, meaning they're more likely
to ultimately succeed.
Hypnosis is a natural learning state and happens spontaneously and continually, and
most of the time we're unaware of it happening. This means we can easily get hypno-
tized by the attitudes of people around us, and by TV and advertising.
Fortunately, optimism is a strategy that anyone can learn and the quickest way to do
this is also through hypnosis. Optimists see positive things as part of who they are ­
permanent and relating to life as a whole. It's as simple as this. The more times you
enter positive and productive hypnotic trance states relating to your life, the more
positive ­ and likely to be successful ­ you become.
Because negative emotional states also work on people in hypnotic ways, we can
use hypnosis as the optimum tool to overcoming depression, anger and other condi-
tions. Similarly, because determination, inspiration and the ability to enter perform-
ance flow states are also hypnotic, we can again use hypnosis to create and en-
hance positive states until they become a lasting way of relating to your life.
Of course, anything worthwhile takes perseverance. But individuals who can keep
creative, upbeat and determined and see through the limitations of negativity are the
ones who'll thrive.
In summary
All psychological limitations are learned through natural trance states. Likewise, all
skills, abilities and positive attitudes become fixed through hypnotic experiences.
Negative attitudes produce negative expectations ­ which makes people give up too
early and miss opportunities. Positive expectation means more energy and likelihood
of success and happiness. Both optimism and pessimism tend to be infectious. Posi-
tive expectation and focus can be programmed through regular and effective hypno-
sis.

String Psychology

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No strings on me: Is there a psychopath in your
life?

I've got no strings
So I have fun
I'm not tied up to anyone
They've got strings
But you can see
There are no strings on me!

Lyrics form Pinocchio: 'I've got no strings'

What is a psychopath? Do you know one? Ever been the victim of one? The chances are that
the answer is yes, even if you may not realize it. The scientific consensus is that one in a
hundred people is psychopathic and this breaks down evenly between men and women. (1)
Scary thought, huh? What is your idea of a 'psychopath'? A serial killer? A crazy person
foaming at the mouth? Think again.

Movie madness - muddling psychosis and psychopathy

Hollywood loves psychopaths and psychotics because they make such wonderful (or terrible,
depending on your point of view) baddies. But if you think that because you've seen lots of
movies featuring baddies who are 'mad' in some way you will therefore be able tell a
psychotic from a psychopath, you are mistaken, because the movies regularly mix them up.
Perhaps the most famous 'mad' movie baddie of them all, Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's
Psycho, is regularly branded a psychopath, although he was no such thing. He was a
delusional psychotic. 'Hearing voices' or 'seeing things' that aren't there can be symptoms of
psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia, but does not mean that you are a psychopath. Of
course, schizophrenia itself is another condition often misrepresented in the movies, which
pursue the dramatic possibilities of 'split personality' while failing to acknowledge that it has
nothing whatever to do with schizophrenia.

To see a more accurate movie psychopath, turn to the eponymous cold hired assassin 'the
Jackal' in The Day of the Jackal, or the scheming and manipulative Tom Ripley (brilliantly
portrayed by Matt Damon) in The Talented Mr Ripley.

In reality, most psychopaths are not criminal - although many criminals are psychopaths - but
they are certainly amoral. The great majority are not killers; they are 'bad' rather than 'mad'.
So how do you tell if there is a psychopath in your life?

The charming manipulator
No strings on me: Is there a psychopath in your life?

1


The socialized psychopath is likely to be too smart to end up in jail.

The socialized psychopath can appear extremely charming. You have to know them really
well and have a fair amount of insight yourself to spot that they always and only ever do what
suits them. As long as they are getting their own way, they can be as charming as you could
wish, and the most delightful company. But they will lie at the drop of a hat, without the
slightest twinge of anxiety or guilt (so the old 'lie detector' polygraph test wouldn't be likely to
catch them out). They will use other people for their own ends without the smallest concern -
treating them as no more than chess pieces in their 'game'. They have no sense of guilt or
remorse and will always be able to come up with plausible rationalizations for their behavior
which allow them to lay the blame for any subsequent disaster on other people. And, of
course, once chess pieces have served their purpose, there is no reason why they should not
be discarded.

Is it surprising that politics and show business are thought to have more than their fair share
of socialized psychopaths?

Cruel yet magnetic

The socialized psychopath can be very attractive for the very qualities that make them
psychopathic. This is not as contradictory as it sounds. A person whom we sense is not
encumbered with the same inhibitions, doubts, uncertainties and sensitivities that plague the
rest of mankind can seem very attractive. They can have such an aura of confidence and
freedom about them. They may be enormously fun sensation-seeking risk takers. There are
'no strings on them' - or so it would appear. They may even seem like heroes to us. And they
will keep us onside while we are useful to them. If you watch them carefully, however, their
humor will tend to be on the cruel side.

Cult leader Jim Jones was very magnetic and attracted a great number of followers to his
'Jonestown' settlement where they met their tragic deaths. He was reported to have enjoyed
dissecting live animals as a child - a common childhood indicator of psychopathy. Other
people's suffering does not shock the psychopath as it does ordinary people, although they
can look as shocked as anyone on the surface. How so?

Feigning empathy

Someone with Asperger syndrome (a mild form of autism) finds it difficult to empathise with
other people because they are to some extent 'emotion blind'. They find it hard to read the
emotions of others, or to see a connection between the emotional responses of others and
what they themselves have actually done or said. As a consequence, they can sometimes
seem cruel or insensitive, but they don't mean to be. They assume that other people see the
world in the same way as they do themselves, and struggle to comprehend that there really
are different perspectives. This makes someone with Aspergers actually less likely to lie or
attempt to deceive - they see no need for it.

A psychopath is a different kettle of fish altogether. A psychopath is not 'emotion blind'. They
can 'read' other people's emotions perfectly well, and mimic them perfectly well. And for them,
other people's emotions are just another counter to use in their games. They themselves
rarely get worked up about anything except not getting what they want.

No strings on me: Is there a psychopath in your life?

2

How do you deal with someone who has no empathy, guilt, remorse or fear?

A psychopath may understand other people frighteningly well. They can watch
dispassionately, with a cold and calculating mind, going convincingly through the motions of
empathy on the surface while focusing on how to turn the situation to their advantage. The
only way to spot them is to observe them carefully over a significant period of time. Do they
regularly say one thing and then do another, more than other people? Do they use people
emotionally, sexually, professionally and then discard them casually? Do they sometimes
seem strangely un-shocked by shocking events?

Cold hearts

Not surprisingly, many two-faced bullies show strong psychopathic tendencies. As they say:
'You can't turn a lion into a vegetarian by throwing veggie burgers at it.' Trying to appeal to
the better nature of a person who hasn't got a better nature is a losing strategy. Psychopaths
do not feel guilt or shame. They won't feel genuinely sorry for you and will only put up a front
of convincing looking sympathy for as long as it suits them.

If you suspect there is a psychopath causing havoc in your life then you need to avoid them
as much as possible. Collect and record evidence of their manipulative behavior. Try to avoid
seeing them except when other people are around. Psychopaths leave a string of broken
hearts, disappointment, bewilderment and empty wallets in their wake. Romantic relationships
with a psychopath (of either sex) are fraught with dangers to your emotional and even
physical well-being.

Why do psychopaths exist?

It seems strange that nature sprinkles psychopaths so liberally around human populations.
But it could be that just as, in order to be successful overall, human populations need
'creative innovators' and 'caring people', they also need a minority who are cold and ruthless
enough to make things work without consideration for other people 'getting in the way'. Such
attitudes can have particular social or economic benefits in certain circumstances. For
example, it is probably the case that the Special Forces have a higher proportion of
psychopaths (albeit acceptably channeled because of the nature of the work) than the social
work profession. We may sometimes need the cold detachment of the psychopath.

How do you treat the psychopath?

Traditionally psychopaths have only been 'treated' when they have been caught in criminal
misdemeanor, and that 'treatment' has often been no more than punishment. Psychopathy is
seen as a 'personality disorder' and therefore pretty much untreatable. Psychopaths may be
very happy with being the way they are and there is some evidence that their brains, in some
respects, work quite differently from other people's.

In a fascinating study, researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, (2)
showed six psychopaths and nine healthy volunteers' pictures of faces displaying different
emotions. When looking at happy faces (as opposed to neutral faces), the brains of both
groups showed increased activity in the areas involved in processing facial expression,
although this increase was smaller in the psychopathic group.

No strings on me: Is there a psychopath in your life?

3

In contrast, when processing faces full of fear compared with neutral faces, the healthy
volunteers showed more activation and the psychopaths less activation in these brain
regions. Psychopaths can be very emotional themselves if they feel thwarted, but they are
less concerned with other people's emotions accept as a hook by which to manipulate them.

The psychopathic continuum

We can all behave psychopathically sometimes, given extreme enough circumstances. Even
whole cultures may be more psychopathic than others. Societies that encourage individuality,
material gain and personal power while glorifying violence at the expense of the community
display psychopathic tendencies just as surely as individuals do. And some people may
manifest some psychopathic tendencies while still on occasion having genuine empathy and
consideration.

The vast majority of people do care about others, are shocked and upset by the suffering of
fellow creatures and won't tread over all and sundry just to get to the top. And we can all be
manipulative, calculating, selfish or ladle on the false charm at times. But for the true
psychopath this is par for the course. You have been warned.

Notes
· See Robert D Hare's excellent: Without Conscience: The disturbing world of the
psychopaths among us

· This research was conducted by Professor Declan Murphy and colleagues at Kings
College London and published in 'Facial emotion processing in criminal psychopathy',
British Journal of Psychiatry, 2006 189: 547-555

Stress Symptoms Of Modern Age

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Stress: symptom of a modern age?
Mark Tyrrell
A while ago I was at a prize giving ceremony at my son's school. Prizes were flying out all
over the place for art, maths, sport, you name it. One prize sticks in my mind. The beaming
teacher announced: 'And the prize for dealing with stress goes to...' What's this? The stress
prize?
Now I'd really heard everything. As a bemused seven year-old wandered on to the stage, we
all looked on sympathetically, wondering what had caused the stress this child had coped
with so prize-winningly.
Everybody's doing it!
'Stress' is the modern pariah. It's a cover-all term. 'Stress' can make people physically sick,
suicidal, depressed, unable to think clearly or learn new things, unable to digest food, less
able to fight bacteria and disease, uninterested in sex and unable to work. In short, it can
make life seem not worth living. Yet I can say I am 'stressed' if I'm late for work because I
mislaid my keys and am therefore a little irked!
So how can 'stress' cause a person to suffer so much physically and emotionally?
Hungry lions and mortgage repayments
To be stressed, you need something to give you the stress; a stressor. The stressor will be
real or imagined. If you react with stress to something real (a hungry lion coming towards you)
you experience fear. Your adrenal glands pump your system full of adrenaline, speeding
heart rate and breathing, you begin to sweat and basically things become set for exercise.
Your body is primed for fight or flight (for me it's flight!). Safari so good, this is when you need
your stress response.
But what if you merely imagine something stressful?
Producing stress from within
If you experience your stress response kicking in when merely imagining a lion might be
around, you have anxiety.
· Fear is the response to something actual happening now.
· Anxiety is the response to something imagined and anticipated in the future.
Unfortunately your stress response can be triggered by stuff you make up in your head, which
is why what you imagine is so important. Worry and anxiety fire off the stress response
continuously, which leads to the physical consequences of stress.
But how does stress produce so many physical symptoms? There are good reasons why long
term stress sufferers can develop lowered immune response, reduced digestive capacity, loss
of sex drive, impaired thought, heart disease etc.
Stress: Symptom of a Modern Age?

1

Major stress reaction: what you were designed for
In the first couple of minutes of you responding to a stressor ­ that lion again ­ your auto-
response system makes rapid changes in your body, gearing you for flight (which might be a
better idea if the lion is large and undomesticated!) or fight.
At the first press of the stress button (you see or hear the lion), your adrenaline starts to flow
and continues to do so for about two minutes. Adrenaline is wonderful stuff and temporarily
turns you into a survival machine. And that's just the start.
Turning into a survival machine
The lion is coming closer. Your breathing becomes short, high in the chest and rapid ­ just
the way it needs to be for running at your fastest. Your skin produces sweat, and your palms
become sweaty so that they will have better grip when the sweat dries off. Your heart beats
faster to send more blood and oxygen surging around the body ­ again to help the anticipated
exercise involved in fleeing a super feline attack.
This is all well and good, but your stress response doesn't just 'switch on' functions like
quicker breathing. Any functions not crucial for fending off lions get automatically 'switched
off' during the emergency.
Stress switches off some of your functions
Fleeing a lion is a short term survival crisis, so many of your long term survival functions are
not required during the emergency. Stuff inside you that gets switched off includes:
· Digestion and salivation Eating is long term survival. You really don't need to be
eating lunch whilst trying to avoid being lunch. Blood flow gets shunted away from
your stomach and your mouth gets dry.
· Sex drive You don't need to be sexually excited when fleeing a lion (trust me it won't
help!). So sex drive gets switched off during the stressful episode.
· Immune response You don't need to be fighting off little pathogens in your blood
stream when fighting off a lion in your back garden, so your immune response takes
a break.
· Intelligence You don't need to be a smart intellectual and learning new things when
under attack, so the thinking brain takes a back seat.
· Growth hormone You don't need to be repairing damaged skin and bones whilst
fighting off the unwanted advances of the super feline so, yes, you guessed it, growth
hormone takes a back seat.
"Wait!" I hear you cry, "These adaptive and (in the short term) essential adaptive responses
sound suspiciously like the very symptoms of long term stress!"
Now you're getting it.
Long term stress response symptoms
All this is great in the short term. However, if after two minutes either you or the lion has not
cleared off ­ your adrenals will start producing the long term stress hormone cortisol, with the
resulting stress symptoms. Cortisol continues to keep your breathing fast, your heart rate up,
and your sex drive, digestion, immune system and clear thinking switched off. On top of that,
your blood pressure will stay high, putting you at risk of possible hypertension and heart
disease ­ in the long term.
Stress: Symptom of a Modern Age?

2

No lions round here
The stressor may not be that hungry lion after all.
It may be an unhappy marriage, working life, financial situation, bereavement, etc. So the
'symptoms' of stress ­ raised blood pressure, exhaustion, loss of sex drive, digestive
problems like IBS and so forth are actually adaptive and essential functions that are now out
staying their welcome. On top of that raised blood pressure .
And the stress relief solution?
The ultimate stress reduction is relaxation ­ lots of it and regularly. Whether that's through
hypnosis, yoga, diet, exercise, or making time to do the things you enjoy.
In fact, if you do anything you wouldn't dream of doing when confronted with a lion (such as
reading for pleasure), the stress response will switch off and you'll start feeling and
functioning better. The instant you relax, stress symptoms begin to recede: your immune
function works better again, your blood pressure normalises, your sex drive gets a look in and
clear thought raises its sensible head once more. This means you'll be more likely to manage
the difficulties that had been causing the stress in the first place.
The symptoms of stress aren't mysterious ­ they are in fact functions which have evolved to
serve us but which are now being over-used to the point of working against us.
And that little boy at prize giving sure was good at managing his stress levels. I noticed him
snoozing contentedly throughout the second half of the award ceremony.

Stop Smoking

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Uncommon Hypnosis Master Series
How hypnosis helps people stop smoking

Hypnosis, when used well, is a
g diverse
highly effective tool for helping and curin
conditions from clinical depression to post traumatic stress disorder and even physical
conditions like warts and burns.

But the public have a strong association with the use of hypnosis for curing something
else. Something that kills around 5,000,000 people a year, that incapacitates and ages
the body and brain, that destroys sex drive and yet whose victims pay for the privilege,
spending tens of thousands of pounds over the course of an ever shortening life span.

So why it is that millions of people are prepared to throw away their lives for cigarettes?
What is it about the human brain, otherwise set up for survival, that makes seemingly
sensible people puff away their heart function, healthy cells, energy, virility and fertility as
well as their time and money? Why would anyone do this?

Well firstly, people smoke because they are human. We all do things to excess
sometimes ­ whether it's eat-ing, sex, work, exercise, surfing the net, gambling or
drinking alcohol. For some people the pleasure they get from their addiction is
r
so g eat
that it's impossible to imagine life without it. Although on another level they can see what
it is taking from them ­ things such as dignity, health and even friends and family.

And the pattern of smoking addiction isn't any different from these other addictions.

Addictions hijack and misappropriate the brain's chemical reward mechanisms, which
exist to make learning pleasurable, so enabling human beings to develop and thrive.
Having a so-called 'addictive personality' really means having great potential to learn
and develop.

To be addicted to something you need to have an expectation that it is going to be good
in some way. The excitement we get when we are keen to do something locks our
attention into an addictive trance state. This excitement is produced by a natural
cocaine-like chemical in the brain called dopam
c
ine. And the warm feelings of satisfa tion
we get after we've done something such as mastering a new skill or puffing on a longed
for cigarette is caused by chemicals called endorphins.

Dopamine and endorphins exist to encourage us to learn and master new skills and to
do things essential for survival like having sex, eating, drinking and resting when we are
tired. If we didn't feel internally rewarded for doing these things then we wouldn't do
them ­ and therefore wouldn't survive. It's ironic that the reward system designed for
survival can be hijacked by behaviours that threaten survival, such as smoking.


There is another aspect to addiction and this is habituation. This means the more you
have of something, the more you need to get the same level of satisfaction. This also
makes sense from a human development perspective. When people master new skills
they get a dopamine and endorphin rush which is pleasurable. But when those new skills
become second nature then the person builds up a tolerance and needs to develop
further skills to get the same buzz as before. Hence you are driven to continue
developing yourself.

hink of the
T
buzz you might get when you learn your first piece on, say, the guitar. Your
dopamine and endorphins reward you for mastering a new skill but after a while you
build up a tolerance to that experience, just like an addict, an
et
d have to learn more to g
the same buzz.

ur ancestors
O
had to develop a tolerance to the pleasure of just collecting fire from
lightning strikes, so they discovered how to light
c
fires and eventually invented the ele tric
light bulb. This progression happened because just using fire, after a while, just wasn't
that exciting any more. People needed more to 'light their fires', so to speak.

his addictive pattern ­
T
building a tolerance to one level of experience so more is
needed to give the same buzz ­ is what develops human beings, and so enabled
civilizations and new inventions to come into being. If it wasn't for addiction, we'd all still
be swinging from trees.

his natural
T
pleasure/satisfaction drive explains how people become addicted and why
they end up needing more and more of the addictive experience.

moking is a type of self harm. I used to work with self harmers who'd cut
S
their own
arms. The more they did it, the more they wanted to do it. Because the chemical rush
from cutting themselves a little quickly became standard for them, they h

ad to cut more
and more to get the same rush or sense of release. On one level this is no different fr

om
smoking.

o become addicted to
T
anything you need to repeat it and practise it, just like learning a
new skill, so that eventually it feels natural. And if you repeatedly do one thing in
conjunction with another, eventually the two feel as if they naturally go to
ve
gether. E n
hardened smokers report they can go on long haul flights without feeling the need to
smoke, or go swimming without wanting to light up, simply because these things have
never become associated as triggers to smoke. This associa
nt
tive factor is more importa
in addiction than so called physical addiction.

o we become addicted to something in the same way we le
S
arn new things. If you were
crazy enough to click your fingers every time you got up in the morning, every time you
had a cup of coffee, every time after sex, after a meal, whenever you had an alcoholic
drink, when you felt relaxed, bored, stressed and so forth then, eventually, clicking your
fingers during these times would start to feel instinctively right. As if the two things
naturally went together.

Imagine if you clicked your fingers for twenty years fifty times a day. How weird would it
feel to suddenly stop? What would you do with your hands? Having a drink without finger
clicking would feel, well, unnatural! You might even believe the withdrawal you'd feel is
because of physical addiction rather than association. When a person first starts

smoking it doesn't feel natural then but, through repetition, it becomes natural, just like
mastering any skill.

Reading words didn't feel natural at first but through repetition and practice it became
instinctive, and now feels right and natural. Anything we do over and over becomes part
of our instinctive repertoire and therefore eventually gets to feel natural. Many smokers
feel there is a natural association between drinking coffee or alcohol and smoking. But
non-smokers drink without smoking.

When we seek to cure someone of smoking we need to look at these factors and use
our knowledge of how the brain keeps the addiction in place to help free them. When a
person is addicted, and they suffer because of that addiction, they become split down
the middle, they want to stop and they don't want to stop. Hypnosis can build up the part
that wants to stop so that it starts to dominate the part that wanted to side with the
destructive smoking habit.

When I work with smokers, I don't try to scare them out of smoking. The smoking habit is
more cunning than that. It gets them running for a cigarette when they are scared. It's
got that covered. I tell them they don't need to hear it from me that smoking rots the
arteries into the penis, causing impotence, or the arteries into the eyes, causing dimming
eyesight, how it softens the gums or causes 90% of lung cancers, how the serotonin
destroying properties of the 2,000 destructive chemicals in tobacco cause depression
and anxiety in smokers and how had scientists been commissioned with the task of
creating a drug to age hu
n
man beings rapidly they couldn't have done much better tha
invent nicotine.

I do tell them this though: I tell them that in order for the rich tobacco industry to exist,
people need to serve it by being willing to sacrifice themselves for the 'cause'. The
cause, of course, is profit for the tobacco giants.

herever there is a cau
W
se, there are people willing to lay down their lives for it.

ou see, pe
Y
ople aren't prepared to die or be maimed for something unless they have
been conditioned by certain beliefs. A perfect example of this, of course, is religion.
Throughout history people have died for beliefs that seem totally insane t
ey
o others. Th
wouldn't do it without these beliefs. And so, too, is it with smokers. So many smokers
have been conditioned with beliefs about smoking in order to enable them to be willing to
lay down their life and health for it.

eliefs are interesting th
B
ings. The conscious mind is often employed by the unconscious
mind to justify and defend destructive behaviours. An example would be when someone
defends the abusive person who is beating them with the words 'Yes, but he's so nice
really!' or 'He's great with the dog.' The common smoking defensive beliefs seem to
originate from within the smoker, but in fact they are conditioned into them from the
outside. People need these beliefs to consciously or unconsciously defend the very thing
that is seeking to destroy them.

If they weren't part of the belief system, then people actually wouldn't smoke. In the
same way that no one would be prepared to die for a cause unless they had specific
beliefs.


Hypnosis can help unhook past conditioning very quickly; we regularly see life-long
chronic smokers cured of smoking in one hour. What's more, they can heal quickly as
non-smokers and they don't even have to turn into rabid anti-smokers. If you hate
something you used to love, then you are still too emotionally wrapped up in it.
Indifference is what we are after in the ex-smoker. I like to think of people 'growing out of
smoking' rather than 'forcing themselves to quit'. When you were very young and your
feet grew, then your shoes began to squeeze and the squeezing let you know it was
time to give up the old shoes, becau
s
se they didn't fit you any more. Smoking squeeze
peoples' lungs, hearts, skins and money. When it's time to be free, it's a relief, not a
hardship.

Sports Performance Hypnosis

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Uncommon Hypnosis Master Series
Sports Performance hypnosis
I use sports hypnosis in three ways to greatly improve performance.
Firstly, it is used to narrow the focus of attention ­ like a super laser beam ­ so that,
when you are doing your sport, nothing else exists.
Recently a sports psychologist attended an Uncommon Knowledge introductory
hypnosis workshop. She had been studying some of the top racing drivers of the world.
Her research concluded what we already know. What distinguishes the very best in the
world from the rest is an amazing ability to shut out distractions and narrow the focus of
attention until all else around effectively disappears. She had devised a series of tests
on a screen. The drivers had to complete these tests while increasing levels of noise and
other distractions were presented to them. The best drivers were the ones who were
less distracted by these outside influences ­ and some of them later reported they hadn't
even been aware of them!
Now her description of the psychology of world-beating racing drivers is also a good
definition of the hypnotic trance. When you are in trance you become less aware of
sounds around you ­ the deeper the trance, the less you notice.
So teaching people to enter a sports trance improves performance and encourages what
we call the state of 'flow', or being 'in the zone', where everything seems easy and you
feel a wonderful, dream-like inevitability of success.
When you are in the zone, you are purely process focused ­ and not outcome focused.
What I mean by that is that a great racing driver won't be thinking about the last bend, or
a world-class golfer about their last shot. And they certainly won't be considering how
their performance will bring them money or status. People call this 'being in the moment',
which means being totally focused on the process, and entirely at one with the activity
itself.
Your attention is like a beam of light. If it is too diffuse, the strength of the beam
weakens. If the beam is narrowed and tightly focused, it becomes a powerful force ­ like
a laser. In fact, we can go as far as to say that all great achievements in the world come
down to people being able to repeatedly extend focussed attention.
The second way sports hypnosis is used is to change limiting beliefs.
Consider this! It used to be widely believed that to run a mile in less than four minutes
was just not humanly possible. In the early 1950s, the four minute barrier may as well
have been a solid object. Belief stopped people breaking through it.


Then in 1954 Roger Bannister ran a mile in under four minutes. And so ­ suddenly ­ the
sub-four-minute mile moved into the realms of the possible. The barrier in runners' minds
evaporated and the following year over one hundred people ran the mile in under four
minutes. This sweeping away of limiting beliefs is known as the Bannister effect, and
holds good for all areas of life, not just sports.
Recently I worked with a young high jumper. This seventeen year old had a mental
block. He believed he just couldn't jump higher than two metres. I asked him whether he
would be able to jump two metres in length. He laughed, and said that of course he
could do that, with very little effort. I then hypnotized him and encouraged him to think
about the height of the bar in terms of length ­ suddenly two metres didn't seem so
much. He hypnotically rehearsed approaching the bar with the sense that it was
measured in length rather than height. During his very next competition he jumped two
metres and five centimetres. We had reframed his limiting belief by talking in terms of
two metres not actually being that much distance if we thought about it as length. This
may sound strange to the logical mind, but in hypnosis the laws of physics don't apply!
I worked with a sixteen year old racing car driver who had already been sponsored by a
major car manufacturer and was destined for Formula One stardom. He had started
becoming anxious about being in the lead. He would get out in front, then worry what
was going on behind him instead of focusing on what he himself was doing. He said that
it had got to the point where he didn't like being in the lead! I suggested to him that in
fact he was never really in the lead. He was always behind something. He was curious
about this and I then told him that time was always in front of him ­ he was always
chasing his next best time!
This idea totally reframed his belief about being out front in the lead. We expanded this
idea hypnotically and he found that he started to relax with being in front and he started
improving his times.
So the way sports people look at things is very important.
Which brings us on to the third principle of sports hypnosis: hypnotic success rehearsal.
When you practise something in your mind, whether a golf swing, a high jump or a piece
of music on the guitar, then ­ as far as your brain circuits are concerned ­ you really are
practising for real. This is why you can practise the guitar even if you've left it at home!
In fact, you can improve by hypnotically imagining an activity without even doing it for
real. In the 1970s an American soldier who had been imprisoned in Vietnam was
released after four years in captivity. On his release, the first thing he wanted to do was
play golf. All he'd been able to do in prison was spend hours every day playing one
perfect round of golf after another on as many imaginary and remembered golf courses
as possible. Such was the success of this intense and prolonged self hypnosis that,
even though he was in poor physical condition and hadn't actually played golf in years,
his handicap had improved as if he'd had intense professional coaching for those four
years. When you rehearse something in your mind you are using hypnosis. If you
rehearse something going well then you are setting up your brain with a blueprint for
success.
Some sports people we have helped had made the mistake of using negative hypnosis
by imagining future sporting events going badly. I teach them to rehearse absolute
success when in hypnosis. One young ten year old gymnast had stated dropping scores
because of anxiety in major competitions. I hypnotized her to the point that she could

feel completely relaxed, then I just got her to get perfect scores of ten over and over in
her mind, in all the events she took part in. When her mother brought her back a couple
of months later, she told me that not only was her daughter much more relaxed about
competing but she was getting perfect scores in many of her competitions, which was
previously unheard of. The final study I want to mention involved basketball players.
They were shown a new move then one group practised it for real for three weeks and
another group hypnotically rehearsed it for three weeks. After that time, the hypnotic
group were actually better than the group who had physically practised the new move!
This was because the ones who had practised purely in their minds had been able to do
it perfectly every time, whereas the ones who had practised for real had also learned
how to make mistakes.
So to sum up, for great sporting performance you need to:
1. focus your attention like an intense laser beam while staying relaxed
2. dissolve any limiting beliefs as to what is or isn't possible, and
3. perfectly hypnotically rehearse performing at your very best time after time.
I love working with sports people because the results are so easy to see, and they are
generally highly motivated. These rules hold true for other areas of life too. Test it
yourself.

Shock Hypnosis

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Uncommon Hypnosis Master Series
Shock Hypnosis
When I was ten or eleven I used to climb trees.
We used to play in a wood near where I lived. There was a particular tree overhang-
ing a slight drop of about eight or nine feet. Me and my pals would dive out to the
branches, grabbing them with our hands, and hang suspended above the drop. Typi-
cal boyish daredevil fun; we'd never even heard of health and safety back then.
And there was a time when I leapt out for the overhanging branch - and my hands
slipped. The force of the leap drove my legs upwards, and as my hands left the
branch I did a full back flip in mid air. My friends could see what was happening to
me physically, and I have to say it must have looked pretty cool, because I actually
did a full rotation and landed more or less unharmed on the ground like a proper
gymnast. What they couldn't know is what was happening to my consciousness dur-
ing that split second.
Yes, you've guessed it, everything went into slow motion, I felt absolutely calm and
relaxed, my mind felt wide open to any experience, but there was no hope or fear -
just a sense of being, of a strange kind of timeless existence. A split second to my
mates felt like eternity to me. When I landed, it was like coming out of a dream or
awakening from a hypnotic trance. I felt like I'd been some place else. And only af-
terwards did my heart rate speed up. But by that time I was busy trying to look totally
unruffled. All the normal aspects of my mind had returned, such as self conscious-
ness, imagination, anxiety and so forth, but in the air I had been momentarily free of
all mental clutter. My consciousness had narrowed down to a pin point. Now it was
again busy and crowded.
When we are expecting one pattern of events and an entirely unexpected pattern
happens instead, strange things happen to our state of mind. Of course, this fast
track entry to a wide awake hypnotic state isn't restricted to me. Countless people
have reported time distortion, as well as visual and auditory alterations during sudden
shock experiences. They don't tend to think of this as instant shock hypnosis but that
is precisely what it is.
The Rapid Eye Movement - or REM - state is usually connected to dreaming, and is
so called because during REM your eyeballs flicker from side to side. Yet REM can
also occur when we are awake. Foetuses in the womb experience REM more than at
any other time and it's through the REM state that instinctive responses are laid
down - before you are born. These instincts are then later matched to environmental
triggers in the world - for example, the instincts to cry, to eat and to speak are acti-
vated by the infant's real experiences.
But life is complex and if something unexpected occurs, we need a new response to
that trigger so we can deal with it in future. We need to update our instinctive re-
sponses because, for example, how can a newborn baby know to fear a loaded gun
pointed at them? In order to form a new instinctive response we need to enter the
REM state - otherwise known as hypnosis. This state of natural shock hypnosis
means we become much more suggestible and therefore able to learn a new instinc-
tive pattern.

During REM dreaming at night your body experiences a kind of paralysis called cata-
lepsy because acting out your dreams is bad for survival - and nature doesn't want
that. More evidence that shock is a fast track into the REM state is that we can be-
come frozen by shock. We enter the REM state and we experience catalepsy. This
freezing during shock may last a second or minutes for some people. Flip a guinea
pig on its back suddenly and it will freeze. That's how you do animal hypnosis!
In all animals, including humans, shock hypnosis is triggered by the orientation re-
sponse. When something startling grabs your attention, an electrical charge travels
up from your brain stem through your mid brain and into your cortex. This electrical
charge is called a PGO spike.
When we enter shock hypnosis, which of course is much quicker than progressive
relaxation hypnosis, we are wide open to suggestion and new instinctive program-
ming. If somebody had been able to whisper a hypnotic suggestion in my ear during
my split second flip, then chances are I would have been effectively programmed by
that suggestion. This is what happens when a stage hypnotist creates a shock and
fires the orientation response. For example, when they tip a subject backwards - cre-
ating the shock - they are then able to deliver their command.
The great Milton Erickson would often interrupt an expected pattern and replace it
with another - creating mild shock - so he could make therapeutic suggestions. The
famous Erickson handshake is pure pattern interruption and can induce deep hypno-
sis instantly for some people.
Understanding the power of shock and its connection to hypnosis is hugely important
as it can illuminate other areas of life for us.
For example, bullies can program people to be fearful by doing unexpected things or
by suddenly shouting. This leaves you feeling you don't know where you are with
them, which means your brain is wide open to receive any pattern that is suggested
to it. The bully may then create the pattern of fear. Bullies can make us experience
post-hypnotic phenomena such as feeling fearful when we go back into the environ-
ment where the bullying took place, whether the bully is there or not. Think about bul-
lies you have known - they will have been inducing a kind of shock hypnosis in their
victims by behaving unexpectedly.
When we think of hypnosis we usually think of relaxation, of a calm voice lulling us
into serenity and peace. It's true that progressive relaxation is a wonderful way to en-
ter hypnosis or REM. Progressive relaxation mirrors what your mind and body do
naturally as you drift off to sleep and enter the REM state naturally at night. Relaxa-
tion has many health and mind benefits but it is not an essential aspect of the REM
state - we can be hypnotized - like the startled bunny caught in the headlights - with-
out being relaxed. Both types of hypnosis can update the way we instinctively re-
spond to life. We prefer to use relaxation hypnosis with our clients because of the
added benefits of relaxation.
My tree experience years ago didn't put me off climbing trees, but the anxiety I felt
just after the hypnotic experience did program my young mind with to be more cau-
tious - which means I'm still here today.
In summary
Emergencies naturally hypnotise us and people who want to manipulate you make
use of this. This knowledge should make certain aspects of life clearer to you, and
protect you against those who would use shock hypnosis against you.

Setting Goals

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The Importance of Setting Goals
Roger Elliott
WE HEAR so much about goal setting these days, it can get quite wearing. I mean
you don't need to set goals when you're going to do the shopping do you? Or when
you're washing the car? Or painting a room?

Or do you?

Let's take a closer look ...
· Shopping ­ you make a list before you go ­ whether on paper or in your head.
And you feel satisfied when you get everything on that list (maybe not
overwhelming levels of satisfaction, but a certain glow!). The task is achieved,
the job done. You are rewarded with a sense of clarity, of a weight off your
shoulders, of a job well done.
· Washing the car ­ you know how you want the wheels to look, whether you
care about it being spotless, or just looking less awful. Whatever your goal is,
you still set one, be it unspoken and unwritten. And the satisfaction comes
from achieving that goal.
· When you begin painting that room, you have a goal in mind, You want the
room to look more welcoming, less gloomy, better co-ordinated, more
modern, less scruffy ­ whatever! And when you complete it you feel good ­
because you did what you said you were going to do.
Not so profound huh? No of course not, until you look at what happens when people
stop setting goals. When depression takes over.

Setting goals to fight depression

Typically, when depressed, people let things mount up. They allow a multitude of
small problems to amass until they feel overwhelming. And there are usually one or
two larger problems in there as well.

And for various reasons to do with the way depression makes you feel and think, you
stop setting goals when you have depression. You stop saying "I wish that car didn't
look so awful. It will only take me an hour to fix it". You stop thinking "I'd like to
make that new dish for dinner, I'll get all these ingredients today."

And what happens? No satisfaction. No sense of completion. Just feelings of more
confusion, the pressure of more tasks unachieved, less and less hormonal reward from
your brain, and deepening depression.

Setting Goals

1

Small goals - major results

I once heard a seriously depressed man say that the most enjoyable thing he had done
all year was to clear the drain of a sink at his work. My colleague Mark Tyrrell was
told by a depressed man that he couldn't believe how much he had enjoyed changing
the wheel on his motorbike.

One of the most therapeutic things you can do for yourself when depressed is take
something small, plan it, and do it- regardless how `meaningless' it is in the grand
scheme of things. And remember ­ don't just go and do it; plan it first. Even if that is
a 10 second thought of "Now I am going to clean the house windows so the place is
lighter". That's a plan!

And if you're tempted to think "Oh what's the point", the point is ­ it will make you
feel better. Surely that's point enough?

Planning or setting goals creates a pattern to match your experience to. And
satisfaction comes when that pattern is matched.
Setting Goals

2

Further Relationship Skills
Like a popular bank account, people will like you if you pay good interest. Listening properly
to people can meet their need for connection, status and intimacy and is a key relationship
skill.
Let people know you are listening by:
1. Actually listening to them, nodding, smiling and looking in their general direction.
2. Feeding back what they say; showing them you know they actually said it. And then
adding anything of your own. If you don't agree at least acknowledge they've spoken:
`I understand what you mean, however as far as I see it.....', or: `That's a good idea...
and it might be even better if...'
Ask opinions, advice or help
People feel important if you ask them what they think. This meets their need for status.
Talk to them about their concerns and interests
People will feel that you are interesting if you show interest in them. Don't compromise your
own personality but be aware of this basic rapport building rule.
Offer help and do favors
People like people who are helpful. Helping people practically meets all kinds of emotional
needs (you should, by now, be able to work out which ones ;-)
And smile, smile, smile
Research shows that when you smile at someone pleasure centers in their brain are
stimulated. People like warmth and will come to associate you with feeling good. Smiling
relaxes people and make them feel they can trust you.
Basic rules on smiling:
· Don't over do it! Whoops!
· Don't smile when you are anxious, angry or giving negative feedback - it's confusing!
· Don't smile when someone else has stubbed their toe. You smiling when someone
else is having a bad time gives the message that you are glad it's not you rather than
you wish it wasn't them!
In summary
· Remember that everyone has similar emotional needs (including you!)
· Take these needs into account in social, work and romantic situations
· Keep complaints specific and avoid overgeneralising negatives
· Make compliments specific; give examples to make them `real'
· Listen and talk about what is important to people. And smile and look interested.
The more you meet others' emotional needs, the more they will like you. The less you step on
their emotional needs, the less offence you will cause. And if someone else offends you,
check out your basic emotional needs to find out why.

How To Be Seriously Funny

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How to be seriously funny
I don't know about you, but sometimes people make you feel defensive (or maybe it's me that
makes me feel defensive). I was speaking to an audience when a man interrupted my
outpourings with the line: "This is all well and good ­ but where's you research to back it up?"
All the research was included in the notes he'd already been given. Fortunately, I was `in
flow', so my response came instantly from my creative unconscious mind. More on that story
later...
Humour is a serious business
It's a mistake to dismiss humour. Humour has always been banned under dictatorships;
comedians are seen as a threat. Why? Because humour can illuminate truths, break through
the constraints of narrow thinking and puncture self importance. Humour shows we are not
afraid. Tyrants hate to be laughed at and they certainly don't laugh at themselves. But the
really surprising truth is that we all live under dictatorships.
Human beings construct (and then have to live under) their own personal psychological
dictatorships. These personal restrictive `prisons' are built on a solid foundation of rigid rules
and assumptions of right and wrong, with walls of `shoulds' and `oughts' and `mustn'ts', strong
bars of perfectionism, unbreakable locks of defeatism, and guards of arrogance on constant
duty to `be right'. And that arrogance can extend to `being right' that one is totally inferior to
other people. Or that life is bad.
The right humour applied at the right time by the right person can work as an escape hatch
from stifling narrow seriousness and restricted `one track' perception. And laughter can
prolong life.
Laughing your way to health
We are all increasingly aware of the mental and physical health benefits of regular laughter.
Many studies highlight that belly laughter is a great fun work out, laughter reduces stress
hormones, relieves pain, relaxes us and produces endorphins ­ the natural feel good
hormones. Laughing regularly can ward off depression and help you sleep better and
generally enjoy life more. We even call people who make us laugh `a real tonic'.
I want to focus on how humour frees up restricted and limiting thinking, on how the mental
shackles and restraints we bind ourselves in can be loosened ­ and sometimes entirely
discarded ­ through the use of humour. I also want to consider why all good teachers,
therapists and leaders have instinctively known how to use humour (and, of course, when not
to use it!).
Here's how humour can be used as a tool to deflate pomposity...
How to be seriously funny

1

Appreciating the attempt
A presenter friend of mine was once talking to an audience of about a hundred people. A
woman in the audience suddenly launched into a diatribe on the inadequacies of men, the
superiority of women in all things, and how women had to suffer the `pathetic efforts of men'.
She then sat back with her arms crossed, looking expectantly at my friend (who wasn't even
talking on this subject) and concluded with the immortal words: "I really do try not to be
patronizing to men!"
He looked at her for a second then said: "Well, I'm sure we all appreciate the attempt,
madam!" You could have heard a pin drop as the assembled listeners processed his remark.
The roar of laughter that followed was deafening. The woman's pomposity melted and she
too began to laugh.
Now how could he have handled this?
A less experienced speaker might have attempted to placate the woman, or to defend his
gender from this over simplified `attack' He could have indignantly stated that he did find her
tone patronizing, and so on. But with just five well chosen words my friend confounded the
expectations of all those present when he commented on her attitude rather than the content
of her words. She had said she tried not to be patronizing and he implied that she was
patronizing by calling her effort to be un-patronizing an `attempt'. Perhaps more than anything
else he gave her the opportunity to view herself objectively, `from the outside'. She later
privately apologized to him and admitted she had been `over the top'. I don't subscribe to the
idea that education should always be `fun', just as I don't think all nutrition should have added
artificial sweetener, but humour can produce the right mind state to receive a new perspective
and a useful memory peg to attach learnings to. How does it do this?
Humour as a learning tool
Humour confounds expectations, applies a mild shock and therefore forces people to think
and examine assumptions and limited thinking. A good therapist will be flexible enough to
know how to use humour, when and to what extent. Over-seriousness is a microscope that
narrows focus and enlarges detail at the expense of the bigger picture. Serious things can be
appreciated in non-serious ways. Consider a recent arrival on the dictatorship scene: political
correctness.
In our politically correct times humour is seen as dangerous because it may `offend'. We have
been in danger of saying: "Are we allowed to be laughing about this?" When we have to worry
that something is or is not permissible, we are back in dictatorship mentality. Things are
`correct' or not depending on context ­ not as a universally applied set of restrictive rules
implemented by someone else.
Real humour, of course, won't condemn whole races or religions or even individuals. But it
will illuminate hidden pomposity and restricted vision in whatever context it is found. Real
humour is universal and knows no boundaries. My favourite type of humour is off the cuff and
also `makes a statement' and gives unexpected and widening perspectives. I love it when
people produce their own spontaneous and creative humour, which is why pre-packaged
jokes thought up by others don't always do it for me.
The art of not being funny
Some people try to be funny by telling jokes. This can be funny, but really it's a rather lazy
way of going about it, because the jokes are borrowed. Such jokes are also often divorced
from the situation or context the joke-teller is in at the time, and this can jar with the other
people present. Real humour is inclusive and comes `organically' from the situation.
A good humorist will strengthen rapport with others by injecting humour into the situation or
conversation as they are all experiencing it, perhaps by commenting on it in a fresh way.
How to be seriously funny

2

They will not just commandeer the conversation and take off at unrelated tangents by
artificially introducing `a joke'.
If you want to be a good humorist, you will ensure that your humour enters into the flow of
conversation that the other person is already included in and so strengthens their feeling of
inclusion. This fosters real connection with people.
Laughter and luck
You laugh at something because it is unexpected, and this very unexpectedness can totally
alter your take on something for ever after ­ this is why humour can be so therapeutic. When
something makes us see a part of reality in a fresh way it is called a `re-frame'. The injection
of humour at the right time, in the right way, delivers a powerful re-frame.
A depressed man in his sixties came to see me. His right leg had been amputated after an
accident and he was having a hard time adjusting. He talked at great length about his life and
particularly about his ex-wife and how difficult he'd found her to live with. At one point he
mentioned that she had been married twice before, but that both her former husbands had
died while married to her.
I had established good rapport with this man, and had sensed that, although I hadn't seen
him laugh in more than twelve hours of therapy, he did have a sense of humour. Tentatively, I
ventured: "So... her previous two husbands lost their lives... and you lost your leg!"
He looked at me, stunned. I became aware of a slow rumble coming from his chest (no
humour is without risk!). Slowly he began to laugh uncontrollably. Eventually, with tears of
laughter in his eyes, he said: "Yes, I was the lucky one! I was the one that got away!"
When politicians were funny
When a man asked Abraham Lincoln how long a man's legs should be, he famously replied:
"Just long enough to reach the ground!" This kind of humour applies a mild `learning shock'
and asks politely: "What kind of question is that?" The retort is still connected to the topic
instigated by the other person, and in that way retains the rapport on some level. The worst
kind of `humorist' (from my restricted view point) is the person who hails you with: "Wait till
you hear this, it will make you scream with laughter!" Humour is funny and an opportunity to
learn because it is unexpected, and who wants to be pressured into finding something funny
ahead of time? It's better when you don't think something is going to be funny and then it is.
But humour doesn't have to make you laugh to widen your perspective.
`Funny' is in the eye of the beholder
What's funny differs from person to person, but sometimes it doesn't matter if it actually
makes you laugh just as long as it gently nudges you into a wider vision of the situation. The
best stand ups will make you think as well as laugh ­ or at least one of the two!
When you use humour, you indicate that you are relaxed enough to think, that you have an
opinion all your own and that you are mentally nimble.
Oh, and in response to the man who sternly asked me what my research was, I replied: "Now
you're making me feel like a used car salesman!"
That was for the interruption. After that he did get his references.

Self Discipline And Mental Health

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Self discipline and mental health
Mark Tyrrell
"Do it if it feels good!"
"Don't do anything you don't want to do!"
"I know I should exercise/work/practise,
but when it comes to it I just don't feel like it!"
"Yeah, the money would be good,
but I'm not getting up at that time!"

Self discipline is not a new idea. There is an old story about a man who went to a tattooist
because he had always wanted a tattoo of a lion on his back.
The tattooist started to sketch the tail into the man's torso: `Ouch! What are you doing?' asked
the man. `I'm doing the lion's tail' replied the tattooist. `Well then, for goodness sake let's have
a lion without a tail!' said the man, wincing in pain.
Next the artist set about on the lion's whiskers. `Ouch!' cried the man, `What's that?' `The
whiskers!' said the tattooist, getting increasingly irritated. `Well, let's have a lion without
whiskers!' moaned his customer.
The tattooist then set about doing the lion's back. `No, that hurts too!' shouted the man. At
this, the tattooist finally lost patience with the man's lack of self discipline. Throwing down his
tools and the man out of his shop, he shouted, `How can you expect to get what you want
without a little discomfort?'
Self discipline gets you what you want
One meaning of this story may be to show how handicapped you are if you base your
decisions purely on your comfort level. If we don't develop the capacity for self discipline we
deprive ourselves of not only greater likelihood of success, but also larger and lasting
satisfactions.
Knowing we can discipline ourselves over and above what feels comfortable increases self
confidence. We need to be stretched as much as we need comfort and rest.
"Don't have a wishbone where your backbone should be!"
Depression and self discipline
Over recent decades rates of depression have sky-rocketed but during World War II,
depression and suicide rates dwindled almost to zero.
Winston Churchill could only offer the British people `blood, sweat and tears' but victory was
the greater goal for the whole nation, and so the discomfort it brought could be borne. There
was no concept of not working because you didn't feel like it, and rationing imposed discipline
even upon eating patterns.
Self Discipline and Mental Health

1

TV discipline
TV shows such as `Brat Camp', `Career Boot Camp' and `Faking It' have demonstrated the
incredible changes in ability and self esteem that can come about from short periods of
imposed `self' discipline. On these shows, personal preferences are set aside in pursuit of a
longer term goal. They demonstrate that exercising the `muscle' of self discipline hurts at first
but pays dividends once it's in shape.
Long term benefits over short term preferences
We know that the quickest way to raise serotonin levels in a depressed individual (a
neurotransmitter involved in mood elevation, emotion control and the ability to feel satisfied) is
to get them moving - the quicker and longer they move, the more serotonin they produce.
However, exercise is the last thing a depressed person feels like doing. This is where the
capacity to put aside short term preferences for long term benefits comes into its own.
(Someone who is deeply depressed may need to recover from the depression a little through
relaxation and proper rest before they begin to gain energy through exercise.)
Increase your capacity
Like any capacity the more we use self discipline, the stronger it gets. Imagine your own life
for a few moments if what you did was dictated entirely by whether you felt like doing it or not!
What exactly would you do? And more importantly what wouldn't you do?
The more we do things we don't want to do, the more we are able to do: "It is the exercised
muscle that lifts the weight!"
We are bombarded by commercials tempting us with beautiful products without indication of
the effort, dedication, self discipline and time - "I want it and I want it now!" - required to
purchase such products. (Neither do the commercials, quite naturally, show us taking the
product for granted after only a few weeks and ceasing to be satisfied by it.)
Getting something is usually short term satisfaction compared to the inner rewards of the
effort applied in acquiring it.
We are told not to `overdo it!' but how do we know what `over doing it' is if we have never
used self discipline to push ourselves? The best candidate for psychotherapy is someone
who is willing to work with the therapist, to try new things and be active in their own recovery.
Otherwise, like the man who wanted a tattoo they will not end up with what they want.
Rant over, I'm off to make that phone call I have been putting off. Honest.

Self Confidence Hypnosis

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Uncommon Hypnosis Master Series
How Hypnosis Can Build Self Confidence

Over the last decade we have found that one of the most common uses for self hypnosis
is confidence building, so we thought that it would be a good idea to explain just how you
might build self confidence using hypnosis.
As our starting point, let's take a look at how you build self confidence in the real world.
How do you get to the point where doing something scary just isn't scary any more?

Well basically, you do it and do it until it just isn't scary any more! Hardly a deeply
insightful answer, but true. Think of anything you have mastered that was difficult at first,
and you'll see that's what happened.

Fear, or lack of confidence, is all about uncertainty, and once you have done something
enough for the uncertainty to mostly disappear, the fear disappears too.

But that leaves a big problem. What if you're so scared to do something you can't even
get started? Or what if it's not the sort of thing you can practise?

This is where hypnosis comes in. Hypnosis builds a 'bridge' from where you are just now
to your destination - doing what you want to do comfortably.

Time for an example I think...

Jane, a client of mine, was terrified of driving her car. She had been driving home from
work one day when an angry driver had started harassing her by driving right up behind,
swerving in front of her and shouting out of the window. She was very stressed at the
time as her mother had just died, and she had a panic attack behind the wheel. When
she got back in the car the following day she had another panic attack and was unable
to drive. Now she had bravely got herself to the stage where she could ride in one if
someone she trusted was driving, but she couldn't drive herself.

Now, she could go no further in her career without a driving licence and so was in a very
difficult situation.

So what to do? Jane has to drive, but is terrified of it. It's the sort of situation that can
make you feel pretty hopeless. But not if you know hypnosis.

Firstly, we used hypnosis to get Jane to feel differently about the road rage incident - so
that she could remember it without panicking and - more importantly - so she didn't
experience panic when she got behind the wheel.


Then we had her rehearse driving over and over in hypnosis so she could 'experience'
doing it while relaxed.

After the hypnosis, Jane said she felt more relaxed about driving, but how could she be
sure it would be OK?

I told her she couldn't be sure. You can never be sure until you do it. You can fool
yourself into thinking it will definitely be OK, develop some powerful optimism, but you
can never be 100% sure. Used in the right way, hypnosis reduces the feeling of
uncertainty to tolerable levels, so you can go and do that thing that used to terrify you.

But when it comes down to it - it's down to you to make the final leap. (It's just that it
feels more like a hop! :-)

Jane made that final leap and things got easier and easier from then on. She didn't do it
because I 'told' her to - she did it because I helped her reduce the unpleasant emotions
to a level where she could do what she needed to solve the problem.

Hypnosis builds a bridge over the chasm you have to leap.

If you read the Master Series essay on What is Hypnosis? you will remember how Mark
Tyrrell described how hypnosis accesses the REM state to create a new blueprint for the
instincts. These sessions create a more confident emotional blueprint for specific events.

And here are some more great reasons why you can be more confident...

As I said above, you can never be sure before you do something that 'everything is
going to be OK'.

But you can trust yourself that you'll do your best.

And you can accept the possibility that you'll surprise yourself.

And you can concentrate on relaxing so that your unconscious mind can help you.

And you can form a clear picture of your desired outcome so your unconscious knows
what to aim for.

In summary

So to sum up, hypnosis works by re-educating the unconscious mind, giving you control
over responses that you can't control consciously, or by trying harder.

Resistance Hypnosis

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Uncommon Hypnosis Master Series
Resistance Hypnosis

Working as a hypnotherapist, you have to have
can help you deal with so-
strategies to
called 'resistant' clients. You can use these ideas in everyday situations too, because
what I'm about to tell you is based around a few simple yet powerful principles.

Some people have what we call 'Yeah, but...' syndrome. This means that whatever you
say to them, they automatically reply with 'Yeah, but...' Trying to give direct advice to
such people is pointless. It's like throwing a lifeline to a drowning man only to find he
argues with your choice of rope. Not everything in life needs to be a tussle, but
Yeahbutters can't help but tussle with everything. Years ago when I first started teaching
hypnosis, I was running a workshop in the south east of England. Now if you've ever
done any public speaking you'll know that sometimes you get what looks like an
'assassin' in your audience; you know, the kind of person who looks as if they want to kill
you. Their unfriendliness feels as if it is boring into you. Anyway, on this particular
occasion a woman in the front row showed not a hint of friendliness as she steadily
frowned at me. I racked my brains trying to think if I'd ever seen her before but no, this
was no former girlfriend!

When you are new to public speaking you tend to focus on the people who look the
friendliest, so I did just that ­ but I could still see my nemesis in my peripheral vision. At
one point she interrupted my talk and announced that she was a psychiatrist. She then
proceeded to tell us all her professional qualifications and clinical experience ­ to which
we all listened politely.

Next it was time for me to ask for a volunteer for my first demonstration of a hypnotic
induction. You can imagine what I was praying for, but the worst happened anyway. The
psychiatrist put up her hand. And as no else volunteered I had no choice but to choose
her.

She came and sat in front of me, still showing not a flicker of warmth. And I then made
the mistake of asking her why she had volunteered. She replied coldly that she wanted
to show that hypnosis couldn't work because she knew there was no such thing. In all
her experience she had never encountered it. I started to wonder which god I had
angered.

But of course I had no choice. I had a group of 25 people who had only known me an
hour or so, all waiting to see what I would do.

I recalled the late great Milton Erickson, the most brilliant and flexible psychiatrist and
hypnotherapist the world has known. 'Resistance is an energy', he would say, 'use it,
don't fight it.'


When he was a lad of 17, Erickson was growing up on a farm in Nevada. His father was
struggling to push a young cow into a barn but the creature was reluctant to move ­ it
as 'resista
w
nt'. Young Milton went up to his father and said 'I can get that cow into the
barn.' His father, looking at the puny youngster, replied: 'How on earth do you think you
are going to do that?' Erickson walked up to the cow, but instead of pushing, instead he
took its tail and pulled. And so in order to resist being pulled backwards,

the cow moved
forward into the barn.

In the softer martial arts such as aikido, judo and jujitsu, when you are pulled by an
l back, you push. You al
opponent, you don't pul
ign your energy to theirs. When your
opponent pulls, you push. And we can do this psychologically as well as physically. But
how could I use this principle with the resistant woman at the workshop?

So as I sat there, thinking as fast as I could, I thought: 'It's easy to blame her or just to
wish she was different, b
her?' When
ut how can I use her resistant energy to hypnotize
people are resistant, it's either because of habit or because some very important need of
theirs hasn't been fully satisfied.

So what was her need in this situation? Was it to make me look stupid? I don't think so.
Besides, I can do that fo
o
r myself. N , her need was to be seen as a professional person
­ perhaps as the most professional there. So if I could attach her need to be seen as
professional to my aim of hypnotizing her then we might get somewhere.

I turned to her, looking directly into her eyes, and said: 'No sooner than your
unconscious mind lets you know that you are professional enough for the learning
benefit of everyone here to go into deep hypnosis will those eyes begin to close!'

Wow, what a crazy thing to say! Firstly, it was confusing ­ a
i
nd we know confusion t es
up the conscious mind. But it was also a challenge. As crazy as it seems, I had
effectively said to her: 'If you don't go into hypnosis then you are not a professional
person!' And I'd said it in such a way that her conscious mind couldn't readily process it
but deep down she knew that somehow hypnosis was now tied to her appearing
professional in front of me and the group. I had taken her resistant force and directed it.

Well you should have seen the struggle. One eye was still open (keeping an eye on me
perhaps), the other was glued shut and pretty soon she was in profound and deep
hypnosis.

As an aside, this may seem as if it confounds the idea that someone has to be willing to
be hypnotized. However, when you look at it, she was willing enough to sit down and
listen to me, and I had also engineered it so she had become a willing subject, albeit in a
way she couldn't quite consciously process.

The idea of 'resistance' and 'resistant clients' is one that has been bandied around by
counsellors, coaches, therapists and hypnotists for years. My colleague Roger Elliott has
a way of describing resistance in therapy ­ he says that resistance is something the
therapist does.

If you think for a moment, resistance only exists if you push back. Until that happens,
you just have a force in a particular direction. No-one can have a one way argument. All

the therapists who have spoken about resistance are really talking about their own
resistance. Rather than fighting that woman's need to be seen as professional, I
encouraged it ­ but attached it to my need for her to be a good demonstration for the
others on the workshop.

Some people are contrary by nature. They can't help themselves. This isn't the same as
someone disagreeing with you because they happen to see that issue differently. A
ontrary person will auto
c
matically feel compelled to say the opposite to you, whatever
you say. They have an automatic need to oppose. You say 'up', they say 'down' (even if
they thought 'up' to begin with). You say black, they say white. Their need
a
is to have
contrary view to you.

So how can we deal with an automatically resistant person?

ell, first
W
ly as I've said, we can see the resistance as a force, and any force can be
directed. So the energy of someone's so-called resistance ca
d rather than
n be directe
ught again
fo
st. Years ago I was about to present a seminar in a university in Bristol. The
technical guy at the venue ­ we'll call him 'Ray' ­ always made it clear th
i
at this was h s
domain and we had to dance to the beat of his drum.

Ray would assert his status by turning every little request into a problem. He'd start by
telling you it was impossible, it couldn't be done ­ but you soon learned that this was just
ritual and
a
eventually he'd solve the problem or comply with the request. By increasing
the difficulty level of the problem and then solving it, he demonstrated his high level of
skill.

On this occasion I wanted my lecture recorded. I knew if I simply asked Ray to set up
some recording equipment, I'd get a long-winded explanation as to why it couldn't be
done. I didn't have time to indulge his unconscious need to oppose, so I used a little
mental judo. I said loudly to a colleague so Ray could hear: 'You know, it's such a sh
e
am
they don't have a faculty to re-cord this lecture!' Instantly Ray's automatic need to
oppose kicked into gear ­ who was I to say it couldn't be done! You should have seen
how quickly the recording equipment was set up. I know if I'd asked him direct it would
have taken much, much longer.

Some people need to oppose or 'rebel' and we should respect this need. Al-lowing for it,
rather than trying to squash it makes for more satisfactory outcomes for everyone.

Another manifestation of resistance is rebellion. Take the typical rebellion of some
smokers. The cigarette may be their way of sayi
m
ng 'stuff you' to the world. Telling the
that smoking is bad for them just gives the rebellious smoker another excuse to rebel...
against you and your advice.

However, if I was seeking to cure a rebellious smoker I might say: 'Of course, not every
one is able to stop smoking from the very first session.' This lays a bit of a challenge and
now we have given them something else to rebel against ­ now I'm the one telling them
they shouldn't stop, rather than the do-gooder telling them they should. In order to
inwardly oppose me now they have to at least start feeling some rebellious force against
having to smoke.

And what about that resistant woman at the workshop all those years ago?


After this experience our psychiatrist became a complete convert to hypnosis. Later in
e worksho
th
p she said to me 'We have come to an understanding haven't we?' and she
contacted us afterwards to thank us. Rather than fighting her resistance, I had gleaned
hat really motivated h
w
er and attached that motivation to my aim of inducing trance in
this woman. For the next few months she sent me a lot of her patients as well!

Finally, I think it is important to say that the way I dealt with her resistance was good for
her. She felt recognized as a professional and got to learn about hypnosis, which is
essential if you are going to be effective in dealing with people and understanding
psychology.