Monday, April 21, 2008

Hypnosis: Understanding The Mind

(First in a series of excerpts from the Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy Training Manual)

by Kevin Hogan, Psy.D.

Conversations with hypnotherapists can occasionally lead to substantially differing paradigms as to how the mind works and how change occurs in human behavior. This article will propose an easy to understand paradigm as to how the mind works and how change occurs. We will also discuss how some philosophies of the mind are successful at creating change in some individuals and discover why no change at all will occur in others with what should have been effective. We will also look at the introduction of the final theory of every-mind which we hope will come close to living up to the title.
The first discovery of change in the physical form, which helps us lay a foundation for this article, comes from sacred literature. The Bible has many citations of individuals being healed by faith. Many others do not get healed. Again, faith (the lack of it) is cited as the reason a person is not healed. Interestingly, the faith was not a religious faith that was referred to in most cases. In other words it was/is not necessary to have unwavering faith in the godhood of Jesus Christ as so many have portended that is said to heal. Jesus, himself, said that it was simply their faith or lack of it, apparently in the process itself that created success or failure in healing. The power of belief in a process or a magic pill is not limited to ancient literature.
Studies have proven that the placebo response is roughly the equivalent of the power of expectancy. Even the least effective modes of healing (and behavioral change processes) are shown to be more effective than control groups where healing or change is left to happen randomly. This information will become the foundation for our first postulate.
  1. Unwavering belief precedes some but not all healing and change, and lack of unwavering belief can precede some but not all failure in healing and change.Evidence for this is seen in my practice and every other medical and mental health practitioners practice in the world. No one who sees more than one client sees 100% of clients or patients get healed. However, there certainly are practitioners that see healing and change more regularly than others, over and above statistical chance. Additionally, many practitioners with greater education and expertise often attain inferior results to practitioners with little experience but a powerful attitude (operator attitude) for healing and change. Based upon this premise, we can offer our second postulate.
  2. The practitioner of change and healing plays a role in the likelihood of healing or change in the client or patient. This can include but is not limited to a practitioners experience, education and operator attitude and expectancy.
Based on our first two postulates we can agree on the following:

  • The client and practitioner are both important in the healing/change process.
  • The client who has an unwavering belief in the certainty of healing/change is more likely to receive healing or the change desired than the individual who is less certain of improvement.
  • The practitioner who has an unwavering belief in the certainty of healing/change of his client is more likely to facilitate the healing or the change of the client than a practitioner who is less certain.
  • The clients faith in the practitioner aids in improvement.
  • The clients faith in the process (whatever it is) aids in improvement.
  • The clients perception of the practitioners belief in the process is critical to improvement.
  • Although the process of improvement and healing is important to the result, the content (the emotional aspects including belief, faith, expectation) of the process is likely to be more important to the change or healing of the individual.
With these keys understood, we can see that the following should be in place in any healing or change work.
  • the practitioner should be educated and experienced in his modalities of change and therapy.
  • the practitioner should be certain of the efficacy of his skills and should know how to best present this certainty to the client for maximum placebo response.
  • the practitioner should have a powerful method of dealing with the concerns of the client as to the practitioners skills, background, perceived success rate and expectancy level.
These are only two postulates of hundreds that aid the practioner in effecting change in clients. These are only two postulates that begin to help us understand the mind and how it works. In future articles we will discuss more postulates for understanding.
Click here for articles on HYPNOSIS AND HEALING: A Series.