How were you introduced to hypnosis?
Nathan Thomas: A rather boring, modern way. Whilst surfing the net I came across a link to Jamie Smart’s saladltd.co.uk. He has many free eBooks on offer, which sparked an interest in NLP, which, of course, soon led to hypnosis.
How did you first realise the ability or the potential of hypnosis to affect change?
NT: I think I’ve told this story before, so I apologize in advance. I was about 16, and a friend of my mothers was suffering from chronic insomnia. After $200.00 per hour meetings with NZs top psychologists, the only suggestion was a long course of anti depressants, which she was not enthusiastic about. After a 15 minute chat, where I employed NLP and conversational hypnosis techniques, she had her first full nights sleep in months. That was when I really thought “wow – this stuff has potential!”
In a therapeutic setting, what are the most important things clients should know about the process before being hypnotized?
NT: In all hypnotic concepts the client should EXPECT the hypnosis to be successful. What they know consciously, I feel, has less importance than what many believe, as long as unconsciously and emotionally they are open to and committed to the change that is about to happen.
What are some of the bigger breakthroughs you’ve seen with people through the use of hypnosis?
NT: As well as the insomnia case mentioned and several other similar matters with friends and family, using hypnosis on myself (self hypnosis), has affected tremendous change, from academic and sporting performance in my school days, to just general focus and well being today.
How much is hypnosis a placebo, if at all?
NT: Hypnosis is often defined as the acceptance of suggestions. For a placebo to be successful, the suggestion must be accepted, and acted upon by the unconscious. “Placebo” is actually Latin for “I shall please” and so hypnosis and placebo are, in many ways, 1 and the same thing.
Are concerns by some valid who believe that hypnosis only brings short term results and what makes changes through hypnosis long lasting?
NT: Certainly all people and problems, hypnotists and suggestions are different; thus in some contexts hypnosis certainly can be short lived. Changes brought about in a safe therapy room may be eroded by continual exposure to the situational anchors and pressures which caused or triggered the problem in the first place.
To make the changes long lasting, future pacing, as well as the use of post hypnotic suggestion and compounding should be employed. A hypnotist should recognize and anticipate the pressures the client will face in the real world in the future, and utilize these to help compound the effects of the hypnosis.
Where do you see hypnosis heading, as a therapy, in the next 10, 20 years?
NT: That depends on us. In a field where we can’t even agree on what hypnosis even IS, the future development of our profession is uncertain. If we put aside the petty semantic differences and accept the value all of us – be us stage hypnotists, hypnotherapists, or the most devout Ericksonian clinicians, bring to hypnosis. If we work together, hypnosis can certainly gain the recognition it deserves. If the petty squabbling remains so prevalent, then, except for the very impressive individual leaps many of us are making, hypnosis may at large remain in the murky realms of the occult and obscure.