Don’t Want to Talk About It? Try “Secret Therapy!”

People in hypnosis don’t talk much, and that means that the less you want to talk about your issue, the more appropriate it is.

When I was being trained in hypnotherapy, one of the things we’d do is pair off to practice our new skills, and it didn’t matter very much whether we told our partner, “I don’t like flossing, and I want to floss every day,” or “I don’t like to do X, but it’s important, so I want to do X every day.” Both are perfectly adequate.

That’s because hypnosis is all about guiding the client through an imaginative process, using combinations of stories, metaphors, and step-by-step instructions to help the unconscious mind to re-evaluate the old decision that gets in the way of progress.

Because your unconscious mind is very responsive to fables, fairy tales, metaphors, and stories of all kinds, it doesn’t matter if I use your real information or tell a story about a different situation that happens to have some similar elements. That’s all the unconscious needs.

For example, if you have a behavior you don’t like, and tell me, “I want to stop doing X,” you might want to stop smoking, or yelling at your kids, or procrastinating, or being afraid of bees, or spending all your time thinking about things that make you feel bad, spending all your money on clothing that you’ll never wear. If you tell me, “I want to start doing Y,” you might want to get out and meet people, or get going on a projects, or fall asleep easily at night, or enjoy sex more, or any of a million other possibilities.

Normally, when people see me, they tell me their issues and I get a few details, but if you don’t want to do that when you come in, I’ll ask a few questions about how the parameters of the problem. If you wanted to “stop doing X,” you’ll tell me whether you want to stop doing X all of the time, or whether it’s okay some of the time, and the kinds of emotions that are associated with doing X when you don’t want to, and the good things (let’s call them Y) that happened when you stopped X. I’d point out that humans aren’t very good at stopping things, they’re good at doing something else instead. So you need alternatives, which we might call Z.

Because your unconscious mind probably already knows what Y and Z are, I don’t need to.know what Y and Z are, and neither do you! Not consciously. In fact, it often works best when the unconscious mind makes these decisions for itself, after being guided through a decision-making process that’s designed to give good results. And if you don’t need to know consciously, neither do I.

When is this appropriate? When you aren’t happy enough about revealing your issue to seek help any other way.

As you can imagine, secret therapy is a little less focused than regular hypnotherapy, so it can take longer, but the main thing is that it gives you a way to get where you want to go now.

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Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. Robert's publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of reprinted classics, including Hypnotherapy of War Neuroses, which covers treating PTSD in veterans. Robert and his wife Karen sell free-range chicken and eggs at the Corvallis farmers' markets. Robert's hypnotherapy office is in downtown Corvallis.

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