Let me ask you a question… Are you intelligent enough to see both sides of a theory, argument, stance or subject?

Whether you agree with either side, or neither side, are you intelligent enough to see both sides?

I can’t hear what you are replying from my bank Holiday bolthole here in Bournemouth – I say bolthole, because I will be using my running machine in my home gym rather than running outside this weekend due to the awful weather! Even though I can’t hear your reply, I assume that most of you said ‘yes’ in reply to the question. I mean, if you weren’t intelligent enough, you’d probably not be reading this in the first place, eh?

So if the answer that most people give is ‘yes’ – why do you not get treated as such?

Why is it that so many teaching establishments in the personal development and hypnotherapy world are so goddam dogmatic about what they teach? Let me give you some examples:

– Psychoanalytic schools of hypnotherapy very rarely teach their students the issues surounding duty of care, informed consent, the reconstructive nature of memory and risks of retraumatisation when teaching regression therapy (I regularly meet hypnotherapists trained by regresion dominated organisations that haven’t a clue what retraumatisation is, or that the memory reconstructs the past, often in a far different way than the initial experience – science demonstrates this to be true by the way, it is not an opinion).

– NLP training schools rarely point out the scientifically proven flaws in eye-accessing cues or the validity of representational systems (I have met people and seen people with YouTube videos claiming that the cues are set in stone for everyone, whereas research shows they do not; for them to be useful, you need to calibrate each individual uniquely).

-Why do those that teach that hypnosis is some kind of altered state rarely ever illustrate the nonstate viewpoint of hypnosis (I met several people from an Erickson hypnotherapy training course who had not even heard of any such debate as the state vs nonstate that is central to the field of hypnosis).

– Conversational and Indirect hypnosis trainings often state that what they do is better than direct or authoritative styled hypnosis… Yet offer no evidence to show us how or why… because there is virtually no evidence to suggest as much. It may be a lovely, subtle and elegant way to communicate, but the efficacy as far as therapeutic gain is concerned is no higher than those using more direct methods.

Please note, these above points are not my opinions. They are facts with evidence to support them.

When teaching these subjects, why not highlight the limitations of that which you teach too? Isn’t that progress? Isn’t that how we develop and enhance this field? To build upon what we know, to challenge and improve what we do, to have a rounded, fully open-minded understanding of the entire subject and not feel the need to dig our heels into one small aspect and defend it by suggesting it is better than everything else, regardless of any evidence to the contrary?

Is it because those that teach this stuff do not know the other side of these things? Is it because they are scared of being challenged and being seen to be left wanting? Do they just know no better, were taught that way and therefore espouse the way they were taught as the right option… Like it is the law? I mean, what if you trained 10 years ago and have not kept abreast of developments and not done any relevant CPD (continued professional development)? Worse still, what if your CPD is being conducted by people who know no better? Who offer up one dogmatic approach?

Eeek!

Maybe this is why we work in a field that has so many conflicting viewpoints and stances. We seem to perceive theΒ  field in so many different ways, with a seeming inability to adopt other stances and approaches and so many of us arrogantly assume we know best and just stick to what we know without even understanding (or even knowing about in some cases) the other side.

I think it is important, especially for hypnotherapists, to be able to see (at least) and ideally fully understand both sides to a philosophy, a debate, a theory and so on. It shows intelligence. It shows you know your subject and your field. The field of hypnotherapy, as with many, many other fields, has a proliferation of this kind of phenomena… Whereby people teach something that they insist is the best and only way to go, blissfully unaware that there could potentially be more to understand and benefit from. If nothing else, we owe that to our clients who are investing in our services to be offered the most effective solutions to enhance their well-being.

I wrote last week about the need for a tidy balance between enjoying the art of hypnosis and responding to developments in research and evidence base. I think a similar balance needs to be struck in how we approach our own knowledge base. It is basic Yin and Yang for those wanting a more liberal way of illustration… and I hope you demand that you be taught in a way that accepts that you are indeed intelligent enough to be taught both sides of any theory or subject matter.

It is bank holiday weekend here… I am having some time out… And so I’ll be back next Tuesday and I hope you have a wonderful weekend πŸ™‚

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