It is rare that I actually offer up a full blog entry and write up regarding our Hypnotherapist peer support groups run here in Bournemouth by my school, but I really wanted to get some thoughts written and shared here today.

Way back in 1933 in his seminal work Hypnosis and Suggestibility, Clark Hull (in my opinion the 3rd most important contributor to the field of hypnotherapy after James Braid and Hipolyte Bernheim), amongst many other incredibly important things offers up the notion that “anything that assumes hypnosis creates hypnosis.” And boy did we see that in action last night.

In 1943, prominent hypnotherapist of the day, George Estabrooks stated that subjects will absolutely not actualise the effects of hypnotic suggestions that the hypnotist does not believe will work. It is therefore a vital lesson that any hypnosis professional makes sure he/she wholeheartedly believes in the words that he/she is saying. Believe and expect a certain outcome. Not only will your client feel that congruence, you are going to enhance the effectiveness of everything you say and do, when your thoughts, feelings and actions all go in the same direction.

These notions are cornerstones of hypnotherapy today, often taken for granted and very often overlooked, but are readily employed by those who get results in hypnotherapy sessions with clients.

I mention both of these (Hull and Estabrooks), because Freddy Jacquin placed a great deal of importance in these two notions in his presentation last night – both mentioning them and also displaying them beautifully. He went on to explain to us how he mentally prepared for his presentation with progressive expectation and his discussion included a lovely phrase: ‘I had doubts… But I had no doubt I could keep those doubts to myself.‘ I.e. They were never communicated on any level to the client.

With his presentation and the demonstrations he conducted, he assumed hypnosis throughout, he offered up unconditional positive regard for those he worked with and was utterly congruent in the way he delivered it all. Key lessons.

I think there must have been some cosmic forces at work yesterday because I spent the afternoon with James Brown and his family and he is another person who demonstrates these qualities within his hypnosis and performance magic.

We were also treated to an explanation of the Jacquin power lift induction, which I loved and which I believe can be found and read about in Anthony Jacquin’s book ‘Reality is Plastic’ which I have been thumbing through again this very morning ready to use on this weekend’s training course. He also demonstrated a non-verbal induction and pain relieving intervention on a lady 4 rows back from where he was presenting, pre framing it with a big smile and the words “I’ll do it from here” which was indicative of the ongoing playfulness inherent within all he did while presenting. Also Freddy demonstrated on a few occasions an induction/deepener/belief busting/feelgood enhancer which involved the subject thinking of the people they loved the most in the world and it made for some fabulous results.

Add to all of this the fact that Freddy made me (and most others in the room) laugh out loud on several occasions, he sang to us (I have his voice echoing “it was just my imagination….” in my head this morning) and was very generous with his time afterwards talking to everyone in the bar, demonstrating more and regaling with stories, it made for a great evening.

Ok, ok, so there are facets of Freddy’s approach that are not my preferred method of working (which I say about every single person that ever speaks at our group, and that I say of all my therapeutic heroes), but I’d be foolish to disregard anything said by someone with tens of thousands of hours of working successfully with clients over a very lengthy career….

A thought I discussed with Freddy during and after his presentation stemmed from a question he asked me when I was presenting at the Change | Phenomena conference a few weeks ago. When I was talking about standardisation of protocols and adhering to scripts for use in evidence based therapy, Freddy asked me about whether such things could potentially render the role of the hypnotherapist redundant, because recorded standardised processes could replace the therapist if what I was saying was correct – potentially I could agree with such a point, but the likelihood of it is very low…. On the day I quipped and sidestepped the discussion a bit by referring people to my own hypnosis downloads website. 😉

This discussion became pertinent again last night though – because Freddy has such a charm, a contagious humour, likeable manner and an infectious enthusiasm and love for this field, that it is easy to believe in him and what he does. I asked him how much he believed that manner and charisma influenced the results he got in therapy and he skilfully sidestepped answering it head on, and let us know that he could teach anybody the same processes for them to use exactly as he does them and that there was strength in the techniques, absolutely. I believed him. In hindsight, I think I believed in him.

Again, one point often aimed at NLPers and certain techniques they employ within their work is that they believe in what they do so much, often because they believe in their teachers so much, that the level of belief and congruence displayed when they conduct such techniques and strategies helps carry the therapeutic results.

Some would question whether it matters at all – we got the result, right? Freddy certainly got results last night. He metaphorically put his balls on the line and offered some very real demonstrations of his work in front of a group of his professional peers and everyone reported results that were impressive.

Whatever your thoughts on any aspect of this train of thought, there were many things to learn and emphasise in Freddy’s presentation… And the regard that everyone had for Freddy as a man was unanimously positive.

As I made my thanks at the end of the presentation to Freddy and offered a couple of thoughts, looking around the room I noticed that the room was filled with either my ongoing students who are thriving with their studies, or recent school graduates who are thriving with the early stages of their careers despite tough economic conditions, or other experienced hypnotherapists who are doing well and certainly not resting on their laurels. It is no coincidence that those making the effort to come and learn from others in this way are those that are thriving.

The point I want to make here is that those who are succeeding one way or another are those that continue to take opportunities that are presented to them, who come and learn from experienced therapists, continue to develop skills and make an effort to really engage with one another and this wonderful field that we work in. It is so great to be around people like that, it serves as a great tonic for me.

I study, read, research heavily, attend courses and much more besides every year. I think I have a fairly good grasp on the field, but I continue to learn from professional peers all the time and I think it serves me and my work very well. Heck, I guess that is why they call it continued professional development, right?

Another couple of quick points from yesterday…

Claire Lincoln (hub moderator, inspirational runner, and new diploma course assistant) got her certification from me and the school last night, congratulations Claire.

Gareth Morgan (course assistant) was displaying his trim waistline and is about to get his new convertible BMW as his current (Nesquik sales) business is going so well…. And we got news that Lindsay Shepherd (school tutor here and thriving hypnotherapist) came runner-up in the Dorset Venus Business Awards… Awesome. I had conversations with people about what they are finding to be successful strategies with their work, what they have been reading, what clients they are treating, and so much more besides…

This is the nature of the hypnotherapy community we have here. I consider everyone in attendance last night to be a great friend as well as professional peer. How can I not have a smile on my face while sat at my desk at 7.30am this sunny morning?

Ok, I am teaching for the next 3 days, so I’ll be back next week – have fun and enjoy the sunshine.