One of the things a good hypnotherapist does, is educate his client prior to using hypnosis, so that there is no hypnosis ignorance on the part of the client. It enhances motivation, dispels myths and potential misunderstandings and also creates expectation. One of the main reasons I blog so much on my favourite subject is also to help educate, explain and develop understanding about hypnosis, which is a simple subject given many guises by varying sources.
Over the past couple of years, I certainly think people are learning more and having a more correct understanding of the nature of hypnosis, what it can and can’t do and the efforts of so many in this field have really helped to make a difference in my view.
So it was with some dismay that I caught this article in the Guardian online entitled “Is it OK to be hypnotised to improve my work performance?” And demonstrates a huge amount of ignorance about hypnosis and hypnotherapy on the part of many responding to it…
Firstly, we need to get over the incessant need for a newspaper to use a picture of a guy swinging a pocket watch to illustrate hypnosis is being used… Despite the fact that virtually no hypnotherapists use them, it is imagery that seems to have stuck… This fortnightly section of the newspaper has questions (or rather ‘work dilemmas’) being posed, and here is what was asked in more detail:
My boss wants to pay for our team to have cognitive hypnotherapy treatment to see if it improves our sales performance. Some colleagues think it could be fun but I’m worried about something going wrong and I’m not entirely sure about the ethics of it. What do readers think? Should I back out, or go along with it?
What are your thoughts?
If you then proceed to read the comments by people who obviously have no understanding of hypnosis or hypnotherapy at all saying things like:
Would you be asking yourself this question if they had announced free caffeine pills all round, or any other performance-enhancing medication? You can’t drug your employees to get them to perform better, goes without saying. The same applies to personal therapy.
Whether you believe hypnotherapy works or not and whether you believe it is risk-free or not, an employer should not be messing around employees’ mental health purely to hit sales targets, it’s irresponsible in the extreme and shows complete disregard for the employees’ rights to a private life (wanting to get inside people’s heads?!) and personal wellbeing.
Your boss is so far across the line in even suggesting this.
Another comment said this:
The answer is quite obviously not-on-your-nelly, sir. What sort of meglomaniac are you working for anway?!
Another offered this:
Do you really want to work for an organisation that allows managers to treat their staff in this irresponsible and disrespectful way?
My advice is to get out now, otherwise they’ll have you walking barefoot over hot coals next time.
Yet another said this:
Your boss is inferring that you’re not good enough as you naturally are. Is that ok with you? Whatever next, offering you all free plastic surgery to rid his team of loathsome and unattractive facial features that might stand in the way of a deal?
Do people really think like this? I mean going to the effort of writing on a national newspapers website in such an ill-informed and ignorant manner.
The benefits of using cognitive hypnotherapy to improve all manner of aspects are surely going to benefit the individuals, the company, and those that benefit from dealing with an improved workforce.
Maybe the messages are not making their way far enough out there and us guys in this field need to keep on… I write regularly about some of the most amazing empirical research findings supporting the efficacy of hypnosis in so many different ways… Those kinds of things don’t make it much further beyond those with a keen interest, which is a real shame.
I could go on for hours correcting the blobs of misinformation punctuating all these ignorant statements, but I have a days work to get on with… 🙂
Can’t agree with you on this one Adam. Having any sort of therapy should be the decision of the individual, not something their employer forces them into. Imagine if their boss wanted them all to have psychoanalysis – it would be seen as an intrusion, and quite rightly.
Also, given the wildly variable standards of hypnotherapists in the UK, it’s not unreasonable to be worried about something going wrong. What if the hypnotherapist doesn’t know what they are doing? I would want a ton of reliable recommendations before going to a hypnotherapist.
Many of the comments, and the original question, seem to reflecting the usual lack of distinction in people’s minds between hypnotherapy and stage hypnosis.
Finally, I think this is as much about the lack of trust in the questioner’s relationship with their employer as about the popular image of hypnosis.
I hear you Andy.
Anyone must of course be given a choice as to whether it is something they do or not. I’d like to think they would be able to make an informed choice if someone explained the process correctly and they are advised accordingly – with all the correct, diligent informed consent and duty of care notions dealt with.
Many emplyers offer up healthcare that can help with improving their level of health… So I see no issue with offering up an option to improve their performance with a professional.. Heck, companies offer up courses with personal development experts of all kinds… As long as it is not forced upon them, I see little difference.
And of course, it must also be a fully qualififed professional… I suppose that a member of the public does get to choose the therapist for themselves rather than have one suggested by a boss, but again, I see no real issue with it.
There is no evidence to suggest that cognitive hypnotherapy can cause anyone any harm at all.
I think I was getting driven by the seemingly ill-informed comments about the very nature of hypnosis and not really looking at the relationship of trust between employee and boss…
Good hearing from you Andy.
The thing is ‘therapy’.
Of course if you use the term therapy people who actually have nothing wrong with them are going to come up with the answers in this paper. “Therapy’ denotes healing.
I’m discussing this on my Wednesday Weekly Wisdom on my site tomorrow. Thanks for the heads up Adam
Jon yes, agreed… Therapy is the thing. Enjoyed reading that 🙂
What a misunderstanding over semantics! People seem to be confusing cognitive hypnotherapy with psychoanalysis, which are two different things entirely. Cognitive hypnotherapy basically enhances our self esteem and serves as a tool to improve our outlook and our performance. There is almost nothing invasive about it. Psychoanalysis, on the other hand, is a highly personal choice, and involves a licensed doctor. This is NOT what the boss is offering. I would imagine that the employees are free to accept his generous offer or decline.
I have been teaching for over forty years, and am considered to be tops in my field, and yet I seek ways to improve my performance on a daily basis. A basic law in nature is that living things (including people) either grow or decay. They do not stay the same. I would love to have a boss who offered me free hypnotherapy.
Your answers were right on, Adam. I was also amazed by the comments, and thought that you managed to be polite and informative throughout.
Mary Martha Pazos
Thank you kindly Mary, your contribution is very much appreciated. 🙂