So I am back in the office and catching up with the mountain of stuff that lies in front of me as a result of having a week out of the office.

Last week was a thoroughly enjoyable week of training a fabulous group of people from a variety of countries and places.

Despite being so different in backgrounds, they all got on famously well. One of the reasons I put this down to, is that they shared a vision of what they wanted to do – they wanted to do good in the world, they wanted to use hypnotherapy, they wanted to help others.

And for all of them, they had their own vision, their own imagined notion of how they want their own lives to be and how they imagined their lives being. The fact that they had engaged their imaginations to such an extent, even before they stepped into the classroom for the first time is one of the reasons they progressed so magnificently and are now propelling themselves forward with such momentum.

One of the basic things taught on my diploma at the very beginning, when we look at the history of hypnosis, and when we look at classic principles in hypnosis literature, is the notion initially accredited to Emile Coué and his laws of suggestion, and that is the law of reversed effect.

In the field of clinical hypnosis, this law has referred to the way we make suggestions whereby we are looking for a physiological response from the client. The notion of reversed effect is that “the harder one consciously tries to do something, the harder it becomes to complete.”

I have touched on this several times previously. Where the will and imagination conflict, the will loses. many believe that the field of hypnosis and hypnotherapy, is the domain of the imagination. So, if I suggested to a hypnotised client that “your mouth is beginning to water”, though why I would do such a thing, I have no idea…  I might get some slight success if there is a good deep level of hypnotic communication created. If, however, I describe to you a scene involving a juicy, yellow lemon still glistening with a light sheen of condensation having been taken out of the fridge… If I then suggest that I am cutting that lemon so that you can see all those tangy lemon juices beginning to flow out and then suggest you take a bite and sink your teeth into that lemon flesh, the juice rides up your gums, into your mouth, and around your tongue…. You may well start dribbling!

Emile Coué, considered by many to be a true pioneer of hypnosis and his famous school in Nantes was where he did much of his work. His influence upon the field of hypnosis and hypnotherapy is still prevalent today. He actually created the first edition of many of these principles, in particular the Law of Reversed Effect.

As I said, this law refers to the fact that the harder you try to do something, the more difficult it becomes to succeed. It is doomed to failure because you are using the wrong part of your mind to try to do it. As soon as any suggestion or task is moved to use of imagination, the task or accepting the suggestion may well be easier. Where will and imagination conflict, imagination tends to win!

For example when a hypnotherapist wishes to create analgesia in someone, in their hand for example, like a localised anaesthesia; rather than telling them “your hand is going numb” and them trying to accept that idea consciously, it may well be better to say “just imagine putting your hand into a bucket of iced, freezing cold water….”

Even as I wrote that I could tell the difference. it pays to engage the imagination when using hypnosis for therapeutic purposes.

Get the imagination inspired and have it see outcomes and benefits that they can connect with inside their minds. This is what my students had all done before they arrived on the course and the skills they adopted and added to that imagined vision they had for themselves certainly ensured they were a great group to work with.

That said, it is good to be back in my office… Now if I just imagine this mountain of work disappearing from my desk, that’ll be marvellous…