Recently, on a Facebook discussion forum, on a rather controversial thread, in response to someone else’s comments, I wrote (amongst many other things) this;
“many are outspoken authors against the use of regression due to the very damning scientific evidence about the dangers of regression, in particular the dangers of using regression in conjunction with hypnosis. Those of you with expertise in regression are surely aware of topics such as the reconstructive nature of memory, retraumatisation, hypnosis not guaranteeing veracity of memory, hypnosis making false memories more believable and numerous other issues that mean real quality evidence to support regression to cause is incredibly sparse…”
Within an hour of me writing that, I received an email from someone who teaches regression to cause, and for whom it is the backbone of their training school’s ethos. Among other things that person wrote to me;
“your last post is just outrageous and proves to me that you have absolutely no clue about regression to cause hypnotherapy.
I truly suggest you get properly trained, before making such claims “damning scientific evidence about the dangers of regression, in particular the dangers of using regression in conjunction with hypnosis”. Please provide such scientific proof…”
So I did just that… When asked for scientific proof for the statements that I make, I refer people to the articles I have written in the past decade on the subject. Please note, these are not my own personal studies, these are not my own personal opinion, they are not my own personal beliefs, they are scientific studies that have informed my professional position. I wrote most of these articles back in 2009 and 2010 and they are still very valid today and there has been no studies to come out and refute this position, go and read these articles as they are filled with evidence that is quite damning as far as the use of regression by hypnotherapists is concerned:
1. The Use of Regression in Hypnotherapy.
2. Questioning The Use of Regression In Hypnotherapy.
3. Should Hypnosis Be Used To Recover Memories? Does Hypnosis Increase The Chances Of False Memory Syndrome?
4. 1940s Attempt To Prove Effectiveness Of Hypnotic Regression Using Babinski Reflex.
It’s a hot topic because so many hypnotherapy training schools still teach regression without teaching any critique of it whatsoever and so defend it to the hilt, and get offended when someone such as myself questions what they know and feel invested in.
I have many professional colleagues who I respect and who use regression still today and I give every opportunity for people to convince me of the reasons to use regression, for example a while back I had regression proponent Roy Hunter on to my Hypnosis Weekly podcast and he gave a very interesting account in support of ethical regression, you can listen to that here, he responded to all the critique I presented him with, he was gracious, polite and we were able to discuss the topic with mutual respect and understanding for each other’s perspective, go and have a listen: Hypnosis Weekly Featuring Roy Hunter.
Additionally, I met the very lovely Daniel Ryan at the UK hypnosis convention who talked about regression at the convention and will be coming on my podcast in coming weeks to discuss it’s use. I give all a voice and a chance to get their points across.
However, the issue comes when those who pose as teachers and educators in this field, who only teach a single, slanted position in support of their own stance. If you are going to teach regression to cause, and if you are going to teach (and potentially wrongly assume) that many therapeutic issues have singular ISEs (initial sensitising events) then you also need to teach the critique of that, you need to teach and educate students about what the research says and what academics and scientists say, give a rounded perspective, a full picture, not just give a singular perspective. Isn’t that at the heart of good quality education?
It is something at the heart of my own college, all our students are asked to read this article prior to signing up to any of our courses:
Are Hypnotherapists Intelligent Enough To See Both Sides?
You see, here’s the thing, when I sent on these studies that the above mentioned individual demanded I send on to support my forum statement, not only was I very surprised that this person knew nothing about any of these studies or any of these arguments, but the reply I got stated that the experimenters and researchers I was citing simply did not know how to do regression properly!! Hahahaha, asking for the evidence, then when presented with the evidence, finding some other random reason to refute it. Why not work with the studies and let it inform and update what you do and how you do it, instead of just digging your heels and becoming entrenched in dogma?
The individual suggested that I was wrong, I knew no better and needed proper training, regardless of what any of the studies suggested – he used a lot of personal anecdote to support his own stance and I do not want to rubbish anyone’s professional experience, it just felt like this person only wanted to see studies if they supported their own stance and was not interested in any studies that questioned that stance. I wrote an article a while back that was aimed at people like this:
Why Prominent Hypnotherapists and Hypnotherapy Training Schools Need To Know How To Take Criticism.
I recognise that I have bias too. I have a stance and I am being driven by it. My college has a very particular stance and so I promote that stance in the name of promoting my business, I recognise that too. Yet I am yet to be really deeply convinced by the evidence that I have robustly examined and that I continue to examine to shift from my current position that believes we need to question whether regression to cause should be used by hypnotherapists and that states that hypnosis should not really be used as a means of recovering memories – the evidence to support my current position is in the above articles.
This is not necessarily about being right or wrong, it is about being informed and about educating the field effectively – teach students both side of a debate, argument and philosophy and then let people choose their own direction rather than being dictated to because the school and teacher and financially invested in presenting the subject matter a particular way and refuse to accept any critique of it despite several strong cases from the scientific studies.
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