It is a new week, and even though I mentioned them at twitter… No, I shall not be writing about those ridiculous stories that raised their heads last week… Keanu Reeves being accused of using hypnosis to cheat his paternity tests… Or the sword swallower guy who apparently self-hypnotised himself in front of a mirror and could not move for ages…
Instead I want to simplify things… I have been working all weekend and I find that many of my students think therapy and in particular hypnotherapy need to be incredibly complex. It does not need to be anything of the sort. We do not need to get out the abacus and solve hardcore equations to help people get better.
For example, there is so, so much of all happiness (anti-depression) psychology that can be condensed down to one very valuable recommendation – look on the bright side. (Resist the urge to start singing the Monty Python song until you’ve finished reading please!)
Any one of us can look at our lives in negative or positive terms. All of us have accomplishments, successes, good relationships, skills, hopes, pleasures, contentments. All of us have the reverse. And all of us have the capacity to dwell on one side or vision of our lives or the other.
Sometimes, either because of our dispositions or our current mood, or due to some recent rough seas, we get stalled in the negative part of the cycle. Both hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for depression and happiness psychology a la Seligman instruct us to focus on happier thoughts.
Maybe you are now thinking “Hmmm… Is that all he can say? Is that all modern hypnotherapy has come up with after centuries of research and development? My grandmother knew that.”
I just want to highlight the beauty of dealing with things simply rather than being too complex.
Happiness psychology tells us to keep in mind our positives, then think about how we get them, and then to do more of those things. Antidepressive psychology tells us to do pretty much the same, but dwells somewhat more on how to reverse bad things so our mood arrow spends more time on the positive side of the metre.
It is good that so much of mood psychology breaks down into such simplified ideas. If it were more complicated than this, we might not succeed at it. If we all had to learn to meditate to focus our brains, or carry out systematic relationship inventories, or practice completely healthy lifestyles – then we’d maybe not achieve as much therapeutically.
Instead, much of what we can do is simply search our minds and our worlds for things we enjoy doing, that make us look on the positive side of our lives, that encourage us to dwell on what we are good at, that is good about us, that has worked right for us, and that demonstrates we are loved and that we love others.
That is why someone praising us or saying that they like us, or our doing a familiar activity that we enjoy, or experiencing some casual good fortune makes us so happy! The bad news is that the flip sides of all these things really bring us down. Drugs are short cuts for the simple act of shifting this balance.
We’re all like children going into a sweet shop, aren’t we? Rejoice in the simplicity of psychology and the almost infantile way our minds work! That is so much better – both truer and more effective – than contemplating phantasmagoric, multi-coloured, shifting brain images and believing they are really us.
Ok, so there are times when things need to get more compelx, but it is not essential all of the time.
Now that you know the secret, help others – loved ones and acquaintances – to have happy thoughts. And rejoice when they do.