DSCN1563It has been an interesting week. Several people have mentioned hypnotherapy to me in the same breath as saying “Oh I already practice self-care using mindfulness”.

I think that’s great and if the practice produces good results then I will cheer along with everyone else.

However a simple meditative practice is not the same as or a replacement for a carefully designed individual series of treatment sessions focused at helping somebody with a specific issue or goal.

Mindfulness is extremely popular especially with overstretched health services who seem to currently be recommending it as a panacea to a certain extent. After all if somebody suffering from clinical depression can be sent to do a short course on mindfulness and they don’t come back to the GP’s surgery for a couple of months or more that is a definite win as far as the performance of that surgery is concerned.

As well as recently qualifying as a solutions focused clinical hypnotherapist I have spent many years using trance states in a number of different ways for different purposes. There is no doubt in my mind that different types of meditation are different varieties of trance state.

Mindfulness comes from Vipassana meditation which aims at creating a degree of detachment. This undoubtedly has a number of benefits and is something we also use to some extent in hypnotherapy.

The trance state or REM state as we now know it to be is the fundamental doorway to the unconscious.

A portal, think of it as like a carrier medium. In it’s raw state it is just focused attention with nothing overlayed on it.

Once a trance state has been created one way or another (and God knows there are an infinite number of ways) then one is effectively looking at a blank canvas. The subsequent use of mental reference frameworks, metaphors and symbols constitute a means of focusing and directing the trance state.

So when we work with somebody in hypnotherapy the process is carefully developed with a great sensitivity to the clients own inner realities and their repertoire of metaphor and symbolism.

The structure and taxonomy of these inner experiential languages is complex, subtle and something a lifetime of study could not be said to make you expert in.

Each hypnotherapy engagement is a co-mutual investigation in which the hypnotherapist endeavors to facilitate processes which are already in train in the client. Part of this may mean inducing experiences of objective disassociation from thoughts and feelings as part of a process of creating greater understanding and integration.

There is more to know about these states and our own innate capabilities than one neatly packaged popular application.