Metaphors for difficult situations

Hypnosis / Self Hypnosis - discuss this most useful, and misunderstood, of therapeutic tools.

Postby alexd181 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:58 am

Hi all

I've been wondering recently about the use of metaphors for problems that seem impossible or with no resolution.

Even if the hypnotherapist can see no resolution, is it possible to create a metaphor to help the client? For example, someone just lost their job, is in debt and needs to pay it back before tomorrow morning. Or another example would be a difficult decision that has 2 alternatives, both of which seem just as attractive. I.e. something that the therapist himself can't see a clear resolution to.

I know most metaphors work best when the therapist can see a conscious resolution, and thus transcribe it into unconscious language. What about where no clear solution is seen?
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Postby skeitel » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:19 pm

If they believe in destiny, talk about it, and the concept of "faith" can help giving them hope.
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Postby kevsheldrake » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:06 am

On the one hand, I think a decent therapist would be able to ask sufficient questions to gain the information required for them to find an appropriate way forward.

On the other hand, if a situation appears to be absolute, then I think a decent therapist would consider what resources would be useful for the client following the session, through the situation and out the other side.

Sometimes our actions have consequences but how we deal with the arising situations can massively affect the stress placed upon ourselves and the people we interact with. My recommendation for metaphors would be Rosen's My Voice Will Go With You or Haven's Hypnotherapy Scripts. Both are full with metaphors for many occasions. I remember reading a book that had a process for creating useful metaphors. I think it was (yet again) Griffin and Tyrell's Human Givens.

Kev
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Postby Joe100 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:47 am

For example, someone just lost their job, is in debt and needs to pay it back before tomorrow morning.


Then I hope they are anxious. If they weren't anxious I would be very concerned as a therapist.

My job is to help people function as a normal human being should. Emotions are very useful, they make us do stuff.

If someone is in a situation where they did something wrong they should feel guilty as that will push them to fix it.

If they need to do something to avoid an unpleasant outcome then they ought to feel anxious, that will push them to do it.

If they lost a relationship they ought to feel sad and lonely as that will push them to get on to another relationship.

It's when they feel guilty after they have done all they can to make it up, when they feel anxious and there is nothing they can do, they feel sad and lonely even when in a relationship, that is where we come into the picture.

It is also when the feeling they feel is disproportionate to the situation that we come into the picture.

Or another example would be a difficult decision that has 2 alternatives, both of which seem just as attractive. I.e. something that the therapist himself can't see a clear resolution to.


First off even if the therapist can see a clear resolution I would steer away from guiding them there (unless its very very obvious, for example if they are deciding to commit suicide).

If they have 2 equally attractive opportunities, whats the problem? Whatever they choose ought to be good as they are equally attractive. So long as the client can't figure it out and it is truly unclear, this situation poses no issue at all.

What I can help them with is if an emotion is blocking their ability to see the situation clearly.

Another issue might be anxiety/fear that they are picking the wrong choice. If they can do something about it, thats a good emotion to have. It will push them to research and figure out what to do.

If however they don't have perfect information, and they don't have the ability to get it, and they feel anxious anyways, that is a misplaced emotion. Anxiety says to do something, if one can't act and still feels anxious, that is an emotion that is acting out of place. That is something we can work on in therapy.

Joe
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Postby Makata » Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:55 am

A good interview before zapping them would seem to be a way to approach this--find out where in their lives do they happen to feel/experience the particular qualities within themselves that would allow them to best handle the situation. One key notion is that we all have the necessary resources inside to deal with all the stuff of a lived life--"no failure, only feedback", yadda yadda. Or as a US Navy Seal might say, "Not Dead? Can't Quit!". :wink:

One can cross-contextualize a sense of proficiency, resilience and feeling strong and good, can't one? I think your guiding metaphors can be drawn from those aspects of a person's life. I think it was the legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi that said that if you are an expert in one thing, it gives you the key towards mastering everything else in life (well, it was something along those lines, it's in his BOOK OF FIVE RINGS, you can look it up for yourself)...you follow me here, yes? :)

Havens' HYPNOTHERAPY SCRIPTS is a seriously great book, well worth owning for oneself. Hope this helped, good luck!

Lester S.
Last edited by Makata on Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Makata » Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:01 am

alexd181 wrote:
I've been wondering recently about the use of metaphors for problems that seem impossible or with no resolution...

[An] example would be a difficult decision that has 2 alternatives, both of which seem just as attractive. I.e. something that the therapist himself can't see a clear resolution to.

I know most metaphors work best when the therapist can see a conscious resolution, and thus transcribe it into unconscious language. What about where no clear solution is seen?


Well, upon reflection--shouldn't the therapist be helping their client find their own way? Y'know, trusting that their client's other-than-conscious mind can sort out what's best for them--and that it's really only the chatter of the uptime, conscious mind that's getting in the way of making the right decision? I dunno, I'm just posing the question and asking the board here! :)

Lester
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