Ask not to be hypnotized for known goals?

Postby jimmyh » Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:07 pm

(epistemic status: I believe "hypnosis" does have a certain specific and heavily caveated role and I'm purposely ignoring loopholes and further arguments for sake of main point, but I think these arguments are worth addressing and have real implications)

Hypnotic techniques are incredibly useful, but "hypnotists" don't have a unique claim on them. Take anyone that is skilled at persuading people to feel differently and it'll end up looking like "conversational hypnosis" because it's all the same stuff.

What hypnotists do different is 1) having a model of what they're doing, and 2) having a frame that explicitly allows for "magical" change and can enhance expectation. The question I want to look at is "Why should we ever need that frame?"

Okay, yes, it's obviously helpful. When someone buys into "hypnosis" they can set aside all sort of blocks which allows you to get some work done that would otherwise be difficult, and this can be an empirically validated good thing.

But it makes me wonder - why is it needed? If someone decided on their own "I'd like to be hypnotized to not be afraid of flying", for example, that shows that 1) they think it is both possible and safe for them to not be afraid of flying, but also that 2) they don't feel like they can "just do it". If they already know that its possible/safe, why can't they just do it?

The answer to this question depends on the case. Sometimes it's "part of me thinks it is dangerous!" - but in those cases should we not address that part to make sure we're doing the right thing? Isn't it a mistake to write the bottom line first and ask to be hypnotized to be unafraid? Once that part is addressed the fear (or desire to fly) is not a problem anymore, so what use is hypnosis?

Or maybe there isn't even a part of them that thinks flying is dangerous, but they're convinced that they can't "just" drop fears like that. This is the same problem on the meta level (instead of looking at "to fear X or not to fear X?" we're looking at "to be able to drop fears or not to be able to drop fears in general?"), and the same concerns apply. If they don't feel like they can "just do it", then what's stopping them? If it were simply that they've never considered the possibility, you wouldn't need hypnosis, you could just tell them.

Given that any "hypnotic phenomenon" - whether name amnesia or removal of fears - is accessible without hypnosis, and that the blocks to doing it without hypnosis are for reasons - and that known bad reasons can simply be dropped - when is asking to be hypnotized for a known outcome not the mistake of writing the bottom line first?
jimmyh
Preferred Member
 
Posts: 447
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:17 pm
Likes Received: 19


#1

Postby Candid » Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:19 pm

jimmyh wrote: If someone decided on their own "I'd like to be hypnotized to not be afraid of flying", for example, that shows that 1) they think it is both possible and safe for them to not be afraid of flying, but also that 2) they don't feel like they can "just do it". If they already know that its possible/safe, why can't they just do it?

The answer to this question depends on the case.


Quite. At face value it appears to be an authority issue, or an external locus of control/identity. "I want to do this but I'm afraid. Someone else can take my fear away." I'd prefer to look at it as a conflict in the client: "I want to fly but I don't want to fly" or -- to give an example I can work with -- "I want to be a non-smoker but I want to smoke." What this means is that the client is divided, and hopes the hypnotherapist will be able to arrange a truce.

Or maybe there isn't even a part of them that thinks flying is dangerous, but they're convinced that they can't "just" drop fears like that. ... If they don't feel like they can "just do it", then what's stopping them?


I think you've answered your own question: "they're convinced..." etc. I understand it's the therapist's job to convince them otherwise.

If I can get personal here (which I intended all along :wink:), I will be seeing a hypnotherapist later this month for multiple issues which I'm certain stem from a common cause. I was well into adulthood when the origin became conscious, by which time I had all sorts of behaviours and thinking patterns in place. I've been struggling since then to get all my parts (for want of a better phrase) to work together, and for all that time I've been going in circles. Addictions are just one manifestation. I know I can stop ... and I don't. Whenever I attempt it, the most hopeless and hellish thoughts arise about all the other interlinked issues I have. It's been a long time since I've felt suicidal; I think of it as not having an investment in a long life. It doesn't help that I've been able to accomplish so much, so that only those closest to me even know there's a problem. I've long believed that removal of my props will mean collapse. It's only in the past year or so that I've come to fear the props themselves are sending me nuts.

That's quite a conundrum, so I'm hoping the hypnotherapist will be a whole lot smarter than I am, and will at least be able to locate the circuit breaker. It galls me that I haven't been able to find it myself, but I won't hold that against her.

Given that any "hypnotic phenomenon" - whether name amnesia or removal of fears - is accessible without hypnosis, and that the blocks to doing it without hypnosis are for reasons - and that known bad reasons can simply be dropped


At this stage I believe I'm fully aware of my blocks. That means they "can simply be dropped"? Get outta here!
User avatar
Candid
MVP
MVP
 
Posts: 8020
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:00 am
Location: Reading, England
Likes Received: 310

#2

Postby Joe100 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:57 am

Excellent question.

Can you first define what you are referring to when you say the word 'hypnosis'?

It seems that some possible interventions might or might not be termed 'hypnosis' depending on the definition you use.

For example, pain removal via symbolism.

Joe
Joe100
Preferred Member
 
Posts: 820
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:51 pm
Likes Received: 5

#3

Postby Joe100 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:05 am

Candid wrote:At this stage I believe I'm fully aware of my blocks. That means they "can simply be dropped"? Get outta here!


What is stopping you from dropping them? Is there some problem or issue or loss of benefit that might occur? If so, is it a *hypnotist* you need? Or perhaps a wise person to help figure out what to do?

If there is no problem or potential problem from dropping them, what is stopping you from dropping them? A lack of know how? Do you need a *hypnotist* or just someone who can teach you how to drop blocks?

At which point do you need a *hypnotist*?

Joe
Joe100
Preferred Member
 
Posts: 820
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:51 pm
Likes Received: 5

#4

Postby jimmyh » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:49 am

I'd prefer to look at it as a conflict in the client: "I want to fly but I don't want to fly" or -- to give an example I can work with -- "I want to be a non-smoker but I want to smoke." What this means is that the client is divided, and hopes the hypnotherapist will be able to arrange a truce.


Bingo.

The "can't" is an illusion. They're divided, but perhaps aren't aware of the other side.

At this stage I believe I'm fully aware of my blocks. That means they "can simply be dropped"? Get outta here!


Oh Candid, you underestimate me.

I refer you to the wise words of the poster before me.

"I'd prefer to look at it as a conflict in the client: "I want to [drop the blocks] but I don't want to [drop the blocks]"[...]" What this means is that the client is divided, and hopes the hypnotherapist will be able to arrange a truce."

See what I mean when I say this is the same problem on the meta level?

Can you first define what you are referring to when you say the word 'hypnosis'?

It seems that some possible interventions might or might not be termed 'hypnosis' depending on the definition you use.


I'm talking about anything where the client already has a picture in their mind of what they [think they] want and they are asking for you to take them through a black box procedure to realize that picture [regardless of how its done]. This mindset is often applied towards the term "hypnosis", but would apply just as much to, for example, witchdoctoring. It's the "make my brain do what I want it to do - and I will not accept anything else" frame, not the focused attention and such.

This specifically does *not* apply to the client that comes to you asking "can you help me sort out my fears with regards to flying?" while being open to the idea that maybe the fear is right, even if you use hypnotic techniques in helping them because you feel that they would be appropriate.

It's about the frame of the request, not the techniques themselves

Is that a good enough answer?
jimmyh
Preferred Member
 
Posts: 447
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:17 pm
Likes Received: 19

#5

Postby Candid » Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:58 am

I have PC issues and just lost a very long post :( that I haven't time to create again. I hate that!
User avatar
Candid
MVP
MVP
 
Posts: 8020
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:00 am
Location: Reading, England
Likes Received: 310

#6

Postby Joe100 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:33 pm

Jimmy: Your definition of hypnosis is perfectly adequate for this discussion. Thank you.

I can now answer your question of when a request like this makes sense!

I'll start from a simple case. Anesthesia for surgery.

Then we can add chronic pain from a known medical condition.

Then we can move into other physical stuff. Sensitivity to cold or heat. Allergies.

We can then consider psychological stuff from 'known' causes. So perhaps the depression from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Or perhaps a water phobia that started after a near drowning at the age of 2.

Moving further down the line we can wonder about panic attacks, general anxiety, depressive symptoms, etc.

In essence, the more we can assume that a response is a known result of a known context unaware process doing it's thing (pain as a good example), the more that black boxing it makes sense.

Like in any system! The more you're certain that something is not needed and not a symptom of something more important (like dirt on the floor of an office building) you just hire a janitor to sweep it away. However things that are on the other end of the spectrum (like envelopes containing credit card bills with big numbers on them), it makes sense to not black box it. There are some hints of which one is which.

Joe
Joe100
Preferred Member
 
Posts: 820
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:51 pm
Likes Received: 5

#7

Postby jimmyh » Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:21 pm

Well, that's definitely part of the story. If someone came to me and told me how they had to do surgery without anaesthesia and asked what they should do, my response would definitely be far on the hypnotic side of the spectrum. If instead they were talking about general anxiety, I'm more likely to be on the other side of the spectrum and be a lot more interested in opening the system up and focusing on what *they* have to say. Agreed on that front.

And that means when someone asks you "can you hypnotize me for anaesthesia?" they're not really wrong that hypnosis is involved the answer and you can often hypnotize them and have it work and be a good outcome - but that's more of a stopped clock being right and obscures the point. What I'm getting at is along the lines of what you were asking Candid.

If there is no problem or potential problem from dropping them, what is stopping you from dropping them? A lack of know how? Do you need a *hypnotist* or just someone who can teach you how to drop blocks?

At which point do you need a *hypnotist*?


Just apply it to pain from surgery. Or to use your analogy, if you're already sure it's just dirt on the floor, why do you need to hire a janitor to sweep it away? It's not like it's a skilled labor job that you cannot do yourself! The fact that you haven't swept it away without even noticing is *interesting*.

The most obvious first pass answer is "because they don't know how!". I'll grant that it's true in a(n important) sense, but it's not really a satisfactory answer for me. Okay, so yes, it's true that they don't know how how to make their brain update on the evidence you have that it's safe, and yes you can teach them and they'll often just listen and all is well... But your explanations will still be sorta "separate" - whether they're good explanations or tales of cthulu healing. Still black boxing, even if with smaller black boxes that fit into the big box. And it may be a case where little black boxes hold few demons, but I'm a curious guy, and I have heuristics that say stuff like "when you open black boxes, you tend to learn useful things"/"the *best* way does not involve black boxes (from your POV) even if it is very hypnotic"

So I *still* have the question "why didn't they automatically update on this evidence?". Maybe you say "they didn't see it as a possibility, so their attention snapped to "I don't know how!"/"I need hypnosis!" rather than to the new evidence to update on". But if it were just that, then as soon as you inform them that it *is* possible, they should see it as a possibility and just do it without needing teaching.

And while that will work sometimes, it often won't. I mean, it's *true*, yet they won't buy it, which is another interesting bit. Why defend against the notion that you can have all the powers of hypnosis without going to a hypnotist or even doing self hypnosis?
jimmyh
Preferred Member
 
Posts: 447
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:17 pm
Likes Received: 19

#8

Postby Joe100 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:09 pm

Black boxes can be time and energy consuming to open. Many people don't want to spend that time and energy.

Jim in accounting isn't following company policy. Sure, interviewing him might give us useful information. But it takes time n energy. Especially if the CEO has poor interviewing skills or Jim doesn't want to be interviewed or the CEO is very busy or the policy is a big enough of a time sensitive issue that we want it fixed now or the CEO grew up in a corporate culture that favors just fixing stuf or something else.

Now many of those reasons themselves might be useful to explore. And that too takes time n energy...

So we black box it, fire Jim, and get on with life...
Joe100
Preferred Member
 
Posts: 820
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:51 pm
Likes Received: 5

#9

Postby jimmyh » Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:06 pm

Sure, when it's that obvious that Jim is a harmful employee, you just fire him. If you see Jim's reasons for behaving the way he does as a "black box", then it is not worth opening this one up in this case. Dismiss him without seeing his side. I'm cool with that (and hey, wasn't I trying to argue that side with you the other day?). The thing is, when I run into that situation *myself*, I don't need "self hypnosis" rituals. I just fire Jim.

If the company that hires me as a consultant doesn't know who to fire - or perhaps *suspects* that firing Jim is a good thing but wants my seal of approval and trusts me enough to defers to my wisdom, then I have absolutely no problem leveraging that trust and saying (credibly/hypnotically) "just fire Jim and you're good". I also have no problem giving recommendations for who to hire instead and walking them through that process.

Where it gets weird for me is when the CEO says he *knows* that Jim needs to go and when I say "you're right, fire Jim" he says "I *cant*". Now we have a meta level problem. Not "Jim or no Jim?" but "firing abilities or no firing abilites". Even if I didn't want to interview Jim I might want to interview the CEO!

Of course, I might *not*, but I'll want to at least know how this is even conceivable before I pick my side as "always trust yourself to overrule with your black box of magic hypnosis".

So why might a CEO say he "can't". One thing that comes up is "well it can't be that easy or I'd have done it a long time ago! If I just do it now, then it opens up questions about why I didn't do it before!". If this is the case, then you can spend the time to open up the questions about why they didn't do it before and leave them with the ability to fire people themselves... *or* you can decide that you aren't being paid to work on that problem, so you tell some "lies to children" and give them an excuse by swinging your hypnotic pendulum and chanting "deeeeeper deeeeeeper" a few times until it feel sufficient and then you tell them its all done and they can now fire Jim.

"hypnotic ritual as an excuse" is actually really interesting, because it brings up questions like "what are the requirements for an excuse?". And in practice it varies a *lot*. On one extreme you tell the CEO "tell your people the witchdoctor visited and granted you superpowers, they'll believe you. They're dumb". In practice this might be saying "oh, you need an excuse? Okay, I'll do my voodoo rain dance!", spinning in a circle with your hands in the air, then poking her forehead and telling her its done. I've done that one and it worked. In other cases I've really had to construct bulletproof/airtight excuses. This is the one where they try to *insist* that they're not hypnotized and that the arm stick/name amnesia didn't "count" so you build up until the effects are literally undeniable.

In the former case the excuse is more of a formality and it's not really that big a stretch to just say "your excuse to tell your employees is that before you didn't know you *can*, but now you do because I told you [and you trust me]" - which is just true, no trickery. The latter case is where the CEO himself doesn't trust you and wants you to justify yourself very very well - not about Jim being worth firing, remember, but about the fact that he *can* fire Jim.

So if we're wondering "when does it make sense to bring out my *full arsenal* of hypnotic skills?" then the requirement is more than "it's obvious that Jim needs firing", because when its *just* that there's no hypnotic skill necessary. You have to *also* know that the CEO needs overriding. You have to know that the CEO doesn't have good reasons for not allowing himself (or you through proxy) to "just fire" people - despite sticking to it desperately.

Personally, I'm pretty uncomfortable putting my blinders on and plowing over stuff like that. It seems hard to *know*, even in the presence of insistence that they must be hypnotized, that that much resistance is safe to plow over. The thing is, if you already *know* the source of the resistance, then you don't have to spend time questioning the CEO. You just pace their concerns and then straightforwardly tell them why their concerns are misguided. Or jump up one *more* meta level and talk about why its safe to overrule the CEO in the firing-ability level problem. If you can't do either, might want to talk to the guy.

And although there are tons of holes in this model, none are gigantic. I still don't see a large/well defined role for powerful black boxes of mind control here. I see "skip the nonsense!", sure. I see "rapidly earning insanely abnormal types of trust and using it to change pain response", sure. And it'll even look quite hypnotic, I'm sure.

Yet that is all separate from using a black box because you don't know how to reason yourself to the appropriate type of cooperation.If I have a black box of power that I carry with me every day, I want to open it up and see how it works and know why it's necessary. It seems like saying "okay, I'll hypnotize you" is tacit admission that you're not on top of things but you're going to throw something at the problem and hope it sticks (and doesn't make things worse). While that may be worth doing occasionally, I'd only do it with hesitation. It seems really *really* odd to identify as a "throw thing at problems I don't understand" type therapist, and to brag about being really good at throwing things hard, rather than good at understanding!
jimmyh
Preferred Member
 
Posts: 447
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:17 pm
Likes Received: 19

#10

Postby Joe100 » Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:49 pm

I think that CEO's assuming they 'can't' is very very common in our society. And it often has a lot of stuff tied to it. And that niche is experienced as a nice, safe, socially acceptable, place to live.

In essence, it's a black box that (in my opinion) has known causes. Based on my understanding of those causes, overriding it in the context of 'special magic black box chanhger' isn't likely to make an issue. Therefore overriding it doesn't bother me much. Of course this idea has many many exceptions in the real world...

Opening up and playing with that particular black box often takes time and effort. Most people aren't interested in investing either. They just want Jim gone.

Joe
Joe100
Preferred Member
 
Posts: 820
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:51 pm
Likes Received: 5

#11

Postby jimmyh » Tue Mar 17, 2015 1:15 am

I'm failing to convey my points and even confusing myself here. Lemme try to unpack my points explicitly.

1) Whenever you are asked for "hypnosis" there is a conflict on the level above the stated level of conflict or else hypnosis would not be needed. The magnitude of this conflict is proportional to how hard you have to work for hypnosis.

2) You can instead address this meta level issue. Sometimes it is wise to rethink your path when hitting resistance.

3) You need not dig into their reasons with them in order to overrule it. If there is no even higher level issue and the right approach *is* to just drop it, then once you solve the meta level issue they'll see it and drop the objection.

4) Any time you pull out your black box, you're doing so while not having a totally solid understanding on the uppermost level of the problem - for if you got it at the upper level, either you'd realize that overruling isn't the way to go or you could simply pace from the top down and they'd simply do it*. The extent to which you have to crank up your black box is the extent to which you could not solve things with your "inside view" when you decide to stop climbing the meta ladder. The bigger the gap here the more likely you're missing something important.

*or you'd end up doing what looks to from the outside to be "hypnosis" but from the inside is from a very different frame which involves no boxes which are opaque to yourself and you'll have absolute fluidity to all sorts of responses here - but I suspect this tends to not go as far as people will take "hypnosis" given the other options available.

5) the uppermost meta level is where its at in terms of making knowably wise choices. On any given level, it isn't always necessary to integrate the information on the opposing side, but whether to do that is an n+1 level question. If you haven't solved n+1 then you cannot *know* that your level n solution is right.

6) This means that the art of hypnosis *itself* - doing the (at least somewhat) black box thing where in your mind you're doing "hypnosis" (rather than the art of changework as a whole, including being naturally hypnotic) is the art of getting results while being in over your head, *not* the art of cutting gordian knots (the latter can be done without much work when it is congruently called for from the top down)

7) I don't think many hypnotists are aware of this. I think they see themselves as gordian knot cutters and therefore work relatively too hard at pushing people into hypnosis and relatively not hard enough at understanding things increasingly well (often at increasingly meta levels)

8) there actually *is* place for the art of getting results when in over your head. Some problems you will not have the mastery to be able to solve cleanly. You won't have a complete inside view, but you can supplement with the outside view (Science!). If empirically, throwing this black box at problems with these features works 74% of the time, then go for it when the expected benefits outweigh the expected costs. Just don't act like there ain't a higher level of mastery, I guess is my ultimate point.

Does.. um... any of that make sense to anyone but me?
jimmyh
Preferred Member
 
Posts: 447
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:17 pm
Likes Received: 19

#12

Postby Joe100 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:43 am

The only problem I have is with 2.

Let's play instead of talking. I'll be the client.

Hey Mr Hypnotist! Make my fear of flying go away so I feel calm when I fly instead of feeling anxious, panicked, and sweaty!
Joe100
Preferred Member
 
Posts: 820
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:51 pm
Likes Received: 5

#13

Postby jimmyh » Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:50 am

Huh. 2) doesn't seem like something you'd disagree with, so something must not have come through. The first part is just the possibility of dealing with things on the level of "If there is no problem or potential problem from dropping them, what is stopping you from dropping them? A lack of know how? Do you need a *hypnotist* or just someone who can teach you how to drop blocks?"

The second bit is just that if you're trying over and over to hypnotize the person with no success, there may (or may not) be a valid reason that they're flinching away from hypnosis. If, for example, Bob really likes smoking but his wife is sending him to the hypnotist to quit, Bob might end up trying *really hard* to get hypnotized but sorry Barbara, he just cannot be hypnotized (whew!).

With respect to role playing, I'm not exactly sure what you're trying to learn/teach and I'm not sure that I'm at the "beyond 'hypnosis'" level wrt your hypothetical client, but if not I'll see if I can figure it out as I go. Let's play!


Hi Mr Client! Sure, I can help you with that. However, I do have a question first. If I were to ask you "are you sure the fear doesn't have a message you should be listening to?", how would you respond? Would you be a little annoyed? Would you find the idea funny? Or would it just be a matter-of-fact "yes, I'm sure"? Or perhaps you *aren't* sure - that's fine too.
jimmyh
Preferred Member
 
Posts: 447
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:17 pm
Likes Received: 19

#14

Postby Joe100 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:20 am

I'm not saying you *can't* deal with it on a non hypnosis level. I'm saying that many people aren't interested in taking time and energy to do so.

Oh, the fear is completely irrational. There is no reason I should have this fear.
Joe100
Preferred Member
 
Posts: 820
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:51 pm
Likes Received: 5


Next

  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to Hypnosis