Hypnotherapy - Ownership, Collaboration and The Abusive Client:

This morning started off beautifully. The sun was shining, I'd had a good night's sleep and I was looking forward to getting up and out to bootcamp (in the daylight and in the sunshine...double win!).

I had a few minutes so I took a quick look at my e-mails in case there was anything from clients I would be seeing later that day. Amongst all the nice messages and positive results was one from someone I worked with many months ago. It's not uncommon to hear from clients many months later yet upon opening this it became clear it was pretty unpleasant.

Over the last eight years or so and having worked with a couple of thousand people, I can probably list the number of unpleasant or abusive e-mails I've received on one hand. Yet as someone who prides himself on his professionalism and the amount of time, energy and effort put into every client and every session, it does make me smart a bit.  

Yet I do think there are some useful points we can take from the abusive e-mail (and I should mention that I have no idea what promoted the e-mail and whether there has been anything going on over past months. Given the way it was written I suspect there may have been alcohol involved).

Thankfully, the vast, vast majority of people I work with are lovely people who are motivated to make changes and committed to the hypnotherapy process. Many of them have kindly gone on to give written and video feedback (at the time of writing there are over twenty pages on this website). 

So what can we learn from this angry person about hypnotherapy to benefit us all in making positive changes?

I put some of my thoughts about this into this hypnotherapy vlog all about hypnotherapy, ownership and collaboration:

hypnotherapy in ely ownership collaboration


Ownership and Collaboration

Firstly, we all know that, despite all our best efforts, no therapeutic process is guaranteed in terms of results. This is true for hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, psychodynamic therapy, medicine, surgery, personal training, physiotherapy and others. In fact, anyone claiming any such guarantees would pretty soon find themselves drowning in hot water. 

Whilst the great majority of people I work with get a pleasing outcome, it can't be guaranteed at the outset.

Part of the reason for this is that hypnotherapy and all the others I've mentioned aren't something done 'to you' but rather something 'done with you'. If you really don't want to change then you won't.

If you don't turn up to sessions then it's going to have to take some sort of miracle for change to occur from the therapy isn't it?! And yes I did once have abuse from the mother of an adult client who conveniently overlooked the fact he hadn't attended sessions. While I reflect on human nature a bit, one of the other handful of abusive people I have encountered was abusive before any therapy had even happened (maybe they thought I was that powerful a hypnotherapist that just contacting me would do the job!).

Which also brings us onto another element of human nature: that is our often habitual reaction to blame someone else if we don't get what we want. We all do this sometimes. We blame people, places, situations, circumstances and anything except ourselves (should I mention Theresa May blaming MPs for not supporting her deal here?). Yet sometimes we do need to critically reflect and consider our role in the whole thing. After all, most personal change happens when we actually take action and take ownership for ourselves. 

Which also ties in with the collaborative nature of hypnotherapy (and other therapy). Hypnotherapy and making changes such as overcoming anxiety, lifting depression, increasing confidence and so forth are not passive processes. A hypnotherapist doesn't zap you or send lightning bolts your way and then you leave the office having achieved all your goals (just with no idea how!). 

There are things to be done in a session such as discussing issues and goals and progress. There are things to be done within hypnosis, such as being mentally engaged in the process and using your imagination and focus. It is not a passive process but rather something you are actively engaged in.

The same applies to agreed tasks between sessions. What you do outside sessions is just as important as what you do within the sessions. When I work with people to overcome anxiety, end fears and boost confidence and so forth, I discuss with them the need to take action to start to interrupt unwanted thoughts and feelings and to promote positive changes. The more committed and motivated someone is to do these tasks, usually the greater the beneficial therapeutic outcomes.

You wouldn't go to a doctor with an ailment, get a prescription, not bother putting in the effort of taking the tablets and then go back to the doctor being all abusive because you didn't feel better. You wouldn't go to a personal trainer and just sit there and complain about your lack of muscles. Or send an abusive e-mail to the gym you joined (but didn't go to) complaining about your lack of fitness. And if your physiotherapist suggest some remedial movements or stretches then you can bet doing them is likely to aid your recovery and not doing them may hinder it. 

I think we all instinctively get this; doing the same stuff over and over is likely to lead to the same end result. If we want to achieve changes then we have to take action and do some stuff for ourselves (albeit with help, support and guidance). 

Yet at the end of the day you could chose to be passive, to blame others, to take no action and expect different results and to not collaborate and take part in your hypnotherapy. And maybe sending out abusive e-mails will make you feel a bit better for a bit. Although chances are it will still leave you in the same place you are now.

Or you can take ownership, take action, fully participate in your hypnotherapy and massively increase the likelihood that you will find yourself feeling better.

I'm hugely disappointed that the e-mail person is still suffering in some way and is not happy. And, in the unlikely event that they are reading this, I really do sincerely hope that they find an approach that helps them to take positive action and to achieve positive results.

To your success,

Dan Regan

Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket


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