WORDS – 1,829 A personalised induction will always be more effective In this essay I will be looking at the benefits of creating a personalised induction as well as looking at certain circumstances to support an argument against it. I will be discussing the influence and application of the different modalities when creating an induction as well as briefly exploring how the brain uses information, and discussing whether or not a personalised induction is the most effective method to use.

What is of equal importance as the words we use when a therapist creates and delivers a script for an induction, is the way in which it is delivered. Hypnotic inductions generally fall into two different styles; ‘Permissive’ and ‘Authoritarian’. A permissive approach is gentle, caring and without command. Typically a person who responds well to this style of induction is in a caring or nurturing profession, is compassionate and will be available to advice and support. Using language such as ‘you may feel’ or ‘you might want’, ensures that they feel supported and maintain choice.

An authoritarian approach is firmer, logical and more direct. The authoritarian type of client will likely be in a profession such as the armed forces, the police or in business. This person responds well to direct language and clear commands that cement their faith in the therapist, as these people may well be cynical about hypnotherapy and will respond to the practitioner confidently, confirming their skills. Using ‘you will feel’ or ‘you will be in control’ will be effective. A third alternative approach to consider is the ‘Theatrical’ approach.

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As the title suggests this uses a more demonstrative process as this client is extrovert, perhaps an actor and responds well to attention and story telling. The theory behind these three different methods is that humans generally fall into one of the categories in terms of who they are, how they behave and to what they respond, but of course this is not exclusive. Hypnosis originally used only the authoritarian method, as with Freud and later Dave Elman. Elman developed this method of hypnotherapy within a medical and scientific setting, particularly pain relief.

Milton H Erickson, however, known as one of the world’s greatest hypnotic teachers, realised that using a permissive approach gained far better results particularly when working with psychological issues and he became renowned for his permissive and indirect methods. The reason for this was his deduction that people responded to being given the choice to participate in their own therapy and not be dictated to. In doing this he achieved understanding and instilled confidence and the ability to change, in his clients. Assessing individual modalities is paramount.

Humans are generally driven by a particular modality, the dominant modality, but we do use them all. The three main modalities are: ‘Kinaesthetic’ (touch). People with this dominant modality are driven by their feelings, are very tactile and associate describing emotions with how things feel, internally and externally. The kinaesthetically driven person will commonly enjoy sports or activities that involve touching, for example massage. The physical posture of this person is typically round shouldered and centred around the lower body. They will usually speak in a low tone and pause often.

These people will respond to script such as ‘I know how you feel’, ‘can you put your finger on it? ’, or ‘ touchy subject’. ‘Visual’ (sight) describes a person who uses visual stimulus such as daydreaming or fantasy. They have strong imaginations and are often interested in, for example, art and design. The posture of a visually dominated person is generally upright and uses the upper body and they tend to talk in a high tone, quickly and clearly. Script effective with these types of clients would include ‘I see what you mean’, ‘picture yourself in/as.. ’ or ‘ what can you see? ’.

Auditory (sound) is associated with hearing. This client will be driven by emotional association of what they hear. They tend to be interested in music or conversation. They are sensitive to the sounds around them. They will often be of medium build and often tilt their head to one side in a listening pose. Their speech will often be quite melodic with their breath concentrated in the middle of their chest. Wording such as ‘I hear what you’re saying’, ‘that sounds good’, and ‘listen to the sound of my voice’ will be effective with this client. Secondary modalities include ‘Olfactory’ (smell) and ‘Gustatory’ (taste).

These detail people who are interested in, for example, cooking or perfumery and make associations via how things smell or taste. Using language such as ‘sniffing things out’ or ‘something smells fishy’ will resonate with the olfactory type whereas phrases like ‘bitter disappointment’ and ‘sweet taste of success’ will be appropriate for the gustatory client. Another important factor is the observation of ‘lateral eye movements’ (LEM). Studies by Psychologist Paul Bakan concluded that different types of thinking could be responsible for the way in which the eye moves.

I. e. when recalling a memory the eyes typically move up and left, and when creating something, up and to the right. The movement of the eye can be a good indicator of what a client is thinking or feeling. For example, it is considered that a lateral eye movement down and to the right is associated with a person of a more kinaesthetic modality whereas a more defocused eye movement is associated with a visual modality, until they begin to use their imagination when the eye movements will apply as above. Using this method of assessment can be very useful.

When a practitioner first meets with a new client it’s important to try and ascertain which modality the client is most driven by in order to create an induction script that will best engage and appeal. Understanding the client’s own language and wavelength is key to building a confident, therapeutic relationship. Using the modalities as a tool for hypnotherapy works by allowing the brain of the client to be the conduit of the therapy, and deciphering how the client’s brain works will allow the therapist to design an individual process particular to that person.

Human brains will naturally follow a direction or a suggestion and by determining which type of suggestion will resonate with the client allows a suitable and tailor-made method to be created. Simply using just one modality method however, is not best practice, as stated above people are made up of all the modalities and usually driven by just one (the dominant) and so when creating an induction for an individual it’s important to compound the modalities while maintaining awareness of the dominant sense.

This has proved to be the most effective way of inducing a deep hypnotic state. An example of how to determine a client’s dominant modality is by asking them to close their eyes and talk them through a scene where they approach and enter a house, using 3 versions based around the modalities. Their response to this will give the therapist an idea of how their brain works. I. e. if they are drawn to how the house looks, the colours, the design etc, the practitioner will deduce they are probably of a visual modality.

If the client responds more to the sounds during the description, birdsong, the crackle of a fire inside the house or music playing, this will determine that they are of an auditory modality. It could also useful to employ the use of the Chrysalis Screed Assessment tool. This will assist with determining personality and characters traits of the client and could be a useful evaluation method. To assist in creating an individualised induction and practice with a client and determining their modality, a practitioner must bond with the client.

Ways to do this include mirroring, and pacing and matching. This is the act of copying the client’s body language and speech patterns in order to help them feel at ease with the therapist. The theory behind this is that people will respond positively to those they believe are like themselves. Also noticing and analysing their appearance, their profession and their choice of social activities and friends, can help the therapist to deduce what kind of person they are and therefore which approach is best to use.

It’s important also to look at the reason the client has come for hypnosis. Someone seeking help with an eating or addiction issue will typically have an over or under controlled emotionality and this should be factored into the approach used, i. e. whether an authoritarian or permissive path is appropriate. The practitioner must also be aware and mindful of how the client responds and should employ a continuous process of observation and active listening in order to adapt the approach where necessary.

Ultimately a session is only successful if the client believes it to be and so all emphasis should be placed on striving to create a workable and effective method of practice with that particular client. It’s important to remember that our clients are not simply hypnotic subjects but are people who are seeking assistance and should be treated with the individual respect that they deserve. The more effective the communication with the client, the more equipped the therapist is to create a script to suit the client, thus the better the relationship will be.

This will enable the therapist to decide which type of script to use: permissive, authoritarian or occasionally, theatrical. If we can recognise and understand the modalities and utilise this it will be invaluable in assessing and planning. There are, however, certain circumstances where personalised scripts are not appropriate. Group therapy commands a different approach that will ensure that a number of very different individuals will experience the same or similar results delivered in a group setting.

A therapist cannot tailor a group session to individual needs and so a more general, generic approach must be used; smoking cessations seminars, for example. Self help methods such as home use ‘self hypnosis’ materials could not be effective in a personalised approach as the material can only be of a general nature and cannot take into account the personality of those using it. It is generally considered that personalising an induction will have better results owing to the fact that when dealing with psychological issues, each person is different and will therefore respond differently and to different methods.

No two clients are the same and even when presented with a similar problem, individual character and personality factors will alter the results of the practice. While creating personalised inductions will be time consuming and require far more attention to detail, the fact that the result will fare better for the client if conducted thoroughly and sensitively confirms for many that this approach is more effective and rewarding for both client and therapist.


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