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Theories that are involved in Hypnosis and Psychotherapy

4173 words (17 pages) Essay in Psychology

5/12/16 Psychology Reference this

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Of all the techniques available to hypo-psychotherapy, ego strengthening is something that works across the board. Hartland’s ego strengthening script has stood the test of time and reveals some powerful secrets about the uses of hypnotic techniques.

This study will clearly explain principles used in the Harland script and why they are effective. In addition to this an extension will also be delivered on the possible improvements for the script. Hartland’s ego strengthening script is effective because it utilises a wide variety of hypnotic techniques with good structure.

Why Hartland’s script is effective

Listed are some of the principles that make up the structure of Hartland’s script. These will be explained –


The language used in the script is general enough that it can apply to the majority of people. Within these generalisations the script describes things that will no longer be experienced and the things that will be increasingly experienced, generally enough that the sub-conscious mind fills in the detail. This is extremely important as incorrect description of client experience will bring them out of trance and lower the effectiveness of the process.

Hypnotic responses depend on the intrapsyhic or interpersonal relationships of a subject (Grinder 1977, p. 49).


Deepening is a fantastic tool used in the script as it is done in multiple stages. By deepening in stages the client goes deeper into trance and embeds the direction from the therapist at multiple levels. The deepening also has embedded commands within it, this way the client elicits states of intention while deepening the trance state.

When hypnotized, a person may experience physiologic changes such as a slowing of the pulse and respiration, and an increase in alpha brain waves (WebMed 2011).


The structure works well for the client, as the client is prepared at each stage for the next. This makes it easier for the client to concentrate of the suggestions of the therapist. The structure can generally be seen in these stages-

The deepening sets the stage for suggestion of ego strengthening.

Power states of resourcefulness are elicited with suggestions of feeling stronger, fitter etc. This gives the client a platform to work from where they know they have inner strength that they can rely on.

Anxieties are relieved while the therapist tells the client to continue to relax as they will no longer be fatigued, much less easily discouraged.

Negative aversion and positive attraction

The assure clients that they can move away from pain, this is done by eliciting distance from negative states.

And towards pleasure

It covers the client’s experience of time from the past to the future in the present.

The process is then stacked on top of its self with no order that deepens the clients trance with confusion. At the same time it is deepening the comprehension and integration of the strengthened ego multiplied on deeper levels.

In effect, hypnosis is the epitome of mind-body medicine. It can enable the mind to tell the body how to react, and modify the messages that the body sends to the mind (NY times 2008).


The script finishes with a reassurance that the client is independent. This is explained with connection to the individuals effectives and resourcefulness. This is the absolute goal of the client, as an individual capable of taking care of themselves is no longer at the mercy of their environment.

Content and linguistics

The script uses language that ensures the client that they are moving away from negative circumstances and towards much more pleasurable ones. Multiple stacking of hypnotic language compounds the clients experience and brings their trance to a deeper saturated state. All the while the language is general enough in nature that the client can freely associate to the suggestions without snapping out of trance because the subconscious mind disagrees with inconsistencies.

Improving Hartland’s script

The Hartland script is by no means perfect, although it is of such a general nature that it is versatile enough, to work well enough with the majority of the population. The old saying goes “if it isn’t broke then don’t fix it” that can certainly apply here. That being said there is always room for improvement so some considerations will be reviewed in 4 points.


Firstly I would make a small consideration to change the word “I” to “we” in the first paragraph where the script says “I put into your mind”. This has two reasons 1) it releases anxiety if the client thinks they have to hand over control of their mind to the therapist and 2) it encourages independence as the client feels as though they additionally are contributing to the process. This is true as they are the one that is building the strengthened ego.


The second point of interest to the therapist is the structure and wording of the script. If a therapist is to use this they may like to organise or “tweak” certain aspects of the script to personalise it more for their use. Using language and structure that is more suited to the therapist can increase flow and effectiveness.


The third point of focus can be the relationship between the script and the client. Linguistic suggestions that the client can specifically associate too can dramatically increase the effectiveness of the script. This could be done by allowing for blanks to be filled in at the interview stage, finding aversions and desires for example.


Fourthly accentuating the clients experience at certain stages with generalised description of things such as the picture, places, people, sounds, feelings etc. will vividly lock in the experience. An example sentence could be-“We are going to take a moment to accentuate this optimistic, powerful, content and much happier person. Look forward as this person through each stage of your life, at the people, places, pictures, sounds, feelings and lock them in now” This clears up any vague ideas for the client that they might have about themselves with much greater detailed.


In summary Hartland’s script is very detail by its use of multiple techniques of hypnosis. This study has 6 points that show the script in a broken down form. From this study it is easy to see why the script is effective in this manner.

Improvements on the script are also clearly outlined and show that even though the script is effective, improvements can be made. These 4 points being small changes to word use from “I” to “we”. Adapting the script to suit the therapist’s style, personifying the script to the clients’ personality and accentuating areas of the script to make the clients hypnotic experience as vivid and detailed as possible.

Section 2:

In order to relieve neurotic symptoms is it necessary to regress clients, find a repression and remove it through abreaction


Regression through hypnosis is an exciting study as clients are usual able to experience and relive memories that sometimes might not be remembered without the hypnotherapeutic techniques. This experience is extremely helpful in resolving neurotic symptoms depending on the circumstances. This study places regression and the release of neurotic symptoms in full scale and shows how a client is able to release emotions through regression and projection.

This is simply explained by being flexible with clients and letting them tell you which direction they want to resolve their neurotic symptoms. Releasing emotions is the overall goal for the client. This can be done by projecting the clients understand of what emotional release will be in future.

Therefore, allowing them to feel comfortable in the moment they would like to experience emotional regulation. The same goal is achieved by regressing a client into their past to experience emotions that were missed, suppressed, void etc.

The goal

The goal of relieving neurotic symptoms is desirable for clients when their life becomes filtered by an inability to control emotions normally. This can also be seen has having the same emotion response to all areas of life e.g. bitterness, shame, anger, resentment etc. Reasons for this vary although generally we can say that at some stage the individual was under resourced to regulate their emotions effectively.

In ordinary waking state, most people are continually being distracted by experience generated either by external stimuli or by experience generated by internal stimuli (Grinder, 1977).

The spectrum

If the goal is emotional release all techniques able to release neurotic symptoms need to be considered. Techniques vary from theory to theory although there is an underlying dynamic that is present in all theory.

That is the presents of releasing emotions in the present through the past and in the present through the future. In the past by regressing to earlier memories and in the future by considering a future where releasing emotions is successful. Both techniques aim at allowing an individual to emotional regulate in their own space independently.

Both ends of the spectrum work entirely with the comprehension of the client’s experience in the present.

Being flexible with intention

Flexibility is the biggest asset to a therapist as each client is different. Being able to work with a client in which ever direction they prefer will ensure they place as much effort and emphasis possible to resolve their situation. The most effective therapy covers both integration of future and past. This deepens a client’s perception of themself further into their being.

Writing in The Permanente Journal in 2001, Dr. Alman said that “useful potential” for benefiting from hypnosis “exists within each patient.” “The goal of modern medical hypnosis,” he said, “is to help patients use this unconscious potential.” (Alman 2001)


Regression works well having pre-experienced memories stored in the clients psyche. This is like having a map to the point of resolution. While these experiences give great vantage points to work from, they are of a very sensitive in nature, because it is a time when the individual was un-resourced. To experience the primary emotion without proper assistance and preparation can be ineffective and potential damaging.

In defining age regression as the intense absorption in and utilization of memory, the everyday aspects of age regression can become apparent, for people drift into memories routinely (Yapko 2003).


Projection works just as well with clients wanting to work with future pacing. The emphasis and application to desire something in the future changes the fundamental emotional construction of an individual in the present. By practising in the present, the future already has a new past from which to respond from. This can be safer as future pacing focuses more on desired outcome, although, because the intensity of the initial trauma may not be experienced it takes proper application to assure a client is fully resourced for intensivefuture events.


Integrating each skill set according to client preference is the most effective way as each circumstances many need future and past pacing. This gives the client the best opportunity to feel completely satisfied with what are presents to them. Over time it is the clients’ goal to emotionally regulate in every present moment that includes emotional regulation of interpretations on their past and future.

Primary emphasis should be placed on intrapsychic behaviour on the subject rather than upon the relationship to externalities (Grinder, 1977).


In summary regression and future projection are both powerful tools. It is only a small piece of the puzzle, to only be aware of two scenarios though. The key to relieving neurotic symptoms in clients is to be flexible with client intention. The more motivated a client is to achieve their goal, whether it is by future or past pacing, the better the outcome will be.

Having a dynamic view of the client’s situation capitalises on the potential for the client. If a client wants to regress, future pace and then regress again for reassurance, the therapist needs to be able to handle the rhythm of the clients’ process.

Section 3:

How and why is hypno-psychotherapy an effective intervention for smoking cessation?

Smoking causes serious illness, it affects the emotional, psychological and physical self, therefore it is important to know the process of smoking cessation. There is a copious amount of research to suggest the way this occurs. This study will give a clear and simple description of how people quit smoking, how hypnotherapy is effective and delineate why it is effective.

How and why people quit smoking

All cases where smoking cessation has occurred, the intention of the smoker is the primary aspect for change. Many people quit smoking with pure intention and without any help at all. This factor is and can be called many things e.g. Motivation, Expectation, Desire etc.

These factors are contributed to by cost benefits, pain vs. pleasure, pro and cons, the positives and negatives etc. This is a major reason people quit smoking or make any change for that matter. Without the clients’ intention (motivation, expectation etc.) high enough, nothing will occur for the client because they will still have other priorities that conflict with the outcome.

“Our results showed that hypnotherapy resulted in higher quit rates compared with NRT alone,” said Faysal Hasan, MD, FCCP, North Shore Medical Center, Salem, MA. “Hypnotherapy appears to be quite effective and a good modality to incorporate into a smoking cessation program after hospital discharge.”(Science Daily, 2007)


The beauty of hypnosis is that it can build the intention and then through the smoking cessation procedure, a client can be 100% smoke free because of the effectiveness of the techniques involved.

Most literature considers smoking to be in two categories, to be habitual and/or psychologically compulsive. Since the psychological compulsiveness to smoke is more complex, this study will work through the steps of how smoking cessation works through hypnosis, with compulsive smoking.

How Hypno-psychotherapy is effective for smoking cessation

First session interview for smoking cessation

In the interview stage, the hypnotherapist is to address formalities, review client history and check for contraindications.

Resolving psychological neurosis

Firstly, psychological neurosis linked to client smoking needs to be resolved before any attempts to quit smoking. This is because client neurosis can take priority over the hypnotherapeutic process. Therefore rendering any work on smoking cessation inept.


As stated earlier, intention is the key to the transformation with smoking cessation. The motivation of a client must be measured at the initial stages of the relationships. At a high enough level there is a great opportunity for success.

Roberta Temes, a clinical hypnotist in Scotch Plains, N.J., insists that hypnosis cannot make people do anything they don’t want to do. Hypnosis can succeed only in helping people make changes they desire, she said in an interview (NY times 2008).

Introduction to hypnosis

The introduction to hypnosis, is the start of the client experiencing trance states. This also gives the therapist an introduction into the clients’ suggestibility.


Deepening allows the client to start engaging in different levels of trance that will enhance the smoking cessation.

Since internally generated stimuli are typically more under the control of the subject (with the hypnotists help), one powerful way to assist the client is going into a deep trance is to have them attend more and more exclusively to internal stimuli (Grinder, 1977).

Transforming – Smoker to non smoker

This part of the process is quite similar to any other hypnotic and/or therapeutic process. The whole goal at this stage is to move/change a client from one mindset (smoking) to another (non-smoker).

Simply stated, the desired outcome needs to be more attractive than the previous experience. This is done in trance by associating no desire to the previous stimulations of smoking. Also by creating complete desire for the outcome of a healthy non-smoker


Terminating with the appropriate post hypnotic suggestions and debrief on the hypnotic process. The client will also need to be informed of further sessions and what to consider after the therapeutic relationship.

Why Hypno-Psychotherapy is effective for smoking cessation

Hypno-therapy works well with smoking for many reasons. Here are some essential ingredients that can make hypnosis effective and more attractive to the public than other forms of therapy.


This may not seem like a fundamental of the therapy, although as we have seen how important intention is for success, what happens before the client goes into trance is essential to understand. Psychologist and counsellors do not advertise to specifically help smokers (although they help), therefore the public perception of these practices can be stigmatised towards mental illness.

Hypnosis however, has advertised smoking cessation specifically, more directed towards behaviour; therefore when clients see a hypnotist for smoking, the other stigmas of other therapies are not attached. Hence it is more socially acceptable and more people use the discipline. This also builds intent.


Because of the structure of hypnosis, clients are prepared in a way that the critical consciousness factor is out of the way (the key word being Critical here).

During hypnosis, the conscious part of the brain is temporarily tuned out as the person focuses on relaxation and let’s go of distracting thoughts (WebMd 2011).

When the critical consciousness factor is out of the way the sub-conscious is exposed to direct suggestion. The sub-conscious is more creative and much faster at creating realities in the mind. This is a key point as the mind and sensory perception of reality are no different and affect one another in tandem.

Simply put, hypnosis allows faster and deeper access to the mind, and as the mind experiences no difference from reality to imagination, any transformation here is extremely effective to behaviour, in this case smoking.


Smoking cessation in hypno-psychotherapy clearly outlines the steps in which becoming a non-smoker is achieved. Therefore, quitting smoking works exceptionally well with the right client intention. This can be seen in the hypno-psychotheraputic techniques of trance states, past and future passing, anchoring and the neuro-biological connection.

Section 4:

On what criteria would you decide whether to take on a client who phones and asks you for an appointment?

The main purpose of initial phone contact is to give the client a sense of hope and opportunity. It is the job of the therapist to provide this with the resources that they have and within the guidelines of professionalism and sound ethics.

It should be first pointed out that if this is not possible with the resources available to the therapist then a professional referral should be given. This is an entire process in its self and need special consideration.

To understand a clients’ situation enough to make an appointment, certain considerations must be considered in the initial phone conversation. The first conversation is extremely important because first impression count and done correctly greatly improve the effectiveness of the rest of the therapeutic relationship.

These considerations can be broken down into 3 headings. Contract, Contraindication and Logistics. It is important to deliver these in particular order as well in order to maximise the quality of time spent on the phone.

These titles and points show the structure of the phone conversation. The conversation it is not explained to the client in this manner. They simply perceive someone that meets them in their space that can meet their needs and organise the start of a therapeutic relationship.


A contract starts with verbal dialect that is agreed on before taking any further steps forward with the therapeutic relationship. This is then followed up in the first session written out and signed by both parties.

Explaining the contract first in the phone call allows the therapist to incorporate a potential client to vent their circumstances enough that they feel validated. This is of significant importance as to much information from the start of the conversation can leave a client feeling second to the process of the therapy. The clients primary requests should be meet within the boundaries of the service being provided. This also encourages the client to engage in the rest of the conversation, so the client is as read as possible to start the therapeutic relationship. This would not be possible explaining contraindication or logistic first as the information with these are more formal and may have client second guessing therapy before it starts.

Listed below is the content that needs to be covered to establish a contractual understanding of

In the contract the client needs to know the type of training a therapist has, and the areas of speciality. This can also involve a small explanation of benefits of certain techniques.

The structure of the first appointment and comprehension of hypnosis needs validating

Being up front with clients about results and expectations is essential as my clients have misconceptions about what they will receive.

Confidentiality and its limits need explaining, as this is a topic of great significance for clients to feel at ease about the process. The main points being that confidentiality is broken if there is potential harm to the client, therapist or third party. If the courts subpoena information and if the client allow specific information to be passed on.

Ending therapy is the choice of the client and therapist for reason of best interest for both parties.

That as much will be done in the area of expertise and outside of this proper referral will be given.

Once the contractual information is clear and both parties have an agreement on what will be provided, contraindication to the service need clarification.


Contraindications can effectively measure potential risk. The potential risk involved relate to aspects of the hypnotherapeutic process that may cause abreactions and/or have negative consequences for the client and therapist.

Mechanisms to assure the emotional security and well-being of the person must be part of the process, for being left alone to carry the hurt of memories brought out hypnotically is others wise one more trauma for an already vulnerable human being (Spiegel, 1993).

This part of the conversation is not in depth although enough attention is given to find the necessary detail required to provide the best service. Below are the main points of consideration when considering contraindication to the hypnotherapeutic process.

Medical and personal history needs to be known

The clients general perception of hypnosis and expectation

Psychological and physical potential problems that could be adversely affected by the hypo-psychotherapy

That possible danger to the client or therapist can be discussed at any time. This includes-

Taking client many resolve in negative consequences

Relationship between the client other than professional is conflicting

Unable to work with a client due to personal reasons

With the contraindications clarified, the logistics need to be confirmed.


The logistics are an essential part of the process as any surprises in this area can be taken the wrong way and can damage the therapeutic relationship. He main points to cover when confirming the logistical aspects are-

Price needs to be up front and open to conversation

Location of the premise, and an understanding of the clients travel need focus to streamline the travel to and from sessions.

Time of sessions and availability of ongoing treatment

Cancelation process and fees included


In summary, the first phone call needs to be engaging. The client needs to feel they are going to receive a professional and worthwhile service. In amongst this is the necessary to research client presenting circumstances for compatibility with service. A therapist must also provide a clear outline of information of service being provided.

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