2.1. Describe how to deal with clients with mental health problems.
It should be a priority for the hypnoterapist to be certain it is safe to work with a client. If there is any suspicion the client suffers serious medical problem he must be referred to the GP for medical diagnosis. The same rule applies to severe mental illnesses. I believe the Hippocratic Oath concerns all people working as healers. It doesn’t matter if they heal body, mind or spirit. Some hypnotherapists believe that all mental problems may be treated by hypnosis however most of professionals do not work with clients suffering psychoses and borderline personality. Some of neuroses may develop into psychoses and as such should not also be treated by inexperienced therapist. In such cases even if the hypnotherapy would not harm the client it would not offer much help.
Theoretically we could talk about a psychosis if the person with mental issue is unaware that they have a mental problem or when they are aware about it but they do not relate their issues with psychosis. However hypnoterapists are not qualified to diagnose it. All we can do is to observe the client, ask them about the history of their mental health and their medications or refer them when in doubt.
I understand the initial interview may answer the question however if not it might be extremely difficult for me to discover the psychotic client as the symptoms are not always obvious so knowledge from literature might not be enough. The British national Formulary might also not help as sometimes the same medications are administered for psychoses and neuroses. It might be even the case the client decides not to tell us about his medications.
Apparently the only solution for me as a fresh hypnotherapist is to be extra vigilant during the initial assessment and during the further therapy and include into the clients contract the paragraph confirming their medical history.
2.2. Explain common techniques for working with clients.
Because clients have various psychical constitution, different preferences, experiences and might visit us in completely different state of their mind the most common technique we can use is to adapt the way we talk to them.
Certain people prefer to be approached different way than others. Some prefer to be told directly what to do (authoritarian style), others prefer to be given indirect suggestions (permissive). What is more the needs might change depending on their state of mind or situation they are presently in. One of my colleagues after a few inductions told me that she prefers to be led authoritarian way during the beginning of the PMR and after she reaches the basic relaxation she prefers to be given more freedom. Consequently to be effective I had to begin authoritarian, with precise and logical orders and after some time I had to change the style for permissive including more metaphors and ambiguities.
When we know the client it is a good practice to make sure we use the modality they prefer as it might help to achieve the trance quicker and make it deeper as a result of the fact that we talk to their mind the way it prefers. With “visuals” it is advised to use words that combine well with vision(look, imagine, colours…), with “auditorials” use the expressions that connect with hearing (listen, hear, sounds…), and with “kinaesthetics” use the expressions that refer to feeling (touch, warm, moves…).
It is always useful to know the client the best you can before you begin the therapy. It is crucial to know their fears, favourite things and colours, touchy subjects, etc. As a result the therapist may avoid unnecessary problems and be more effective.
2.3. Discuss the use of modalities in personalise inductions.
Our senses supply our brains with visual, auditory and kinaesthetic stimuli and specialised parts of the cortex in brain process the info they receive. Some of us acquire the information the best when received as visual stimuli, some auditory and some kinaesthetic.
When I study I must see what I am learning about. I draw symbols I like to link the ideas with arrows, create maps. I prefer visual stimuli. However, when I was a teacher I met a lot of students that favoured learning different way. Some preferred to record themselves and were listening to those recordings many times, or read the text loud to themselves (audio). There were also students that remembered the best when they were performing some physical actions regarding the learned material (kinaesthetic). They preferred to move the items and create some complex systems made of objects to enhance their learning.
Nevertheless, I have never met a person that learned by one modality only. My experience tells me that we use all of our senses but some of them talk to us more than others. Therefore to be the most successful we have to use the right sense but not restrict ourselves to one kind of stimuli only.
Hypnotherapy reminds me learning. The therapist should talk to the client the way the client prefers. We must use the appropriate language and vocabulary. The modality which is prominent for the client should prevail in the process. It might be crucial as during the hypnotherapy we mainly use our voice to affect the client. We cannot use the gestures or facial expression as most of clients have their eyes closed and they cannot see us. That’s why the correct choice of words is so important.
However disregarding the outcome of the questionnaire we have been given to determine the modality of clients the effects of the inductions I have written for compound modalities were always better than the ones I have written for single modalities. I have consulted the results with colleagues from the group and they had similar conclusions. That confirms my beliefs that people react the best if their brains are fed with stimuli produced by all their available senses. Obviously it is beneficial if the stimuli of the preferred kind are predominate. What is more, when you are working with a group of people it is physically impossible to use the personalised script as you talk to different people with different needs. Consequently it is safer to use compound screed because then you have bigger chance to affect them all.
3.1. Explain the role of active listening in counselling and hypnotherapy.
The help a therapist can offer is usually based on understanding of a client. It is almost impossible to help people if you do not understand them and it is very difficult to understand them if you do not listen to them actively. Obviously it is not just a matter of the fact whether the therapist simply listens to what the clients are talking about. I know from my experience that it is very important to double-check if the communicate the listener receives is the same the speaker means. Sometimes it is necessary to ask the person to repeat what we are not sure. It is also a good idea to paraphrase the crucial points of the conversation or use synonyms to recapitulate the vital parts of the story told to check if the interpretation of it is in accord to what the client means.
When listening actively the therapist should listen from beginning to the end. We shouldn’t assume what would the client say and stop listening. Active listening must be based on vigilance, empathy, patience and open mind.
It is also important as it convinces the clients that the fact that they are telling the story is important for the therapist and the content of it is interesting to the listener. That helps to build the right relation between both parties and helps the client to feel more confident and comfortable. Even nodding with understanding, suitable eye contact or appropriate voice level and pitch make the difference. I have worked as a teacher for many years and I am aware how disheartening is the lack of the listener’s attention and how helpful may the active listening be when it is necessary to encourage the speaker.
3.2. Explain the role of self-development in counselling and hypnotherapy.
If one wants to be a good therapist it is inevitable to work on one’s strengths and weaknesses. We work to help people to resolve their problems. Consequently our relation with clients shouldn’t be disturbed by our personal issues or inappropriate behaviours we might even be unaware. We need to discover them, control them and work on them.
Most of us have habits or reactions we find natural. We do not consider them weird or disturbing, however they might affect our clients completely different way. Clients may find them distressing or even upsetting. It may be challenging process to rise in ourselves the awareness that allows us to predict the results of our behaviour and avoid the unwanted before it happens, however this is the ability we must develop if we want to become good therapists.
The other thing is that all we have been shaped by our experiences and not all of them made us better. Sometimes we suffer emotional or mental problems and it might be really difficult to help others if we cannot see them clearly as we still bear the wounds that haven’t been healed.
It is extremely important for us to understand ourselves and the ways our experiences influence the way we see the world. That is difficult and sometimes long-lasting process but only then we will have the chance to separate our prejudices or beliefs from the case.
In order to understand the client’s position and direct them to the best possible solution of their problem it is necessary for us to be able to focus on client without unnecessary disturbances from our internal world.
The last but not least, being a successful therapist requires vast and up-to date knowledge. Consequently it is necessary to take care about the professional development. We need to learn constantly as the knowledge of numerous subjects from many fields might be beneficial during the therapy.