Today we are going to discuss an aspect of hypnosis that most people are probably unaware of. This is the area of language and how it is used in hypnotherapy. The reason why this is so important for the work we do as therapists is because all language is processed and created unconsciously. This is why therapy does not fit into a neat box and it can never be a case of one size fits all, especially when it comes to delivering language to the unconscious of our clients. Therapists who use scripts are merely indulging the 'junk food' of hypnosis. Before you write to me defending the script based approach, let me tell you I used to be exactly in the same school of thought. All that has now changed and here's why.
When we speak we don’t actually know how we produce language we just make various sounds and the words seem to just emerge from our mouths as sentences with meaning. Whenever I initiate a trance in any of my clients I don’t think about what I’m going to say in advance I just seem to ‘know’ what to say. I’m not following a teleprompter I’m not following a pre written script, I’m just saying what comes to mind and letting the ideas ‘flow’, In fact, unless I say something random during a particular train of thought like “butterfly” you will naturally make sense of everything I say to you, because as the subject you are also processing information unconsciously. There is a neuroscience and the neurology going on behind the scenes. This is why language when it comes to hypnotherapy and change work. If the therapist cannot deliver language which evokes a person's own unique representation of their world, then how can he hope to engage with their perceived reality and change it? Language is produced unconsciously, it’s comprehended unconsciously and it’s perceived unconsciously. Language is able to produce powerful hypnotic states, emotional states, deep feeling states. Language can cause us to create pictures in our minds. You only have to think about your favourite novel that you’ve ever read that stimulated your imagination. Why was that? Clearly the language that you were reading was being perceived through your brain as a set of emotional and visual associations and connections which brought the story to life. However, the way you perceive the story is very different from how someone else perceives it based on how they unconsciously process that language. All language is hypnotic, which is why there are certain words and phrases that carry more power than others. In my next blog I will talk about these in more depth.