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Free Will or Coercion?®

One of the arguments made by the groups who have sought to regulate and limit the professional use of hypnosis is that of coercive control; the false assumptions that a hypnotist can make someone do something that the person does not want to do. My approach to the use of hypnosis and hypnotherapy is based on the assumption that each person has an indwelling spark of divinity, a direct connection to God. For my non-religious clients, I suggest it is an innate intelligence. The DN A is smart. I consider the biological wisdom of the body to be an aspect of the more amorphous wisdom of the spirit. I define spirit as that spark that initiates each breath. Spirit stems from the Latin verb for breathing, spirare. Something starts each new breath, and an excellent tool for opening the door to the inner world is to focus on breathing. Many meditation methods are based on breathwork, breathing patterns, awareness of that most critical part of being a human, air breathing mammal. I base my work and life on the assumption that deep inside each being is a spark of wisdom that transcends the cultural knowledge of the time / space continuum inhabited by the living being. There is an indwelling wisdom of which I am a part.

I believe that a hypnotist does not change another person into something that person is not, the hypnotist is a guide or helper in another person unfolding the unique skills and talents that are indwelling. I believe that there is an indwelling awareness that knows what the individual likes, dislikes, and wants or needs that has yet to be achieved or obtained. As a hypnotist, it is my role to help the client align with his innate values, define a mission worthy of aligning the inner and outer habits to achieve that which is desired. I help people to let go of old decisions that don't work, but perhaps became habitual because of lack of choice, or lack of awareness of choices.

There is the argument that a hypnotist, marketing specialist, coach, teacher, or parent can prime someone to think that they are making their own choices when in reality their choices are being foreclosed by another person's intention, someone else making choices for them. This assumes that the hypnotherapist is seeking a position of expert know it all with the client. My preferred positioning is that of a collaborative helper. I am a client centered, humanistically oriented hypnotherapist. I believe the client is the expert in him/herself. It is my job to get to know the patterns and processes the person uses to define self, behaviors, and relations. It is also my role to point out when I observe a person to be stuck. Stuck is one of those technical terms meaning the person is unresolved on some issue or objective, there may be secondary gain.

I assume 'stuckness' serves a purpose. It says, "Look here." "There is something happening right here." I suggest, "Now you know where you are stuck." And I add Mark Gilboyne's tail to that concept, " And now that you know where you are stuck it gets nothing but worse until you CH ANGE YOUR MIND! You might even have dreams, nightmares until you resolve this." I really hated those words when I first learned them watching Gilboyne demonstrate his skills. His response to my private quandary was, "So you think you are doing them a favor by letting them stay stuck?" Good point. And when I had the courage to use those harsh words, most people miraculously wanted to change right now, they didn't want the nightmares.

During my ongoing studies with excellent hypnosis educators, I have consistently heard that the client will not do what that person is not interested in doing. For example, during a presentation given by Ormand McGill, he gave a well dressed woman the suggestion that when he gave a certain signal she would begin to disrobe. When he gave the signal, the woman began to take off her clothing. McGill had his back to her as he gave his presentation to the audience. The audience let McGill know that something was going on, he turned and asked her why she was taking off her clothing. She was a nudist at home, being nude was not objectionable to her.  Continue to Page 2


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