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  • Mark Brafield

Resistance is futile

Hypnotherapy can be a funny business.

People often come and see me when all else has failed, desperately wanting something to work, and yet telling me at the same time that they are scared. Scared that the process will work, or scared that it

won't ? Sometimes I am not sure.

In the same way, it is not uncommon for people to tell me that I will find them a challenge, and in particular that they will resist the hypnotic trance. 'I have to tell you', they say, 'that I will resist '.

That's interesting. Why do they have to resist, what are they resisting, and why - lastly - do they have to tell me ? Or are they really telling themselves ?

This expression probably flows from a fear of losing control. But there is, in fact, nothing to fear. As a hynotherapist, I am powerless to make my clients do anything they do not want to do and, as I point out to everyone I work with, I do not hypnotise them; I simply create an atmosphere in which they can hypnotise themselves.

I am not worried if clients tell me that they are going to resist hypnosis, because I know that everyone, in fact, gains something from the process, and probably more than they realise, even if they do not go deeply into trance.

And if they are actually telling themselves that they will (and therefore, can) resist, why are they telling themselves unless they lacked the confidence that they did, in fact, have just this power ?

So in fact, what is probably happening in this scenario is that they are modelling precisely the behaviour that they want to achieve (which, as it happens, is a pretty good working definition of solution-focused hypnotherapy).

Taking my cue from them, I will explore with the client, both in discussion and subsequently in trance, that they don't need to put on a show of resistance, because when they really do need to resist something in life, they already possess the strength and confidence to do so.

As I say, it's a funny old business.

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