HypnoTalks Questions & Answers with Axel Hombach & Dr John Butler – Episode 15

An overview of the Hypnotic Journey

The work a hypnotist and client do together can be described as a journey that they undertake together. As all journeys it has various stages or phases in which different aspects happen and are important.

This is the first episode of a mini series about these various stages of the cooperation between hypnotist and client. Dr John Butler and Axel Hombach give an overview of the various stages of this cooperation. The following episodes will describe the various stages in more detail.

Die Hypnotische Reise: Ein Überblick

Die Arbeit, die ein Hypnotiseur und ein Klient gemeinsam leisten, kann als eine Reise beschrieben werden, die sie gemeinsam unternehmen. Wie alle Reisen hat sie verschiedene Abschnitte, Phasen, in denen verschiedene Aspekte auftreten und wichtig sind.

Dies ist die erste Folge einer Miniserie über diese verschiedenen Phasen der Zusammenarbeit zwischen Hypnotiseur und Klient. Dr. John Butler und Axel Hombach geben einen Überblick über die verschiedenen Phasen dieser Zusammenarbeit. In den folgenden Episoden werden die verschiedenen Phasen detaillierter beschrieben.

Listen to this PodCast on

Axel Hombach

When we work with our clients, the first contact starts when we get into contact somehow. Maybe when they read our advertisements, maybe when they meet us. There are various different kinds. Then at some point we have contact with them and we build our relationship with our clients across various stages. And all these stages have a certain impact on how the session works, how the trance work works, and how successful we are with our clients. And this is the topic that we are going to talk about today.

My name is Axel Hombach, I’m a hypnotist and trainer for self hypnosis in Cologne Germany. I’m currently here in london with Dr John Butler, the director of the HTI, the Hypnotherapy Training International.

Hello John.

Dr John Butler

Hello Axel.

Axel Hombach

So we had a great opportunity: I revisited your first course in a series of four courses last week, and we thought that it’s a great opportunity to do some more podcast episodes of our HypnoTalks Questions & Answers series. And what I just said as an introduction that was also topic of questions that arose in the class last week, and that you probably also know from other classes: How exactly is the dramaturgy of the work with our clients? If you come from a consulting background you probably talked about the life cycle of your work with your client. Or, you would probably say as a therapist the Hypnotic Process that you go through with your client, that you help your client through. And as I said in the short introduction, it starts probably somewhere when the client reads our advertisement or reads or hears something about us.

From your point of view, from your about 40 years of experience, what would you say is the beginning of the process with our clients and what are the steps that are involved in our work with our clients?

Dr John Butler

Sure! Well, as you say, I’m not doing this in an exact detailed breakdown of every step. Let’s say, there are several main steps and stages involved, which are vital to optimize to maximize your success with the client. Now, when we look at the initial contact, as you’ve said it, may be by phone, email, text, you have initially to get their attention to sell yourself and your therapy to them, to explain, maybe in giving information, about whatever question they have, to respond to that. How much is going to cost, and so on. How many sessions will it take and can hypnosis help with this or that. So, we have an important job to do there of giving accurate truthful useful information for the client.

And so, if you do have that information and you make sure you represent your therapy well to them, You’re selling it to them and you’re already starting to build a therapeutic relationship of trust and helping them, even then, begin to understand something about the issues, and what hypnotherapy is and how it works for them. So, you spend a little bit of time with that and then they come along for an interview. And there’s a very big important stage in the therapeutic process. And I won’t go into too much detail about it other than to say.

Axel Hombach

Yes, because we are having more podcast episodes on these steps.

Dr John Butler

Absolutely. Well just to throw out a few key points, You were there, To start building the therapeutic relationship, the therapeutic environment where revelation can occur. The therapeutic process really begins then as they trust you. And if you’re a good therapist, understand the therapeutic traits, that are so relevant for building a therapeutic relation with the client, because it’s a very personal special kind of relationship. Now you’ve got a lot of work to do on asking questions, giving information, all the various kinds of questioning you have to learn about, to be a good interviewer. That’s often glossed over in sort of superficial trainings, And also elicitation techniques, observational listening skills that are highly developed.

So from that you’re starting to find out what the reality of the depth of the problem is. The underlying emotion, particularly the primary underlying emotion, which will help us to find the primary fixed ideas that are causing problems. And as we’re setting goals within that interview phase, well then one has to understand really how to do them as well. So again proper training is vital. It can’t be just glossed over.

We have at that point then to begin to move on into preparation of the client, explaining about hypnosis – It was often called the pre talk – dispelling myths and misconceptions, largely by giving very accurate, precise information, scientifically based and all the rest of it. So there’s a great clarity of the client about what to expect, and we were dispelling fears which are very common about hypnosis.

From that we will quickly move into the suggestibility testing, and the induction phase. And we’re not going into all that at the moment. Induction will help us then to get into the programming phase. Of course the client may begin to reveal powerful emotion along the way and maybe we’re going to go into regression and analytical work. And with deep analytical hypnotherapy with all the different stages that that entails, which all need to be understood and done well for maximum success, maximum long term success, I stress.

So, when we put that aside for the moment. In the most common simpler problems, programming may be enough and that programming is a complete art and science of its own. And as we do that very well, the client will get benefits, they’ll have a recording usually to take away. Or that’s given as a generic recording separately from what you’ve just been programming them with. It depends on what you’re planning with them, what the goal is, the level of the problem they have at the moment, and also as part of the homework, that they’re going to take away from you to develop the trance. they develop the programming inside their own subconscious mind. and then they’ll be bringing the session properly to an end: De-hypnotizing, trance termination, and then the post hypnotic interview, which is very very important. And that will include often that clarification of the homework, making sure the client understands what’s involved, what the therapeutic relationship involves, of responsibility taking, of self empowerment, self growth, all of those are very important parts of the therapy.

So, that’s just a quick overview of the therapeutic process, the hypnotic journey. But that pre talk and interviewing stage requires special depth of clarity and work. We will need to discuss that separately here, because it is such an important stage and it’s often glossed over. But if you don’t know what the problem is, if you haven’t built a relationship, the therapy will be either very superficial, so the client doesn’t get the benefits they could, and or may not come back. So you’ve lost a client. You’ve lost your investment of time and energy and money in your practice. So, properly understanding each stage of the therapy, Axel, is vital.

Axel Hombach

And that is exactly what we are going into in the follow-up podcasts: We are going into more detail of the various stages of the hypnotic journey. Or, depending of course where you work, in which country and legislation and what the law there is, it’s also possible that it is a coaching process with hypnosis.

Dr John Butler

Absolutely. I think to be an effective hypnotic coach, hypno-coach or whatever way one is describing one’s work, it is absolutely vital to understand all the things that I’ve just mentioned…

Axel Hombach

Yeah.

Dr John Butler

…because they can come up regardless.

Axel Hombach

The hypnotic journey is in these broad steps that you mentioned, exactly the same, no matter if you are working therapeutically or as a coach. The dramaturgy is very similar and the very steps. It just depends on in which detail you go and if you therapeutically or as a coach.

Dr John Butler

Completely. When you’re using hypnosis, you’re using a very powerful tool, which is known for its ability to penetrate and lower the psychic defenses. That can bring up material, which is of course so important for us to have, from the client it may bring up an abreaction and that can happen in psychotherapy, in coaching even without hypnosis. The client may begin to reveal emotion about their problem, about their history, because it’s an intimate situation and they’re looking at their goals and their history maybe of self-sabotage of not achieving those goals. Powerful emotion can be generated in any intimate setting. And if the therapist doesn’t understand that, or the coach doesn’t understand it, then therapy or coaching is not being properly conducted.

Axel Hombach

But that is something that we are going into in further podcasts, where you reveal some ideas, some techniques how to avoid that.

Dr John Butler

Absolutely. And remember, if the coach is not qualified or in the country where they’re working allowed to work with deeper material, well, they’ll still have to deal with the abreaction that is taking place. That is covered as well. We’ll deal with that separately.

Axel Hombach

So our next interview will be about the first stage which we decided is all the steps up to the hypnotic induction.

Dr John Butler

Yes.

Axel Hombach

Then, after that we have a podcast episode about the induction and the programming phase, in case you work with programming and suggestions and not analytically. Then, the third follow-up interview is about what you do when you work analytically, and how you close the analytical work. And then as the last interview in our mini series, it’s what you do to help your client out of the trance, and then how you close the hypnotic journey. And of course when you close the hypnotic journey in that case it’s how you close the sessions, it’s not necessarily the only session that you have.

Dr John Butler

Well, absolutely! Bringing the session to a conclusion – as we say „closure, closure, closure“ – this is the importance of gestalt therapy for that. And it’s not the only therapy, of course, that deals with this client’s need to bring that session properly to a conclusion. So whatever was revealed, and even if it was very, very unplanned this abreaction had occurred, they must leave with a good feeling that they know what to do about it. They need to know that that’s not something terrible that therapy does to you every time, that that what came up is not produced by the therapy session itself. It’s in them and the therapy session has allowed it to be released, because in this case we weren’t deliberately seeking that material.

So, whichever, whether you’re working with purely analytical or you were working with the – from the beginning – with programming, you must bring the session properly to a conclusion and clarifying the homework, making sure you get the full agreement, as I said earlier, about that responsibility taking in therapy, which is so empowering for the client, but requires a therapist to know how to do that. That closure then we’ll bring the session properly to an end and allow the client to feel positive about coming back for the next session, because it’s all about building positive expectation and creative use of the imagination, understanding your material and all the rest of it. But without the positive, confident belief in the therapy and the therapy process they may not come back at all. So, you’ve wasted a lot of their time and your own time. So, that’s to be avoided and usually can be avoided very easily when you know what to do, while you’re doing it, because you’ve been well trained.

Axel Hombach

Thank you very much John! And now let’s go to the follow-up podcasts.

Dr John Butler

Thank you Axel and thanks to our listeners.

Axel Hombach

And to all of our listeners, if we have liked this episode, please give us a like, a friendly comment, subscribe to our channels and share this episode via email and on social media, and make sure to follow up with the next episodes. Please check out our home pages. You’ll find them linked on the home page of this podcast. With that said, I’m Axel Hombach online with Dr. John Butler. Have a great time, until next time.