The Use of Hypnosis and Metaphor in PCW
The Provocative Change Works™ approach uses hypnosis (you could call this provocative hypnosis!) both directly and indirectly in working with clients. Often clients have very stereotypical ideas of what hypnosis is and I regularly get asked about “being put under” and other such comments. When I first started exploring the field of hypnosis my wife Sue who is a doctor brought home a cassette tape of a hypnosis induction that had been created by a doctor and given out as a free gift.
Prior to playing the tape I had high expectations and sat back expecting to be swept into a wondrous state of relaxation. What in fact happened next was entirely different. The presenter had a tonality that was like a BBC radio commentator from the 1950s, very formal and not at all hypnotic. I lasted about five minutes before not being able to bear listening any longer. This experience provoked me to begin creating my own products and the process of doing so taught me a great deal about the importance of voice tone, rhythm and choice of words when creating hypnosis inductions. These investigations proved to be invaluable when later working with clients in my private practices in the UK.
Milton Erickson, (from “Hypnotic Realities”), describes the definition of a successful hypnosis session as
“A successful clinical hypnotic experience, then, is one in which trance alters habitual attitudes and modes of functioning so that carefully formulated hypnotic suggestions can evoke and utilize other patterns of associations and potentials within the patient to implement certain therapeutic goals.”
In private practice clients usually arrive for a session in a distressed state having thought about seeking assistance for some time. The hypnotic aspect of Provocative Change Works™ is an excellent complement to the conversational provocative approach. In the full PCW practitioner we talk extensively about trance states in PCW
“You can only be in one state at any given time. You could be in California or Texas or travelling from once state to the other, but not in both at the same time”
Creating useful trance states in PCW for the client
When working in this way it’s essential to avoid making direct suggestions to the client and “leading the witness” but rather to stimulate or provoke the client to explore their own internal representations. In doing this I frequently use scaling to gauge client states and determine what makes the most useful differences in how a client feels during the induction. An example of this would be –
The process of adopting different provocative stances alongside introducing relaxation means the client has no choice but to consistently shift their attention so they find it increasingly difficult to maintain “the stuck state”.
During these interactions I utilize any additional sounds that may happen to occur during the time spent. Recently I noticed that the clock in the room had an especially loud tick. Many other therapists in the building complained that the tick was quite obtrusive during therapy sessions, but I immediately noticed a great opportunity in the following way –
“Some people listen to the sound of the tick of this clock and then others listen for the space in between each tick…it doesn’t matter which you notice in time, hear more of what is useful to now go further in to this comfortable state…”