by Chris Holmes
Sometimes analytical people say to me: “You know, I don’t think I’d be a very good candidate for your hypnotherapy – I’m very strong-minded!”
The implication and the assumption that lies behind that is that people who respond well to the hypnotherapy process must be weak-minded people who are easily influenced! The comment also masks a fear of being influenced, as if hypnotherapy were a battle of wills – as well as being a veiled insult, suggesting that hypnotherapists go around influencing weak-minded people, which obviously would be a dubious occupation.
Occasionally I am asked what kind of people respond best to hypnotherapy. Actually, anyone can respond to it if they have no objection, but the people who take to it immediately and get the best results are pro-active people who are enjoying life.
Pro-active people do not have much use for negatives. They grab positives and opportunities and make the most of them, so they have no hesitation in responding to positive suggestion, they welcome it. They tend to regard change as a potentially good thing, and they don’t trouble themselves too much with self-doubt. Their attitude to new ideas is to consider them with an open mind, see if they are any use – they don’t waste time by questioning them extensively with habitual skepticism, as an analytical person often will, which just slows down the response time.
If a person is generally enjoying life, their outlook is bright and expectant, their mood cheerful. These are perfect conditions for positive responses to hypnotherapy. Intelligence helps, as long as it is not the kind of arrogant, know-it-all intelligence that automatically refuses help from someone else.
In contrast, people who are easily influenced might find long-term success less-easily achievable, since they tend to be easily influenced by all sorts of people, not just a therapist. They usually have little confidence in their own views, so they adopt the views of other people, leaning more to the majority view, assuming that the more people there are subscribing to a notion, the more likely it is to be true.
So if a therapist contradicts the common view – even if it is a detailed, sound argument – the weak-minded person has difficulty in accepting that, because that’s not what most people think, is it?
I remember one of my clients at the law firm, Keoghs (see Evidence, Section G) who did not stop smoking after her hypnotherapy session commenting on her response form: “I think I was very disbelieving anyway – I mean, “Nicotine isn’t a drug?” She was unable to think beyond what the majority assume to be true, and therefore was unable to respond positively. Hypnotherapy is a learning process, but she went out with the same notions with which she came in. Anyone who adopts a disbelieving attitude during the hypnotherapy process can repeat that mistake easily, but they don’t have to.
The fact that most of her colleagues did stop smoking easily, and without any “withdrawal symptoms”, proved that what I was saying was true, but still the weak-minded will not be comfortable with that idea until it becomes common knowledge.