Open Question - Is it worth learning hypnotism for Work purposes?

Wu Wei Wu

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
"Would you recommend others study and practice hypnosis and hypnotherapy as part of work on oneself?

Background: I've been participating on the forum for a few years, and been following its work work since the late 2000s. It has lead me to many interesting places and many great discoveries. At the end of 2019 I decided to take the leap and commit to a scholarly life, long wished for and something I've been afraid to do.

On the one side, it seems like it would be worth learning (in conjunction with all the psychological reading material on the forum) to verify the forum's discoveries, and explore further. On the other side, this seems like the kind of question that's been asked before, and consequences observe.
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This is the question (with minor edits) I asked Laura, and she mentioned she'd answered it previously, and it would be better asked as a public question to point me to the right likns. But I only found these when I did my own search:

So my first question, is it generally advisable to learn how to do hypnosis firsthand as part of one's Work and capacity to help others? If anyone knows where Laura's other answers from her experience are, I'd love to see what she recommended given her long experience.

My second question, is hypnosis an effective way to help other people grow? Or is it more likely to be a distraction, a false trail, from more effective means? I find hypnosis very interesting, and have considered that it might allow me to help others better. But if there are better ways to help others grow, then better to focus on those.
 

Alejo

Ambassador
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FOTCM Member
Hi Wu Wei Wu,

As far as I know, hypnosis is a tool and much like any tool it can be used constructively and destructively, and like any tool that is true for both the patient and the practitioner. The way I conceive it is as a scalpel, a precision tool that allows access to specific areas if well utilized, although that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a knife in essence.

And much like the scalpel it alone doesn’t do much other than grant access, after a surgery you need a whole set of other tools and hands to ensure that your original goal is achieved successfully.

And more than that, you need to diagnose the problem and have sufficient knowledge to know where and how much to cut, otherwise it’s a fruitless endeavor. Not to mention that much like our skin, our psyches can be quite delicate “organs” and poking around without knowledge can be troublesome.

Having said the above, I would begin with a concept from the book “7 Habits of highly efficient individuals” that might shed some light into this topic, in there he speaks about beginning with the goal in mind, I think this is crucial as it informs the path to be taken.

So in this conversation, the question to ask might be: “what is the goal of learning hypnosis?” Or maybe not learning hypnosis, but what is the specific goal, in terms of helping yourself and others, How would hypnosis aid the process?

Another thing I would add is that hypnosis might sometimes muddy the waters, when some issues people are dealing with might be more “earthbound”, small incremental daily physiological and psychological habits do the trick sometimes.

Lastly I would probably add that, what I mentioned above about the scalpel needing other tools to be really useful, the same goes for hypnosis in terms of psychological, cognitive and even esthetic knowledge, dealing with a stranger’s (or sometimes even someone you know very well) psyche, from what I know, can be akin to navigating very rough waters; and this knowledge is a map of sorts, the more detailed your map, the easier it is, but at the same time the vaster the sea becomes.

Im not trying to discourage you for the sake of discouraging you, I think it’s a tremendously interesting tool, but it’s also a practice of tremendous delicacy.

My two cents
 

nicklebleu

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I might give you my take on hypnotherapy (HT), which is probably somewhat limited, as well as my experience with it. I trained in clinical hypnotherapy a few years ago and have been using it (mostly in an informal way) ever since in my day-to-day clinical practice.

As to your first question: It may help you progress in the Work much like other things you learn might help - it teaches you something about yourself. For me it was a great challenge to learn HT, as I am generally a relatively shy and introverted person. And I hate making mistakes, especially within a circle of peers! And suddenly I had to do that - ’exposing’ myself to making mistakes and being clumsy, doing something that I wasn’t very good at with confidence (which is part of the HT process). It also taught me to better listen to what patients tell me, and to incorporate that in the HT process.

As to helping others? Not so sure. HT is very good at treating some somatic/ psychological symptoms, mainly pain, and at reducing anxiety and phobias in certain situations. But in my mind it doesn’t change much in the patient - they exchange one ‘belief’ with another (like ‘I am scared of dentists’ with ‘I am NOT scared of dentists’) but fundamentally they haven’t gained much insight into their inner working. Sure, when doing a formal HT session, I always teach the client/ patient self-hypnosis first - something they can use for self-regulation, which is probably akin to the benefits of say meditation - down-regulation of an activated autonomous state is always beneficial.

The most beneficial aspect of learning HT for me was the conscious use of language to attain a certain outcome - make a patient more relaxed, less fearful. You don’t really need formal hypnosis for that, just realizing how to use language, imagery etc is very effective. It also shows you how language can be used to manipulate - and this is something you can use either in a good or an evil way. But it is somewhat problematic, as you manipulate the patient’s subconscious, even if only for their own good - but isn’t that borderline STS? Sure they gave consent to ‘the treatment’ - but still?

The second question is already partially answered by what I have written above. The Work is the Work, and there are no shortcuts. If you want to do the Work, you have to do it slowly and painfully. Others can guide you, give their impressions, encouragements and support you, but at the end, YOU have to do the Work, no-one else can do it for you. And that requires first a sense of ‘moral bankruptcy’, a kind of ‘death’ as a lot of us have experienced, before you can embark on this journey.

Now there are aspects of HT that I haven’t done myself (yet), that might be beneficial to the Work, like past-life regressions, to name one example. The reason that I haven’t used these techniques is that I feel that I need to gain more experience with ‘conventional’ HT before using more ‘advanced‘ techniques. If and when I am going to use such techniques remains to be seen.

So while I have learnt quite a bit while doing my HT training (mostly about myself!) and I use it regularly in my clinical practice, I do it mainly as a ‘non-pharmacological’ treatment that is effective, and mostly safe. In the future I might venture into the more ‘esoteric’ aspects of HT, but not in the near future.

Hope that helps!
 

Metrist

Jedi Council Member
With all the cults, advertising, tv programming: means to distort our perceptions, the notion of whether it is beneficial seems naive.
So the question is not whether it can be beneficial, it is under whose authority it is administered. And so hypnosis is like a trade secret.
I speculate that only people who are receptive to meditative states can be hypnotized as well, and so it wouldn't be like you'd just be helpful with hypnosis - with people who are competent.
So, it is reserved by those in power - for purposes of reinforcing consumerism, nationalism, religions, psychiatry, ect. And its application is exploitative moreso than helpful.
But anybody can attempt to practice it. And as an example: when we were teenagers we were playing with ouija boards ect. and had a book of hypnotism... and we tried to hypnotise each other with only giggling as a result. So we were about to give up, when a younger member of our group said: 'hypnotize me, I'll do it'. And so we were: 'naw, your too young' and he was emphatic in that it will work. And it did. Right away he went under, and the hypnotist told him to go back to previous lives. And he did, and it was traumatic, he talked about dying... so we got alarmed and told the hypnotist to bring him back.
So, I think it can be practiced by anyone with receptive subjects.
But in a professional application it is reserved by those in power. And they use it to persuade us to consume, hate the enemy, worship someone, obey, ect. And it is active, sustained hypnosis as it shadows our natural inclinations until such a time that the hypnotist - the hypnotist being govt. uses abusive power to make us en mass the little kid receptive to hypnosis. Where we are then at a deeper state and fanatical about the group think.
 

Jones

Ambassador
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FOTCM Member
I don't have any experience with hypnosis apart from what I've read through Laura's work at one end of the extreme and at the other where it was used for entertainment purposes where people on stage were hypnotised to act like chickens for example.

Also there are two books on the recommended reading list by Martha Stout. "Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness" and "The Paranoia Switch: How Terror Rewires Our Brains and Reshapes Our Behavior and How We Can Reclaim Our Courage". Martha Stout uses hypnosis to help her clients.

For Work purposes I think it's a useful subject to the degree you can learn how not to be hypnotised, or at least to recognise hypnotising influences like the tactics used by 'spellbinders'.
 

Wu Wei Wu

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Thank you for your comments everyone. You've given me a lot to think about. On your recommendations, I took the time to read a number of the recommended books, including 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' and 'The Myth of Sanity'.

I don't have any experience with hypnosis apart from what I've read through Laura's work at one end of the extreme and at the other where it was used for entertainment purposes where people on stage were hypnotised to act like chickens for example.

Also there are two books on the recommended reading list by Martha Stout. "Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness" and "The Paranoia Switch: How Terror Rewires Our Brains and Reshapes Our Behavior and How We Can Reclaim Our Courage". Martha Stout uses hypnosis to help her clients.

For Work purposes I think it's a useful subject to the degree you can learn how not to be hypnotised, or at least to recognise hypnotising influences like the tactics used by 'spellbinders'.

Martha Stout's use of hypnosis was inspiring in its application, but it was also clear that it's just one tool in her toolbox.

My conclusion, based on reflecting on your comments and going out to learn by talking with hypnotherapists and reading the recommended books, was that it's definitely a skill worth learning for the purposes of the Work, but also that the priority lies with better understanding the mind as a whole. Hypnosis enters as a specific tool in that broader study.

I'll probably get around to a fuller study of hypnosis later this year or early the next. Whenever travelling becomes more normalized so I can go and study with the right people. But primary focus for now will lie on studying more about the human mind and the books on the recommended reading list. I'll let everyone know here when the hypnosis exploration get started.
 
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