Medical reasearch is one of the most “newsworthy”, quotable sources for all sorts of newscasts, newspapers, and magazines. Our interest is piqued when we hear of a new discovery or treatment. Usually, the story is accepted as a new truth, trusting to the rigors of science and the government agencies overseeing and certifying the eminent, skilled people involved. What is often unreported or misunderstood is that the “breakthrough” reveals only a small piece of the entire puzzle. For example, a new treatment for a particular disease sometimes is discovered and reported without knowing why it works, or how, or even what actually causes the disease in the first place. Many substances may have been tried. The one that seems to have a beneficial effect makes it to the medical journals, the news, and then into the way the disease is treated by physicians. There certainly should be no quarrel with a medicine that works. What works is what counts, even if the mechanism that causes the treatment to work remains a mystery.
This is important to the user of self hypnosis because it illustrates the fact that While there are many theories surrounding the whys and wherefores of hypnosis, it is possible for an untrained individual without any thoretical foundation whatsoever, to create the key components of a personal hypnosis, based solely on that person’s preferences.
This begs the question, does one need an expert hypnotist to create an effective hypnosis, or is it possible that aperson with a clearly stated goal can craft the right suggestions for her/his special situation? Most of us are very used to relinquishing our power to an authority. We place our trust in “experts” regularly, for many extremely important matters, and sit back waiting for the results to happen. The auto mechanic tells us what’s wrong with the car and then fixes it. The plumber makes a diagnosis and goes to work. The same holds true for appliances, the roof, the tax return, etc. The list goes on and on, yet, when it comes to personal matters such as emotions, behaviors, learning, relationships, and the like, generally results can only be achieved with the understanding, co-operation, and work of the person seeking the change, the accomplishment, the knowledge. Hypnosis can most definitely be seen in this context. It would be difficult to find a respected member of the psychological community to dispute the notion that lasting results are usually achieved with the motivation and sustaned effort of the person in question. This is not to say that professionals are unnecessary and do not contribute to success. If fact, it is the strong recommendation of this writer for people experiencing mental illness or acute psychological symptoms to seek out advice and treatment from qualified practitioners. Still, if hypnosis is to be used to enhance or develop talents and abilites, both mental and physical, and not toreplace necessary medical and/or psychological treatment, theperson using the hypnosis is the best expert on how that hypnosis is to be crafted. The hypnosis is based on that person’s needs and preferences. It is personal. The more personal the hypnosis, the better. Do you know of anyone who can truly say, “All things are the same to me. I have no favorite places, no favorite people, no favorite things to do”? It would seem that the vast majority of people can identify their preferences with relative ease and those who cannot can be guided into revealing their likes and dislikes. Such preferences are not always based on opinions either. Sometimes there are strong material reasons why we prefer one thing over another. Here’s an example. Lots of people find a sunney beach a relaxing scenario. There are many mass-produced hypnosis tapes, cds, and mp3s that employ such a scene in the hopes of relaxing the listener and engaging the imagination. Now, take the instance of a very light skinned person who wishes to use hypnosis. This person has been sunburned, perhaps badly, more than once. Needless to say, being sunburned is a very unpleasant experience that tends to stay in the memory. Such a person would learn to avoid the strong sun as protection. Perhaps that person might envy those who can enjoy the sunshine without the risk of pain, or worse, sun-poisoning. You can see the baggage this person may be carrying about a “relaxing” stroll on the beach. One person’s relaxation is another person’s nightmare. Upon hearing the hypnotic induction takling about this scene, all is lost for the sunburn victim. The learned, self-protecting thoughts and behaviors may not only prevent the person from allowing the induction to proceed, but probably fight against it and look for a way to escape the scene. It is highly unlikely for any part of the recording that follows to have a deep, beneficial effect.
Though you may not have the same adverse reaction to the sun, nearly everyone has something they could name which, if included in a hypnotic scenario, is a showstopper. There is no hypnotist who could possible know you as well as you know yourself. Even if a very intuitive hypnotist were to make a good guess about the sun aversion of a light skinned people, based on skin color, the same conclusion may not be true for other light skinned people who may welcome the chance to walk in imaginary sunshine without risk, or the people of color who may also be sensitive to the sun. There’s just no telling about the infinite variations in preference and that’s the point. You are the expert about your hypnosis.