Charles Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species back in 1859. It was a theory of evolution based on what he called natural selection.
In other words, for a species to survive, it had to develop naturally in ways that would allow it to compete and reproduce.
As the environment changed, the species had to evolve, or else risk extinction.
Where evolutionary hypnosis is concerned, there’s little risk of your clients becoming extinct.
What the term refers to instead is the continuing evolution of the hypnotist and their subject.
It applies to the evolving nature of the hypnosis session in which the client’s responses and reactions lead naturally to solutions and answers.
And it also includes the way the hypnotists evolve as they try to find the best ways to help their clients resolve various issues.
The Evolutionary Model of Hypnosis
This model uses a non-directive approach to hypnosis that works to let information and feedback emerge naturally from the client. The idea is to make the client feel safe and secure enough where they feel able to talk freely, without the hypnotist trying to interpret, analyze or explain what they are saying.
In that sense evolutionary hypnosis is an open-ended format, one that encourages change and growth in both the client and the hypnotist.
The aim of all hypnosis is to enable communication with the unconscious mind. However, it’s the conscious mind that reaps the benefit of any work you do with your client during a hypnosis session.
The secret with evolutionary hypnosis is not to disregard the client’s conscious mind, because it may have a significant part to play in whatever changes your client wants to make.
With evolutionary hypnosis, the ultimate goal is to be able to engage both conscious and unconscious processes in significant change work.
While the unconscious mind is outside of the client’s awareness, it is not an all-knowing entity. It may be wise, and it may be intelligent, but it can only work with whatever information it is given.
The unconscious cannot make up any information. So while it houses your creativity, it cannot be creative in and of itself.
Meanwhile, the conscious mind is unconscious (i.e. unaware) of the unconscious. Getting the two “minds” to work together is what makes the evolutionary approach unique.
Because the conscious mind acquires its knowledge from the physical world, it can actually become the “unconscious of the unconscious”.
The Principle of Evolution
In evolutionary hypnosis, the concept of evolution is not a physical thing but a perceptual framework or a way of organizing the mind.
It’s often been said that if you can change the way you think, then you can achieve whatever you want to achieve.
One of the greatest strengths of hypnosis is its ability to change the way you think, so that phobias disappear, confidence bursts out where there was none, and old bad habits vanish into the ether.
Study after study proves the almost limitless application for the technique to help people make major improvements in their lives.
That’s significant, because as long as you are alive you are constantly developing, becoming whatever it is you are meant to become, or evolving.
You might say you’re a work in progress, and every decision you make is part of what’s known as your emerging self.
The question is, are those decisions deliberate choices on your behalf, aimed at your desire for self-improvement?
Or are they natural adaptations governed in some way by your unconscious?
The theory of evolutionary hypnosis states that, as a person starts to become their emerging self, they relate to their own life experiences differently because they see them from a new perspective.
So this evolutionary method of hypnosis is all about getting the client in touch with who they really are and with what really matters to them.
One of the easiest ways for getting in touch with who you really are is through your emotions. That’s because emotions are:
- The result of what you are thinking
- A good way to measure the quality of your thinking
- Short and fleeting, lasting no longer than 90 seconds
While your emotions might tell you a lot about your thinking processes, it’s important to remember that your thoughts are not you. They are tools that you can use to take more control over your life.
How do you do that? By getting rid of negative thoughts in favor of positive ones, and by replacing detrimental thoughts with ones that are more beneficial.
Bad thoughts are perfectly acceptable, but the trick is not to focus on them and not to try to repeat them.
You can change the way you think about something if the alternative route is strong enough and has enough value for you. There has to be something in it for you, after all.
You are in charge of your thoughts and you are the only one who is able to change them. You can do that by distracting yourself from unhelpful thoughts or by changing some quality of your thoughts.
The World of Hypnosis
The unconscious mind operates using symbols and metaphors, which is why suggestion is such a powerful tool during hypnosis.
In the same vein, if a client comes to you and they expect to be hypnotized, you should make sure it happens for the metaphorical value it offers.
The other thing to remember about the unconscious is that it is constantly being influenced by everything happening around you and within you. Everything you see, think, hear, feel and experience in any way makes an impression on your unconscious mind.
And even when your conscious mind doesn’t understand what’s happening, you’re still being influenced by your internal and external environments. This is proof that there is some non-conscious intelligence responding to subtle clues in the environment that your conscious mind is unaware of.
That non-conscious intelligence is, of course, your unconscious mind.
You may have heard it said that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. The truth of the matter is that your clients have all the power when it comes to being hypnotized.
If they allow it to happen, it can happen. Otherwise, it simply won’t.
Under hypnosis, a client has the power to create any number of experiences. After all, they’ve used that power to create the problems or issues that brought them to seek your help in the first place.
If a client begins describing a situation that is troubling them, you don’t need to do an induction because they’re already in a trance.
Your clients are the authors of their own experiences, and whether or not your hypnosis session succeeds depends on keeping them engaged in these experiences.
A client can only resist the exploration of trance if they are already in a different trance to start with. In such cases you should simply explore that trance rather than forcing them into another one.
Even if the experience is an unpleasant one it should still be explored because it represents an issue the client is having that needs to be dealt with. From there it’s just a question of trying to move from the unpleasantness to something more positive and agreeable.
Experienced hypnotists can sometimes get stuck and come up short when it comes to Conversational Hypnosis. In most cases the problem is not with the hypnosis itself, but with the relationship in which the hypnosis occurred.
Neuromuscular lock can happen when you get stuck in a belief or problem and your neurology locks down on it. The way to fix it is to somehow encourage relaxation.
Relaxation helps release the grip on the old way of thinking so that new thinking can come in and take its place.
Milton Erickson said that hypnosis clients are clients because they have lost rapport with their own unconscious minds. The hypnotist’s job is to help the client get back in touch with their unconscious mind in order to facilitate the emergence of self as mentioned earlier above.
At the same time, your job is not to create a trance. Instead, it’s to make your clients aware of their own experiences.
Erickson has also been quoted as saying that change leads to insights more often than insights lead to change. These are all recognizable characteristics of evolution that also apply to evolutionary hypnosis.
The greatest tool available to the hypnotist is language. But on its own, language is like a hammer. Put into the right context, however, it becomes more like a scalpel.
Non-Directive Support for Clients
The main concept behind evolutionary hypnosis is to be non-directive. Instead of trying to stuff ideas into a client’s head, you need to provide as much opportunity for emergence to take place as possible.
There are two distinct ways to do this:
1. Don’t talk incessantly. Leave space so that the client can generate their own experiences.
2. Be aware of and have faith in what the unconscious mind is capable of doing.
One useful way to help your client find solutions to problems is through creative visualization.
Let them make their own way through a story by using minimal direction, creating a space so that whatever might happen has the room it needs to occur.
Non-directive support involves:
- Letting the client choose their own topic
- Giving them the space they need to think and explore the topic
- Allowing them to come up with their own answers and solutions
- Using vague language so the client finds their own meaning in each experience
- Guiding them toward a core theme but without influencing their thoughts or conclusions
Probably the most important thing you need to work on as a hypnotist is your voice. If possible you might consider getting some voice training.
Your voice is unique and will have its own characteristics. It might be high-pitched, garbled, or you might have a lisp or stutter.
A good voice coach can help you use your voice to its advantage so that it will be pleasant and soothing to your hypnosis clients.
The non-directive approach offers you a way to extend invitations to the unconscious mind rather than making suggestions. This causes the unconscious to do a transderivational search to try and find meaning and associations that are relevant to the specific client and their particular query.
The unconscious then takes all the information and begins to create a model, a new frame of reference, or a new way of thinking concerning whatever problem it’s working on.
Another point to remember is that the unconscious mind is perfectly capable of translating whatever the hypnotist says to suit its own needs. It isn’t necessary for hypnotists to try and figure out the meaning of what their clients are experiencing, because their unconscious is already doing that for them.
A person’s unconscious mind is always alert, always listening and always taking in information and integrating it. You have to let the client’s imagination and creativity come up with the answers by themselves.
That is what it means to be non-directive and to allow for the emergence of the client’s self as part of the evolutionary hypnosis model. That being the case, here are several points you should keep in mind.
1. Clients are intelligent beings who don’t need as much help as you might think. What they really need is for you to support them and to create a space where they can explore the possibilities.
2. Your job as a hypnotist is to find out what the client wants to achieve and help them achieve the best version of it.
3. Remember not to force suggestions on your clients but to make invitations that help lead them to their own discoveries.
4. Practicing the mutual trance exercise with other hypnotists can help you figure out more quickly how to be in sync with others.
5. Unconscious wisdom refers to the fact that clients already have all the resources they need. As long as they have a working neurology – the ability to see, hear, feel and taste things internally and externally – then they should be able to create any experience they can imagine.
6.Make sure any messages you give to your clients are neutral and benign, although even those your client has the power to ignore.
Evolutionary hypnosis refers to the continuing evolution of both the hypnotist and the client, where the client’s responses lead naturally to solutions.
Hypnotists should also evolve as they try to find the best way to help clients resolve issues.
The evolutionary hypnosis model uses a non-directive approach that lets information and feedback emerge naturally from the client without trying to interpret, analyze or explain anything.
It’s an open-ended format that encourages change and growth in the client and the hypnotist, with the ultimate goal being to engage both conscious and unconscious processes in significant change work.
This model is guided by the principle of evolution which states that human beings are an evolving species, constantly changing and becoming their true selves.
Evolutionary hypnosis is all about getting the client in touch with who they really are and what matters to them, usually done through their emotions.
Emotions tell you what your clients are thinking and whether or not those thoughts are constructive. By changing the way they think, they’re able to change the way they behave – and ultimately the way they live their lives.
All hypnosis is self-hypnosis and every client has the ability to create their own experiences when they feel safe and relaxed. This can be done in a non-directive manner by:
- Keeping quiet so the client can generate their own experiences
- Trusting that their unconscious mind will do most of the work for them
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