Just when you think it’s not going to work… (BSCH)
This article was published in the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis journal and website, which are aimed at professional hypnotherapists, thus it contains some technical terms.
Spring is that time of year when people look at their bodies and think it’s time to reduce some weight now!
Just before Easter I had just such a client, let’s call her Ann. Ann was at least 3 stone overweight and decided enough is enough and came to see me.
Since there wasn’t any underlying issues or complications, I did a straightforward weight reduction protocol with her. I used ELS, as during the session I was sensing that she may not relax very easily. Well, I was wrong. She was a wonderful subject and we put in the suggestions she wanted about lifestyle changes (I never do ‘quick fixes’) and healthier food choices.
All seemed to go well and 10 days later when I returned from my holiday she had dropped 6 lbs ‘easily’ she told me and she was very happy, so was I. She continued to drop weight for the next few weeks as well as taking up the gym.
“Would you mind if I gave your number to three of my friends” she asked me, you can guess the reply.
However, one of the friends rang me and asked if I could see all 3 of them on the same day one after the other. I was reluctant. It may be my own limiting belief, however, because I didn’t want them all discussing what I did and unpicking it, etc, especially as they were all going to wait for each other.
I did explain too, by telephone, that everyone is different and even though they may all have the same goal to reduce their weight it doesn’t mean they will all have the same results.
The first one Ellen (not her real name) wanted to lose at least 2 stone and she also had a real diet coke addiction. After discovering her goals and asking her if she would at least like to reduce her intake of diet coke (she is also diabetic) she was extremely resistant. After explaining a little about what ‘synthetic’ sugar does to the body she agreed as long as she could have some coke. Normally she would have at least 15 or 16 per week.
I began the session by explaining all about hypnosis and that she did not have anything except allowing herself to relax. I started with her eyes open as she seemed tense and wanted to remain in control. After 7 or 8 minutes her eyes were still open but in a very ‘deer in the headlights’ sort of way. Eventually she closed her eyes and seemed to relax a little more. She went into an extremely light trance. Immediately, after opening her eyes at the end of the session, when I asked her how she felt, she replied “no different” in a disappointed tone.
Everything I’d explained to her at the beginning of the session went out of the window about hypnosis not being some weird thing that was ‘done’ to you, etc. However I reassured her not to worry about it and just get on with her life regarding her goals. I have to admit my heart did sink, I felt this surely hadn’t worked and she so clearly doubted it had too, as she kept telling me “I thought I’d feel different.”
Anyway, getting back to the others, once Ellen left in came the next one let’s call her Mary. She wanted to reduce her weight by 2 stone, she’d put that much on during the last 6 months. She’d previously seen another hypnotherapist who had successfully stopped her smoking, that was over a year ago and she didn’t put any weight on in the following 6 months.
My curiosity was aroused. I would have expected that the first 6 months after giving up smoking would have been the time when she may have put weight on. I questioned her carefully about her diet and lifestyle and honestly couldn’t find the reason. Her diet seemed very good and she certainly didn’t appear to be overeating. So I asked her what happened 6 months ago. “Well, nothing really,” she said casually, “well, except my husband was diagnosed with skin cancer!” Ah… now we’re getting somewhere. It turned out that she hadn’t really spoken with her husband about her fears or his fears as she didn’t want to “depress him”. She also felt very worried and
de-motivated. I explained about how stress can be a reason to put on weight.
Explaining that cortisol was released in the body which, apart from being a real ‘bad guy’, it’s also a ‘fat attractor’. So, before we could do anything, we had to deal with the parts of her that were fearful and which were responsible for putting on the weight and ‘holding’ on to it.
By the end of the session we discovered that it was for protection and to deal with stress. So we began the process of releasing it and discovering what else the parts needed. I also asked Mary to communicate her feelings with her husband.
Enter Sandra (not real name) the third in this trio. Sandra also wanted to drop a lot of weight and her goal was to be able to fit into a size 14/16 comfortably. Unfortunately, during the session, I discovered she was suffering from ‘itis’ on many aspects of her goal. Namely lazyitis on exercise, lazyitis on eating more veg (diet seriously lacked this) and lazyitis on chewing slowly! “Oh, I tried that with Paul McKenna’s CD and I just can’t be bothered it just takes too long!”
So I thought this was a good time to re-inforce that hypnosis isn’t a magic cure and that she would actually have to put some work in. She agreed and we did a session, where she eventually relaxed, I say eventually, as she also was very fidgety and appeared uncomfortable, even though she said she wasn’t.
Here again, I wasn’t too convinced that this had fully successful with her, my belief was reinforced when she told me after the session, “Mmm, I feel relaxed but that’s all…” I thought to myself, I’m obviously going to have to be even clearer about what hypnosis is (and isn’t) at the beginning of a session.
Fast forward a week later I called all three to see how they were progressing. I was surprised and delighted to discover that Ellen (diet coke addict) was eating much less and “not a bit hungry”, she felt totally satisfied with her food. But the best thing she told me was “I’m not even remotely fancying having a coke!”
Giving this up had been her big fear in our session so we had done some aversion on coke during the session which obviously worked. She also told me that every morning for breakfast she had a Red Bull (she didn’t tell me that before the session). As she was tired all the time before she came to see me, she believed that she couldn’t possibly do without her RB, she just wouldn’t be able to go to work. She was also delighted with the fact that she no longer felt tired (I explained what diet drinks do to the body) instead of giving us energy it actually drains us. So Ellen was on the road to her goals.
Mary, the lady with the husband with skin cancer informed me that she had communicated with her husband and was beginning to let go of the stress and worry she felt and just enjoyed every day. Then on the second session we did a ‘Healing White Light’ exercise with her to heal so many things she was coping with in her body. She reported that she was eating less and feeling much better emotionally.
Sandra (the lady who didn’t like ‘chewing’ much) I’m glad to report, told me she was eating much less and only had 2 diet cokes that week and didn’t fancy any more (she also had an addiction to it!) Her belt had gone down a notch and was feeling so much better and it ‘wasn’t even hard!’ One month later she had dropped 11lbs.
I have to say, my own learning’s from this day with 3 clients (all who knew each other) is that yes, it can work in these circumstances but would preferably not see clients in this way. It was extremely hard work before, during and after the session trying to influence them not to indulge in talking about their experiences and compare notes. Could just be my limiting beliefs though…