Not all questions, which we ask ourselves or others, are necessarily valid.
We’ve all been asked questions which the questioner sees as perfectly sensible to themselves but to us it may have seemed an absurdity or invalid.
When I was a child I remember being asked by adults, ” What do you want to be when you grow up? ” I hated this question as it made me feel pressurised and also not valid as a human being until I was an adult, yet the person asking did not do so out of any malicious intention.
In my practice, as a hypnotherapist, one question I am commonly asked is, “Will you be able to hypnotise me?” Before experiencing hypnosis I too would have probably asked the same question. As you have probably guessed, I now consider this question to be an unhelpful one. The question implies that I, the therapist , have some power or ability to make the client enter into a state of consciousness which they could never do by themselves. It is true I have some techniques and skills which enable me to aid a person enter a state of hypnosis but that is all we do – assist the process.
As human beings, we have the ability to change our awareness and alter our brain waves and physiology by simply thinking . If you think about something you are frightened of, your blood pressure will raise, your heart rate will speed up and you may even break out into a sweat. However, if you imagine a pleasant scene your body and brain responds in a different manner. It is this innate human ability united with therapeutic rapport and hypnotherapeutic methods that enables the process which I employ in my work. In hypnotherapy, the therapist acts as a guide – helping individuals to access that optimum state of mind for unconscious learning to take place.
Part of the process of therapy is learning to take responsibility for the changes that you desire. With hypnotherapy this also means taking responsibility to learn how to go into a hypnotic state. A good hypnotherapist can aid you in this but can’t force the process. So a more valid question could be, “Will you teach me how to go into a hypnotic trance?” My response to this question is of course yes.
As to the question about what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was always David Attenborough. In some ways the child inside of me still wants to be him. Perhaps that’s an issue for therapy, but as I’m not troubled by the thought I think I will just allow this childlike part of me to still keep dreaming.