I started working my first job at Toys R Us during my first year of college. I remember clearly the excitement of having my first job and the eagerness to learn as much as possible. Part of the learning experience was learning the slang. The miscellaneous items scattered around the store would be collected and organized by department to be returned to their proper home at the end of the night. Those were called "go-backs." The stockroom was referred to as "back of house." And the aisle with all the stuffed animals was called "animal alley."
Every profession has their own unique language. While it helps the people of that profession remember and compartmentalize things, it can be really confusing for outsiders. In some professions, it really doesn't matter. I'm sure my old customers could care less that our managers were called MODs so long as they got their items. Unfortunately, in other professions, it matters a lot. Hypnotherapy is one of those professions where the language needs to be understood by the clients so I thought it best to begin with something of a dictionary. So here we go! Twelve common words used by hypnotherapists, defined.
1. CRITICAL FILTER: Part of the conscious mind that takes information and decides whether or not it can pass to the subconscious mind.
2. MESSAGE UNITS: Messages sent to the brain (more specifically, through the critical filter) that gives you information. Some examples are the fabric of your clothes, the tambour of someone's voice, the smell of food cooking and the implication of someone's facial expressions.
3. HYPER SUGGESTIBLE STATE: Sometimes we receive too many message units at one time and it overwhelms the brain. In this state, you can receive and retain suggestions, even if they're unfamiliar to you. Hypnosis is used to put you in this state of mind to make changes easier.
4. HYPNOTIC SUGGESTIONS: (Also known simply as suggestions) Affirmations given to you while in the hyper suggestible state. An example would be "each and every day from this day forward you may begin to notice your confidence growing stronger and stronger. You may even find it easier to go on job interviews and get excited at the prospect. So much so that whenever you think about going on an interview, you find yourself smiling because you know your capable, likable and radiate competence in your field."
5. SUGGESTIBILITY: This one is simple; it just refers to the way you take in and process information. This is important because knowing this will allow your hypnotherapist to understand how best to hypnotize you. There is a scale of suggestibility that looks something like this:
Physical 100%---------------50%------------100% Emotional
6. PHYSICAL SUGGESTIBLE: A person who takes things literally falls into this category. On the scale, someone with this suggestibility type would fall on the 75% mark towards the left. For this person, if you asked them if they have a favorite color, they'd likely say "yes". because they are responding literally to the question.
7. EMOTIONAL SUGGESTIBLE: A person who takes things inferentially falls into this category. On the scale, this person would be on the 75% mark towards the right. If you asked them what they're favorite color was, they'd say "blue" because they hear the inference that you must be asking because you want to know what their favorite color is.
8. INTELLECTUAL SUGGESTIBLE: This is a person who falls into the 85% mark going right. This person looks for all the hidden meanings, and are the most concerned about control during hypnosis. The best way to work with this person is to teach them self hypnosis techniques because they can be difficult to work with otherwise.
9. SOMNAMBULIST: This is from the Greek word for "Sleep walker". This person is someone who falls close to the 50% marker, and takes information both literally and inferentially. Because of this, their critical filter lets in a lot of information and this person may feel a constant state of hyper suggestibility. This person is easiest to hypnotize and is more likely to be chosen for stage shows.
*A better way to look at this might be by seeing it as a balance scale. Someone who is 75% physical is still 25% emotional. No one is 100% one way or another so both can still take information both ways. The scale just demonstrates to what degree is the information taken in and what kind of language is likely to work with that particular person.
10. SEXUALITY: Often in our culture this refers to someones orientation. In hypnosis, it has nothing to do with orientation; it refers to someone's behaviors. My boyfriend says its more like explaining extroverts and introverts. He's right on target, except it takes that concept a few steps further. Understanding the sexuality is important because it gives the therapist more information on how best to work with their clients and what they can expect of them. This is often used in relationship strategies, though not exclusive to that particular therapy. It also runs on a scale:
Physical 100%---------50%---------100% Emotional
11. PHYSICAL SEXUAL: is a person who’s number one priority is their relationships and family. Therefore, this person puts a lot of energy in those aspects of their lives. This person may be sensitive to rejection; when someone pushes them away, they come forward and perhaps cling on. Typically these people tend to be more flashy in their way of dress and are more extroverted. On the scale, this includes anyone from the 50% mark to the 100% mark towards the physical side.
12. EMOTIONAL SEXUAL: is a person who’s number one priority is work or school. They’re very career oriented and their energy is more “self” oriented. If they were to be rejected, they would not come forward. They tend to intellectualize their emotions, so it seems that their name is a little bit of a misnomer. These people tend not to enjoy the lime light so much as they are typically more introverted. On the scale they rate anywhere from the 50% mark to the 100% mark towards the emotional side.
*Again, there is a counter percentage; if you hit 60% on the emotional side of the scale, you're still 40% physical. This illustrates that everyone demonstrates traits from both spectrums and the scale shows to what degree are those traits likely to be present.
We'll explore these terms in more detail in the future. I hope everyone is beginning to get more of a clear idea of what hypnotherapy is about now that you're all clued into the secret language! Stay tuned for next week's topic: How hypnosis works!