Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Working with Negative Suggestion

Don't run... Don't smoke... Don't do this - don't do that...

There's an awesome set of three videos, which cannot be embedded sadly, available on the links below. They show how we are all susceptible to the trap of negative suggestion. We help clients get past this every day. Take a look at the videos and see if this is you... Would you electrocute a kitten? If you're doing this in your office, you might want to get two or three people to watch it with you!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

By the way, we do not generally condone the electicution of small mamals.

Validation - A key approach to overcoming negative suggestion. What you put out, you get right back. A simple approach to dealing with negative suggestion is to adopt a positive attitude - such as the method well illustrated in the short video below.

We are always here to help. Vancouver Hypnotherapy Inc. works with individuals, groups and corporate departments to help maintain and deliver a positive attitude. We have clinical counsellors on staff to help when necessary.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Hypnosis

Hypnosis is all around us. Close your eyes in a moment and listen to this masterpiece of poetry by Edgar Allen Poe - The Raven, read by the brilliant James Earl Jones. Take a few long breaths, and then immerse yourself in the words. Just let them wash over you.

Poetry is hypnotic, through it's rhythm and it's rhyme. Loose your self in it' words, it's time - and enjoy this Halloween self-hypnosis.

If you want to learn a little more about The Raven - you can do so here:

You can learn much about hypnosis by listening to the use of language, the rhythm, the timbre of voice used here. Actually understanding the words is not really necessary. it's more to do with the delivery and rhythm. Our therapist Svetlana is a master of using her voice well, even in another language (in her case Russian) her words can induce hypnosis.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sick people and sick societies.

There's a quote one of my staff mentioned to me recently which stuck in my mind.

'It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.'
Jiddu Krishnamurti

It is not dissimilar to something my son said recently after returning from Germany where he had visited Dachau concentration camp.
'Anyone who was not a terrorist in Nazi Germany was guilty.' Lance Hadley

There is something very unforgiving about the wisdom of the young. Regardless of whether this is a matter with which you agree, the fact is society plays a massive role in what we consider healthy.

When Maria, one of our therapists, recently attended a first-nations healing gathering, she described some of the situations she worked with. She talked about working with clients from her own community - something she has done for several years. The manner in which some problems were managed was radically different to what one might expect.

In describing the situation it became evident that in many parts of the process the person who was being helped was present, and also often other members of their family. So much for confidentiality. Sometimes the process goes wider. At times the entire community is involved.

This is an interesting concept and one that is sadly lacking in modern healthcare. In many instances we find the client has issues, but we have a wider problem to address. An obvious example is the client with an addiction, who is surrounded by a support system, such as a family, that is also riddled with addiction. Typically, an orthodox solution may be to give the individual addict a prescription drug such as methadone, as a replacement to their addiction.

In fact the wider organism - the family - is equally sick. Just as treating an individual symptom will probably do little to effect 'cure', treating the one individual with methadone will do little to solve the problem in the long term. The influences that created the addiction in the first place remain. The long term result is often unchanged.

Until orthodox healthcare starts to recognize that the nature of disease might be broader than its immediate effect, it is likely to maintain a blinkered and sadly ineffective approach. Many of us know of cases where a transplant recipient continues to smoke or drink heavily after they receive a transplant. The operation may be a triumph of modern medicine, but the patient is far from 'cured'.

Hypnotherapy may be a tool that helps the individual at a physical level, as well as a psychological one, if it is applied intelligently. It also provides a means to introduce new perspective about paths that will lead to real change. If it is impossible to achieve that change within a community, it can encourage the client to move outside of the community to healthier future.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Trance - What is it and how does it feel?

We are often asked by clients if they will be 'out' or 'under'. These phrases are somewhat misleading and deserve a degree of explanation. In many cases a prospective client may expect to be put into a deep trance - as they may have seen in hypnosis shows - and yet very deep trances have little therapeutic value.

At Vancouver Hypnotherapy Inc., all our hypnotists are expected to be able to perform on stage, and have a thorough knowledge of all hypnosis techniques - stage or otherwise. These can be useful from time to time, but generally in a therapeutic setting are not used. Deep trance usually is not really remembered. On stage many people simply have no memory of what happened. This would make for a very poor therapy session! During therapy a more gentle and light level of trance is appropriate.

I like our staff to be all round hypnosis experts, and so expect them to be able to execute fast hypnosis, such as the example below. However, this really is not for therapy purposes.

Very subtle suggestions can be introduced during light trance to great effect. Generally a subject during therapeutic hypnosis feels much the way they would at the end of a yoga session, or after some activity in which their mind was very focused and relaxed. People slip into trance when doing yoga, driving or even programming. Any time that you loose track of time, and find your mind drifting, likely you are suggestible and in trance. A competent therapist will use that moment to introduce suggestions that will benefit the subject.

An example of very subtle suggestion, that results in a powerful hypnotic experience is on the link below. It's far from therapeutic, however does show how subtle suggestion can be hugely impacting. Watch the video on the link below:

Derren Brown is a master of this type of suggestion.

Another subtle set of suggestions is here:

Trance comes in many shapes and sizes. It's a beneficial experience for everyone as you tend to release the tension and anxiety one picks up in daily life, during trance. This is one reason some people find driving relaxes them, or painting or playing the piano. At Vancouver Hypnotherapy we experiment all the time with different types of trance. As a result we find some interesting ways to help clients.

You should expect your hypnosis to be relaxing, calming and very beneficial. Feel free to ask any of our staff if you need more information.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sex and cars.

If you were to go back to an age when we all lived in caves, and wore skins or nothing, owning a precious object or stone was considered a status symbol. We know this because in many ancient burial mounds we see the grave adorned with the precious objects which we assume the deceased owned.

In more recent years we see equally ostentatious displays of wealth throughout society. Whether it is a watch, a ring, a car or a suit, the outward display of wealth is something we humans seem to have an unusual talent for. It’s not just us, though. Magpies and crows are often drawn to shiny objects, and sometimes line their nests with them for apparently inexplicable reasons. There is probably something to be said for the fact that this is an attempt to attract a mate.

The advertising maxim that boldly says that ‘sex sells’ is interesting in this context. When selling a sports car it used to be thought that if we stick a poorly clothed blonde on the bonnet of the car surprisingly it had men reaching into their pockets (supposedly for their check books). The blonde eases the path of the sale. This now dated idea was probably true in the 1960’s. The brain said, car, blonde, sex and finally how much. All were lumped together.

Of course, now things are different. First and foremost the car is equally likely to be sold to a woman. With the success of many women in the senior elevations of the workplace, it may be more likely to be sold to a woman. Secondly, such ostentatious displays of outright wealth are becoming less socially acceptable. Thirdly, with the advent of better access to information, the blonde is less important. A buyer is less likely to be swayed by irrelevant information. Sometimes the relatively understated Mazda really is more powerful, better designed, better at holding the road, more environmentally friendly and most of all has a lower rate of depreciation than the Camaro, or the Porsche. It may also have room for a baby seat.

Nowadays the advertisement with the blonde and the car is a little harder to sell. There will always be some that are susceptible to it, though most wonder 'Nice car, but what is the car company saying about that woman?' or, 'What did she have to do to get the car?' Neither message is going to do much for the car company.

For the individual who still thinks cars attract sexual partners, they may have a point. The problem is they attract the wrong sexual partners.

With the advent of better information we are moving toward a different society. Social selection, where shared values are driving forces, is more influential now than ever before. Making smart choices and lifestyle decisions is more likely to attract the mate than having a shiny object.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Finding America by Charlene Smith: Drugged to their eyeballs – how over-use of medica...

Finding America by Charlene Smith: Drugged to their eyeballs – how over-use of medica...: "by Charlene Smith (c) Forget the Mexican drug lords and the Medellin Cartel; more Americans are addicted to prescription drugs, especially..."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lying to yourself.

Do you lie to yourself? Can you tell, at any level, if you are deceiving yourself?

This is a fascinating broadcast that forces you to question yourself in an uncomfortable way. Have a listen, and then squirm a little.

We've used many of the techniques you hear here, in a surprisingly effective manner. Listen to the broadcast and let us know what you think.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fox hunting and being 'blooded'.

Where I grew up fox hunting was quite a prized part of life. When one first rode with the hunt, the novice hunters would be ‘blooded’ when their first fox was taken.

It was exciting. It was primal. It was disgusting.

Being 'blooded' was the smearing of fox blood over the faces of those who had not taken a fox before, to the cheers and upturned flasks of other members of the hunt. A young girl sweating with exertion and excitement, being smeared with blood and plied with hard alcohol sounds like something out of a satanic ritual, and yet with hunting season it was not out of the ordinary. All the new hunters went through it, and loved the event. All except the fox, that is.

And Mrs. Barlow’s cat, Mittens.

Yes. Accidents happen. I remember the day when thirty fox hounds took of yelping and snarling after something in the hedgerow, and all the horses chased excitedly down the narrow farm lane. The clatter of steel shod hunters on the tarmac as we followed the baying hounds into the village. Many of the villagers watched as redcoated riders gathered pace, the horses infected by the excitement that had overtaken the hounds, their quarry sighted.

Mrs. Barlow was the post mistress in the village, and her tabby cat, Mittens, was well known, sitting on the stone wall outside the Post Office, a homely reminder that on the Isle Of Wight you need to set your watch back sixty years when you arrive. The cat would watch each visitor to the shop, and scowl.

That morning the tabby, frightened by the baying dogs, broke cover and the hounds took it for a fox. Into the front garden the cat dashed, and the dogs took chase. A frightened look over it’s shoulder and up and into the living from through the open window.

Thirty hounds streamed into the garden. The horses, trained to follow through thick and thin followed. An open window presents no obstacle to a hound with it’s blood up. In went the lead hound, followed by another, and another. In a matter of seconds the entire pack had flowed like a river of brown, black and white through the open window into the front room of the postmistress’s house.

Perhaps you can imagine what happens when you place a trio of excited dogs in a living room, along with a display case of Dresden china, some art pieces, diverse pieces of genteel furniture and a tabby cat. Now multiply that by a factor of ten and you have the general idea.

This is not helped by the fact that most of the hunt were well lubricated with spirits before the hunt moved out, and the horses were definitely the ones in command here. The front lawn looked as though it had been rotavated. By the time the horrified post mistress had seen the dogs dragged from what was left of the front room, the furniture was smashed, the china reduced to a Greek restaurant tragedy and Mittens… Well, there was not much left of anything.

Fox hunting was banned in Britain twenty years later, though that would have been cold comfort to Mittens.

We all have a primal side to us. Some bury it better than others, but it is there.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

How anxiety affects allergies and immunity.

I sometimes joke with my clients that “you humans are such fragile creatures…” We respond in some surprising ways to the things that happen to us. I recently worked with a client who has suffered for most of her adult life from an allergy to a mould she was exposed to. In recent months her allergies had worsened to include a series of other everyday substances and foods.

We eventually traced the first allergy back to a time she had been cleaning out a cellar in a house she had bought. Whilst sorting through some old long abandoned papers in the cellar she found a few personal items belonging to one of the many previous owners of the property. There were a collection of letters and other objects. Being curious by nature, my client examined a few of the letters, which were dated in 1922 and 1923. There were other documents and bits and pieces, and in the gloom of the dark cellar my clients inquisitive nature took hold. In one particular box she found a collection of French photographs that were pornographic in nature. They were mildly shocking, and in the gloom of the moment she felt a little unusual.

The discovery of the pictures, in that unusual environment loaded with some basic primeval triggers could be easily considered nothing more than an unusual event. However it’s my contention that at that very moment she was exposed to the mould she is now allergic to. Her own energy was at that moment a little disturbed; she was off balance emotionally, as well as physically. The invasive nature of the mould hit her at a moment when she was both emotionally and physically out of sorts. Ordinarily it would probably not have affected her.

Now, it’s easy to be a little skeptical about this. I understand that. However, if you think about it there are quite a few instances when the combination of a physical and emotional experience produce a result that is far more destructive than a single issue alone. As an extreme example we could consider the effects of physical abuse. We can all stand being pushed physically a little; kids play fight all the time, with no ill effect. However, the addition of shouted words hurts us, words that make us feel offended, and the combined effect is radically different. The physical act combined with the emotional hurt results in a substantially more traumatic result. That’s a very physical example and one that is relatively obvious. Now let’s take the same idea a stage further. How about if we loose a loved one, and we’re grieving. Often during such a time we experience a lower immunity. This is well documented. If we are stressed our immunity to pathogens reduces. It’s reasonable to draw a correlation between the emotional wound and the resulting physical frailty.

In the case of allergies, as stress increases often we see the allergies increases, as in the case of my client. It’s absolutely normal to find people in their mid thirties developing allergies to substances that they never previously struggled with. Often they are experiencing an increase in the general levels of stress in their lives (children often have that effect). Treatment by orthodox medical means to suppress the effects of the allergies only resulted in other, often apparently unrelated issues developing.

Of course, the emotional impact of various events in our lives is extremely subjective. For one person grieving is a brief exercise. For another it’s a long process. As an emotional disruption this is fairly typical. We all react differently to emotional impacts. The following piece of video is a great example of how we can load something as innocuous as a stone with values that emotionally have an impact. In this video, brilliant English hypnotist Derren Brown creates an extremely physical response to a subtly implied value. The poor subject is visible trembling and emotionally very unsettled, to put it mildly. [On a technical hypnosis note: The techniques of physical hypnosis and confusional hypnotic technique are a brilliant example of Derren Browns skills. If you like to learn a little more about hypnosis skills, see the tutorials on my website.

See the Derren Brown video HERE:

Finding some pornography, being exposed to something unsettling, or even experiencing abuse can radically affect our health in surprising ways. It could be allergies, eczema, depression or seizures – or any number of other results. The disruption to our sense of self, our own personal energy, can have an impact that is long lasting and difficult to unravel.

As a hypnotherapist I should be out there saying we have all the answers. Well, we don’t. But understanding where some unusual issues come from helps us move towards solutions. Understanding the importance of the emotional impact on our physical self is important, and raises a lot of questions. For example, is it likely a ten minute appointment with a doctor is likely to really uncover the true causes of an illness? Equally one has to ask, how scientific are some clinical trials, when it’s clear that while all the subjects may be given the same drug, if they come from wildly differing emotional base-lines they will clearly respond differently? A supposedly scientific process suddenly doesn’t look scientific at all.

A simple process to reduce the levels of anxiety in the client resulted in a lessening of allergic responses. Currently she now enjoys a substantially more varied diet, and continues to expand the range of foods which she can enjoy. She does not react to the mold to which she'd been 'allergic' previously.

What is obvious is this. In matters of immunity and general health, the role of mental health and resilience is a very sound starting point. I end up thinking about my daschund, Franki, who sadly recently passed on at the ripe old age of 17 and a half. He was always a happy dog, and therefore always a healthy dog. Is that scientific enough?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Orthodox vs Alternative Healthcare.

As a hypnotist I fall firmly into the camp of alternative healthcare systems. I value the fact that we are an unregulated group. The last thing I want is government regulation of my business. Equally I feel extreme disquiet when I look at some other hypnotists, and other systems of alternative healthcare. My clients need real solutions, not to have their chakra realigned. If we’re in the business of providing an alternative health solution, then let’s keep it real.

So what do we have to offer that the conventional providers cannot provide? Who is this individual, and what could he possibly provide that a medical professional can’t? The truth is that modern orthodox healthcare has lost its way so thoroughly that even if it can provide help to some patients, there are many situations in which it is unable to actually deliver. The average time a visitor to a GP spends with their doctor is only 17 minutes. The orthodox channels of healthcare are so severely hindered by this limitation that they simply cannot service their patients in the manner that the patient requires. This is a result of staffing issues, the way medical training emphasizes the use of pharmacy and the need to maximize patient throughput to assure funding.

The issue is not really with ‘medical science’. It’s more to do with the fact that the provision of medical services has become so compromised. As a result the opportunity for alternative healthcare systems to provide solutions is enormous. However, with this opportunity comes the risk that some providers will deliver a service of no value, or even of a damaging nature. With this in mind I always suggest my clients research myself and other alternative healthcare providers very thoroughly. The greatest reassurance to clients is to look at the performance the alternative healthcare provider has delivered. Testimonials and reputation are the greatest seal of approval for orthodox and alternative healthcare provision. It’s very important to me that our clients are satisfied and feel we have contributed positively in their lives. Websites like and help people do this in the orthodox sector. The feedback needs interpretation, but has value. A similar website is yet to emerge in alternative healthcare.

In reality a doctor visit of 17 minutes provides only very basic information. It’s unlikely that a doctor will uncover deep-seated causes of anxiety in such a superficial visit. And yet we know without a shadow of doubt that anxiety impacts recovery time, immunity, even such things as allergy responses. So, when a doctor attempts to discover the causes of anything but the most simple of cases the chances are he is doing so at a great disadvantage. This is just one example, but a relevant one. At best the doctor will treat symptoms, not causes; at worst he will fail the patient entirely – as is sadly often the case.

In discussions with doctors many acknowledge that hypnosis has a great role to play. They also are beginning to see that a pharmacy based treatment system often fails to provide long term solutions. When patients keep coming back to a doctor it’s because they are not getting healthy. The treatment just isn’t working. Doctors can’t argue with the fact that many of their patients see them repetitively, and fail to achieve good health. For whatever reason, in many cases they are not winning with a pharmacy based solution. This observation is often met with the response, “How can we do otherwise! The system doesn’t allow us to spend the required time with this patient!”

This is not to say that alternative health care can always provide a solution. However, with the challenges that orthodox medicine delivery faces, a competent alternative healthcare provider really is a valid option in situations where the issues are anything which requires time and exploration. In many mental health situations this is the case, and until the situation changes, is one that many clients will turn to. By providing a valid alternative we are able to support our clients and also reduce some of the load on orthodox healthcare. So, while I am not proposing a replacement to orthodox medical treatment, I do sincerely believe that those of us operating responsibly do have a substantial contribution to make.

My best advice to clients is always to check your provider thoroughly and be sure you are comfortable working with them. Most are categorically not healthcare professionals, which in many instances is fine. In the case of hypnotherapy, explore their website carefully and satisfy yourself that their offerings fit comfortably in your own belief system. In the end many of our clients need more than a change in their prescription. They are looking for a change in their life.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

How are you identifying yourself?

Many clients come to us for help with self image and issues of self confidence. All too many times we see a disturbing common trait in the way they present themselves. Often their email address will contain a phrase or expression that is self limiting, or diminishes themselves somehow.

It sounds so obvious, however the email address '' is likely create a poor image of the sender right from the start. And yet, we see these things regularly. That example is fictitious, by the way, but mild compared to some we see.

Labels such as an email address or a Skype ID are often chosen with a view of creating a humorous impression. The trouble is, after two or three dozen emails, the joke has worn thin to the point of non existence - and you are still stuck with that label. These optimistic attempts at humor, however, often speak of a hidden truth. We sometimes say the most painful truths with a dismissive laugh and a shrug. The problem is, the listener isn't necessarily laughing.

You may find it interesting to take a look through your email box sometime and identify what labels people are using for themselves and ask if there is a ring of truth to some of them. Ironically, the issue of identity, in technology channels or even our names, occupies a special place in the way the mind works. For example, for people who struggle with stuttering saying their own name is often disproportionately difficult. the same goes for their phone number and their email address. Our mind handles issues of identity in a special and unique manner.

Sometimes in hypnosis demonstrations we do a little trick and get a subject to forget their own name. It's a simple stunt and usually quite impressive. You can see one example here:

Some subjects loose their name very easily, others never loose it. What we do know is that the entire issue of identity is managed in a very special way by our brain.