Gentle nudge, or mental ‘slap’?


Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.

George Eliot


Glenn and I were having a conversation about our first week back at work for the year, and remarked on the number of people who had booked themselves in for a ‘new year tune-up’.

Glenn said that he valued people’s trust in coming back to see him, and that usually all that was required was a “gentle nudge” to get things back on track.

I commented that the language people used when they booked in was quite different. When people call I commonly hear things like “I need to come in and get Glenn to slap my mind back into shape” – a little different to “gentle nudge”!

Now, that might sound a bit scary, and might conjure up thoughts of physical violence, or thoughts of the all-powerful hypnotist, giving commands. (If you don’t know if this is how it works or not, read this post about the power of hypnosis first.)

But back to mental slapping and nudging: why the discrepancy in descriptions? What goes on in a session to make people use that kind of language?

Usually when a person comes along for a hypnotherapy session they are in a pattern of behaviour (or thinking, or responding) that they are having difficulty resolving. Sometimes our valiant attempts at change cause us to feel even more overwhelmed. Sometimes we might even know what to do next, but still seem unable to do it.

Hypnosis can help us cut through this mental clutter, and get on with the business of making the change.

A hypnotherapist is the guide to change, not the person who causes the change. Glenn is a hypnotherapist, and he is also practised at clear thinking and teaching other people to think clearly. The feedback we receive is that Glenn is valued because of his ability, through listening, or guided hypnotherapy intervention, to help others cut through the noise and get to the point of what they need to do to make the change they desire.

Asking for help when we’re stuck is most often the smart decision. Most of us get help from others in our daily life. Have you ever had a conversation with a trusted friend, where you told them your problem and simply the act of having the discussion led you to see things in a different light? What we do here is essentially the same, though there is more focus on helping you achieve a specific outcome, and the person helping is a trained professional.

It’s not about being told what to do – nobody is really going to get much from any kind of authoritarian approach, and it’s not a tactic most modern hypnotherapists will use. Although some of us may think we just want to be told what to do, effective therapy (and most importantly, meaningful outcomes) will arise out of ‘gentle nudges’ sooner than it will from commands or directives or ‘mental slaps’.

Because the reasons you might come along are usually very important to you it can feel quite dramatic when the unconscious becomes conscious, hence the “slap my mind” comments. Hypnotherapists help people bring the unconscious to consciousness. Done well, it is a subtle approach to change that can nonetheless have profound and meaningful results.

You already have all that you need to make the changes you desire. It is the job of your hypnotherapist to show you how to access the riches of wisdom within you.


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