2nd March 2013 – Another National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) Extravaganza (or conference to you and me) held at the Royal Society of Medicine in London. It was an exciting day filled with interesting talks and hypnotherapists attended from all over the country (I heard a lot of Scottish and Northern accents in the crowd).
The first speaker was Nigel Hetherington who did a fascinating demonstration on a member of the NCH in trauma release. In a very short period of time, he was able to eliminate the feeling of the trauma in the participants body and even get her to laugh at how much energy she was wasting holding onto the negative feelings. Nigel also generously shared with the group a link to his Eye Movement Integration Plus course, that I hope he won’t mind me sharing here: http://www.emiplus.co.uk/
The 2nd speaker was Susan Blackmore who is always a joy to watch and listen to. I saw her speak four years ago about consciousness and this time she was tackling the loaded subject of whether or not we, as humans, have free will. I say it is a joy to watch her because she speaks with such knowledge and conviction about subjects that many people in the field seem to be afraid to tackle. In fact, she mentioned that many of the people that she interviewed in her book Conversations about Consciousness, could not go as far to admit that they believed that we operate without free will, something that Susan is convinced is going on. I have to admit, it is still a bit of a stretch for me too, but she certainly got me thinking about a subject that I had thought little about previously.
Finally, Richard Wiseman talked about how easily the human brain can be fooled, both auditorily and visually. His was the most entertaining talk, in my opinion, as he paired humour with the concepts of luck and perception. One example of an auditory illusion is the following clip – a popular song that I will never hear the same way again: Obama’s Elf. What I found particularly relevant to hypnotherapy in his talk was the experiment that he did with his Luck School. He took a group of people who considered themselves very unlucky (some to the point where it seemed they had near death experiences nearly every day) and just by getting them to think differently over a span of a couple of weeks, was able to turn their “luck” around.
Of course, from a hypnotherapy point of view, we know these people were changing their perceptions and therefore noticing the positive things around them more than the negative. He seemed to use a similar technique to what we in Cognitive Hypnotherapy call “3 gifts” where we task the client to list 3 things that brought them some joy throughout the day just before bed. By going back over the day and noticing 3 positive things, over time the brain begins to gear itself up to look for more and more positive things throughout the day and therefore perceptions from negative to positive gradually change. It also goes back to the idea of self-fulfilling prophecy: if we identify ourselves as being “unlucky” and feel the world is conspiring against us, then we get stuck playing that role.
One interesting question that Richard posed to ascertain which category you fall into is: If you were to get shot in the arm during a bank raid, would you consider yourself lucky or unlucky? If the former, you might feel blessed that the bullet went into your arm and not your head; that you may have a good story to tell to the press and make some money out of your ordeal. If the latter, you would probably just chalk it up to yet another thing not going your way. The good news is, though, that we always have choices.
Looking forward to another informative and thought-provoking NCH conference next year.