Counsellor’s Taboo

Posted by: Curtis Stevens on February 8, 2012 11:31 am

The views expressed in these blog entries are my own.  They are probably not completely endorsed by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, although they should be…

I’m sparked to write this entry partly by the book I’ve been attempting to write (check back on earlier blogs) and by my attempts to start my own private practice.  I’ve worked for the Alberta Government for some time now and was dismayed but not surprised to discover that even though I am an ethical practitioner and specifically trained to do clinical hypnosis, I was not allowed to use these particular skills with my clients.  I am also not completely surprised that a training that I took with the  police and social workers regarding  interviewing child sexual abuse involved relaxation and guided imagery to help people recall details of events, but they, too, were not allowed to use the word hypnosis.  What does surprise me is that, as I pursue EAP providers to supplement my private practice, there are still bodies that are involved with the direct counselling of clients that do not accept or support the use of clinical hypnosis with clients.  I get the general public being a little more on guard when I mention that I do hypnosis as part of my practice… we wouldn’t want to be tricked into clucking like a chicken, but major service providers?  Fear and avoidance can only mean one thing… lack of knowledge.  We fear what we don’t know, and most of us; even trained head shrinkers, don’t know hypnosis.

I’ve spent time in previous posts talking about client and counsellor expectations, the placebo effect, setting goals, and the like.  Or at least I think I have.  Counsellors and doctors alike use these concepts all the time, perhaps unknowingly, but more likely with direct intent.  We know that simple things, like the tone of our voice, the environment of the counselling room, and our body language has  great impact on our effectiveness with clients. We know that people tend to be more open with their personal experiences if they are more relaxed and at ease.  They recall things better (faster and with better detail) if they are more relaxed.  We use concepts of mirroring with our posture, breathing and cadence of voice to build rapport more quickly with our clients.  We use imagery with clients to help them relax more and as a direct intervention (empty chair technique, picturing talking to the inner child, picturing the ideal self in the future).  I hate to be the one to break it to people, they are probably already using (knowingly or not) some of the concepts found in clinical hypnosis.  When used purposefully, the impact can be amazing.  I personally, have had wonderful experience working with phobias, pain (somatic psychosomatic alike), sleep disturbance, and basic emotional turbulence through clinical hypnosis.  I would like to share some of the practical applications of clinical hypnosis in the counselling setting over the next posts… just enough words to spark your interest.




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

0 comments on “Counsellor’s Taboo”

  1. Siri Brown says:

    I concur that hypnosis is a tried and true therapeutic intervention that can be used to address a wide variety of client issues…I use it occassionally and find it extremely valuable. Looking forward to reading more about it in your future blogs!

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