I received Jenna's voicemail 5 minutes after her first hypnosis session was scheduled to start.
"Erika, I'm running 10 minutes late; I’m looking for a place to park now!"
I could hear the panic in her voice and immediately took a deep breath to balance my reaction to her stress-induced energy.
I knew my first task with Jenna would be to help her calm down and know that everything is going to be OK. Otherwise, her anxiousness would prevent her from focusing and get the most out of our time together.
And by the end of the session that day, Jenna left feeling calm and hopeful. She felt so good, in fact, that she remarked it was the "best I've felt in years!"
What made the biggest difference with Jenna? It's the same thing I use with all my clients - being completely present with them. But what does "being present" really mean?
Here's the secret - with every client, my attitude toward them is "I got you". This is verbalized to clients with the phrase we teach in class - "I know exactly what to do". And when done properly, it's applied to every part of the hypnosis session.
This article outlines 2 of the best ways to increase your ability to be present with clients.
Use your own techniques as a hypnotist to clear your mind of anything but your client and their needs. Set your own intentions first - to remain calm and focused the entire session. Put everything away that doesn't pertain to that particular client so you remain completely focused.
If your client arrives frazzled - it's your job to model calm so your client will be present and open to making the changes they came in for.
Instead of you - the hypnotist, being negatively influenced by your client's anxiousness, you want them to join you in feeling safe and calm.
In class, we talk about congruency with what you are suggesting. And the same is true for all aspects of the hypnosis process - congruency throughout the entire process.
What I often will do if my client arrives late or frazzled for the first session, is to help them calm down so they focus on our work together.
I'll say the following "I'd like to do something now to help you feel better and more relaxed, ok?"
Wait for their agreement.
Then continue with "put your feet flat on the floor, close your eyes, and take a big breath to the tips of your toes....good....hold it for a moment, exhale....good. Again another even deeper breath, now draw out your exhalation as long as possible....good."
You are breathing with your client the entire time. You - the hypnotist, are more relaxed and focused and you're helping your client achieve the same result by modeling it for them.
Now they can focus and you can do great work with them. But there’s more to it than that. You just helped your client change their state. And this creates hope in the mind of your client.
Note that an alternative to calming your client down, is to use the Time-Tunnel-Technique ® on them. And that is exactly what I would do on all but the first session with clients. With the first session, I need them to be calm enough to have a conversation to ensure we're working on the right problem.
Pay attention to what your client ISN'T saying
Our clients will share a lot of information with us - but some of the best information is what they don't actually say.
Either it's said with non-verbal communication, or there's something in the story that is being left out - either on purpose, or unconsciously.
Keep in mind that their verbal story is often the story they’ve been telling for years, and it's usually not as useful. If anything their story is likely keeping them trapped in an old way of thinking and being. It can help you to understand what isn't working.
So, how do you get good at paying attention to what they aren't saying? All I do is pay attention to the incongruence - the discord.
Discord is a note that's off-key.
I'm listening for anything that looks, sounds, or feels "off" to what they are saying or have said. It's the opposite of congruence.
The incongruence is always an indicator that something else is going on. It’s a subconscious or unconscious indicator of a deeper knowing. And you must be completely present with your client to pick up on it.
All you have to do when you notice the incongruence is say "I'm wondering if there's something else going on with that?", or "I'm curious, why did you hesitate when you said that?", or "I'm picking up on something else going on here, can you tell me about that?". This will bring you even faster results with clients as you are noticing what they are not.
The next week when I saw Jenna, she arrived early, and she was happy. She had already experienced going from frazzled to calm and was ready for even more transformation.
Staying present and listening for the discord can come naturally when you have your client's best interest at heart.