The best part of Bruce Terrill’s class this weekend at The Northwest Hypnosis Institute was on “positive action suggestions” view website. I can say that unreservedly because not only did I learn how to use a very powerful tool for my hypnotherapy practise, but I also found a powerful tool to use for myself. In order to guide people towards Self-Hypnosis, I would obviously have to be pretty good at it myself. I prefer the term “affirmation,” but “positive action suggestions” is more to the point. The most important word in there for me being “action”. That’s one thing I found about hypnotherapy that differs than other types of motivational counseling – there are specific directions that are essential to follow as you go. Otherwise, there’s too much wiggle room. And if there’s any wiggle room at all in any self improvement program of mine, I’m going to wiggle away.
First thing we were taught is how to write a positive action suggestion statement. Among other things it has to be positive in tone ( that’s kind of obvious), believable ( not as easy as it sounds) and rewarding. The rewarding end of it was very interesting. I’m not the kind of fellow that’s going to write something like, “I’ll be a better human being and the world will be a better place for it” That’s just not tangible enough for me – or believable, come to think of it. I need a tasty reward, right away. With self-hypnosis, this is entirely possible right away as long as I co-operate with myself. And as a certified hypnotherapist, it would be very rewarding to help people co-operate with themselves. If I could do that successfully, my practise would be off the charts – financially, creatively, socially and personally. When the subject comes up of our “higher selves” moving us along in a better direction, I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t mind a kind push in the direction that their higher self is leading. And no hocus–pocus please! Practical, accountable and measurable progress is what Self-Hypnosis is to me. Step by step accountability – knowing to some measurable degree that I am in fact co-operating with my better half . Some people can do it dreamy, but I need structure. Otherwise, I make unrealistic and vague promises to myself with goals that are not met.
Now is the time in the classroom when we pair up and write our suggestions. With the invaluable help of my partner and after many tries, my finished card reads, “I am smoking less and enjoying the few I smoke more.” Perfect for me with all the criteria in there. I’m being honest, first of all -I do not want to quit today. It’s positive in tone
( although it could be more positive), yet it’s believable. It’s measurable and in the present tense, and certainly rewarding. Now I read the card to myself a few times, then sit back and do the breathing exercises while vividly imagining I am doing exactly what is on my card. I am confident I can do it. It is starting to get ingrained in my sub-consious already and right about now Bruce tell the class it’s time to take a break. Perfect.
During the break I light up and start enjoying that smoke. It’s only the second of the day for me and it’s about 10:30. While I’m smoking, the resident of the house next to the hypnotherapy school comes out and lights up himself. I join him and mention the exercise I just participated in. I explained to my fellow smoker that I am learning Self-hypnosis as part of the course towards being a certified hypnotherapist. I further explain that I’m using the class today to personally cut down on my smokes and enjoy them more. I also mention that I find myself only enjoying half the cigarettes I smoke and it is affecting my health. He agrees that it is affecting his health as well but he’s not ready to quit. That said, I have my first client.
Before he could finish his cigarette, I was back with my positive action suggestion and the exercises written down to go with it. As an anchor, I had him write down the action statement for himself. This fellow was game and took it as kismet that we met. We reviewed the breathing and affirmation action needed for the suggestion to work -and for the reward to happen. I gave him my contact info and mentioned that the school meets every two weeks. I stressed that I would be back in exactly two weeks, at the exact same time, and at that time we would compare experience and share a smoke or not. The two week time frame might be too long of an initial interval between reinforcement, but I believe that if he works the plan diligently, it’s going to work for both of us. Meanwhile, “I am smoking less and enjoying the few I smoke more.”